December 23, 2011

FACEBOOK CHANGES PRIVACY RULES AFTER IRISH PROBE

Facebook agreed to overhaul privacy protection for more than half a billion users outside North America, after a three-month investigation found that its privacy policies were overly complex and lacked transparency. The probe by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) at the U.S. group’s international headquarters in Dublin said users were at risk of unknowingly publicizing personal details.

Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/12/21/facebook-changes-privacy-rules-after-irish-probe/ (Source: Reuters)

CHINESE HACKERS BREAK INTO U.S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

A group of hackers in China breached the computer defenses of America’s top business-lobbying group and gained access to everything stored on its systems, including information about its three million members, according to several people familiar with the matter. The break-in at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the boldest known infiltrations in what has become a regular confrontation between U.S. companies and Chinese hackers.

Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/12/21/chinese-hackers-break-into-u-s-chamber-of-commerce/ (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

December 9, 2011

JUDGE SAYS BLOGGER DOESN'T QUALIFY AS JOURNALIST

A U.S. District Court judge in Portland, Ore., ruled that a blogger who wrote about an investment firm that subsequently accused her of defamation must pay the company $2.5 million because she’s a blogger who doesn’t legally qualify as a journalist. Crystal Cox, whose blogs are a mixture of fact, opinion, and commentary, wrote several posts that were critical of Obsidian Finance Group and its co-founder, Kevin Padrick.

· Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/12/07/judge-says-blogger-doesnt-qualify-as-journalist/ (Source: CNET News)

December 2, 2011

FACEBOOK SETTLES PRIVACY CHARGES WITH FTC

Facebook has settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission that it deceived users by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private and then repeatedly making it public, according to the agency. The settlement of an eight-count complaint requires Facebook to warn users about privacy changes and to get their permission before sharing their information more broadly, according to the FTC.  

November 24, 2011

DATA PROTECTION LAW IS COMING TO ASIA

Professor Abu Bakar Munir

Thirty one years after the adoption of the first international instrument, the data protection law is now coming to Asia. Singapore is expected to have the data protection law in 2012 and currently busy consulting the public. The Philippines Congress very recently wrapped up the debate and tabling of the Bill. Malaysia is the first country in ASEAN to do it in June 2010 and its Personal Data Protection Act is likely to be enforced in 2012. Two months earlier than Malaysia, the Taiwanese Parliament passed a comprehensive regulation called the Personal Information Protection Act. Korea follows suit and enacted a new Data Protection Act in March 2011. Who's next?

November 18, 2011

PORN COMPANY SUES ICANN OVER .XXX DOMAIN

One of the largest purveyors of pornography on the Web has filed suit to block or overhaul the new dot-xxx suffix on Internet addresses, accusing organizations that assign online addresses of running a monopoly that creates unnecessary costs. The lawsuit was filed by Luxembourg-based Manwin Licensing International SARL, which owns a network of websites including YouPorn.com and manages Playboy Enterprises Inc.’s brand on the Web, along with adult filmmaker Digital Playground Inc.

Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/11/16/porn-company-sues-icann-over-xxx-domain/ (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

November 16, 2011

GERMANY SUSPECTS FACEBOOK OF ILLEGAL TRACKING

Facebook may be tracking the Internet activity of users even after they cancel their accounts, the German data privacy watchdog said. After an investigation of the way cookies are installed after a user opens and then closes a Facebook account, the Hamburg Data Protection agency said on its Web site that it suspected the company was unlawfully tracking subscribers.

· Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/11/03/germany-suspects-facebook-of-illegal-tracking/ (Source: The New York Times)

November 4, 2011

PRIVACY LAW PROMPTS KIDS TO LIE, REPORT SAYS

A federal law aimed at protecting the privacy of children under 13 has instead resulted in millions of kids lying about their age — often with their parents’ knowledge — in order to join Facebook, social media guru Danah Boyd says in a new report. Facebook officially bans kids under 13 — a move that Boyd attributes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits publishers from collecting personal information from users 12 and under without their parents’ permission.

· Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/11/02/privacy-law-prompts-kids-to-lie-report-says/ (Source: MediaPost)

November 3, 2011

U.K.,U.S. REJECTS CALLS FOR MORE INTERNET CONTROLS

Britain and the United States rejected calls from China and Russia for greater Internet controls at the opening of a major cyberspace conference, but Western states faced accusations of double standards. Ministers, tech executives and Internet activists are meeting over two days in London to discuss how to tackle security threats and crime on the Internet without stifling economic opportunities or freedom of speech.

· Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/11/01/u-k-u-s-reject-calls-for-more-internet-controls/ (Source: Reuters)

August 24, 2011

Apple Sued for Location Privacy in South Korea

Apple has been sued by a group of about 27,000 South Koreans in a class-action lawsuit over alleged privacy violations related to location services on iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch. The suit, filed in Changwon, South Korea, seeks about 27 billion won, or about $26 million, in damages, which would work out to about $930 for each plaintiff, the Associated Press reports. Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/08/17/apple-sued-for-location-privacy-in-south-korea/ (Source: Los Angeles Times)

August 11, 2011

‘Anonymous’ Says It Plans to ‘Kill’ Facebook

The Anonymous Internet hacking group is planning to “kill” Facebook and has announced the date it will attempt do so, in a statement gaining prominence. In a YouTube video, the hacking group warns, “Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed.” Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/08/09/anonymous-says-it-plans-to-kill-facebook/ (Source: Fox News)

August 10, 2011

Teen Problems Linked to Excessive Tech Use

Facebook is great for reconnecting with old friends from high school and college. But for those still in school, the popular networking site could do more harm than good. That’s according to Larry Rosen, a psychologist at Cal State Dominguez Hills who’s been studying the effect of technology on people for more than 25 years.· Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/08/08/teen-problems-linked-to-excessive-tech-use/ (Source: Los Angeles Times)

June 23, 2011

European Study Finds Faults with Minors’ Privacy Online

The European Commission, which is still finding its way in regulating the Internet, published a study on how social networking sites treat minors. The most compelling result it found: Only Bebo and Myspace (which is owned by News Corp., publisher of this blog) “have default settings to make minors’ profiles accessible only to their approved list of contacts.

Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/06/21/european-study-finds-faults-with-minors-privacy-online/ (Source: The Wall Street Journal)


June 3, 2011

PENTAGON SAYS COMPUTER SABOTAGE EQUALS ACT OF WAR

The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force. The Pentagon’s first formal cyber strategy, unclassified portions of which are expected to become public next month, represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country’s military.


May 31, 2011

IS SONY SORRY?

By Abu Bakar Munir

Following the attack, Sony’s CEO apologized to millions of PlayStation Network and Qriocity users. In the letter posted on the PlayStation blog, Howard Stringer states, “I know this has been a frustrating time for all of you…..Let me assure you that the resources of this company have been focused on investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber-attack we’ve all experienced and on fixing it. We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe services as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience. We will settle for nothing less…As a company we – and I - apologize for the inconvenience and concern caused by this attack.”

Criticisms of Sony was for several reasons, among others, (1) the delay between discovering the problem and notifying customers, (2) the lack of meaningful updates as to when service would be restored, and (3) the seeming confusion over exactly what information had or had not been stolen. On the first issue, Sony’s CEO responded by saying, “This was an unprecedented situation. Most of these breaches go unreported by companies. Forty – three percent notify victims within a month. We reported in a week. You’re telling me my week wasn’t fast enough?”

What are the reactions of the privacy advocate and security professionals? Senior technology consultant at Sophos said that the breach “certainly ranks as one of the biggest data losses ever to affect individuals”. The Australian Privacy Minister, Brendan O’Connor, said he was “very concerned” about the theft of personal information and expressed disappointment that Sony took “several days” to inform about the breach. He further stated that this meant a mandatory “data breach notification” system now “appears necessary”.

Similarly, the Canada Privacy Commissioner said, “I was very disappointed that Sony did not pro-actively notify my office of the breach”. The British Information Commissioner’s Office stated that Sony will be questioned, and that an investigation will take place to discover whether Sony had taken adequate precautions to protect customer details. US Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut demanded answers from Sony about the data breach. Sony had been asked to testify before a congressional hearing on May 2, 2011, but sent a letter instead.

May 12, 2011

FACEBOOK FLAW GAVE PERSONAL DATA TO ADVERTISERS

A security vulnerability on Facebook Inc. for years gave advertisers and other third parties a way to access users’ accounts and personal information, according to security firm Symantec Corp. But Facebook said it had fixed the problem and found no evidence of the issue resulting in private information being leaked.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4RHnF (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

May 11, 2011

PRIVACY ADVOCATES APPLAUD DO-NOT TRACK BILL

Several privacy and civil rights groups voiced support for an online do-not-track bill introduced in the U.S. Senate, saying the legislation would give Web users control over their personal data. Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller’s bill would create a national do-not-track mechanism, a “crucial civil liberties protection for the 21st century,” said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4QPqW (Source: PCWorld)

May 7, 2011

SONY'S CEO APOLOGIZES

Sony Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer apologized to users of its PlayStation Network, breaking his silence on one of the biggest Internet security break-ins ever, but failing to provide a date when services would resume. Stringer’s comments come after he faced criticism of his leadership since Sony revealed hackers had compromised the data of more than 100 million accounts.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4OoPe (Source: Reuters)


May 6, 2011

SONY SHUTS DOWN ONLINE - GAMING AFTER SECOND ATTACK

Less than a week after news of a security breach sparked an uproar, Sony Corp. has shut down its online-gaming unit after a hacker infiltrated the network in the second such attack on the company in the last month. Sony Online Entertainment, known for creating massive multi-player games such as EverQuest and The Matrix Online, suspended service, according to a statement.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4Lz3A (Source: Los Angeles Times)


May 4, 2011

SONY WAS ATTACKED AGAIN

Less than a week after news of a security breach sparked an uproar, Sony Corp. has shut down its online-gaming unit after a hacker infiltrated the network in the second such attack on the company in the last month. Sony Online Entertainment, known for creating massive multi-player games such as EverQuest and The Matrix Online, suspended service, according to a statement.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4Lz3A (Source: Los Angeles Times)

May 2, 2011

SONY PLAYSTATION DATA DISCLOSURE

Sony acknowledged that the personal information of its PlayStation Network customers has been compromised. The company posted an update on its blog warning its more than 70 million customers that their personal information, including customer names, addresses, e-mail addresses, birthdays, PlayStation Network and Qriocity passwords, and user names, as well as online user handles, was obtained illegally by an “unauthorized person.”

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4HzfK (Source: CNET News)

LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST SONY

Gamers and government officials are irate over Sony’s admission that a massive security breach gave hackers access to large amounts of personal data from the company’s PlayStation Network and, surprise(!), one gamer has already filed a lawsuit. Meanwhile, analysts estimate the hammered game company could lose billions of dollars from the debacle.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4IAfA (Source: msnbc.com)

April 6, 2011

SWISS COURT SAYS GOOGLE STREET VIEW VIOLATES PRIVACY

Switzerland’s top administrative court backed the Swiss privacy watchdog and ruled against Google Inc.’s Street View map service in Switzerland, saying the service infringes privacy in a ruling. Switzerland’s Federal Data Protection Commissioner Hanspeter Thuer and Google had been locked in a battle over the Web giant’s popular Street View application ever since the mapping service went live there in 2009.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4t8r6 (Source: The Wall Street Journal)


April 1, 2011

GOOGLE SETTLES PRIVACY CHARGES WITH FTC FOR BUZZ

Google settled with the Federal Trade Commission over charges of deceptive privacy practices in its introduction last year of Buzz, the social networking tool in Gmail. Under the settlement, Google agreed to start a privacy program and undergo privacy audits for 20 years; it faces $16,000 fines for future privacy misrepresentations.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4pMES (Source: The New York Times)

March 31, 2011

GERMAN COURT CALLS GOOGLE STREET VIEW LEGAL

A Berlin court has ruled, according to Deutsche Welle, that it’s legal for Google to take the street-level pictures, striking down a lawsuit brought on by a German woman who sued Google over Street View and cited privacy and property rights. The case is complicated, because the woman who sued did so out of the possibility that her privacy might be invaded — e.g. if Google Street View happened to take photos of the front of her house, and that the camera on top of the Google Street View vehicle would see over the hedge in front of it.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4jfzY (Source: CNET News)

CYBERCRIMINALS FOCUSING ON CORPORATE TRADE SECRETS

Cybercriminals are increasingly moving from stealing just personal data to capturing trade secrets and other corporate intellectual capital that they can easily sell through the underground market, according to a new report from McAfee and the SAIC. In the release of a new study, “Underground Economies: Intellectual Capital and Sensitive Corporate Data Now the Latest CybercrimeScience Applications International Corporate find that the theft of trade secrets, marketing plans, R&D data, and even source code is on the rise, especially as such information is often unprotected. Currency”, McAfee and the

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4o1ez (Source: CNET News)

March 29, 2011

INDIA TO BLOCK NEW DOMAINS ENDING IN .XXX

India will seek to block the internet’s newly-formed red-light district after a global agency governing the web approved .xxx suffix for pornography websites, a senior government official said. “India along with many other countries from the Middle East and Indonesia opposed the grant of the domain in the first place, and we would proceed to block the whole domain, as it goes against the IT Act and Indian laws,” said a senior official at the ministry of IT.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4niYY (Source: The Economic Times)


March 24, 2011

JUDGE REJECTS SETTLEMENT FOR GOOGLE BOOKS DEAL

March 22, 2011

A U.S. judge rejected a $125 million settlement that would have allowed Google Inc. to create the world’s biggest digital-book library. Opponents of the deal said it violated international law.

March 23, 2011

ICANN APPROVES .XXX DOMAIN AS PROTESTS CONTINUE

The agency governing Internet addresses approved the creation of a new red-light district on the Web, but the decision may not end years of fighting over the contentious plan. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers authorized the creation of an .xxx suffix for pornography Web sites.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4hYBa (Source: The New York Times)


March 21, 2011

EU OFFICIAL STRESSES PRIVACY RULES FOR WEBSITES

Social-networking sites such as Facebook, or search engines such as Google, may face court action if they fail to obey planned EU data privacy rules, European Union justice chief Viviane Reding said. Reding will propose an overhaul of the EU’s 16-year-old laws on data protection in the coming months to enforce more safeguards on how personal information is used.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4goOK (Source: Reuters)


March 15, 2011

TWITTER SETTELES PRIVACY CHARGES WITH FTC

The Federal Trade Commission accepted a settlement with Internet messaging service Twitter Inc. to resolve charges that Twitter deceived consumers and put their privacy at risk by not safeguarding personal information. The settlement bars Twitter from misleading consumers about the extent to which it protects the security, privacy and confidentiality of non-public consumer information for 20 years, according to a statement posted on the FTC website.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/4dwYi (Source: Bloomberg)


March 14, 2011

BRITISH MAN GOES TO JAIL AFTER BLOGGING ABOUT GIRLFRIEND

When most people end a relationship, they don’t start creating websites to insult, embarrass and terrorize their exes. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what one British man did — and now he’s been jailed for it.

Read the article: http://gigalaw.com/2011/03/10/british-man-goes-to-jail-after-blogging-about-girlfriend/ (Source: msnbc.com)

March 9, 2011

SINGAPORE TO HAVE DATA PROTECTION ACT IN 2012

The Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Lui Tuck Yew, told the Singapore Parliament in February that a data protection review had now been completed. The Government has concluded that it would be in Singapore’s overall interests to put in place a data protection regime, in order to protect individuals’ personal data against unauthorised use and disclosure for profit,The announcement came in response to a question from MP Lee Bee Wah, in view of what he said were “reports of offers to sell personal and contact information of key officers in various Government Ministries”. Minister Lui said that the proposed (data protection) law is intended to curb excessive and unnecessary collection of individuals’ personal data by businesses, and include requirements such as obtaining the consent of individuals to disclose their personal information. He further said, “It will also enhance Singapore’s overall competitiveness and strengthen our position as a trusted hub for businesses and a choice location for global data management and processing services.”

March 2, 2011

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SPEAKING OUT AGAINST ICANN

The California nonprofit organization that operates the Internet’s levers has always been a target for global heavies like Russia and China that prefer the United Nations in charge of the Web. But these days, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is fending off attacks from a seemingly unlikely opposition: the Obama administration.

Read the article: http://ow.ly/458Sl (Source: The Washington Post)


February 10, 2011

U.S GOVERNMENT SEEKS VETO POWER OVER NEW DOMAINS

The Obama administration is quietly seeking the power for it and other governments to veto future top-level domain names, a move that raises questions about free expression, national sovereignty, and the role of states in shaping the future of the Internet. At stake is who will have authority over the next wave of suffixes to supplement the venerable .com, .org, and .net. At least 115 proposals are expected this year, including .car, .health, .nyc, .movie, and .web, and the application process could be finalized at a meeting in San Francisco next month.

Read the article: http://goo.gl/htxmp (Source: CNET News)

January 26, 2011

FACEBOOK AGREES TO PRIVACY CHANGES IN GERMANY

Facebook, facing potential fines for violating strict privacy laws in Germany, agreed to let users in the country better shield their e-mail contacts from unwanted advertisements and solicitations it sends. Facebook, which has more than 10 million users in Germany, agreed to modify its Friend Finder service to let Germans better block its ability to contact people, including non-Facebook users culled from a user’s e-mail address books.

Read the article: http://goo.gl/52O4f (Source: The New York Times)