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
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
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
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
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 hoverbikes. Continue reading Fighting Skyscraper Emergencies With Jetpacks
Ransomware, a method of electronically attacking corporations and individuals by holding their data hostage, has gained massive popularity amongst hackers in the last several years. Ransomware is the first form of malware to present the threats of both the destruction of important data and the economic harm the loss of that data can create. Ransomware attacks will continue to increase in scope and severity in years to come, necessitating continuous vigilance.
In essence, ransomware acts by taking data that is of value to an entity but not deleting it. The ransomware acts as a figurative glass wall, allowing the owner of the data to physically possess that data but not access it. This is accomplished by implanting a virus on the owner’s hard drive, usually by means of an infected link in an email or other innocuous-looking document. Once the link is clicked, the ransomware works by encrypting the entire storage system. The hackers then threaten to destroy the data unless a ransom is paid.
2017 saw some of the worst ransomware attacks to date, escalating exponentially in size and gravity over previous years. According to a study by the Kaspersky Lab, over 479 million attacks occurred from online sources during the first quarter of 2017, up by over 250 percent from years past. These attacks ranged across countries and industries, and plagued corporations of all sizes.
To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris attorneys Anjali Kulkarni and Joseph M. Burton, please visit The Bar Association of San Francisco website.
Long ago in internet time, email was hip and was the next big thing. No longer did we have to shove paper into fax machines to send relatively quick communications, nor did we have to wait for the paper to spit out from such noisy machines when receiving fast-breaking information. Instead, in paperless fashion, we could send and receive emails right from our own computers, and then laptops, tablets, and phones.
But technology continues to evolve. And as internet time went by, email no longer was cool, and by some was considered to be a dinosaur. Why? Because along came texts and the vast assortment of social media means of communication, like instant messaging, Snapchat, WhatsApp messages, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, and the list goes on and on. And there were concerns about email hacks and lack of security. Continue reading Email Is Not Dead; Gmail Rolls Out New Features
What is “real” and what is “fake” in terms of online content we review? This has become a major, if not dominant, concern with respect to the reliability of what we see on the internet. Are suggested “facts” really true? Do we really know the actual source of material posted on the internet?
And now our worry in this area should be heightened by the development of face-swapping videos. For example, FakeApp can be utilized to create altered videos by inserting faces of people into these videos, as reported in detail by Business Insider. This face-swapping technique has been used by many people just for fun. As an example, Nicholas Cage’s image was inserted to have him becoming Lois Lane in a Superman movie (perhaps Nicholas Cage was not amused). Continue reading Stealing Your Online Face – Online Truth Suffers Another Blow