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Data Collection

March 30, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Yahoo Inc. will offer a "do not track" feature on all its websites by early summer that will allow consumers to opt out of targeted advertisements based on data collected about their online movements, the company said Thursday. The new feature has been in development since last year and will "provide a simple step for consumers to express their ad-targeting preferences to Yahoo," the Sunnyvale, Calif., company said. Most major Web browsers, including Mozilla's Firefox, Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer and Apple Inc.'s Safari, have added a "do not track" button in the last year or so as privacy advocates and Washington policymakers have pushed the industry to give consumers more power over their online data.
December 2, 2011 | By David Sarno and Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
A little-known California software company that can monitor every keystroke consumers make on many popular smartphones struck back at critics who accused it of violating customers' privacy, saying it doesn't record or store users' private messages. The company, Carrier IQ Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., found itself in the middle of a national privacy furor this week after an amateur security researcher posted a video purporting to show its software logging every key press, as well as the content of text messages and search engine queries.
November 5, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Social psychologist Diederik Stapel made a name for himself by pushing his field into new territory. His research papers appeared to demonstrate that exposure to litter and graffiti makes people more likely to commit small crimes and that being in a messy environment encourages people to buy into racial stereotypes, among other things. But these and other unusual findings are likely to be invalidated. An interim report released last week from an investigative committee at his university in the Netherlands concluded that Stapel blatantly faked data for dozens of papers over several years.
May 18, 2011 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
The Federal Communications Commission is stepping into the simmering privacy debate over location data collected through cellphones and mobile devices, announcing a forum next month on the issue that could lead to rules governing the coveted information. The FCC has authority over cellphone towers, which Apple Inc. and Google Inc. said they used to help pinpoint the locations of users. Such data are valuable to retailers and advertisers to pitch services and deals near a customer at any given moment.
May 8, 2011
Apple introduced its Macintosh computer in 1984 with a now-famous Super Bowl commercial that showed a lone rebel striking out against Big Brother. So it was ironic that researchers recently accused the company of an Orwellian intrusion into consumer privacy: Its iPhones and iPads appeared to be tracking their users' movements. Apple eventually offered a rebuttal, and it hustled out a software update to address the concerns. Nevertheless, the episode helped strengthen the push in Congress for some basic consumer privacy protections.
October 28, 2010 | By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that it had closed its investigation into Google Inc.'s collection of data over unsecured wireless networks after the Internet giant pledged to strengthen privacy controls. The agency also said the Mountain View, Calif., company agreed not to use the data it says it inadvertently collected while operating a fleet of vehicles for its Street View mapping service, according to a letter from David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, to Albert Gidari, a Google attorney.
August 25, 2010 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
As efforts continue to clean the oil that gushed from the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico, a team of scientists has found that nature's microbial helpers are hard at work too — and doing a better job than researchers had expected. Data collected in May and June showed populations of carbon-eating bacteria were increasing in parts of a plume of oil drifting in deep water in the gulf, said lead author Terry Hazen, head of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's ecology department.
July 31, 2010 | By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
In the United States, Google Inc. is defending itself against lawsuits, a congressional probe and a 37-state investigation over personal information the Internet giant collected from unsecured wireless networks while assembling photos and data for its Street View mapping service. But Great Britain's data protection watchdog says that its review of the information collected by Google found that it included only fragments and no "meaningful personal details that could be linked to an identifiable person."
July 20, 2010 | By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times
Apple Inc. acknowledged Monday that it collects batches of precise user location data from owners of its mobile and computer products but said that users can keep themselves from being part of the data collection. In a response to questions about its data collection practices from two congressmen, the Cupertino, Calif., company said users can turn off services that record their location, and noted that the information it collects is not directly linked to users' names or individual devices.
June 22, 2010 | By Kristena Hansen, Los Angeles Times
More than 30 states are considering pooling resources to investigate whether Google Inc. illegally tapped private information from unsecured wireless networks while collecting photos and data for its popular Street View feature. Connecticut Atty. Gen. Richard Blumenthal said Monday that he was leading the multi-state probe, which will also look at how personal information, including e-mails and passwords, were collected and why the data were retained. "Street View cannot mean Complete View — invading home and business computer networks and vacuuming up personal information and communications," Blumenthal said in a statement.
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