Google appears to be headed for a major victory in its showdown with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. The company has shown a "substantial likelihood" that its free speech rights were violated by Hood, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Wingate in the Southern District of Mississippi said in a written decision issued late last week.
It's no secret that broadband providers would like to draw on their trove of data about which sites users visit in order to serve them targeted ads. So far, attempts to do so have been met with criticism by privacy advocates as well as lawmakers. In some cases, the pressure alone has been enough to force companies to retreat. Verizon, for instance, recently agreed to let its customers opt out of a controversial ad-targeting program that involved adding tracking headers to all mobile traffic.
In May of 2013, Claude and Violaine Galland rented out their Paris apartment to two vacationing couples. Both rental agreements allegedly contained a clause prohibiting tenants from leaving online reviews. Despite the ban, the Bowdens allegedly wrote on VRBO.com that the apartment was "small and noisy," although they said it was also "attractive enough" and close to the Metro and Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Advocacy organizations opposing Comcast's merger with Time Warner argue in a new FCC filing that the net neutrality rules have too many loopholes to prevent Comcast from harming Netflix and other online video companies. "Comcast would like the public to believe that the open Internet restrictions have the clarity of 'thou shalt not steal,' that Comcast will not steal, and that this will remedy all anti-competitive effects stemming from the merger," the organizations state. "In fact, they are not even a partial remedy."
Ajit Pai, one of two Republicans on the Federal Communications Commission, has made no secret of his dislike for the new net neutrality rules. Not only did he vote against the rules, but he has spent much of the last two weeks slamming the FCC's move to Congress. Today, Pai told a House Judiciary Committee that open Internet regulations will discourage Internet service providers from making the kinds of investments necessary to upgrade their networks and boost speeds.
The first two lawsuits over the new net neutrality rules were filed this week. One case was brought by the trade group US Telecom Association, while the second came from a small Texas-based Internet service provider. Both could be dismissed as premature, given that the rules haven't yet taken effect.
The Federal Trade Commission is beefing up its technological expertise in order to examine how the Internet of Things, emerging payment systems and even the use of Big Data are affecting consumers. FTC Chief Technologist Ashkan Soltani tells MediaPost why a one-size-fits-all approach to privacy won't work for all emerging technologies.
The ink wasn't even dry on the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality order when HBO announced a new stand-alone service that highlights the rules' weaknesses: Broadband providers can still take aim at rivals by imposing data caps on subscribers. HBO is already trying to arrange to exempt its new streaming service from the caps, as are Sony and Showtime. FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly weighed in on Twitter.
All five members of the Federal Communications Commission have been testifying this week at various Congressional hearings, where Republican lawmakers have spent hours complaining bitterly about the new net neutrality rules. "Simply put, your actions jeopardize the open Internet that we are all seeking to protect," said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.).
The EU's right to be forgotten addresses the genuine concern that people shouldn't be dogged forever by embarrassing events from their past, but the implementation has been a "complete disaster," Boston College law professor Mary-Rose Papandrea says. She says the concept discounts free-speech principles by forcing search engines to take down truthful information, while also making it harder for readers to access the material.