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Aaron Swartz’ Case Highlights Imperfect Legal System

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a powerful weapon in a prosecutor’s arsenal.  Though imperfect in some ways, it provides a way for citizens and the Government to seek redress for wrongs that previously had no crime attached to them.  Much has been made of the Department of Justice’s prosecution of Mr. Swartz in the wake of his death.

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Out On a Limb: Legal Pitfalls for Affiliate Marketers

Regular readers of this blog know that I will be speaking at Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas on Tuesday, January 14th.  In advance of my presentation, I thought I would give you a sneak preview.  There are some good lessons for all companies – whether Internet based or not.

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FTC Amends Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA)

For those of you not familiar with COPPA, the FTC passed the act in 1998 and it is designed to help protect the personally identifiable information of Internet users under the age of 13 and gives parents control over the information companies collect online from their children.  COPPA specifically applies to websites targeting children, but essentially applies to any site that a child could use that collects personally identifiable information.  The FTC is concerned with children’s privacy now more than ever with the increased use of social media and smartphone apps that use features such as geolocation.

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If You Can Read This, You Might Just Have to Sue Someone…

How long did it take for this page to load?  Not fast enough for you?  Well you might just have a potential lawsuit on your hands.

While my cynical humor may seem funny to some and sad to others, it also has grains of truth.  In this age of digital consumer sophistication and the debate over net neutrality some consumers have taken to the Courts to enforce ISP speed and bandwidth claims.

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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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Gun Violence Takes Center Stage: Armslist.com Sued Regarding Wrongful Death of Jitka Vesel

Just prior to the deadly school massacre in Newtown, CT last week, the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois against Armslist, LLC, the owner of Armslist.com, on December 12, 2012.  Attorneys for The Brady Center assert that Armslist.com played a large part in the death of Jitka Vesel, as the gun used to kill her was purchased through the website by her stalker.  According to the Brady Center, the sale of the gun was illegal and the seller pleaded guilty to felony sale of a firearm to an out of state customer.  The Brady Center also mentioned that the website did nothing to stop the sale of firearms to consumers in different states, because it allowed users to view classified listings in all fifty states.

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California Attorney General Sues Delta Airlines for Not Having a Privacy Policy for Mobile App

Not having a privacy policy could be a problem, especially if you collect personally identifiable information from users located in California.  Delta Airlines is learning this tip the hard way.  Kamala Harris, the California Attorney General, filed a complaint in state court last week against Delta Airlines for not adhering with California state law. The state law at issue is the California Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires a website that collects personally identifiable information about individual consumers residing in California to conspicuously display a privacy policy.

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Breaking: John McAfee Arrested

The AP is reporting that John McAfee has been arrested by Guatemalan police for entering the country illegally.  More details…

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FTC v. Epic Marketplace: It’s not paranoia if…

Remember that Rockwell song from the 80’s: “I always feel like somebody’s watching me…”?  Chances are, while you were online, Epic Marketplace was.  Earlier today the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with Epic Marketplace that required that company to stop “datasniffing” websurfers’ browsing and destroy records gained by doing so.  Find the Consent Order here.

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John McAfee Seeking Asylum in Guatemala

On his blog, John McAfee announced that he is seeking asylum in Guatemala.  Mr. McAfee will be holding a press conference this afternoon when he will take questions.  Mr. McAfee’s latest string of posts on his blog gives more information about his whereabouts over the last few days, contains a messages to the family of Gregory Faull (who was murdered), and details what Ms. McAfee’s planned next steps.  Finally, Mr. McAfee posts a pictures and information about two of his friends he says are wrongfully being held by Belize authoritiesRead more

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