April 26, 2012
Rupert, James Murdoch Testify Before Leveson Inquiry
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch appeared again before the Leveson Inquiry in London Thursday, and admitted that he had not done an adequate job of investigating the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World, a scandal which has continued to cause repercussions for him, his son James, and high level administrators at News Corp. "Someone took charge of a cover-up, which we were victim to and I regret," he told the members of the Leveson Inquiry. He said "panic" led to his decision to close down News of the World. He apologized for the scandal and for his mishandling of the investigation, but said that he had cleaned house and the company is now "new." and has "new rules, new compliance officers."
Earlier this week, James Murdoch, former head of News International, appeared before the same Inquiry, and testified that he did not know the extent of phonehacking at News of the World. He also testified that he did not read emails fully that might have alerted him to the amount of phonehacking going on at NotW.
CSPAN links to Rupert and James Murdoch testimony, and other NotW information here.
April 25, 2012
The History of Internet Access Rights
Jonathon Penney, Oxford University (Balliol College); Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law; The Citizen Lab/Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, has published Internet Access Rights: A Brief History and Intellectual Origins at 38 William Mitchell Law Review 10 (2011). Here is the abstract.
If there is anything we have learned from recent protest movements around the world, and the heavy-handed government efforts to block, censor, suspend, and manipulate Internet connectivity, it is that access to the Internet, and its content, is anything but certain, especially when governments feel threatened. Despite these hard truths, the notion that people have a "right" to Internet access gained high-profile international recognition last year. In a report to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this year, Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, held that Internet access should be recognized as a "human right". The finding garnered much international attention and acclaim, but there has been little systematic scholarship exploring the report’s findings and right to Internet access set out therein. Helping fill this gap, this article explores the historical and intellectual origins of the notion of Internet access rights in the report and sets these ideas within a broader international and political context, and its of evolving ideas about expression, information, and communication, and their politics.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Take-Down Regimes and Their Use On the Net
Jon Garon, NKU Chase College of Law, has published Tidying Up the Internet: Take Down of Unauthorized Content under Copyright, Trademark and Defamation Law. Here is the abstract.
As business clients make available an ever-increasing array of online content and services, the specter of liability for inappropriate online content looms large. Still, U.S. federal law protects businesses that adopt appropriate take-down regimes for copyright infringement, defamatory content, and even improper use of competitor’s trademarks. As business clients make available an ever-increasing array of online content and services, the specter of liability for inappropriate online content looms large. Still, federal law protects businesses that adopt appropriate take-down regimes for copyright infringement, defamatory content, and even improper use of competitor’s trademarks. While the percentage of complaints suggests that the notice-and-take-down system is a minor aspect of the Internet media ecology, the existence of the system remains a source of tremendous anger for many. Moreover significant litigation in the past year has renewed the focus on these legal tools to tidy the Internet to cleanse it of unwanted or unauthorized content. This article will focus on the recent activity in the courts and congress regarding the various attempts to deal with unauthorized, unwanted and controversial content available on the Internet.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
April 24, 2012
The Right To Be Forgotten and U. S. Constitutional Law
Robert Kirk Walker, University of California Hastings College of the Law, has published Forcing Forgetfulness: Data Privacy, Free Speech, and the 'Right to Be Forgotten'. Here is the abstract.
Information posted to the Internet is never truly forgotten. While the persistence of data offers benefits, it also carries substantial risks to a data subject if their personal information is used out of context or in ways that are harmful to his or her person’s reputation. The potential for harm is especially dire when personal information is disclosed without a subject’s consent. In response to these risks, European policymakers have proposed the legislative recognition of a “right to be forgotten” that provides individuals with a legal mechanism to compel the removal of personal data from electronic repositories. This right has been defined as, “the right of individuals to have their data no longer processed and deleted when they are no longer needed for legitimate purposes.”
In this essay, I put forward the claim that only a limited form of the right to be forgotten is compatible with U.S. constitutional law. This form — a right to delete voluntarily submitted data — has only limited utility against the myriad privacy issues raised by networked technologies with limitless digital memories. It is, nevertheless, an essential component of a properly balanced regulatory portfolio. As such, this right should be legislatively enacted on the federal level as an implied-in-law covenant in contracts between data processors and personal data disclosers.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
April 23, 2012
Twitter and French Voting Results
From the New York Times, how French tweeters beat French campaign laws against publishing voting results before they should have been released. Zut, alors!