In major privacy win, US Supreme Court says cops need warrant to access cell phone location

In major privacy win, US Supreme Court says cops need warrant to access cell phone location

The decision imposes Fourth Amendment restrictions on the ability to conduct surveillance without probable cause.

Police will no longer be able to access cell phone location data without a warrant. That’s a ruling that the US Supreme Court handed down today, in a victory for privacy advocates. The 5-4 decision (.pdf) brings mobile phone location within the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

The underlying case involved a man named Timothy Carpenter, who had been convicted of armed robbery partly with the help of mobile phone location history that placed him at crime scenes. At trial, attorneys for Carpenter argued the location-data evidence should have been barred because it was obtained without a warrant. In denying the motion to suppress the evidence, the trial and appellate courts said that “Carpenter lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy in the location information collected by the FBI because he had shared that information with his wireless carriers.”

Illegally obtained evidence is supposed to be excluded in criminal trials, regardless of the actual guilt of the defendant. The reason is to create structural disincentives for police to violate people’s rights or otherwise break the law in seeking to apprehend criminals.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion, which was joined by more moderate and liberal justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. The remaining conservatives all dissented. Roberts said that “requests for cell-site records lie at the intersection of two lines of cases.” One of those pertained to an individual’s “expectation of privacy in his physical location and movements.” The second concerned “what a person keeps to himself and what he shares with others.

Original Article Here –

How to survive Google’s new local search world

How to survive Google’s new local search world

Google has made some significant changes in the area of local search. Contributor Wesley Young gives an overview of the important changes and shares tips on how to keep your local business visible in the search results.

Last month, I attended the Local Search Association’s 2018 annual conference (LSA18) and was overwhelmed at the helpful information shared by the experts who spoke. I’d like to share some key takeaways and offer some insights of my own on local search.

Local search must adjust

One of the main themes discussed centered around the fact that Google search today is less about displaying organic web page results and more about featuring Google products.

A typical query in Google search may bring back an abundance of Google-owned properties:

  • Paid listings and ads.
  • Knowledge panel.
  • Review carousel.
  • Local pack.
  • News carousel.
  • Images carousel.
  • Research carousel.
  • Refine by brand carousel non-Google SERP features.
  • E-commerce URLs.
  • Review URLs.

We are seeing result pages where Google features occupied virtually the entire page and organic web page results were barely visible.


Original Article Here

Single-Page Websites: A Web Design Trend Worth Adopting?

Single-Page Websites: A Web Design Trend Worth Adopting?

A few years ago, one of my clients referred me to a developer who wanted to partner with a copywriter. She would build the websites and I would supply the copy and SEO. Before we began our first project, I asked for a wireframe so I could get a sense for what each of the web pages needed to look like. I was shocked by what I received.

The website sketched out in the wireframe had only one page. There were six sections dedicated to the pages you’d find on a traditional business website—Home, About, Team, Services, Testimonials, and Contact. But each section of the single-page website was much smaller than I was used to, maybe only four or five sentences dedicated to each of the “pages”.

I had so many questions for the developer; the first of which was:


After I gave my brain time to cool down, I decided to look more closely at the website she was proposing and put together a list of questions that more practically addressed my concerns:

  • Did the client care about SEO?
  • What would this do to the website’s speed?
  • Would there be negative implications for mobile?
  • Wouldn’t the navigation be confusing for visitors accustomed to multi-page websites?
  • What about a blog? Didn’t the client mention content marketing on the phone?
  • Would this help or hurt conversions?

Based on my understanding of how websites worked and how users interacted with them, the choice to build a single-page website just didn’t make sense. It seemed unnatural and counterintuitive.

Original Article

Beyond keywords: What really matters in SEO content

Beyond keywords: What really matters in SEO content

Going beyond keywords to write high-quality content that attracts new customers and is SEO-friendly is the way to go, says contributor Jessica Foster. Here she shares eight ways to create content that satisfies people and engines.

Just when we thought the saying “Content is king” was gone for good, there it goes showing its sneaky little face again in the search engine optimization (SEO) world.

Bearing in mind also that “Content is queen,” it appears that content is, in fact, pretty danged important — so important that a new sub-industry has squeezed its way into the search engine world: SEO content writing.

Otherwise referred to as “SEO copywriting,” SEO content writing has a bad reputation for being chock-full of keywords and little else. Though this may be more of a stereotype than reality, there is something to be said for going beyond keywords to write high-quality content that attracts new customers AND is SEO-friendly.

What’s the deal with ‘high-quality’ content?

The focus is typically on “high-quality” content — a term that becomes more subjective by the minute. It leads to questions like

  • What really makes SEO content “high-quality?”
  • Is it measurable?
  • More importantly, can it be recreated again and again?

The standard formula of:

keyword research + good writing + on-page SEO = high-quality content

may not be the move anymore. It’s simply not enough. In fact, keywords may be even less important than we all think.

Original Article

Google rolls out new ID requirements for US political ads

Google rolls out new ID requirements for US political ads

Due to increased scrutiny of how these ads affect users and voters, company says more transparency intiatives are to come.

Google has issued new ID requirements for US political advertisers, according to a company blog post on Thursday. The post was attributed to Kent Walker, a Google senior vice president.

Google said it will now require political advertisers to provide a government-issued ID and other information to confirm they are US citizens or lawful permanent residents. The new rules also include a requirement to clearly disclose who is paying for the ad.

About a year ago, Google’s technology incubator Jigsaw published Protect Your Election, free election transparency tools geared toward users at risk of online attacks. On Tuesday, Google announced that Apple’s native applications on iOS devices, including Apple Mail, Calendar and Contacts, will now be supported in one of these tools, its Advanced Protection program.

The news comes in the wake of increased scrutiny of huge, data-driven companies like Google and Facebook, particularly as Facebook grapples with the fallout from allegations that it allowed data firm Cambridge Analytica to use its customers’ data to influence millions of users in the 2016 US election. Facebook has also introduced transparency tools for its political ads.

It also comes just ahead of increased data privacy laws in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a set of rules that affect the handling of European Union users’ data, no matter where it occurs, which is set to go into full force later this month.

In February, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) said it would consider additional rules and disclosure requirements for online political ads that would require online advertisements to carry the same disclaimers from their sponsors as do radio, television and print ads.

Future initiatives

Walker also said that Google will release a new election-ad-focused Transparency Report this summer. The report will list the buyers of election-related ads on Google platforms. The company also said it — like Facebook — will build a searchable library for political ads and advertisers.

Original Article Here