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Technology • Internet & Web
Parler data leaked and archived before the app was shutdown
Parler data leaked and archived before the app was shutdown
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Parler, a social network used to plan the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week, has been hit by a massive data scrape. Security researchers collected user data before the network went dark Monday morning after Amazon, Google, and Apple booted the platform.

Lead by Twitter user @donk_enby, a team of security researchers began the work of archiving all of Parler’s posts, ultimately capturing around 99.9 per cent of its content.

The scraped data includes user profile data and information, raw media files -- including geolocation metadata -- and posts, including deleted ones.

Technology • Internet & Web
Google bans right-wing online network Parler from App Store
Google bans right-wing online network Parler from App Store
Credit: Recreation Pendect

Following the violent storming of the US Capitol by radical supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, Google has removed the online service Parler from its app store.

In addition Apple threatened a removal and demanded that Parler must take measures to prevent users from planning illegal, violent activities together.

Business
Google workers form union amid ongoing tensions with senior executives
Google workers form union amid ongoing tensions with senior executives
Credit: Alphabet Workers Union

Over 200 employees of Google and its parent firm Alphabet have formed Alphabet Workers Union amid increasing disagreements with the company’s senior executives, including the handling of sexual misconduct by former executives, Google's partnership with the Pentagon and the controversial departure of AI researcher Timnnit Gebru.

"We hope to create a democratic process for workers to wield decision-making power; promote social, economic, and environmental justice; and end the unfair disparities between TVCs (temporary, vendors and contractors) and FTEs (full time employees)," the union's website said.

Technology • Internet & Web
Google services experience problems with YouTube, Gmail and Calendar unreachable when logged in
Google services experience problems with YouTube, Gmail and Calendar unreachable when logged in
Credit: Recreation YouTube Error Message

Users from around the world are reporting problems with multiple Google-owned services. Among others YouTube, Gmail and the Google Calendar are unreachable to users.

According to first reports YouTube remains reachable if used in incognito mode or the user hasn't been logged in before.

Law
French watchdog fines Google €100m and Amazon €35m for breach of cookies rules
French watchdog fines Google €100m and Amazon €35m for breach of cookies rules
Credit: unsplash.com / Christian Wiediger

The French data protection authority Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) is imposing a record fine on Google - for the second time. This time the dispute is over web cookies. Amazon is also expected to pay 35 million euros.

According to the CNIL, Google is being accused of "placing advertising cookies on the computers of users of the google.fr search engine without prior consent and without adequate information." A total of three violations of Article 82 of the so-called French Data Protection Act have been identified, the authority reports.

Technology • Internet & Web
Google releases "Year in Search 2020"
Screenshot of "Year in Search 2020"
Screenshot of "Year in Search 2020" Credit: Google

Google has released its "Year in Search 2020" Wednesday, featuring this year's top searches in various categories.

The top five search queries were Coronavirus, Election results, Kobe Bryant, Zoom and IPL. The list also highlights this year's losses, with people searching for Kobe Bryant, George Floyd, Chadwick Boseman, Sean Connery, Eddie van Halen and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Regional News • Americas • United States
The U.S. National Labor Relations Board alleges that Google illegally spied on workers before firing them
The U.S. National Labor Relations Board alleges that Google illegally spied on workers before firing them
Credit: Mitchell Luo

According to a complaint to be filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Tuesday, Google violated US labor laws by spying on workers who were organizing employee protests, then firing two of them.

Science • Nature
DeepMind announces that their AI can predict protein folding
DeepMind announces that their AI can predict protein folding
Credit: Courtesy of DeepMind

DeepMind has presented an AI application that makes it possible to predict protein structure with high accuracy. According to John Moult, a biologist at the University of Maryland, it is the first application of artificial intelligence "that has solved a serious problem".

Independent scientists said the breakthrough would help researchers tease apart the mechanisms that drive some diseases and pave the way for designer medicines, more nutritious crops, and “green enzymes” that can break down plastic pollution.

Technology • Internet & Web
Lawsuit against Google: Idle Android eats mobile data to send telemetry and preload ads
Lawsuit against Google: Idle Android eats mobile data to send telemetry and preload ads
Credit: unsplash.com / Greg Bulla

Google on Thursday was sued for allegedly stealing Android users' cellular data allowances though unapproved, undisclosed transmissions to the web giant's servers.

The complaint contends that Google is using Android users' limited cellular data allowances without permission to transmit information about those individuals that's unrelated to their use of Google services.

Technology • Internet & Web
Free unlimited storage for Google Photos will end on June 1st, 2021
Free unlimited storage for Google Photos will end on June 1st, 2021
Credit: unsplash.com / Nathana Rebouças

From June 1st, 2021 Google will no longer offer unlimited storage for personal photos. The service will then only offer 15 gigabytes of free storage. Alongside photos, "Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files" will begin counting against storage caps.

In addition data from accounts that have been inactive for at least two years will be deleted.

Regional News • Europe
Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has applied to become a citizen of Cyprus
Eric Schmidt
Eric Schmidt Credit: JD Lasica (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Vox.com reports that the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, is finalizing a plan to become a citizen of the island of Cyprus, becoming one of the highest-profile Americans to take advantage of one of the world’s most controversial “passport-for-sale” programs.

Theo Andreou, the head of Cyprus program for Astons, speculated Schmidt could be making the move for two possible reasons: "One reason is to have a Plan B during Covid. The other reason is that they are expanding their business in Europe."

Cyprus announced in mid-October that due to “abusive exploitation,” it was shutting the program down, around when Schmidt’s approval was published.

Technology • Internet & Web
Italian Competition Authority opens investigation against Google
Italian Competition Authority opens investigation against Google
Credit: Courtesy of Philipp Klöckner

The Italian Competition Authority has opened an investigation against Google, questioning the discriminatory use of the huge amount of data collected through its various applications, allegedly preventing rivals from competing effectively as well as adversely affecting consumers.

In addition, Google has allegedly used their technology to achieve a targeting capability that some equally efficient competitors are unable to replicate by using tracking elements enabling its advertising intermediation services.

Business • Economy
U.S. sues Google for alleged abuse of market position
U.S. sues Google for alleged abuse of market position
Credit: unsplash.com / Paweł Czerwiński

The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday filed an antitrust suit against Alphabet Inc, Google's parent company, in which it accuses of violating the law by abusing its dominant market position over its competitors. This is the most important legal offensive against a technological giant in at least two decades, and represents the culmination of a year-long investigation that concludes that the company took advantage of its dominant position in the search and advertising market to the detriment of competitors and consumers.

Technology • Internet & Web
G Suite gets rebranded to Google Workspace
G Suite gets rebranded to Google Workspace
Credit: Courtesy of Google

Google just rebranded G Suite to Google Workspace. Workspace brings together Gmail, Docs, Meet, Room and Drive and introduces a "new brand identity that reflects our ambitious product vision and the way our products work together" and "a deeply integrated user experience that helps teams collaborate more effectively, frontline workers stay connected, and businesses power new digital customer experiences".

Regional News • Europe • European Union
European Union drafts Digital Services Act to regulate large technology companies
European Union drafts Digital Services Act to regulate large technology companies
Credit: Corentin Béchade / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Commission is working on a new legislative package in order to regulate major online platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others. According to an internal paper, one of the goals is to prevent "unfair practices". One rule could specify that the platforms would "not be allowed to pre-install their own applications exclusively" such as installing mobile apps on smartphones and preventing users to uninstall them.

In addition, there could be new restrictions on the usage of data generated by their services for their own commercial activities. This kind of data could only be used if made "accessible to other commercial users".

Regional News • Americas • United States
Google to block election ads after November 3
Google to block election ads after November 3
Credit: Rajeshwar Bachu

Axios reports that Google informed its advertisers that the company would broadly block election ads after polls close on November 3.

Google's ban will target ads that are explicitly election-related, or ads referencing the elections, or targetted ads to election-related search queries.

It is not clear how long the ban would last, but advertisers have been told that they should expect it to last for at least seven days after Election Day and that Google would review the situation every week if it extends longer.

Technology • Internet & Web
U.S. judge halts order to remove WeChat from app stores
U.S. judge halts order to remove WeChat from app stores
Credit: WeChat

Early Sunday, the U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler blocked the Commerce Department from requiring Apple and Google to remove WeChat for downloads. The judge issued a preliminary injunction at the request of the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance.

The preliminary injunction also blocked the order barring other transactions with WeChat in the United States that could have degraded the site’s usability for current U.S. users.

Technology • Internet & Web
After Trump "blessing" of Oracle deal, the U.S. will delay TikTok app store ban by one week
After Trump "blessing" of Oracle deal, the U.S. will delay TikTok app store ban by one week
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Logos TikTok & Oracle (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The U.S. Commerce Department on Saturday announced a one-week delay until September 27 on order to remove TikTok app from mobile application stores owned by Apple and Google. The decision came after President Trump has given tentative approval to an Oracle-Wallmart deal that will keep TikTok alive in the country.

Trump said, on Saturday, that "I have given the deal my blessing, I approve the deal in concept."

Climate & Environment
Google says its carbon footprint is now zero

Google says it has wiped out its entire carbon footprint by investing in "high-quality carbon offsets". It became carbon-neutral in 2007 and says it has now compensated for all of the carbon it has ever created.

Technology • Games
Apple and Google removed Fortnite from App Store and Play Store
Apple and Google removed Fortnite from App Store and Play Store
Credit: Epic Games

Apple has removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games implemented Thursday its in-app payment system that bypassed Apple’s standard 30% fee. Later Thursday Google also removed the game from the Android Play Store.

Epic Games responded with a series of calculated actions, including an antitrust lawsuit claiming Apple's App Store is a monopoly, a video mocking the iconic "1984" Apple ad, and encouraging fans to use #FreeFortnite on their communications with Apple.

Spotify’s spokesman Adam Grossberg said, "We applaud Epic Games' decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple's abuse of its dominant position."