Do Snapchat Messages Really Vanish? Ask the FTC

People frequently use Snapchat to send messages back and forth with the understanding that those messages will disappear after a designated expiration time.

However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an investigation and asserted charges that Snapchat messages actually do not vanish as promised. In the wake of those charges, Snapchat and the FTC have settled, according to a recent FTC press release.

So, what is the scoop? Read on.

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FTC Investigates Facebook’s Proposed Privacy Policies

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched an inquiry to determine whether Facebook’s recently announced privacy policies violate an agreement to obtain express consent before revealing users’ private information to new viewers.

According to The New York Times, the FTC claims Facebook’s new policies require users to provide Facebook with broad permission to utilize their personal information in advertising. Facebook has fired back, stating that this requirement comes from a class action settlement to users who were unhappy that their names and images were used in Facebook ads to shill products to their friends.

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NSA Seeks To Come Clean On Surveillance Practices

With potential reforms in the wind with respect to government surveillance practices, the National Security Agency (NSA) has issued a seven-page report that seeks to explain and justify its conduct.

The report, titled “The National Security Agency: Missions, Authorities, Oversight and Partnerships,” begins with a quote from President Obama that calls for “reviewing the authorities of law enforcement, so we can intercept new types of communication, but also build in privacy protection to prevent abuse.”

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White House Enlists Help To Get Hip To Cyber Legal Issues

Back in the day, President Bill Clinton touted the development of the “information superhighway,” and Vice President Al Gore not entirely accurately was reported to have stated that he had invented the Internet.

Since then, the Internet has exploded and grown exponentially. There have been many benefits, such as the potential to purchase a tremendous number of goods and services online, as well as the ability to communicate freely via social media portals such as Facebook and Twitter.

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New FTC “Red Flag Rule” Guidance to Help Fight Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission recently issued revised its “Red Flag Rules” guidance. The Red Flag Rules protect consumers by requiring businesses to watch for and respond to warning signs or red flags of identity theft. The guidance outlines which businesses are covered by the Rule. A copy of the guidance can be viewed at http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus23-fighting-identity-theft-red-flags-rule-how-guide-business.

Your Life in Photos: Privacy and a New Kind of Camera

What if you could capture your entire life in photos? The New York Times reported that a Swedish company Memoto has developed a wearable camera that accomplishes just that. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/meet-memoto-the-lifelogging-camera/. This application goes way beyond Instagram.

Memoto’s website says: “The Memoto camera is a tiny camera and GPS that you clip on and wear. It’s an entirely new kind of digital camera with no controls. Instead, it automatically takes photos as you go. The Memoto app then seamlessly and effortlessly organizes them for you.”

Read more about the pros and cons of this new device at the New Media and Entertainment Law Blog.

President Obama’s Executive Order: 5 Ways To Improve Cybersecurity

Following his recent State of the Union address, President Obama issued an Executive Order entitled “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.”

The Policy section of the Executive Order notes that repeated cyber intrusions into critical infrastructure demand improved cybersecurity. This section correctly points out that the threat to critical infrastructure “continues to grow and represents one of the most serious national security challenges we must confront.”

Indeed, it is stated that the “national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of the Nation’s critical infrastructure in the face of such threats.”

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High Tech Replacing Familiar Favorites, But Low Tech Will Live On

Technology is advancing at warp speed, and the way we live is changing constantly. Indeed, what was once lifestyle bedrock is now going the way of the dinosaurs.

For example, when I backpacked in Europe more than three decades ago, I kept in touch with my family by way of aerogrammes and postcards. Those days are gone. My daughter just started her study abroad program in Copenhagen, and within hours of hitting Danish soil, I heard from her by way of Facebook messages and mobile telephone calls via Skype.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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