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Posts from the ‘Social Media’ Category

DEA Sued for Creating Fake Facebook Account Using Woman’s Photos

How would you like to stumble upon a Facebook page that you did not create, and that also displayed your name and your personal photographs?  Better yet, how would you feel if that same page was created and being used by a government agency to catch criminals?

That is exactly what happened to a Sondra Arquiett in 2010 when an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) took it upon himself to create a fake Facebook account with the hopes of establishing contact with criminal drug dealers.  DEA agent Timothy Sinnigen admitted to creating the account and appropriating Arquiett’s likeness, according to the federal lawsuit that Arquiett filed against the DEA and agent Sinnigen in the Northern District of New York.  Arquiett had previously been arrested for drug charges in 2010, and during that time some of her personal items were seized.  One of those items was her cell phone, which contained personal and private photographs.  Sinnigen used the photographs on the fake Facebook page in order to create the impression that it had been created and was being managed by Arquiett.

The photographs, some of which contain images of Arquiett’s young son and niece, were taken and used without permission or authorization.  The complaint alleges that Arquiett was “deprived of her Constitutional rights, including her right of privacy afforded to her under the First Amendment”.  This clearly raises some concerns about privacy, and to what extent the government can use your personal information.  The Justice Department will investigate this practice and the issues it creates.

The case had been set for trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, however it appears now that it may head to mediation.
By Taylor Hume

Gerry Rogers Removed From Assembly – The Dark Side of Social Media

I was perusing Techdirt, as I often do, and read a story I simply couldn’t  ignore about a Canadian politician who was removed from assembly for something that she simply did not do.  Gerry Rogers, a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, was removed from Assembly when it was learned that she was part of a Facebook group targeting Premier Kathy Dunderdale called “Kathy Dunderdale must GO!!!”.  The group page evidently contained death threats regarding Dunderdale.  Rogers denied joining this group, saying that she was added to the group without her knowledge.

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Another Lesson Learned: Instagram Quickly Backtracks After Angering Its Users

This week, users of Instagram scored a victory with the company’s management over a plan to amend Instagram’s terms of service that would allow the third-party use of users’ photos without their permission or any form of compensation.  This change, which was scheduled to take effect in mid January, caused an uproar among Instagram’s user base.

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NFL Player’s Tweets Teach a Lesson in Contract Performance

By now we all know at least one friend who has tweeted or posted something to Facebook without considering whether it will offend people.  Ok… so, by “friend,” I mean we’ve all done it. Hopefully, your gaffe caused—at most—a few snickers, face-palms, or awkward conversations.  For Steelers’ running back Rashad Mendenhall, his emotional tweet caused him to lose a multimillion dollar endorsement deal.  Read more

House (Mis)fires First Shot in Battle over Employer Access to Facebook Passwords

While at least one Senator is drafting a bill to stop the “unreasonable invasion of privacy” resulting from employer access to your Facebook page, the House has rejected a similar proposal from Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter.  The measure would have prevented employers from collecting Facebook user names and passwords as a condition of employment.  The law was added as an amendment to the FCC Reform Act Bill, but was shot down 236-184. Republican opposition spelled disaster for the amendment, though it’s not clear whether House Republicans were genuinely opposed to the legislation or simply did not want to address the matter as part of the FCC Bill (which incidentally, they passed later that day).

As this blog has reported previously, Facebook is vehemently opposed to employers gaining access to employee pages. However, presumably because Facebook lacks the legal and technical capacity to stop the practice, Facebook (and its user base) has been ratcheting up the pressure on Congress to do something.

Given the attention on this issue, it’s practically certain that these measures will be reintroduced in future legislation. We’ll no doubt be blogging about these developments, so check back with us for updates as this saga unfolds.


Want to Friend Your Employer?

Would you be okay with Dave from human resources regularly monitoring your Facebook account?  We have all known for some time that employers routinely check information publicly available on the Internet about current and potential employees as part of background checks and other employment decisions.  Somehow, we’re okay with that because it is already out there.  But, did you know that some employers are requiring greater or complete access to your private online accounts (e.g., Facebook) to either continue employment or to get hired? Read more

Amazon’s New Silk Browser May be Doomed for a Lawsuit

Although the new Silk browser by Amazon has just been released on the eagerly anticipated Kindle Fire, there looks like there could be potential legal trouble for the new browser in the future. As Stephan Kinsella shows, they may run into some problems with copyright infringement. Read more

Pandora is Faced with a Class Action Lawsuit

Pandora, the popular internet radio website in which you can personalize your own stations by listening preference, is facing the threat of a class action lawsuit in Michigan. The charge is being led by Michigan resident Peter Deacon, who claims that Pandora is breaching customer privacy. Read more

Quick Hit: Is Google+ Losing Momentum?

A report on seems to indicate that Google+ is losing momentum.

From the graphs in their post, it actually appears that Google+ is hemorrhaging interest.  While Google+ has been gaining users, those users are posting much less.

If Google+ wants to be a go-to networking service, it needs to reach a critical mass like Facebook, and to a lesser extent, LinkedIn have.  That’s why these services are so entrenched – users go to these services because so many of their friends and colleagues are on them.

Here is a graph:

Head to their website to see the rest.

EDIT: Please note that this was not a survey of all users, but ones that used ManageFlitter’s service.

Five For Friday: The Waterlogged Edition

The torrential rains in the DC area this past week culminated with a late night escapade amidst a driving rain into my home’s crawl space to pump about a foot of water.

That being said, we never lost internet connectivity (through that, Irene, or the earthquake), so we are able to present this week’s Five For Friday.

First, it is becoming increasingly clear that (for better or for worse) IP addresses are not the silver bullet in identifying potential infringers accused of unlawfully downloading copyrighted works.  It will be interesting to see if the industries’ strategy changes course.

Second, a new week = a new social media platform.  This one, Mightybell is counter-intuitive.  Here is why.

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