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US online privacy group EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Centre) has formally requested that the Federal Trade Commission in Washington investigate Google’s cloud-computing services, including Gmail, Google Docs and Picasa, to determine how safe the company’s privacy and security safeguards are.
EPIC claimed that recent reports have found that Google does not “adequately safeguard the information that it obtains”, and asks that the Federal Trade Commission ascertains whether Google has “engaged in unfair and/or deceptive trade practices”.
This request for an investigation into how securely Google stores its users’ information came after a recent incident where a small percentage of Google Docs users’ private files were inadvertently exposed.
EPIC said that taking these measures were necessary in light of the “growing dependence of US consumers, businesses, and federal agencies on cloud-computing services”.
How much clout does EPIC actually have though? Well, according to its website, previous complaints about Microsoft’s Passport service led to the company “revising the security standards”.
This may be so, but will EPIC succeed in its bid to label Google’s cloud-computing services unfair or deceptive? One thing this action may do is encourage us, the users, to read the small print
In an apparent privacy error that underscores some of the biggest problems surrounding cloud-based services, we're hearing that Google has sent a notice to a number of users of its Document and Spreadsheets products stating that it may have inadvertently shared some of their documents with contacts who were never granted access to them.
According to the notice, this sharing was limited to people “with whom you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document
” - a vague statement that sounds like it could add up to quite a few people. The notice states that only text documents and presentations are affected, not spreadsheets, and provides links to each of the user’s documents that may have been affected.
Here’s the letter in full:Dear Google Docs user,
We wanted to let you know about a recent issue with your Google Docs account. We’ve identified and fixed a bug which may have caused you to share some of your documents without your knowledge. This inadvertent sharing was limited to people with whom you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document. The issue only occurred if you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, selected multiple documents and presentations from the documents list and changed the sharing permissions. This issue affected documents and presentations, but not spreadsheets.
To help remedy this issue, we have used an automated process to remove collaborators and viewers from the documents that we identified as being affected. Since the impacted documents are now accessible only to you, you will need to re-share the documents manually. For your reference, we’ve listed below the documents identified as being affected.
We apologize for the inconvenience that this issue may have caused. We want to assure you that we are treating this issue with the highest priority.
The Google Docs Team
In short, this is a massive blunder on Google’s part and colud seriously damage the future of cloud-based services....
Google has some built in tools that will warn you before you click a link
that could take you to a website running code that could harm your computer. And usually that's a good thing. But this morning Google started returning warnings for virtually every single search result including itself
When you conduct a search, you may notice "This site may harm your computer" warnings under the headlines of each search result. And when you click a link to visit a site, there's a good chance you'll see a window warning you to go back to where you came from.
Google seems to be in the process of correcting the error. However, when a company as large and influential as Google indiscriminately labels sites as dangerous, even for just a few minutes, it's not pretty.
It's Christmas Eve! And we just happen to have some Christmas news for all you geeks out there
The North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, is back at it again this year, tracking Santa's magical flight around the world this Christmas Eve and plotting it out on a Google map.
See photos of locales as Santa travels today, along with video - just click on the presents on the NORAD Santa tracker map. Googler Brian McClendon said "In addition to our 'Santa Cam' footage, geo-located photos from Panoramio will be viewable in Google Maps for each of Santa's stops that don't include video. We've also included a few new ways to track Santa. With Google Maps for mobile, anyone can keep tabs on him from their mobile phones (just activate GMM and search for norad santa). You can also receive updates from 'Bitz the Elf' on Twitter by following @noradsanta."
Santa's flight started at 6AM Eastern time today, and you can also download Google Earth and track his movements with a special santa.kml file available for download here
Happy Christmas readers - see you all in the new year (when hopefully we'll go live with our new Smokin' Guns server
Can't wait for Google Chrome to come to Linux
? Fear not! You can run it now using Wine
. But how?
First you need to edit the /etc/apt/sources.list under Ubuntu.sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
add the following line save and exit
deb http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/apt hardy main
Update the source list file using the following command
sudo aptitude update
Install wine using the following commandsudo aptitude install wine
After installing you can check the wine version using the following commandwine --version
You need to make sure wine version is 1.1.4. Not
1.1.3 or 1.1.2. Version 1.1.1 is way out.
Google’s net-installer for Chrome doesn’t work in Wine. Instead, use the standalone installer. Download it from here
Now you need to open a terminal and change to the directory you downloaded the installer to. Run the installer with Wine using the following commandwine chrome_installer.exe
The installation should complete. Now you need to start Google Chrome and the Chrome window should open, but will appear to be broken. Close Chrome for now.
Run Chome with the –-new-http
options to make it work (the command below is all one line):wine ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/profiles/$USER/Local\ Settings/Application\ Data/Google/Chrome/Application/chrome.exe --new-http --in-process-plugins
Use the previous command whenever you want to start Chrome (I suggest a bash script). At this point Chrome is working fine, but the fonts are not good looking. The fonts can be improved by using winetricks
chmod +x winetricks
./winetricks corefonts tahoma
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