Google could soon face big fines over iOS Safari privacy controversy in FTC investigation

In February, the story broke that Google and other advertising companies were bypassing iOS Safari’s privacy settings and continuing to track users without their consent. Google quickly disabled its code responsible for the tracking after a story from The Wall Street Journal published, and Apple then claimed it was “working to put a stop” to the issue.

Now, a new report from Mercury News claimed the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering whether to fine Google over the incident. The decision is expected in the next 30 days:

The Federal Trade Commission is deep into an investigation of Google’s actions in bypassing the default privacy settings of Apple’s (AAPL) Safari browser for Google users, according to sources familiar with ongoing negotiations between the company and the government… Within the next 30 days, the FTC could order the Mountain View search giant to pay an even larger fine in the Safari case than the penalty the Federal Communications Commission hit Google with Friday, say the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The report is referring to Google being recently fined $25,000 by the FCC after it allegedly “deliberately impeded and delayed” an investigation related to Street View cars. The heart of the Safari bypassing investigation is whether the company is violating a previous privacy agreement made with the FTC following controversy over the failed “Buzz” service. The report claimed Google could face up to $16,000 per violation per day for violating the agreement. Google said to Mercury News today it would “cooperate with any officials who have questions” and explained making its +1 compatible on mobile Safari created the issue:

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Hands-on with Aereo: $12 monthly broadcast TV with DVR live-streams in Safari for Mac and iOS

 

Lets talk about Aereo—the service that streams over-the-air local TV to any Mac, iOS device, or PC running Safari for $12 per month.

The decidedly McGyver tech behind this venture relies on fingertip-sized TV antennas in data centers that allow servers to live-stream channels with high-definition reception through a speedy Internet connection. Aereo also works with Apple TV via iTunes’ AirPlay and a source iOS device, and Roku-lovers can use the Aereo channel through set-top boxes. The service even flaunts 40 hours of DVR storage space and an HTML 5 experience. That’s right, no apps—nor cords, cables, and boxes. Hence the startup’s “It’s TV made simple” badge.

Aereo is currently an invite-only 90-day free trial to New York City residents. Oh, and the behind-the-scene gurus verify billing and IP addresses, so there is no fooling Aereo when requesting login credentials.

That’s enough with the basics; now time to spill the juicy details:

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Fluent is a Sparrow-like UI for Gmail making the ‘future of email’

Fluent is a web-based workflow stream that works with existing Gmail accounts to bring a Sparrow-like user interface to email.

Users can stream email threads and replies, preview aggregated attachments in a tab, quickly reply or compose inline, archive messages, and even add a to-do list with the new design concept that claims to run on any web browser.

Sparrow is a great success as a Mac-only application, and now Fluent hopes to balance the playing field and snag users whom are in dire need of a new Gmail look and functionality. Fluent’s website specifically praises its workflow ability, multiple accounts options, and “blazing” fast search-as-you-type filter.

The streaming email UI is the work of three former Googlers who quit the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company. BusinessInsider said Cameron Adams, Dhanji Prasanna, and Jochen Bekmann left because designers were “less valuable” than engineers at Google, and they felt disconnected from Google’s culture while operating from across the world in Sydney, Australia…

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Google and other ad companies have been tricking iOS Safari into accepting ad cookies, regardless of security settings

Internet giant Google found itself in a middle of a potential public relations nightmare following a Wall Street Journal article this morning. Tentatively titled “Google’s iPhone Tracking,” the article asserts that “Google Inc. and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple Inc.’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers” to follow iPhone users even after they explicitly set Safari’s privacy controls to disable such tracking. According to authors Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries, Google used “special computer code that tricks Apple’s Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users.” Google apparently disabled the problematic code after the newspaper contacted the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company.

Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer discovered that although mobile Safari’s default setting blocks cookies from third parties and advertisers, Google and advertising companies Media Innovation Group, Vibrant Media, and Gannett PointRoll fooled mobile Safari into thinking “a person was submitting an invisible form to Google,” letting them in turn install a tracking cookie on users’ iPhones and PCs without consent.

Once a cookie installed, a Safari glitch allowed subsequent cookies to attach. Both Google and Apple issued statements following this morning’s report…

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Mac OS 10.7.3 released, includes Safari 5.1.3

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Apple just released Mac OS 10.7.3 via Software update and manual download.  Apple released some peripheral downloads today as well:

Release notes are as follows: Read more

Apple releases OS X Lion 10.7.3 build 11D46 with no known issues ahead of public release

Apple seeded its registered developers last night with a new version of Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3. The software carries a build number of 11D46 and arrives just a week following the 11D42 build. It has no known issues, indicating that public release is around the corner. Developers are asked to focus on iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight and Safari. The Delta update weighs in at 996.98MB and combo update is a 1.26GB download. The OS X Lion Server 10.7.3 build 11D46 is also available for download (Delta:1GB, Combo: 1.34GB, Server Admin Tools: 202.59MB). Additional build notes after the break.

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