Today’s Cache | Google “Incognito” users lose appeal to sue as a class, Apple blocks email app’s update with ChatGPT tech, and more 

Updated - March 03, 2023 07:27 pm IST

Published - March 03, 2023 02:53 pm IST

A file photo of the Google logo at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

A file photo of the Google logo at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. | Photo Credit: AP

(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)

Google “Incognito” users lose appeal to sue as a class

Consumers suing Alphabet Inc.’s Google LLC. over its data collection practices have lost their appeal to pursue money damages as a class action seeking billions of dollars. Plaintiffs sued Google in 2020, claiming the company continued collecting data from users despite their use of private-browsing in Chrome’s “Incognito” mode.

Class-action status would mean the plaintiffs could pursue large-scale claims against Google as a group, as opposed to filing individual claims for monetary damages. Plaintiffs can still seek to revive their money damages claims when there is a final judgement. A jury trial is set for November.

Apple blocks email app’s update with ChatGPT tech

Apple Inc. has blocked an update to email app BlueMail, which uses a customised version of OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model. “Apple has blocked the BlueMail update and continues to treat BlueMail unfairly and to discriminate against us,” Blix’s Ben Volach, the co-founder of the app said.

Apple asked the company to revise the app’s age rating for those over 17 or implement content filtering, as BlueMail may produce content not appropriate for all audiences. “We want fair­ness. If we’re re­quired to be 17-plus, then oth­ers should also have to,” Volach tweeted, adding that many other apps that advertise ChatGPT-like features listed on Apple’s app store do not have age restrictions.

Some Instagram influencers found to be using bots to boost reach

Top Instagram profiles with up to 40 million followers were found to be allegedly using Russian bots to boost their presence on the image-sharing platform. Influencers were found to be associated with eco-conscious clothing, accessories, furniture, music industry, graphic artistry, fashion modelling, dance studios, events venues, health and beauty, and fitness brands.

Information on the use of bots by influencers was discovered when Zeus, an alleged Russian-language website that offers services enabling spamming and botting on Instagram was found to have leaked sensitive user data including private messages.

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