FTC, FCC Flex Muscles

Duane Morris partner Joseph Burton was featured in a video on Bank Info Security  on the impact of regulators involved in cybersecurity.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission are among U.S. regulators now starting to flex their muscles when it comes to enforcing cybersecurity standards, says Burton. What enforcement trends might we expect to see in 2017?

To view the video, please visit the Bank Info Security website.

Subsidized Internet Use for Low-Income Customers to Be Stopped by the FCC?

Changes keep coming fast, and now nine companies that recently have been part of a program intended to offer subsidized internet access to low-income users have been informed by the Federal Communications Commission that they must not offer this service, according to a recent article by the International Business Times. This position by the new leadership of the FCC represents a complete pivot from a ruling only weeks before by prior FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Continue reading Subsidized Internet Use for Low-Income Customers to Be Stopped by the FCC?

Protection of Climate Change Data

The vast majority of scientists who have studied the issue have concluded that global warming is happening and that such warming has been caused to a large extent by humans. For that reason, not long ago, many countries signed onto the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in an effort to deal with this threat to life on the planet.

However, there is concern that plans to deal with global warming may be halted. Why? Because it appears that President Trump is bringing into US government people who reportedly have expressed doubt about climate change, or at least who have been in favor of less environmental regulations for businesses. Indeed, according to a recent report by Public Radio International, a Trump transition team member has said that new studies and data by EPA scientists will be put on hold.

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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.

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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