Breakfast Briefing: Google's French deal, MP calls for data protection, time-shifting the web

4 Feb 2013
Breakfast Briefing

Today's top stories feature Google, MPs calling for data security, time-shifting the web, and another Java update

We kick off the week with a look at Google's €60m payoff to smooth French business, politicians pondering privacy, how timelines are changing the shape of the web, and another Java fix.

Google's French lessons

Search and advertising giant Google has been facing the digital age's equivalent of a farmer's blockade, with arguments over traffic management and publisher payments souring the company's relationship with French authorities and businesses.

After several turbulent episodes, the company has reached some sort of cordiale with the authorities, but only after it promised to put €60m into an "innovation fund" aimed at improving "transformative digital publishing initiatives for French readers." The company has also agreed to provide more help to French companies using its advertising platform in a bid to boost trade, ArsTechnica reports.

MP: limit government access to data

The privacy debate is rarely off the agenda, but a UK minister has said there should be limits on how much information the government should collect on its citizens.

"In a free society there should be a limit to what the government knows about its people. And now, the capacity of the state to do that is almost limitless," UK Justice Minister Tom McNally said in a Register story.

That'll be news to the Home Office, which is trying to push through a Snooper's Charter that would give officials more access to web-based information.

The comments come as officials around the world try to balance the right to privacy for consumers against the hopes of big businesses that want access to information – and The New York Times has an interesting comparison of the considerably different approaches taken in the US and Europe.

Web transforming into time machine

Wired has an opinion piece on the shape of the next web, concluding, er, that there won't be one. Rather than continue to add content separated and accessed by subject-orientated search, the piece argues that time will be a bigger factor in organising how information is accessed.

"The web will no longer resemble a chaotic cobweb. It’s already started to happen," the piece argues. "Instead, billions of users will spin their own tales, which will merge seamlessly into an ongoing, endless narrative: the earth telling its own story."

Oracle brings forward Java fix

Sophos' Naked Security has details on yet another Java fix, with an update that was due to come out in two weeks brought forward by Oracle amid growing discontent over the security of the software.

The security blog notes that Oracle brought its February 2013 Java patch forward because of "active exploitation 'in the wild' of one of the vulnerabilities affecting the Java Runtime Environment in desktop browsers". The patch is available at the Java site.

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