Twitter Hands Over User Data to French Authorities in Anti-Semitism Case

An end to an ongoing legal battle between Twitter and a number of French activist groups.

Battery Ventures Jump-Starts Avalara With $20 Million in Capital

Retailers often have a hard time figuring out how much customers need to pay in sales tax, but with Avalara’s help, they don’t have to worry about it.

As Privacy Concerns Grow, More Social Media Users Are “Unfriending”

More people are unfriending, deleting, and otherwise “pruning” their social network profiles.

Zynga Confirms It Is Seeking Partners for Online Gambling Initiatives

Operating the largest poker game on Facebook is not enough — Zynga has confirmed that it is exploring the prospects for real-money gambling, and is in active talks with several partners.

News Byte

Overstock Ends Affiliate Marketing in Four States to Avoid Sales Tax is no longer using affiliate advertising in four states to protest upcoming laws that will require online retailers to collect sales tax if they are marketing within state boundaries. The states are Rhode Island, New York, North Carolina and Illinois. Online retailers typically do not collect sales tax from customers in states where they do not have a physical presence, but the interpretation of presence is getting broader as states seek new revenue. Overstock will instead market directly to residents in those states by giving customers a credit worth about $30. In all, Overstock said, the program could cost about $4.5 million.

News Byte

There's No Curbing the Street View Privacy Probes

As our John Paczkowski noted in Digital Daily early this morning, Google’s woes over the collection of user data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks by its Street View cars are far from over despite a “no harm, no foul” decision from the FTC. The latest evidence: Confirmation that the Federal Communications Commission is among the regulators here and abroad still investigating whether Google’s actions broke any laws. In response to the news, Google once again pronounced itself “profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted networks.”

News Byte

Europeans Should Have the Right to Be Forgotten by Facebook

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding introduced proposals today for public consultation to rewrite outdated protection laws in order to give citizens more control over their personal data. The proposals state that people “should have the ‘right to be forgotten’ when their data is no longer needed or they want their data to be deleted,” and recommends giving consumers the right to sue over breaches of privacy. The Commission aims to introduce legislation in 2011.

No Harm, Big Foul: Google Intercepted Passwords and Email Extracts

Google’s troubles over the inadvertent collection of user data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks by its Street View cars are mounting. According to a preliminary analysis by the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty, the payload data fragments Google intercepted and stored included “data that are normally covered by…banking and medical privacy rules.”

It Was a Bright, Cold Day in Beijing, and the Clocks Were Striking Thirteen…

Google co-founder Sergey Brin says China’s efforts to censor speech and suppress dissidents smacks of the “totalitarianism” of his youth in the Soviet Union. Here’s a prime example of that: A Beijing directive describing how Google’s defiance of China’s censorship laws is to be portrayed in the country’s media.

Beijing on Google’s China Move: Hong Kong Phooey

Following its initial red-in-the-face tirade, the Chinese government has adopted a more measured tone in its comments about Google’s closure of and the redirection of users to another site in Hong Kong. “It’s not China that has undermined its image, rather it is Google itself,” a foreign ministry spokesman said of the company’s move this morning.

Another Bloodletting at Microsoft