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Outraged Students Sue Facebook Over Privacy (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/students-sue-facebook-over-privacy-2012-12

max schrems facebook austrian law student

VIENNA (Reuters) – An Austrian student group plans to go to court in a bid to make Facebook Inc, the world’s biggest social network, do more to protect the privacy of its hundreds of millions of members.

Privacy campaign group europe-v-facebook, which has been lobbying for better data protection by Facebook for over a year, said on Tuesday it planned to go to court to appeal against decisions by the data protection regulator in Ireland, where Facebook has its international headquarters.

The move is one of a number of campaigns against the giants of the internet, which are under pressure from investors to generate more revenue from their huge user bases but which also face criticism for storing and sharing personal information.

Internet search engine Google, for example, has been told by the European Union to make changes to its new privacy policy, which pools data collected on individual users across its services including YouTube, gmail and social network Google+, and from which users cannot opt out.

Europe-v-facebook has won some concessions from Facebook, notably pushing it to switch off its facial recognition feature in Europe.

But the group said on Tuesday the changes did not go far enough and it was disappointed with the response of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which had carried out an audit after the campaign group filed numerous complaints.

“The Irish obviously have no great political interest in going up against these companies because they’re so dependent on the jobs they c! reate,” europe-v-facebook founder Max Schrems told Reuters.

Gary Davies, Ireland’s deputy data protection commissioner, denied Facebook’s investment in Ireland had influenced regulation of the company.

“We have handled this in a highly professional and focused way and we have brought about huge changes in the way Facebook handles personal data,” he told Reuters.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is due to hold a conference call later on Tuesday to answer customer concerns about its privacy policy, which will include representatives from Facebook Ireland.

LOSING PATIENCE

Schrems, who has filed 22 complaints with the Irish regulator, said more than 40,000 Facebook users who had requested a copy of the data Facebook was holding on them had not received anything several months after making a request.

The law student also questioned why Facebook had only switched off facial recognition for users in the European Union, even though Ireland is the headquarters for all of Facebook’s users outside the United States and Canada.

Facebook is under pressure to reverse a trend of slowing revenue growth by selling more valuable advertising, which requires better profiling of its users.

Investors are losing patience with the social network, whose shares have dropped 40 percent in value since the company’s record-breaking $104 billion initial public offering in May.

Last month, Facebook proposed to combine its user data with that of its recently acquired photo-sharing service Instagram, loosen restrictions on emails between its members and share data with other businesses and affiliates that it owns.

Facebook is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States, where it is charged with violating privacy rights by publicizing users’ “likes” without giving them a way to opt out.

A U.S. judge late on Monday gave his preliminary approval to a second attem! pt to se ttle the case by paying users up to $10 each out of a settlement fund of $20 million.

Ireland also hosts the European headquarters of other high-tech firms including Microsoft and Google thanks to generous tax breaks.

Europe-v-facebook said it believed its Irish lawsuit had the potential to become a test case for data protection law and had a good chance of landing up in the European Court of Justice.

Schrems said the case could cost the group around 100,000 euros ($130,000), which it hoped to raise via crowd-funding – money provided by a collection of individuals – on the Internet.

(Additional reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin; Editing by Mark Potter)

(This story was corrected to fix the headline, lead and the first paragraph to show that the campaign group plans to sue Irish regulator, not Facebook, in the first instance)

Copyright (2012) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 news No Comments

3 Myths About Facebook The Company Wishes Would Go Away (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/myths-about-facebook-2012-12

carolyn everson facebook

Ever since Facebook went public earlier this year — and was finally liberated from the SEC-required “quiet period” that all companies must go through when offering stock — Facebook has been trying to chase down several untrue rumors about how its business works.

As the old saying goes, a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.

We sat down recently with Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vp/global marketing solutions, and asked her what the most common misconceptions were among advertisers about the way Facebook works.

She told us that these are the three of the biggest:

1. “Facebook ads don’t work.”

Everson says: “I see it in the press sometimes. I will hear a marketer say, ‘Prove it to me, show me how Facebook marketing works.’ To me that’s code for ‘I haven’t believed it yet, or I haven’t seen enough data.’ And my team now is equipped globally with literally hundreds of examples and proof points of how Facebook advertising works [for] everything from Samsung launching a product down to your small/medium business trying to drive people into their stores.”

2. “Mobile is bad for Facebook.”

To be fair, this myth was started by Facebook itself, when it warned in its IPO papers that had not yet properly monetized mobile. It warned again in Q2that mobile may “negatively affect” revenue. Since then, however, mobile has turned out to be huge for Facebook.

Ev erson says: “Mobile is fantastic for monetization. Fourteen percent of our revenue from the third quarter was from mobile. The CPMs are higher in mobile across the board. The performance in the news feed on mobile are 8 to 10X. Let me give you some interesting stats. Rosetta Stone, language provider, did an offers product. They got 560,000 claims, 98 percent of them via mobile. Lawson’s is a Japanese convenient store, kind of like 7-11, they got 598,000 claims, 93 percent from mobile. It is a very powerful way for our marketers to reach our users and I will tell you that when I sit with the client council members, Keith Weed at Unilever or Marc Pritchard at P&G, any of the top CMOs, they are entirely focused on how Facebook can help them in emerging markets … Clearly more people are joining Facebook on mobile, so mobile’s been very positive from a user growth standpoint.”

3. “Facebook only works for brand awareness.”

Everson says too many advertisers think Facebook is only good at generating vague brand image impressions, and it’s not for driving direct sales. But she believes Facebook has uses throughout marketing’s customer “funnel”:

“The third myth, Facebook only works for top-of-the-funnel objectives, for brand awareness, for people having conversations or earned media. What we have now demonstrated consistently is we deliver throughout the entire funnel. ”

Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 news No Comments

Online Doctor’s Sick Visits Could Be Coming To A Computer Near You

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/online-doctors-sick-visits-2012-11

doctor

Could we be seeing the end of routine doctor visits?

Scientific American reports that researchers are testing a new system for electronic doctor visits that could potentially eliminate the need for patients to see a doctor for routine illnesses.

Patients would simply enter their symptoms and health record into an online system, and doctors would use this information to send a diagnosis and, when necessary, a prescription.

Early reports suggest that such diagnoses were just as accurate as those given in person, although there are still some kinks that need to be ironed out:

Researchers analyzed some 5,000 doctor visits for sinus infections and 3,000 visits for urinary tract infection. Less than 10 percent of all visits were electronic. One possible e-visit drawback: doctors were more likely to prescribe antibiotics after an e-visit than a face-to-face.

But patients with an e-visit had just about the same rate of follow up as those who had an office visit. Which suggests that there was not a higher rate of misdiagnosis or treatment failure online. E-visits were also cheaper.

Detractors will note that this program only applies to relatively routine illnesses, but even so, this is nothing to sneeze at.

One of the primary goals of Obamacare was to cut down on the use of expensive emergency room visits for routine medical care, which was clogging up emergency rooms and leading to millions of dollars in unpaid medical bills. This looks like a much cheaper and simpler way to accomplish the same thing.

Naturally, we’ll need to see more studies before these programs can be rolled out on a national scale, but this looks like a good place to start toward improving the ! efficien cy of the health care system. Massive, top-down reforms like Obamacare get most of the attention, but it is smaller innovations like these will do the most to shape the healthcare of the future.

It also seems clear that letting consumers benefit from cheaper prices is a way to push the health care system as a whole toward less costly methods. E-visits for routine problems (and ultimately, perhaps, e-visits to nurses rather than to physicians) can offer better, faster, more convenient service at a lower price. Moving in directions like this is the kind of health care reform we desperately need.

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mf Online Doctors Sick Visits Could Be Coming To A Computer Near You

Source: Incentive Targeting

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Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 news No Comments

A Day of NYC’s Public Transport, Visualized

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5963851/this-is-what-a-day-of-nycs-public-transport-looks-like

Gripe and moan about it all you like, but public transport is a fundamental part of keeping any big city running—and this data visualization shows just how complex New York City’s public transit setup is.

Put together by YouTube user STLTransit, the video is a visualization of a single day’s public transit, between 4:00am and 4:00am. It’s made possible by the open source General Transit Feed Specification data from the MTA. Personally, I love the way that the routes become obvious as the city wakes up. [YouTube via Verge]

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Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 news No Comments

7 Retail Tricks Designed To Make You Spend More

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/7-ways-stores-make-you-spend-more-2012-11

black friday teens shoppingThis post originally appeared on Bankrate.com.

Today’s retailers have uncovered the science behind shopping. Your favorite mall stores actually hire such retail researchers as Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping.

Underhill has tracked hundreds of thousands of shoppers to study how they shop. “There is nothing random about how a store is arranged and designed. It is carefully calculated to appeal to you in every possible way,” he says.

“The stores have a plan, so you should, too,” says Dave Ramsey, best-selling author of The Total Money Makeover and host of a syndicated financial talk show on the radio.

1. Display ‘magic’

We can learn a lesson in Underhill’s book from a story told by a retailer about a tempting display of T-shirts.

We buy them in Sri Lanka for $3 each. Then we bring them over here and sew in washing instructions, which are in French and English. Notice we don’t say the shirts are made in France. But you can infer that if you like. Then … we fold them just right on a tasteful tabletop display, and on the wall behind it we hang a huge, gorgeous photograph of a beautiful woman in an exo! tic loca le wearing the shirt.”

Resist the urge: “Write a monthly mall shopping budget and stash cash in an envelope specifically for that purpose. When the envelope is empty, stop spending,” says Ramsey. “A written budget makes you think twice when you are tempted by impulse buys.”




2. BOGO and 2-fer deals

BOGOs (buy one, get one), two-fers (two for the price of one) and bundled-item promotions successfully tempt you into shopping more often and spending more to raise the store’s number of sales as well as ticket averages, or amount of each sale. T

hey’re not always a good deal for you if you’re not familiar with the store merchandise and its regular prices. “You’re not saving if you are actually spending more than you planned,” says Underhill.

Resist the urge: “Know your favorite retailers, brands, regular prices, promotions and discounts, and always check the clearance area first to find a similar item on sale to avoid buying two of anything and spending more,” says family financial expert Ellie Kay, author of The 60-Minute Money Workout. “Ask yourself, ‘Do I really need two sweaters or two of the same jeans?’”




3. The right aisle trick

“Retail shopping studies have found that most people turn right when they enter a store. That’s because the majority of the population is right-handed and right-oriented,” says Underhill.

Knowing this, stores highlight tempting new items and trends to the right of the entrance. You’ll find that the music is louder and the displays are brighter to attract you where you will look and turn first. This is also where the most expensive items in the store are generally displayed.

R esist the urge: “Shop with blinders on,” says Kay. “Stick to your list with the cash in your hand. Avoid credit card debt at all costs, and head straight to what you came for.”




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mf 7 Retail Tricks Designed To Make You Spend More