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Massive Data Breach Leaks Customer Names, Email Addresses

A cyber-attack on an online marketing firm has impacted a wide array of companies and customers in what could be the largest data breach in U.S. history. The online marketer, Epsilon, sends out more than 40 billion email ads and offers each year, typically to users who register with a company's website, or give their email addresses while shopping online. On Friday, Epsilon announced that a...

German Politician Exposes Personal Data Gathered by Cell Phone Companies

Looking for another reason to feel paranoid about your privacy? German politician Malte Spitz may have found one. Spitz recently sued his mobile provider, Deutsche Telekom, in order to obtain data that the company had collected on his own whereabouts. Deutsche Telekom complied, and handed over all the geographic information it had gathered over a six-month period. As it turns out, the provider...

Teens Not Interested in 'Liking' Brands on Facebook, Report Shows

American teenagers may spend inordinate amounts of time on social networks, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're more willing to 'like' brands on Facebook. In fact, a new report from Forrester Research shows that only six-percent of consumers between the ages of 12 and 17 are interested in interacting with companies on Facebook -- despite the fact that they represent the most active...

THQ's 'Homefront' Balloon Stunt Angers San Francisco Residents

Some San Francisco residents are upset about a promotional stunt that, in support of a video game, sent thousands of red balloons drifting across the city on Wednesday, some landing in the nearby bay. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, game developer THQ released the balloons, which had promotional cards from Gamestop attached to them, to promote its new game 'Homefront' at the Game...

Oh, Look: Apple a Big Winner in Hit Movie Product Placements

And the Academy Award goes to... Apple. Hollywood, that beacon of liberal elitism, seems to also embrace tech snobbery, so it's no surprise that Apple showed up in 30-percent of the 33 movies that hit number one at the box office in 2010. Impressive, unless you consider that this number has fallen from 2008, when Apple was in 50-percent of number one hits. (Perhaps its cachet was greater...

Frightened Dell Employees Call Cops on Horribly Misguided P.R. Campaign

We're comforted to know that we're not the only ones who get severely weirded out by overzealous P.R. people. Dell employees in Round Rock, Texas were so freaked out, in fact, that they recently wound up calling the cops on their own coworkers. Of course, they didn't realize at the time that the black-clad, mask-wearing men clutching "metallic objects" and barking orders at them were doing so as...

Kraft Kiosk Scans Your Face, Tells You to Buy Kraft Foods

Kraft Foods -- the manufacturer of such wholesome vittles as Oreo Funstix, Easy Cheese and Handi-Snacks -- would like to scan your face, and then stuff it. Hooray! Among other enormous and fantastical "innovations" on view at last week's National Retail Federation show was Kraft and Intel's 'Meal Planning Solution' kiosk. According to Fast Company, the kiosk scans your face with some kind of...

All Those Free Trial CDs Cost AOL Around $300 Million

In the mid-'90s, we remember being befuddled whenever we'd open the Sunday paper to find a CD emblazoned with the AOL logo. Were these people made of money? Were they really giving away compact discs?! As it turns out, yeah, pretty much. According to various former executives, AOL spent something in the neighborhood of $300 million to ship all of those discs....

DirecTV's Personalized Ads Guarantee Wall-to-Wall Cat Commercials (If You're a Cat Owner)

Targeted advertising is all over the Internet. Soon, it might be all over our televisions, too. As the Wall Street Journal reports, DirecTV is planning to launch, next year, a targeted TV ad service, which would feed personalized commercials to nearly 10 million homes. These so-called 'addressable ads' would be tailored to the demographics of each home. Dog owners, for example, would receive...

'Welcome' Groups for College Freshmen on Facebook Revealed as Subtle Marketing Scheme

Share High school seniors preparing to go to college next year may be tempted to familiarize themselves with their new schools and classmates on Facebook. But one collegial "welcome group" on the social network may not be what it seems. Certain Facebook pages advertise themselves as online forums for rising freshmen at various schools, including NYU, Pepperdine, Middlebury, Wesleyan and the...

Security Software License Illegally Shared 774,651 Times, Company Doesn't Mind

A single license for security software has been illegally shared more than 750,000 times. And Avast, the company that developed the software, isn't worried about it at all. The license, which was originally sold to a 14-person company in Arizona, popped up on file-sharing websites a year and a half ago. Since then, it has been shared 774,651 times, and is currently being used on PCs in over 200...

'Do Not Track' List Would Protect Consumers From Online Marketers

The FTC's 'Do Not Call' registry already protects more than 190 million people from invasive telemarketers. Now, the federal commission is looking to expand that concept to the Internet, with a proposed 'Do Not Track' list, unveiled yesterday. According to the AP, the new list would allow Web surfers to evade the radar of marketers who are trying to collect data on their online habits, and...

Massive San Francisco Touch Screen Makes Riding MUNI Palatable, Perhaps Even Fun

In the past couple years, the experience of waiting for public transportation has morphed into a daily opportunity to play around with the electronic device of your choice. And, for the next two months in San Francisco, Yahoo will be trying to take that experience one step further. As part of an ingenious marketing campaign called Bus Stop Derby, the search corporation has installed 20...

Hollywood Embraces iPad With Bandwagon-Hopping Gusto

The iPad has taken Hollywood by storm. And really, who's shocked? The Apple tablet is just expensive and exclusive enough to serve as a sort of status symbol for industry insiders who want to quietly demonstrate that they're hip to the latest tech trends. Bob Orci, one of the writers on the next 'Star Trek' installment, used the device in a meeting with producer J.J. Abrams in order to present a...

Apple Trademarks Extremely Valuable 'There's an App for That' Slogan

Score one for intellectual property and the closing of linguistic expression! Apple has been awarded a trademark for the phrase "there's an app for that" to the chagrin of unimaginative competitors and poor parodists. (Yes, we did it, too.) Just as Facebook has been trying to protect its brand from any company using either "face" or "book" in its name, Apple seems to think that anyone employing...