Internet search services provider Google Inc., US, has agreed to pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges. According to the charges, Google misrepresented to users of Apple Inc.'s Safari Internet browser that it would not place tracking "cookies" or serve targeted ads to those users, violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC.
The settlement is part of the FTC's ongoing efforts to make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to consumers, and is the largest penalty the agency has ever obtained for a violation of a Commission order. In addition to the civil penalty, the order also requires Google to disable all the tracking cookies it had said it would not place on consumers' computers.
According to the FTC's complaint, Google specifically told Safari users that because the Safari browser was set by default to block third-party cookies, as long as users did not change their browser settings, this setting "effectively accomplishes the same thing as [opting out of this particular Google advertising tracking cookie]." In addition, Google represented that it was a member of an industry group called the Network Advertising Initiative, which required members to adhere to its self-regulatory code of conduct, including disclosure of their data collection and use practices.
The FTC charged that despite these promises, Google placed advertising tracking cookies on consumers’ computers, in many cases by circumventing the Safari browser’s default cookie-blocking setting. Google exploited an exception to the browser’s default setting to place a temporary cookie from the DoubleClick domain. Because of the particular operation of the Safari browser, that initial temporary cookie opened the door to all cookies from the DoubleClick domain, including the Google advertising tracking cookie that Google had represented would be blocked from Safari browsers.
The FTC charged that Google's misrepresentations violated a settlement it reached with the agency in October 2011, which barred Google from – among other things – misrepresenting the extent to which consumers can exercise control over the collection of their information. The earlier settlement resolved FTC charges that Google used deceptive tactics and violated its privacy promises when it launched its social network, Google Buzz.
Professional information solutions provider Reed Elsevier has announced the appointment of Ron Mobed as CEO of Elsevier. In his new capacity Mobed will be responsible for all business units and shared services at Elsevier. He previously headed Elsevier's science and technology business.
Prior to joining Elsevier in April 2011, Mobed was with Cengage Learning, where he was President of the Academic & Professional group, and with IHS, where he was Co-President and Co-Chief Operating Officer and ran IHS' Energy division.
Y.S. Chi will remain Chairman of Elsevier and continue as Director, Reed Elsevier Corporate Affairs.
McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., US, has announced an exclusive licensing agreement with educational innovator Time To Know to develop an all-digital, data-driven differentiated teaching and learning platform for one-to-one computing classrooms. This partnership will combine McGraw-Hill Education's proven content and educational services with Time To Know's unique digital teaching platform to create an engaging, purely digital personalised educational environment for each student while keeping the teacher at the center of the classroom.
By partnering with McGraw-Hill Education, Time To Know – whose platform has been shown to increase students' academic achievement and standardised test scores in pilots in Grand Prairie, Texas and New York City – will expand its presence and reach in the US.
Time To Know transforms the classroom by leveraging technology to empower teachers with the digital content and tools that they need to be effective and successful in improving student performance. Time To Know gives teachers access to comprehensive core content that progresses through a research-based learning cycle of teacher-led exploration, student experimentation, and class discussion followed by differentiated and guided practice and application for each student. At the core of the online program is a virtual 'dashboard' that gives teachers a real-time view of each student's progress on assignments. This information enables teachers to differentiate instruction as soon as they need to and reach struggling students through personal intervention and digital resources before they fall behind.
Time To Know also uses technology to engage students through animations, hands-on exploration of key concepts through widgets and applets, and personalised practice and periodic assessment that leads to mastery. This unique type of instruction fosters engagement and active student involvement, which leads to deeper conceptual understanding of the material, and supports the Common Core State Standards' goal of developing critical, high-order thinking in students.
McGraw-Hill Education's Time To Know solution will be introduced for Grades 4-5 math and English Language Arts classes this fall. McGraw-Hill Education and Time To Know plan to expand their partnership to include Grades 6-8 math in the next year. All programmes will be fully aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Team members from McGraw-Hill Education and Time To Know will work collaboratively on product development, sales and customer support activities.
In order to ensure that educators make a successful transformation in their classroom, Time To Know and McGraw-Hill Education will provide substantial professional development resources through instructional coaches that will conduct in-class observations and training sessions in order to increase teacher effectiveness and transform the classroom.
Academic publisher Taylor & Francis has announced that it has been appointed to publish the South African Journal of Plant and Soil from 2012 together with specialist South African co-publisher NISC.
This new partnership brings changes including the creation of a new site for the South African Journal of Plant and Soil on Taylor & Francis' leading platform, where manuscripts are submitted online and articles published in both PDF and HTML formats in advance of printed issues. The first issue of volume 29 (2012) is now live on the site and more content, including back issues and new articles, will be available online shortly.
Readers will benefit from sophisticated tools such as RSS content feeds and social bookmarks to enable easy linking to blogs and reference management platforms, and will be able to access the journal readily through mobile devices. Back issues will be loaded to this site and content older than four years will be available on an open access basis. Authors will benefit from Taylor & Francis and NISC’s subject expertise in the areas of plant and soil science with high-quality production services, local editorial support, and dedicated marketing.
By way of the co-publishing agreement between Taylor & Francis and NISC, the journal will offer preferential, discounted regional rates, local and global customer service, and dedicated publishing and author services in South Africa and abroad, boosting the dissemination of the research regionally and internationally. The South African Journal of Plant and Soil is poised to fulfil its role as an African journal publishing research on fundamental and applied soil and plant science. With greater publishing, editing, and technological resources at its disposal through the new publishing arrangements, the journal will be further enhanced to make an essential contribution to the dissemination of scientific research and its application.
IMS Health, a US-based provider of information, services and technology for the healthcare industry, in collaboration with Ford Motor Company, has launched an enhanced Allergy Alert smartphone application. The app is accessible on the Ford SYNC in-car mobile device connectivity system, enabling drivers to obtain real-time, voice-activated information about local allergens to better manage their health condition. This marks the first in a series of IMS mobile applications that leverage advanced technologies to deliver real-time health and wellness information to consumers anytime, anywhere.
Through Allergy Alert's pollen index rating, users can obtain details on the severity and types of allergens they are likely to encounter and that may aggravate personal allergy symptoms. The app also provides asthma, flu/cough/cold, and ultraviolet ray risk indexes nationwide. Allergy Alert is currently an iTunes Top 100 healthcare app with more than 100,000 downloads and six million uses since its release in April 2010. Android versions of the app will be available by the end of this year.
IMS is uniquely able to integrate vast amounts of disparate data and provide access to timely, accurate information that ultimately can inform treatment decisions and improve patient outcomes.
The Ford SYNC version of Allergy Alert adds to IMS's growing portfolio of consumer-centric healthcare services, including leading healthcare websites Pollen.com and Azma.com.
UBM Electronics, a US-based provider of media and marketing solutions for the design engineering and the electronics industry, has announced that Mike Walsh and Prof. Rosalind Picard will deliver keynote addresses at DESIGN East, a design engineering conference and exhibition to be held in Boston in September. While Walsh is the CEO of innovation research lab Tomorrow and an authority on the digital future, Prof. Picard is the founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Laboratory.
Supporting DESIGN East's "Center of the Engineering Universe" theme, Walsh's exhibition opening-day presentation on Tuesday September 18 will blend multimedia video, high impact visuals and innovation case studies. These will be sourced from his experiences in global markets and research labs and applied to actions for engineers and the embedded design community. On Wednesday September 19, Prof. Picard's keynote address will provide an insider's view of a number of MIT programmes including the Things That Think Consortium and the new Autism & Communication Technology Initiative.
Stated to be Boston's most comprehensive electronics industry event, DESIGN East seeks to combine the Android Summit, DesignMED, the LED Summit and Sensors in Design events with UBM's flagship Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Boston. DESIGN East is also co-located with the Embedded Vision Summit, a technical education forum for engineers centered on embedded vision technology applications.
OCLC, a US-based non-profit, membership, computer library service and research organisation, has announced that the University library of Skövde has selected WorldCat Local as its new discovery service. University library of Skövde is the first university library in Sweden to use OCLC's integrated solution for discovery of electronic, digital and print materials. The University plans to complete the first implementation phase of WorldCat Local at the start of the academic year in September.
The University was looking for a cost-effective solution with an extensive central index and comprehensive coverage of its holdings to provide students with fast and easy access to the library's electronic materials - more than 15,000 e-journal titles and more than 70,000 e-books.
After the university's records are loaded into WorldCat later in the year, print and digital materials will also be available for discovery in one single search and result set together with electronic publications. In addition to the discovery service, the WorldCat Local solution also provides a knowledge base and link resolver.
The University library of Skövde is planning to translate the interface into Swedish, which will make the Swedish WorldCat Local interface available to other Swedish institutions and users that are part of the OCLC worldwide cooperative.
By loading University library of Skövde records into WorldCat, its students and staff get quick, easy access to these materials via WorldCat Local, and other researchers and students around the world have the opportunity to discover these materials via WorldCat.org.
Open access publisher BioMed Central, UK, has announced that it will present its second malaria conference, ‘Challenges in Malaria Research: Progress towards elimination' at the University of Basel, Switzerland from October 10-12, 2012. The publisher will present the conference in conjunction with its journals Malaria Journal and Parasites and Vectors.
With steps being made towards better control of malaria, this conference focuses on the eventual goal of eradication. Although malaria elimination is currently a possibility in some regions, worldwide elimination is a much bigger challenge that will require further research and progress in many areas relevant to the transmission of the disease. Each of the 10 conference sessions will deal with different aspects of research for elimination with the aim of bringing different disciplines together to generate new tools and strategies for fighting malaria.
Keynote speakers include Pedro Alonso, Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB), Spain; Simon Hay, University of Oxford, UK; Robert Newman, Global Malaria Programme WHO, Geneva, Switzerland; Nicholas J. White, University of Oxford, UK & Mahidol University, Thailand; and Teun Bousema, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK.
Registration for the conference is currently open. Details of the conference, provisional programme, and how to register can be found on the conference website at http://www.challenges-in-malaria-research.com/. Delegates are welcome to submit abstracts to be included within the programme.
The LibQUAL+ team has announced the availability of a few spots for the daylong workshop 'Working Effectively with LibQUAL+' on November 1, 2012, following the Library Assessment Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. Led by Raynna Bowlby and Martha Kyrillidou (Association of Research Libraries), this workshop targets recent LibQUAL+ participants, exposing attendees to the variety of ways one can approach and interpret LibQUAL+ data, and focuses on specific institutional results and analysis.
LibQUAL+ is a suite of services that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users' opinions of service quality. These services are offered to the international library community by the Association of Research Libraries. The program's centerpiece is a rigorously tested Web-based survey bundled with training that helps libraries assess and improve library services, change organisational culture, and market the library. This assessment protocol has been used by more than 1,200 libraries across the globe since 2000. LibQUAL+ is located on the Web at http://www.libqual.org/.
The deadline for registration is October 19, 2012. Interested parties may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Chris Merriman at (202) 296-2296 to register.