Google tracks your movements, even when you say don’t

SAN FRANCISCO — Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.

An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used privacy settings that say they will prevent it from doing so.

Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.

For the most part, Google is upfront about asking permission to use your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to location if you use it for navigating. If you agree to let it record your location over time, Google Maps will display that history for you in a “timeline” that maps out your daily movements.

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects — such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the company will let you “pause” a setting called Location History.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.

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For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like “chocolate chip …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

H-1B use skyrocketed among Bay Area tech giants

Even as the White House began cracking down on U.S. work visas, major Silicon Valley technology firms last year dramatically ramped up hiring of workers under the controversial H-1B visa program, according to newly released data.

The data show the importance of H-1B workers to the tech industry, which has long lobbied to increase the number of highly skilled foreign workers. Menlo Park-based Facebook in 2017 received 720 H-1B approvals, a 53 percent increase over 2016, according to the National Foundation for American Policy, which obtained federal government data. Mountain View’s Google received 1,213 H-1B approvals, a 31 percent increase. The number of H-1B approvals at Intel in Santa Clara rose 19 percent and Cupertino-based Apple received 673, a 7 percent increase.

But the data lacks details that might clarify how the industry uses those workers: It does not indicate what kind of jobs the visa holders had, or in which offices they worked. And experts say the data also doesn’t show how many additional H-1B contractors tech companies may get from staffing agencies or outsourcing companies.

In response to this news organization’s inquiries, Facebook said it does not publicly discuss its use of H-1B workers or contractors. Google, Apple and Intel did not respond to requests for information about their use of H-1B workers or contractors.

The lottery-based H-1B, obtained by employers seeking foreign talent, is intended for highly skilled workers, and has become a flashpoint in the U.S. immigration debate. Tech firms have lobbied hard to increase the number of new visas beyond the 85,000 annual cap, while opponents point to reported abuses and claim H-1B workers take jobs from Americans.

Outsourcing firms, such as Infosys and Tata, have become particular targets of the administration of President Donald Trump. In a February policy memo, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration noted legitimate uses of the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

Mountain View office, hotel complex draws early tenant interest

MOUNTAIN VIEW — The brand-new Ameswell complex in Mountain View is being crafted to create a symbiotic relationship between its offices and hotel components, appealing to both business and leisure clients and offering a way to dodge after-work traffic, the project’s developers said Monday.

The $250 million Ameswell Mountain View project was bolstered by a $70 million construction loan that the developers, Broadreach Capital Partners and Rockwood Capital, obtained from Wells Fargo.

Now under construction, the development features a 220,000-square-foot modern office building and a 255-room luxury hotel the builders anticipate will work in tandem.

“The hotel is designed to be an amenity for the office building,” said Philip “Flip” Maritz, a Broadreach managing director who will helm the hotel part of the development venture. “It’s meant to be a great after-work place with a big bar and restaurant, meeting spaces, a swimming pool, fitness center, beer garden, bocce, volleyball courts.” Open spaces such as a central lawn and a forest section, also are attractions.

Some tech companies eyeing the development are already intrigued by the possibilities of leasing the entire office building. The triangle-shaped development site is bounded on the west by State Route 85, the north by U.S. 101 and the east by Moffett Boulevard, with an official address of 750 Moffett Blvd. Realty brokerage Newmark Knight Frank is seeking office tenants.

The Ameswell name is meant to evoke the nearby NASA Ames Research Center, launch pad for countless technology breakthroughs.

“The prospective tenants we have spoken to are very interested in using the meeting spaces at the hotel,” said John Foster, a managing partner with Broadreach. “We think there is a real symbiotic relationship between the office building and the hotel. The hotel will serve a business function and a social function.” The hotel is due to open in 2020.

For Silicon Valley companies, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

Fact Check: Trump’s economic fiction, Russia and California Wilfires

By HOPE YEN and CHRISTOPHER RUGABER | The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is distorting the truth on U.S. economic growth and jobs, pointing to record-breaking figures that don’t exist and not telling the full story on black unemployment.

He cites the highest-ever gross domestic product for the U.S. that’s not there and predicts a spectacular 5 percent annual growth rate in the current quarter that hardly any economist sees. On black joblessness, he boasts of a “new” record low, but the numbers in fact have recently ticked upward, with greater declines seen during the Obama administration.

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The statements marked a week of fiction in which Trump also made erroneous claims about the California wildfires and the Russia investigation and falsely declared that his tariffs on foreign goods will help erase $21 trillion in national debt.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders skimmed over the facts in asserting that his “Medicare for all” plan would reduce U.S. health spending by $2 trillion.

A look at the claims:

ECONOMY AND JOBS

TRUMP: “One new and great FACT — African American unemployment is the lowest ever recorded in the history of our Country. So honored by this.” — tweet Friday.

TRUMP: “I am proud to have fought for and secured the LOWEST African American and Hispanic unemployment rates in history.” — tweet Saturday.

THE FACTS: Not exactly. He omits important caveats.

Black unemployment did reach a record low, 5.9 percent, in May. That rate has since risen to 6.6 percent in July.

Despite some recent progress, the black unemployment rate is now nearly double that of whites, which is 3.4 percent. The most dramatic drop in black unemployment came under President Barack Obama, when it fell …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

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