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Google’s Largest Privacy Settlement Is $391m

Google has agreed to a $391.5 million settlement with 40 US states over its gathering of users’ location data, the largest sum paid out by the internet giant in response to a privacy complaint. The settlement followed complaints from the states that Google continued to gather location data via a number of its mobile apps, even after users elected not to have their whereabouts recorded.

The inquiry, which was conducted by Oregon and Nebraska, focused on one of the most important pieces of data that Google collects in order to target its advertising. According to the charges, Google provided separate settings to restrict location data, which resulted in a separate setting called Web and App Activity collecting the data by default even after users turned off their “location history.” The claims spanned the years 2014 to 2020.

According to a Google spokeswoman, “consistent with recent changes, we have settled this investigation, which was based on antiquated product policies that we modified years ago.” In a blog post, the business also detailed a number of recent modifications that it said gave users greater control over location data. Other upcoming changes include a streamlined privacy “center” and simpler methods for deleting location data, according to the company.

The dollar rose against its rivals, but US stocks held steady as investors continued to assess the Federal Reserve’s prospects for interest rate hikes following comments from senior central bank officials. The S& P 500 was up 0.3% in afternoon trading on Monday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was up 0.1%, as investors dialed back some of the exuberance seen in a surge late last week fueled by better-than-expected inflation figures.

The lower-than-expected number relieves pressure on the Fed to raise its main policy rate by 0.75 percentage points when it meets next in December, after four such increases in a row in an aggressive drive to curb record-high inflation rates.

On Monday, Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard admitted that the US central bank still had “more work to do” in its fight against inflation, despite her support for lowering the pace of future rate hikes. She predicted that the Fed’s series of supersized interest rate rises would cease “soon,” but she stressed that a slower pace of tightening did not mean policymakers would abandon their attempts to combat price pressures.

Mary Daly, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, told the Financial Times over the weekend that the next phase of policymaking will be “tough.” The yield on two-year US Treasuries increased 0.09 percentage points to 4.41 percent, while the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes up 0.04 percentage points to 3.87 percent. When prices fall, yields climb.

The dollar index, which compares the US currency to six others, rose 0.4%, recouping some of its losses from the previous week. Amazon is preparing to make its greatest employment cuts in history as Big Tech tightens its belt. According to a person familiar with the company’s plans, Amazon wants to remove around 10,000 people from its corporate workforce as part of its drive to shed lossmaking or failing business areas.

The actual figure, according to the individual, was still to be determined. A 10,000-job reduction would represent around 3% of Amazon’s corporate personnel. It is part of an evaluation of the e-commerce and cloud giant’s performance led by CEO Andy Jassy.

Amazon’s business behind voice assistant Alexa was confirmed last week as one of the groups being investigated for cost savings. According to the source, job cuts are being evaluated “team by team,” with the first firings perhaps taking place this week.

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An Amazon representative declined to comment. The New York Times was the first to report on the amount and timing of prospective layoffs. The purge would be the largest in Amazon’s history and would be comparable to recent massive reductions at other technology companies grappling with falling stock prices. Last Monday, Facebook-parent Meta announced the elimination of 11,000 jobs, accounting for around 13% of the total workforce.

Amazon’s workforce is currently around 1.5 million people, with the great majority working in the company’s warehouses and other logistics facilities. While that employment base changes with seasonal demand — and more than doubled during the pandemic — Amazon corporate job cutbacks have been uncommon.

Fed Vice Chair Brainard supports a slower rate of interest rate hikes, according to Colby Smith in Washington. Even as she advocated for a slower pace of interest rate hikes, the vice-chair of the US Federal Reserve acknowledged the Fed still has “more work to do” in its fight against inflation.

Lael Brainard stated that the Fed should “soon” cease its series of supersized interest rate rises, having delivered 0.75 percentage point increases at each of its four prior sessions. “By moving at a more cautious pace, we’ll be able to examine more data and be better able to change the path of rates to bring inflation down,” she said Monday at a Bloomberg event.

Brainard, one of the Federal Open Market Committee’s more dovish members, was among the first officials to declare her support for a slower pace of future interest rate hikes. She emphasized the importance of considering not only the “cumulative” tightening achieved thus far, but also the lag effects of monetary policy changes on consumer demand, the labor market, and other indicators of economic activity.

On Monday, US stocks dipped and the currency rose versus its rivals as investors became wary about the Federal Reserve’s pace of interest rate hikes following comments from senior central bank officials.

The S& P 500 sank 0.4% in early New York trade, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1%, as investors grabbed profits after a rise late last week following better-than-expected inflation statistics. The adjustments come after the annual consumer price rise in the United States slowed to 7.7 percent in October. The reading reduces pressure on the Fed to raise its main policy rate by 0.75 percentage points when it meets again in December, after four such increases in a row.

Over the weekend, Mary Daly, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, warned that the next phase of policymaking would be “tough.” “You must be cognizant of the cumulative tightness that has already occurred in the system.” “You have to be aware of monetary policy lags,” Daly told the Financial Times.

On Monday, Fed Governor Chris Waller told a UBS conference in Australia that interest rates will “keep moving up” and “remain high for a while.” The yield on two-year US Treasuries increased 0.09 percentage points to 4.42 percent in government bond markets. When prices fall, yields climb. The dollar index, which compares the US currency to six others, rose 0.7%.

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