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Posts Tagged ‘Internet’

A New Jersey man who was left legally blind after supposedly botched lasik eye surgery decided to criticize his surgeons online to inform others of his dissatisfying experience. He ran into more trouble than he anticipated, though, after sticking the surgeons’ names in the domain name.

The surgeons, Herbert Nevyas and Anita Nevyas-Wallace, who have offices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, sued the patient for trademark violation. Public Citizen attorney Paul Alan Levy, who is representing the patient in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, says that argument doesn’t fly.

“The domain names in question do not violate the Nevyases’ rights under trademark laws, and their efforts to obtain the names constitute reverse domain name hijacking,” he said. “The Nevyases’ attempts to close the website stifle [the patient’s] free speech rights.”

Find out why.

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The folks at Facebook would like you to know that they’re concerned about your privacy. So much that they’re willing to create a nonprofit foundation dedicated to online privacy, while at the same time profiting hugely from their business of allowing you to make your most private thoughts and moments available to anyone you’ve ever met. Facebook’s offer to create the foundation is part of its proposal to settle a class-action lawsuit brought against it for violating the privacy of its users.

If you recall, the case involves Facebook’s Beacon marketing program, which back in 2007 and 2008 let all of your Facebook friends know about stuff you bought online. Well, on Monday, Public Citizen filed an objection to the proposed settlement, saying that it did a lot for Facebook and the lawyers in the case but very little for Facebook users.

From the Public Citizen news release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Facebook’s solution to complaints that it violated the privacy rights of potentially millions of its users is no solution at all, Public Citizen said today in opposing the settlement of a class-action lawsuit that was filed against the social networking giant.

The central piece of the proposed settlement is the creation of a nonprofit foundation that would largely be controlled by Facebook. The foundation would be charged with funding projects and initiatives that “promote the cause of online privacy, safety, and security,” which Public Citizen attorney Greg Beck likens to putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Under the proposed settlement, Facebook would pay $9.5 million into a settlement fund, with as much as a third of that money going to pay the class-action attorneys. The remaining money would go toward the creation of the new privacy foundation. Facebook would choose (more…)

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How much of your personal information is Google willing to turn over to a third party without a fight? We’ve asked a California federal court to unseal a report that would give customers of the world’s largest Internet company an answer to that question.

Google handed the report in question over to a judge in September to comply with a restraining order requested by Rocky Mountain Bank. The bank requested the order after it mistakenly sent the bank records for more than 1,000 customers to the wrong Gmail account. In the order granted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, Google was told to deactivate the Gmail account and to provide contact information about the user of the Gmail account and whether he or she had read the e-mail. Google and the Gmail account holder also were told they couldn’t read the email, download the records or forward them to anyone.

A Gmail user who did nothing wrong had his or her account shut down because of the bank’s monumental screw up. And Google, a company that basically prints its own cash, didn’t lift a finger to protect the rights of one of its users. I love my Gmail account but this is a good reminder that there is (more…)

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There’s some buzz about our win this week against Autodesk and its attempt to keep entrepreneur Timothy Vernor from selling second-hand copies of its software on eBay. A federal judge refused to dismiss Vernor’s lawsuit against Autodesk and in doing so made it pretty clear that Vernor had a right to sell legally obtained, copyrighted material on eBay or anywhere else. The Technology Liberation Front called it an “Autodesk smackdown” and praised Judge Richard Jones’ decision as a victory for “common sense.” At the heart of Autodesk’s copyright argument was the claim that the license agreement included with copies of its AutoCad software prohibited resale. But the judge ruled that Vernor, who has picked up second-hand copies of AutoCad at garage sales, isn’t bound by that agreement. That’s a good thing for anyone who sells or buys stuff on eBay. And it’s great news for Vernor who is seeking legal relief from Autodesk, which has repeatedly registered copyright complaints with eBay about Vernor’s auctions. (more…)

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When Seneca Technologies President Will White won his public records lawsuit against the state of West Virginia, he did what any Web entrepreneur would do with his newly-acquired bevy of local tax maps — he posted the information on his website. That didn’t sit well with Kanawha County Tax Assessor Phyllis Gatson, who is asking a court to force Seneca to take the maps off the Web. Why should you care?

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