Google Maps for iPhone violates European data protection law, German watchdog says


Google Maps for iPhone violates European data protection law, German watchdog says

When users install Google Maps on their iPhone, the option to share location data with Google is switched on by default. By doing this, Google violates European data protection law, according to a German data protection watchdog.

Google Maps for iPhone appeared in the App Store on Wednesday and was welcomed by many after Apple stumbled with its own maps application. Google Maps quickly became the most popular free app in the App Store.

When the app is downloaded, Google prompts users to accept its terms of service and privacy policy in the startup screen. On the same screen, the Maps app warns users that they are about to share their location data with Google. “Help us improve Google, including traffic and other services. Anonymous location data will be collected by Google’s location service and sent to Google, and may be stored on your device,” Google tells users.

However, the option box next to the text is switched on by default, which isn’t allowed by European data protection law, said Marit Hansen, deputy privacy and information commissioner at the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, in an email.

She said Google’s definition of “anonymous” doesn’t guarantee users complete anonymity. “All available information points to having linkable identifiers per user,” which would allow Google to track several location entries, she said.

“This is clearly not anonymous,” she said, adding that she had to assume that Google’s “anonymous location data” is still “personal data” under European data protection law.

When a company wants to process personal data, users have to give informed consent instead of opting out, she said. “So I conclude that the current implementation is not compliant with current European data protection law, even if Google now offers an opt-out possibility,” Hansen said.

In January, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) ruled that navigation service TomTom could only gather and process anonymous geolocation data it uses to map traffic after prior consent is given by the user, “because geolocation data are sensitive personal data.” According to the CBP, TomTom could use the location data to deduce where someone supposedly lives.

“Such data are therefore to be regarded as personal data. When Google collects such data about routes traveled, it collects personal data for which consent must be obtained,” Mark Jansen, a lawyer who specializes on IT issues, told IDG News Service partner Webwereld.

“The only basis for this processing seems to be consent. That means at a minimum that a pre-ticked box is not sufficient,” he said.

This kind of data processing is also being discussed on a European level by the Article 29 Working Party, which is made up of data protection commissioners from each European Union member states, Hansen said. Her organization is part of the group, which she expects will discuss the issue further. She hopes that non-European users will also “question the behavior of companies that do not inform users properly and prefer opt-out over opt-in.”

A Google spokesman could not immediately comment on Hansen’s findings, but referred to a page where the company states that “Google does not know who you are when you use the My Location (beta) feature in Google Maps for mobile.”

“The collection of location information is done only with the consent of users,” the Google spokesman told Webwereld regarding the Dutch findings, adding that users can choose to switch this off at any time.

See also:

Hands on with Google Maps for iPhone
Opinion: For Apple, change could be a good sign
iPhone 6 rumour rollup for the week ending 14 December
Google Maps’ return to iOS may not be permanent, says analyst
Why Google Maps for iPhone is good for Apple

Apple iPad 5, new Macs live blogs: Take your pick


Apple iPad 5, new Macs live blogs: Take your pick

Apple on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST is expected to make iPad, OS X Mavericks and Mac Pro announcements, and a host of media outlets will be on hand to give blow-by-blow accounts via live blogs for those unable to score invites to the event at San Francisco’s Yerba Bueno Center.

This is the second big Apple news event in two months, with last month bringing us the iPhone 5s and 5c announcements. 

Our experience with live blogs is that their performance can be inconsistent, so it doesn’t hurt to have a backup site or two in mind if you’re intent on following along. Also, note that some live blogs start up earlier than the event to give you pre-game analysis and observations.

No word yet on whether Apple itself will offer any sort of webcast (it did a year ago for an iPad announcement).

[SCUTTLEBUTT:iPad 5 rumor rollup for the week ending Oct. 15]

Here’s a collection of sites that plan to live blog the action:

*Macworld 

*Ars Technica 

*Cnet 

*Engadget 

*Gizmodo 

*Gadget website T3 

*LTK TV 

*Slashgear 

*Time/Technologizer 

*Today’s iPhone 

*The Verge 

* Wall St. Journal’s All Things D 

Bob Brown tracks network research in his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +. 

Read more about anti-malware in Network World’s Anti-malware section.

Free to Play Cast: Sick of Star Wars News (Ep 53) 


Free to Play Cast: Sick of Star Wars News (Ep 53) 

On the final episode of the Free to Play Cast for 2012 Magicman and friends grow tired of Bioware choices, chat about their love of Neverwinter’s Rogue, and think about playing Age of Conan again. We announce our 1 year contest winners and drop some weekly bombs!

Free-To-Play Cast is the official podcast (and videocast) of MMOBomb.com about free to play multiplayer online games. Free-To-Play Cast takes on the week’s biggest news with plenty of opinion, weekly bombs, community feedback, guests, interviews, laughs thrown in for good measure and much more. Have fun and expect a new episode next week! (every Wed or Thu)

Don´t forget to subscribe to Free to Play Cast via YoutubeYoutubeYoutube.

iTunes (MP3 Audio Version): [Subscribe Free NOW!]
RSS (MP3 Audio Version): [Click Here]

HP beats analysts in Q3


HP beats analysts in Q3

HP’s third-quarter results were boosted by tax benefits, but the company also exceeded analysts’ expectations for revenue on strong server sales growth.

Revenue was $20.8 billion, up 10 per cent from last year’s third-quarter revenue of $18.9 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected HP to record $20.5 billion in revenue.

Net income based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) was $73 million, down 88 per cent from last year when HP recorded $586 million in GAAP net income. However, HP brought $14.5 billion in foreign earnings back to the US to take advantage of a recently enacted tax break. That increased HP’s net income by $988 million to $1.06 billion, or $0.33 per share.

$1 billion to restructure business

HP also recorded $112 million in restructuring charges during the quarter to account for layoffs in its printing group. Late in the quarter, HP announced a much larger restructuring program that will put 14,500 employees out of work. The company will record a charge of around $900 million in its fourth quarter to account for costs associated with those layoffs.

On an operating basis, HP’s income increased in this year’s third quarter compared to last year’s, thanks to its PC and server groups, said CEO Mark Hurd.

Most of the HP’s profits have come from its printer group in the last few years, but that division actually saw profits slip in the third quarter.

Printer shipments climb, revenue declines

The Imaging and Printing Group posted $771 million in operating profits, compared to $836 million in last year’s third quarter. HP has been pricing its printers to increase its hardware shipments, and that strategy reduced operating profits, Hurd said. But increases in printer hardware shipments generally lead to increases in sales of printer supplies such as ink and paper, which are much more profitable than sales of the actual printers themselves.

Printer revenue grew only 1 per cent compared to last year, but printer shipments were up 8 per cent, HP said. Shipments of colour laser printers and multifunction printers were up strongly at 31 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively.

The Personal Systems Group, which develops and sells PCs and handheld devices, improved its revenue by 8 per cent over last year to $6.4 billion in the quarter. Unit shipments increased by 14 per cent, and the group’s operating margin of 2.6 per cent, although low by relative standards, was the group’s best performance since HP acquired Compaq, Hurd said.

Revenue from low-end servers increased 28 per cent in the third quarter, leading HP’s servers and storage group to $4 billion in revenue, a 20 per cent increase compared to last year. This group swung to a $150 million operating profit in the quarter, up from a loss of $211 million last year. Its operating margin was 3.8 per cent of revenue.

HP expects fourth-quarter revenue to come in between $22.4 billion and $22.8 billion.

WildStar: Esper Dev Speak | WildStar


WildStar: Esper Dev Speak | WildStar

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Esper Dev Speak contains unicorns, migraines, and monitor turn offs? Oh my!

First of all, this video is pretty funny. From what I’ve heard, most of the Dev Speak videos are like this. 

The Esper is, I guess you could say, a mage type. Using illusions, the Esper can DPS or heal allies. As far as gear, the Esper can equip light armor and a psi-blade. Psi-blades are controlled by the Esper’s mind, and multiple copies can be manifested. It’s a pretty cool weapon that fits the Esper mechanics nicely.

This Esper is readying for attack!

The Dev Speak shows off several different Esper skills. We see a lot of the Esper’s CC ability showcased. I’d imagine you wouldn’t want to come up against an Esper in PvP. We also see several DPS abilities, although no real details are given on them. There was at least one heal shown. Displace seems pretty useful too, depending on cooldown and timing.

Is that a rainbow I see? Must be Rainbowdash!

All in all, if I decide to play WildStar, I’m leaning towards Esper. Make sure you watch the video. Remember Winter Beta is coming.

Sony claims 1.2m PlayStation Vita sales worldwide


Sony claims 1.2m PlayStation Vita sales worldwide

Sony said it has sold 1.2 million units of its new Vita handheld game console worldwide as of Sunday, after a boost from the device’s launch in the U.S. and Europe last week.

The latest figure is a significant jump from the 500,000 units that Sony said it had sold in early January, when sales were limited to Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. But it includes a large one-time increase from pre-orders in the latest launches, so a major test will be how well sales hold up in the coming months.

The Vita is Sony’s largest launch in recent history, the latest addition to its storied PlayStation franchise, in a rare product category where the company has few direct competitors. Games for tablets and smartphones are however an increasing threat. In Japan, sales also started extremely strong after the Dec. 17 launch date, then weakened significantly in the following weeks.

Sony said it has sold 2 million software titles for the Vita, meaning users are still buying less than two games per device on an average, though the company said over 70 new titles are currently in the development pipeline.

Executives including incoming CEO Kazuo Hirai have repeatedly said they are happy with the pace of sales and will take the long view with the Vita. The PlayStation Portable, the Vita’s predecessor, is still a strong seller nearly eight years after its launch.

The paperback-sized Vita packs impressive hardware, including a bright five-inch OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen, front and rear touch control, and a four-core processor. It also has a custom-built operating system, making it a rare device for Sony in that the company has complete control of both hardware and software.

Rival Nintendo saw sales sag badly after its newest handheld, the 3DS, launched last year, but has since spurred interest in the device by slashing prices and releasing a barrage of software titles.

Sony and Nintendo are facing deep fiscal losses as they hawk their latest consoles.

Grand Theft Auto V: How To Steal Jumbo and Fighter Jet


Grand Theft Auto V: How To Steal Jumbo and Fighter Jet

Rockstar Games has added Jumbo Jets in Grand Theft Auto V and players can use it to fly over Los Santos City (like a King). Initially many players thought that they can’t control Jumbo Jet in GTA V but this is just a rumor.

GTA VHere is a video footage guide on how to steal Jumbo and Fighter Jet in GTA V. Both video guides comes from IGN.

Download Links Of Tom Clancy's The Division Beta On Xbox One and PS4, File Size Is 28.82GB


Download Links Of Tom Clancy’s The Division Beta On Xbox One and PS4, File Size Is 28.82GB

The much awaited Tom Clancy’s The Division beta is now available for pre-load on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The total file size of the beta on Xbox One is 25.82. Please note, this is just a pre-loading, you will be able to play it starting from January 28, PlayStation 4 and PC version will be available for play on January 29.

Tom Clancy's The Division Beta Download On Xbox One and PS4

The beta is available only to those who pre-ordered the game, but don’t worry if you are not among one of those who didn’t pre-order it, there is still a way. Set up an EU PSN Account or Xbox account, confirm the preorder and download the beta. You won’t be billed for the preorder until a day or two before releasing the game – but more importantly, you won’t provide any payment info thus the preorder won’t proceed to the payment at all.

Here are the Xbox and PSN Store link for Tom Clancy’s The Division beta:

  • PS4 (Europe, UK, AU)
  • Xbox Store (US)

Now Play Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Low End PC


Now Play Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Low End PC

Want to play the greatest RPG of all time “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” but you can’t because of your old PC. Well guys its no longer a problem, as mod is now available for download that lower the settings of the game. This mod is really a blessing for Skyrim fans having low end PC.

Skyrim

One PC gamers said that this mod works perfectly for his PC having configuration of Intel  Celeron 3.0Ghz,2 Gb DDR 2 Ram and Geforce Gt 210 system and Skyrim run without lag.

You can download this mod from HERE.

Plants vs. Zombies for iPhone gets an update


Plants vs. Zombies for iPhone gets an update

PopCap has announced that the iPhone version of Plants vs. Zombies has got a big new update. The update adds nine new minigames taken from the computer versions of the game; a new microgame; and new Game Center achievements.

The 9 new minigames come in packs of 3 and can be purchased either using coins acquired in game or by paying £0.69 per pack to unlock them instantly. The first of the three packs includes Walnut Bowling, Seeing Stars and Bobsled Bonanza. The second includes Invisi-Ghoul, Last Stand and ZomBotany 2. The final pack includes Beghouled Twist, Pogo Party and Zombie Nimble Zombie Quick.

The update also includes a “Race to China” microgame challenging players to dig their way to China as quickly as possible with the promise of Game Center achievements for the victorious.

Update your copy of Plants vs. Zombies for iPhone today to get hold of the new content.