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Google Asks Government To Keep Its Hands Off From Journalism (GOOG)

Google has recently mentioned in their published article, proposed by FTC, to prevent harm to Journalism. Google in their message stated that business problems can be reduced through solutions in business only.

According to the FTC document, the controversy is specifically in print media and it stated further that there is no sure case where there will be innovation of new online business models, which can help in original journalism. It is further highlighted that there are multiple processing solutions for the policy.

Multiple Processing Solutions

  • Decreasing the quantity of search engines and gathering the fair use of rights for the media content.
  • Making an anti-trust exemption that enables the newspaper to build pay wall cartels. It may charge aggregators and search engines, which inherits their content.

Google informed that releasing of these proposals will not meet consumer satisfaction. Moreover, Google refuses the underlying premise in a way that the journalism will not be able to withstand without the Government support. The data proves that publishers are not yet involved in exploring their ability to fascinate users and keep them busy with some online benefits.

It is obvious that Google has tremendous financial margins for restricting any new aspect of online news and media capturing. If there is strong point that goes in favor of government associated Journalism, we are yet to come across it.

Google Journalism

Google, in their official blog stated that they accept Internet as a good medium to accept new challenges and create new opportunities for many publishers. Google sincerely maintains this approach with publishers for getting business solutions in the manner that Journalism can spread and grown vigorously through online networks. They are positive and sure about the industry’s future growth and news. The company does not want to accept multiple policy acceptances in the staff discussion draft. This will create hindrance to one’s free expression of their own views and ideas. It may also change their professional methods.

The company positively accepts the FTC’s engagement with this issue and their continuous support to provide focus on how the news publishers can go ahead with high amount of success in the digital world. The company is supposed has come up with the idea that their comments will lead to growth and the policy makers will provide efficient modification and creativity, rather than obstacles for the protectionist.

The main reason that the newspapers are suffering from this problem is very similar to that of the record companies seen in earlier years when the iTunes provided avenues for error detection.

A knowledgeable person in web marketing can easily earn good money if they could get original content. Ultimately, the newspapers are also in same position, but they don’t get the assets because they are not yet accustomed with changes in payment for the contents of the news line articles.

Google made a clear outline that journalism can only explore and grow if they get the help from Government. It may be in terms of financial support or promoting the publishers in their areas by providing the desired and required materials without any obstacles.

Its FTC Vs. DoJ for Google’s ITA Buyout

Google’s purchase of ITA, which is one of the biggest online travel companies is under the scrutiny of the government. But the decision as to which of the agency whether the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice will dig into the issue is still under the covers.

The ITA software technology is widely used as a leading flight information application to find airlines, flight availability and airlines schedules. Google has made a much profitable buyout by buying the ITA software for about $700m. But the buyout is in holding pattern until it is reviewed either by the Federal Trade Commission or maybe the Department of Justice. It is to be known that Microsoft Bing which is a major competitor of Google and other online travel web sites like Hotwire, Orbitz and Kayak are the major customers of ITA. Keeping this in mind, there has to be a closer look into the matter before the buyout gets a green signal.

Many players in the online travel space have shown concern over the Google-ITA deal. While many of them are of the view that Google has always had an upper hand as a search engine and when you couple it with ITA, it raises a concern for many. Google being  a major search engine and ITA being a big player in the online travel industry, they together get a huge leverage over the data as well as the prices of the travel industry.

According to the statements from Google, nothing will change for those associated with ITA. Google is not into ‘selling tickets’. It only plans to offer a better flight search and comparison tool for the consumers. Google strongly stated during the acquisition announcement of ITA that it will honor all the agreements of ITA that exist presently and also work towards adding new partners. But acquisitions always come with a huge risk factor for customers. Although Google claims to offer a better flight search tool with ITA, but Google aims at creating better travel products.

If Google gets a breakthrough in creating a better and easy search option for the travel arena, it will probably look forward for newer partners rather than serving the existing ones. Google has done this previously with other buyouts too. For instance, Google bought JotSpot and when it shuttered its services, the customers were left hanging in the middle. Another recent example was when Google discontinued its support for Flix.

So, just wait and watch to see whether the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice digs in to get something fishy in the deal of Google and ITA.

Settlement Over Privacy Breaches Between Twitter and FTC

Twitter has arranged the settlement regarding the Federal Trade Commission charges about the said site. The privacy of users is placed at risk because of the lack of security with users’ personal information.

One of the biggest social networking sites, Twitter, will soon be establishing a security program. This security program will be evaluated by another company. The Federal Trade Commission news release has stated that Twitter “will end up being barred for nearly twenty years from misleading its consumers about the extent to which it retains and protects the security, privacy as well as the confidentiality of nonpublic consumer information.”

In order to prevent this, Twitter is required to establish and maintain a strong information and security program. But to ensure maximum security of the privacy program, this will be evaluated by an independent professional auditor every other year for the length of 10 years.

The Federal Trade Commission fights for the rights of every user to keep any personal information secured and private. But users can still share chosen information on social networking sites such as that of Twitter. This statement is according to the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, David Vladeck.

Security Breaches

Security breaches have occurred twice in January and April 2009. According to the FTC, a hacker made use of an application that guesses passwords in order to control of the admin. The password was said to be in lowercase and is such a common word. The hacker then changed many passwords and posted them on other sites.

With the use of the hacker’s new passwords, many other people have gained unauthorized access to 9 users of Twitter. These people were able to send fake tweets. And the worse thing about this issue is the use of President Barack Obama’s account. The fake tweet from the president stated that people can win $500 of free gasoline. The culprit was a 23-year-old French hacker.

For the second security breach, another hacker used a Twitter employee’s personal e-mail after miraculously getting the password. A password was found in plain test and has been used to reset other passwords of Twitter users. This hacker also manipulated nonpublic user information and tweets.

Steps to Prevent the Recurrence of the Problem

According to the complaint, Twitter has failed to protect the personal and private information regarding the users. In order to prevent this from happening again, some step should be followed and these are the following:

•    Administrative passwords should be hard-to-guess and should not be used for any other program, site or network.
•    The administrative password access should be disabled when the attempts of entering the correct password failed.
•    Administrative passwords should expire every 90 days.

Twitter’s Response

According to Alexander Macgillivray, the Twitter’s general counsel, the unwanted breaches happened a long time ago when they only have 50 employees. Twitter has already fixed the security problems and the affected user was notified as soon as possible during the January hacking incident. With regards to the April incident, the hacker’s administrative access was removed in less than 18 minutes. The general counsel explained that even before the FTC’s complaint arrived, they have implemented certain security actions for Twitter.

FTC Has Cleared Twitter For The Incident Of Obama Hacking

It has been announced by the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday that seven of the security vulnerabilities had been addressed by Twitter which had allowed the hackers to gain access to many of the accounts during the previous year. The accounts to which hackers got access also included that of then-candidate Barack Obama. The agreement has ended the probe which could lead to the fines of almost $16,000 for one infraction, if Twitter would be disobeying the resulting consent order. Along with the security vulnerabilities, it is also claimed by FTC that Twitter has also misled the users with the help of making promises to them that their accounts had been secure when actually they were not. However, all seven of the security vulnerabilities have been shored up by Twitter to the satisfaction of feds and has also said that it had solved most of the problems just after the accounts had been breached during the months of January and April in the year 2009.

David Vladeck’s comment

The director for the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection David Vladeck has said in one statement that when a promise is made by any company with the consumers that it would be securing their personal information then it must live up to that promise. He further said that although the consumers using the social networking web sites can share some of their information with other users yet they still have a right that their personal information would be kept private as well as secure.

The decision is most likely to be finalized as a consent order after a pro forma period of 30 days for the public comment.

Problems with Twitter accounts

During the month of January in 2009, a hacker was able to guess the administrative password which was all in lowercase which was actually a word. With the help of this password he could gain access to many of the accounts of Twitter which also included that of Barack Obama. The passwords of those accounts were reset by him and also posted some of the new passwords over online. Nine accounts, out of all those hacked accounts, were used for sending the messages. For example, the Twitter followers of Barack Obama had received an offer for an amount of $500 for free gasoline. According to FTC, the account of Fox News was also used for sending at least one of the fraudulent messages.

FTC’s comment

It has been said by FTC that some of the changes had to be made by the social network in order to get the clean bill of health security wise. It had to ask the employees for using such administrative passwords that are hard to guess and should not be used for other programs or websites. FTC also prohibited the employees from storing their passwords in the form of the plain text in their email accounts or suspending or disabling their passwords after some reasonable amount of the unsuccessful logins. It also said that period changes to the administrative passwords should be done in order to ensure security.

Apple to be Investigated by FTC

With the intention of harming its competitors in the mobile software market, Apple is illegitimately using its position. In a major report that has been published in the recent journals, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has started a probe against Apple. It will clearly find whether Apple has taken App Store as its weapon to hurt its competitors.

Apple’s Malpratice

Apple has made a sharp twist in its Apple Store Rules. Few of the developer tools which are used to create applications in iPad and iPhone has been prohibited by Apple. Now Google’s AdMob and other dependent mobile ad networks have been blocked from accessing applications on the iPhone. While Apple was asked about this, it has not straight away respond to it. By changing the tools that are being employed to write apps sold in App Store, it seems that this time Adobe is its specific targeter. Now the developers are unable to use other platforms like Novell’s Monotouch and Adobe’s Flash platform.

Developers who are sharing their data with mobile operating system or an advertising service provider other than Apple have been banned by Apple. Admob which is owned by Google is the most high-flying mobile- advertising service provider affected by this. But Google is using Android platform to create a better place in the mobile software market.

Controversial Trends of Apple

This is not the first time that Apple has caused a controversy. It has been functioning always in the path of controversy. It created an iTunes Store monopoly for iPod and iPhone and thus blocked them into iTunes. Apple’s FairPlay DRM System has not been licensed with any other company. Hence it prevents the other manufacturer’s devices to use the contents purchased from iTunes. But competing company’s DRM free music can be heard on Apple devices.

In Europe the customers can purchase goods from any of its state. But Apple is forcing the customers to buy iTunes only. It forced the users in some countries to spend more money by restricting the content purchases to their country. It disables Google Voice Application on iPhone. It has given an explanation that the functionality of iPhone has been altered by Google application. Within two months after the release of iPhone, it reduced its price by $200 and it was criticized by everyone.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which was set up by the Federal Trade Commission Act in 1914 is an self-governing agency of the United States Government. “Consumer Protection” is its motto. It helps to eliminate and prevent harmful business practices that are anti-competitive. FTC is able to achieve this by some merger plans, non-merger plans that may mess up the competition and enforcing antitrust laws. The civil enforcement of antitrust laws is handled by FTC.

When Google purchased AdMob, FTC examined them for several months. Hence being familiar with the mobile ad market, it has now got the job of investigating Apple. Thus FTC investigation is the most up-to-date in a sequence of explorations into Apple’s business practices.

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