Online Dating Sites Vow To Protect Users From Sex Predators

According to press reports, online dating websites eHarmony, and Sparks Networks have entered into a joint statement of business principles to protect users from sexual predators and to help prevent identity theft and other scams. California Attorney General Kamala Harris followed up on this development by stating that "consumers should be able to use websites without fear of being scammed or targeted," in apparent recognition that a woman was assaulted on a date that came about through an online dating site.

The companies reportedly have agreed to use national sex-offender registries to check on subscribers, to quickly respond to reported abuses, and to give Internet safety guidance to members. The dating sites will also provide reports of suspected criminal activity to the Attorney General's office.

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FTC Released its Final Report Today on Best Practices for Businesses to Protect Consumer Privacy

Today, the Federal Trade Commission released its final report titled "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations For Businesses and Policymakers."

The report details best practices for businesses to protect the privacy of consumers.  Recognizing the burden on small businesses, the FTC says that the framework should not apply to companies that collect and do not transfer only non-sensitive data from fewer than 5,000 consumers a year. 

In the report, the FTC addressed the following:

Do-Not-Track – the FTC will work with various groups to complete implementation of an easy-to-use, persistent, and effective Do Not Track system.

Mobile - the FTC continues to urge companies offering mobile services to work toward improved privacy protections, including disclosures. It will host a workshop on May 30, 2012 to address how mobile privacy disclosures can be short, effective, and accessible to consumers on small screens.

Data Brokers – the FTC called on data brokers to make their operations more transparent by creating a centralized website to identify themselves, and to disclose how they collect and use consumer data.  In addition, the website should detail the choices that data brokers provide consumers about their own information.

Large Platform Providers - The FTC cited heightened privacy concerns about the extent to which platforms, such as ISPs, operating systems, browsers and social media companies, comprehensively track consumers' online activities. It will host a public workshop in the second half of 2012 to explore issues related to comprehensive tracking.

Promoting Enforceable Self-Regulatory Codes - the FTC is working to develop industry-specific codes of conduct.


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E-discovery Taxation Costs Slashed by the 3rd Circuit

Previously, we reported that a federal court in the Western District of Pennsylvania held that the two prevailing defendants may recover more than $365,000 in e-discovery costs because such costs are the modern-day equivalent of duplication costs.  That decision has now been vacated and remanded back to the District Court to re-tax costs.  According to the panel, only the scanning of hard copy documents, the conversion of native file to TIFF and the transfer of VHS tapes to DVD involved taxable "copying" costs, which are recoverable

Domain Name Disputes Set All-Time Record

One might think that as the Internet matures, domain name disputes might dissipate. Not so!

Indeed, an all-time record 2,764 cybersquatting cases pertaining to 4,781 domain names were filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO) in 2011.

These filings were made in accordance with procedures based on the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and represent an increase of 2.5% and 9.4%, respectively, above previous record levels in 2010 and 2009.

Amazingly, since the launch of the UDRP in late 1999, WIPO has been the recipient of more than 22,500 UDRP-related cases. These cases have addressed more than 40,500 domain names.

Furthermore, as the Internet has broadened geographically, so has the country-origin of domain name disputes. In 2011, disputes filed with WIPO involved complainants and respondents from an astounding 110 countries. And these cases were handled by 323 WIPO panelists from 49 different countries in 13 languages.

For 2011, the highest sector areas of WIPO complaints related to retail, Internet and IT, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, fashion, and banking and finance.

Interestingly, the WIPO panels found cybersquatting in 88% of the disputes. Obviously, complainants fare well with the domain name disputes filed with WIPO.

With the recent advent of the .xxx domain for pornography sites, disputes in this space already have arisen. There was quite a bit of debate within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as to how to manage Internet pornography. Finally, the .xxx domain came into operation in December. And now that it is here, .xxx already is adding to the panoply of domain name disputes.

Plainly, the rising tide of domain name disputes continues with no sign of ebbing any time soon.

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP ( where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is and he can be reached at To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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Landmark E-Discovery Ruling Approves Computer-Assisted ESI Review

It's happened: In a landmark e-discovery ruling, a federal judge has explicitly approved of computer-assisted review, also known as predictive coding (the use of sophisticated algorithms to enable a computer to determine relevance based on training by a human reviewer), to search for potentially responsive electronically stored information, or ESI.

Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck, of the Southern District of New York, concluded "that computer-assisted review is an acceptable way to search for relevant ESI in appropriate cases" in Monique Da Silva Moore, et al. v. Publicis Groupe & MSL Group, a gender-discrimination case.

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Duane Morris lawyers share their insights on developing legal issues which impact technology and business. Topics include e-commerce, cloud computing, outsourcing, security, privacy, social media, software, telecommunications and more.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.