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”
If you were on the Internet in 2005 or 2006, you almost certainly also received spam for an herbal weight loss supplement called ‘Hoodia’, among others, and, if you received spam for Hoodia, then it’s also almost certain that Brian McDaid was behind it. In 2007, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) nabbed McDaid, a chiropractor from Thorndale, Pennsylvania, and charged him with false and deceptive business claims, and several violations of the Federal anti-spam law, CAN-SPAM.
It is one of the sleaziest, creepiest uses for a webcam and the Internet: spying on your room mate while they are having a close encounter of the intimate kind, and broadcasting the fact on Twitter and sharing it through iChat. But it is not a hate crime, even when you announce that you “saw him making out with a dude.” That is the finding of New Jersey Judge Glenn Berman, in sentencing Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail following Ravi’s actions, and the subsequent suicide of his roommate Tyler Clementi.
Myspace (yes, they are still around, believe it or not) has settle charges with the Federal Trade Commission over Myspace’s alleged misleading of their users as to how Myspace was handling user personal information. Put plainly, Myspace was sharing the personal information of their users with advertisers, but misleading users about how they were using their personal information.
The Lieberman Collins “Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act” (CIFA) – so designated because the proposed law is being sponsored by Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and co-sponsored by Senator Susan Collins of Maine and also Senator Tom Carper of Delaware (and perhaps, more strategically important, supported by the Obama administration), is intended to help tighten up cyber security and thwart cyber attacks. Ironically, however, say opponents, this ‘Internet freedom act’ means exactly the opposite for businesses, particularly businesses that are designated as “critical infrastructure” companies. That is because CIFA would mandate – require – businesses to meet a Federal standard of network security, and out of their own pocket. (The full text of the proposed legislation is below.)
A recent report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), following a 17-month investigation, reveals that, contrary to what Google’s position had been all this time, Google actually knew that their Street View drive-bys were sucking down people’s personal data through any open wifi routers that the Street View van encountered. And not just a little bit – but for nearly three years, between 2007 and 2010. Private data that was harvested from individuals includes email (the full text of!), passwords, sites visited, and other sensitive information. Until now Google had always maintained that they didn’t realize it was happening, and that it was an accident wraught by a single engineer at Google. Turns out that supervisors knew all along that it was going on. While the FCC concludes that Google did not break any laws, there was a heck of a lot of invasion of privacy going on, and, in addition, Google was slapped with a $25,000 fine for obstructing the investigation.
A Federal court in San Jose has rejected Apple’s request for a dismissal of the class action lawsuit against Apple initiated by an angry parent whose child was able to purchase $200 worth of in-app purchases through a free app. Garen Meguerian, the lead plaintiff in the case, says that his daughter was able to purchase the $200 worth of “zombie toxin” and “gems” without his knowledge or permission.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has fined game developer RockYou.com $250,000 for, among other things, failing to adequately secure their customers’ user data. While the FTC slammed Rock You for COPPA (the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act rule) violations, in part because RockYou collected information from children under the age of 13 without parental consent, the Feds made a point of noting that “the company’s security failures put users’ including children’s personal information at risk” while at the same time claiming that they had adequate security measures in place. Adequate security measures our foot! They stored their user data in plain – i.e. unencrypted – text! The FTC settlement and fine follows a 2 year investigation into the hacking of RockYou servers in 2009 which exposed the date of 32 million users.
Nearly ever everyone knows about the big bust in January when the Feds took down MegaUpload.com and had MegaUpload founder, Kim Dotcom (get it? Kim .com) arrested. MegaUpload was a file sharing site, where one could upload and download movies, television shows, and other files, and they were busted for piracy. The German-born Kim.com, the thirty-something year old who was born Kim Schmitz, was arrested in his adopted home of New Zealand, on Federal criminal charges. But some very interesting things about Kim Dotcom (who also has allegedly gone by Kimble and “Kim Tim Jim Vestor”) have come to light as of late. Kim, by the way, has a wife, Mona, and yes, her name is Mona Dotcom.
In a lawsuit that may have repercussions around the world, Twitter has been sued for defamation, based on its publication of alleged defamatory Tweets made by one of its users. The libelous Tweet was Tweeted by Australian personality Marieke Hardy, when she erroneously identified Joshua Meggitt as the author behind the ‘hate blog’ mariekehardy.blogspot.com, which was dedicated to, well, hating Hardy. [Note: The general difference between slander and libel is that slander is spoken, libel is written – so Hardy’s was a libelous Tweet, not a slanderous Tweet. Both slander and libel are defamation.]