Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Over half of the world's internet traffic isn't coming from humans: AI & Law

Over half of the world's internet traffic isn't coming from humans:

"According to a new report from Imperva, more than half of all internet traffic now comes from bots — software applications designed to do everything from posting Pro-Trump messages on Twitter to crawling the web to deliver better search results.

Bots, these days, are capable of just about any repetitive online process humans are, and much like humans, they’re a mixed bag. Some are good, others are detrimental.

The good news is, good bot use grew considerably in 2016 while bad bot traffic remained the same." 'via Blog this'

Platform Regulation: How advertising fuels fake news | LSE Media Policy Project

How advertising fuels fake news | LSE Media Policy Project: "It could of course be argued that it was always the case that cheap, vivid-if-dubious content paid, which is why of course newspapers always published ‘fake news’ that would attract idle consumers standing at supermarket checkouts. But the new system bypasses the checks and ethical balances that had evolved in most Western press systems: freedom of the press was always subject to balancing rights, and self-regulation and professional ethics which encouraged accuracy and responsible journalism.

The platforms also benefit. They are dependent on consumers spending more time with sticky content, and also arguably benefit from the current power shift away from traditional news publishers. Ad agencies, ad networks, and the networks and service providers that provide net access to consumers all benefit.

There is a reason that the impacts are being felt globally and have even been linked to ‘post truth’ politics more generally: This shift in advertising models is not something that is happening at the margins: it is a massive structural change transforming media systems everywhere." 'via Blog this'

AI’s inflation paradox: FT Alphaville on AI and law

AI’s inflation paradox | FT Alphaville: "From a capital investment perspective that’s a message that asks: why invest in costly capital intensive equipment when it’s so much more cost effective to hire low-paid humans to do the same job? That business model is well exploited by technology companies like Amazon.

As argued on Wednesday, the idea society should fear the invention of robots which would displace humans from low-paid menial work is laughable.

Schumpeterian logic dictates that as long as overall productivity goes up — i.e. these robots are more cost-efficient to operate in that industry than humans — this sort of tech will help us create much more attractive jobs elsewhere.

But of course, if what we’re really doing is spending resources on technology for technology’s sake, which isn’t more efficient than humans at making the essential stuff, it stands to reason an ever greater number of humans must move down the job-quality chain (if not to subsistence-level work) to compensate for the deficit.

You could think of it this way: Allocating robots and AI systems to the luxury of knowledge work only demotes humans to having to do more of the menial work." 'via Blog this'

UK forced to derail Snoopers’ Charter blanket data slurp after EU ruling | Ars Technica UK

UK forced to derail Snoopers’ Charter blanket data slurp after EU ruling | Ars Technica UK: ""The European Court of Justice handed down a judgment relating to the UK’s communications data regime in December. The matter must now be considered by the domestic courts and the consultation on the communications data code of practice has been deferred until this has taken place," a spokesperson confirmed to Ars on Friday.

 A public consultation on the various draft codes of practice required to accompany the Investigatory Powers Act, colloquially known as the Snoopers' Charter, were published with a glaring omission: the blueprint for the home office's communications data code wasn't among the cache of documents released by Whitehall officials.

 Draft codes released back in March last year when the legislation was being scrutinised in parliament have now been "superseded" by those published on Thursday as part of a six-week-long public consultation, the home office said.

However, it was initially silent on why the communications data code had altogether disappeared from view. The missing-in-action draft statutory code should provide detailed guidance to government agencies and ISPs and other comms providers (collectively referred to as CSPs) "on the procedures to be followed when acquisition of communications data takes place," under the provisions laid out in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

Ars understands that so-called Internet Connection Records are yet to be captured by CSPs as required under the new law. It seemed clear that the home office had mothballed implementation of those provisions, following the recent ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union on the "general and indiscriminate" retention of citizens' communications data." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 27 February 2017

Cogent Accidentally Blocks Websites In Global Ham-Fisted Piracy Filtering Effort | Techdirt

Cogent Accidentally Blocks Websites In Global Ham-Fisted Piracy Filtering Effort | Techdirt: "Last week, reports began to emerge that internet users were unable to access The Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent-focused websites. Ultimately it was discovered that this was courtesy of transit provider Cogent, which was blackholing an undetermined number of IP addresses allegedly linked to copyright infringement.

The IP addresses in question didn't belong to the websites -- but to popular CDN provider Cloudflare. All told, Cogent's blockade impacted around twenty different websites -- but the impact was global, with ISP users worldwide unable to access these IP addresses if they traveled the Cogent network.

Initially, Cogent wouldn't comment whatsoever on why this was occurring, but later confirmed to Ars Technica that the company had received a Spanish court order (it's not clear if it's the same 2015 order demanding Cogent block access to music streaming website Goear.com).

Cogent was vague about the order itself, but did confirm that The Pirate Bay was blocked -- despite it not being a target of the court order. Subsequent routing checks confirmed the impact was global across Cogent's footprint." 'via Blog this'

How to nuke websites you don't like: Slam Google with millions of bogus DMCA takedowns • The Register

How to nuke websites you don't like: Slam Google with millions of bogus DMCA takedowns • The Register: "Which of course raises the question: Why? And the answer is three-fold:

1] There is no reason not to. Once a company has created an automated script to throw out URLs and send them automatically to Google, it is extremely easy and fast to do so. But perhaps more importantly, there is no mechanism for punishing abuse of the system. Companies can send millions of requests and there is no comeback. They can send millions the next day. And the next.

2] They will occasionally get one right. A 0.03 per cent success rate would ruin any other business, even spammers, but to IP lawyers, getting any positive result ever is a good outcome. Especially since they are paid by the hour.

It focuses Google's attention on specific websites. In one respect, Google is to blame for this abuse of the system. In talking about its system for handling copyright infringement and DMCA takedowns, the company's legal director for copyright, Fred von Lohmann, told a Congressional hearing on the copyright issue not only that Google "relies on copyright owners to inform us" of infringing material, but that "Google has been demoting sites based on the number of takedown notices they receive from copyright owners." It would have taken big corporations' IP lawyers about three seconds to realize that sending millions of requests – even completely fake ones – for particular websites was likely to achieve their main goal of downgrading them from the first few pages of a Google search. And so that's what they have done." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Op-ed: Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto is a political trainwreck | Ars Technica UK

Op-ed: Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto is a political trainwreck | Ars Technica UK: "Zuckerberg adds that he's thinking of creating "worldwide voting system" for Facebook users which could then be used as a template for how "collective decision-making may work in other aspects of the global community." That's a vague formulation. But coming on the heels of his comments about politicians with Facebook engagement, he sounds like he's floating the idea of turning Facebook into the infrastructure for managing elections.

For anyone who watched the way Facebook fragmented U.S. citizens during the most recent election, this is a chilling thought. But it also makes sense as a way forward for the social media giant." 'via Blog this'

Cloud industry body sets up new data protection code • The Register

Cloud industry body sets up new data protection code • The Register: "Data protection law expert Kuan Hon...said: "This is a very positive step. I hope that this code will be approved for GDPR purposes, whether by the European Commission or a national data protection supervisory authority, to enable transfers to adhering cloud providers, even if they are outside the EU, as well as to help evidence their compliance generally." 


Hon has called for the EU's E-Commerce Directive to be updated to address an anomaly which exposes infrastructure cloud providers to potential liabilities for unlawful handling of personal data by their customers, even if they are not aware of their customers’ activities. She said the anomaly will be more striking when the GDPR takes effect." 'via Blog this'

BMG Rights Mgmt. (US) LLC v. Cox Commc'ns, Inc., No. l:14-cv-1611, 2017 BL 44014 (E.D. Va. Feb. 14, 2017), Court Opinion

Bloomberg Law - Document - BMG Rights Mgmt. (US) LLC v. Cox Commc'ns, Inc., No. l:14-cv-1611, 2017 BL 44014 (E.D. Va. Feb. 14, 2017), Court Opinion: Copyright lawyers can be expensive...

"In this case, the jury awarded $25 million in damages for infringement. Separately, BMG incurred more than $10 million in attorney's fees" 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

3rd Annual Information Law Research Seminar: Prof. Roger Brownsword 29 March 2pm



The Right to Know and the Right Not to Know Revisited
2.00-4.00pm 29 March Freeman Centre F22
Abstract: In the context of the availability of non-invasive prenatal testing (and the upcoming report by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics on this topic) as well as the systematic genotyping of UK Biobank’s participants, this paper considers the plausibility, basis, scope, and weight of the claim that participants and patients have a right to know as well as a right not to know the results of the genetic analysis undertaken.
Bio: Roger Brownsword holds professorial positions at King’s College London and Bournemouth University, and he is Honorary Professor in Law at Sheffield University. Until his retirement in 2010, he was founding Director of TELOS, an inter-disciplinary research centre at King’s College London that focuses on law, ethics, and technology. He was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics from 2004–2010, he chaired the Ethics and Governance Council for UK Biobank from 2011-2015, he is a member of the UK National Screening Committee and, currently, he is a member of the Royal Society Working Party on Machine Learning. He has published more than a dozen books (most recently the Oxford Handbook on Law, Regulation and Technology [with Eloise Scotford and Karen Yeung]) and some 250 academic papers; he is a member of the editorial board of the Modern Law Review and (with Han Somsen) founding general editor of Law, Innovation and Technology. He was a member of the Law panel for RAE2008 and of the international Law panel for RAE2014 in Hong Kong.

Bileta Annual Conference 2017: deadline 31 March

Bileta - British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association - Annual Conference: "BILETA 2017 Call for Papers

The Law School of the University of Minho will be hosting the BILETA Annual Conference, held from Thursday 20th to Friday 21st of April 2017. The University is located in Braga, Portugal and offers a law degree and several postgraduate courses, including a Masters Course in Law and Informatics and a LL.M. in European and Transglobal Business Law.

The theme of the conference is: International perspectives on emerging challenges in Law, Technology and Education.

Postgraduate students have the opportunity to enter our two postgrad competitions. You need to submit a full paper (6-10,000 words) by the deadline of the 31st of March.

Three papers will be chosen to compete for the Google award, which will involve defending your work in a session at the conference and a public vote.

The remaining papers will go forward for the BILETA award, to be selected by the BILETA Exec. Please indicate on submission of your abstract whether you aim to enter the competitions. Even if you do not wish to enter the competitions, please could all postgrad students indicate their status on the submission of the abstract.

In order to enter, full papers need to be submitted by March 31st 2017.

Abstracts of around 400-500 words are welcome on any area relating to the conference theme" 'via Blog this'

Information Law Group 2nd annual Work in Progress Workshop 3 May



The workshop, chaired by Professor Chris Marsden, will provide an opportunity to discuss current research and receive feedback from senior scholars in a highly focused, informal environment. The event will be held in conjunction with the PhD Workshop on digital intermediary law.
Logistics: to be held 2pm-5.30pm 3 May F22, Freeman Building, University of Sussex.
Financial Support: Information Law Group can repay economy class rail fares within the UK. Please inform the organizers if you need financial assistance.
Work in Progress Workshop Programme
2-3.30pm Challenges to Competition Law in Information Markets
Chair: Dr Judith Townend, University of Sussex
Dr Nico Zingales, University of Sussex
Dr Konstantina Bania, European Broadcasting Union, TILEC Tilburg
Dr Konstantinos Stylianou, University of Leeds
Discussant: Professor Chris Marsden, University of Sussex
4-5.30pm Intermediary Platform Responsibility
Chair: Professor Chris Marsden, University of Sussex
Dr Andres Guadamuz, University of Sussex
Dr David Erdos, University of Cambridge
Discussant: Dr Orla Lynskey, London School of Economics

Call for papers: critical research in information law DEADLINE 15 MARCH

The Information Law Group at the University of Sussex is pleased to announce its annual PhD and Work in Progress Workshop on 3 May 2017. The workshop, chaired by Professor Chris Marsden, will provide doctoral students with an opportunity to discuss current research and receive feedback from senior scholars in a highly focused, informal environment. The event will be held in conjunction with the Work in Progress Workshop on digital intermediary law.
We encourage original contributions critically approaching current information law and policy issues, with particular attention on the peculiarities of information law as a field of research. Topics of interest include:
  • -        internet intermediary liability
  • -        net neutrality and media regulation
  • -        surveillance and data regulation
  • -        3D printing
  • -        the EU General Data Protection Regulation
  • -        blockchain technology
  • -        algorithmic/AI/robotic regulation
  • -        Platform neutrality, ‘fake news’ and ‘anti-extremism’ policy.
How to apply: Please send an abstract of 500 words and brief biographical information to Dr Nicolo Zingales  by 15 March 2017. Applicants will be informed by 30 March 2017 if selected. Submission of draft papers by selected applicants is encouraged, but not required.
Logistics: 11am-1pm 3 May in the Moot Room, Freeman Building,University of Sussex.
Afternoon Workshop: all PhD attendees are registered to attend the afternoon workshop 2pm-5.30pm F22 without charge (programme here).
Financial Support: Information Law Group can repay economy class rail fares within the UK. Please inform the organizers if you need financial assistance.

Monday, 20 February 2017

SCL University Ambassadors

SCL: SCL University Ambassadors:

"Free student access to the entire content of this site: This includes our considerable archive of news items, articles, blogs, event podcasts, CPD and more.

Students can also gain free access the ePub version of the C&L Magazine – this is published 6 times a year exclusively for SCL members. 

 Students are also able to attend all SCL events at concessionary rates. We have an exciting range of seminars, meetings and conferences covering all the key IT Law topics with prestigious speakers and the opportunity to meet potential future employers and thought-leaders in the IT Law sector." 'via Blog this'

SCL Student Essay Prize 2017

SCL: SCL Student Essay Prize 2017: "A maximum of 2,500 words of text (and a minimum of 1,500), plus up to 500 words for citations (but not any further descriptive or explanatory material, so no padding your essay with footnotes).

 Full competition rules are available appear at the bottom of this page.

 The closing date for entries is 17.00 hours on Friday 12th May 2017. 

We look forward to receiving your entry!" 'via Blog this'

TALK: ‘The evolution of multi-stakeholder governance: the ICANN community’s experience in the IANA stewardship transition process’

Queen Mary, University of London, Friday 24 February, starting at 1700. 
(address: 67 - 69 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JB)
Synopsis: This discussion will be illustrated by Jean-Jacques sharing his thoughts and experience on the recent process of transitioning the oversight of the so-called ‘IANA functions’, operated by ICANN, from the US Government to the global multi-stakeholder community. 
This global process, which concluded on 30 September 2016, involved hundreds of participants from across a range of stakeholder groups. Discussions touched on some of the larger questions in Internet Governance today, from the acceptance and legitimacy of the multi-stakeholder model, to accountability and good governance, the intersection of local and international laws and norms, and more.

The meeting is open to all, but for numbers/planning purposes please send email to adam.peake@icann.org if you are interested in attending.

Search engines and creative industries sign anti-piracy agreement - Press releases - GOV.UK

Search engines and creative industries sign anti-piracy agreement - Press releases - GOV.UK: "Representatives from the creative industries, leading UK search engines, and the IPO developed a Voluntary Code of Practice dedicated to the removal of links to infringing content from the first page of search results.

 The Code agreed on 9 February 2017 will come into force immediately, and sets targets for reducing the visibility of infringing content in search results by 1 June 2017.

 Minister of State Jo Johnson MP will oversee the implementation of this Code of Practice, and the IPO will work with all parties to evaluate progress." 'via Blog this'

WhatsApp sued by German watchdog group over privacy - CNET

WhatsApp sued by German watchdog group over privacy - CNET: "In September, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing WhatsApp data from Germany's 35 million users. In December, the European Commission sent a statement of objections to Facebook alleging the world's largest social network gave "incorrect or misleading information" about the possibility of linking users' accounts during a 2014 review of its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp.

 Now the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband, or VZBV) is asking the Berlin county court for an injunction to stop the data sharing, and to force Facebook to delete any data WhatsApp has given it. The VZBV accused the companies of abusing users' trust." 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 18 February 2017

International Reactions to U.S. Cybersecurity Policy: The BRICS undersea cable

International Reactions to U.S. Cybersecurity Policy: The BRICS undersea cable - The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies: "BRICS nations have made significant progress in the institutionalization of their discussions surrounding Internet governance. However, no tangible agreements have emerged from these meetings. The BRICS nations agree that an Internet code of conduct must be developed, but they cannot agree upon what this code should include.

In fact, these meetings have recently produced more intra-bloc disconnect than political harmonization. At the 2015 BRICS summit in Ufa, Russia, India announced its “Indian Vision for the Internet.” India announced its desire to move from state-led Internet governance to a more multi-stakeholder perspective. India’s stance angered Russia, who traditionally views India as a political ally both within the BRICS bloc and outside it.

 Therefore, although the BRICS are united in their desire for alternatives to a United States-led global order, they are fundamentally divided upon how to complete this task." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A battle rages for the future of the Web | Ars Technica UK

A battle rages for the future of the Web | Ars Technica UK: ""DRM is a dangerous feature to standardise and have enabled across everyone's browser because it essentially enforces a black box of code to be installed on your browser which cannot be audited or looked at or even talked about by security researchers," Harry Halpin, a W3C employee who publicly threatened to quit in protest over the proposed EME standard, and left the organisation at the end of 2016, tells Ars.

Joi Ito, director of MIT's Media Lab, agrees. "By allowing DRM to be included in the standard we 'break' the architecture of the Internet by allowing companies to create places to store data and run code on your computer that do you not have access to,” he explains to Ars. "We will be left with a broken and fragile architecture, as well as browsers whose internal are off-limits to security researchers, who face brutal punishment for trying to determine whether your gateway to the Internet is secure enough to rely on."" 'via Blog this'

The Right Tools: Europe's Intermediary Liability Laws and the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation by Daphne Keller :: SSRN

The Right Tools: Europe's Intermediary Liability Laws and the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation by Daphne Keller :: SSRN: "The so-called “Right to Be Forgotten” established by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2014 is about to change. The EU's General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect in 2018, introduces new notice-and-takedown rules for online information targeted by “Right to Be Forgotten” erasure requests. The new rules are ripe for abuse. They give private Internet platforms powerful incentives to remove user-generated content – whether or not that content, or the intermediaries’ processing of the content, violates any law. This threat to online expression and information could be reduced through procedural checks and balances in the OSPs’ removal operations and before regulators and courts.

This article details the problematic GDPR provisions, examines the convergence of European Data Protection and Intermediary Liability Law, and proposes ways that the EU’s own Intermediary Liability laws can restore balanced protections for privacy and information rights under the new law." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 10 February 2017

Online platforms and human rights - Cyberlaw seminar 16/2


Online platforms, such as social networks and other interactive online services, give rise to transnational “cyber-spaces” where individuals can gather and express their personalities imparting and receiving information and ideas. By reason of their transnational dimension as well as of their private nature, online platforms are regulated through contractual provisions, unilaterally established by the platforms’ providers and enshrined in the platforms’ Terms of Service (ToS).
Hence it may be argued that, by regulating the use of information within a specific online platform, ToS undertake a normative function that may be compared to that of the “Law of the Land”. However, differently from the Law of the Land, the contractual provisions delineated in the ToS can be applied in different jurisdictions, thus affecting platform users in spite of their geographical location. Furthermore, the private decisions that may be taken by the platform provider in order to implement the ToS (e.g. removing content which is not compatible with the ToS provisions) are not subject to the constitutional guarantees that frame public action in national jurisdictions.
In addition, it should be noted that the spectrum of rights and remedies that are granted to platform users through the ToS may be difficult to comprehend or even read in its entirety, and similar platforms may be regulated through very different provisions that might be unilaterally modified by platform providers.
In our seminar next Thursday 16 February, we will discuss the framework through which one could analyze the ToS of major online platforms from a human rights perspective. In particular, we will look at the scope of the international human rights to freedom of expression, privacy and due process, and the role of positive obligations imposed on States to ensure the existence of a sufficient protection of those rights.  As background to our discussion, please refer to:
- The book "Terms of Service and Human Rights: An Analysis of Platform Contracts", available at http://internet-governance.fgv.br/sites/internet-governance.fgv.br/files/publicacoes/terms_of_services_06_12_2016.pdf (in particular focusing on pp. 17-28, 92-107, 127-147)
- The article "Virtues and Perils of Anonymity: Should Intermediaries Bear the Burden?", available athttp://www.jipitec.eu/issues/jipitec-5-3-2014/4091 (in particular focusing on paras. 46-55).
- The episode of the Techdirt podcast "Terms of Service Are the New Constitution: Do They Need a First Amendment?"  https://www.techdirt.com/blog/podcast/articles/20150115/11423629712/techdirt-podcast-episode-7-terms-service-are-new-constitution-do-they-need-first-amendment.shtml
See also this interesting recent development on Google's Play Store: https://www.slashgear.com/google-play-prepares-to-remove-apps-over-missing-privacy-policies-09474464/

Look forward to the discussion. See you on Thursday!

Royal Society on Government’s response to report on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

The Royal Society comments on the Government’s response to the Science and Technology Select Committee’s report on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence | Royal Society: "“Machine learning is already being used in a range of applications that we interact with every day, and has the potential to drive further innovations that could improve public services and create significant economic value. The Royal Society’s machine learning project is investigating the potential of machine learning over the next 5-10 years, and the barriers to realising that potential. " 'via Blog this'

G20germany Addressing digitalisation at global level

G20germany | G20 | Addressing digitalisation at global level:

""we must see digitalisation as an opportunity," underscored Sigmar Gabriel. The key preconditions are access for all to an efficient infrastructure, digital education, the international harmonisation of standards, and transparency and confidence in the digital world, he added.

 At the conference "Key Issues for Digital Transformation in the G20" the OECD and the German G20 Presidency aim to lay out political action in as concrete terms as possible. The results of the discussion will be incorporated in the deliberations when the G20 ministers responsible for digital affairs meet in Düsseldorf on 6 and 7 April." 'via Blog this'

Tele2 Sverige AB and Watson et al: Continuity and Radical Change - Lynskey

Tele2 Sverige AB and Watson et al: Continuity and Radical Change |:

"The Tele2 judgment represents a rupture with the past in one very significant way: the Court, for the first time, unequivocally states that blanket data retention measures are incompatible with EU law, read in light of the Charter. This radical finding is likely to receive a mixed reaction.

For instance, in the UK some will lament that this judgment comes too late to have influenced the passage into law of the UK’s new data retention legislation, the Investigatory Powers Act, 2016. This legislation – which allows for bulk interception and hacking, amongst other things – should now be found to be incompatible with EU law, with all of the post-Brexit implications for ‘adequacy’ this may entail (also here). Others, such as the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation – David Anderson QC – have expressed regret." 'via Blog this'

Introduction: exploring the comparative in socio-legal studies

Introduction: exploring the comparative in socio-legal studies: "...comparison is a natural part of much good scholarship. In practice, we suggest, socio-legal scholars regularly undertake forms of comparison in different ways, often without being explicit about their methods and purposes. The diversity discussed and reflected in the many edited volumes on comparative law should not be regarded as a problem. Rather than searching for some ideal, prescriptive and methodologically precise form of comparison, the field should allow different approaches and purposes. We should make a virtue out of variety." 'via Blog this'

Matron: Squaring the data protection circle just got harder for the UK

Matron: Squaring the data protection circle just got harder for the UK: "Although the UK government has now confirmed that it will opt in to the GDPR in May 2018, its failure to commit to the continued application of the framework post-Brexit already creates legal uncertainty for UK data controllers and processors. But in the face of today’s judgment, it is now seriously putting at risk the ability of any UK company to receive personal data from inside the EEA after the UK’s departure from the EU club. And that is something that UK businesses should view with some concern.

 To quickly sum up the current situation: the EU data protection law framework has always been, and will continue to be, in the service of two seemingly conflicting objectives: it seeks to protect personal data and hence the individual citizen’s right to privacy and data protection (now guaranteed to them under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights), and to facilitate the free flow of personal data, which is a basic requirement for the functioning of the digital economy that we are all now operating in." 'via Blog this'

Eroding exceptionalism: Internet firms’ legal immunity is under threat | The Economist

Eroding exceptionalism: Internet firms’ legal immunity is under threat | The Economist: "The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, last year proposed plans to regulate platforms. It will not change its e-commerce directive, but it has pushed platforms into signing up to a “voluntary” code of conduct which commits them to actively and swiftly remove illegal hate speech such as racial abuse (instead of reacting to complaints).

Some EU member states are considering going further: the German government may bring in a law to impose fines of up to €500,000 ($534,000) on a platform like Facebook if it fails to take down illegal content within 24 hours.

 Section 230 of the CDA is under pressure, too. True, the Supreme Court recently refused to revive an unsuccessful lawsuit against Backpage, an American site for classified ads with a popular adult section, which had been accused of facilitating forced prostitution. But last year saw a “swarm” of adverse Section 230 rulings, says Eric Goldman of the Santa Clara University School of Law." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Melania Loses Defamation Lawsuit on Jurisdiction Grounds–Trump v. Tarpley – Technology & Marketing Law Blog

Melania Loses Defamation Lawsuit on Jurisdiction Grounds–Trump v. Tarpley – Technology & Marketing Law Blog: "These arguments fail. The court cites the general proposition: “The overwhelming weight of authority holds that merely operating a website — even if it is a popular website that makes money from advertising… — does not constitute ‘purposeful availment.'”

The court then applies it to this case: “MMI does not intentionally enter the Maryland market specifically, but rather the United States market as a whole….there was no evidence that the website specifically targeted residents of the forum state more than, or in a different way than, any other state.”

 The geotargeted ads don’t matter because Melania “failed to establish that MMI has targeted Maryland specifically with its advertisements.” MMI didn’t sell any ads directly to Maryland residents, and the geotargeted ads apparently were sold and served by a third party ad network.

The news stories about Maryland don’t matter because 2/3 were AP wire stories that were automatically reposted on MailOnline; and the site otherwise has a national/international focus and not a “specific focus” on Maryland (distinguishing Mavrix and Hare v. Ritchie).

 In the case of the MailOnline article in question, it was initially uploaded in London and then uploaded to the US site by New York staff. No reporters traveled to Maryland, and MMI doesn’t have an office in Maryland, Melania doesn’t live in Maryland, and no witnesses are located in Maryland.

As a result, the case can proceed in Maryland against Tarpley, but MMI is dismissed." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Legal Affairs: HOW I LOST THE BIG ONE Lawrence Lessig

Legal Affairs:

"My anger with the conservatives quickly yielded to anger with myself. For I had let a view of the law that I liked interfere with my view of the law as it is.

Most lawyers and law professors have little patience for idealism about courts in general and this Supreme Court in particular. Most have a much more pragmatic view.

As I read back over the transcript from that argument in October, I can see a hundred places where the answers could have taken the conversation in different directions, where the truth about the harm that this unchecked power will cause could have been made clear to this court. Kennedy in good faith wanted to be shown. I, idiotically, corrected his question. Souter in good faith wanted to be shown the First Amendment harms. I, like a math teacher, reframed the question to make the logical point. I had shown them how they could strike down this law of Congress if they wanted to. There were a hundred places where I could have helped them want to, yet my stubbornness, my refusal to give in, stopped me.

I have stood before hundreds of audiences trying to persuade; I have used passion in that effort to persuade; but I refused to stand before this audience and try to persuade with the passion I had used elsewhere. It was not the basis on which a court should decide the issue. " 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Why Trump’s Meetings With CEOs Seeking Mergers Trouble Observers - ProPublica

Why Trump’s Meetings With CEOs Seeking Mergers Trouble Observers - ProPublica: "The Department of Justice’s rulings “always reflect the prevailing administration’s policy views about certain things,’’ he said. But they “should be free of direct political intervention.” Thompson noted that he had no insight into what was said during Trump’s recent meetings with the CEOs.

During the campaign, Trump came out against AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner “because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” Time Warner owns CNN, a frequent target of Trump’s ire.

Since the campaign, Trump has moderated his tone on the AT&T-Time Warner deal. He also appointed transition antitrust experts who are friendlier to corporate consolidation than the Obama administration. What wasn’t anticipated is the possibility that Trump might cut his own deals on mergers typically scrutinized by the Justice Department" 'via Blog this'

Friday, 3 February 2017

Majority of Android VPNs can’t be trusted to make users more secure | Ars Technica

Majority of Android VPNs can’t be trusted to make users more secure | Ars Technica:

"According to a research paper that analyzed the source-code and network behavior of 283 VPN apps for Android:

 18 percent didn't encrypt traffic at all, a failure that left users wide open to man-in-the-middle attacks when connected to Wi-Fi hotspots or other types of unsecured networks

16 percent injected code into users' Web traffic to accomplish a variety of objectives, such as image transcoding, which is often intended to make graphic files load more quickly.

Two of the apps injected JavaScript code that delivered ads and tracked user behavior. JavaScript is a powerful programming language that can easily be used maliciously

84 percent leaked traffic based on the next-generation IPv6 internet protocol, and 66 percent don't stop the spilling of domain name system-related data, again leaving that data vulnerable to monitoring or manipulation

Of the 67 percent of VPN products that specifically listed enhanced privacy as a benefit, 75 percent of them used third-party tracking libraries to monitor users' online activities.

82 percent required user permissions to sensitive resources such as user accounts and text messages

38 percent contained code that was classified as malicious by VirusTotal, a Google-owned service that aggregates the scanning capabilities of more than 100 antivirus tools

Four of the apps installed digital certificates that caused the apps to intercept and decrypt transport layer security traffic sent between the phones and encrypted websites" 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Law that Could Allow Trump to Shut Down the U.S. Internet - VOX - Pol

The Law that Could Allow Trump to Shut Down the U.S. Internet - VOX - Pol: "“If Trump decides to build a great firewall, he may not need Congress. Section 606 of the Communications Act of 1934 provides emergency powers to seize control of communications facilities if the president declares there is a “war or threat of war” or “a state of public peril.” In 2010, a Senate report concluded that section 606 “gives the President the authority to take over wire communications in the United States and, if the President so chooses, shut a network down.” With a stroke of a pen, Trump could invoke it.”" 'via Blog this'