• Facebook's Beacon Settlement Attacked By Cato Institute
    The libertarian organization Cato Institute is backing the Center for Class Action Fairness in its effort to convince the Supreme Court to scuttle Facebook's $9.5 million settlement of a class-action privacy lawsuit stemming from the Beacon debacle.
  • Sen. Franken Blasts Facebook's Proposed Automatic Tagging Politices
    Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has joined the growing number of critics of Facebook's proposed new terms. This week, he sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to rethink the company's plan to use people's profile photos for a new purpose: automatic tagging suggestions.
  • Wi-Spy Ruling Criticized For Violating 'Technology Neutrality'
    Privacy advocates cheered this week's court decision that Google potentially violated the federal wiretap law when its Street View cars accessed WiFi transmissions that were not password-protected. But not everyone thinks the court made the right call. Some observers are warning that the ruling is "short-sighted" and rests on "flawed logic."
  • Political Firm Says Mobile Banner Ads Should Be Exempt From Disclaimers
    Federal Elections Commission rules could thwart politicos who want to advertise on mobile. So says political consultancy Revolution Messaging, which today asked the agency to allow mobile banner ads to run without disclaimers stating who paid for the ad and whether it was authorized by a candidate.
  • Yelp Accuses Law Firm Of Posting Phony Reviews
    In the last three years, the McMillan Law Group, headed by attorney Julian McMillan in San Diego, has received a number of glowing five-star reviews on Yelp. "Exceeded expectations," gushed one commenter. "The competence of this firm went above and beyond any expectation that I ever had," enthused another, who said the firm offered "a quick, efficient and pain-free bankruptcy experience." Those reviews might not seem likely to result in litigation. Yet that's exactly what happened.
  • Google: NSA Reports Hurt Our Reputation
    Google's reputation has been harmed by what it calls "false or misleading" press reports about the company's relationship with the National Security Agency, the company says in new court papers. Google makes the claim as part of its argument to be allowed to release more details about the NSA's PRISM program, which involves gathering data from tech companies. Google -- along with Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook -- filed suits in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking permission to publish the information.
  • Facebook Postpones Changes To Privacy Policy
    It probably shouldn't be a surprise that Facebook once again is facing a backlash for proposing changes to its privacy policy. After all, just about every revision the company has made to its privacy policies since 2007 -- when Facebook rolled out the disastrous Beacon program -- has gone wrong.
  • Privacy Groups Ask FTC To Nix Facebook's New Terms Of Service
    When Facebook settled a class-action lawsuit about its sponsored stories program last week, the company promised to change some of the language in its terms of service, in order to reflect how the program operates. Among other changes, Facebook said it would add language requiring minors to represent that their parents agreed to the terms of service -- including the use of their children's names and photos in sponsored stories ads. Now, a coalition of privacy groups says that Facebook's new terms violate its 2012 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • When 'Internet Of Things' Go Bad: Company Fails To Secure Video Feeds
    In its first complaint involving the so-called "Internet of things," the Federal Trade Commission has accused Trendnet of failing to protect the privacy of its Webcam users. Trendnet's IP cameras let people access live video feeds, in order to remotely monitor what's happening in their homes. But the company didn't adequately secure the feeds, according to the FTC. The result was that total strangers were able to access online video feeds of people's homes.
  • Supreme Court Could Rule On NY's 'Amazon Tax'
    Earlier this year, New York's highest court upheld the state's "Amazon tax," a law that requires some out-of-state ecommerce sites to collect sales tax. The law, passed in 2008, applies to retailer sites that use in-state affiliates -- including online publishers that garner commissions when visitors make purchases after clicking on ads. Amazon and Overstock challenged the law as unconstitutional on the ground that the Supreme Court said years ago that states can't require companies to collect sales tax unless they have a "substantial nexus" to the state, like brick-and-mortar stores. But a divided N.Y. Court of Appeals disagreed in …
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