Supreme Court Will Not Consider Backpage.com CDA Section 230 Case

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) generally grants broad immunity to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with respect to third-party content posted on the ISP sites. The legislative history behind CDA Section 230 makes plain that Congress intended for the Internet to flourish for businesses and the US economy, and that intent would be thwarted if ISPs had the onerous duty to police and somehow regulate information and communications posted on their sites by others the ISPs do not control.

Nevertheless, there have been efforts in legal cases to chip away at the broad immunity afforded to ISPs by CDA Section 230. One such effort is the recent legal case Jane Doe No. 1 v. Backpage.com, LLC. Continue reading Supreme Court Will Not Consider Backpage.com CDA Section 230 Case

The Coming Tech Year

We made it through 2016. So, what’s in store in 2017 when it comes to hot tech issues? There are many hot issues, such as big data, intellectual property disputes, the sharing economy, and drones. But this blog covers the three potential biggest issues. Drum roll please — here we go!

1. Security — Cybercrime & Cyberwarfare

Hacking, hacking, hacking …

Security on the internet is the first and foremost tech issue for 2017.

Hacking is penetrating all sorts of systems. For example, individuals are vulnerable to cybercrime, as their personally identifiable information is stolen when companies are hacked.

And cyberwarfare appears to be here and now, and not just some speculation about the future. Indeed, the Senate is preparing at this moment to hold hearings about the implications of apparent Russian hacking that meddled in our recent presidential election.

This year likely will be dominated by efforts to combat threats to internet security.

Continue reading The Coming Tech Year

The Internet Is Not Neutral as to Energy Consumption

The internet is just “there” for us and our many online needs. But how often do you think about what it takes to power cyberspace?

Well, consider this: Google alone consumes practically the same amount of electricity each year as does the entire city of San Francisco, according to a recent article by Curbed San Francisco.

This same article refers back to a 2015 Wired piece that reported at that time that Google was purchasing sufficient renewable energy for “two San Franciscos.”

Continue reading The Internet Is Not Neutral as to Energy Consumption

The Online Gift Bounty and Concerns for the Holiday Season

Once upon a time, at the turn of this century, when the commercial internet starting becoming a reality, we had the first opportunity to purchase holiday gifts online. This seemed like a big experiment. Would our orders really get fulfilled? Would the gifts arrive on time? Was it safe to give a credit card and other identifying information on the World Wide Web?

Fast-forward to now. Many billions of dollars of gift transactions are happening on an ongoing basis as the current holiday season is upon us. We have grown accustomed to making online purchases of all types throughout the year, and the holiday season ratchets this up tremendously.

Continue reading The Online Gift Bounty and Concerns for the Holiday Season

Thankful for Technology

At times, it can seem like technology is bringing us down …

We frequently hear about: cyberbullying of teens; online intellectual property infringement; various forms of identity theft, hacking, privacy and security violations, and cyber crime; cyber warfare; illegal sales of munitions and slaves and the organization of terrorist activities on the Dark Web; political email scandals; potential foreign Internet influence over US political elections; and the list goes on and on.

But during this Thanksgiving and holiday season, not only can we be thankful for our family and friends, we also can be grateful for the many benefits of technology.

Continue reading Thankful for Technology

The Emails That Came Back to Bite Clinton

It is with regret that your blogger here must report that he was correct as far back as early-April 2015 in predicting that the private email scenario surrounding Hillary Clinton would be a real threat to her efforts to gain the White House. Indeed, in a podcast of April 9, 2015 this blogger described the problem as a “hornet’s nest” that would be the “Achilles’ Heel” of the Clinton presidential campaign.

As revelations of Ms. Clinton’s use of a private email server for government affairs while acting as Secretary of State first emerged, she attempted to deflect and then minimize the problem. Later, when Emailgate would not disappear, Ms. Clinton admitted that she had made a “mistake” and that if she had it to do over again, she would not have handled government emails in a private fashion.

Continue reading The Emails That Came Back to Bite Clinton

International Law in the Era of Cyberwar

Intelligence agencies of the United States and the Department of Homeland Security in particular have accused Russia publicly of internet espionage intended to interfere with the US presidential election. In the wake of this accusation, the Obama administration has assured a retaliatory response designed to protect US interests. But if and when would this take place, and what are the governing international rules of this game?

Such a retaliatory response might await the outcome of the presidential election and the swearing in of the new president. Continue reading International Law in the Era of Cyberwar

Duane Morris’ Alice Kane and Philip Goldstein on New Cybersecurity Regulations for New York Insurers and Banks

Duane Morris partner Alice Kane and associate Philip Goldstein recently wrote an article on “New Cybersecurity Regulations for New York Insurers and Banks,” which was published by Law360.

Over the last few years, the financial services industry has been recognized by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) as a significant target of cyberthreats. While the frequency and cost of data breaches in the insurance industry is less than that of banks, healthcare data can, in fact, be more valuable over time than credit card information.

To read the full article, please visit the Duane Morris website.

Platforms Like Airbnb and VRBO to Thrive or Facing Legal Reckoning?

The short-term lodging landscape has changed radically in recent years. Rather than always book hotels when away from home, people now frequently book to stay in the homes or apartments of other people through sites like Airbnb and VRBO. The growth in this area is reflected by the $30 billion estimated worth of Airbnb. But does this mean that these short-term rental sites are completely free of legal concerns? No.

According to a recent Fortune.com article, regulations passed in various jurisdictions threaten the online, short-term rental model. For example, New York has passed regulations that Airbnb says could damage its business in New York City — its largest market in the United States. Hours after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill, Airbnb filed a federal lawsuit claiming the law will cause “irreparable harm.” Continue reading Platforms Like Airbnb and VRBO to Thrive or Facing Legal Reckoning?

What the Recent Cyberattack Means and Ways Businesses Can Protect Themselves

The unprecedented cyberattack on October 21, 2016, which crippled many of the Internet’s most widely trafficked sites, should be a wakeup call for businesses about the potential for hackers to weaponize common Internet-enabled devices and cripple businesses.

What Happened?

The cyberattack was caused in part by malware directed to more than 10 million Internet-connected devices, including DVRs, thermostats and closed-circuit video cameras. It caused a distributed denial-of-service attack (i.e., service interruption) that hit in three waves. Dyn, an Internet services company that directs Internet traffic, reported that the attack hit all of its 18 data centers globally. Early reports show that the disruption may be responsible for up to $110 million in lost revenue and sales. Perhaps most troubling is that the group claiming responsibility said the attack is merely a dry run for much larger attacks.

Continue reading What the Recent Cyberattack Means and Ways Businesses Can Protect Themselves