16 November 2010

16.10.10 Weekly Cyber-Law News Round-Up

Another exciting week in the world of cyber-law with BT & Talk Talk being granted judicial review in relation to the Digital Economy Act, many proposals for legal measures from the Commission/Parliament relating to data protection and privacy, and the Parliament`s objection to the use of trademarks as Adwords. CyberPanda wonders what the impact of this opposition will mean in practice when it comes to the laws relating to keywords. Here is my personal pick of the week:

·         Larry Lessig Calls For #WIPO To Lead Overhaul Of #Copyright System | IP Watch http://bit.ly/9qAHtp

·         Court Recognizes That DMCA Process Goes Against Basic Copyright Concepts” http://bit.ly/dos8eu

Digital Economy Act
·         Court grants fourth ground for Digital Economy review http://is.gd/h9rzM

·         Future of Digital Economy Act 'in limbo' until next year, say lawyers http://ow.ly/38j13

·         BT & TalkTalk granted judicial review of Digital Economy Act- what does it mean for file sharers? http://bit.ly/92lvxf
Data Protection & Privacy

·         Call to enforce EC strategy for data protection http://ow.ly/3a3IS #dataprotection #in

·         Summary of Draft Department of Commerce Privacy Green Paper http://ow.ly/3a2RK

·         Facebook, Background Checks and Job Applications http://bit.ly/9yyhN5 #privacy

·         Police recruits screened for digital dirt on Facebook, etc. http://usat.ly/avu0uQ #privacy

·         Swedes' emails to be stored for six months http://ht.ly/38lH2

·         Comparative Chart: Divergencies between Data Protection Laws in the EU. http://bit.ly/c0jbCp

·         Dangers of the Commission`s proposal to include the right to be forgotten in data protection laws http://ow.ly/38J6r

·         European Parliament proposes tough behavioural ad rules http://ow.ly/38j4c

·         Information Commissioner says new laws that impact on privacy should undergo post-legislative scrutiny http://bit.ly/cR1Jdj

·         ECJ holds unqualified legal requirement to disclose personal data on website violates right to privacy and data... http://j.mp/9nXWAC


·         Palestinian blogger arrested for criticism of Islam on Facebook - Global Voices Advocacy - http://goo.gl/qUao6 #censorship

Unfair Competition
·         European Parliament joins French traders in opposing use of rival brands as keywords http://ow.ly/39QkR

1 November 2010

Weekly Cyber-Law News Round-Up

What a week it has been!! Here are my personal picks of the highlights of last week`s news which relate to internet law. As always privacy and intellectual property issues are dominating the legal landscape of cyber-law news!

Intellectual Property
· Google clarifies AdWords policy to satisfy French competition regulator http://bit.ly/atAR6g
· Google's 'copied Java code' disowned by Apache #androidlawsuit http://ow.ly/32pPL
· Great and thorough analysis of Viacom v YouTube and impact of safe harbour #copyright #DMCA #Viacom= #YouTube #in http://ow.ly/30Jtk
· Google Goes After YouTubeSocial For #Trademark Infringement
· UK MPs question Google over Street View data breaches #privacy #in http://ow.ly/32pV7
· MPs accuse Google on wi-fi data http://bbc.in/aOjlTC
· FTC sends letter to Google - drops Google WiFi case, but tells Google its privacy processes are inadequate #privacy http://bit.ly/aPEQcL
· Google says its cars grabbed e-mails, passwords http://ow.ly/2Zpnj #privacy
· Italy Orders #Google To Clearly Label Street View Cars, Advertise Routes http://ow.ly/2Zpjn
· Regulators closing in on Google http://ow.ly/2ZsLf #StreetView #privacy
· Google investigated over household data privacy breaches by ICO http://ow.ly/2YLpq
· Turkey lifts two-year ban on YouTube #censorship #regionalblocking http://ow.ly/32pVY
· Great and thorough analysis of Viacom v YouTube and impact of safe harbour #copyright #DMCA #Viacom= #YouTube #in http://ow.ly/30Jtk
· Google Goes After YouTubeSocial For #Trademark Infringement
· Facebook app developers sold user info http://ow.ly/32q21 #privacy #in
· Facebook locks down private user data after app controversy #privacy #in http://ow.ly/32pSA
· Court Orders Disclosure of Facebook and MySpace Passwords in Personal Injury Case
· Facebook Allows Users To Turn Off Group Chat http://ow.ly/2ZpvT
· Firesheep Exposes Flaw In #Facebook Log-In Security http://ow.ly/2Zptw #security
Intellectual Property
· Facebook Files for #Patent on Inferential Ad Targeting http://ow.ly/30Jm8
· Facebook comes down hard on Faceporn for #trademark infringement http://ow.ly/2YLk2
· As LimeWire Shuts Its Doors, Other P2P Clients See a Surge in Usage #copyright #in #filesharing http://ow.ly/32pWO
· Limewire shuts down after receiving permanent injunction #copyright http://ow.ly/308HB
Other Intellectual Property News
· Twitter Issues New Guidelines for the Tweet Trademark http://ow.ly/32pXh #trademark #in
· Apple sues Motorola over smartphone #patents http://ow.ly/32pQH
· Taiwanese company threatens Apple with legal action over iPad name #trademark http://ow.ly/30J6r
Other Privacy News
· Berlin Privacy Commissioner Dix proposes principle of Anonymization and Pseudonymization. #OECD30 #privacy
· #EFF Urges EU Data Protection Authorities to Call for the Repeal of the EU Data Retention Directive http://ow.ly/2ZpfB #dataretention
Personal Jurisdiction
· Email and phone contacts help to establish personal jurisdiction in US case VEDICSOFT v. MILLENNIUM CONSULTING http://bit.ly/9lTaZ6
· Hoteliers Look to Shield Themselves From Dishonest Online Reviews http://ow.ly/2Zpq4
· Emergency Powers in Cyberspace http://ow.ly/32pRE #cyber-warfare
· US Air Force #cyberwarfare manual goes public http://ow.ly/2ZpiB

24 September 2010

Weekly Cyber-Law News Round

Wow this week has flown by so quickly: where did it all go?!! It has been quite exciting week in terms of legal developments in the area of cyberspace. The usual suspects are in the news: Google Street View, Facebook, piracy, and privacy. But it has also been a week of great significance for copyright laws in the UK (adoption of the Gallo report), and some surprising developments in trademarks law (woman claiming trademark protection for her name).

My pick of the top cyber-law news for this week in descending chronological order:

  • Google's 'Street View' banned for privacy invasion Czech Republic's privacy watchdog says Google http://bit.ly/cgJrA9
  • US Autodesk decision gives software company the tool to prevent the resale of licensed software by unauthorised third parties http://tinyurl.com/33u2bev #in
  • Google's new Transparency Report logs government requests for personal info, takedown requests and blocking: http://bit.ly/dueLKf
  • Lawyers Sued Over Blog Posts Criticizing Referral Hotline for Personal Injury Cases http://is.gd/flsUg
  • Woman Trademarks Her Name, Says No One Can Use It Without Her Permission http://ow.ly/2GSXx
Hope you guys enjoy the new weekly cyber-law news round!

22 September 2010

Mot du Jour: Pan-european Copyright Laws

The European Parliament has today endorsed the report produced by Marielle Gallo ('the Gallo Report'), a French MEP, on the enforcement of intellectual property rights ('IPR') in the internal market. It has recommended the creation of a pan-European copyright law which would tackle the issue of lack of harmonisation of copyright laws across Member States.

The Gallo Report has criticised the Commission for not assessing how the European legal framework could be strengthened in relation to cyberspace. It has asked the Commission to review the impact of the 2004 Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.

calls on the Commission to conduct "an assessment of the ways to strengthen and upgrade the legal framework with respect to the Internet".

The report, by Marielle Gallo, asks the Commission to review the impact of 2004's Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, and to propose amendments to it which would strengthen EU powers to tackle infringement. It has also highlighted the need to review the impact on the legal frameworks of Member States on reducing instances of infringement. This will be in line with the current negotiation of the Commission of the Anti Counterfeit Trade Agreement.

The Parliament is pioneered the creation of better legitimate online content markets to tackle the growing instances of online infringement. Thus the Commission will have to propose strategies (including legal and technological ones) to create such a market.

21 September 2010

A brand new day!

It is a brand new day in the land of CyberPanda! Since its inception, the design has remained pretty much the same but tonight, I felt a wind of change urging me to revamp things!! So here it goes...ta da.... the newly designed CyberPanda with all the latest mod cons in the blogging/social media world (and here a much needed /self-deprecating eye wink!). Let me know what you guys think and let us hope that CyberPanda does not experience the similar XSS exploit experienced by Twitter after its revamp this week!

A hop, a skip, and a walk away from this week`s hottest ICT law news!!

In an attempt to blog more regularly, I have decided to dabble with a few new things which will make the most of my tweets on @cyber_panda_ since I seem to tweet more often than blog lately!! Something about the convenience of a 140-word entry combined with a more pronounced sense of community!! Hence I have now generated the first edition of The CyberLaw News Daily which I am aiming to generate on a day full of important legal developments in the ICT field.

Furthermore, I will also publish a weekly round-up of ICT law news at the end of this week. So keep an eye out for this!! I have added new twitter features of the blog to synchronise my blog with my tweets on @cyber_panda_ . Hope you guys enjoy these new developments and let me know your thoughts!

14 May 2010

Facebook: the privacy backlash!

It was only a matter of time before Facebook`s numerous and worrying privacy changes attracted a number of complaints from its users and also from privacy bodies. The EU Privacy watchdog has now added its voice to the growing number of complaints and has stated that the recent Facebook privacy changes are 'unacceptable.' The complaint refers to the privacy changes made by Facebook over the course of the past year. In its statement, the Article 29 Working Party stated that:

"It is unacceptable that the company fundamentally changed the default settings on its social-networking platform to the detriment of a user...Facebook made the change only days after the company and other social networking sites providers participated at a hearing during the Article 29 Working Party’s plenary meeting in November 2009."

In its letter to Facebook, the Article 29 Working Party also added that default settings should protect users rather than expose their data. An interesting article from the New York Times this week showed that currently users have to navigate through 50 different privacy settings with an excess of 170 options to disable the default settings and protect their data.

The Article 29 Working Party has now added its voice to the criticism. It said that in its letter to Facebook it had emphasised that default settings should protect, not expose, users' private information. The Article 29 Working Party also addressed the issue of third party applications having access to users` data and the disclosure of third person data contained in users` profiles to other users.

Additionally, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has made a similar complaint about Facebook to the FTC on the ground that Facebook is engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices.

As a result of these complaints, Facebook is holding a privacy crisis meeting today although the company is downplaying the significance of the meeting. It remains to see whether the privacy watchdog will have enough clout to compel Facebook to change its privacy policy and whether Facebook acknowledges that it is not feasible for the user to navigate through so many privacy settings before having a decent level of protection for his/her data. In the end it will be a question of the clout of such privacy watchdogs, the extent of their enforcement powers, and whether such powers are enough to prevail over the current company`s business model in which disclosure is the norm as it ensures more revenue for the company via targeted advertising.

8 May 2010

Concerned about your privacy on Facebook: read ahead!

Comprehensive article by ZDNet giving detailed guidelines on how to protect your privacy on Facebook. This is a must read for any Facebook user concerned about his/her privacy since all the privacy changes of the past few months!

6 May 2010

Another security loophole...

It has been reported by BBC Technology that Facebook has at last sorted out its security flaws which permitted users to view who other users are chatting to or which friend requests other users receive. The chat facility was removed temporarily until it was fixed again and it is now up and running again. A few blogs such as Allfacebook picked on the flaws but avoided blogging about them to curtail mass panic until the flaw was pick. The flaw was first outed by the very reliable TechCrunch.

2 May 2010

Experiencing Facebook`s connected profiles first-hand: a tale of bewilderment and weariness.

Having just spent the past hour going through the maze of sorting out my Facebook profile page as a result of the introduction of the 'Connected Profiles' function, I am baffled... Baffled by the effort and time it takes to opt-out of any of the connections you do not want to make public (e.g. location, university etc), and baffled by how cumbersome it is to find out what the 'connected profiles' functionality is all about.

The help centre of Facebook has a section on Community Pages and Profile connections which is meant to guide the user gently through it all means and the impact of this new functionality on the privacy of the user. However, the section is not very user-friendly for many reasons. Firstly, you have to click on each question to find out the answer rather than all the answers appearing alongside the questions. This is very cumbersome specially as to find out what it is all about, you really do have to find the answers to most of the questions. Secondly, there is a line which appears time and time in many of the answers, almost as a sort of incantation: 'Connecting to Pages is now the main way to express yourself on your profile.' I have tried to find out what this means but to no avail yet: it sounds quite creepy actually!!!

If like me, you are sceptical of connecting to these community pages (and every user should be aware that many community pages are currently being under construction which means that there are currently no privacy settings for these pages: i.e. your data is out there for all to view!), then you will end up with a very boring profile page as mine: completely empty!! I am not even sure if I have a profile picture anymore!! If my current research did not focus on Facebook in part, this is the time where I would have said: 'Hasta la vista baby' in my best Arnie voice!

Timeline of Facebook`s privacy policy

Interesting article by the EFF on the eroding privacy policy of Facebook over the years @ https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-timeline

29 April 2010

Connected Profiles and Facebook

Certain worrying changes have been announced by Facebook at its f8 developer conference last week. Basically, Facebook is going to introduce a 'Connection Profiles' functionality which means that the information found on your Facebook profile page (e.g. location, interests etc) will be linked to the corresponding pages on Facebook (e.g. if London is your location, you will be connected to the London page on Facebook). Users who choose not to use this functionality will be left with the situation where their profile page will remain empty. Basically, only information which is linked via the 'Connected Profile' functionality will appear on the profile page of the user.

Facebook justifies the introduction of this new functionality on the ground of offering users more connections options and in particular the option to make deeper connections to things which matter to Facebook users such as interests etc. The real reason of course is that it means that Facebook will have access to users` data in a more focussed way (i.e. linked to their interests) and hence can make more revenue through targeted advertising.

There are two main issues raised by the introduction of this new functionality. Firstly, it will be imposed as a default functionality (i.e. if you do not opt out then this will be the default setting of your account). This of course means that users have the burden of having to understand yet again another functionality and evaluate whether or not they want to use this. However as past research has shown, Facebook users tend not to change the default settings for different reasons (e.g. lack of awareness, extra burden of having a specific setting for each type of data etc). So users will be increasingly at risk as they might choose to keep this functionality as a default option without being aware that this means that their data is being furthered distributed across the network.

A second important problem is that of choice. Although users are being given the illusion of having the choice here to opt out of this new functionality, realistically speaking, there is not much choice. If you opt out of the new functionality, then your profile page will be blank.

According to a FAQ from Facebook's Help Center:

"If you don't want to connect to any Pages, the corresponding sections on your Profile will be empty. Connecting to Pages will now be the main way to express yourself on your profile, and you can always edit your profile to remove specific suggested Pages that you don't want to connect to."

This new functionality will be launched fairly soon. It has already been launched in some part of the US. It would be interesting to see how users will react to this new change and whether Facebook will be forced to backtrack due to users` reactions as it has done in the past in relation to the changes to its privacy settings.