- ES - Spanish court rules that links to p2p content are legal +/-
(EDRI-gram) A civil court in Barcelona has recently ruled against SGAE (the Spanish collective society of authors and editors) in a case brought against Jesus Guerra who was administrating a site with links to P2P content. SGAE accused Guerra of infringing copyrights by having reproduced and communicated to the public works owned by their constituency. The defendant argued that his website was a non-profit site only providing links that could be used by users only through eMule, a P2P application, to connect to other Internet users. No content was actually hosted on that specific website. The judge ruled in favour of the defendant arguing that linking "does not suppose distributing, reproducing or making publicly available copyrighted works." In the judge's opinion, the creation of an index of links is not an infringing practice as linking is an integrant part of the Internet.
- EU Demands Canada Completely Overhaul Its Intellectual Property Laws +/-
(Michael Geist) Late last year, a draft of the European Union proposal for the intellectual property chapter of the Canada - EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement leaked online. The leak revealed that the EU was seeking some significant changes to Canadian IP laws. Negotiations have continued and I have now received an updated copy of the draft chapter, complete with proposals from both the EU and Canada. The breadth of the demands are stunning - the EU is demanding nothing less than a complete overhaul of Canadian IP laws including copyright, trademark, databases, patent, geographic indications, and even plant variety rights.
- Michael Geist on ACTA +/-
(Surprisingly Free) Podcast by Michael Geist, Law Professor and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, discusses the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, better known as ACTA. The discussion also turns to secrecy and transparency issues with ACTA and recent efforts to shed light on the text of the treaty.
- UK - Anti-piracy firm defends net hunt +/-
(BBC) Net pirates could be cut off from the net under a new law Anti-piracy firm DigiProtect, which has teamed up with UK law firm ACS:Law to send thousands of letters to alleged net pirates, has defended its actions. It follows widespread condemnation of their methods, which involves mass-mailing alleged file-sharers asking them to pay a fine or face court. UK consumer magazine Which? has received complaints from people saying they have been wrongly accused.
- UK - Indexing company liable for users' infringement, says High Court +/-
(OUT-LAW News) A company which indexes and sorts postings to Usenet groups is liable for the copyright infringement of its users when they download films, software and television programmes, the High Court has said. Newzbin is a company that charged users 30p per week for access to its indexing and collation of media files posted to discussion groups on the Usenet system. It claimed that it did no more than a search engine such as Google and should not be liable for its users' actions but the Court heard that it told volunteer editors to carry out collating and reporting tasks to make it easier to download material and told them to focus their activity on films. Because of its knowledge of the infringements and its editorial involvement in making that infringement easier it shares liability for the downloading, the Court said. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation v Newzbin  EWHC 608(Ch). See also Why the Newzbin ruling helps web hosts.
- UK - Measures to Tackle Online Copyright Infringement: OFCOM Terms of Reference +/-
(OFCOm) The Digital Economy Act has created new responsibilities for Ofcom to adopt measures aimed at significantly reducing levels of unlawful file sharing via peer-to-peer online networks. The Act has set out two initial obligations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order to secure a coordinated approach, involving both copyright owners and ISPs. Should those initial measures fail to significantly reduce levels of unlawful file sharing the Secretary of State may require that ISPs implement technical measures against serious repeat infringers.
- UK - The legislative farce of the Digital Economy Act +/-
(Times) by Struan Robertson. The Digital Economy Act should never have been passed. Regardless of your view on whether copyright infringing websites should be blocked or infringing users cut off from the internet, this was no way to pass such a controversial and sweeping piece of legislation. It deserved proper debate and proper scrutiny but it received neither. see Digital Economy Bill passed by House of Commons (OUT-Law news) and blog post by Lilian Edwards.
- US - Anti-counterfeiting agreement raises constitutional concerns +/-
(Washington Post) by Jack Goldsmith and Lawrence Lessig. The much-criticized cloak of secrecy that has surrounded the Obama administration's negotiation of the multilateral Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was broken. The leaked draft of ACTA belies the U.S. trade representative's assertions that the agreement would not alter U.S. intellectual property law. And it raises the stakes on the constitutionally dubious method by which the administration proposes to make the agreement binding on the United States. The goal of the trade pact is to tighten enforcement of global intellectual property rules. The leaked draft, though incomplete in many respects, makes clear that negotiators are considering ideas and principles not reflected in U.S. law. ACTA could, for example, pressure Internet service providers -- such as Comcast and Verizon -- to kick users offline when they (or their children) have been accused of repeated copyright infringement because of content uploaded to sites such as YouTube. It also might oblige the United States to impose criminal liability on those who "incite" copyright violation. The draft more generally addresses "IP infringement" and thus could extend some of its rules to trademark and possibly patent law in ways that, after inevitable international compromises, will depart from U.S. law. It also contemplates creating an international "oversight council" to supervise (and possibly amend) aspects of the agreement. See also The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement by Margot Kaminski. See leaked text of ACTA dated 18 January 2010 (PDF) and in text format .
- Apple’s Plans for iPhone Location Privacy +/-
(New York Times) When Apple gave a preview of the next version of the iPhone operating system, OS 4, it was great to hear about the new features that could help consumers cope with the privacy and security issues involving location-based services. To make it clearer just how often approved apps are collecting data about users’ physical whereabouts, Apple will display an arrow in the status bar at the top of the screen, right next to the battery-life indicator, whenever a user’s location is being tracked. Mr. Forstall said users would also get “fine-grained settings,” akin to those provided for choosing how notifications are delivered, that will let you disable or enable location data-gathering on an app-by-app basis.
- CA - Reaching for the Cloud(s): Privacy Issues related to Cloud Computing +/-
(Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada) A discussion document. The term "cloud computing" is seemingly omnipresent these days – it appears in media reports, in business literature, in technology literature. At the same time, the term is so nebulous that many consumers may not be fully aware of what cloud computing actually is.
- DE - German minister pens open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, threatens to quit Facebook +/-
- Google Buzz Educates Teens About Privacy +/-
(Mashable) Google has released a new video aimed at teens about making Google Buzz a safer experience. The video was released in conjunction with the new Buzz privacy reset. This new focus on privacy and privacy options comes amidst class-action lawsuits and a request for FTC investigation regarding the service’s launch and explanation to consumers. Although aimed at teens, the tips are good for anyone using Buzz to keep in mind.
- Google rapped over privacy issues by 10 nations +/-
(BBC) Canada's Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has sent an open letter to Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt. The letter raises concerns about privacy issues surrounding social network tool Google Buzz and Google Street View. It calls for Google to adhere to a set of "fundamental privacy principles" when creating new services in future. Ms Stoddart's counterparts in nine other countries, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the UK., have signed it too.
- Google rolls out privacy reset for Buzz social network +/-
(BBC) Google has said that it will begin to roll out a privacy reset for its controversial social network Buzz. The search giant will ask all its users to confirm or change their privacy settings, starting on 5 April. The firm was forced to make a series of changes to Buzz just days after launch, following a backlash from users worried about privacy intrusions. The latest tweaks will also show every aspect of a user's profile, from public settings to the websites users are connected to, and who they are following or being followed by.
- Privacy and Control +/-
(Schneier on Security) In January, Facebook Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, declared the age of privacy to be over. A month earlier, Google Chief Eric Schmidt expressed a similar sentiment. Add Scott McNealy's and Larry Ellison's comments from a few years earlier, and you've got a whole lot of tech CEOs proclaiming the death of privacy - especially when it comes to young people. It's just not true. People, including the younger generation, still care about privacy.
- Privacy issues? Google engineers leaving Facebook in droves +/-
(TechCrunch Europe) There are concerns that Facebook, by default, now opts you in to allowing third party sites like Yelp to ‘personalise’ your experience, and there are questions about how much information is given away. The result is that lots of geeks are considering leaving Facebook, and perhaps even more interestingly, veritable droves of Google software engineers are among them. see also How to Opt-Out of Facebook’s Instant Personalization (New York Times).
- US - FTC seeks comments on Children's Online Privacy Protections +/-
(FTC) the Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on the costs and benefits of an FTC rule designed to protect children online. The FTC's Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule became effective on April 21, 2000. COPPA imposes requirements on operators of Web sites or online services that are aimed at children under 13 years of age, or that knowingly collect personal information from children under 13. Among other things, the Rule requires that online operators notify parents and get their permission before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children. It also requires that the operators keep the information they collect from children secure, and prohibits them from requiring children to turn over any more personal information than is reasonably necessary to participate in activities on their Web sites. In 2005, the FTC initiated a congressionally required review of the Rule, and after considering extensive public comment decided to retain it without change. However, the Commission believes that changes to the online environment over the past five years, including children's increasing use of mobile technology to access the Internet, warrant reexamining the Rule.
- Facebook puts faith in its software smarts to see off sexual predators +/-
(Guardian) Facebook has developed sophisticated algorithms to monitor its users and detect inappropriate and predatory behaviour, bolstering its latest raft of initiatives to improve the safety of its users. Having launched an education campaign, an improved reporting procedure and a 24/7 police hotline, Facebook told the Guardian that it has introduced a number of algorithms that track the behaviour of its users and flag up suspicious activity, including members with a significant number of declined friend requests and those with a high proportion of contacts of one gender.
- UK - Facebook accused of failing to report suspected paedophiles +/-
(Press Association) Facebook has not passed a single complaint about suspected paedophiles grooming vulnerable child users to police in Britain, according to Jim Gamble, who heads the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) Britain's response to safeguarding youngsters online. He challenged the company to reveal the evidence that its staff are working to disrupt devious criminals and bullies who lurk online. Mr Gamble said investigators received 252 complaints about sexual grooming, bullying and hacking from Facebook users in the first three months of this year. But the former National Crime Squad deputy director said none of these were provided by the company itself and some were passed through rival services. His comments were the latest salvo in an increasingly bitter feud over Facebook's refusal to add a "panic" button to its site's most popular pages. CEOP wants the button, which enables users to report abuse, to be given prominent use. Mr Gamble, is heading to a crunch meeting with Facebook bosses in Washington DC on Monday where he will call for them to break the deadlock.
- UK - Facebook announces new safety measures, but resists CEOP on safety button +/-
(Daily Telegraph) Facebook has opted against adding a safety button on each user's profile page, despite calls from a leading UK child protection agency, as it doesn't believe it is an effective way to encourage children to report abuse. It did announce a raft of new safety measures which it believes will be more effective in protecting children's safety online. Instead of the button, UK users under the age of 19 will now be able to click on the "Report abuse" link on each page and have the option to report the abuse directly to CEOP as well as to Facebook employees. The reason Facebook had not reported any abuse to CEOP direct was because it is a US based business and all UK abuse reports go straight to CEOP's US counterpart, the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Facebook also announced the creation of a new global 24-hour police hotline – which will be manned by Facebook and agency staff. Facebook also announced a five million pound investment in education and awareness relating to child safety online. It has also redesigned its Safety Centre adding additional resources for parents, teachers, teens and police to explain Facebook's tools for using the service safely. See also Facebook has launched a new £5m online campaign (Utalkmarketing.com).
- Facebook and Google Dominate Online Identity War +/-
(Mashable) A new study from OpenID company JanRain shows that users heavily prefer to use their Google and Facebook logins on websites that offer third party sign-in options. In many segments, such as media, retail and technology, Facebook outstrips other authentication services by a sizable margin. Still, for JanRain's entire client base of 170,000, Googlee remains the most popular login service overall, commanding about 38% of all user authentications.
- OECD - The Economic and Social Role of Internet Intermediaries +/-
(OECD) This report is Part I of the larger project on Internet intermediaries. It develops a common definition and understanding of what Internet intermediaries are, of their economic function and economic models, of recent market developments, and discusses the economic and social uses that these actors satisfy. The overall goal of the horizontal report of the Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy (ICCP) is to obtain a comprehensive view of Internet intermediaries, their economic and social function, development and prospects, benefits and costs, and responsibilities. This report was prepared by Ms. Karine Perset of the OECD‘s Directorate for Science Technology and Industry.
- UK - A quarter of internet users aged 8-12 say they have under-age social networking profiles +/-
(OFCOM) A quarter of children aged 8-12 who use the internet at home say they have a profile on Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, new Ofcom research revealed today. These sites have a minimum user age of 13. But 83 per cent of these children have their profile set so that it can only be seen by friends, and 4 per cent have a profile that can't be seen. Nine in ten parents of these children who are aware that their child visits social networking sites (93 per cent) also say that they check what their child is doing on these types of sites. However one in six (17 per cent) parents of this group are not aware that their child visits social networking sites. See report on UK children's media literacy.
- US - Teens and Mobile Phones +/-
(Pew Internet) Daily text messaging among American teens has shot up in the past 18 months, from 38% of teens texting friends daily in February of 2008 to 54% of teens texting daily in September 2009. And it's not just frequency – teens are sending enormous quantities of text messages a day. Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. Older teen girls ages 14-17 lead the charge on text messaging, averaging 100 messages a day for the entire cohort. The youngest teen boys are the most resistant to texting – averaging 20 messages per day.
- Young People, Privacy, and the Internet +/-
(Bruce Schenier) There's a lot out there on this topic. I've already linked to danah boyd's excellent SXSW talk (and her work in general), my essay on privacy and control, and my talk - "Security, Privacy, and the Generation Gap". Two new papers have been published on the topic. Youth, Privacy, and Reputation is a literature review published by Harvard's Berkman Center. How Different Are Young Adults from Older Adults When it Comes to Information Privacy Attitudes & Policy? from the University of California Berkeley, describes the results of a broad survey on privacy attitutes.
- Youth, Privacy and Reputation (Literature Review) +/-
(Berkman Center) Authored by Alice E. Marwick, Diego Murgia Diaz, John Palfrey, Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative. The scope of this literature review is to map out what is currently understood about the intersections of youth, reputation, and privacy online, focusing on youth attitudes and practices. We summarize both key empirical studies from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and the legal issues involved in regulating privacy and reputation. This project includes studies of children, teenagers, and younger college students. Due to language issues, the majority of this literature covers the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada.