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Monday, August 11, 2014


Original Story:

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge tossed a $324.5 million class action settlement in a lawsuit filed by technology workers who allege major Silicon Valley companies including Apple and Google kept a lid on wages and limited their job mobility by agreeing not to poach each other's employees.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said the proposed settlement "falls below the range of reasonableness."

Two other companies, Intel and Adobe, were also part of the settlement.

It is the latest twist in the high-profile lawsuit filed in 2011 that plaintiffs allege affected tens of thousands of technology workers. An Organic SEO that uses Google for moving keyword rankings is watching closely to see if this will affect any Google updates.

The plaintiffs in the case alleged that the companies violated antitrust laws by engaging in a "conspiracy" between 2005 and 2009 to limit compensation and job movement.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs said they planned to ask for about $3 billion in damages at trial. That could have tripled to $9 billion under antitrust law.

Some of the tech workers in the case told the court they objected to the settlement.

The case drew headlines because it brought to light emails in which Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt detailed agreements not to steal each other's employees.

The lawsuit followed a similar probe from the U.S. Justice Department that the companies settled in 2010.

That investigation alleged the companies colluded to suppress wages by agreeing not to recruit employees from one another.

As part of the settlement, the companies agreed not to enter into such agreements.

Friday, August 08, 2014


Original Story:

Despite the positive nature of catching a predator in the act, some will worry that Google’s willingness to scan and spy on user email represents a major breach of customer privacy and trust.

Google has come under fire several times over the past year or two for allegedly infringing upon the privacy of its customers. But what about when those “infringements” result in the arrest of a pedophile and sex offender?

That is precisely what happened in Houston this week, when police were tipped off to the unsavory online actions of a known sex offender after Google supposedly scanned the images going through the man’s Gmail account. Based on a report from Engadget, the arrested individual was already a registered sex offender. By catching the offender in the act of trading child pornography and helping police bring him to justice, Google might be helping to prevent more serious and direct harm to children in the future.

Not that all privacy advocates will see the case in such sanctimonious terms. Despite the positive nature of catching a predator in the act, some will worry that Google’s willingness to scan and spy on user email represents a major breach of customer privacy and trust.

In all fairness to Google, the company has been nothing if not outspoken about its zero-tolerance policy for online child exploitation. According to a blogpost published last June, Google has been working since 2008 on image scanning technology that helps track down child pornography images online, identify their creators, and facilitate arrests. What the Houston arrest case proves is that Google is applying its image scanning practices to email as well as to other online image searches.

It is also worth noting that, while Google’s data tipped police off about the Houston sex offender’s activities, it did not directly implicate the man, nor will it be used as evidence to charge him of a crime. Instead, Google merely informed police about the illegal photos in the man’s Gmail. Police then acquired a search warrant and looked through the man’s computer, finding child pornography stored on his hard drive.