Google Privacy Changes To Unite User Tracking Info, Yahoo Posts Tepid Q4 Earnings, Obama Announces Trade Practice Monitor

Breaking news from your editors at Fast Company, with updates all day.

Netflix Q4 Earnings Today. We’re just a few hours shy of Netflix’s Q4 earnings announcement. It is expected that the company will look to its recent expansion in non-U.S. markets–the U.K., Latin America, and most recently, Ireland–to up the mood and dispel queasy memories of the ill-fated Qwikster and dropping subscriber numbers in the U.S. Stay tuned for more details later today. —NS


New EU Privacy Laws Fine Cos. For Data Loss. The European Union has spruced up and upgraded their data privacy regulations, and spelled out stern penalties for companies who mishandle personal data. For example, companies can be fined up to a million Euros or 2% of their annual sales for processing sensitive data without a person’s permission, Bloomberg explains. —NS

–Updated 9:40 a.m. EST

O2 Found Sharing Phone Numbers With Websites. U.K. mobile service provider O2 is sending the phone numbers of its customers to the websites they visit on their mobile phone. The cause of the information breach is unclear, TheNextWeb reports. According to O2’s Twitter account, which has been slammed with irate customer tweets, the company is investigating the issue. –NS

–Updated 6:35 a.m. EST

Google Gets Better At Tracking. Google announced changes to its privacy policies, which includes combining the data it collects about users across all its services. It’s an extension of the kind of tracking Google already does–positioning Gmail ads next to related content on an email, for example. However, this move reaches across email, YouTube, and search services, and includes mobile location data when you log in via a GPS-enabled device, the Washington Post points out. This will give the company a nuanced picture of your movements on the web and in the world. Users will not be able to opt out of the changes, which will take effect on March 1. —NS


Yahoo Posts Tepid Q4 Earnings. New Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson led his first earnings call yesterday, announcing another slightly disappointing quarter for Yahoo. The company saw a 5% dip in income in Q4, and a revenue of $1.32 billion–13% down from last year’s figure. Thompson hinted that he might close some sections of Yahoo, but kept mum about any overall strategy changes to the company. —NS

Obama Announces Trade Practice Monitor. In his State of the Union address yesterday, President Barack Obama announced a new Trade Enforcement Unit that would watch over and prevent the illegal entry of counterfeit goods and software into the U.S., with China’s business practices as its first target. The unit would investigate “unfair trade practices in countries like China,” Obama said, adding, “There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders.” —NS

–Updated 6:00 a.m. EST

[Image: Flickr user nathanmac87]

Yesterday’s Fast Feed: Julian Assange To Host TV Talk Show, Google Reverses Real Name Policy, Orange To Bring Free Wikipedia To Mobile Phones, and more!