Tag Archives: District of Columbia

AG Zoeller Announces Settlement with Google Over Privacy Settings

19 Nov

Gazette Staff

 

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced a multistate settlement agreement today with Google Inc. for allegedly overriding Safari’s internet browser security settings to collect valuable user information.

Through its DoubleClick advertising platform, Google generates revenue by facilitating the transmission of third-party cookies — small files set in Internet users’ Web browsers that allow third-party advertisers to gather information about those users, including, depending on the type of cookie, their Web surfing habits.

Zoeller along with the Attorneys General of 36 States and the District of Columbia accused Google of circumventing the privacy settings which would have blocked all third party cookies. Zoeller said the company’s actions were in violation of state consumer protection and related computer privacy laws.

“Google allegedly circumvented Safari’s default privacy settings – without consumers’ consent – to allow third-party advertisers to set cookies in order to better target advertisements to consumers,” Zoeller said. “Unsuspecting Safari users continued to believe that cookies were automatically blocked. Today’s settlement underscores the continuing need for states to ensure consumers’ privacy remains protected.”

Apple’s Safari Web browser generally blocks third-party cookies in its default privacy settings, including cookies used by DoubleClick to track a consumer’s browsing history. From June 1, 2011 until Feb. 15, 2012, Google altered its DoubleClick coding to circumvent the Safari default privacy settings, without consumers’ knowledge or consent, enabling advertisers to set third-party cookies on consumers’ Safari browsers. Google disabled this coding method in February 2012 after the practice was widely reported on the Internet and in media.

In order to resolve the allegations, Google agreed to pay the attorneys general $17 million and Indiana’s share is $354,573. Google also agreed to injunctive relief that requires it to do the following:

  • Not to override a browser’s cookie blocking settings without the consumer’s consent or unless it is necessary to so in order to detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues.
  • Not misrepresent or omit material information to consumers about how Google serves advertisements to their browsers.
  • Improve the information it provides to consumers regarding cookies, their purposes, and how they can be managed by consumers using Google’s products or services.
  • Maintain systems designed to ensure the expiration of the third-party cookies placed on Safari browsers while their default settings had been circumvented.

Indiana Housing Agency to Host Forum on Abandoned Homes

23 Oct
Gazette Staff


The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and a group of bi-partisan elected officials including Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and State Senator Earline Rogers will host a public forum to address blighted, vacant and abandoned homes.  The forum will be held October 28, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. and the public is encouraged to attend.
Public forum to be held October 28, 2013 at 6 p.m. in Gary.  The event will be held at the YWCA of Northwest Indiana, 150 West 15th Avenue, Gary, Ind.

The Hardest Hit Fund is a national program available in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Indiana was awarded more than $221 million under the Hardest Hit Fund and is targeting low- to moderate-income homeowners whose primary residence is in any county in Indiana. The State of Indiana, through IHCDA, is exploring the use of a portion of the Hardest Hit Funds to demolish blighted and abandoned homes that are beyond repair. The goal is not simply to demolish abandoned homes, but to stabilize property values in Indiana communities. The proposed partnership between IHCDA and Indiana municipalities would allow communities to demolish blighted properties and offer a variety of end uses for the newly cleared properties including green space and redevelopment. IHCDA, Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, IHCDA's Board Chair, Mayor Freeman-Wilson, Senator Rogers and Senator Merritt believe that the demolition of abandoned and blighted homes would be a significant step toward rebuilding Hoosier communities. Since IHCDA's announcement that it was exploring the use of Hardest Hit Funds to eliminate blighted and abandoned properties, many have expressed concern that doing so might detract from the mission of helping struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. IHCDA would like to reassure the public that it is committed to using the majority of Hardest Hit Funds to help individual homeowners in need. As of September 30, 2013, more than 2,250 homeowners have received approximately $24 million in Hardest Hit Fund mortgage payment assistance; and another $49 million has been set aside to provide mortgage payment assistance to approved homeowners currently enrolled in the program.
If you are unable to attend the public hearings, please submit written comments to feedback@ihcda.in.gov<mailto:feedback@ihcda.in.gov> by Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.