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Europe has fined Google $5 billion

Google is not alone. Europe has been taking on tech companies for decades

  • Google has been fined a record $5 billion by the European competition watchdog for abusing the dominance of its mobile operating system Android.

LONDON (CNNMoney) — Europe has a long history of putting Big Tech under a microscope.

The latest example came Wednesday, when the European Commission imposed a record €4.34 billion ($5 billion) fine on Google for abusing the dominant market position of its Android smartphone operating system.

The European Union has emerged as a tech battleground because it has developed and applied tough rules on data protection, hate speech, taxation and competition issues.

“When you are a dominant company in Europe, you are subjected to more scrutiny and responsibility,” said Nicolas Petit, a professor at the University of Liege and visiting fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

As Sundar Pichai said –

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Android has created more choice, not less


If you buy an Android phone, you’re choosing one of the world’s two most popular mobile platforms—one that has expanded the choice of phones available around the world.

Today, the European Commission issued a competition decision against Android, and its business model. The decision ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones, something that 89 percent of respondents to the Commission’s own market survey confirmed. It also misses just how much choice Android provides to thousands of phone makers and mobile network operators who build and sell Android devices; to millions of app developers around the world who have built their businesses with Android; and billions of consumers who can now afford and use cutting-edge Android smartphones.

Today, because of Android, there are more than 24,000 devices, at every price point, from more than 1,300 different brands, including Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish phone makers.

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Microsoft and Whatsapp Planning for a New Project

Whatsapp working for Microsoft in new Project

Whatsapp might be working on a REAL windows app ahead of the Surface Phone. They may be working together on a new UWP app for Windows 10 as well.

Facebook-owned messaging service Whats-App is reportedly working with Microsoft to deliver a proper desktop app. Whats-App is one of the few developers that consistently delivered updates to its Windows Phone app, but a report by Windows Central suggests WhatsApp is actually getting ready to deliver a proper desktop app as well,

WhatsApp for Windows Phone is one of the few apps on Windows 10 Mobile today that continues to receive frequent updates from its developer. Unfortunately, the app itself is one based on Silverlight, which is what apps built for Windows Phone 8.1 used back in 2014. This means the app isn’t a Universal Windows Platform app (UWP,) and as such doesn’t run across all the different Windows 10 platforms and devices available today. said by Windows’s Central.

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It sounds like Microsoft and Whats-App are working closely together in updating WhatsApp for the Universal Windows Platform, which will enable it to run across different Windows 10 devices universally. WhatsApp does already have an app for the desktop, but it’s basically just a port of the company’s web app. While the web app is pretty functional, it misses out on important features like voice and video calling. This UWP project, on the other hand, clearly shows buttons necessary for calls. It also just looks a lot nicer.

 

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Facebook is tracking your browsing activities

facebook data leak

Facebook personal data leak issue

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Facebook of tracking users’ web browsing activity even after they logged out of the social networking site.

Clicking on the Facebook “like” button on a third party website allows people to share pieces of content to Facebook without having to copy and paste the link into a status update on the social network.

When a user visits a page with an embedded “like” button, the web browser sends information to both Facebook and the server where the page is located.

Australian internet security blogger Nik Cubrilovic first discovered that Facebook was apparently tracking users’ web browsing after they logged off in 2011. Responding to Cubrilovic, Facebook engineer Gregg Stefancik confirmed that Facebook has cookies that persist after log-out as a safety measure (to prevent others from trying to access the account) but that the company does not use the cookies to track users or sell personal information to third parties.

However, in 2014 Facebook started using web browsing data for delivering targeted “interest-based” advertising – which explains why you see ads for products you have already been looking at online appear in your Facebook feed.


facebook tracking users browsing activities

Whenever you’re on Facebook, do you ever get the feeling that you’re being watched? An ad pops up that’s right up your alley, or three new articles show up in your feed that are similar to something you’ve just clicked on.

Sometimes it seems like Facebook knows you personally, and that’s because it does. It has algorithms that track what you like, watch and click on. Facebook uses this information to target ads to users on behalf of advertisers.

Facebook itself isn’t the only culprit. Tons of companies use Facebook’s platform as a way to track you. In fact, right now there a probably dozens of companies that are watching your posts, storing your profile information and more, without you even realizing it. Today, I’m going to tell you how to stop it.

How did this happen in the first place?

When Facebook first started out, people rushed to the platform because of the many perks that it offered. One of those perks, and probably the most appealing, was the fact that Facebook was entirely ad-free. You could use the platform to connect with family and friends without being bothered by someone trying to sell you something.

Well, like they say, “All good things must come to an end.”  Eventually, Facebook began selling ads like everyone else. And that’s when everything changed.

People realised that Facebook provided a treasure trove of information for advertisers. By clicking “like” users were telling companies exactly what they wanted — more of this, less of that, please. This led to the big data tracking we now see.

Three sneaky ways companies are tracking you:

Most people understand that Facebook is tracking their preferences whenever they use the app. But, few realize they’re being tracked in other ways too. And, that’s what these third-party companies are banking on. If you don’t know you’re being tracked, then you won’t ask them to stop. So, here are three things to watch out for.

Few days ago Apple provides an update for Safari browser to protect personal data from facebook

Facebook apps:

This is when you receive a request to play a Facebook game your friends are obsessed with, and you decide to sign up. If you’ve ever done this before, then you’ve allowed that app developer track you. These third-party apps integrate with your Facebook profile and can ask Facebook for permission to pull various personal data, from your work history to timeline posts. And although you can edit what information they can access, very few people do.

Facebook logins: 

This is when you visit a site and it says “Log in with Facebook,” and you do, then you’re letting that company track you.

Friends’ apps monitoring you:

Even if you didn’t download an app,  your Facebook settings may allow apps your friends have installed to also see YOU. It’s pretty scary.

You might be wondering why this even matters, and how it really impacts you personally. The easiest way to answer those questions is to point out all of those big data breaches you hear about almost daily. Hackers rarely waste time on individuals these days. They’ve got much bigger fish to fry. Large retailers, for example – or the databases where these third-party companies store the information they’ve gathered. That’s why everyone should take these steps to protect their private information.

Review and edit installed apps: To see what apps you’ve installed over the years, open Facebook in your browser, click the down arrow in the upper right corner and select “Settings.” Then click on the “Apps” header in the left column.

Here you can find your listed apps in facebook

To see what information an app is accessing, click the pencil icon next to any of the apps to see and edit the settings. The first setting lets you set who can see that you use the app. It defaults to “Only Me,” so it isn’t a big deal. Below it, however, is another story.

In the case of Skype, for example, it pulls your public profile information along with your list of friends, email address, birthday and hometown.

Remember that this information is being stored on a third-party server. Not every app developer is going to have Microsoft-level security, and hackers are good at turning tiny pieces of stolen information into big gains.

If you want to keep using the app, you can deselect certain items, such as your email address. Be aware that won’t remove the information from the app developer’s servers, however. If you change your email address in the future, however, the developer won’t get the new one.

Remove apps you don’t use: If you don’t want to use the app anymore, you can click the “Remove app” link at the bottom of the page. Just remember that this won’t automatically remove your information from the app developer’s servers. For that you’ll need to contact the app developer directly. FB has a link for more information on this under the “Remove info collected by the app” section in the app’s settings.

Turn off apps completely: If you’ve deleted all the apps, and you’re not keen on accidentally installing more in the future, you can turn off the app platform completely. Just note you won’t be able to install apps or log in to third-party sites using FB until you turn this back on.

To turn off the app platform, go back to the App Settings page. Under “Apps, Websites and Plugins,” click the “Edit” button. At first, this just looks like a way to disable app notifications and invites from other people, which is a big help on its own. However, you’ll want to click the “Disable Platform” link in the bottom left corner.

Facebook gives you the standard warning about what disabling the platform does. If you’re OK with it, click the “Disable Platform” button. Again, this won’t remove information that app developers might have collected about you already.

Stop logging into sites using Facebook: In the future, when you’re adding an app or logging into a website try to avoid logging in with FB. But, if you must use FB to log in, then look for the “Log in Anonymously” or “Guest” option so it won’t share your information.

Stop friends’ apps from seeing your info: Apps can still get your information through your friends. As your friends install apps, those apps can request permission to get info about you.

To put a stop to this, go back to the App Settings page. Then under “Apps Others Use” click the “Edit” button.

You’ll see everything that your friends’ apps can see about you. Go through and uncheck every option listed on the page, and then click “Save.” Now companies can’t track new information about you.

 

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Microsoft has acquired GitHub for $7.5B in stock

After a week of rumours, Microsoft  today confirmed that it has acquired GitHub,  the popular Git-based code sharing and collaboration service. The price of the acquisition was $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. GitHub raised $350 million and we know that the company was valued at about $2 billion in 2015.

 

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Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “We recognize the community responsibility we take on with this agreement and will do our best work to empower every developer to build, innovate and solve the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. Subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Nat Friedman, founder of Xamarin and an open source veteran, will assume the role of GitHub CEO. GitHub’s current CEO, Chris Wanstrath, will become a Microsoft technical fellow, reporting to Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie, to work on strategic software initiatives.

Microsoft is acquiring GitHub because it’s a perfect fit for its own ambitions to be the go-to platform for every developer, and every developer need, no matter the platform.

 

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