Earlier this month a court in Australia reversed a lower court’s decision and ruled that the ads Google allows to run on its search engine are “misleading and deceptive”. I wrote more about this in another post – click here.
After this ruling by the Federal Court, Google was caught completely off-guard (typical Google arrogance of course) and they definitely were not expecting it to go in that direction. It also extremely worries Google and could set a threatening precedent to their business model. Google is concerned that the Australian court’s decision could be copied by other courts in different countries and it will hurt their bottom line. Google’s ad revenue is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia alone.
Google will fight the court’s decision tooth and nail to avoid this from spreading and to make sure their money-making machine is protected. The company has less than 14 days to appeal the decision to a High Court. What Google is most concerned about is protecting their money and not making sure that their users are protected. This isn’t the first time that the company has gotten themselves in deep trouble over their ad business. The US government forced Google to pay up half a billion dollars for aiding and abetting a con artist commit his crimes (I will post an update story on this soon ,which I forgot to post).
The point is that Google has repeatedly shown that they are willing to accept money from every advertiser, every company, and even criminals if they can get away with it. They obviously have very little ethics and I sure wouldn’t trust them. Be careful clicking on those ads.
This Australian legal battle against Google is a very interesting one to watch.
ABC News in Australia did a fantastic report on this story. The video is below and if you want to read the transcript, you can go to their website – click here
Jimmy Kimmel’s latest mockery of Google got me laughing so hard!
The other day Google released a video showing off “new” technology it’s been working on called “Project Glass”. It’s basically a camera on your head that connects to the Internet – hands free mobile computing glasses. Let’s not even get started with the privacy issues that this will potentially stir up.
Anyway, Google’s “new” technology has been getting a lot of media attention and many people actually thought it was an April Fool’s joke – but Google couldn’t be any more serious with their plans to develop this technology. They uploaded the video to get feedback from the public to help in the development.
Here’s the video Google uploaded:
And this is the hilarious Jimmy Kimmel video (the music just cracks me up for some reason ha-ha):
Thanks to Gizmodo for directing its readers to the funny video – click here
Uh oh, looks like Google might be in a bit of a mess. Remember that epic legal battle between Viacom and YouTube a few years ago? Well, it’s being given new life.
Back in 2007 Viacom sued Google for knowingly allowing users to post copyrighted material on YouTube. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for over a billion dollars and the video-sharing site was founded in 2005. Viacom, along with other companies, believe that YouTube wasn’t doing enough to take down their content and sought over $1 billion from Google. However, Google always believed that it shouldn’t be held responsible for what its users do and the company says that it takes down copyrighted content when notified.
Viacom and Google fought over this issue for several years until June 2010 when a lower court ruled in favor of Google. The court agreed with Google’s argument that it shouldn’t be held responsible if its users infringe copyright. The court upheld an interpretation of the 1998 federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that protects companies from liability for what its users do online. It was seen as a big victory for Google at the time.
Fast-forward almost two years later and this issue is back to give Google some headaches. Viacom filled an appeal in October 2011 saying that the dismissal of their lawsuit was “fundamentally flawed”. Today, a panel of judges at an appeals court agreed with Viacom and reversed the decision of the lower court saying that it’s quite obvious that YouTube knew about the copyrighted content being uploaded but did nothing to stop it.
Viacom is obviously thrilled by the reversal and released a statement:
“This balanced decision provides a thoughtful way to distinguish legitimate service providers from those that build their businesses on infringement. The court delivered a definitive, common sense message to YouTube – intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law. We are confident we will prevail when the merits of our case are heard”
This also opens the door for several other companies who have issues with Google’s video-sharing website. It includes several sport leagues, music publishers, artists, and news agencies. They are delighted by the appeals court decision and will seize their chance to protect their material.
Viacom seems to have a love-hate relationship with Google. Viacom has a reputation for being quite litigious and so it suing Google is to be expected – but the two of them have also been working with each other. Viacom now has YouTube channels set up and receives revenue from it. And just yesterday it was announced that a deal was made so that online users could rent Paramount Pictures (a subsidiary of Viacom) movies from YouTube’s rental store.
Awkward….anyway, we’ll see what happens between these two as they get ready to rehash this old argument.
For more information:
The Guardian, “Judge reanimates Viacom’s $1bn copyright suit against YouTube” – click here
CBSNews, “Revived Viacom suit spells trouble for Google” – click here
The Register, “Viacom’s anti-Google copyright case rises from the dead” – click here
Reuters, “Viacom wins reversal in landmark YouTube case” – click here
This is an interesting video from the CBC from a few years ago. Even back then Google was considered a huge threat to privacy and personal freedom on the Internet. Things have since gotten worse with Google – I wonder how bad it will get until people finally say “we’re not gonna take it anymore!”
Good news, folks!
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is now facing new investigations over privacy violations. One month ago, Google was caught red-handed stealing personal data from the computers of Apple Safari users. Google used a code to trick Apple’s web browser into accepting tracking cookies, which would then track users on the Internet. Of course, Apple users had no idea this had happened to them and Google knew exactly what it was doing. The code Google used to bypass Apple’s web browser security had been known about for a number of years – Google made the unethical decision to exploit the security vulnerability very deliberately.
Google was caught by a Stanford University researcher named Jonathan Mayer. He exposed Google by explaining in detail how the company was able to circumvent the Safari browser security to the Wall Street Journal. After being exposed, Google tried to play all innocent and stupid – “oh I’m sorry, I swear I had no idea my little code would do such a thing. Oops, oh well. Get over it”.
People didn’t get over it, immediately after the story was published by the Journal several lawsuits were filed against Google. The lawsuits have seemingly never stopped piling up! I have lost count how many times Google has been sued by their victims.
Anyway, there is word now that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – OMG, yes, FTC finally! – is seriously looking into whether Google violated privacy agreements. The FTC has been in a deep sleep for a while now and hasn’t really said anything against Google. This is the first time we are hearing the FTC is actually taking real steps to correct transgression and triumph over ‘evil’. The FTC can levy fines of $16,000 per violation, per day. This might not seem like very much punishment, especially for a company like Google, but Google victimized millions of people. There are millions of people who use Apple’s Safari web browser. If calculated appropriately and comprehensively, it can add up against Google very quickly.
But – Google was forced to pay up half a billion dollars before by the US Department of Justice for aiding and abetting a con artist to commit his crimes. That hasn’t stopped them from taking part in unethical behavior. Perhaps Google needs heavier legal penalties to prevent them from victimizing innocent people in the future. Google just doesn’t get it.
We’ll just have to wait and see what develops. Stay tuned – to be continued!
For more information:
Wall Street Journal, “Google in New Privacy Probes” – click here
MercuryNews, “Google faces scrutiny from states” – click here
paidContent, “Lawsuits Mushroom Over Google Browser Tracking” – click here
MarketWatch (Press release), “Consumer Watchdog Applauds FTC, EU…” – click here
googleexposed, “Google Tricked And Lied To Apple Users...” – click here
googleexposed, “A Breakdown Of Google’s Statement…” – click here