Comcast recently unveiled a new service that allows people who subscribe to both Xfinity Internet and Xfinity Digital Video to watch TV on demand on their Xbox 360 consoles. Not only is the feature free for subscribers, but any data streamed to the Xbox through this program won't count against users' 250 GB monthly data cap. Obviously, this feature sounds good for subscribers -- at least in the short-term. But it could place Netflix, Hulu and other streaming video providers at a disadvantage. After all, if people have a choice, there's no reason to stream video through a service that …
Facebook said this week that it will allow users to download more data from their accounts -- including their friend requests and IP addresses used. In the past, users could only use a tool to download a more limited set of data, including photos, posts, lists of friends and chats. The company clearly hopes the new tool will win it some points with privacy regulators in Europe -- where sweeping laws limit the amount of data that companies can collect and retain. But some of Facebook's toughest critics remain dissatisfied.
Lawmakers in Maryland have voted to prohibit employers from asking workers or job applicants for their passwords to social media accounts. The measure (SB 433/HB 964), which passed in a landslide, currently awaits the governor's signature. The bill moved forward shortly after press reports surfaced about employers throughout the country asking prospective employees for their Facebook passwords.
When Amazon first started selling ebooks in 2007, the retail giant priced best sellers and new releases at just $9.99 a download. Five publishing houses thought that price was too low -- and decided to do something about it, the U.S. Department of Justice charges in a civil antitrust lawsuit brought today in federal court in Manhattan.
Disregarding a company's computer policies isn't a federal crime, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said today.The ruling means that prosecutors within the 9th Circuit can't bring federal computer fraud charges against Web users for, say, lying about their height on dating sites, or their age on social media sites.
When the feds shut down Megaupload for alleged copyright infringement and froze the company's assets, one of the many questions to arise was what would happen to all of the data that users had uploaded to the service.
Pinterest user Kristin Kowalski recently caused a stir by raising questions about whether users of the service exposed themselves to liability by pinning photos. In the post "Why I tearfully deleted my Pinterest inspiration boards," Kowalski said that the site's terms of service -- which said users were only allowed to pin photos they owned or licensed -- made her wary of the service.
Many digital rights advocates reacted with wariness when they learned that major Internet service providers had agreed to start policing their networks for copyright infringement. This week, the group that will administer the new system, the Center for Copyright Information, attempted to address some of those concerns. The group announced that the American Arbitration Association will implement an independent review process for consumers.
All browsers should have a do-not-track setting, and all companies that track Web users must honor it. So says Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. "A ban through Do Not Track must be comprehensive and prohibit all web tracking through any means, whether currently in existence or yet to be developed," Franken said in comments submitted this week to the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Lawmakers in Arizona recently passed a sweeping -- and almost certainly unconstitutional -- bill that makes it illegal to "annoy or offend" people by using "lewd" or "profane" language online, or posting messages that "suggest any lewd or lascivious act." The measure is awaiting the approval of Gov. Jan Brewer, who hasn't yet said whether she intends to sign the law.