Archive for the Google Category

NSA, GSHQ use Angry Birds, Google Maps apps to collect user data: report [Xinhua]

Posted in Google, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, U.K., US Government Cover-up, USA on January 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

I can’t bear to include White House spokesliar Jay Carney’s response, check it out yourself if you want a laugh. — Zuo Shou

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — U.S. and British spy agencies are tapping popular smartphone apps such as Angry Birds and Google Maps to collect users’ personal information including location, age, sex and even sexual orientation, the New York Times reported Monday.

Citing previously undisclosed classified documents provided by former U.S. defense contractor Edward Snowden, the report said the National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), were working together on how to collect and store data from “leaky” smartphone apps by 2007.

The agencies have traded methods for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs and the geographic data embedded in photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services, said the newspaper.

Although the scale and the specifics of the data haul are not clear, the agencies routinely obtain information from certain apps, particularly some of those introduced earliest to cellphones, and also have a similar capability for some newer apps, including Angry Birds, the paper added.

Angry Birds, created by Rovio Entertainment of Finland, has been downloaded more than a billion times. The company drew public criticism in 2012 when researchers claimed that the app was tracking users’ locations and gathering other data and passing it to mobile ad companies.

Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, told British newspaper The Guardian that it had no knowledge of any NSA or GCHQ programs looking to extract data from its apps users.

“Rovio doesn’t have any previous knowledge of this matter, and has not been aware of such activity in third party advertising networks,” said Saara Bergstrom, Rovio’s VP of marketing and communications. “Nor do we have any involvement with the organizations you mentioned (NSA and GCHQ).”

Some personal data could be particularly sensitive, and a secret 2012 British intelligence document said spies can scrub smartphone apps that contain details like a user’s “political alignment” and sexual orientation, according to the New York Times report.

Both NSA and GCHQ displayed a particular interest in Google Maps, which is accurate to within a few yards or better in some locations.

The agencies collected so much data from the app that “you’ll be able to clone Google’s database” of global searches for directions, a 2007 NSA report was quoted as saying, while a 2008 GCHQ [sic] said “it effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system…”

Full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2014-01/28/c_133078901.htm

Advertisements

NSA taps in to user data of Facebook, Apple, Google and others, secret files reveal [Guardian]

Posted in Google, NSA, Police State on June 7, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

• Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple

• Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007

by Glenn Greenwald & Ewan MacAskill

7 June 2013

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian…

Full article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data?INTCMP=SRCH

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

Smartphones: The Tracking and Surveillance of Millions of Americans – Apple / Google / Microsoft, Big Brother Privatized [Antifascist Calling / Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, FBI, Google, Iraq, Israel, Labor, NSA, US Government Cover-up, USA on May 24, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

May 2, 2011

by Tom Burghardt

As Smartphone Scandal Grows, Tech Firms Run for Cover, Reap Windfall Profits

Recent revelations that Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating systems collect, store and transmit records of users’ physical locations to central databases–secretly, and without consent–have ignited a firestorm over Americans’ privacy rights in an age of hypersurveillance.

And with a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Florida by two iPhone users, The Register reports, Apple guru Steve Jobs was forced to respond to complaints after the firm’s usual tactic–deafening silence–failed to assuage customer’s anxieties.

The lawsuit alleges that “irreparable injury has resulted and continues to result from Apple’s unauthorized tracking of millions of Americans,” plaintiffs Vikram Ajjampur and William Devito averred.  They are requesting their case be granted class-action status, a move likely to send shudders along the silicon spine of the secretive Cupertino high-tech powerhouse.

In response to the outcry, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple “is scaling back how much information its iPhones store about where they have been and said it will stop collecting such data when consumers request it, as the company tries to quell concerns it was tracking iPhone owners.”

But as journalists Yukari Iwatani Kane and Jennifer Valentino-Devries point out, “a week of silence on the growing controversy, raised new questions and criticism about its data-handling practices.”

The ecumenical nature of the smartphone spying scandal tapped another firm, beloved by Wall Street grifters and national security mavens alike, on the shoulders last week.

The Detroit News reported that two “Oakland County women have filed a $50 million class-action lawsuit against Google Inc. to stop the company from selling phones with Android software that can track a user’s location.” Continue reading

Facebook paid PR firm to smear Google – Free press fiasco exposes unethical journalistic “black ops” [Guardian]

Posted in Google, Media smear campaign on May 13, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

What no journalist is pointing out, is how many of these professional PR smear campaigns slip through to the public and hardly anybody notices?  Every US/NATO war of aggression relies heavily on false PR.  –  Zuo Shou 左手

– Leaked emails reveal [PR agency] Burson-Marsteller attempted to get USA Today and other titles to write about Google’s privacy policies –

by Josh Halliday

May 12, 2011

-Excerpt-

Facebook has been caught secretly paying a top public relations firm to plant negative stories about Google in the US media.

Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s largest PR firms, attempted to get USA Today, the Washington Post and other high profile US news outlets to write scaremongering stories about Google’s privacy policies.

The explosive revelation – which will seriously damage relations between the two technology giants, already bitter rivals – came to light in leaked emails late on Wednesday.  Facebook later confirmed to the Daily Beast that it had hired Burson-Marsteller.

Paul Cordasco, a spokesman for Burson-Marsteller, told the Guardian on Thursday that the assignment was “not at all standard operating procedure” and was against the company’s policies.  He added:  “The assignment on those terms should have been declined.”

Cordasco confirmed to the Guardian that “the assignment” was now terminated and that Burson-Marsteller was no longer working with the social network.  Facebook declined to comment when contacted by the Guardian.

Suspicions in Silicon Valley were aroused earlier this week when two high-profile media figures – former CNBC tech reporter Jim Goldman, and John Mercurio, a former political reporter – began pitching anti-Google stories on behalf of their new employer, Burson-Marsteller. The pair consistently refused to disclose the identity of their client.

Goldman and Mercurio approached USA Today and other outlets offering to ghost write op-ed columns and other stories that raised privacy concerns about Google Social Circle, a social network feature based on Gmail…

Edited by Zuo Shou左手

Full article link here

Google to lose most important Chinese partner: Sina [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Google, vs. Google on April 4, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 30, 2011

Since Google’s public exit from mainland China last year, its cooperative partners have left it one-by-one, now a reliable resource has revealed that Sina, one of its most important partners, decided on March 29 to ditch Google’s search engine, according to Beijing Commercial.

Now, Google has to worry about a gloomier future in China since its market share has been dropping in the world’s second biggest economy.

As of now, the search engine service provided by Google has already been replaced by Sina’s own search engine. A Sina official said the cooperative contract between Sina and Google will expire at the end of March.

In the middle of last year, Cao Guowei, the CEO of Sina, made it clear that the two giants would go separate ways when he announced his company had formed a team to develop a search engine to replace Google, and the company would be ready to change service providers at any time.

So far, Google refused to give any comments on this occasion. However, its spokesperson Jennie Johnson emphasized that "While we can’t comment on specific partnerships, we announced last year that over time we would not be syndicating censored search to partners in China after fulfilling our contractual commitments."

On March 23 of last year, Google announced its withdrawal from the Chinese mainland and moved its server to Hong Kong.  Over the course of the whole year, there seemed to be no end to Google’s troubles.

Although Google stressed many times that it would never give up the Chinese market, its market share revenue has slipped to lowest point, from which Baidu, its main opponent in China, benefited a lot and maintained its competitive advantage over Google. Continue reading

Google blatantly lies, and the Associated Press spreads the lie. Gmail is NOT blocked in China [Sweet & Sour Socialism Special Report]

Posted in Black propaganda, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, Google, Intenet control policy / "Great Firewall", Media smear campaign, Obama, Sweet & Sour Socialism Special Report, vs. Google, Western nations' human rights distortions on March 21, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 21, 2011

by Zuo Shou 左手

One of the most shocking things about living in China is seeing exactly to what extent capitalist media will distort and outright lie about Chinese situations.  Apparently they count on the fact that most of the audience is ignorant or bigoted about China, and will lap up any anti-communist hogwash the hacks can ladle out, no matter how ridiculous.  One can only speculate on why they constantly do this, and expose their mendacity as much as possible.

With that intro, just a quick message to let folks know that I’ve seen a few articles in the last 24 hours alleging that the Chinese government is going on an alleged anti-Google rampage.

Google is known for crying wolf against the Chinese government before; they’re doing it again, worse than before.

What’s Google’s smear now?  I don’t like to link to garbage, but here’s a headline from the Huffington Post:  “Gmail In China Being Blocked By Government, Says Google”, a reprinted AP article by one Tini Tran.

The bizarre article only relays a claim from Google; in fact there’s no independent investigation whatsoever by the reporter.  The sole voices in the article are Google and the reporter, not one netizen of any nationality is quoted.  The photo to the article is a seemingly random Gmail page, which proves nothing about anything.  More than anything else, the article is simply a unverified Google press release, collaboratively re-written under the AP imprimatur.

This netizen and blogger is here to attest that GOOGLE IS LYING.  AP IS SLANDERING and also lying (about other matters in China in both this article and every other one I’ve seen from them lately – but that’s another story).

I live in China, and have for over six years.  I use Gmail every day, which means regularly receiving and sending emails.  Gmail is not blocked and never has been in all the time I’ve used it here.  It’s open in another tab as I write this.  Internet commenters on the AP story in other parts of China are verifying that “Gmail is fine here”.  I haven’t seen a single commenter confirm Google’s outrageous falsehood.

Google’s dirty China-bashing, coming from a deeply embedded position in the Obama regime, has been exposed by Ben Chalmes at the Sinomania! site:  “GOOGLE HIJACKS US CHINA POLICY”   –  which is must-read to get a clue of what Google has up its sleeve.  I’ll post that article here when I have time.

In the meantime maintain wary skepticism about anything Google claims regarding its operations in the Chinese environment.  Also pay attention to how AP’s stance is to chronically demonize the Chinese government through innuendo and evidence-less claims, portraying it in the most negative light possible while habitually denying it a platform to rebut accusations.

=End=

Alibaba scandal may help rivals’ business [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Google, Pakistan, Vietnam on March 5, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 1, 2011

Alibaba.com Ltd, owner of China’s largest online-commerce site, has been the go-to marketplace for Western companies seeking gaskets, garden gnomes and gelatin.  Disclosures that its salespeople helped defraud buyers may send business to rivals Google Inc and Global Sources Ltd.

Since Alibaba announced the scam on Feb 21, its chief executive officer and chief operating officer have resigned, and the company has lost about $1 billion in market value.  The flagship of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which counts Yahoo Inc as its biggest shareholder, also may struggle to sign up new clients, analysts said.

"This will hurt the company’s reputation and its ability to attract global buyers," said Paul Wuh, head of Internet research at Samsung Securities Co Ltd in Hong Kong.  "This could be positive for its competitors."

Alibaba.com shares have fallen 14 percent in Hong Kong trading since the announcement, and three analysts downgraded their recommendations from buy to hold. Wuh, the top Alibaba analyst over the past year, according to Bloomberg Absolute Return Rank, maintained his sell recommendation.

The scandal hasn’t changed Alibaba’s prospects, said John Spelich, the company’s Hong Kong-based spokesman. Continue reading