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Tech News: Fresh iPhone Rumors, New Rules Proposed at Facebook, and Gossip From Google

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Plus, Amazon is stepping up its government cloud play, and the VP of Android is leaving for a Chinese company.

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Facebook Has Proposed New Rules on How It Handles Your Data

This afternoon, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) proposed several updates to two of the major governing documents of the company, its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, and its Data Use Policy. Notably, these proposals are supposedly up for review by Facebook's users, but as Erin Egan, the company's Chief Privacy Officer said in a post, Facebook is "proposing this update as part of a settlement in a court case relating to advertising." Given that, will the company really be welcoming of constructive criticism?

Here is a breakdown of the updates:
  • The new section on ads reads: "You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content." So, everything you've ever uploaded can be used for advertising on Facebook.
  • In a change to data-usage rules, Facebook now claims it has the right to know what kind of device you are using.
  • Here's a new section on the sharing of data: "We may enable access to public information that has been shared through our services, or allow service providers to access information so they can help us provide service." First of all, that's a lot of service. Second of all, this mean that Facebook can send all of your public information to other service providers.
  • All legal action against Facebook must now happen in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, or in a state court in San Mateo County. This is merely an update of location: the previous rules stipulated all legal action be held in a Santa Clara court, but the company has since shifted its headquarters, necessitating the change.
For more changes, see the original Facebook post from Erin Egan here, and for analysis of what the changes mean, see this post on TechCrunch.

Amazon Is Getting More Serious About the Government Cloud

The US government is in the midst of a push toward the cloud, moving IT off of dusty old servers and onto cloud networks in order to cut costs and boost efficiency. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is becoming an increasingly integral part of that transition. On Monday, the company's Amazon Web Services opened a new office in Herndon, VA, less than 30 miles away from our nation's capital. Moreover, its only nine miles away from Amazon's massive US-East data center.

Additionally, on Monday the company made its CloudFormation tool, which lets administrators manage sets of related cloud services from simple-to-use templates, available for Amazon's GovGloud service. The makes it even more clear that Amazon is at the head of competition for offering the government simplicity, efficiency, and massive amounts of storage.

Amazon has several irons in the fire with the government. The company runs applications for the CIA cloud, for example, and is now challenging a Government Accountability Office review of its contract with the agency. The review was initiated by cloud rival IBM (NYSE:IBM), and the contract was initially top-secret. Amazon is also currently working with the Department of the Interior on its upgrade to the cloud.

Amazon, along with companies like Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), AT&T (NYSE:T), HP (NYSE:HPQ), and CGI Federal, has earned the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program certification, guaranteeing it meets the security and quality requirements to work with the government.

T-Mobile Employee Blackout Hints at New iPhone Release

The unofficial T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) blog TmoNews has reported that employees of the company are not allowed to take any vacation time over the weekend of September 20-22. It just so happens that is the same weekend that Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhones, the 5S and the budget 5C, are expected to drop, though no official announcement has been made. All of the company's workers may be needed to deal with high demand for the release. At least, Apple feels that way.

Both phones are expected to be announced at a special event on September 10; last year, the iPhone 5 was released at a special event on September 12. Additionally, the iPhone 5 went on sale only a few weeks after that announcement. Many analysts and bloggers are expecting the same for the 5S and the 5C.

The Vice President of Android Is Leaving Google for Chinese Manufacturer Xiaomi

With a post on Google+ (NASDAQ:GOOG), Hugo Barra, the vice president of the company's Android division, announced he is leaving his position to take a similar one with the privately owned Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi. In the post he said of the company that he will "help them expand their incredible portfolio and business globally." So ends Barra's three years as a significant member of the Android team; some rumors have speculated that his resignation is related to a personal relationship with a coworker.

And in other news from Mountain View's young and restless...

Brin and Wojcicki. Source: Therichest.com
Google Co-Founder and Wife are Splitting Up

Sergey Brin, the man who co-founded Google with Larry Page, will be splitting up with his wife of six years, Anne Wojcicki. Due to a reported prenuptial agreement, the divorce will likely not have any effect on the company. Additionally, sources have said that Brin, who is worth $24 billion, has become romantically involved with someone else -- another employee of Google. This split may throw one substantial wrench into the business: Anne Wojcicki is the younger sister of Susan Wojcicki, Senior Vice President of Advertising and Commerce at Google.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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