Thursday, 14 December 2017

Week 11: ICO investigation into data analytics for political purposes

Update on ICO investigation into data analytics for political purposes | ICO Blog: "A number of organisations have freely co-operated with us, answered our questions and engaged with the investigation. But, others are making it difficult. In some instances we have been unable to obtain the specific details of work that contributed to the Referendum campaign and I will be using every available legal tool and working with authorities overseas to seek answers on behalf of UK citizens.

 Other organisations have failed to be as comprehensive as I believe they need to be in answering our questions and have forced us to invoke our statutory powers to make formal demands for information.

The ICO has issued four information notices as part of the investigation including one to UKIP, who have now appealed our notice to the Information Rights Tribunal.

 This investigation is a high priority for my office. We’re asking whether there was a legal basis to use this information. Did people have a way of exercising their privacy rights?" 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Week 10: #AIethics TechUK Data Ethics Summit | ICO

TechUK Data Ethics Summit | ICO: "But the twist in this tale is that Ada’s pioneering work took place nearly 200 years ago.

At a time when electricity was “new”, steam trains were an unconventional form of travel and the sticky postage stamp was a revolution in communication.

When I address conferences I often remark on how technology has changed beyond all recognition in the space of a generation - the 20 years since the Data Protection Act, the law my office regulates, was forged.

It’s easy to forget the origins of this revolution go way, way back." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 11 December 2017

Hint: Student-Led Teaching Awards nominations open today: University of Sussex

Student-Led Teaching Awards nominations open today : News and events : School of Law, Politics and Sociology : Schools and services : University of Sussex: "The Student-Led Teaching Awards are your opportunity to say “thank you” to staff who have made a difference to your experience of teaching and learning at Sussex by nominating them for an award. Students are also involved in reviewing the nominations and agreeing the winners of the awards.

Last year more than 310 nominations were received, leading to 77 staff being recognised for their hard work and commitment to teaching and learning through the Student-Led Teaching Awards. " 'via Blog this'

Friday, 8 December 2017

SCL: SCL Student Tech Law Challenge 2018 - Saturday 3 February 2018, London

SCL: SCL Student Tech Law Challenge 2018 - Saturday 3 February 2018, London:

"Venue: The University of Law, 2 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8HQ. Map

The SCL Junior Lawyers' Group is delighted to hold the first SCL Student Tech Law Challenge

 What is it?

In teams of two, you will have the opportunity to develop your practical skills by living a day in the life of a tech lawyer and competing against other teams. 

Your tasks throughout the day will include negotiating the commercial terms of an IT/Technology Contract and some reactive tasks that will test your legal and business knowledge, commercial decision-making and presentation skills. The tasks will be relevant to legal issues at the forefront of current tech law practice including Intellectual Property, Information Technology, Data Protection and Cyber Security." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Teaching fact from fiction - BBC News

Teaching fact from fiction - BBC News: "This is a fun and hyper-convenient way to consume the news, but it comes with attendant dangers. One is that if you only see what your friends are interested in, your worldview will become narrow, and is more likely to reinforce your prejudices rather than challenge them.
A second is that if, for political or commercial reasons, someone invents a lie and successfully imposes verisimilitude on it, young minds might come to hold false beliefs. To resist them requires knowledge (of the actual state of the world), intellectual tools (scrutiny to determine truth from falsehood), and courage (to call out liars).

This trinity, when combined, produces news literacy - and it is this, rather than fake news itself, that the BBC's new initiative is aiming to promote.
To the extent that it exists at all, fake news spikes around big news events, such as plebiscites that are too close to call. Such is the nature and volume of information online, that it is almost certainly impossible to eradicate fully.

Combating it requires an as yet unclear combination of action from governments, technology companies, and civil society more broadly." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 4 December 2017

Cyberlaw: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policymaking - Shorenstein Center

Information Disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policymaking - Shorenstein Center: "While we know that mis-information is not new, the emergence of the internet and social technology have brought about fundamental changes to the way information is produced, communicated and distributed. Other characteristics of the modern information environment include:

 a) Widely accessible, cheap and sophisticated editing and publishing technology has made it easier than ever for anyone to create and distribute content;

 b) Information consumption, which was once private, has become public because of social media;

 c) The speed at which information is disseminated has been supercharged by an accelerated news cycle and mobile handsets;

 d) Information is passed in real-time between trusted peers, and any piece of information is far less likely to be challenged." 'via Blog this'

Week 9: China’s Top Ideologue Calls for Tight Control of Internet

China’s Top Ideologue Calls for Tight Control of Internet - The New York Times: "While many major foreign websites are blocked in China, the wireless connections at the conference allowed open access to the global internet. A promotional video that was shown before Mr. Wang’s speech showed the web connecting China to the world, ignoring the existence of the Great Firewall.

For the format of his talk, Mr. Wang followed the lead of Mr. Xi. His offering of five proposals appeared to have been inspired by a speech by Mr. Xi at the second World Internet Conference, when the president offered five ideas for developing the internet.

The conference also marked a fresh start of sorts for its organizer, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the government body that also oversees the country’s internet. Weeks before the conference, the Chinese state media reported that the administration’s former head, Lu Wei, was put under investigation by the Communist Party’s anticorruption agency." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 1 December 2017

Week 6: Cloudflare CEO on Policing Nazis Online: We Never Considered 'People Could Just Be Really Evil' | Gizmodo UK

Cloudflare CEO on Policing Nazis Online: We Never Considered 'People Could Just Be Really Evil' | Gizmodo UK: "“And by the way, whenever any company makes these decisions, it comes down to a small set of individuals making what is ultimately a very arbitrary decision,” he explained. “Because if you don’t believe there are whole bunch of neo-Nazi sites using Google and Go Daddy, you’re not paying attention. But, the crowd isn’t screaming about them.”

Financial pressure is just as effective. Customers may easily choose to run to the competition rather than deal with the PR headache.

“If we’re really honest about what causes Facebook and Twitter to control content, it has much less to do with regulators on the hill and much more to do with the people sitting in Proctor & Gamble’s office, saying I don’t want [our] ads to be next to terrorist content. That drives a lot of decisions.”

 While Prince believes web providers should remain neutral, he had few answers for how the perilous system he described could be fixed. Forcing internet companies to takedown extremist content has a sanitising (and thus distorting effect) on political discourse. Prince urged ongoing conversations to prevent regulating the internet into an anodyne, overly curated space. While Prince still thinks that pulling services from Daily Stormer was the right decision for Cloudflare at the time, he’s troubled by how short-sighted the conversation surrounding the decision has been.

One troubling outcome from the incident: increased notoriety. “There are three times more searches for this content after these guys got taken off the internet than there were before,” Prince noted." 'via Blog this'

World needs 21st century regulation to police gig economy

World needs 21st century regulation to police gig economy: "By administering regulation through dedicated and more agile private sector organisations and businesses, we would give companies some choice over which scheme they came under. That would also create an incentive for private providers of regulation to compete to figure out how to deliver frameworks that achieve common goals with lower costs and less risk for regulated entities.

 The UK government has already implemented a kind of super-regulation model in England and Wales with its reformed approach to regulating the markets for legal professional services. The 2007 Legal Services Act set out the required regulatory objectives under broad-based principles such as protecting the interests of consumers, and then created the Legal Services Board to approve regulators that can show their regulations achieve those objectives.

Today, nine regulators have been approved to regulate licensed legal activities.


Could a similar system work for a completely different business like ride-hailing. where operators face a range of regulatory regimes?" Er yes, it's called co-regulation. 'via Blog this'

Monday, 27 November 2017

Week 10: 20 Years of Internet Policy - YouTube (first 7mins only)

After The Tornado 03 - Panel: 20 Years of Internet Policy - YouTube: "Christopher Marsden, University of Sussex (UK)
Gigi Sohn, Open Society Foundations, Georgetown, and Mozilla
Sally Wentworth, The Internet Society

ABOUT AFTER THE TORNADO
Twenty years ago, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission issued Kevin Werbach’s working paper, Digital Tornado, one of the first examinations by a government agency of the transformative potential of the internet. Today we find ourselves in a world where little remains untouched by the wave of digital connectivity. Yet fundamental questions remain unresolved, and even more serious new questions have emerged." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Week 7: Uber: under suspicion

Uber: under suspicion: "Yet the latest admission — that Uber covered up the theft by hackers of data from 50m passengers and 7m drivers — is so bad it is increasingly hard to see an unimpaired initial public offering in that timeframe.

Financial effects already exist from Uber’s serial moral failings: it has bled market share to rival Lyft.

But the handling of the data breach puts it in another tier of jeopardy. From May next year a tough EU rule, the General Data Protection Regulation will allow Brussels to levy fines of up to 4 per cent of turnover if data are leaked. If Uber maintains its current growth rate, its annual net revenues should be $9bn — and the potential fine $360m. Gross bookings would make it five times higher.

That is real money, even to the largest private tech company.

That is hypothetical. But the severity of the punishments reflects the vengeful public mood.

Real liabilities exist in the US from the breach, from the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys-general and in lawsuits.

The bigger problem is that estimating the scope of Uber’s myriad wrongdoing and the scale of potential punishments is impossible." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Russia to act against Google if Sputnik, RT get lower search rankings: official

Russia to act against Google if Sputnik, RT get lower search rankings: official: "Russia’s Zharov said he would monitor “how discriminating this measure will be in its practical embodiment,” Sputnik reported Tuesday. “It is obvious that we will defend our media,” he said.

 RT had received guaranteed ad revenue from YouTube until September, when the Google unit removed it as preferred partner.

 “We didn’t see this a few years ago,” Schmidt told the Halifax gathering about the propaganda. “We didn’t realize this could be so pervasive.”" 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

CDA 230 Then and Now: Does Intermediary Immunity Keep the Rest of Us Healthy? | The Recorder

CDA 230 Then and Now: Does Intermediary Immunity Keep the Rest of Us Healthy? | The Recorder: "The internet’s development over the past twenty years has benefited immeasurably from the immunities conferred by §230. We’ve been lucky to have it.

But any honest account must acknowledge the collateral damage it has permitted to be visited upon real people whose reputations, privacy, and dignity have been hurt in ways that defy redress. Especially as that damage becomes more systematized—now part of organized campaigns to shame people into silence online for expressing opinions that don’t fit an aggressor’s propaganda aims—platforms’ failures to moderate become more costly, both to targets of harassment and to everyone else denied exposure to honestly-held ideas.

As our technologies for sifting and disseminating content evolve, and our content intermediaries trend towards increasing power and centralization, there are narrow circumstances where a path to accountability for those intermediaries for the behavior of their users might be explored." 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Week 5: Lords push for new regulations to protect children online

Lords push for new regulations to protect children online | Society | The Guardian: "“Earlier this year we legislated for a new code of practice for social media companies, and are consulting on our internet safety strategy which will put it into practice,” he said. “We want to keep children safe online, but this particular amendment risks creating confusion about data protection responsibilities.”

A Whitehall source said a code of conduct had already been introduced in other legislation.

But Kidron said the code was restricted to social media companies and concerned with bullying and abuse.

“It is voluntary, and the government have gone on record to confirm this,” she said, arguing that her amendment would be enforceable." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Week 5/6 + Copyright: Julia Reda – New EU law prescribes website blocking in the name of “consumer protection”

Julia Reda – New EU law prescribes website blocking in the name of “consumer protection”: "European Parliament passed the Consumer Protection Cooperation regulation. Unfortunately, it contains an overreaching general website blocking provision. Additionally, consumer protection improvements were watered down or removed completely in last-minute trilogue negotiations with the Council." 'via Blog this'

Week 7: Contracts for the supply of digital content and personal data protection | European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Contracts for the supply of digital content and personal data protection | European Parliamentary Research Service Blog: "The interplay between this proposed private law instrument and the existing public law rules on data protection (notably the recently adopted General Data Protection Regulation) have been the subject of some debate. The European Data Protection Supervisor’s recent opinion was critical of the proposal, arguing that, in the EU, personal data ‘cannot be conceived as a mere economic asset’ and cannot therefore be treated as the consumer’s contractual counter-performance in lieu of money.

 The draft report prepared by the co-rapporteurs in Parliament includes those contracts in which consumers do not pay a price (but potentially provide data) within the scope of the proposal. It eliminates however the notion of personal data as a form of contractual ‘counter-performance’." 'via Blog this'

Week 5: Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Internet Law’s Most Important Judicial Decision | The Recorder

Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Internet Law’s Most Important Judicial Decision | The Recorder: "§230’s implications first became clear from the first appellate court opinion interpreting it, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Zeran v. AOL.

The Zeran case involved a pernicious cyber-harassment attack. An unknown perpetrator posted inflammatory messages to AOL purporting to be from Zeran, which prompted outraged readers to bombard Zeran with angry phone calls.

The Fourth Circuit concluded that §230 protected AOL from liability for publishing the inflammatory messages.

The Zeran case interpreted §230 quite broadly, providing liability immunity even when online publishers exercise editorial control over third party content, and even when the online publisher fails to respond to takedown notices.

Due to its timing and its breadth, the Zeran opinion had an enormous influence on subsequent courts’ interpretations of §230, leading them to apply the statutory immunity expansively across a wide range of circumstances.

Together, §230 and the Zeran ruling helped create a trillion-dollar industry centered around user-generated content.

Because of its influence on such a key issue, the Zeran ruling is widely considered the most important Internet Law ruling ever.

It is also a controversial opinion, and debates about the ruling’s conclusion and implications continue to this day." 'via Blog this'

Week 7: ECtHR: Einarsson v Iceland, Defamation on social media and Article 8

Case Law, Strasbourg: Einarsson v Iceland, Defamation on social media and Article 8 – María Rún Bjarnadóttir | Inforrm's Blog: "ECtHR´s statement about the internet as a platform raises a special interest. The case regards the expression of an individual that had no commercial interest or as a media or public persona, and was using what he presumed to be a personal social media platform. In light of this background, the ECtHR statement about the nature of the internet and its potential harms is noteworthy.

It states that “the risk of harm posed by content and communications on the Internet to the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to respect for private life, is certainly higher than that posed by the press” and continues to refer to the findings in the case of Delfi v. Estonia  [46)]. In Delfi, the ECtHR found that an online news platform, that had a commercial interest in the online distribution of material, could be held liable for malicious third party material. The reference is likely intended to address the potential infliction of harm of damaging material online due to the vast scope of possible online distribution, even if the ECtHR does not discuss the issue further in the Judgement. As social media platforms increasingly serve as platforms for heated societal debates in Iceland as other states, it is not impossible to assume that the impact of Judgement will be a form of temperature control for public debate in those spheres."



'via Blog this'

Week 11 Zero-rating and net neutrality - decisions (so far) in the EU

Zero-rating and net neutrality - decisions (so far) in the EU | Technology's Legal Edge: "Many European regulators are yet to consider the issue of net neutrality and zero-rated services following the 2015 Regulations. For those who have reached decisions since the introduction of the 2015 Regulations, most seem to have concluded that as long as the service provider does not discriminate between zero-rated services and non-zero-rated services once a user’s data cap is reached, the service provider’s zero-rated offerings will be found to be in compliance with the 2015 Regulations. If, however, the user is permitted to continue using the zero-rated services after reaching a data cap, the BEREC guidelines (which say that allowing a zero-rated service to continue when others are blocked is an automatic per se breach) have been followed." 'via Blog this'

Week 7: Who’s responsible for what happens on Facebook? Analysis of a new ECJ opinion

EU Law Analysis: Who’s responsible for what happens on Facebook? Analysis of a new ECJ opinion: "Who is responsible for data protection law compliance on Facebook fan sites? That issue is analysed in a recent opinion of an ECJ Advocate-General, in the case of Wirtschaftsakademie.

 This case is one more in a line of cases dealing specifically with the jurisdiction of national data protection supervisory authorities, a line of reasoning which seems to operate separately from the Brussels I Recast Regulation, which concerns jurisdiction of courts over civil and commercial disputes.  While this is an Advocate-General’s opinion, and therefore not binding on the Court, if followed by the Court it would consolidates the Court’s prior broad interpretation of the Data Protection Directive.  While this might be the headline, it is worth considering a perhaps overlooked element of the data-economy: the role of the content provider in providing individuals whose data is harvested." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 13 November 2017

Week 9/Cyber: MINIX — The most popular OS in the world, thanks to Intel | Network World

MINIX — The most popular OS in the world, thanks to Intel | Network World: "But here’s the crazy part: That’s not the only operating system you’re running. 

If you have a modern Intel CPU (released in the last few years) with Intel’s Management Engine built in, you’ve got another complete operating system running that you might not have had any clue was in there: MINIX. 

That’s right. MINIX.

The Unix-like OS originally developed by Andrew Tanenbaum as an educational tool — to demonstrate operating system programming — is built into every new Intel CPU.

MINIX is running on “Ring -3” (that’s “negative 3”) on its own CPU. A CPU that you, the user/owner of the machine, have no access to. " 'via Blog this'

Friday, 10 November 2017

Week 8: 95 Theses about Technology: Facebook is not the Internet. Nor is Google. Nor is the World Wide Web

Thesis #5 | 95 Theses about Technology:

"A common misconception — which companies like Facebook in particular are eager to encourage — is that the Internet is the same thing as the service(s) that one uses every day. It’s not. Facebook, Google and the Web are just various kinds of data-traffic that run on an underlying infrastructure. That infrastructure is the Internet.

 A good way of thinking about this is a railway network. It has two main components. One is its infrastructure of tracks, signalling, points and stations. The other is the various kinds of traffic — TGV trains, intercity trains, stopping trains, goods trains, maintenance trains, etc. — that runs on the tracks.

So thinking that, say, Facebook is the Internet is like thinking that Virgin Trains is the railway system. 


This is important because the Internet is much bigger and more important than any particular kind of data-traffic that runs on it. And it’s much freer and more open than anything provided by giant tech companies. It’s a public utility, not the private fiefdoms that they own and run." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Week 7: How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met: "Facebook doesn’t like, and doesn’t use, the term “shadow profiles.” It doesn’t like the term because it sounds like Facebook creates hidden profiles for people who haven’t joined the network, which Facebook says it doesn’t do.

The existence of shadow contact information came to light in 2013 after Facebook admitted it had discovered and fixed “a bug.” The bug was that when a user downloaded their Facebook file, it included not just their friends’ visible contact information, but also their friends’ shadow contact information.

The problem with the bug, for Facebook, was not that all the information was lumped together—it was that it had mistakenly shown users the lump existed.

The extent of the connections Facebook builds around its users is supposed to be visible only to the company itself.

Facebook does what it can to underplay how much data it gathers through contacts, and how widely it casts its net." 'via Blog this'

#SussexLLM in IT & IP - the #netneutrality angle


Monday, 6 November 2017

Week 6: C‑194/16 Bolagsupplysningen OÜ, Ingrid Ilsjan v Svensk Handel AB

CURIA - Documents: "Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

 1.      Article 7(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters must be interpreted as meaning that a legal person claiming that its personality rights have been infringed by the publication of incorrect information concerning it on the internet and by a failure to remove comments relating to that person can bring an action for rectification of that information, removal of those comments and compensation in respect of all the damage sustained before the courts of the Member State in which its centre of interests is located.

 When the relevant legal person carries out the main part of its activities in a different Member State from the one in which its registered office is located, that person may sue the alleged perpetrator of the injury in that other Member State by virtue of it being where the damage occurred.

 2.      Article 7(2) of Regulation No 1215/2012 must be interpreted as meaning that a person who alleges that his personality rights have been infringed by the publication of incorrect information concerning him on the internet and by the failure to remove comments relating to him cannot bring an action for rectification of that information and removal of those comments before the courts of each Member State in which the information published on the internet is or was accessible." 'via Blog this'

Weeks 8/10 André Staltz - The Web began dying in 2014, here's how

André Staltz - The Web began dying in 2014, here's how: "There is a tendency at GOOG-FB-AMZN to bypass the Web which is motivated by user experience and efficient communication, not by an agenda to avoid browsers. In the knowledge internet and the commerce internet, being efficient to provide what users want is the goal. In the social internet, the goal is to provide an efficient channel for communication between people. This explains FB’s 10-year strategy with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as the next medium for social interactions through the internet. This strategy would also bypass the Web, proving how more natural social AR would be than social real-time texting in browsers. Already today, most people on the internet communicate with other people via a mobile app, not via a browser.

 The common pattern among these three internet giants is to grow beyond browsers, creating new virtual contexts where data is created and shared. The Web may die like most other technologies do: simply by becoming less attractive than newer technologies. And like most obsolete technologies, they don’t suddenly disappear, neither do they disappear completely. You can still buy a Walkman and listen to a tape with it, but the technology has nevertheless lost its collective relevance. The Web’s death will come as a gradual decay of its necessity, not as a dramatic loss." 'via Blog this'

SCL: Free Tips on Your Tech Law Career Journey

SCL: Free Tips on Your Tech Law Career Journey: "So, if there was a tech law career TripAdvisor-style app, you would certainly consult it. It would tell you about at least three important categories: the best place to visit en route, the best value accommodation and the places to go to meet the coolest people. It might even change your destination priorities.

 The inaugural SCL Student Event, ‘A Path to Tech Law’, is the tech law career trip advice app. Not yet available on your phone, it requires attendance at a swish central London location on 29 November, which itself offers destination advice in concrete terms (not to mention leather and modern art).

You will get to hear from those who have trod the path, jumped the ravines and, crucially, found the fun. With a panel of speakers that includes some who can still recall what the early stages of the journey felt like, it really is an unmissable opportunity to gain insight and perhaps network a little.

 The event, held at Reed Smith’s offices in Broadgate Tower in London, is open to all students with an eye on a career in tech law and, with tech law skills proving increasingly vital to practice in most areas of law, that’s a lot of students." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 3 November 2017

Week 5: Intermediary Liability for Online User Comments under ECHR

Intermediary Liability for Online User Comments under the European Convention on Human Rights | Human Rights Law Review | Oxford Academic: "Human Rights Law Review, ngx001, https://doi.org/10.1093/hrlr/ngx001
Published: 01 March 2017

In the recent judgments of Delfi AS v Estonia and Magyar T.E. and Index.hu Zrt v Hungary, the European Court of Human Rights for the first time sought to clarify the limits to be imposed on intermediary liability regimes for online user comments and the factors to be assessed in the determination of the appropriate balance between the Article 10 speech rights of online intermediaries and the Article 8 reputational rights of those targeted by unlawful user comments. In doing so, the Court has left open to Contracting States the choice of intermediary liability regime to be adopted at the domestic level.

The author, a judge of the Strasbourg Court, comments extrajudicially on the compatibility of the potential liability regimes with the Court’s new line of case law and the criticisms levelled at the decision in Delfi AS. He argues that the Court may be seen to have adopted a middle ground between two diametrically opposing viewpoints on the regulation of the Internet, one advocating for an environment relatively free from regulation of online conduct, and the other campaigning for a regulated Internet where the same legal principles apply both online and offline." 'via Blog this'

Week 7 Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens | WIRED UK

Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens | WIRED UK: "So just how are people rated? Individuals on Sesame Credit are measured by a score ranging between 350 and 950 points. Alibaba does not divulge the "complex algorithm" it uses to calculate the number but they do reveal the five factors taken into account.

The first is credit history. For example, does the citizen pay their electricity or phone bill on time? Next is fulfilment capacity, which it defines in its guidelines as "a user's ability to fulfil his/her contract obligations".

The third factor is personal characteristics, verifying personal information such as someone's mobile phone number and address.

But the fourth category, behaviour and preference, is where it gets interesting.

Under this system, something as innocuous as a person's shopping habits become a measure of character. Alibaba admits it judges people by the types of products they buy. "Someone who plays video games for ten hours a day, for example, would be considered an idle person," says Li Yingyun, Sesame's Technology Director. "Someone who frequently buys diapers would be considered as probably a parent, who on balance is more likely to have a sense of responsibility." So the system not only investigates behaviour - it shapes it. It "nudges" citizens away from purchases and behaviours the government does not like. 


Friends matter, too. The fifth category is interpersonal relationships. What does their choice of online friends and their interactions say about the person being assessed? Sharing what Sesame Credit refers to as "positive energy" online, nice messages about the government or how well the country's economy is doing, will make your score go up.

 Alibaba is adamant that, currently, anything negative posted on social media does not affect scores (we don't know if this is true or not because the algorithm is secret).

But you can see how this might play out when the government's own citizen score system officially launches in 2020. " 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Top 20 Facebook Statistics - Updated October 2017

Top 20 Facebook Statistics - Updated October 2017: "Worldwide, there are over 2.01 billion monthly active Facebook users for June 2017 (Facebook MAUs) which is a 17 percent increase year over year. (Source: Facebook 7/26/17) What this means for you: In case you had any lingering doubts, statistically, Facebook is too big to ignore.

There are 1.15 billion mobile daily active users (Mobile DAU) for December 2016, an increase of 23 percent year-over-year.  (Source:  Facebook as of 2/01/17)  This is hugely significant and shows the dramatic growth of mobile traffic on Facebook.  Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 87 percent of advertising revenue for Q2.

1.32 billion people on average who log onto Facebook daily active users (Facebook DAU) for June 2017, which represents a 17 percent increase year over year (Source: Facebook as 07/26/17) The Implication: A huge and vastly growing number of Facebook users are active and consistent in their visits" 'via Blog this'

Week 5: Lumen

About :: Lumen: "Lumen is an independent 3rd party research project studying cease and desist letters concerning online content. We collect and analyze requests to remove material from the web. Our goals are to educate the public, to facilitate research about the different kinds of complaints and requests for removal--both legitimate and questionable--that are being sent to Internet publishers and service providers, and to provide as much transparency as possible about the “ecology” of such notices, in terms of who is sending them and why, and to what effect." 'via Blog this'

Transparency Report

Transparency Report: "Governments ask us to remove or review content for many reasons. Some requests allege defamation, while others claim that content violates local laws prohibiting hate speech or adult content. The laws surrounding these issues vary by country. Our teams assign each request a category, such as hate speech, obscenity, and defamation. Note that we did not begin providing reason data about the reason for the request until the December 2010 reporting period.

 Often times, government requests target political content and government criticism. Governments cite defamation, privacy, and even copyright laws in their attempts to remove political speech from our services. Our teams evaluate each request and review the content in context in order to determine whether or not content should be removed due to violation of local law or our content policies." 'via Blog this'

Week 5: Twitter Government TOS reports

Government TOS reports: "This section covers government requests to remove content that may violate Twitter’s Terms of Service (TOS) under the following Twitter Rules categories: abusive behavior, copyright, promotion of terrorism, and trademark. It does not include legal requests, regardless of whether they resulted in a TOS violation, which will continue to be published in our Removal Requests report. As we take an objective approach to processing global Terms of Service reports, the fact that the reporters in these cases happened to be government officials had no bearing on whether any action was taken under our Rules." 'via Blog this'

Week 6: Twitter Removal requests

Removal requests: "The removal requests reflected in this section of the Transparency Report only include official legal process, such as court orders served on Twitter, and other legal requests that are specifically directed to our intake channels for law enforcement and other authorized reporters (“Legal Requests”). This section does not include requests, including those submitted by government officials, that are directed to our customer support team through our online support forms. More information about non-legal requests is available in the government TOS reports section." 'via Blog this'

Week 7 Privacy: Commissioners statement on Art29WP letter to WhatsApp

31-10-2017 Commissioners statement on Art 29 Working Party letter to WhatsApp. - Data Protection Commissioner - Ireland: "The DPC is continuing to engage directly with WhatsApp and Facebook Ireland in resolving the same issues. This engagement builds on the positive step that was taken by WhatsApp in August 2017 in launching its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), following extensive discussions with the DPC over several months. The DPC’s statement on these FAQs is available here, including the improved clarity and transparency now available to WhatsApp users on how their data is being shared and used:
August statement by Commissioner

 The DPC is also pleased that WhatsApp and Facebook Ireland have re-confirmed that the current data sharing suspension will continue during this ongoing engagement with the DPC, specifically related to data sharing for use by Facebook Ireland to present products and ads. This specific data sharing will not be activated for EU-based WhatsApp users until WhatsApp confirms the mechanism to enable this specific data sharing with the DPC.

 The DPC's engagement with WhatsApp and Facebook, and any outcomes arising from that engagement, are completely without prejudice to the actions of any other individual Data Protection Authority in relation to this matter or of the taskforce formed by the Article 29 Working Party to discuss this matter." 'via Blog this'

Week 5: Liability Why are websites being blocked in the UK?

Why are websites being blocked in the UK?: "Mobile and broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have created filters to stop under 18s from seeing harmful content online.

Unfortunately, filters block many harmless websites by mistake - even sites that are aimed at children!

 Often website owners don't know that this is happening.

Around 3.5 million households have filters switched on, through choice, or by default. In addition, many mobile phone users have filters enabled as they are on by default.

We need people to use this tool to check and report sites that shouldn't be filtered. Not only will you be helping website owners, you will also increase transparency about filters by helping us to get a clearer picture about overblocking." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Week 6: CJEU Ruling on Internet Jurisdiction

SCL: CJEU Ruling on Internet Jurisdiction: "For the most part this seems like a rational decision based on the law, but not such a good ruling regarding the specifics of this case. It feels strange to give jurisdiction to a court in Estonia for a potential defamation occurring on a Swedish website, published in Swedish and dealing mostly with Swedish consumer issues, even if the company is based in Estonia. While it is understandable that the harm may occur where the person resides and conducts businesses, the harmful act itself took place in Sweden. The Court leaves this option open as well, the result being that, at least in principle, those affected by defamation (or other civil harm) could sue in both the country where they reside, and where they hold their centre of interest." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Week 6: Internet surveillance, regulation, and chilling effects online: a comparative case study | Internet Policy Review

Internet surveillance, regulation, and chilling effects online: a comparative case study | Internet Policy Review: "The results show that for respondents, personally receiving a legal threat from a third party about some online activities had the greatest chilling effect, with 75% of respondents being “much less likely” (40%) or “somewhat less likely” (35%) to “speak or write about certain topics online” as a result. The next most “chilling” was government surveillance, with 62% of respondents “much less likely” (22%) or “somewhat less likely” (40%) “speak or write about certain topics online” due to such online monitoring. Interestingly, the vague anti-cyberbullying statute did have some chilling effect (39% much less or somewhat less likely) but a near majority (47%) indicated the law would “have no impact” on their online speech." 'via Blog this'

Week 8: What to Do About Google?

What to Do About Google? | September 2013 | Communications of the ACM: "Calling Google an advisor cuts both ways: it gives Google both rights and duties. It gives a powerful argument against search neutrality: a law that puts Le Snoot back on top makes it more difficult for the user who wants a grilled cheese sandwich to get a decent meal. But just as readers would rightly be furious to discover the hotel concierge only recommended Le Snoot because the head chef slipped him an envelope stuffed with cash, search users would also have cause to complain if payola determined search rankings.

More than a decade ago, the FTC strongly warned search engines against displaying undisclosed paid listings.

All three theories capture something important about how search engines work. Each of them celebrates the contributions of one of the essential parties to a search. The conduit theory is all about websites with something to say, the advisor theory is all about the users who are interested in listening, and the editor theory is all about the search engine that connects them.

 But when it comes to crafting sensible law for search engines, our sympathies should lie with users. The Internet has made it easier to speak to worldwide audiences than ever before, but at the cost of massively increasing the cacophony confronting those audiences. Since users' interests are as diverse as human thought, they need highly personalized help in picking through the treasures in the Internet's vast but utterly disorganized storehouse.

The search engine is the only technology known to humanity capable of solving this problem at Internet scale.

Some familiar controversies about Google look rather different from this point of view. Take search bias. If Google is a conduit, bias is a serious problem; Google is setting up orange cones to block the highway and divert Internet users to the Google exit. If Google is an editor, bias is just as much a non-issue as when the front page of the Daily News promotes its own sports coverage rather than the Post's." 'via Blog this'

Week 11: Affording Fundamental Rights by Julie E. Cohen

Affording Fundamental Rights by Julie E. Cohen :: SSRN4:1 Critical Analysis of Law (2017)

"Mireille Hildebrandt’s Smart Technologies and the End(s) of Law (2015) raises questions for law that are best characterized as meta-institutional. This review essay considers the implications of Hildebrandt’s work for the conceptualization of fundamental rights. One consequence of the shift to a world in which smart digital technologies continually, immanently mediate and preempt our beliefs and choices is that legal discourses about fundamental rights are revealed to be incomplete along a dimension that we have simply failed to recognize. To remain effective in the digital age, rights discourse requires extension into the register of affordances." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 30 October 2017

Tech for Tech Lawyers 3: Networking Fundamentals - excellent video introduction

Tech for Tech Lawyers 3: Networking Fundamentals - YouTube: "LAN, WAN, VPN, IPv6 and more explained with the help of Neil Brown from decoded:Legal and Alex Bloor of Andrews & Arnold" 'via Blog this'

Sandvig v. Sessions | Social Media Collective

Heading to the Courthouse for Sandvig v. Sessions | Social Media Collective: "As things stand, the misguided US anti-hacking law, called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), makes it a crime if a computer user “exceeds authorized access.”

What is authorized access to a Web site? Previous court decisions and the federal government have defined it as violating the site’s own stated “Terms of Service,” (ToS) but that’s ridiculous. The ToS is a wish-list of what corporate lawyers dream about, written by corporate lawyers. (Crazy example, example, example.) ToS sometimes prohibit people from using Web sites for research, they prohibit users from saying bad things about the corporation that runs the Web site, they prohibit users from writing things down. They should not be made into criminal violations of the law.

 In the latest developments of our case, the government has argued that Web servers are private property, and that anyone who exceeds authorized access is trespassing “on” them. (“In” them? “With” them? It’s a difficult metaphor.)

In other cases the CFAA was used to say that because Web servers are private, users are also wasting capacity on these servers, effectively stealing a server’s processing cycles that the owner would rather use for other things." 'via Blog this'

Government proposes changes to make Britain safer online

Government proposes changes to make Britain safer online: "The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced the government’s Internet Safety Strategy, which aims to reduce dangers online while ensuring British people can still benefit from being online.

 The strategy involves implementing a social media code of practice, which will aim to stop bullying, intimidating or humiliating online content.

It also calls for a levy to be paid by social media companies and communications service providers, which will be used to help raise awareness and reduce dangerous content.

 DCMS added that it will create an annual report to demonstrate progress, and that startups will be supported to ensure safety is a top priority when they are developing online services." 'via Blog this'

Article 13 Open letter – Monitoring and Filtering of Internet Content is Unacceptable

Article 13 Open letter – Monitoring and Filtering of Internet Content is Unacceptable :: Civil Liberties Union for Europe: "Article 13 would force these companies to actively monitor their users‘ content, which contradicts the ‘no general obligation to monitor‘ rules in the Electronic Commerce Directive. The requirement to install a system for filtering electronic communications has twice been rejected by the Court of Justice, in the cases Scarlet Extended (C 70/10) and Netlog/Sabam (C 360/10).

Therefore, a legislative provision that requires internet companies to install a filtering system would almost certainly be rejected by the Court of Justice because it would contravene the requirement that a fair balance be struck between the right to intellectual property on the one hand, and the freedom to conduct business and the right to freedom of expression, such as to receive or impart information, on the other.

 In particular, the requirement to filter content in this way would violate the freedom of expression set out in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. " 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Draper Lecture and Law Networking, London: Free entry + Free travel for 15 LPS students

Draper Lecture and Law Networking, London : Broadcast: Events : University of Sussex:

"Draper Lecture and Law Networking, London
Thursday 9 November 18:30 until 20:00
The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL

Speaker: Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty - Human Rights charity

Annual lecture held in memory of the late University of Sussex law academic and Nuremberg prosecutor, Professor Colonel Gerald Draper.

 Human Rights and the politics of compassion

The last year has seen a rise in hate crime, a creeping extension of discriminatory immigration enforcement and the enactment of the democratic world’s most intrusive mass surveillance regime. As political rhetoric stokes fear and division and we embark on the biggest constitutional shake-up since the Glorious Revolution, where do we look for a vision of the future that is principled and positive? In this lecture, Martha Spurrier discusses the role of human rights in building post-Brexit Britain and the importance of activism in demanding a fair, compassionate politics.

Date/ time: Thursday 9 November, 6.30pm" 'via Blog this'

Monday, 23 October 2017

“What Have I Done”: Early Facebook Employees Regret the Monster They Created | Vanity Fair

“What Have I Done”: Early Facebook Employees Regret the Monster They Created | Vanity Fair: "Some internally argue there’s not much the social giant could do to stop propaganda being shared on the site (even Sandberg’s “we’re not a media company” argument is a version of this refrain); others say that the ads only affected a small number of people out of billions who use the site. “They have their head in the sand like Mark,” one person said, before noting what we all know about Russia’s influence through the site: “Of course it was impactful.”

Another Valley insider who personally knows Zuckerberg noted that while Facebook has been historically successful financially, the company is fundamentally “immature” with respect to its mission and the comprehension of its impact. And then there are those who point out that while the ads may have only reached a small group of people, Trump won the electoral college by a small number of votes, too." 'via Blog this'

Week 4 Comparative Online Intermediaries: Observations from National Case Studies

Governance of Online Intermediaries: Observations from a Series of National Case Studies by Urs Gasser, Wolfgang Schulz :: SSRN: "Analyzing online intermediary governance issues from multiple perspectives, and in the context of different cultures and regulatory frameworks, immediately creates basic problems of semantic interoperability. Lacking a universally agreed-upon definition, the synthesis paper and its’ underlying case studies are based on a broad and phenomenon-oriented notion of online intermediaries, as further described below.

In methodological terms, the observations shared in the synthesis paper offer a selective reading and interpretation by the authors of the broader take-ways of a diverse set of case studies examining online intermediary governance frameworks and issues in:

Brazil, the European Union, India, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam." 'via Blog this'

How Facebook Tries to Regulate Postings Made by Two Billion People

How Facebook Tries to Regulate Postings Made by Two Billion People: "The “policy” in Bickert’s title refers to Facebook’s policies or rules defining what material Facebook prohibits (including hate speech, certain kinds of graphically violent images, and terrorist content).

The exact means by which the company judges content have not been made publicly available, but some internal training documents detailing past policies leaked to The Guardian. And the company has issued Community Standards that broadly describes its process, and Bickert responded to the leak with a public editorial of her own.
If a user or an automated system flags content as violating policies, the content is sent to a human reviewer for a final decision.

Facebook says it is in the process of hiring 3,000 new reviewers, which will bring the total number of content reviewers to 7,500. These employees by reviewing them against Facebook’s internal policies.

Bickert called the policies reported by The Guardian a “snapshot in time” because “our policies are always changing.”

She added that: “We have a mini ‘legislative session’… every two weeks where we discuss proposed policy changes” with legal, engineering, and company public policy team members present." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 20 October 2017

Margrethe Vestager: The new age of corporate monopolies | TED Talk | TED.com

Margrethe Vestager: The new age of corporate monopolies | TED Talk | TED.com: "Margrethe Vestager wants to keep European markets competitive -- which is why, on behalf of the EU, she's fined Google $2.8 billion for breaching antitrust rules, asked Apple for $15.3 billion in back taxes and investigated a range of companies, from Gazprom to Fiat, for anti-competitive practices. In an important talk about the state of the global business, she explains why markets need clear rules -- and how even the most innovative companies can become a problem when they become too dominant.

"Real and fair competition has a vital role to play in building the trust we need to get the best of our societies," Vestager says. "And that starts with enforcing our rules."" 'via Blog this'

Digital debate will be first test of Tusk's new policy crowbar

Digital debate will be first test of Tusk's new policy crowbar: "In an earlier draft, leaders had said negotiations should finish before the end of 2017 on the free flow of non-personal data, and on the electronic communications code, but in the end the text gave negotiators of these two files until June 2018.

The electronic communications code deals with rules for telecommunication companies.

 They also gave the European Commission, in the final version, slightly more time to come up with "a European approach to artificial intelligence" – by early 2018, instead of by January 2018." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Sussex InfoLaw Research Seminars: Autumn 2017

The programme of autumn seminars (1.30pm, bring your lunch):
8 Nov Freeman G16: Dr. Andres Guadamuz, Do Androids dream of electric copyright?
15 Nov Ashdown AH106: Dr. Nicolo Zingales, The rise of Infomediaries and the marketization of data protection law
6 December Freeman G16 1.15PM: Prof. Chris Marsden, Net Neutrality and Zero Rating

Monday, 16 October 2017

41 percent of Android phones are vulnerable to 'devastating' Wi-Fi attack - The Verge

41 percent of Android phones are vulnerable to 'devastating' Wi-Fi attack - The Verge: "Android 6.0 and above contains a vulnerability that researchers claim “makes it trivial to intercept and manipulate traffic sent by these Linux and Android devices.”

41 percent of Android devices are vulnerable to an “exceptionally devastating” variant of the Wi-Fi attack that involves manipulating traffic. Attackers might be able to inject ransomware or malware into websites thanks to the attack, and Android devices will require security patches to protect against this.

Google says the company is “aware of the issue, and we will be patching any affected devices in the coming weeks.”" 'via Blog this'

SCL Junior Lawyers' Group event: GDPR in Practice - 6 Nov 2017, Baker/McKenzie London

SCL: SCL Junior Lawyers' Group event: The GDPR in Practice - Monday 6 November 2017, London: "With the GDPR fully effective in just six months' time, how are preparations progressing?
Our speakers are drawn from in-house, private practice and the Bar, and will offer their differing perspectives of implementing and advising on the GDPR.
Matthew Berridge will discuss the HR aspects of GDPR preparation, with a focus on privacy notices and consent, HR input to records of processing, and employee monitoring.
Gideon Shirazi will discuss hacking, data breaches and what happens when things go wrong. Our speakers are drawn from in-house, private practice and the Bar, and will offer their differing perspectives of implementing and advising on the GDPR.
The cost of attending this event is £10 + VAT (£12) for students and academics in full-time education. " 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 14 October 2017

OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2017 - en - OECD

OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2017 - en - OECD: "The biennial OECD Digital Economy Outlook examines and documents evolutions and emerging opportunities and challenges in the digital economy. It highlights how OECD countries and partner economies are taking advantage of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet to meet their public policy objectives. Through comparative evidence, it informs policy makers of regulatory practices and policy options to help maximise the potential of the digital economy as a driver for innovation and inclusive growth." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 13 October 2017

The crooked timber of humanity | 1843

The crooked timber of humanity | 1843: "The world’s first national data network was constructed in France during the 1790s. It was a mechanical telegraph system, consisting of chains of towers, each of which had a system of movable wooden arms on top. Different configurations of these arms corresponded to letters, numbers and other characters. Operators in each tower would adjust the arms to match the configuration of an adjacent tower, observed through a telescope, causing sequences of characters to ripple along the line. Messages could now be sent much faster than letters, whizzing from one end of France to the other in minutes. The network was reserved for government use but in 1834 two bankers, François and Joseph Blanc, devised a way to subvert it to their own ends." 'via Blog this'

SCL: Is Europe Moving Away from Protecting Online Platforms? C&L

SCL: Is Europe Moving Away from Protecting Online Platforms?: "The combination of proposed Article 13 of the draft Copyright Directive and the Commission's latest Communication will lead some to conclude that Europe is indeed moving away from protecting online platforms. It certainly appears that the two developments would place a much greater onus on platforms than is currently the case.

A fuller picture will be known in May 2018, when the Commission says the work of ensuring ‘swift and proactive detection and removal of illegal content online’ will be complete, and the Copyright Directive will be in final form.

But the direction in which European policy makers are heading is already evident.     

Nick Aries is a partner in Bird & Bird's IP Group. " 'via Blog this'

7th International Conference 'Law in Digital Era' — National Research University Higher School of Economics

7th International Conference 'Law in Digital Era' — National Research University Higher School of Economics: "The conference is organised by the International Laboratory for the Law for Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law at the Faculty of Law, Higher School of Economics
The aim of the conference is to elaborate proposals for further development of legislation in the digital economy.
The programme comprises a plenary session and sectional sessions at which presentations by leading Russian experts, researchers and practicing lawyers, as well as foreign specialists are planned." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Google CEO Sundar Pichai: 'I don't know whether humans want change that fast'

Google CEO Sundar Pichai: 'I don't know whether humans want change that fast' | Technology | The Guardian: "Another frequently raised concern is Google’s seemingly unstoppable growth: a year ago, it unveiled an initiative to reach “the next billion” smartphone users, targeting India with a handful of tools designed for mobiles with slow internet connections, including a version of YouTube.

 Isn’t this a kind of technological imperialism, bulldozing a way into the developing world? Pichai is prepared for this argument. “I want this to be a global company,” he argues. “But it is also important that we are a local company… We don’t build only Google products and services – we build an underlying platform, too, so that when you enable smartphones to work well in a country, you also bootstrap the entrepreneurial system there. The two go hand in hand.”

 His ambition is to make Android so cheap that it can be used as part of a $30 smartphone; Pichai has said before that he can see “a clear path” to five billion users." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Thin underwater cables hold the internet. See a map of them all. -Vox

Thin underwater cables hold the internet. See a map of them all. - YouTube: "The internet is known to pulse through fiber optic cables and cell phone towers, but 99% of high-speed international information is transferred under the sea. How long has this been happening? Underwater cables delivering information isn't a novel idea — the first Transatlantic cable was laid in 1858—undersea cables have been around since the telegraph." 'via Blog this'

How Does the Internet Actually Work? - Cisco video arguing against strict net neutrality

How Does the Internet Actually Work? - YouTube: "Video describing how the Internet works and the role scheduling of Internet traffic plays in moving data to its final destination." 'via Blog this'

What is the World Wide Web? - The internet, explained - Vox

What is the World Wide Web? - The internet, explained - Vox: Useful basics explanation! 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Brighton tech sector - Tech Nation 2017 - Tech City UK

Brighton tech sector - Tech Nation 2017 - Tech City UK:

"Brighton is where the arts fuse with technology. This seaside city is home to a plethora of digital advertising and marketing agencies, design studios and gaming studios.

Its strengths, however, are developing across the digital tech spectrum, supported by talent from the University of Sussex as well as Wired Sussex, a membership organisation which acts as a hub and initiator for the digital tech community.

What’s more, Brighton is awash with tech events with hackathons, skills swaps and Meetups taking place every day across the city." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

CoRe: Online Gatekeeping and the Google Shopping Antitrust Decision:

CoRe - European Competition and Regulatory Law Review: Symposium on Google Search (Shopping) Decision ∙ Online Gatekeeping and the Google Shopping Antitrust Decision:: "Online Gatekeeping and the Google Shopping Antitrust Decision:
The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning?" 'via Blog this'

Europe 'to bill Amazon for Luxembourg back taxes' - BBC News

Europe 'to bill Amazon for Luxembourg back taxes' - BBC News: "The tax deal between Luxembourg and Amazon was struck in 2003.

At the time, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission's president, was the prime minister of Luxembourg.  The European Commission declined to comment. Amazon was unavailable for comment.

Previously the EC has said that its "preliminary view is that the tax ruling... by Luxembourg in favour of Amazon constitutes state aid."" 'via Blog this'

Tackling ‘Illegal’ Content Online: The EC Continues Push for Privatised Law Enforcement | Center for Democracy & Technology

Tackling ‘Illegal’ Content Online: The EC Continues Push for Privatised Law Enforcement | Center for Democracy & Technology: "This may be read as a warning to online platforms to duly follow the Commission’s guidelines or else face legislation. In practice, this seems likely to mean: installation of filtering technologies, and demonstrable ‘progress’ in removal or prevention of content that public authorities and flaggers – trusted or not – allege could be hate speech or terrorist content.

Whether the content that is removed or prevented from appearing actually breaks the law is impossible to tell, and nothing in the Communication suggests that the question interests the Commission. There is no indication that the Commission intends to ensure transparency, accountability, due process and – most importantly – judicial oversight. Neither the IRU or the CoC maintains a public record of content that is flagged and removed, and no judge is ever consulted on the merits of the notifications. We and other organisations and policy-makers have raised these points repeatedly.

The European Commission and Member State policy makers should ensure that the many policy initiatives designed to sanitise online content scrupulously track the limits of the law. The legal and technical systems we put in place today to handle illegal and problematic content will shape access to information and opportunities to speak for years to come." 'via Blog this'

Amber Rudd accuses tech giants of 'sneering' at politicians - BBC News

Amber Rudd accuses tech giants of 'sneering' at politicians - BBC News: "Asked by an audience member if she understood how end-to-end encryption actually worked, she said: "It's so easy to be patronised in this business. We will do our best to understand it. We will take advice from other people but I do feel that there is a sea of criticism for any of us who try and legislate in new areas, who will automatically be sneered at and laughed at for not getting it right. I don't need to understand how encryption works to understand how it's helping - end-to-end encryption - the criminals. I will engage with the security services to find the best way to combat that."

Michael Beckerman, chief executive of the Internet Association, which represents Google, Microsoft, Amazon and other US tech giants, said it was an "understandable goal" for the home secretary to "want to remove it from end-to-end".
But, he went on, "since it is just math and it has been invented it can't uninvented"." 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Cultural diversity in cyberspace: The Catalan campaign to win the new .cat top level domain | Gerrand | First Monday

Cultural diversity in cyberspace: The Catalan campaign to win the new .cat top level domain | Gerrand | First Monday: "The history of the campaign to win .cat clearly began as an expression of traditional Catalan nationalism, as shown by the initial preference for a country code .ct that had no chance of being accepted by the ISO Standard 3166 or by ICANN.

Having been thwarted on that choice, the more astute protagonists developed the idea of ‘changing the passport for the dictionary’, putting aside any frustration with current political boundaries in Spain for the goal of achieving a truly global cultural focus in cyberspace for Catalan. Whereas support for .ct would have necessarily been limited to the region of Catalonia, the .cat concept was enthusiastically supported by 68,000 Catalan–speaking individuals and 98 organizations worldwide.

 But the last hurdles to be faced were the cultural ignorance of some key individuals in the ICANN decision–making processes, and the sensitivities of ICANN Board members to the known sensitivities of the U.S. Government, which has the ability to veto ICANN decisions. The same political sensitivities and cultural limitations will face other language communities wishing to use the .cat precedent to win sponsored Top Level Domains for their own global language–based culture.

 Winning a Top Level Domain will not be sufficient to promote much greater use or visibility of a ‘minority language’ in cyberspace. There are a number of important concomitant resources needed to promote the use of any language on the Internet. It is significant that the Catalans have covered all these bases through appropriate policies and investments." 'via Blog this'

Domains are power | The Outline

Domains are power | The Outline: "Top-level domains, or TLDs, sit at the top of the domain hierarchy. In 1985, there were just seven TLDs: .com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov, .arpa, and .mil. Today, there are more than 1,000 TLDs running the gamut from .uk to .gucci. One of them is .cat." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 29 September 2017

EU justice commissioner resists calls for legislation on online hate speech

EU justice commissioner resists calls for legislation on online hate speech | UK news | The Guardian: "Vera Jourova condemned Facebook as a “highway for hatred” on Thursday, but the former Czech minister said she was not yet ready to promote EU-wide legislation similar to that being pursued in the UK, France and Germany. “I would never say they [the UK, France and Germany] are wrong, but we all have the responsibility to react to this challenge with necessary and proportionate reaction,” she told the Guardian.

 In Britain, May is demanding that internet companies remove hateful content, in particular that aligned to terror organisations, within two hours of being discovered, or face financial sanctions. In June the prime minister agreed with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, that the UK and France would create a new legal liability for tech companies if they fail to remove inflammatory content.

Under a law due to come into effect next month in Germany, social media companies face fines of up to €50m (£43m) if they persistently fail to remove illegal content from their sites.

 The commission is instead offering further guidance to internet companies about how they improve their record by complying with a voluntary code of conduct drawn up last year and so far adopted by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 25 September 2017

PornHub Has Spoken Out Against the Government's Plans for Age Checks on Porn | Gizmodo UK

PornHub Has Spoken Out Against the Government's Plans for Age Checks on Porn | Gizmodo UK: "To sum up, Price is of the opinion that parents are the ones responsible for controlling what their children access online, not the government, and has concerns that the law will not be equally applied to the four million sites that host adult content.

 These concerns also come shortly after PornHub was forced to bow to pressure from the Russian government, and implement similar age verification checks. These checks force Russian porn connoisseurs to log in with the social network VKontakte - which is linked to a user's phone number, which is in turn linked to a Russian passport.

 How the checks will be implemented in the UK has yet to be seen, and it begs the question of whether non-compliant sites will be blocked by the government." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 21 September 2017

2017 is the year we realise we've been doing the Internet wrong

2017 is the year we realise we've been doing the Internet wrong: "But there is a seam of libertarianism in technology which sees it as above and beyond the state in general and regulation in particular. Even as a replacement for it. Who needs a public sector if you have dual core processing?  When tech was the poor relation in the global economy that could be interesting and disruptive. Now tech is the global economy, it is self-serving.

 These apps were developed in a time of neoliberal consensus. The state was beaten and bowed, shrunk to its role of uprooting barriers and getting out of the way of the brilliant, innovative, invisible hand of the private sector.  When I was at Ofcom in the 2000s we strove valiantly, day and night, to avoid any regulation of the internet, even where that included consumer rights and fairer power distribution." 'via Blog this'

We need universal digital suffrage to make technology work for us all | Prospect Magazine

We need universal digital suffrage to make technology work for us all | Prospect Magazine: "Universal Digital Suffrage

Reliable access to the internet is a prerequisite for being a digital citizen—but 14 per cent of adults said they did not have access to the internet at home in 2016.

The Tory/Lib Dem Coalition forgot digital inclusion for most of its tenure—when it finally remembered it demonstrated a poverty of ambition. Its target for inclusion was (and remains) 90 per cent. So one in ten will never have access to digital services.

And the current Government is so utterly unambitious about broadband provision that it has now re-announced the same pot of broadband money three times.

 In the 19th Century the Tories finally came round to the idea that universal suffrage was a democratic prerequisite. The task now is to make them understand the importance of universal digital suffrage—or elect a Labour government that does." 'via Blog this'

Running a responsible ccTLD - Nominet

Running a responsible ccTLD - Nominet: "For over twenty years we have been working to maintain the relevance, stability, security and safety of the .UK domain. We keep pace with the criminals, stay ahead of the trends and ensure everyone understands the benefits of being part of the UK’s namespace.

 Like many of our fellow ccTLD registries, we are alert to the multitude of cyber threats facing our industry. We have invested significantly in our infrastructure and have developed a sophisticated network analytics capability, which can process the billions of requests moving around our DNS infrastructure and provide actionable insight.

The DNS can identify unusual patterns and trends that can be indicative of network threats and potentially criminal behaviours. Using the data we gather, we can protect our DNS but also provide insight to third party clients using it to see what is happening with their own system, either to help mitigate a cyber attack or gather data in the aftermath.

 As a country code registry, it’s been important to maintain equitable access to the namespace." 'via Blog this'

Theresa May's speech is just the latest in politicians wilfully misunderstanding the internet

Theresa May's speech is just the latest in politicians wilfully misunderstanding the internet: " As is so often the case, The Daily Mail started it. After the Parsons Green attack last week, the newspaper wasted no time in allocating blame. A day after the tube bombing, the Mail's front page headline read: WEB GIANTS WITH BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS.   This isn't a new line of argument for the paper, which labelled Google "the terrorist's friend" after the Westminster attack in March.

As I wrote in the magazine back in April, the government (with the aid of particular papers) consistently uses the threat of terrorism to challenge tech giants and thus justify extreme invasions of our online privacy.

This year, Amber Rudd condemned WhatsApp's privacy-protecting encryption practices, the Snoopers' Charter passed with little fanfare, the Electoral Commission suggested social media trolls should be banned from voting, and now - just today - Theresa May has threatened web giants with fines if they fail to remove extremist content from their site in just two hours. 

 No one can disagree with the premise that Google, YouTube, and Facebook should remove content that encourages terrorism from their sites - and it is a premise designed to be impossible to disagree with. What we can argue against is the disproportional reactions by the government and the Mail, which seem to solely blame terrorism on our online freedoms, work against not with tech giants, and wilfully misunderstand the internet in order to push through ever more extreme acts of surveillance and censorship.

It is right for May to put pressure on companies to go "further and faster" in tackling extremism - as she is due to say to the United Nations general assembly later today. Yet she is demanding artificially intelligent solutions that don't yet exist and placing an arbitrary two hour time frame on company action.

In April, Facebook faced scrutiny after a video in which a killer shot a grandfather remained on the site for two hours. Yet Facebook actually acted within 23 minutes of the video being reported, and the delay was due to the fact that not one of their users flagged the content until one hour and 45 minutes after it had been uploaded. It is impossible for Facebook's team to trawl through everything uploaded on the site (100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day) but at present, the AI solutions May and other ministers demand don't exist. (And incidentally, the fact the video was removed within two hours didn't stop it being downloaded and widely shared across other social media sites). 

 As Jamie Bartlett, Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos, told me after a home affairs committee report accused Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube of "consciously failing" to tackle extremism last year:

“The argument is that because Facebook and Twitter are very good at taking down copyright claims they should be better at tackling extremism. But in those cases you are given a hashed file by the copyright holder and they say: ‘Find this file on your database and remove it please’. This is very different from extremism. You’re talking about complicated nuanced linguistic patterns each of which are usually unique, and are very hard for an algorithm to determine.”

 At least May is in good company. Last November, health secretary Jeremy Hunt argued that it was up to tech companies to reduce the teenage suicide rate, helpfully suggesting "a lock" on phone contracts, referring to image-recognition technology that didn't exist, and misunderstanding the limitations of algorithms designed to limit abuse. And who can forget Amber Rudd's comment about the "necessary hashtags"? In fact, our own Media Mole had a round-up of blunderous statements made by politicians about technology after the Westminster attack, and as a bonus, here's a round-up of Donald Trump's best quotes about "the cyber".

But in all seriousness, the government have to acknowledge the limits of technology to end online radicalisation.

And not only do we need to understand limits - we need to impose them. Even if total censorship of extremist content was possible, does that mean its desirable to entrust this power to tech giants?

As I wrote back in April: "When we ignore these realities and beg Facebook to act, we embolden the moral crusade of surveillance. We cannot at once bemoan Facebook’s power in the world and simultaneously beg it to take total control. When you ask Facebook to review all of the content of all of its billions of users, you are asking for a God." " 'via Blog this'

Julia Reda MEP – What the Commission found out about copyright infringement but ‘forgot’ to tell us

Julia Reda – What the Commission found out about copyright infringement but ‘forgot’ to tell us: "Copyright policy is usually based on the underlying assumption that copyright infringement has a direct negative effect on rightsholders’ revenues.

The most recent example for this kind of reasoning is the Commission’s highly controversial proposal of requiring hosting providers to install content filters to surveil all user-uploaded content. The Commission claims this measure is necessary to address a “value gap”, a supposed displacement of value from licensed music streaming services to hosting services like YouTube, which host a mixture of licensed and unlicensed content.

To properly discuss such far-reaching proposals, we clearly need to have access to all available evidence on whether such displacement actually takes place in practice.

 This study may have remained buried in a drawer for several more years to come if it weren’t for an access to documents request I filed under the European Union’s Freedom of Information law on July 27, 2017, after having become aware of the public tender for this study dating back to 2013." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Annual Report 2017: Information Law Group

The Information Law Group was established in 2014-15 and seed-funded by LPS in 2015/16, in addition to its external funding from projects for the European Commission and the RDF in 2014/15. It held its second annual Seminar and other guest seminars, and first annual PhD and Work in Progress Workshops on 20 June 2016.
Six external seminars were organized in 2016/17:
·        3rd Annual Information Law Seminar by Prof. Roger Brownsword joint event with School of Law,
·        visiting speaker Hugh Tomlinson QC joint event with SCHRR,
·        Jeremy Olivier from Ofcom,
·        Prof. Andrea Matwyshyn from Northeastern University, 
·        Dr Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay from CNRS Paris, visiting at LSE,
Justin Walford, senior editorial counsel at The Sun newspaper
 Work in progress workshops were carried out on 3 May 2017, the PhD workshop in the morning and the Work in progress workshop in the afternoon (2pm-5.30pm). By holding both on the same day, we ensure that some professors attended the PhD workshop to give comments. There were 3 PhD presentations in the morning workshop, one internal to Sussex.There were six Works in Progress presented at the afternoon workshop, 2 internal to Sussex. The two discussants included one internal to Sussex. The external presenters were from Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Leeds and Tilburg/EBU, the external discussant was from LSE.
The attendance for both workshops was in total approximately twenty (including PhD students, speakers, discussants and chairs).
In the course of planning the workshops, we also collaborated with the Crime Research Group’s first Annuallecture, which meant attendees could also attend that lecture and reception after the conclusion of the work in progress seminar. 
A significant outcome from the first Annual Seminar (2015) is that Chris Marsden has been invited to present a paper at a conference at Georgetown University in February 2018, to be published in the Georgetown Law Technology Review. The timescale reinforces the fact that continued ongoing research planning produces results over time, and the three years of our establishment has resulted in visibility.
A result of the expansion of the Group, with the recruitment of Judith and Nicolo, and our expanding links to Engineering, Informatics, SPRU, IDS and the Sussex Humanities Lab/journalism programme, is that we plan to apply for the establishment of a more broad-based interdisciplinary Centre for Information Governance Research in academic year 2017/18.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Australia poised for media mergers after ownership reforms

Australia poised for media mergers after ownership reforms: "Australian media companies Fairfax and News International have lobbied for an easing to ownership restrictions, which limit companies to owning two of the three main media interests — radio, newspaper and television. They argue that cut-throat competition for advertising from Facebook and Google makes reform necessary, while the rise of internet competitors means there would be no loss of media diversity.

 Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party also won a commitment from the government to: force the state broadcaster ABC to disclose all staff salaries above A$200,000; legislate to ensure ABC coverage is fair and balanced; and order a review into “competitive neutrality” in broadcasting.

The removal of the “two out of three” rules on cross media ownership could aid a consortium led by Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairman of News Corp, in its battle to take over Ten. Its previous “conditional” offer for the Australian broadcaster was complicated by Mr Murdoch’s ties with News Corp, which already owns radio and newspaper assets in Australia, and may have fallen foul of existing media laws." 'via Blog this'