Last year, several small business owners put the spotlight on Yelp by suing the company for allegedly trying to "extort" them. The business owners alleged that Yelp offered to hide bad reviews and promote positive ones in exchange for ad buys. Now, U. S. District Court Judge Edward Chen in the Northern District of California has rejected those lawsuits. In a sweeping ruling issued this week, Chen said the federal Communications Decency Act immunizes Yelp from liability for reviews authored by users.
The situation is looking bleaker than ever for copyright enforcer Righthaven, thanks to a new court ruling ordering the company to pay almost $120,000 to lawyers who successfully defended blogger Thomas DiBiase.
Members of the nonprofit Open Media and Information Companies Initiative are proposing that AT&T shareholders vote to endorse neutrality principles at the company's annual meeting next April.
Google's latest "transparency report," released today, shows that the U.S. government requested the removal of 757 items of content in the first half of this year. Google complied with 63% of the government's requests. Google doesn't offer many specifics about the material the government wanted to take down, except to note that among the items complained about were a YouTube clip showing police brutality and videos that "defamed" the police. The search giant rejected those requests.
Residents of the U.S. now surf the Web at an average speed of 5.8 Mbps, up from last year's 4.6 Mbps, according to Akamai's latest State of the Internet report. That's the good news. But the bad news is that the average U.S. Web connection is slower than average speeds in 11 other countries, including South Korea (13.8 Mbps), Japan (8.9 Mbps) and Denmark (6.4 Mbps).
Copyright enforcer Righthaven doesn't seem to be having better luck in South Carolina than it did elsewhere in the country. On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin in South Carolina indicated that she is considering recommending dismissal of Righthaven's sole case in that state -- a lawsuit against blogger Dana Eiser, of the right-wing site Lowcountry912.com. She allegedly reposted a column that originally appeared in the Denver Post.
The head of the Senate Commerce Committee has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate privacy questions surrounding Web companies' use of facial recognition technology. "As in many fast growing and changing sectors, public policy has not kept pace with the development of this sort of technology," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said in a letter to the FTC. "The privacy concerns are evident."
Online behavioral advertising might have been an obscure topic a few years ago, but the vast majority of consumers today say they are aware of the practice, according to new research from McCann Worldgroup.
In a move with significant privacy implications, Google said today that it will encrypt searches by default when signed-in users click on organic results.This means that Google will no longer pass along users' queries in the referrer headers that get sent to publishers. Instead, Google will make available the top 1,000 searches that drove traffic to their sites in the last 30 days.