Google changes UK privacy policy, but avoids hefty fine

Google has been forced to change its privacy policy in the UK following a three-year investigation by the country’s data privacy watchdog—but the company has avoided a fine.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that Google was “too vague” when describing how it used people’s personal data and has ordered it to make substantial changes.

In March 2012 the company combined around 70 existing privacy policies into one. It was a move that caused concern amongst privacy advocates, who said that it was no longer clear how people’s data was collected and shared.

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Orchid mantis’ astonishing camouflage isn’t esp

In his 1879 account of wanderings in the Orient, the travel writer James Hingston describes how, in West Java, he was treated to a bizarre experience:

I am taken by my kind host around his garden, and shown, among other things, a flower, a red orchid, that catches and feeds upon live flies. It seized upon a butterfly while I was present, and enclosed it in its pretty but deadly leaves, as a spider would have enveloped it in network.

What Hingston had seen was not a carnivorous orchid, as he thought. But the reality is no less weird or fascinating. He had seen—and been fooled by—an orchid mantis, Hymenopus coronatus, which is not a plant but an insect.

We have known about orchid mantises for more than 100 years. Famous naturalists such as Alfred Russell Wallace have speculated about their extraordinary appearance. Eschewing the drab green or brown of most mantises, the orchid mantis is resplendent in white and pink. The upper parts of its legs are greatly flattened and are heart-shaped, looking uncannily like petals. On a leaf it would be highly conspicuous—but when sitting on a flower, it is extremely hard to see. In photos, the mantis is often shown in or next to a flower, challenging the reader to spot it.

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While You Were Offline: Taylor Swift Gets Hacked and Comcast Enrages the Internet

While You Were Offline: Taylor Swift Gets Hacked and Comcast Enrages the Internet

This week, the Internet abounded with important questions: How can someone who’s trademarking a random phrase not look like a villain in these days of information wants to be free? Why shouldn’t you piss off Comcast? Why are error pages the hot new thing on a certain website? The answers to all of these (and more) await you here, as we round up what you need to know about the last seven days on this wild wooly web.

The post While You Were Offline: Taylor Swift Gets Hacked and Comcast Enrages the Internet appeared first on WIRED.

Three Ways to Repurpose Your Old Smartphone

Most of us have old smartphones lying around, and while they might not be the latest and greatest anymore, the odds are also high that they’re functional and decently powerful. If you’ve been planning to ship them off to a used phone service but have never gotten around to it, there’s a better option: turning those old handsets into functional … Continue reading