Question: How free is the internet? Answer: Less than free in certain countries. Further answer: And becoming even less free in other countries — witness Vietnam, discussed briefly below.
At the start of this month, a law went into effect in Vietnam that mandates removal of online content considered offensive to the Vietnamese government. According to SoyaCincau.com, the law was put on the books “under the pretenses” of Cybersecurity, but what it actually does is require the takedown of content deemed “toxic” by the government.
Continue reading Internet Companies Must Take Down Anti-Government Content in Vietnam
The Wire Act was enacted in 1961. That statute makes it a criminal offense to transmit information that seeks to promote interstate or foreign wagering.
Fast-forward to September, 2011: the Obama-era Justice Department rendered an opinion that only sports betting came with the ambit of the Wire Act. Prior to that, the Justice Department applied the statute to non-sports gambling.
Continue reading Online Gambling Potentially Impacted by New Justice Department Opinion
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!
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?