Google’s privacy practices panned by watchdog group

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO – Google Inc.’s privacy practices are the worst among the Internet’s top destinations, according to a watchdog group seeking to intensify the recent focus on how the online search leader handles personal information about its users. In a report released Saturday, London-based Privacy International assigned Google its lowest possible grade. The category is reserved for companies with “comprehensive consumer surveillance and entrenched hostility to privacy.” None of the 22 other surveyed companies – a group that included Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and AOL – sunk to that level, according to Privacy International. While a number of other Internet companies have troubling policies, none comes as close to Google to “achieving status as an endemic threat to privacy,” Privacy International said in an explanation of its findings. An independent European panel recently opened an inquiry into whether Google’s policies abide by Europe’s privacy rules. Meanwhile, three consumer groups in the United States are pressuring the nation’s regulators to make Google change some of its privacy policies as part of its proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of online ad service DoubleClick Inc., which also tracks Web surfers’ behavior. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is looking into antitrust concerns raised by the DoubleClick deal, but has not indicated if privacy issues will be part of the inquiry. Hoping to placate its critics, Google has pledged to begin erasing the information about users’ search requests within 18 to 24 months. The company says it stockpiles data to help its search engine better understand its users so it can deliver more relevant results and advertisements. As Google becomes more knowledgeable about the people relying on its search engine and other free services, management hopes to develop more tools that recommend activities and other pursuits that might appeal to individual users. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In a statement from one of its lawyers, Google said it aggressively protects its users’ privacy and stands behind its track record. In its most conspicuous defense of user privacy, Google last year successfully fought a U.S. Justice Department subpoena demanding to review millions of search requests. “We are disappointed with Privacy International’s report, which is based on numerous inaccuracies and misunderstandings about our services,” said Nicole Wong, Google’s deputy general counsel. “It’s a shame that Privacy International decided to publish its report before we had an opportunity to discuss our privacy practices with them.” Privacy International contacted Google earlier this month, but didn’t receive a response, said Simon Davies, the group’s director. The scathing report is just the latest strike aimed at Google’s privacy practices. last_img read more

Climate change meeting planned for next week

first_imgComing on the heels of serious flooding along Lake Erie and the Thames River this year and last, a public meeting concerning climate change is slated for the Chatham-Kent Civic Centre this Tuesday.Chatham-Kent Community Development and the community development advisory committee are hosting the event to discuss the initial stages of a climate change action plan.It will take place at 5 p.m. in Room 212 of the Civic Centre.The meeting will include a presentation from municipal representatives and a discussion on the draft plan’s terms of reference.“After council voted unanimously to declare a climate change emergency in our community earlier this year, it was essential for our team to come up with a plan of attack on how to best move forward,” said Wallaceburg Coun. Aaron Hall in a release on Thursday.“It is equally important for our team to hear from the public and gather feedback, which is why we are launching an area on the Let’s Talk Chatham-Kent website. Every corner of Chatham-Kent has been impacted to some degree by weather events in the recent past.”The terms of reference will also outline the approach to public engagement.Hall said receiving feedback and personal stories will be valuable to municipal staff, the committee and council, given the “multiple flood warnings along the Sydenham and Thames rivers, high waters in Mitchell’s Bay and of course the challenging situation our residents along Lake Erie are facing on a daily basis.”The action plan will include consultation with elected officials, climate change experts, municipal staff, property owners, businesses, public partners and residents.“Chatham-Kent needs to understand what measures we need to take in order to adapt to climate change,” said John Norton, general manager of community development, in the release. “The Municipality of Chatham-Kent must also look to do its part in the global effort to try and mitigate the effects of climate change.”For further details on the meeting and the project, visit read more

iExit App: A Must-Have for Road Travel

first_imgFind FoodIntegration with Yelp means that you can see review scores for the restaurants and get access to menus and reviews.Find HotelsIn addition to searching for hotels outright, you can also look for specifics like pet-friendly hotels. Average prices for rooms and reviews from Yelp are also provided when available.In addition, integration with Travel Coupons also means you have access to discounts on your phone.Search for Other Options From locations with WiFi to campgrounds, and from automotive assistance to attractions, there’s plenty of options on the search page. You can also search for a specific business.Overall, I found that the information in the app was fairly accurate, but they do crowd-source information if you find a business that is no longer open. You can note it in the app so future people don’t travel down that road less taken only to find what they are looking for is now closed.For an app like this, I’d be willing to pay, but the cherry on top is that this app is free. Without a doubt, it is a must-have for your next trip to Walt Disney World–or anywhere that you’ll be traveling along a highway in the United States.Are you familiar with the iExit app? Has it been a lifesaver for you when you are on the road? Let us know what you think in the comments. Share This!If you’re planning a road trip to Walt Disney World (or any other destination soon), you’ll want to download the iExit app for your smartphone. Recently, I was traveling from up north back home to Walt Disney World, and this app has now become an essential for my travel.A bit of background–I used to use the I-95 exit guide app and web site way back in the early days of apps, but the iExit app goes so far beyond the functionality of those old options. For starters, it covers a lot more roads. Here’s a sample for just the state of Florida.center_img The iExit app is available for both iPhone and Android devices. When you download it, it will ask if you want to give it access to your location services. Although the app is functional without it, you’ll want to let it have access because it can find what road you are on and where you are on that road automatically. If you don’t give access, you’ll have to do all of that manually–still very doable, but not as quick and easy.Once you launch the app, click the “find me on the highway” button to locate your position (although you will likely need to select what direction you are going on the road in question).This will bring up an exit guide listing for the road you are on at the exit you are near, with inspection stations, rest areas and welcome centers, and exits with icons for services available.A map view is also available.Here’s what you can do from the app.Find FuelIntegration with OPIS means that you can see recent prices for fuel at each stop, direction off the exit, and distance from the highway. Clicking on an individual gas statin will let you bring up types of fuel offered. There’s also a section for alternative fuel where you can see options available at gas stations, hotels (i.e., hotels with charging stations), and other locations.last_img read more

‘New broadband era’ as WACS lands

first_img20 April 2011The much-anticipated West Africa Cable System (WACS) linking southern Africa and Europe arrived at Yzerfontein in the Western Cape on Tuesday, promising to double South Africa’s broadband capacity.“The 14 000km long fibre optic submarine cable system will effectively raise South Africa’s current broadband capacity by over 500 Gigabits per second (Gbps),” Telkom said in a statement.“Spanning the west coast of Africa and terminating in the United Kingdom, WACS will enable seamless connectivity into the rest of Europe and America.”In addition to complementing existing high-bandwidth cable systems in the region, as well as supplying first-time fibre connectivity to several west African countries, WACS will provide much-needed diversity for large-volume broadband traffic from South Africa to Europe.The US$650-million submarine cable, which has been under construction since 2009, is an initiative of the WACS Consortium, whose South African members consist of Broadband Infraco, MTN, Telkom, Neotel and Vodacom.The cable also boasts 15 established terminal stations en route, and will reduce the cost to connect the west coast of Africa into the high-speed global telecommunications network for years to come.It is designed to support present and future internet, e-commerce, data, video and voice services while also making use of dense wavelengths division multiplexing (DWDM) technology, which enables bi-directional communications over one strand of fibre as well as multiplication of capacity.“Its design of 4 fibre pair and 128 wavelength technology make WACS the largest cable system to ever land in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Angus Hay of Neotel, co-chair of the WACS management committee. “WACS will meet the demand for capacity well into the first quarter of the 21st century.”Telkom’s Casper Chihaka said that various reasons had led to the choice of Yzerfontein as landing point for WACS and to allocating the responsibility to land the cable in South Africa to Telkom.“All submarine cables that enter South Africa are located at either Melkbosstrand or Mtunzini, thus effectively two international fibre gateways. Events such as earthquakes or even a large ship dragging its anchor have seen several cables being cut,” Chihaka said.“South Africa needs a third international fibre gateway to reduce the risk of complete isolation from the rest of the world.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Corbis Offers Free Photos to Bloggers – With a Catch

first_imgThe world’s second largest stock photo firm, Corbis, will soon begin giving away free some of its high quality stock photographs to bloggers via a partnership with newly launched site PicApp. PicApp is a new startup that aims to give bloggers and small media producers legal access to previously unaffordable stock photographs for free, in exchange for displaying advertising.The PicApp system, which is still in closed beta, works by embedding overlay or popup advertising in images that bloggers can then run on their sites free of charge. Further, bloggers can reportedly earn a slice of the revenue on those photos based on how many people click on the ads in the images. Corbis is the first major content partner revealed to be working with PicApp — the company promises that more are coming soon.According to PicApp, “most of the visual content found online is some kind of a misuse or an infringement of copyright,” which leads to a massive loss of revenue for content creators. Small media publishers, though, need access to high end visual content, but most of it is well out of their price range (royalty free images at Corbis often run $50-100 for the lowest quality version of a single image). PicApp aims to make these images accessible to bloggers by subsidizing their cost with advertising. At right you can see a sample of a PicApp image that I yanked from their blog (roll your mouse of the bottom of the image to see where, presumably, an advertisement might appear).“We work with a partner so that those pictures are tracked, and if they’re being used illegally, we can figure that out,” said Corbis CEO Gary Shenk at the Reuters Media Summit on Tuesday, reports Reuters. “But as long as they are downloaded through this application, you’re legit and you’re ready to go.”Corbis has been making a major push this year to catch up to Getty Images, their chief competitor and the largest stock photography distributor. Getty is about three times as large as Corbis (in terms of revenue). Earlier this month Corbis announced that it had acquired Veer, a boutique stock image distribution web site, and last June in launched SnapVillage, a micropayment stock photos web site that competes with Getty’s very popular iStockPhoto.Though the quality of the images offered by professional stock photo outfits like Corbis, Getty and JupiterImages is unrivaled, there are plenty of low-cost or free alternatives out there for bloggers. Because bloggers publish to the web, they don’t need the highest quality images, and good quality photos are available on the cheap from sites like iStockPhoto, SnapVillage or StockXpert. Further, many free stock photo sites offer a large number of quality images with no strings attached (we reviewed five stock photo search engines last June that can help you find them), and Flickr has a bevy of images just waiting to be used with credit. What’s more appealing to bloggers, slightly lower quality, low-cost or free images, or professional images that come saddled with rollover ads? Tags:#news#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img josh catone 1 Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Wicklander-Zulawski Announces Changes to Basic and Advanced Training Seminars

first_imgFor years attendees have been trained in both the art of interviewing as well as the WZ Method of Interrogation. Around 2008, WZ removed the direct positive interrogation approach, noting the concerns the method would have in the private sector. As we continue to adapt to the changing environments, we have again made a proactive change to our seminars.For more than 30 years, we have taught the Selective Interview Technique in our Basic Seminars. The Selective Interview can be a useful technique in handling multiple subjects, when evidence is minimal, in narrowing the scope of the investigation. After careful consideration and research, we have removed this technique from the Basic Seminars. While it is a wonderful technique, we looked at the attendees of the Basic Seminar when making this decision. An attendee attending the Basic Seminar would most often not be the person handling the type of case that the Selective Interview is most beneficial as mentioned above. We have found the majority of these investigations are typically conducted by a much more seasoned interviewer, due to the lack of clear evidence of actual wrongdoing.We are excited to move the Selective Interview Technique into the Advanced Private Seminars, where the more seasoned interviewer in more likely to attend. For those of you that want to have your team learn the Selective Interview we will continue to provide more focused training on the Selective Interview through the WZ Webinar Series, on a monthly basis. If this is an area you really want your team to have prior to an Advanced Seminar, we can work on specialized training for your team as another option for this valuable technique.- Sponsor – In order to make the WZ Private Sector Basic Seminar more conducive to the skill level and case loads of those attending, we are adding the Participatory Approach into the seminar. The Participatory Approach is an impactful method in identifying areas of concern regarding policies or crimes that have occurred within an organization. This approach takes the time to interview an individual to identify areas that they might normally use as an excuse for violating the policy or committing a crime. For example, “I did not know the policy” or “My boss said I was allowed to do it” would be removed as excuses from those that truly did know the policy or that it was wrong. This is accomplished by interviewing the subject regarding areas of concern and locking them into knowing the policies or knowing what is right and wrong within the organization. The extra benefit of this technique is it provides operational guidance for future management and training. Should a person be identified as honestly not knowing the policy, the organization then has an opportunity to place an honest employee back to work with the goal of providing more training to help all individuals understand what is expected by the organization.WZ has always been committed to providing the latest techniques to help our partners obtain and learn the latest methods that are useful to train their interviewers for a correct resolution of a situation. The latest changes in the 2016 seminars continues this practice and we believe you will see a great benefit to these changes. Should you have any questions regarding these changes, feel free to reach out to one of the Senior Partners here at WZ. Shane, Dave and I are always here to help our partners in achieving the best for you and the industry. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Video: Robots adapt to injury

first_imgWhen a robot breaks a limb, it is typically left completely helpless, unable to overcome its disability. But in the video above, robots are doing something they’ve never done before—choosing the best way to walk after an injury. To perform this feat, the six-footed robots rely on a previously generated map of 13,000 different combinations of leg movement that produce a predicted outcome. In the course of generating this map, the robots “learn” to walk, each developing slightly different solutions from its peers: Some determine that it’s best to walk on all six legs, whereas others prefer just three, four, or some hybrid. If an injury ruins the robot’s gait, the machine goes back through its catalog and tests other behaviors that generated efficient movement prior to the injury—perhaps walking with four legs instead of six, for example. Then, feedback from its trial is used to refine additional searches for walking strategies. A robot with a damaged front right leg might quickly be able to determine that strategies that relied heavily on that appendage aren’t going to be successful, even though it doesn’t “know” which leg is malfunctioning. The new research, published online today in Nature, is different from other previously attempted robot fixes because it does not require a programmer to envision every way the robot could fail and write instructions for each case; the robots come to their own conclusions independently. The new algorithm could also let “healthy” robots overcome new obstacles, like walking on new kinds of terrain. The bots could try different strategies, analyze the feedback, and choose a new best tactic. The researchers note that much of the technique’s power relies on having the large pool of strategies to pull from, but the algorithm is still widely useful—it has already been used with the robotic arm seen in the video, for example, and the researchers think it will be applicable to many other systems in the future. The algorithm could help keep future planetary rovers or deep-sea probes operating longer even if they take some damage.last_img read more

Photo: A Pig Was Auctioned Off At Halftime Of Tonight’s South Dakota State University Basketball Game

first_imgPig auctioned off during SDSU game.South Dakota State is hosting the University of Denver tonight, a pretty innocuous match-up in the world of Division I men’s college basketball. In fact, the most noteworthy part of this game occurred at halftime, when a pig was auctioned off on the court.Yes, a live pig. Here is the photo to prove it.Halftime entertainment here in Brookings they are auctioning off a pig.— Denver Men’s Hoops (@DU_MHoops) January 31, 2015What might be more amazing than the fact a pig was auctioned off at halftime? The fact someone paid over two thousand dollars for it during said auction.I believe the winning bid was $2,250 for the pig— Denver Men’s Hoops (@DU_MHoops) January 31, 2015Strange happenings indeed.last_img

Videos: Kyrie Irving Pulls Off An Absurd Behind-The-Back Crossover, Blows By Defender For The Layup

first_imgKyrie Irving smiling in his Cleveland Cavaliers uniform.CLEVELAND, OH – MARCH 25: Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers pauses on the court during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena on March 25, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)LeBron James is the unquestioned leader of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but point guard Kyrie Irving can make a highlight with the best of them. During tonight’s Eastern Conference Finals game against the Toronto Raptors, the former Duke star pulled one of the nastiest moves you’ll see on a basketball court to blow by Cory Joseph for an easy layup.Kyrie Irving electric handles.— RealGM (@RealGM) May 18, 2016Baseline view of Kyrie Irving with the behind the back crossover.— RealGM (@RealGM) May 18, 2016The former Duke star has a game-high 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting. His Cavs lead the Raptors 66-44 at halftime.last_img read more

Four stories in the news for today June 9

first_imgFour stories in the news for Friday, June 9———AMERICAN TREASURY SECRETARY VISITS OTTAWAU.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will discuss trade, taxes and infrastructure when he meets in Ottawa with Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Mnuchin will also meet with other cabinet ministers and government officials during his trip to Canada. Mnuchin has already met with Morneau several times since being sworn in.———TRUDEAU EXTENDS TERMS OF PARLIAMENTARY WATCHDOGSPrime Minister Justin Trudeau has extended the terms of ethics commissioner Mary Dawson and lobbying commissioner Karen Shepherd. It’s the third time Trudeau has extended their time in the jobs. It comes in the wake of Trudeau’s failed nomination of former Ontario cabinet minister Madeleine Meilleur as languages comissioner, which drew protests from the opposition.———EXPERT TO CONTINUE TESTIMONY AT B.C. TERROR TRIALAn expert in Islamist-inspired terrorism is expected to continue his testimony today at the trial of a British Columbia man accused of posting terrorist propaganda online. Othman Hamdan of Fort St. John has pleaded not guilty to encouraging the commission of murder, assault and mischief, all for terrorist purposes. He has also entered a not guilty plea to inducing and instructing someone to carry out a terrorist act.———COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN IN FORT MCMURRY FIRE: REPORTA report into the Fort McMurray wildfire cites critical communications breakdowns as the fire swept into the municipality and forced thousands to flee. Independent consultants that produced the report for the province noted that in the early days of the fire in May 2016, the two crews battling the blazes were operating through different command centres. Communication broke down when one crew chief realized the fire would enter Fort McMurray, but failed to inform crews in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson says the province has already begun working to ensure a unified communications structure for future disasters.last_img read more