Google, BlackBerry, Earthlink and Red Hat today petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on companies whose chief business is enforcing patents held by individuals. The move came one day after cloud host Rackspace announced that it was suing one such patent assertion entity, IP Nav, for violating a previous agreement that both companies would provide 30 days notice before suing over a group of contested patents.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Facebook’s move to allow marketers to import consumer lists obtained through data broker companies, announced today, met with substantial concern from privacy advocates.
Instagram rolled back proposed changes to parts of its terms of service that relate to advertising yesterday, but left in place changes to its privacy policies which attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation call troublesome.
Gmail users can now search by date range, message size and exact word match rather than keyword. For instance, users tired of turning up messages from 2007 in their search results can limit their searches to those less than a year old using “newer_than:1y.”
SocialTimes reported yesterday that the ACLU and EFF had sued to block enforcement of parts of Prop 35, now California law, that affect registered sex offenders’ use. The court has offered a temporary restraining order in the case, putting the provisions in question on hold until the court can make a decision on their constitutionality.
The ACLU of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed suit in California today to block enforcement of parts of Proposition 35, a California ballot measure designed to help prevent human sex trafficking.
Melissa Walthall, of Mesquite, Texas, was given a photo of the undercover police officer who had helped to convict a friend of hers. She did what many of us would do: She posted it to Facebook, adding the ill-considered comment, “Anyone knew this –?”
An important measure in protecting free speech, Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act of 1996 prevents internet service providers from being held liable for the unpredictable things people say in public forums online. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have created an infographic to explain why this law is still important to social media companies and users everywhere.
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks were the hot topic at WikiLeaks and Online Civil Disobedience, a Social Media Week New York panel hosted by the Personal Democracy Forum and moderated by its editor and curator, Micah Sifry.
Speakers at the event, in order, were Deanna Zandt, author of Share This: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking; Evgeny Morozov, author of new book The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom; and John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The event was held at Hearst’s Art & Culture Hub in Manhattan.
Zandt made it a point to differentiate between DDoS attacks and hacking, saying, “Denial-of-service attacks are not hacking. Hacking tends to be where systems are broken into and data are compromised. None of the business data or practices was compromised in any way. I do feel that DDOS is a civil form of disobedience.”
Speaking specifically about Anonymous, the group responsible for attacking several corporate Web sites in defense of WikiLeaks, she said, “In the past, Anonymous hasn’t done anything in this scale that was explicitly, overtly, hugely political,” adding that the group was made up of “chaos enthusiasts — they’re interested in the drama of chaos unfolding. It’s not as if there was this sleeper cell of people who were ready to attack this big, bad corporation.”
On digital activism in general, Zandt concluded, “I’m often very, very frustrated with what the face of actual digital activism looks like. We have the ability and the freedom to risk ourselves for the benefit of many who don’t. We can’t ultimately rely on these digital tools to do our dirty work. If governments and corporations can easily collude to disable our ability to communicate with one another, what is our response?”