Category Archives: Internet

US Supreme Court to take on the patentability of software. Can the decision reduce the incidence of troll attacks?

Mathmatical algorithms are unpatentable. Software is a collection of algorithms expressed in machine code. Under current law, only software that involves a specific machine or physical result. The U.S. Supreme Court accepted cert in a case,  Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International (docket 13-298), involving financial software to mitigate risk in settlement transactions. The trial (...) [Read More]

Distasteful criminal case sheds light on liability for violent user generated content

A New York court convicted the “Cannibal Cop” trial in for conspiracy to kidnap, murder and eat women for pleasure based on postings made by the defendant on darkfetish.net. The defendant intends to appeal. The question on appeal boils down to whether the defendant’s online fantasy role play provided the mens rea (criminal intent) to conspire (...) [Read More]

User help thyself! Take control of your privacy settings and don’t post private content online

Keeping your Facebook images private is a confounding problem. Ask Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi who couldn’t make sense of  FB’s privacy settings. Kashmir Hill, a privacy commentator at Forbes posted a funny analysis of the Zuckerberg predicament and easy to follow directions on how to adjust your settings to keep family photos more private. The settings (...) [Read More]

Performance Artist FORCE Launches Spoof with Long Legs

A group of performance artists from Baltimore known as “FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture” took advantage of a much anticipated media event to bring attention to the importance of consensual sex. The VS All Access Victoria’s Secret fashion show is an such an event, gluing billions of eyeballs to its prime time telecast. For FORCE, the (...) [Read More]

Facebook gets a new groove: proposed updates to privacy and use policies

I guess we of Facebook Nation no longer “think” as one.  Last week Facebook announced proposed changes to its Data Use Policy (explains collection and use of data) and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (terms of use). As of November 28, Facebook will be able to change its policies with seven days notice to users. (...) [Read More]

Collecting children’s data without their parents’ permission earns the FTC a cool $1M fine from Bieber Fansite

Websites should consider treating children as an attractive nuisance. Even consider putting up fences to keep them out.  The FTC is monitoring many websites that attract children (even unintentionally) for COPPA violations. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, COPPA, requires websites to  obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from kids under age 13.  (...) [Read More]

@FTC: Google pays $22M for (unintentional) misrepresentation of privacy practices – no intent required

The FTC hosted a super fascinating Twitter “conversation” following its announcement of the $22 million settlement with Google over its privacy violation in overriding the Safari browser’s privacy settings without notifying users. FTC Department of Enforcement staffers  exchanged tweets with a few privacy-focused Twitter users. Many tweets focused on whether Google intentionally deceived users as to its (...) [Read More]

Children and Digital Advertising Collection Practices: FTC to issue new COPPA Rules

Does your website have a Facebook “Like” button? Is your website, mobile site or mobile app directed at adults but attracts children under age 13?  Pull out your pens.  The Wall Street Journal reports that today FTC is expected to issue new rules proposed last fall to protect children online and on mobile devices. The new (...) [Read More]

Maryland Employers Prohibited from Requesting Facebook Passwords–Does that include NCAA Coaches?

Maryland–cutting edge? After a contentious end of session, Maryland became the first state in the U.S. to pass a law prohibiting its employers to demand social media account information from current or prospective employees. April 9th’s Sine Die (the session is “without days”) dragged into a stalemate early Tuesday, forcing Maryland to pass a Doomsday (...) [Read More]

Social Media Users have the Power to Control their Online Privacy

The Wall Street Journal has an article about Apps this morning.  The paper has done a great job of revealing the so-called seamy underbelly of the online advertising world. Today the theme is that Facebook apps exploit users (and make Facebook million$) by collecting bits and pieces of personal data, details that alone do not (...) [Read More]