Apr 302010
 April 30, 2010  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Online

Anne Youderian reports:

Major record labels have the right to know who’s illegally downloading their music, the 2nd Circuit ruled Thursday. The court said a computer user’s right to remain anonymous does not trump the labels’ right to enforce their copyrights.

The alleged infringer, identified only as “Doe 3,” asked a federal magistrate judge to quash a subpoena served on his Internet service provider, the State University of New York at Albany. The record labels wanted to learn the names of 16 people who allegedly downloaded or distributed copyrighted songs through an online file-sharing network.

Doe 3 objected to having his identity revealed, claiming he has a First Amendment right to remain anonymous.

The magistrate judge refused to quash the subpoena, and U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby rejected Doe 3’s claims on appeal.

Read more on Courthouse News.

In the decision, the court rejected all of the defendant’s arguments, holding that

to the extent that anonymity is used to mask copyright infringement or to facilitate such infringement by other parties, it is unprotected by the First Amendment.

The case is Arista v. Doe 3.

Update: David Kravets of Threat Level also provides coverage of the decision.

Apr 302010
 April 30, 2010  Posted by  Court, Online

A college student who hacked into former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s e-mail account and posted some of its contents on the Internet was found guilty Friday.

After four days of deliberations, a federal jury found David Kernell, the 22-year-old son of a Democratic Tennessee state legislator, guilty of obstruction of justice, a felony, and unauthorized access of a computer, a misdemeanor.

Kernell was cleared of a wire fraud charge, and the jury could not agree on a verdict on a charge of identity theft.

Read more on Reuters.

Apr 302010
 April 30, 2010  Posted by  Online

Joab Jackson reports:

While social networking services may legally own customer-generated data generated on their sites, they still should not reuse that material outside the context in which it was created, contended a Microsoft researcher who studies social networks.

Willfully failing to respect the context of how that data was created may only lead to increased regulatory oversight in the future, warned Danah Boyd, in a series of talks given at the WWW 2010 conference, being held this week in Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as in a follow-up interview with IDG News Service.

“When the law comes down, it is usually not pretty,” she said.

Read more on Computerworld.

Apr 302010
 April 30, 2010  Posted by  Breaches, Laws, Non-U.S.

Michael Adkins of Collas Day summarizes amendments to the Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law. According to Wikipedia, Guernsey is a possession of the UK and not part of the UK nor part of the EU. Of particular interest to me in their amendments:

Section 55(2) has been amended to offer further exemptions to people who obtain, disclose or procure the disclosure of personal data without the consent of a data controller. A new paragraph has been introduced to exempt anyone who is in breach of these provisions if the breach was committed for a ‘special purpose’ (defined as journalism, art or literary purposes) or in the reasonable belief that it was in the public interest to do so. However, more severe repercussions have been established for those found to be in contravention of law.


Persons found guilty under Section 55 of the law of unlawfully obtaining (or disclosing) personal data without the consent of the data controller may now face a prison sentence. Previously, the most severe penalty available was a fine not exceeding Level 5 on the uniform scale (ie, £10,000). Under the amended provisions, the courts have the alternative sentencing options of 12 months’ imprisonment on summary conviction and two years on indictment.

Prison? This may be one of the toughest laws yet, if they actually enforce it.

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