Technology Policy

Facebook's Newest Format Provokes Even More Privacy Concerns

By Caroline Kinsella Recently, Facebook unveiled its newest profile update: Timeline.  A scrolling personal history of each user that is less like the traditional Facebook profile we all know and more like a personalized life story, the changes are causing a backlash among the Facebook community.  Any sort of change to the site inevitably provokes commentary, much of which is forgotten within a few days.  However, Timeline is causing further concern, especially in terms of privacy and Facebook’s access to personal information.  In Europe, Facebook is now the subject of an investigation by the Irish data protection commissioner for how it handles users’ data in Europe.  The Irish regulator launched the investigation after it received twenty-two separate complaints from the online watchdog “Europe versus Facebook.”  Some of the complaints alleged against Facebook include, the company does not delete personal information after it says it has been removed; it tracks users’


Sony Plays Games With Its Terms Of Service

By Ben Chynsky Earlier this year Sony’s PlayStation Network was attacked by a string of hackers that compromised the private data of as many as 100 million many users’ accounts. Sony issued apologies, offered some compensation packages, and promised to strengthen its security network. At the same time, Sony was subject to a number of lawsuits including some class-action filings. One class action lawsuit filed against Sony in April could ultimately cost the company billions of dollars. It is no coincidence that Sony quietly updated its PlayStation Network Terms of Service (“TOS”) agreement last week. The company added a new section to its TOS that will prevent users from joining together in the future in any class-action lawsuits against the company.  It also provides for binding arbitration as the sole means of dispute resolution with the company before any lawsuit is brought. The new section was not announced by publicly


An Important Step For Legal Content

By Ben Falk There has been an interesting development in the way users consume cultural products. It seems, for the first time, according to the network-management software company Sandvine, that legal content distribution represents the largest percentage of Internet use. Specifically, Netflix’s streaming service is responsible for this transformation. For a long time, peer-to-peer networks represented the largest share of Internet use, much to the consternation of the entertainment industry. A great deal of the content “shared” over these networks is copyrighted, such as songs, movies, TV shows, etc, which, as can be imagined, does not sit well with many content creators. However, it seems the old Internet adage that people will always choose free content over content they must pay for is finally proved false. That Netflix and real-time entertainment consumption now represent the largest share of Internet traffic is a harbinger of greater things. Essentially, it means that the