• Report: Hulu To Block Cord-Cutters
    Cord-cutting has gotten a lot of press, but the total number of people canceling their cable subscriptions remains relatively small -- and the executives at Hulu apparently want to keep it that way. The company, owned by News Corp, NBC and Disney, intends to start blocking access to a host of shows for users who don't subscribe to cable TV, the New York Post reports.
  • Court Sides With Cablevision In Neutrality Dispute
    A few years ago, several major Internet service providers embarked on a questionable plan to manage congestion on their networks by throttling peer-to-peer traffic. This scheme didn't go over well with consumer advocates, who accused the ISPs of improperly meddling with traffic. The Federal Communications Commission agreed with the advocates and, in a well-publicized case, voted to sanction Comcast for violating neutrality principles by impeding peer-to-peer traffic. Later the FCC codified those principles in its net neutrality order, though it's not yet known whether that order will hold up in court. But while the FCC debated how to proceed, some …
  • Contractor Seeks To Unmask Commenter Who Questioned Reviews
    It's no secret that online review sites might have given people far more power over businesses than in the past. But it's also no secret that such sites have spurred some questionable tactics by business owners. Numerous companies have claimed in lawsuits that they were defamed by bad reviews online. Business owners have also resorted to posting reviews themselves, or hiring others to do so -- despite the fallout that could occur if they're caught. But now, in one of the more unusual disputes surrounding online reviews, a business is claiming it was libeled by the accusation that it might …
  • Mobile Users Reject Tracking By Retailers
    Last year, shortly before Black Friday, two malls announced plans to track shoppers' physical locations via their mobile phones. The malls -- Promenade Temecula in California and Short Pump Town Center in Virginia -- put up small signs notifying people of this plan and telling shoppers that they only way to avoid the tracking was to turn off their cell phones. The malls intended to track people until the end of the year, but once news of the initiative got out, a backlash forced the shopping centers to retreat. At the time, observers suspected that most consumers wouldn't be fond …
  • Barry Diller Blasts Data Caps, Calls For Net Neutrality
    A coalition of public interest groups sent a letter to lawmakers this week asking them to explore whether broadband caps could stifle online video by discouraging consumers from watching TV shows and movies through the Web. Today, IAC/InterActive Corp Chairman Barry Diller repeated those concerns to members of the Senate Commerce Committee. Specifically, Diller called on lawmakers to explore whether Internet service providers are using bandwidth caps to prevent new players from distributing video online.
  • Netflix Taps Lobbyists For Privacy Law Revision
    Netflix said last year that it was backing a bill to amend the federal Video Privacy Protection Act, in order to integrate with Facebook. The federal video privacy law prohibits movie rental companies from disclosing information about their customers without their written consent -- apparently on a movie-by-movie basis. The House recently voted to amend the bill by allowing people to consent online to the disclosure of their movie-rental records on an ongoing basis. But the amendment faced criticism in the Senate, where the measure has stalled. Now, Netflix is apparently getting ready to make a bigger push for the …
  • EPIC Seeks More Details About Google's WiFi Snooping
    When the Federal Communications Commission released its final report on Google's Wi-Spy fiasco, the agency kept some of its findings out of the public record by blacking out large swaths of text. Doing so was a mistake, says the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center. "It is critical that lawmakers and the public have all the information in order to make an informed evaluation of Google's practices and the quality of the FCC's investigation," EPIC says in a Freedom of Information Act request sent to the FCC this week.
  • Verizon's Conditions For Spectrum Sale Draw Opposition
    Verizon Wireless this week said it would sell portions of the spectrum it acquired in 2008, but only if the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department approve a separate deal between Verizon and cable companies. The news was met with concern by public interest groups, who say that Verizon's proposed alliance with cable companies will result in less competition.
  • White House Criticizes Cybersecurity Proposal
    Earlier this year, just as the House of Representatives seemed poised to pass the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, the White House stepped in and condemned the measure. Now another pending bill, the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is riling civil liberties advocates, who say the bill could compromise users' privacy.
  • More Trouble From Google's Wi-Spy Snafu: DOJ, Congress Calls For Inquiries
    The advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether Google's Wi-Spy snafu violated any federal laws. "Over a three-year period, Google, Inc., deployed hundreds of cars on roadways across the United States, outfitted with digital cameras and Wi-Fi receivers, to capture both images available from public roadways and the private communications of Internet users," EPIC says in a letter to DOJ dated Tuesday. "Google's 'Street View' program has given rise to numerous investigations, and lawsuits, but none have adequately determined whether Google's conduct violated the federal Wiretap Act."
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