Lest there be any doubt, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made clear on Sunday that the GOP really doesn't like the Federal Communications Commission's new neutrality rules.
For at least the fourth time since last January, Google is facing questions regarding its views on privacy. This latest incident stems from the company's Doodle-4-Google contest for students, which allows students to win prizes including a $15,000 scholarship. This year, the company initially asked the entrants, who ranged from kindergarten students to seniors in high school, for the last four digits of their social security numbers. Google said it did so because it wanted to keep better track of entries, since not all of the students attended schools that had registered for the contest.
In the fall of 2007, a coalition of privacy groups and digital rights advocates first proposed that consumers should be able to eschew all online tracking through a comprehensive do-not-track list. It took a while for the idea to catch on with regulators, but the Federal Trade Commission made clear in December that it likes the concept. Even more significant, the major browser manufacturers are on board.
After behavioral advertising company NebuAd folded several years ago, it seemed unlikely that Internet service provider-based behavioral targeting would gain much of a foothold in the U.S. Not only did several influential lawmakers make clear that they expected ISPs to obtain users' opt-in consent to such targeting, but industry self-regulatory groups also said that ISP-based targeting requires more explicit user consent than targeting by ad networks or other companies that have access to more limited data about users.
The Dervaes family of Pasadena, Calif., arguably the country's best-known so-called urban homesteaders, have garnered worldwide attention for, in their words, transforming an "ordinary city lot into an organic and sustainable micro-farm." Now, however, the four members of the Dervaes family are drawing attention for a less noble project: They're attempting to stop Facebook members, bloggers and even online commenters from using the terms "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading" online.
The self-regulatory group Network Advertising Initiative proposed on Friday that behavioral advertisers who target Web users based on health-related data should disclose more information about the types of ads they serve.
Copyright enforcement outfit Righthaven suffered a defeat in court last year when one of its lawsuits against blogger Michael Nelson was tossed on fair use grounds. This week, Righthaven appealed that ruling to the 9th Circuit.
In a major change in policy, Microsoft has decided to allow marketers to use other companies' trademarks to trigger search ads.
Earlier this year MetroPCS rolled out controversial new pricing plans: a $60-a-month plan that allows consumers unlimited Web access, as well as $40- and $50-a-month plans that allow users unlimited access to YouTube, but not to other Web sites. MetroPCS billed the move as pro-consumer, but net neutrality advocates like Free Press saw it differently and requested a Federal Communications Commission investigation. The new plans, the advocates argued, violated neutrality rules by treating YouTube differently than other Web sites.
Of all the various ill-advised attempts to control online word-of-mouth, the efforts of Web furniture retailer Full House Appliances rank among the worst.