Tag Archives: Court

Australian Federal Court: Google’s Ads Are “Misleading And Deceptive”

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

An Australian court said that Google engages in “misleading and deceptive” conduct because of the ads it chooses to display. Google was sued last year for misleading its users but a lower court didn’t think Google was liable for what its advertisers do and ruled in favor of Google.

But The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) appealed this decision in the Federal Court and won. This is a major defeat for Google who thought it could get away scot-free but now has to comply with this new ruling.

The issue involves advertisers buying keywords and placing ads using the name of a major competitor. So when a Google search engine user clicked on an ad thinking they were going to be directed to the website of a particular travel agency, they would actually be redirected to its competitor’s website. Google’s AdWords program permitted all sorts of companies to engage in this deceptive act to trick users. These companies bought search terms that returned Google’s sponsored results and redirected users to websites of rival companies.

For example, a company called CarSales bought search terms and ad space from Google. The company’s ad included this headline in their advertisement: “Honda.com.au”. When Google users clicked on that ad they thought they were going to Honda’s website but they were actually redirected to CarSales’ website.

The ACCC’s Chairman, Rod Sims, said in a statement:

“The ACCC brought this appeal because it raises very important issues as to the role of search engine providers as publishers of paid content in the online age,” Sims said. “This is an important outcome because it makes it clear that Google and other search engine providers which use similar technology to Google will be directly accountable for misleading or deceptive paid search results”

Google is upset and “disappointed” by the court’s decision. Obviously, it believes that it’s completely innocent *yawn*. Google is throwing its advertisers under the bus by claiming that it is totally their fault for misleading customers – Google claims that it just gives these advertisers the platform to show their ads and isn’t involved any further.

Yeah, whatever…

The Federal Court is forcing Google to pay the ACCC’s court costs and Google must implement a compliance program.

For more information:

The Register, “Google ads ‘misleading and deceptive’” – click here

The Australian, “Google ads ruling hands win to watchdog” – click here

CNET, “Google charged with ‘deceptive’ conduct in search ads” – click here

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Victim of Brutal Beating Says She Is “Afraid” of Google Executive’s Family

Image representing Marissa Mayer as depicted i...

There is disturbing bombshell news that has been exposed the other day and it involves a major employee of Google. Marissa Mayer has been with Google since the very early days of the company, she is often said to be the 20th employee of Google. As one of the very first employees of Google, Marissa knows a lot about Google and she is deeply embedded in this company. Her current job title is Vice President of Local, Maps, and Location services.

Marissa became a very wealthy woman after Google became a public company in 2004. She is often seen as the public face of Google itself. You see her everywhere doing all sorts of different interviews with newspapers and even on television programs like the Martha Stewart Show. She has become somewhat of a celebrity and a spokeswoman for Google. The company uses her bright smile and photogenic looks to give itself an attractive public image.

However, Google might want to keep Marissa out of the spotlight for awhile – perhaps never again. The innocent looking and charming woman Google used as the public face of the company is part of a family that isn’t so attractive.

Now, I have written here before that this blog doesn’t focus on tabloid topics or personal issues, but this particular case involving the Mayer family is different. I don’t like gossipy, irrelevant, and frivolous stuff – but I will focus on criminal activity that has strong connections to Google.

The younger brother of Marissa, Mason Mayer, has been accused of three felonies: assault, false imprisonment and domestic violence. He allegedly brutally beat his girlfriend, Kelli Ann Trent, after a night out back in September 2011. We are learning about this now because The San Francisco Appeal newspaper investigated this case and published their findings yesterday.

Alright – so here’s what happened, according to court documents obtained by the newspaper. An affidavit submitted by San Francisco Police Department Inspector Michael Becker, details exactly what allegedly happened between Mason Mayer and his girlfriend:

On the evening of September 24, Mason and Kelli were getting ready to go to a party. They were at Mason’s condo residence at the time. Prior to the leaving to go to the party, they had an argument over a woman – who Mason allegedly cheated with – attending the party too.

The couple went to the party but there was still tension between them. According to the court document, Mason angrily accused a bartender of hitting on his girlfriend. He also became angry at Kelli Ann Trent for speaking with Marissa Mayer’s husband. Mason apparently “dislikes” his brother-in-law for some reason.

The couple left the party and went back home to Mason’s condo residence. While walking through the building hallway, Mason shoved Kelli. He then took her inside the residence, locked her in his bedroom, and then threw Kelli on the floor of the bedroom.

Mason began spitting in the face of his girlfriend, pulling her hair out, and he slammed her head against the marble bedroom floor. Kelli was in agony and in the fetal position trying to protect herself. Mason repeatedly punched her in the face, while Kelli struggled to get away. He told her that the only way she was going to get out of the beating was by driving her to the Golden Gate Bridge and throwing her off it.

Luckily for Kelli, before things could get any worse, Mason’s cell phone started ringing. It was a friend of the couple who was calling to ask to pick up his personal items from the condo. While on the phone, Kelli screamed for help.

The friend eventually arrived at the condo residence and Mason answered the front door to let him in. Kelli ran out of the bedroom hysterical and crying out for help. Mason grabbed her and wouldn’t let her go. The friend asked Mason to let her go but he refused. The friend said that he would call the police if he didn’t let her go. After Mason finally agreed to let Kelli go, she went back into the bedroom to retrieve her bag.

But Mason followed her back into the bedroom and locked the door shut again. The friend decided to stay the night at the condo to make sure nothing bad happened. The next morning, Kelli got up and she noticed all the injuries to her body.

Kelli eventually went to the police to report what happened to her. The 33-year-old Mason Mayer was arrested by police on November 28, 2011. In January a judge ordered Mason to stay away from Kelli. He has pleaded not guilty – but if found guilty he faces a maximum four years and eight months in state prison. Mason Mayer has a pretrial conference in a Superior Court on April 18th, 2012.

This is all so disturbing and vile. I need a shower after reading the court documents and seeing the injuries on the alleged victim. Mason Mayer is apparently very close to his famous sister and lives off her success. According to The San Francisco Appeal newspaper, Mason lives in the same luxury building as his sister and he was never worked since his sister struck it rich working at Google.

Just keep this in mind: these are the type of people you entrust your personal information with when you use Google. I certainly wouldn’t want people like Mason Mayer and his executive sister anywhere near my personal data. Knowing about the ethics and morals of the people who handle very sensitive data about you is so important.

 If I don’t trust you, I will not do business with you – ever.

UPDATE:

I wrote another article on this story with more details – click here

For more information:

The Francisco Appeal, “Brother of Google Executive Marissa Mayer Facing Charges…” – click here

SFGate, “Google executive’s brother accused of domestic attack” – click here

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The US Federal Trade Commission Wants Privacy Advocacy Group To Back Off

 Just under two weeks ago, I wrote about The Electronic Privacy Information Center’s (EPIC) lawsuit against the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to force the federal agency to punish Google for breaking terms of its settlement with the agency. To get fully caught up or to refresh your memory, please go back and read through two of my posts discussing this lawsuit and then return back to this one: click here and here

Alright, so the federal court asked the FTC to submit their response to the lawsuit filed by EPIC by Friday, February 17th, 2012. The FTC did get back to the court by that date and basically told the court that they want the lawsuit to be dismissed because EPIC has no right to tell the FTC how to do their job. The FTC made no mention of whether or not EPIC is correct in wanting to punish Google for violating the consent order – the agency just wants EPIC not to force it to take action against Google. If the federal agency is going to take actions against Google, it wants to do it on its own. An FTC spokeswoman, Claudia Farrell, said:

“We are asking the court to dismiss the case because parties such as EPIC are barred by law from interfering with the proper investigation and enforcement of F.T.C. orders”

The issue here is that the agency is arguing that since EPIC was not a party to the settlement agreement between Google and the FTC – it should have no say whatsoever in how Google should be scrutinized. The FTC wants to reserve to right to make decisions under its own discretion.

The FTC believes that the involvement of public interest groups, business competitors, and other kinds of groups imposing themselves into the business of the FTC will give too much power to these groups. However, EPIC is arguing that the Federal Trade Commission Act creates a non-discretionary duty for the FTC to act on violations of consent orders. EPIC just wants the FTC to acknowledge the obvious violations by Google and punish Google quicker because time is of the essence here since Google vowed that it would start consolidating and further monetize personal data of its users starting March 1st. Epic’s executive director, Marc Rotenberg, said:

“There can be no question that the Federal Trade Commission has a duty to enforce its final order in the Google matter”

The FTC should get its act together and do the right thing here. Stop stalling for time and getting your feelings hurt because an advocacy group is telling you how to do your job better. EPIC does not want to “deprive the Commission of the discretion to exercise its enforcement authority“; it just wants the agency to see the obvious and then appropriately act on it swiftly.

The irony is that the same day the FTC filed an opposition and a motion to dismiss EPIC’s lawsuit, the Wall Street Journal exposed Google for spying on Apple users.

EPIC is expected to respond to the federal court tomorrow, February 21st.

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