A bill to regulate the use of trademarks in search ads in Utah died this week in the state senate. The law would have banned companies from using rivals' trademarks as triggers for Web ads, including ads on search engines.
On Feb. 27 2006, Tai Jing took his 4-year-old son to dentist Yvonne Wong so she could treat a cavity. Wong gave him nitrous oxide and then filled his tooth with a silver amalgam containing mercury. "After the procedure, I walked with my son into the parking lot and he vomited right next to my car," Tai Jing wrote in court papers filed this week. "His face was pale as paper ... I suspected that might be related to the anesthetic, but I didn't know if any other choices were available in pediatric dentistry."
As Google is shaking up the U.S. online ad world with its move into behavioral targeting, news comes that another ad company, Phorm, is again under scrutiny in the U.K.
The online ad world needs to come up with some new self-regulatory standards for behavioral targeting -- and quickly. So says former Federal Trade Commission chair Deborah Platt Majoras, who spoke this morning at the ANA's advertising law and business affairs conference in New York.
Time was doctors and lawyers rarely had to deal with public criticism. Unlike the case with books, movies or restaurants, newspapers didn't "review" professionals. But the situation is different now that the Web has enabled consumers to post their own critiques of professionals. And now, lawyers are trying to hinder the attorney ratings site Avvo.com by barring the site from posting directory information that's publicly available online.
It's safe to say that the world's oldest profession would still exist even if Craigslist didn't. Yet Chicago sheriff Thomas Dart seems to think Craigslist plays a crucial role in enabling prostitution. This week, he filed an attention-grabbing lawsuit against the site, accusing it of creating a public nuisance by facilitating prostitution via erotic services ads.
In the five years since he co-founded RateMDs.com, a site where patients rate their doctors, John Swapceinski has been threatened with lawsuits at least once a week. Not one disgruntled physician has actually carried out his threats, Swapceinski tells MediaPost. Indeed, it would be very difficult to sue the site for defamation, given that the federal Communications Decency Act immunizes Web sites from libel cases based on user comments. But, starting six months ago, the nature of the threats changed.
A lawmaker in California has introduced a bill that would require Web sites like Google Maps to blur any photos of schools, churches, government buildings and hospitals. Operators of companies that don't follow the law would be subject to up to three years in jail.
President Barack Obama today appointed net neutrality supporter Julius Genachowski to head the Federal Communications Commission. Genachowski, a Harvard Law classmate of Obama's, was largely responsible for the president's pro-neutrality tech platform, which he was touting as far back as October 2007.
At the end of January, the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation complained to the Obama administration about its practice of embedding YouTube clips on the site WhiteHouse.gov. The EFF argued that YouTube poses a potential threat to users' privacy because it places persistent cookies on users' computers, including hard-to-delete flash cookies.
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