A Baltimore law firm filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against Facebook Friday, claiming the social network illegally tracked user activity on the Internet.
In its claim, the law firm Murphy P.A. said the company “repeatedly ignored” warnings from a user who noticed Facebook continued to track users’ activities on the Internet even after they had logged off. Facebook finally confirmed the practice in Septmeber and promised to make corrections within 24 hours.
Facebook is in a quiet period ahead of its initial public offering.
“The days when online service providers can run roughshod over the privacy rights of their customers are over,” said Murphy, P.A. Founding Partner William Murphy, Jr. said in a statement. “Companies that operate commercial websites, such as Facebook, need to realize the public is increasingly concerned about its privacy rights. Perhaps even more importantly, there is a growing community of security experts and bloggers that is extremely savvy about internet technology and committed to ensuring that people’s privacy rights are respected and protected.”
Murphy P.A. partnered with the San Francisco office of Girard Gibbs LLP to file the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Google breaks ground today on the super-fast fiber optic network it plans to build for the lucky residents of Kansas City, Kan. They’ll get a 1 gigabit-per-second Internet connection, which will offer downloads 100 times faster than what most Americans get. Uploads will be a thousand times faster than average.
Kansas City won this privilege over 1,100 other cities in March 2011. Since then, Google and the city have been surveying, planning, and eating “way too much barbecue,” says Google’s manager, Kevin Lo. Today, they start laying cable. A few months behind the Kansas side, neighbors on the other side of the river in Kansas City, Mo. will get the hook-up as well.
How Fast Is Fiber?
Fiber optic cable contains a bundle of glass fibers about the width of a human hair. The fastest Internet connection on record was established by researchers at the SuperComputing 2011 conference in Seattle. They were testing ways to share the enormous amounts of data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Center for Nuclear Research. That connection reached 186 gigabits per second. Google Fiber is just 1 gigabit.
That’s not too shabby, though. Verizon’s FiOS network, which is among the fastest commercially available in the U.S., gets only 150 megabits per second. Google Fiber will be almost 7 times faster than that.
How Will Kansas City’s Fiber Work?
Lo says the network will use “thousands of miles” of cable. The backbone of the network will be built first, and then Google Fiber will be connected to homes around Kansas City. The cable work starts today after months of surveying and measuring, as well as some negotiations around how to use the city’s utility poles.
The Kansas City Star reports that Google and the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities had some disagreement over how the network would be hung on the city’s utility poles.
The Wyandotte County government wrote the plan with an unusual stipulation that Google would be allowed to hang its cables for free, using part of the poles typically reserved for utility companies to hang their own communication cables, not for third parties. Phone and cable companies typically use a lower part of the pole, and they pay a fee to do so.
The special installation for Google would also have required more specialized crews, so it would be more costly. The Star’s source says that Google will opt to pay the regular fees like any third-party provider.
Google says the later stages of this experiment will reach over 500,000 people. Google has promised competitive prices for residential Internet service, but it hasn’t been specific yet.
Why Is Google Becoming An ISP?
Google’s not just doing this to collect Internet bills from homes. When the Internet gets faster, Google’s whole business benefits. Google wants to test new, bandwidth-intensive “killer apps” to see what kinds of future services it can provide. But even for normal Web services, speed benefits Google. Put bluntly, the faster your Internet, the more Google ads you can see. That’s why Google search and the Chrome browser are so dang fast.
Google refers to this Google Fiber project as an “experiment,” so don’t get too excited about 1-gigabit fiber in your neighborhood just yet (unless you’re in Kansas City). But as Google said in its initial announcement, there are big implications for testing this out in the U.S. The country isn’t even in the top 10 for average connection speed. Google wants to push U.S. Internet infrastructure forward.
As for Kansas City, with these kinds of speeds, there’s sure to be a boom in next-generation Internet start-ups.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
As the holiday season approaches, Amazon has opened thousands of temporary positions for workers at its fulfillment centers in Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Nevada. These are hourly openings in picking, packing and receiving/shipping across multiple shifts. Eligible applicants must be able to stand and walk for 8-12 hour shifts and lift up to 50 pounds.
“We’re looking to hire smart and motivated people across the U.S. to help us deliver a great experience for our customers during the holiday season,” says Dave Clark, vice president of Amazon’s North American Operations. Each year, Amazon hires thousands of people to manage the variation in customer demand during busy seasons. It also uses these positions as a way to find full-time employees. Amazon says that more than 4,700 temporary workers have been hired full-time over the past year.
Here is the contact information to find out about these holiday positions:
“Amazon operates fulfillment centers in Whitestown, Plainfield and Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information, contact Integrity Staffing Solutions at 317-829-0032 or online at www.integrityjobsindy.com.”
“For more information, contact Staff Management at 1-800-394-6468, ext. 095-S21, or online at staffmanagement.greatjob.net (Media Code: 095, Job Code: S21).
Amazon’s Coffeyville, Kan. fulfillment center is operated by Amazon.com.ksdc LLC.”
“For more information on positions, candidates should contact the local staffing agency:
Campbellsville: Staff Management at 1-800-966-4813, ext. 090-S25 or staffmanagement.greatjob.net (Media Code: 090, Job Code: S25)
Hebron: SMX at 1-877-980-5627, ext. 203S or staffmanagement.greatjob.net (Media Code: BCR, Job Code: 203S)
Lexington: Integrity Staffing Solutions at 859-963-3753 or www.integrityjobslex.com
Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Kentucky are operated by Amazon.com.kydc LLC.”
“For more information on positions in Fernley, contact Integrity Staffing Solutions at 775-562-3705 or online at www.integrityjobsreno.com.
For information on positions in Las Vegas, contact Integrity Staffing Solutions at 702-824-9353 or online at www.integrityjobslasvegas.com.
Amazon’s fulfillment center in Fernley, Nevada is operated by Amazon.com.nvdc, Inc. Amazon’s fulfillment center in Las Vegas is operated by Amazon.com.kydc LLC.”
Happy holidays from everyone at ReadWriteWeb!
Kickanotch Mobile, a mobile marketing services startup based in the outskirts of Kansas City, announced today that it has raised $500,000 in seed funding. The round was led by six angel investors and “incentivized by” Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation, a private/public partnership created by the state of Kansas to promote technology-based economic development and support local entrepreneurship. The startup plans to use this infusion of capital to continue expanding its cloud-based technology and services, as well as its mobile platform, and to ramp up hiring efforts.
Kickanotch, formerly known as PRONTO! Mobile, launched its mobile application and mobile marketing platform services back in May to offer TV broadcasters, radio stations, publishers and corporations a way to increase brand exposure and better utilize mobile revenue channels and consumer engagement opportunities. The startup works with media companies and small-to-medium-sized businesses to design a custom mobile strategy, assisting businesses in the design and implementation of mobile apps and features that enable them to make customized (and engaging) advertising campaigns and mobile apps.
More specifically, Kickanotch allows its corporate customers to optimize and manage banner advertisements, as well as enhance their mobile presence and user experience with daily deal alerts, social media integration, QR codes, SMS and email marketing, analytics, and lead generation.
As mobile advertising is growing like wildfire and is expected to hit $20 billion in revenue by 2015, Kickanotch aims to not only help businesses design a great mobile app, but to also give them the tools to monetize and create an addictive mobile experience for their customers. Essentially, the startup wants to offer businesses a turn-key mobile monetization solution as well as a mobile marketing manager. Its “Platform Mobile Manager” is designed to do just that. The cloud-based software allows startups and corporations to manage ads, SMS and email advertising, and coupons — all from a single dashboard.
Of course, the startup has plenty of competition in the mobile advertising space, but its solution has already drawn more than 50 broadcast, publishing and corporate brands into the fold in only a few months, so there’s plenty of room for optimism. It’s great to see Kansas supporting and growing local technology companies. That’s just good policy.