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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 03:13 PM ET, 02/07/2013

Microsoft goes after Google on Gmail ads #thecircuit

Microsoft, Google in tiff over ads: Microsoft launched a new campaign accusing Google of bad ad practices on Gmail, backing up an old complaint about ads with a new study on users’ preferences.

Microsoft is taking the next step in its “Scroogled” campaign with the initiative, dinging its archrival for using algorithms to scan Gmail users’ messages and serve ads based on the keywords they find there.

As part of the campaign, Microsoft commissioned a study from Gfk Roper of how consumers feel about seeing ads based on what’s in their inboxes. The February study of 1,006 participants showed that a vast majority — 89 percent — do not think that e-mail service providers should be allowed to scan the content of personal e-mail in order to target advertising.

FTC goes after weight-loss “news” sites: The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that online marketers involved in 10 FTC cases who allegedly used false news sites to advertise acai berry diet supplements have agreed to pay more than $1.6 million in settlements. The FTC settlements require the 10 marketers to label their content as advertising and bars them from making further deceptive health claims.

The companies will also have to disclose any ties they have to merchants.

Sprint reports earnings: Sprint reported earnings Tuesday of a net loss of $1.3 billion on $35.3 billion in revenue. The company also said that most of its postpaid customers — 89 percent — bought smartphones.

The company sold 2.2 million iPhones, the best numbers it has posted for Apple since Sprint got the phone.

Android security: Android fragmentation isn’t just a pesky problem for Android users who want the latest features. It’s posing a big security risk to the whole ecosystem.

As The Washington Post reported, fragmentation is leaving the door open to hackers as consumers with devices running Google’s operating system often miss out on security updates to address the latest threats

The issue is that it’s not clear which company — Google, the smartphone maker or the wireless carrier that sells it — bears ultimate responsibility for the costly process of getting security updates to an Android device. Fixes to known security flaws can take many months to reach individual smartphones, if they arrive at all.

Yahoo, Google strike an ad deal: Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer is working with her old employer on an advertising deal. Yahoo announced that Google will be selling contextual ads — advertisements based on the content of pages rather than search queries — on Yahoo properties. It’s a deal expected to significantly help Yahoo’s advertising revenues.

Yahoo signed a search advertising deal with Microsoft in 2009, before Mayer was hired. She has not yet said if Yahoo will renegotiate that deal.

By  |  03:13 PM ET, 02/07/2013

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