Google's European conundrum: When does privacy mean censorship?

How Google and other American Internet companies operate in Europe could come down to a link that, depending on what side of the Atlantic Ocean you're on, should or should not be deleted.

A case heard Tuesday before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) hinges on a complaint submitted by a Spanish citizen who searched Google for his name and found a news article from several years earlier, saying his property would be auctioned because of failed payments to his social security contributions.

Spanish authorities argued that Google, other search engines, and other Web companies operating in Spain should … Read more

Biometric USB password key worthy of 'Mission: Impossible'

I hate to use the term "sexy" to describe a gadget, but if the myIDkey isn't "sexy," at least it's "damn fine." It takes the concept of a USB drive that protects all your passwords and does it up right with voice-activated search, biometric fingerprint identification, and Bluetooth.

Making a USB password protection device sound exciting? That's pretty hot.

I'm not the only person who thinks myIDkey is worth a look. It just launched its Kickstarter project and already has pulled in more than $87,000 (and rising fast) toward its $150,000 goal. A $99 pledge gets you a myIDkey with two different protective sleeves.… Read more

WhatsApp privacy practices under scrutiny

One of the world's most popular cross-platform applications "violates" international privacy laws, according to the Canadian and Dutch data protection authorities, because it requires users to provide their entire contact list to the service.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Dutch Data Protection Authority today announced their findings for what they called a "collaborative investigation into the handling of personal information" by the California-based company.

WhatsApp, an instant messenger application for iPhone, Android devices, and BlackBerry smartphones, provides a free service to rival text messaging, and sends more than 1 billion … Read more

Senator disputes Aaron Swartz's SOPA, Protect IP role

Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, is taking issue with a description of how a discussion with one of his aides led the late Aaron Swartz to campaign against Hollywood-backed copyright bills.

At an event in San Francisco last weekend, Peter Eckersley, Swartz's former roommate and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's technology projects director, told an audience that the late activist created the advocacy group Demand Progress after a fruitless meeting with one of Leahy's aides.

Aaron Cooper, who works for Leahy -- the author of the Protect IP Act -- as the chief intellectual property … Read more

How Aaron Swartz helped to defeat Hollywood on SOPA

SAN FRANCISCO -- A fruitless Capitol Hill meeting to discuss digital copyright legislation prompted the late activist Aaron Swartz to launch the Demand Progress advocacy group, his former roommate said at a gathering here last weekend.

Swartz was so frustrated with congressional willingness to break the Internet on Hollywood's behalf that he created a group to channel online outrage into political activism, said Peter Eckersley, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's technology projects director.

Eckersley said Swartz had met with Aaron Cooper, who works for Protect IP author Patrick Leahy as the chief intellectual property counsel for the Senate Judiciary … Read more

New bill asks companies to notify EU of security breaches

Proposed legislation in the European Union would force tech companies that have access to user data -- such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft -- to report any security breaches to local cybersecurity agencies, the Financial Times reported today.

This is the European Commission's effort to make private companies accountable for privacy and security problems, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes told the Financial Times.

If passed, the measure would require each of the EU's 27 member states to set up local cybersecurity agencies to implement security standards on online networks. Social networks, e-commerce companies, and large online platforms … Read more

After a year in the grave, can SOPA and Protect IP return?

It was one year ago today that an unprecedented outcry against the Stop Online Piracy Act proved to Washington officialdom that sufficiently irritated Internet users are a potent political force. After Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist and other major sites asked their users to contact their representatives, the deluge of traffic knocked some Senate Web sites offline, and votes on both bills were indefinitely postponed.

The massive public outcry that, by some counts, involved more than 10 million Internet users concerned about the proposals' impact on free expression has turned the protests into a cautionary tale on Capitol Hill. Aides now worry … Read more

Microsoft challenges poor grade for Security Essentials

Microsoft isn't too happy with the results of a recent test that found fault with its antivirus software.

For the second time in a row, the company's Security Essentials failed to win certification from AV-Test, a German-based testing lab that evaluates the efficacy of antivirus products. Out of 25 programs tested, only three failed to gain AV-Test's thumb's up for certification.

Microsoft's Forefront Endpoint Protection, which is geared toward corporate customers, also failed to gain certification.

Microsoft responded to the test via a blog posted yesterday, challenging its findings.

"Our review showed that 0.… Read more

I took a power drill to an iPhone at CES

LAS VEGAS--I love power tools. I also love smartphones. Finally, my two passions came together on the show floor of CES 2013. Amzer makes the ShatterProof line of screen protectors for electronic devices. They invited me over to go nuts on an iPhone protected with this thin urethane film.

The available objects of destruction were a power drill and sander. There would have been a hammer, but it had been stolen from the booth. I felt like I was building a set of cabinets rather than testing out a tech item.

Shatterproof is .2 millimeter thick and sticks on with the help of an included wedge. It has already been through a battery of ASTM tests to prove its tear strength and hardness. Now, it was my turn.… Read more

Six states outlaw employer snooping on Facebook

Six states have officially made it illegal for employers to ask their workers for passwords to their social media accounts. As of 2013, California and Illinois have joined the ranks of Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware in passing state laws against the practice, according to Wired.

With Congress not being able to come to agreement on the Password Protection Act of 2012, individual states have taken the law into their own hands. Both California and Illinois agreed on password protection laws in 2012, but the laws didn't go into effect until yesterday.

The laws are designed to prohibit … Read more