As most of us know, if only from the movies and television, if not from personal experience, when you are arrested, you may have a mugshot taken. And, these mugshots end up in the public record. From there, it turns out, mugshots are ending up all over the Internet and, most relevently, on several websites whose sole purpose is to curate mugshots – and to charge the subjects of those mugshots if they want them removed. This can cause all sorts of problems for people who have ended up on the wrong side of the mugshot camera, as their mugshots are on the Internet even if they have since been found innocent or had the charges dismissed! In this age of routine Internet searches, imagine having that hanging over your head when applying for a job. Now a class-action lawsuit has been filed by attorney Scott Ciolek, on behalf of two named plaintiffs (Phillip Kaplan and Debra Lashaway), and suing five such mugshot sites – bustedmugshots.com, findmugshots.com, mugshotsonline.com, mugremove.com and justmugshots.com – alleging that such mugshot web sites infringe on the individuals’ “right of publicity”, a right which is intended to protect individuals from unpermitted use of one’s personality. (Public figures are often found to be exempt from this protection, such as in the now infamous case with Jerry Falwell.)
As the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) became more and more flooded with patent applications, what with the increase in emerging technologies, the dot.com bubble, the growth of Silicon Valleys, etc., to name but a few factors, they seemed to be unable to keep up with the glut of new patent applications and, many believe, their approval process became “approve them all, and let the courts sort them out.” Sort of the bureaucratic version of “kill them all and let God sort them out.” And to extend the analogy, a new St. Peter was born. Only, these entities were far from saints – in fact, they are trolls. Oh, excuse us – they are “Patent Assertion Entities”. Now, to be fair, there is a place for the legitimate Patent Assertion Entity (or “PAE”) – which is an organization whose business model is primarily the purchasing of patents and then the assertion of the rights attendant and pursuant to those patents. But many such outfits really do deserve the term “patent troll”.
Over the holidays many people seem to have either gotten notices of the Fraley vs Facebook settlement, or Fraley versus Facebook has otherwise been brought to their attention. Many people are wondering whether Fraley vs Facebook is a hoax, or hoping to find that Fraley v. Facebook is legit. Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s legit. Read on.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is gearing up to launch a children’s mobile game privacy investigation that is so massive, kids’ game makers, such as Mobbles, are hastily yanking titles before the FTC investigation becomes official. Mobbles was unofficially informed that their software is part of the some 200 titles being investigated in connection with accusations that they are storing the private information of its young users, including their locations.
Hunter Moore, the guy who invented revenge porn, is at it again and this time Internet hacktivist group Anonymous, specifically Kentucky Anonymous (@kyanonymous), has vowed to not let him get away with it in a campaign they’ve dubbed “Operation Hunt Hunter,” or, #OpHuntHunter. Despite the fact that he sold his original revenge porn website IsAnyoneUp.com, where users could submit naked pictures of others without consent, to an anti-bullying organization, and wrote what appeared to be a heartfelt letter apologizing for the mayhem his site caused, he told BetaBeat.com, “I literally had a half pound of cocaine on a fucking table with like 16 of my friends and we were busting up laughing taking turns writing this stupid letter.”
Most Facebook users have said something on their Facebook pages that they regret, but probably not many like Indian citizen Shaheen Dhada, who was arrested and faced angry mob riots in India over comments she made on her Facebook timeline. Comments that many charger were aimed to malign Muslims with the Shiv Sena party.
A Facebook hoax has, yet again, monopolized Facebook status updates, as panicked users have been advised, by the hoax, to declare copyright in response to Facebook privacy changes. Of course, if simply declaring something on your Facebook status made it so, then the color of your bra strap would have cured breast cancer, Casey Anthony would have been found guilty, and a simple relationship status change from “married” to “divorced” would save thousands in lawyer fees.
Update: We have just learned that Senator Leahy has withdrawn his support for the amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). He received resounding criticism from many groups and private citizens who felt that the revisions are unconstitutional and a gross invasion of privacy. In a series of tweets, below, Senator Leahy said that he did not support the bill amendments, and seems to deny that he ever did.
Google is yet again finding themselves in hot water as the Federal Trade Commission is poised to slap them with an antitrust lawsuit. The FTC staff recommendation for the antitrust lawsuit is not unexpected given the swift investigations of Google by California, New York, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. On top of the U.S. investigation, there is also an antitrust investigation of Google taking place in Europe.
Twitter has been ordered to turn over the deleted tweets of Occupy Wall Street protestor, Malcolm Harris, after he was charged with disorderly conduct during an Occupy protest. In a controversial move, presiding Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. demanded that Twitter turn over Harris’ records for the period of time during the incident because, Sciarrino believes, there are tweets that could be relevant to the case.
Be prepared for a series of virtual hand slaps if your ISP is saying that you downloaded copyrighted or infringing material or files. A “graduated response” program, aimed at cutting down on illegally downloaded files, was rolled out at the beginning of July and has drawn widespread criticism for both its intent, and execution. Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) CEO, Cary Sherman, is at the helm of a new initiative that aims to punish those accused of illegal downloading.
Every once in a while our U.S. Congress does something that renews one’s faith in our elected officials at the top. And this is one of those times. Following the damning expose last month in the New York Times, You for Sale: Mapping, and Sharing, the Consumer Genome, in which Times journalist Natasha Singer moved a rock and shed light on the fact that data broker Acxiom, and others like them, are amassing, collating, correlating and selling far more personal data about you – yes, you – than you can possibly imagine, Congress has with lightening speed (literally a few weeks) demanded that Axciom, and others like them, including Experian, Epsilon, Equifax, Harte-Hanks, Intelius, Fair Isaac, Merkle, and Meredith Corp., respond to a demand for information about just what information they are gathering on pretty much every American, and just where they are getting it from, among other questions. The letter was signed by Congressmen Edward J. Markey, Henry Waxman, G.K. Butterfield, Bobby Rush, Joe Barton, Steve Chabot, Austin Scott and Jan Schakowsky.
A settlement over the class action lawsuit against Netflix for privacy issues, which included retaining personally identifiable data with respect to customer video renting and viewing habits, has been reached, and if you are a current or former Netflix subscriber, you may have received an email notice of the class action settlement. The email, sent from “Online DVD Class Action Administrator”