Feb 292012
 February 29, 2012  Posted by  Business

Paul C. Barton reports:

As watchdog groups urge a slowdown in Google’s new privacy policy, Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s office on Tuesday announced she will hold a hearing on privacy issues in which Google will likely participate.


Bono Mack will serve as chairwoman of the March 29 hearing in the subcommittee on manufacturing, commerce and trade of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Subcommittee staff members met with Google representatives Monday, Bono Mack spokesman Ken Johnson said, “but no new ground was broken.”

A coalition of five interest groups associated with consumer protection and electronic privacy issues want Congress to prohibit Google from putting the new privacy policy into effect until public hearings can be held and the Federal Trade Commission completes a review.


Read more on Desert Sun.

Is this going to be yet another hearing where Congress calls people on the carpet but doesn’t actually do anything? How does holding a hearing on March 29, presumably after the changes have gone into effect, help? And does Congress even have any authority to prohibit Google’s actions? I’m not sure that they do.

I’m not saying this to attack Rep. Mary Bono Mack, as this is not her first attempt to address this issue, but I’m frustrated that after years of Congressional hearings and inquiries, we still have no real protections and our only choice seems to be “take it or leave it.”  That’s still a choice, of course, and we shouldn’t overlook that we do have that choice, but it’s not a particularly satisfactory one.  Oh for the days of “Don’t do evil.”

Feb 282012
 February 28, 2012  Posted by  Court, Online

Sheldon Toplitt writes:

The Indiana Court of Appeals last week ordered Marion County Superior Court Judge S.K. Reid to review her ruling last March to compel theIndianapolis Star to identify an online anonymous poster whose comments are part of an ongoing defamation suit (see “TUOL” post 3/4/11).

The Indianapolis Business Journal reported that to preserve the proper balance between First Amendment-protected anonymous speech and unprotected defamatory speech,  the appellate court ordered Judge Reid to apply the test articulated by a New Jersey appellate court in Dendrite International Inc. v. Does 1-14, 2001 WL 770406 (N.J. Super. A.D.) (Case No. A-2774-00T3).

Read more on The Unruly of Law. The IBJ article referenced in the post can be found here.

Feb 282012
 February 28, 2012  Posted by  Business, Featured News, Online, Surveillance

So it has come to this.

Dave Lee reports:

Companies are now able to search and analyse up to two years of Twitter updates for market research purposes.

Firms can search tweets back to January 2010 in order to plan marketing campaigns, target influential users or even try to predict certain events.

Until today, only the previous 30 days of tweets were available for companies to search. Regular users can access posts from the past seven days.

UK-based Datasift is the first company to offer the archive.

Its existing customers will be able to use access “historical” tweets from today, the company said.

“No-one’s ever done this before,” Tim Barker, Datasift’s marketing manager, told the BBC.

“It’s a brand new service that we’re bringing online – it’s a massive technology challenge because of the amount of data that is pumped out every single day.”

Read more on BBC.  Leena Rao has more on TechCrunch.