Belgian regulators demand Facebook stop tracking logged-out users

Published: May 17, 2015

“The Belgian data protection authority has told Facebook to stop tracking users who logout or those that have never registered for the social network.”

The Belgian privacy commission has told Facebook to stop tracking the internet activities of people who have not registered with the site or have logged out, after a “staggering” report showed alleged breaches of EU privacy law.

“Facebook tramples on European and Belgian privacy laws”, the data protection authority said in a statement. “Facebook has shown itself particularly miserly in giving precise answers,” it continued, adding that the results of its investigation were “disconcerting” and that it would take legal action if its recommendations were not followed.

Willem Debeuckelaere, president of the Belgian privacy commission, said that the way Facebook is treating its users’ private lives “without respect needs tackling”, and that “it’s make or break time.”

According to a report commissioned by the Belgian data protection agency Facebook has been tracking users on a long-term basis who visit any page — be it a fan page, profile or any other portion of the site that does not require a Facebook account to visit — belonging to the domain.

The opinion published on Friday noted that because Facebook has the power to link internet users’ browsing habits to their real identity, social network interactions and sensitive data including medical information, religious, sexual and political preferences, it is in a unique position compared to most of the other cases of so-called “third-party tracking”.

[Source: The Guardian]

Via BoingBoing.

Microsoft Edge logo

Published: May 5, 2015

Consider the logo for the new Microsoft Edge browser:

Microsoft Edge logo

Now consider Sega’s iconic game hero Sonic the Hedgehog:

Sonic the Hedgehog

Coincidence? Clever marketing ploy? Ninja-style infiltration of Microsoft by Sega?

You be the judge.

Google Tweaks Algorithm; EHow Traffic Plummets

Published: April 19, 2011

Slashdot reports:

“For some time there’s been rumbling that Google’s search results have been gummed up by low-quality pages from ‘content farms,’ written at low or no cost specifically to score high on common Google queries. Now it looks like the latest update to Google’s search algorithm is having an effect, cutting into traffic to eHow (and cutting down the stock price of eHow’s owner, Demand Media, in the process).”


GE Demands Removal of Hoax Website

Published: April 14, 2011

Fair use parody? Or phishing, copyright and trademark infringement?

It seems GE isn’t laughing about the hoax implemented by the Yes Men and US Uncut. Yesterday, the activist groups posted a fake press release allegedly from GE stating the company intended to donate its entire $3.2 billion tax refund to the US Treasury. The website,, is a fake website hosted by BlueHost (the real GE-owned website is

GE immediately demanded the hoax website be taken down, which US Uncut views as an attack on their freedom of speech. Bryan Fansler, GE’s deputy chief information security officer, contacted Bluehost and, according to US Uncut, “waved some scary sounding legal phrases,” and successfully got Bluehost to take down the site for “a combination of Phishing, Copyright and Trademark infringement.”

Duncan Meisel, a US Uncut representative, calls this a violation of the group’s First Amendment rights. “[Fansler] isn’t a lawyer,” says Meisel. “This is a case of straight-up intimidation to silence criticism of one of America’s largest and most important corporations.”

Furthermore, Meisel believes there is precedent to use GE’s likeness in a satirical fashion. “Our right to fair use of their logo, copyright and trademarks is far more well established than their shady tax strategy,” says Meisel, adding US Uncut intends to fight the removal of the website

Allison Kilkenny @ The Nation

Internet Explorer 9 Released

Published: March 15, 2011

From a recent post at Slashdot:

Yesterday Microsoft released IE9 and since then we’ve been getting tons of submissions about it: It’s hard to tell if it is a threat to web development or the fastest thing on the web or even a waste of time. You’ll just have to decide for yourself … if you are one of the 9% of Slashdot readers who actually uses IE.

IE 9 Released, Media Has Opinions @ Slashdot

From the comments:

I’m glad we’re at least finally able to have a discussion about IE’s competitive performance versus other browsers, instead of the number of rendering bugs, workarounds, and hacks required to support it. I don’t exactly pay a lot of attention to the latest browser benchmark news with regard to cheating, but it’s clear that the IE team has made enormous improvements. Look at the relative performance of IE8 versus the field, and IE9 versus the field. They’ve gone from orders of magnitude behind to being one third of the front-of-the-pack regarding performance. I never thought I’d see a performance battle between IE, Opera, and Chrome for the top spot, but here we are. Firefox will catch up I’m sure, but I’m still extremely impressed with the ground that the IE team has made up.

Slashdot comment

Browsers — the Gaming Platform of the Future?

Published: March 9, 2011

Browsers are important because they are a kind of public square, a place that everyone shares and nobody owns.

It is the nature of browsers to deliver information in a reasonably similar way on very different machines (desktop PC, desktop Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, etc.)

This has enormous implications for game design:

At the Game Developers Conference last week, Electronic Arts and now Digital Chocolate (Millionaire City) founder Trip Hawkins worried that evolutions in the multiplatform space would pose major challenges for developers trying to earn money in emerging spaces.

… The explosion of browsers onto mobile devices and the rise of cloud-based gaming can take much of the credit for why Hawkins, who was also Apple’s director of marketing prior to founding EA, believes that it’ll end up the game industry’s most central platform.

“The browser has taken over 2 billion PCs–it’s going to be taking over a billion tablets over the next few years, billions of mobile devices,” he says.

And it’ll even enter new areas: “It will end up in my opinion very strong on the television. The browser is the platform of the future,” Hawkins adds.

Leigh Alexander @ Gamasutra

Via SlashDot.

See also FarmVille Now Worth More Than EA

  • Farmville is a browser-based game that has made its parent company, Zynga, very rich very quickly
  • Electronic Arts (EA) is the world’s largest developer and bricks-and-mortar distributor of computer games

Bing Becomes No.2 Search Engine at 4.37%

Published: March 2, 2011

News from the Search Engine Wars:

Bing has overtook Yahoo for the first time worldwide in January and increased its lead in February according to web analytics company, StatCounter. Its research arm StatCounter Global Stats finds that globally Bing reached 4.37% in February ahead of Yahoo! at 3.93%. Both trail far behind Google’s 89.94% of the global search engine market.


The iPadification of the Web

Published: February 1, 2011

Some thoughts from Peter Yared about how the iPad is reshaping web design:

Creators of Web content have poured considerable effort into reinventing their websites as top-down, gorgeously designed experiences for Apple’s tablet and other mobile devices, in the hope that what they give away on the Web might turn into something their audience will pay for as an app.

… There is no question that these new, “iPadified” sites look far better than their Web analogs. If anything, they look more like the mobile versions of websites. And since mobile sites are by definition focused and simplified, they are quite often better experiences. As venture capitalist Fred Wilson noted on his blog, sometimes companies should just use the mobile version of their site as their actual website.

Think about how Web design happens in the real world. Does anyone really care about your mission statement? In a groupthink-friendly marketing meeting, it gets tacked onto the homepage. And then a social-media expert recommends a Facebook plugin and sharing links for a dozen or so popular sites. Then a recommended-content widget to drive more pageviews. Sales wants more ad inventory. (Startups like BrightTag have sprung up purely to manage this mess.)

Against that tide of flashy flotsam comes the iPad. For the smaller screens of mobile devices, hard decisions have to be made, and the crap gets cut. Which raises the question: Why was it ever there in the first place?

Peter Yared

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook fan page hack: who was behind it?


From the Technology blog at

There are some clues left in the hacking of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook fan page on Wikipedia -– but what do they add up to?

A quick whois query tells you that it is… the US department of defence in Williamsburg.

In other words: this might be someone in the military. Most likely those edits don’t come from one person –- they come from all sorts of people in the Williamsburg location. Or, just as possible, it was someone who had hacked into the computers there from outside (not as difficult as you’d hope it would be) and is using them as a proxy to make the Wikipedia edit, and, quite possibly, hack Zuckerberg’s page.

(Update: Facebook tells us that “A bug enabled status postings by unauthorised people on a handful of Pages. The bug has been fixed.”)

Charles Arthur @

Adobe BrowserLab

Published: December 12, 2010

BrowserLab allows you to visualize your designs across popular browsers and operating systems