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Simplifying Legalese

I attended a conference last week on Data Protection and one of the prime issues that cropped was that on the immanent complexity of legalese that prevents users from understanding the Terms & Conditions for which they're signing up when they join a social network, use an app or visit a website. This led to the Users being disinterested in understanding the T&Cs. This had a huge impact on Data Protection Policies since Users were ignorant about how their data was being used... more»

Your App Is Increasingly Paranoid

In Canada at the moment a fight has been engaged between Bell Canada, a major carrier, and a recent decision of its regulator, the CRTC, concerning whether the CRTC (the Commission) made the correct decision when it said that the underlying transport system was "telecommunications", while the "app" that was carried was "broadcasting". The decision appealed from (the Klass decision) is important because it marks the first time the CRTC has made a decision on the idea that lies at the core of Internet thinking: that an application floats on top of transport layers. more»

Am I Safer Within an Organization or by Myself?

An Internet Bill of Rights may or may not be a good idea. The point here is that, besides highly commendable topics such as net neutrality and privacy, some of them seem to mandate cybersecurity. Approved in Brazil last May, the Marco Civil includes the principle of preservation of stability, security and functionality of the network, via technical measures consistent with international standards.  more»

Domain Name Case Under ACPA Failed Because Trademark Was Not Distinctive

The federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) [15 U.S.C. 1125(d)] is a provision in U.S. law that gives trademark owners a cause of action against one who has wrongfully registered a domain name. In general, the ACPA gives rights to owners of trademarks that are either distinctive or famous at the time the defendant registered the offending domain name. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the decision of a lower court that dismissed an ACPA claim... more»

Privacy, Risk and Revenue

The nation's leading organization of government, corporate and academic privacy executives -- the International Association of Privacy Professionals -- recently did what good groups do, it issued a report that validated the pursuit of the career it supports... the IAPP reminded all what has long been understood -- privacy is an important and growing risk management activity under the watchful eye (mostly) of general counsels. With $2.4 billions being spent this year and $3 billion next, it is a growth industry. more»

Why OIRA Needs to Coordinate Federal Cyber Security Regulation

Two quick facts about American industry's resilience against cyber-attack, (1) our critical infrastructure is inadequately protected and (2) federal regulation will be required to fix the problem, reliance on market forces alone will not be sufficient irrespective of whether or not Sony Pictures survives. Although regulation is needed, it needs to be coordinated and, above all, cost-effective. Which agency is charge of regulating cybersecurity? Right now, it's a free for all with agencies staking out turf and claims of authority. more»

Where We're Going: Leviathan or Golem?

The Internet never ceases to fascinate. I am referring not to its content, but to its governance. The IANA transition is the latest example in a world of interesting possibilities. At the core, we find ICANN, and that is why we need a Human Rights Advisory Committee. Any future model, with or without the NTIA, needs to seriously consider this option. But I prefer the hard truth over my own ideals. Maybe this idea will be dismissed, simply because human rights are discussed as some kind of inconvenience. more»

Does the Internet Need "Governance"?

It's remarkable to me that there are now two powerful agencies fighting to "govern" the Internet -- the ITU and the FCC. On any given day, it's hard to tell whether they are on the same side or different sides. The ITU process apparently began in earnest with the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) meetings, where the concept of "Internet Governance" became an urgent goal. The FCC process began when incumbent Internet Access Providers (IAPs) argued that "Net Neutrality" was a stalking horse for government control... more»

ccTLDs Might Be Property

The long-running saga of victims who are pursuing 'state sponsors of terrorism' via ICANN has taken yet another turn. Some time back the Plaintiffs in Rubin & ors -v- Islamic Republic of Iran & ors managed to obtain Writs of Attachment in the Federal court district in Washington (D.C.) courts ordering that the ccTLDs of those respective countries be seized in part-payment of the damages they are owed. ICANN, fairly predictably, became involved at this point. more»

Europe and Data Protection: We Need a Real Debate - Exactly What We Don't Have Now

Europe is at the forefront of the global debate about data protection and privacy. Unfortunately that debate is characterised more by hyberbole and scaremongering than real discussion. Europeans deserve better -- and so does the world, who rightly see Europe as a leader on this subject. The new Commission has a chance to truly lead in partnership with governments, like Brazil, that agree with us. more»