Once upon a time less than 20 years ago, there was concern that people would not trust providing their credit card information to make online purchases. Indeed, there was a question as to whether people would take the plunge and order holiday presents online. My, how times have changed! Continue reading Amazon Sales Through The Roof This Holiday Season
Long before votes were cast for the 2016 Presidential election, this blogger discussed how Hillary Clinton’s government-related emails that were sent and received on private servers could become a thorn in her political side.
Because government records must be maintained as government records so, among other reasons, they can be open and available to public review. Indeed, laws like the Freedom of Information Act maintain that to have a vital and truly functioning democracy, those who govern must be accountable to the governed; the workings of government must be transparent pursuant to “sunshine” laws. Sunshine is the best disinfectant when it comes to government affairs. Continue reading Emailgate — Here We Go Again!
On November 21, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) had a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to protect sensitive employee information against an unreasonable risk of harm when that information is stored on an internet-accessible computer system. Dittman v. UPMC, No. 43 WAP 2017 (Pa. Nov. 21, 2018). In doing so, the Court made clear that the criminal acts of third parties who may breach a computer system do not alleviate the legal duty on a business to protect such information. The Court further held that the economic loss doctrine (a doctrine that precludes tort cases where the loss is purely monetary) did not apply in this case because the legal duty to protect sensitive employee information exists independently from any contractual obligations between the parties.
Technology has advanced to the point that videos can be doctored in terms of words spoken or physical actions taken to the point that those videos can look quite authentic.
Why is this problematical? Continue reading The Danger of Manipulated Videos
California recently passed what some argue to be the most robust net neutrality state law in the United States. That law has not yet gone into effect.
The very same day that California Governor Jerry Brown signed the net neutrality bill into law, the US Department of Justice was quick to filed a federal lawsuit, among other goals, to block implementation of the law. And last week, the Department of Justice and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra entered into an agreement to further postpone implementation of the California net neutrality law until the federal lawsuit is concluded.
So, what is at stake here? Continue reading California Net Neutrality Law Put On Hold Pending Federal Litigation
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
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
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
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?
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