Nov 302009
 November 30, 2009  Posted by  Featured News, Non-U.S., Online

A Norwegian consumer protection agency is preparing a legal challenge to Facebook and other social networking companies, accusing them of operating “in a legal vacuum and irrespective of norms and standards”.

Forbrukerrådet, the Norwegian Consumer Council, has studied the privacy policies and terms and conditions of social networking sites and says that many do not properly protect Norwegian users and do not comply with Norwegian law.

“There are general principles of fair contracts and privacy that must apply also in an online environment,” said the Consumer Council’s assistant director Hans Marius Graasvold. “Nothing has changed in that respect, except the online entrepreneurs at one point just stopped caring about the law.”


Nov 302009
 November 30, 2009  Posted by  Featured News

There are a lot of organizations offering tips on how to protect yourself from becoming the victim of identity theft or a scam during the holiday season. David Canton offers some tips for those traveling across borders who are taking their laptops or electronic devices. The tips are based on advice published by the Canadian Bar Association, where you can find additional tips as well:

  • Travel with a “bare” computer that contains only the most essential information. Ensure that all work with data is done via a secure virtual private network (VPN). Consider using SaaS (software as a service) programs based on the Internet, rather than your computer’s hard drive.
  • Turn off your computer early: At least five minutes before you get to U.S. Customs, make sure your computer is turned off so unencrypted information in your computer’s RAM has adequate time to void itself.
  • Back up your data: Self-explanatory.
  • Store data on small devices: Smaller devices can be carried more inconspicuously.
  • Protect your phone and PDA: Phones now carry a considerable amount of information and needed to be kept as “clean” as possible in case they’re confiscated.
  • ‘Clean’ your laptop once it’s returned: This will ensure that no programs or spyware have been installed on your computer.

The better approach is to leave all information on a Canadian server and access it remotely once in the U.S.


In summary, the prudent approach for taking a computer into the U.S. is to ensure it contains no confidential, sensitive or privileged information.

Read more on Canoe.

Photo credit: AP/Mike Derer

Nov 302009
 November 30, 2009  Posted by  Featured News, Govt, Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

Elizabeth Gorman reports:

Rushed into law by Congress just weeks after Sept. 11, 2001 three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act granting officials far-reaching surveillance and seizure powers in the name of national security, are due to expire this New Year’s Eve.

Two differing bills passed by the House and Senate judiciary committees in recent weeks will have to be reconciled in Congress, but only when the Senate isn’t backlogged by health care, Democratic aides told ABC News.


With full support from the Obama administration, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill last month reauthorizing the law that has in recent years sparked much controversy over rights to privacy protected under the Constitution, with some minor tweaks.

But House Democrats in the Judiciary Committee went much further reigning in executive authorities and raising the threshold of proof needed to legally seize Americans’ personal records and conduct wiretaps on their phones. It also slapped on more restrictions, and required more government auditing, and reporting showing how the process could be modified to enhance civil liberties.

Read more on ABC.

Nov 302009
 November 30, 2009  Posted by  Laws, Non-U.S., Online, Surveillance

Brian Reyes reports:

The Gibraltar Parliament has approved new legislation that will allow Gibraltar’s authorities to target cyber crimes such as computer hacking.

The Crimes (Computer Hacking) Act 2009 also gives police new powers to intercept computer communications during criminal investigations.

Gibraltar’s courts will be able to issue warrants ordering internet providers to tap into suspect traffic with a bearing on an investigation.

Read more in the Gibraltar Chronicle.