Category: GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS

Is Section 230 of the CDA Done? Summary Of The Sarah Jones v. Dirty World Amicus Briefs

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Out of all the Internet laws, which is the most important? Many folks may give Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) top honors. Some people have even speculated that Section 230 of the CDA is primarily responsible for turning the Internet into a thriving bazaar of business and innovation. What Does Section 230 of the CDA Do? What does the powerful statute do? Section 230 of the CDA says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Less legalese, you say? Basically, Section 230 of the CDA says you can’t blame hosting companies or website operators for defamatory statements posted by users, blog commentators or other third parties. The Lawsuit That Could Decimate Section 230 of the CDA At the ...
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2013 Dot Com Disclosures: Explained By Lawyer

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Below is an in-depth review of the March 2013 Dot Com Disclosures update. Fair Warning: It is the opposite of short. We’ve done our best to use descriptive headlines to break the monotony and hopefully allow for easier navigation. If you need to speak with an attorney who deals with FTC and online advertising issues, get in touch. Kelly Warner is here to help any and all online marketers. The Federal Trade Commission updated the Dot Com Disclosures. In April 2012, the nation’s consumer protection agency held workshops to discuss mobile devices and sales disclosures. Now, they’ve released a new set of guidelines. It’s supposed to act as a set of rules for how mobile and social media ads should be structured, but the 53-page Dot Com Disclosure update is actually a lengthy treatise filled with non-committal suggestions. Regardless of ...
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Mobile Marketing Alert: New Android App May Be A Thorn In Marketers Sides

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Attention Mobile Marketers: A new Android app called PrivacyStar alerts the Federal Trade Commission of questionable “text-vertising” campaigns. Yep, you read that right: the small but powerful program allows users to file a formal FTC complaint with the tap of a finger. So, if texting is one of your current mobile marketing methods, be aware that users can now easily alert officials if they think your advertising texts are unsolicited SPAM. Bottom line: it’s a good time to review your mobile marketing process to make sure it doesn’t cross the legal line. From CNN: Fighting text spam got easier by leaps and bounds on Wednesday when Android app PrivacyStar added a free-to-use feature, which will help users file formal complaints with the Federal Trade Commission directly from their smartphones. What Mobile Marketers Should Do To Evade The Federal Trade Commission’s ...
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Daily Internet Law News Brief: Patents, COPPA & Netflix

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Ready for today’s Internet law news. Let’s get to it without further ado. New Internet Law Bill Passed In House The so-called “Netflix Bill” passed in the House of Representatives, which means the government is one step closer to changing provisions in the Video Privacy Protection Act. The proposed changes will make it easier for people – and let’s face it, social networking sites — to share video viewing histories. Like all political moves, this one has its detractors. Most notably, those who feel the e-mail privacy amendment to the Electronics Communications Privacy Act should also be changed at the same time aren’t thrilled. Technology Intellectual Property News: Patent Talk Interested in software patent issues? Jason Mick published a commentary on the nature of UI patents and how they could negatively affect the tech industry. Anyone who keeps abreast of ...
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HR 2471: Proposed E-Mail Privacy Bill

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In a few months, it may be a little more difficult for law enforcement agents to get a hold of your e-mail and social media messages. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill (HR 2471), sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, which seeks to update the 1986 Electronics Communications Privacy Act. The bill will require officials to obtain a warrant if they want to read private e-mails or electronic messages. What, exactly, is the Senate Judiciary Committee, you ask?One of the oldest government committees still in existence, the SJC was created in 1816. In addition to conducting Supreme Court nominee hearings, the judicial board also deals with federal criminal law, human rights, immigration, intellectual property, antitrust and online privacy. How It Works Now Issues surrounding e-privacy are largely governed by the Electronics Communications Privacy Act, which was passed in ...
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Posted in Government Regulations, Online Privacy Law | Tagged | 1 Comment

Biz Opp Alert: The FTC Is Watching

FTC Regulations
The nation’s consumer protection agency is actively enforcing their new Biz Opp rules. On October 31, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission, in conjunction with other federal task forces, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Attorneys General in Arizona, Colorado, California and Indiana filed 108 new legal actions against Biz Opp companies that authorities allege are unfairly scamming would-be entrepreneurs. Operation Lost Opportunity: The FTC’s Latest Crackdown On Biz Opps With a 3-0-2 vote, the FTC put operation lost opportunity into action. Seventy civilian actions and 38 criminal actions were filed in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida against a slew of companies offering “be your own boss” prospects. Specifically, a group of companies that offer mystery shopping, credit card processing, website operation, and government insurance refund processing opportunities are being charged with violating various consumer protection rules. ...
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Introducing The Cloud Computing Act of 2012

Internet Laws
Don’t you love it when politicians decide to become superheros of consumer Internet protection? Ramifications of poorly worded laws, be damned! No? Not your thing? Well, prepare to be irritated by the Cloud Computing Act of 2012. Introduced last month by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, The Cloud Computing Act of 2012 is a group of proposed amendments to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that aim to “protect cloud-based businesses.” But as Eric Goldman adroitly pointed out in this Forbes.com article, the Cloud Computing Act of 2012 could actually cause many more problems than it would provide protection. Goldman rightly, in my opinion, points out how poorly the draft proposal defines “cloud computing account” and “cloud computing service”. To put it bluntly, the definitions, as they now stand in the act, could describe nearly every interactive website on the Internet. If ...
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Mother Pens Cyberbullying Memoir

Cyberbullying is most often associated with children. But many adults also suffer online harassment. Lesli Catsouras, 46, is one such adult, and she’s sharing her harrowing story in a new memoir entitled, “Forever Exposed.” A deeply personal tale, Catsouras’ book is about the cyberbullying she and her family experienced after her 18 year old daughter was killed in a car crash. It all started on Halloween afternoon of 2006. After having lunch with her parents, Nikki grabbed the keys to her father’s porche, the one she was not supposed to drive, and escaped out the garage. Panicked, Nikki’s mother immediately called her father, who tried to warn the police, but it was too late. Nikki lost her life after crashing into an unmanned toll booth. As you can imagine, it was an incredibly difficult time for the Catsouras family. All ...
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New Internet Law: Facebook Freedom of Speech Schools

An aggressive new Internet law was introduced in North Carolina, making it a criminal offense for a student to release statements online with the intention of intimidating or tormenting school faculty. In Minnesota, a U.S. District Court maintained that compelling students to hand over access to their social media accounts is a violation of their rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. The case involves a 12-yer-old girl who posted one comment about a school employee on Facebook at home, and followed it up with another. School officials promptly questioned the student, which resulted in disciplinary actions. She also had to provide access to her email accounts, which they searched. Based on Tinker v. Des Moines and other precedents, the court maintained that school authorities could not punish statements made away from school, which are guaranteed by the First Amendment, ...
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Updates To The Electronic Communications Privacy Act?

Internet Law
Internet law news alert! The House and Senate are finally getting around to updating the woefully outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act. If Sen. Patrick Leahy’s new bill passes, it will be that much more difficult for law enforcement entities to get their hands on personal email correspondences. Give Me The Quick Low Down On The Electronic Communications Privacy Act Enacted in 1986, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act was passed into law to, well, do exactly what its name suggests – protect the privacy of electronic communications. But if you can think back to 1986, you’ll remember that email wasn’t exactly commonplace. In fact, back then, most politicians considered e-mail to be transitory and therefore not all that private. As such, the act classifies electronic communications as “business records” and the ECPA only requires officials to obtain an easily acquirable administrative ...
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