Archive for January 2012

Google announces privacy changes across products with no opt-out

Google said Tuesday it will follow the activities of users across e-mail, search, YouTube and other services, a shift in strategy that is expected to invite greater scrutiny of its privacy and competitive practices.

The information will enable Google to develop a fuller picture of how people use its growing empire of Web sites. Consumers will have no choice but to accept the changes.

The policy will take effect March 1 and will also impact Android mobile phone users, who are required to log in to Google accounts when they activate their phones.

The changes comes as Google is facing stiff competition for the sometimes fleeting attention of Web surfers. It recently disappointed investors for the first time in several quarters, failing last week to meet earnings predictions. Apple, in contrast, reported record earnings Tuesday, blowing past even the most optimistic expectations.

Google’s move appears to be aimed squarely at Apple and Facebook — titans of the tech industry that have been successful in keeping people within their ecosystem of products. Google, which makes money by selling targeted ads, is hoping to do the same by offering a Web experience tailored to personal tastes.

“If you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services,” Alma Whitten, Google’s director of privacy, product and engineering wrote in a blog post.

“In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience,” she said.

Google can track users when they sign into their accounts. It can also use cookies or find out where people are if they use a Google phone or its maps program. The company will now attempt to mix all of that information together into a single cauldron for each person.

From the Washington Post at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/google-tracks-consumers-across-products-users-cant-opt-out/2012/01/24/gIQArgJHOQ_story.html

Protecting the Nation’s Electric Grid from Cyber Threats

Protecting the electric system from cyber threats and ensuring its resilience are vital to our national security and economic well-being. This is exactly why cybersecurity is one of four key themes in the White House’s Policy Framework for a 21st Century Grid. For obvious reasons, the private sector shares our interest in a safe and secure electric grid. The Administration has benefited from working closely with industry, including to develop the Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity, released by the Department of Energy last September.

To continue that close cooperation, last week Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman and I, along with senior officials from Department of Homeland Security, hosted industry leaders to discuss a new initiative to further protect the electric grid from cyber risks. This initiative — the Electric Sector Cybersecurity Risk Maturity Model Pilot — is a new White House initiative led by the Department of Energy, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, to develop a model to help us identify how secure the electric grid is from cyber threats and test that model with participating utilities. Gaining knowledge about strengths and remaining gaps across the grid will better inform investment planning and research and development, and enhance our public-private partnership efforts.

Read more the U.S. White House blog: