A new California law could ratchet up the pressure on Web companies to rethink their approach to do-not-track requests. The measure, AB 370, was passed unanimously last month and signed into law late last week. The bill amends a 10-year-old California privacy law by requiring some Web companies to state how they respond to do-not-track requests, including ones sent by browser-based headers.
This week U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh surprised many observers with an anti-Google decision. Koh ruled that Google might indeed violate federal wiretap laws by scanning Gmail messages in order to serve ads to users. Privacy rights groups say that Koh's decision is a big win for consumers. But for now, the ruling raises more questions than it answers
The streaming video service Aereo must be feeling pretty confident this week. Even though the company is facing court battles in New York and Boston, it announced that it plans to bring its service to four new cities -- Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and San Antonio.
Google is asking a federal appellate court to reconsider its decision that the company's Street View cars potentially violated wiretap laws by capturing data from open WiFi networks. That decision, issued several weeks ago, cleared the way for a class-action lawsuit against the company to proceed.
Google is now encrypting search traffic for all users who click on organic results, according to a report this week in Search Engine Land.
Several years ago, hacker Andrew "weev" Auernheimer helped to publicize how an AT&T security glitch left iPad users' email addresses exposed on the Web. As a result, he was convicted of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and sentenced to 42 months in federal prison. He is appealing his conviction, arguing that he didn't commit computer fraud by visiting publicly available Web sites and retrieving the information that AT&T had made unwittingly made accessible.
Vimeo got a mixed ruling this week in a 4-year-old lawsuit filed by record labels over "lip dubs," or videos featuring people lip-synching to famous songs. The labels argued that 199 clips on the service infringed copyright, and that Vimeo should be responsible. But IAC/Interactive's Vimeo said the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's safe harbors protected the company from liability.
A federal appellate court ruled this week that "liking" a political candidate on Facebook is indeed the type of speech that is protected by the First Amendment. The ruling partially reversed a decision of U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Jackson in the Eastern District of Virginia, who opined that a Facebook "like" wasn't really speech, on the theory that people can "like" things on Facebook without making "an actual statement." Jackson added that "merely 'liking' a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection."
The Center for Democracy and Technology's Justin Brookman and Adobe's Carl Cargill will join Matthias Schunter as co-chairs of a group that is trying to craft privacy standards, the Web standards organization World Wide Web Consortium announced on Wednesday.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration today formally asked the the Federal Communications Commission to require wireless companies to unlock cell phones. By giving consumers greater freedom to choose among alternative mobile service providers and use wireless devices that they lawfully acquire from others, the proposed rule would both increase competition in the mobile services market and enhance consumer welfare.