Weekly Axis Of Easy #37
In this issue:
- Belgian court orders Facebook to stop collecting personal data
- Google Chrome’s ad blocker may give preferential treatment to…Google
- US Federal judge rules embedding a tweet may be copyright infringement
- UK police commence “on-the-spot” fingerprint scanning.
- IRS scam has fraudsters posing as collection agency recovering bogus tax refunds
You know how when you’re surfing around the web and you’re on some site that isn’t Facebook and there are widgets there to “like” it on Facebook or even that shows who among your friends have already “liked” it? That’s Facebook tracking you across third-party websites and it’s illegal under Belgian law. A court there has ordered Facebook to stop collecting personal data and tracking users across third-party sites and has fined the company 250,000 euros per day until it complies.
MIT Technology Review references in article in the WSJ (subscription required) which calls into question Google’s altruistic motives behind Chrome’s new built-in ad blocker. The concern is that Google “overly influenced the process that selects what types of ads to block” with the net effect being Google stands to make even more revenue from its own ads.
A Federal court in New York has broken with a longstanding legal tradition in the US that copyright infringement liability rests with the party hosting the content and not with anybody linking to or referencing that content. They’ve issued a ruling in which infringement can occur from merely embedding a tweet that contains the material, and the ruling applies to any kind of in-line linking.
Never mind “stop-and-frisk” (which the US Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional), in the UK the Home Office has announced an expanded “stop-and-scan” fingerprint program. Police in West Yorkshire will be equipped with portable scanners enabling them to scan anybody on the street and run their prints against both criminal and immigration databases. The program was enacted without parliamentary debate or public consultation.
Krebs on Security reports on a new IRS tax refund scam: hackers break into online tax filers and file bogus tax returns for their customers. When the US Treasury deposits unexpectedly large refunds into the customer accounts, the fraudsters pose as collection agencies acting on behalf of the IRS and convince the victims to return the money, to the crooks.
Tax season is upon us in both Canada and US, so watch out.