Jul 312009
 July 31, 2009  Posted by  Court, Online, U.S.

In another big victory for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a federal jury has fined Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum $675,000 for illegally downloading and distributing 30 copyrighted songs.

In finding Tenenbaum guilty of willful copyright infringement, the Boston court’s jury fined the 25 year-old doctoral student a sum of $22,500 for each illegally downloaded song, far less than the maximum statutory fine of $150,000 per song that the jury could have hit him with.

Read more on Computerworld.

Jul 312009
 July 31, 2009  Posted by  Govt, Surveillance, U.S.

For the past three and a half years there has been a major debate over the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program. This program, which involved the surveillance of communications between Americans and people outside of the country, began shortly after September 11.

It was brought to public light in December 2005, was the subject of legislation in 2007 and 2008, and was described in a report written by five Inspectors General released last month. On Monday, former Central Intelligence Agency and NSA Director Michael Hayden wrote an op-ed in the New York Times concerning the “value and legality” of the warrantless surveillance program. I have a different perspective.

General Hayden wrote that the surveillance activities were lawful and had “been consistently deemed lawful by the Justice Department.” This is misleading, because until Congress passed the Protect America Act in 2007, these surveillance activities (acknowledged by President Bush in 2005) were conducted outside of the governing law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). That was done despite a provision in law that specifically stated FISA was to be the “exclusive means” by which electronic surveillance could be done for foreign intelligence purposes.

Read more of Senator Feinstein’s comments on the Huffington Post.

Jul 312009
 July 31, 2009  Posted by  Govt, Laws, Non-U.S.

The Special Minister of State, Senator Joe Ludwig expects to publish a reponse to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report on updating the Privacy Laws “within weeks”.

The Government had set itself a loose deadline of responding sometime between August 11, 2009 and February 2010.

Read more on iTnews.

Jul 312009
 July 31, 2009  Posted by  Breaches, Govt

The City of Richmond is investigating allegations a city staffer breached city privacy policies.

A Richmond woman, who does not want to be identified, said she was shocked when the grandmother of a girl who stays with her family each summer showed up at a local swimming pool where the girl and the woman’s own two children were taking swimming lessons.

That’s a concern, she said, because the 12-year-old girl’s father has a restraining order against him. When she asked the girl’s grandmother how she tracked them down to the pool, she was told the woman simply called the City of Richmond’s parks and recreation line.

Read more in the Richmond Review.