Business briefs: Google, Microsoft target child sexual abuse searches

LONDON – Google and Microsoft have introduced software that makes it harder for users to search for child abuse material online, the companies said in a joint announcement Monday.

Writing ahead of a British summit on Internet safety, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said his company has fine-tuned Google Search to clean up results for over 100,000 search terms. When users type in queries that may be related to child sexual abuse, they will find no results that link to illegal content.

“We will soon roll out these changes in more than 150 languages, so the impact will be truly global,” Schmidt wrote in the Daily Mail newspaper.

The restrictions are being launched in Britain and other English-speaking countries first. Similar changes are being brought out on Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Google settles claims of privacy violation

NEW YORK – Google will pay $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to settle claims it violated consumer privacy by placing unauthorized cookies on computers using certain Apple Safari web browsers in 2011 and 2012.

The New York attorney general’s office said Google Inc. altered coding from its DoubleClick advertising platform to circumvent default privacy settings on Safari without consumers’ knowledge or consent. Altering the coding allowed Google to put DoubleClick cookies on Safari Web browsers. Google disabled the coding in February 2012.

Labor board finds merit in Wal-Mart labor rights complaints

WASHINGTON – Federal officials are prepared to file formal complaints against Wal-Mart for allegedly violating the legal rights of protesting workers last year.

National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin said Monday there was merit in charges that the retailer unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests over wages and working conditions.

Griffin also is ready to press charges that Wal-Mart illegally threatened, disciplined or terminated more than 100 employees in 13 states for participating in legally protected strikes and protests on Black Friday.

Senate panel expected to OK Yellen for Fed chairman

WASHINGTON – The Senate Banking Committee is expected to vote Thursday to approve President Barack Obama’s choice of Janet Yellen for chairman of the Federal Reserve and to send the nomination on to the full Senate.

The timing of a vote in the full Senate is uncertain because some senators have said they planned to hold up her nomination as leverage on other matters. But the Senate is eventually expected to approve Yellen’s nomination to a four-year term.

Yellen, now vice chairman, would succeed Ben Bernanke, who will step down when his second four-year term ends Jan. 31.

Origins recalling face cream due to mold

NEW YORK – Origins is voluntarily recalling one of its face creams after finding mold in it.

The beauty products company said Monday that it found mold in several products from one batch of its Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Mushroom Soothing Face Cream. Origins says the mold could heighten the risk of infection for some people, such as those with compromised skin, weakened immune systems or people who wear certain contact lenses if the cream were to get in their eyes.

Origins, owned by Estee Lauder, said no other products were affected.


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