Nov 302010
 
 November 30, 2010  Court, Featured News, Online

Amy Miller reports:

Plaintiffs attorney Scott Kamber is a privacy watchdog for consumers in the online world. Over the years, he’s filed many class actions against companies over various security breaches of online information.

But recently, he’s focused his efforts on a different type of online privacy suit. He’s filed dozens of class actions against websites like Facebook and Netflix claiming they have sold users’ personal information to advertisers, and they shouldn’t have.

[…]

But what are the damages? Kamber admits that actual harm is difficult to prove and quantify in court. “We believe we can,” he said. “But there’s limited case law in this area.”

Michael Rhodes, one of Kamber’s frequent adversaries in court, argues that it’s particularly hard when a consumer cannot be personally identified and only his or her movements are tracked. “If the technology is tracking web usage, and doing it anonymously, how is there a privacy rights implication?” he said. “That’s where we’re headed in this litigation.”

Read more on Law Technology News.

Nov 302010
 
 November 30, 2010  Non-U.S., Online

CNN reports:

A 24-year-old man committed suicide live on the internet, Japanese police said Friday.

Some online chat forum users egged on the man after he posted that he was considering suicide, local media reported. Some chatters urged him not to, while others said he was lying, local media said.

The man started live-streaming his own hanging. Viewers called police.

[…]

CNN’s Kyung Lah reports on the incident:

Nov 302010
 
 November 30, 2010  Misc

Ed O’Keefe and Craig Whitlock report:

The Pentagon’s long-awaited report on gays in the military concludes that repealing the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” law would present only a low risk to the armed forces’ ability to carry out their missions and that 70 percent of service members believe it would have little or no effect on their units.

The conclusions published in Tuesday’s report give a boost toPresident Obama and congressional Democrats seeking to eliminate the ban before the end of the year and undercut the arguments of social conservatives and lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who believe ending the law would harm the military as it conducts two wars.

Read more in the Washington Post.

Nov 302010
 
 November 30, 2010  Court, Online

Robin Wauters writes:

Last week Facebook was hit with yet another patent lawsuit, this time by Walker Digital, an “invention company” founded by Jay S. Walker, co-inventor of Priceline.com.

And boy does this one come straight out of left field.

Bloomberg Businessweek first reported the news last Wednesday, but for whatever reason got the number of the patent-in-suit wrong (should be 5,884,272 and not 5,884,271), causing a great deal of confusion in subsequent reports.

I got hold of the complaint this morning (see below), and it actually makes for a great read.

Read more on TechCrunch.

Hat-tip, @PrivacyMemes