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Google facing mounting pressure over tracking tactics

Google’s data privacy practices are attracting the regulator attention, due to the search engine’s tracking of user locations, the BBC news website reports. Seven organisations have come together to file complaints with a number of regional watchdogs over Google’s tracking behaviours, with issues based on research which suggests users have no choice but to engage with the tracking system.

Full article: Google facing mounting pressure over tracking tactics

Google is afraid of assuming your gender with Gmail’s Smart Compose feature

Instead of building a better AI system or giving users a choice of suggestions, Google is removing all gender-specific terms from Gmail’s Smart Compose suggestion tool over fears of backlash from easily offended users.

Full article: Google is afraid of assuming your gender with Gmail’s Smart Compose feature – TechSpot

Google, Mozilla may let web apps edit files despite security warnings

The firms, known for their Chrome and Firefox web browsers, are heading a group that is devising a way for users to save changes they make using web apps.

The idea is to allow users to save changes they’ve made using web apps, without the hassle of having to download new files after each edit, as is necessary today. However, the biggest challenge will be guarding against malicious sites seeking to abuse persistent access to files on a user’s system.

Full article: Google, Mozilla working on letting web apps edit files despite warning it could be ‘abused in terrible ways’ – TechRepublic

Google is Adding Force-Installed Extension Removal to the Chrome Cleanup Tool

Google Chrome includes a built-in utility called the Chrome Cleanup Tool that scans for and remove malware that injects ads or performs other unwanted behavior in Chrome. A problem, though, is that this tool does not allow the removal of Chrome extensions that are force-installed through Windows group policies.

This is about to change according to a Chrome source code commit, which has the description of “Update chrome_cleaner/chrome_utils to remove force-installed extensions.” According to this update, the Chrome Cleanup Tool will now be able to detect and remove force-installed extensions. It will, though, utilize a whitelist of Google extensions that should continue to be automatically installed.

Full article: Google is Adding Force-Installed Extension Removal to the Chrome Cleanup Tool

European privacy search engines aim to challenge Google

The backlash over Big Tech’s collection of personal data offers new hope to a number of little-known search engines that promise to protect user privacy. Sites like Britain’s Mojeek , France’s Qwant , Unbubble in Germany and Swisscows don’t track user data, filter results or show “behavioral” ads.

These sites are growing amid the rollout of new European privacy regulations and numerous corporate data scandals, which have raised public awareness about the mountains of personal information companies stealthily gather and sell to advertisers.

Full article: European privacy search engines aim to challenge Google

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Gets Reputation Hit After Data Blunders

Facebook is the least trustworthy of all major tech companies when it comes to safeguarding user data, according to a new national poll conducted for Fortune, highlighting the major challenges the company faces following a series of recent privacy blunders.

Only 22% of Americans said that they trust Facebook with their personal information, far less than Amazon (49%), Google (41%), Microsoft (40%), and Apple (39%).

Full article: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Gets Reputation Hit After Data Blunders | Fortune

Will Google+ be the final push US Congress needs to pass restrictions on data use?

Congress held a hearing a few weeks ago in response to news that Google kept secret a flaw that exposed almost 500,000 users’private user data on its Google+ platform. Though there is no evidence that data was actually used, and data breach laws as written today do not kick in until there is an actual “breach” involving an unauthorized acquisition of the data.

However, Google deliberately hid the problem from the public in order to avoid the type of bad publicity Facebook was getting from its Cambridge Analytica data breach. U.S. Senators at the hearing appeared to be troubled both by the legal loophole protecting Google from disclosure and with Google’s calculated decision to keep secrets.

Source: Will Google+ be the final push Congress needs to pass restrictions on data use? – MarTech Today

Google will now take you through your privacy settings step-by-step

Google has introduced a handful of new security measures as part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, starting with a risk assessment feature. It also leveled up its Security Checkup feature, so that once you’ve signed in, it will ask you to delete any apps it thinks is harmful and to cut off any devices you don’t use anymore.

As part of Google’s updated Security Checkup, it will now also let you know whenever you share any of your Google data with third-party apps. Finally, if Google believes that your account has been compromised, it will automatically trigger a process that prompts you to perform a series of verifications.

Source: Google will now take you through your privacy settings step-by-step

Google has made it easier to delete your search history and adjust privacy controls

You will soon be able to review and delete your recent searches as well as get a simplified array of privacy controls and a rundown on how your data is used in relation to Search from the page itself.

All of these settings, as well as a short explanatory video, will be accessible from the main menu when on the Search screen, under a settings tab entitled “Your data in Search”.

Full article: Google has made it easier to delete your search history and adjust privacy controls | TechRadar

GDPR Has Made Google Even More Dominant In Europe

Over the last few years, the EU has been screaming about the awfulness of evil large tech companies in the name of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (sometimes called “GAFA”). However, EU law will mostly serve to lock in those companies as the dominant providers. That’s because they’re big enough to manage the regulatory burden, whereas startups and smaller competitors will not be able to and will suffer.

Full article: Just As Expected: GDPR Has Made Google Even More Dominant In Europe | Above the Law

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