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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

Google is allegedly relaying your personal information to advertisers via hidden web pages, allowing it to circumvent the European Union privacy regulations, new evidence submitted to Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has revealed.

The Data Protection Commission began an investigation into Google’s practices in May after it received a complaint from privacy-focused browser maker Brave that Google was allegedly violating the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), CNET on Wednesday quoted a Financial Times report.


Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer for Brave, submitted the new evidence, and discovered that Google allegedly used a tracker containing web browsing information, location and other data and sent it to advertising companies via webpages that “showed no content”.

Ryan’s evidence showed that Google had “labelled him with an identifying tracker that it fed to third-party companies that logged on to a hidden web page”.

Google responded, saying it doesn’t serve “personalized ads or send bid requests to bidders without user consent”.

According to the Data Protection Commission, the purpose of its inquiry “is to establish whether processing of personal data carried out at each stage of an advertising transaction is in compliance with the relevant provisions of the GDPR.


FILE – The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

“The GDPR principles of transparency and data minimisation, as well as Google’s retention practices, will also be examined,” it had said.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday directed Google to pay a record $170 million over YouTube’s child privacy violations.

The settlement requires Google and YouTube to pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York for allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.

Also Read: Apple Set to Open its Largest Store in Japan

In a complaint filed against the companies, the FTC and New York Attorney General alleged that YouTube violated the COPPA Rule by collecting personal information — in the form of persistent identifiers that are used to track users across the Internet — from viewers of child-directed channels, without first notifying parents and getting their consent.

YouTube earned millions of dollars by using the identifiers, commonly known as cookies, to deliver targeted ads to viewers of these channels, according to the complaint. (IANS)


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Indian astronomers have found an active galaxy in a very bright state with 10 times more X-ray emission than normal

Indian astronomers have found an active galaxy in a very bright state with 10 times more X-ray emission than normal, equivalent to more than 10 trillion of the sun, and located five billion light years away that could help probe how particles behave under intense gravity and acceleration to the speed of light.

It could help study the role of strong gravity and acceleration of matter in the formation, interaction and evolution of galaxies in the early universe.

Every galaxy in the universe is believed to host a supermassive black hole at its centre. In some galaxies, the black hole is actively devouring a large amount of material and shooting a jet of plasma almost at the speed of light towards us. These are called blazars.

OJ 287 belongs to a class of blazars known as BL Lacertae objects which show very rapid and large amplitude flux variations but barely discernible emission line features.

This class of sources emit in the whole electromagnetic spectrum, a rather uncommon phenomenon which requires extreme physical conditions. Hence, a study of such sources tells us about the behaviour of matter in an extreme gravitational field where it is difficult for light to escape from the vicinity of the black hole.

Astronomers at Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, have been monitoring one such black hole system named 'OJ 287' since 2015. This source shows a repeated optical brightness enhancement almost every 12 years.

"The repeated optical enhancement makes OJ 287 very intriguing as this class of sources does not show any repeating features in flux variations. The repeated optical enhancement made the researchers believe that the system hosts a binary black hole," said a release from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In 2020, the source was very bright at optical and X-ray bands with X-ray flux more than 10 times the normal (non-active phase) flux. This flare was very different as it was not expected in models proposed for this source and thus, indicated a more complex system and physical conditions.

Investigating the extreme brightness shown by OJ 287 at optical and X-ray bands, astronomers led by Pankaj Kushwaha and Alok C. Gupta reported the source in a completely new spectral state.

The team argued that this change of state holds clues to the researcher's quest to understand how matter behaves in very strong gravity and how it accelerates the particle to almost the speed of light -- a feat that is out of the scope of even the most advanced CERN accelerator.

The research published in 'The Astrophysical Journal' tracked the details of changes in optical to the X-ray emission spectrum of the source with time from 2017 to 2020 -- after the second brightest X-ray flare of the source. It revealed how the source gradually started to change its spectral behaviour from mid-2018 to the new spectral state in 2020.

The study included data recorded by the ground-based facility operated by Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, operated Mount Abu observing facility in near infra-red bands and the space-based NASA's satellites -- the Niels Gherel Swift satellite at optical, UV and X-rays with gamma ray data from the Fermi satellite, the release added. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Science, NASA, Satellites, Black Hole, Gravity, India


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Tospread awareness about the significance of reading, Rachna Kalra, who hails from Gurugram (Haryana), started the Silent Book Club in the year 2019.

Who doesn't like reading, and that, too, reading along the company of mother nature? Well, this book club is truly a fantasy turned to reality.

As said by a regular reader at the Silent Book Club, “There is something meditative about reading. Sitting quietly with a book, without any distractions, is almost spiritual for me," this exactly is the case with many such readers.

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Ninety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year.

A Travel Sustainable badge, provides highly coveted information to travellers all over the world looking to make more sustainable travel choices. Booking.com has launched the Travel Sustainable Badge, a first of its kind in the industry, designed to be applicable to a wide range of property types, from apartments, B&Bs, and vacation homes to hotels, resorts, and even treehouses, and adaptable to local realities and considerations.

Ninety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year, and with more than 28 million listings on Booking.com, the company sees a huge opportunity to highlight more of the impactful efforts its partners are making to create more sustainable experiences, making it easier for travellers to find a sustainable way to stay.

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With 88 percent of Indian travellers indicating that they would be more likely to choose a specific accommodation that implements sustainable practices, it rewards and encourages providers to take the next steps on their individual sustainability journeys.

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