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The Circuit: Google given three months to change privacy policy in Europe

Google privacy policy: Google faces a possible fine from French authorities if it does not change parts of its privacy policy within three months.

Regulators from the French agency CNIL said Thursday that Google must clarify its policy to tell users what data it collects, its reasons for collecting it and how long it retains data. The search engine giant must also set reasonable limits for storage and get users’ permission to store cookies on their devices.

Google responded in a statement Thursday that its privacy policy “respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the authorities involved throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward.”

Apple trial wraps up: Apple’s e-book trial in New York City is set to wrap up Thursday, and the case not only has implications for the e-book market but also for other Internet firms looking to provide multimedia products to consumers, The Washington Post reported.

Antitrust experts say that the case will set an important precedent and possibly some first-time boundaries for Internet firms that are increasingly becoming the portals to online entertainment, the report said.

Attorneys will end three weeks of testimony with an estimated five hours of closing statements.

LinkedIn returns after ‘DNS issue’: LinkedIn’s Web site was inaccessible to some users Wednesday due to a “DNS issue,” the company said on its Twitter feed.

In an update posted to the company’s Web site, the firm said that the problems were not related to “malicious activity of any kind” and that the site has now returned to normal.

“We believe that at no point was any LinkedIn member data compromised in any way,” the firm said in its post.

Microsoft softens DRM stance: Microsoft announced Wednesday evening that it will change the policies regarding connectivity and digital rights management for the Xbox One console.

The changes, the company said, were in direct response to reaction from the gaming community, which responded badly to limits on how users could share games and that the console be connected to the Internet at least once every 24 hours.

The firm said that the console will no longer require an Internet connection to play offline Xbox One games and said that it will not place restrictions on players’ ability to share, rent and resell games.

FTC on patent trolls: Federal Trade Commission chairman Edith Ramirez said Thursday that the FTC should study the costs and benefits of patent assertion entities — companies whose main focus is on collecting royalties from patents.

She said she believes the commission should use its authority to conduct industry studies to look at these companies and added that the commission “stands ready to enforce the antitrust laws” as necessary when PAEs assemble patent portfolios in a manner that could harm competition and consumers.

“PAE activity raises tough competition policy and enforcement issues that defy a one-dimensional answer,” Ramirez said in prepared remarks.

Ramirez made her remarks in a speech at the National Press Club Thursday.

As The New York Times reported, lawsuits from these companies accounted for 60 percent of the patent lawsuits filed last year, up from 29 percent two years earlier.

On Thursday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sent a letter to the FTC urging Ramirez and the agency to be more aggressive in pursuing enforcement action against these firms and to create a Web site that would allow small businesses to report abuse.

Yahoo, Tumblr complete deal: Yahoo chief executive officer Marissa Mayer said Thursday that the tech firm has officially completed its acquisition of Tumblr and reaffirmed that the blogging platform will operate as its own entity.

As promised, Tumblr will continue to operate as a separate business, led by David Karp as CEO,” Mayer wrote on Yahoo’s own Tumblr page. “Their product roadmap, their team, and tone will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators and curators alike to do what they love best: create.”

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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