A coalition of 47 state attorneys general says the law should be changed so that Web site operators can be held responsible if users violate state criminal laws. The attorneys general say this change is necessary in order to stop sex trafficking on sites like Backpage.com.
Pinterest, like the microblogging service Twitter, has promised to stop collecting data about users' Web-surfing activities if they turn on a do-not-track header. Pinterest is currently able to glean a great deal of information about users who visit sites that carry a "Pin It" button. The company said in a blog post on Friday that it will keep that data for up to 30 days, and draws on the information in order to show users' personalized material.
In the latest chapter of its long-running feud with YouTube, Viacom is once again asking an appellate court to reinstate a copyright infringement lawsuit against the video-sharing service. Viacom, which first sued YouTube in 2007, says the company grew its audience by allowing users to post clips that infringed copyright. But Google says that YouTube has always complied with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by taking down infringing clips as soon as the copyright owner complained.
It's been nearly six years since Facebook's first foray into social advertising: the disastrous 2007 Beacon program. The company has made significant revisions to all of its services since then, but the legal fallout from Beacon hasn't ended yet. In fact, the next stop could be the Supreme Court, if some critics of Facebook get their way.
Mozilla is planning to roll out a system that will enable publishers to personalize content to Firefox users based on their Web-surfing history. "Our exploration into personalization is an attempt to help consumers get the most relevant content, at the right time, in a way that makes them feel comfortable by incorporating transparency and choice," Mozilla Senior Vice President Harvey Anderson writes on the company's blog.
Hulu's video offerings have always been impressive, but the company's former privacy practices left something to be desired. Until August of 2011, the online video service included the User ID that it assigned people in the URLs of their profile pages, according to papers that Hulu filed in a pending lawsuit. The result is that anyone who had Hulu users' assigned User IDs -- including companies like comScore and Nielsen -- could find users' names. Hulu, which is currently defending itself on charges that it violated a federal video privacy law, says that there's no proof that anyone reverse-engineered users' …
Broadband speeds are growing in the U.S., but still lag behind speeds in other countries, according to the latest Akamai's latest State of the Internet report.
The House Judiciary Committee recently took up a bill that would make clear that consumers have the right to unlock their cell phones. Today, Rep. Bob Goodlatte proposed to amend the bill by providing that people (or companies) can help consumers to unlock their phones. That change is significant because the original proposal appeared to apply only when consumers locked their mobile phones personally. For that reason, advocacy group Public Knowledge praises the proposed amendment as a "step in the right direction."
Last November, when former Obama administration official Peter Swire was named co-chair of a group that is trying to create do-not-track standards, people hoped that he would be able to break an impasse between ad trade groups and consumer advocates. Swire certainly approached the task with optimism. One of his first official statements came in February, when he authored the blog post "Full Steam On Do Not Track," which called for the World Wide Web Consortium's tracking protection group to reach "last call" -- which means putting out a proposal for public comment -- by July. But Swire told other …
The Authors Guild, which is battling the book storage project HathiTrust in court, now says that digitization of books in and of itself can pose a risk to authors, given how easily digital books can be transferred. "Only Congress is equipped to strike the right balance between the promise and dark underbelly of mass digitization," the organization says in papers made public last week.