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    1. Differential privacy code removed from Chromium

      In a discussion on Hacker News, Jonathan Mayer pointed out that the differential privacy code was removed from Chromium. It looks like they finished doing this in February. I haven't seen any...

      In a discussion on Hacker News, Jonathan Mayer pointed out that the differential privacy code was removed from Chromium. It looks like they finished doing this in February.

      I haven't seen any announcement, discussion, or explanation of this based on a brief web search, so I figured I'd note it here.

      At about the time this process finished, there was a Google blog post about how they're still using it in other products.

      We first deployed our world-class differential privacy anonymization technology in Chrome nearly seven years ago and are continually expanding its use across our products including Google Maps and the Assistant.

      (If you read this quickly, you might think it's still used in Chrome.)

      Reading between the lines, I suspect that some folks at Google are still advocating for more usage of differential privacy, but they lost an important customer. Why that happened is a mystery.

      11 votes
    2. SCOTUS sides with Google over Oracle

      @SCOTUSblog: BREAKING: In major copyright battle between tech giants, SCOTUS sides w/ Google over Oracle, finding that Google didnt commit copyright infringement when it reused lines of code in its Android operating system. The code came from Oracle's JAVA SE platform. https://t.co/vAK7jMPa8e

      46 votes
    3. Ubuntu sends http requests to Google cloud, here’s a fix

      Ubuntu has this package installed by default: network-manager-config-connectivity-ubuntu It's only purpose is to provide settings for NetworkManager to send requests to...

      Ubuntu has this package installed by default:
      network-manager-config-connectivity-ubuntu

      It's only purpose is to provide settings for NetworkManager to send requests to connectivity-check.ubuntu.com , and based on the result (AFAIK) detect redirection by captive portals and open an ISP's page (think public WiFi, or hotel rooms, where you need to authorize to access the net).

      Well, connectivity-check.ubuntu.com is hosted on Google cloud (you can check that by running:

      dig connectivity-check.ubuntu.com
      whois [the IP from previous query]
      

      ), so by default Ubuntu sends requests to a Google cloud page.
      I don't say Google counts daily active Ubuntu users (because many of those have the same IP), or that Google actively logs and analyzes that data. But some of you guys may not like that behavior.

      So what's the fix?

      Purge the package

      sudo apt purge network-manager-config-connectivity-ubuntu
      

      If you do need a captive portal detection, create your own config file to query some HTTP (not HTTPS) page of your choice, in the example below I have a Debian page used for the same purpose. Use your favorite text editor to create and edit /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/90-connectivity-custom.conf :

      [connectivity]
      uri=http://network-test.debian.org/nm
      

      Restart NetworkManager

      sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager
      

      If you run an Ubuntu derivative, please report if you have network-manager-config-connectivity-ubuntu installed in the comments.

      11 votes