Politicians Seek Greater Online Consumer Privacy Protections

The Congressional mid-term elections are coming up. There is ample current discussion about whether the Republicans can hold onto majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Many Democrats believe that they have a strong chance of taking over as the majority party in the House, and some think that they may even take the Senate majority, but that latter potential achievement will be far more difficult, as many more Democrat Senators are up for reelection than Republican Senators.

If the Democrats take over as the majority party in the House, CNET reports that they plan to urge broad internet privacy protections. Representative Ro Khanna from Silicon Valley has drafted an “Internet Bill of Rights.” At this point, this document is not a bill, but instead puts forward ten principles that Khanna reportedly wants to become part of a comprehensive legislative package that could be considered by Congress in 2019.  Continue reading Politicians Seek Greater Online Consumer Privacy Protections

U.S. Seeks to Thwart Foreign Cyber Adversaries

Concerns about foreign hackers have been heightened since the 2016 presidential election, given that various U.S. intelligence agencies reported foreign Internet efforts to influence that election. And with mid-term Congressional elections coming up, those concerns have not abated.  Continue reading U.S. Seeks to Thwart Foreign Cyber Adversaries

Computer Analytics May Substantially Reduce Risk of Surgical Infections

Infections caused by surgical procedures are not uncommon and can be life-threatening. If only there were a way to cut (pardon the pun) the incidence of such infections … But wait, Computerworld has just reported that the application of predictive analytics and machine learning techniques to real-time data from operating rooms at the University of Iowa Hospital had lowered the risk of surgical infections by a stunning 74 percent over a three-year period.  Continue reading Computer Analytics May Substantially Reduce Risk of Surgical Infections

Internet Controls — Thwarting Terrorism or Silencing Dissent?

When the internet exploded beyond the early confines of US military and academic communications in the late-1990s, the US Congress believed that the internet should grow and flourish relatively unfettered by potential litigation and government regulation. This was reflected in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which generally provides that internet service providers are not liable for content posted by third parties on their websites.

However, the pendulum may be swinging in the other direction in the US, as there have been concerns about false information posted online by foreign interests that has been intended to influence elections. There also has been worry about the ability of terrorists and other bad actors to organize and develop plans of harm and destruction by utilizing the internet to further those negative pursuits.

Other countries share the foregoing worries. And there have been some consequent tightening controls on the internet. Of course, there is a balance to be struck. On the one hand, there is a merit to seeking to prevent harm by terrorists. On the other hand, internet restrictions should not be implemented to thwart valid free speech, dissent and organization while seeking improperly to consolidate governmental societal control. Continue reading Internet Controls — Thwarting Terrorism or Silencing Dissent?

DOJ Reviewing Paramount Consent Decrees

What are known as the “Paramount Consent Decrees” have governed the manner in which film studios have distributed films to movie theaters for 70 years. But that might change as part of a further deregulatory effort by the current administration. Indeed, the Department of Justice reportedly is reviewing the decrees.

The Paramount Consent Decrees emerged from a significant antitrust cased brought by the DOJ against Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, MGM, RKO Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and some other film studios. When the DOJ pursued this case in the 1940s, the film studios controlled many aspects of filmmaking. This included not only film production itself, but also long-term contracts with actors and the owning of movie theaters. The DOJ argued at the time that this made it extremely difficult for independent companies to compete.  Continue reading DOJ Reviewing Paramount Consent Decrees

‘Blinking Red’ Cyber Threats

Over the past couple years, we have heard a lot about Russian efforts on the internet to influence the 2016 presidential election. We also keep getting news about major hacks of businesses and the wrongful accessing of personal customer information.

And now, if that were not enough, Dan Coats, the National Intelligence Director, reportedly has stated that cyber threats to US national security are “blinking red” warning lights. Indeed, according to AP, Director Coats has revealed that online efforts to undercut the fabric of the United States are happening on a daily basis.  Continue reading ‘Blinking Red’ Cyber Threats

New California Law Seeks to Lead the U.S. in Online Privacy Protection

Privacy is like oxygen. It generally is not noticed by a consumer until it is gone. California lawmakers, however, are quite aware of privacy and have recently passed perhaps the most strict privacy law in the United States.

Only days ago, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“the Act”) was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown after it had been approved on a unanimous basis by the California State Assembly and the California Senate. The Act does not become operative until 2020, but when it goes it to effect, it will pack a punch. Indeed, the Act will provide great control to consumers with respect to their own personal data.  Continue reading New California Law Seeks to Lead the U.S. in Online Privacy Protection

Uber: Not Just Cars — All Transportation All the Time

Unless you are living on another planet, you are quite familiar with how to summon an Uber car on an app on your phone so that an Uber driver can pick you up and drive you to the destination of your choice. But Uber is not content with just this form of transportation. Indeed, Uber has grand dreams of being an all-encompassing hub for many types of transportation. Let’s take a look at some of these transportation offerings.  Continue reading Uber: Not Just Cars — All Transportation All the Time

Fighting Skyscraper Emergencies With Jetpacks

Some of us are old enough to remember the Jetsons cartoon show from the 1960s in which George Jetson and his family darted around in the sky using jetpacks and futuristic spacecrafts. Well, the future is here and now when it comes to using jetpacks to fighting skyscraper emergencies.

According to Popular Science, the city of Dubai, within the United Arab Emirates, entered into a contract with Martin Aircraft Company to buy 20 jetpacks for use by first responders in 2015. There are also more recent reports of Dubai firefighters using water-powered jetpacks and Dubai police using Star Wars-style hoverbikesContinue reading Fighting Skyscraper Emergencies With Jetpacks

Law Firms Are Potentially Vulnerable To Phishing Attacks

recent study just published by 250ok, an email analytics company, provides some apparent disturbing news — a whopping 62% of the top 100 global law firms currently fail to achieve the minimum level of email authentication to safeguard law firm staff and clients from phishing attacks.

In its study, 250ok discusses Domain-based Message Authentication and Reporting Conformance (DMARC). According to 250ok: (a) a DMARC reject policy safeguards recipients by requesting that malicious email be blocked from arriving in an inbox, and (b) a quarantine policy requests that such malicious email be placed in a spam-type folder, while (c) no policy at all allows malicious email to go into an inbox. (The study does not explain how an email is determined to be a malicious phishing email on the front end).  Continue reading Law Firms Are Potentially Vulnerable To Phishing Attacks