If you share it on social networking websites, does it become public or can access by limited? (UPDATE)

Taking on LinkedIn and Microsoft, hiQ turns to crowdfunding for help with legal costs It’s one of those David vs. Goliath battles:  LinkedIn’s 8,000 employees, a company that Microsoft bought in 2016 for $26,5 billion dollars, vs. hiQ Labs, which has 13 employees. So when they two tangle in court, you can understand how difficult … Continue reading If you share it on social networking websites, does it become public or can access by limited? (UPDATE)

If you share it on networking websites, does it become public or can access be limited?

It’s a battle over privacy rights that has constitutional law implications.  At the heart of it if a simple question with an incredibly complex answer:  If you share it on social networking websites, does it become public or can access by limited? Right now, the case features two companies going to court:  LinkedIn and hiQ.  … Continue reading If you share it on networking websites, does it become public or can access be limited?

Can public officials block citizens on social media or is it a violation of their constitutional rights?

Here’s an interesting debate: If you’re a public official, should you have the right to block people from your social media page? A number of public officials are being sued, including Governor’s in Maryland, Kentucky, and Maine, by state ACLU chapters. Kentucky Governor Sued In Kentucky, the ACLU there filed suit on behalf of some 600 … Continue reading Can public officials block citizens on social media or is it a violation of their constitutional rights?

Canada’s Supreme Court rules Google must block some search content worldwide

Can one country really tell Google what it can and can't show in its search results for the rest of the world?  Read on. Canada’s Supreme Court made a startling ruling that has broad-reaching impact around the world.  In a 7-2 ruling, the court decided to grant an injunction preventing Google from showing certain search … Continue reading Canada’s Supreme Court rules Google must block some search content worldwide

Social media companies facing fines for failing to remove hate speech, illegal content quickly enough

Social Media is under attack again in Great Britain as government officials debate fines if Facebook and Twitter don’t remove illegal content fast enough. Britain’s home affairs committee unleashed a scathing report, going so far as to suggest the social media companies pay for policing.  They compared it to a soccer team that pays for … Continue reading Social media companies facing fines for failing to remove hate speech, illegal content quickly enough

FCC takes first step towards repealing net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a big first step in overturning net neutrality rules.  In a 2-to-1 vote, the Commission began the rule-making process.  That’s the first step in replacing the Open Internet Order adopted in 2015. The net neutrality rules prevent ISPs (Internet Service Providers) from giving preferential treatment (and pricing) to certain … Continue reading FCC takes first step towards repealing net neutrality

FTC cracks down on Zombie Cookies that track your online behavior even after you opt-out

The Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Turn over its use of Supercookies (also called Zombie Cookies). The FTC has accused Turn of deception by tracking consumers for ads even after people tried to opt out.  While not admitting any wrongdoing, the settlement will prohibit Turn from misrepresenting what it does in gathering … Continue reading FTC cracks down on Zombie Cookies that track your online behavior even after you opt-out

When is a sale not a sale? Amazon under fire for inflated “regular prices”

  A Consumer watchdog group is calling out Amazon for what it calls deceptive practices by posting inflated list prices and leading consumers to believe they’re getting a better deal than they really are. The aptly named group, Consumer Watchdog, has petitioned the California Attorney General to investigate Amazon.  John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project … Continue reading When is a sale not a sale? Amazon under fire for inflated “regular prices”

Social Media sites under increasing pressure to police themselves – or risk huge fines and prosecution

  It’s not just advertisers putting increasing pressure on social networks and platforms that share user-generated content.  In Germany, the government is considered legislation that would fine Facebook, Twitter and the like fines of tens of millions of dollars for failing to remove hate speech quickly enough. In the UK, they are debating prosecuting Google … Continue reading Social Media sites under increasing pressure to police themselves – or risk huge fines and prosecution

Lawsuit: Google is reading emails and using info to target ads (whether you use Gmail or not)

Settlement on hold as judge trashes agreement We’ve been watching the case of Matera V. Google for some time now.  At issue is the practice of scanning emails sent on Gmail accounts and using the information to send targeted ads to Gmail users.  The case alleges that Google violated the Wiretap Act by intercepting the … Continue reading Lawsuit: Google is reading emails and using info to target ads (whether you use Gmail or not)

Cable company hit with $25 million penalty, $8 million legal bill for not cracking down on music piracy

Known fact:  people pirate music online.  It’s hard to track down each offender, and even taking individuals to task, it’s like the little boy sticking his finger in the dam only to have another leak pop up.  Music publishers have tried to put the burden on internet service providers (ISP’s) to crack down on pirates. … Continue reading Cable company hit with $25 million penalty, $8 million legal bill for not cracking down on music piracy

Twitter users targeted by government for “national security”

Read the actual order letters after the jump. For the first time, Twitter is able to speak openly about national security requests it received about surveillance and requests for data on Twitter account holders. Even though the requests date back to 2015 and 2016, they were accompanied by a “gag order” which legally prohibited the social … Continue reading Twitter users targeted by government for “national security”

Facebook hit with another lawsuit over misrepresenting video ad metrics

You may not have heard of the high-tech company, Quirky, which filed for bankruptcy and then starting selling off its assets in 2015.  You may, however, have heard of Wink, a home automation hub.  Quirky was an early innovator and high flier in the home automation business, but it couldn’t survive on its own.  It … Continue reading Facebook hit with another lawsuit over misrepresenting video ad metrics

Advertising groups say online “opt-in” rules violate First Amendment

Is advertising protected speech? And can internet companies use your personal information in advertising without your permission? These answer to these questions seems to be yes if you agree with the advertising trade associations that are asking the FCC to change its opt-in privacy rules for online service providers. The Association of National Advertisers, the … Continue reading Advertising groups say online “opt-in” rules violate First Amendment

Are restaurants that don’t accept cash the next trend?

Sweetgreen restaurant chain is in the “fast casual” category, serving up healthy food choices.  What won’t be on the menu in 2017 is... cash. Starting mid-January, they will stop taking cash at 64 locations.  The  company says it will speed up transactions by as much as 15%.  Employees touching cash and then handling food is … Continue reading Are restaurants that don’t accept cash the next trend?

Big advertising agencies under investigation by Department of Justice

The investigation into price fixing at major ad agencies just got bigger with the number of agencies publicly announcing they have been contacted by the Department of Justice. Three of WPP’s subsidiaries have received subpoenas from the Justice Department relating to antitrust claims.  By revenue, WPP is the world’s largest ad company.  Others said to … Continue reading Big advertising agencies under investigation by Department of Justice

Can one country tell the world what it can and can’t see online?

That’s what’s being examined by Canada’s Supreme Court as it looks at a court decision that ordered the censorship of content on Google even outside the country’s borders. Google appealed, as you can expect, and the SupCo is hearing the case now. It stems from a Canadian company (Equustek) that found what it deemed an … Continue reading Can one country tell the world what it can and can’t see online?

Facebook ends ad practices that target/exclude users based on race

It seems like Facebook is getting battered a lot these days, but I’ll give the folks at Facebook some credit.  Most companies, faced with a lawsuit – especially one that claims you are violating the Civil Rights Act and excluding minorities from opportunities – would lawyer up and shut up. Facebook is taking a little … Continue reading Facebook ends ad practices that target/exclude users based on race

Copyright, Fair Use, Free Speech, Prince, and the case of the Dancing Baby

Stephanie Lenz thought it was kinda funny when she saw her baby dancing back in 1984. She took video and posted a clip of less than 30 seconds on YouTube. In the background, amid a fair amount of ambient noise (and another child screaming), you can make out “Let’s Go Crazy,” a song by Prince. … Continue reading Copyright, Fair Use, Free Speech, Prince, and the case of the Dancing Baby

What I learned about firing people… from the time it happened to me

I remember being fired for “philosophical differences.” It was an ugly time for me and my family. It wasn’t about my performance, I was told, they just wanted to “go in a different direction.” Just a few months earlier, everything had been great. Our company was performing at a high level — one of the highest rated … Continue reading What I learned about firing people… from the time it happened to me

FCC on privacy – Internet Service Providers will no longer be able to share data without your explicit consent

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to require broadband/internet providers to get “explicit consent” before sharing data with marketing companies.  That means no more forcing people to “opt out” of obscure user agreements.  In other words, if they want to share our data with advertising companies, they’ll need to ask us… and we’ll have to … Continue reading FCC on privacy – Internet Service Providers will no longer be able to share data without your explicit consent

Comcast gets caught charging customers for stuff they never ordered and hit with largest FCC fine ever given

Comcast hit with the largest civil penalty ever given to a cable operator about consumer complaints and ordered to put in place a compliance plan  “In some complaints, subscribers claimed that they were billed despite specifically declining service or equipment upgrades offered by Comcast. In others, customers claimed that they had no knowledge of the … Continue reading Comcast gets caught charging customers for stuff they never ordered and hit with largest FCC fine ever given

When did we become an opt-out world?

We all know that nobody reads Terms of Service on anybody’s website, or User Agreements when downloading an app. We have just come to accept that there’s probably bad stuff in there that we won’t want but it’s the price we have to pay. I say enough! It’s time to become an opt-in world. Want … Continue reading When did we become an opt-out world?

14 year old sues Facebook for allowing naked picture to appear on shaming pages in so-called “revenge porn” case

It could lead to significant changes in how social media deals with the situation. Every day, approximately 1.8 billion photos are uploaded to the internet.  Microsoft estimates some 720,000 of these pictures contain online child sexual abuse.  Every single day. If the exact image is uploaded to sites multiple times, it can be blocked.  But … Continue reading 14 year old sues Facebook for allowing naked picture to appear on shaming pages in so-called “revenge porn” case

Children suing Parents for posting pictures on-line

If you share an embarrassing picture of your kids on Facebook, you might get sued. An 18-year old woman in Austria is suing her parents, saying they posted more than 500 images of her without her consent. Dad says he took the pictures so he has the rights.  The daughter disagrees. It's not just an … Continue reading Children suing Parents for posting pictures on-line

Celebrities, athletes, influencers under fire for deceptive social media ads

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is starting to look more closely at what’s being advertised in social media and how.  In December, the FTC put out a new policy statement for enforcement.  It said, in part, that it needs to be obvious to consumers when social media posts, or ads are paid for.  They suggest … Continue reading Celebrities, athletes, influencers under fire for deceptive social media ads

Sunshine Law request results in $82,000 bill for public records search

Group seeks information on how dogs are being used in research by Universities The Beagle Freedom Project is an animal rights activist group that’s filed a lawsuit against the University of Missouri. The suit has to do with its claim that the University is violating the state’s Sunshine Laws. The group’s been outspoken in its criticism of … Continue reading Sunshine Law request results in $82,000 bill for public records search

If a town has social media pages, does it have the right to remove comments that are critical?

We may soon find out.  The ACLU of Indiana is suing Beech Grove (an Indianapolis suburb) on behalf of two people who say the city deleted their critical comments on the PD’s FB page.  The lawsuit says it violating the two women’s First Amendment rights. "When a government entity opens up a space for public … Continue reading If a town has social media pages, does it have the right to remove comments that are critical?

Amazon suing businesses that post fake reviews

Look out!  If you’re one of the businesses writing fake glowing reviews about yourself, or buying reviews, you may have big problems ahead.  Not only has Amazon been cracking down on this and sending warning letters, but now they are suing companies. Amazon has filed suit against three this week.  In the past, Amazon has … Continue reading Amazon suing businesses that post fake reviews