Posts Tagged ‘Law’

5 Legal Considerations for Your Social Media Campaign

Published by pratyushkp on July 12th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

Image by Gary Hayes via Flickr

Post from Mashable authered by Gonzalo E. Mon

Gonzalo E. Mon is a partner in the Advertising Law practice at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP. Read more on Kelley Drye’s advertising blog, Ad Law Access, or keep up with the group on Facebook or Twitter.

Most companies enjoy the benefits of having a social media presence, but not every company also appreciates the legal risks that can lurk there. Companies have run into legal problems, and been forced to defend their social media campaigns in public, in front of regulators or in courts.

All of this, however, can be mediated with a little knowledge and forethought. Although each social media campaign should be evaluated individually, there are at least five legal considerations every company should note.

United Nations: Disconnecting People From the Internet Is a Violation of Human Rights

Published by pratyushkp on June 13th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

Image via Wikipedia

post Authored by Stan Schroeder from Mashable

The United Nations has declared Internet access a human right, and disconnecting people from it is against international law.

The recent UN report explores the issues of Internet access in great detail, both on the infrastructural level and as a matter of access to content.

“There should be as little restriction as possible to the flow of information via the Internet, except in few, exceptional, and limited circumstances prescribed by international human rights law,” the report says.

It recognizes that there are certain circumstances in which restricting the information flow on the Internet may be legitimate, such as cyber attacks. It also points out that states often misuse their power with this regard.

“In many instances, states restrict, control, manipulate and censor content disseminated via the Internet without any legal basis, or on the basis of broad and ambiguous laws, without justifying the purpose of such actions. … such actions are clearly incompatible with states’ obligations under international human rights law, and often create a broader ‘chilling effect’ on the right to freedom of opinion and expression,” the report says.

The report also strongly recommends against disconnecting people from the Internet — often considered an anti-piracy measure, for example in France — under any circumstances.

The report “considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

The UN’s report echoes a European Parliament directive from 2008, which asked individual countries to “avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights … such as the interruption of Internet access.”

With both the EU and the UN calling Internet access a human right, we hope disconnecting people from the Internet as a form of punishment will soon be abandoned by governments around the world.

The full text of the report is available here.

  • Internet is a human right (
  • Internet access a human right? (
  • UK response to file-sharing is still in trouble — but should it be? (
  • Is Disconnecting People From the Internet a Violation of Human Rights? [Lucas Wyrsch] (
  • UN Declares Internet Access A Human Right, But Fast and Cheap May Be as Important as Open (
  • United Nations: Disconnecting People From the Internet Is a Violation of Human Rights (

President Obama’s cybersecurity plan – Part 1 updates for law enforcement

Published by pratyushkp on May 18th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

Image via Wikipedia

Last week President Obama announced his proposal for updates to US cyber-crime law. Chester Wisniewski have spent a significant amount of time poring over the legal documents to extract their meaning and provide my comments.

The proposed legislation is quite long and detailed, so I will begin with the changes that will impact law enforcement. These changes relate to what items are criminal and the penalties the courts may impose for breaking the law.

  • The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act would be updated to include organized computer criminals. This law was originally designed to target mafia-like crime syndicates and would now include their electronic equivalents.
  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) would be modified with new restrictions for judges during sentencing. Attacks against critical infrastructure would have a mandatory minimum sentence of three years.
  • Cyberattackers targeting critical infrastructure would not be eligible for probation or concurrent sentencing (unless it is the same crime) or eligible for a reduction of their sentences for multiple counts of the offense.
  • Maximum sentences would be changed from ten years to 20 for attacking US government systems related to defense, energy or foreign relations.
  • Maximum sentences would be changed from one year to three for unauthorized access to records or systems related to financial services, government systems or foreign/interstate communications. They would change from five years to ten if the purpose is private gain or commercial advantage or if the value of the information exceeds $5000.
  • Maximum sentences would be reduced from five years to one for unauthorized access to non-public government computers.
  • Maximum of 20 years for unauthorized access or exceeding authorization to obtain more than $5000 in a year’s time.
  • Maximum of 20 years for someone who “knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization, to a protected computer” resulting in more than $5000 in damages, tampering with medical systems, causing physical injury, causing a threat to public health and safety, interfering with systems related to defense, justice or national security, or ten or more computers in a one year period.
  • A maximum of life imprisonment for incidents that result in someone’s death.
  • Maximum of ten years for unauthorized access causing reckless damages.
  • Maximum of one year in prison for unauthorized access causing damages.
  • Maximum of ten years for “knowingly and with intent to defraud [trafficking] in any password or similar information through which a computer may be accessed without authorization.” This provision previously applied only to US government systems.
  • Maximum of ten years for extortion using a threat to attack/expose flaws in security.
  • A long list of changes related to the forfeiture of profits and assets in any way related to the aforementioned criminal activity.

The raising of maximum penalties gives American judges more flexibility and sends a very clear message to cybercriminals. However, the requirement for a three year minimum sentence for attacking critical infrastructure raises questions.

There are many shades of grey when it comes to unauthorized access to sensitive systems and mandatory minimums do not account for the edge cases that a judge can take into account.

The adjustments to the RICO statute are a welcome change and by including organized cybercrime provide new tools for law enforcement to treat electronic crimes just like any other.

The addition of this statement:

“knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization, to a protected computer”

appears to directly address today’s malware threat. Facing up to 20 years for what many consider to be mischief sets the record straight. Producing and spreading malware is a serious crime, and under this proposal, if you participate you could face serious penalties.


  • White House Wants Mandatory 3-Year Sentence for Critical Infrastructure Hackers (
  • White House Cybersecurity Plan: What You Need To Know (
  • White House Releases Cybersecurity Plans (
  • Obama gov wants 3 yrs porridge for infrastructure hackers (
  • Obama Administration Unveils Strategy For International Cybersecurity (
  • Obama Pushes Cybersecurity Plan (
  • U.S. unveils global cyberspace strategy (
  • US outlines global plan for cyberspace (
  • US outlines global plan for cyberspace (
  • Obama calls for 3 year prison sentence for critical infrastructure hackers (

‘Dating’ Site Nicks 250,000 Facebook Profiles

Published by pratyushkp on February 7th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

Were you one of them?

Those who have watched The Social Network will remember how Mark Zuckerberg goes about stealing photographs from random academic websites and proceeds to use all that for his own website, which was indeed based on a real life system dubbed FaceMash that Zuckerberg had pulled for real. Well, in a cruel twist of irony, a dating website named Lovely Faces has pulled the same trick on Facebook. The folks behind the website are pretty unabashed about it too.

The plot is simple; Lovely Faces rips profiles replete with names, locations and photos right off the publicly accessible Facebook pages. Using face recognition, the website classifies the unsuspecting victims into searchable personality types. For example, one can search for possible (and unwitting) mates in their vicinity based on parameters like “easy going”, “smug” or “sly.”

The website has been created by media artist Paolo Cirio and media critic Alessandro Ludovic who is also the editor-in-chief of Neural magazine. “Facebook, an endlessly cool place for so many people, becomes at the same time a goldmine for identity theft and dating – unfortunately, without the user’s control. But that’s the very nature of Facebook and social media in general. If we start to play with the concepts of identity theft and dating, we should be able to unveil how fragile a virtual identity given to a proprietary platform can be,” goes their explanation of the invasive prank they pulled on Facebook.

Facebook, however, isn’t taking this lightly. Barry Schnitt, Facebook’s director of policy communications warned, “Scraping people’s information violates our terms. We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organizations that violate these terms. We’re investigating this site and will take appropriate action.” There seems to be legal merit to Facebook’s threat, because scraping info from the website does require legal consent, which we presume Cirio and Ludovic haven’t acquired prior to this stunt.

However this may end; what you should do now is head over to Facebook and tighten up your privacy settings. And of course, never share personal information on social network websites.

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