Your Rights

Wed
23
Apr
Dennis Faas's picture

ISPs Ditch Net Neutrality Hearing

The Federal Communications Commission has begun hearings into net neutrality, the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally, without representatives of the major Internet and telephone companies. Comcast, AT ... (view more)

Mon
21
Apr
Dennis Faas's picture

'Amazon Tax' coming to New York State

New York's state legislature passed a budget earlier this month that includes a provision requiring online retailers to collect all applicable taxes at the behest of the state. Individuals shopping online had previously been able to dodge paying ... local taxes since online retailers were not responsible for their collection. Instead, New York as well as most other states require individuals to voluntarily declare items bought from out of state retailers, in their annual income tax filings. The 'Use Tax' puts the onus on the individual to pay their owing taxes on items purchased. In reality, ... (view more)

Wed
09
Apr
Dennis Faas's picture

Reading the Fine Print Always a Good Idea

Sometimes, there's a good reason that the "privacy policy" has been placed almost invisibly at the bottom of the page, and that when you click on the link, it presents you with a mountain of microscopic legal-like gobbledygook in a document 24-pages ... long. The reason the policy is placed in a small, out-of-the-way location is simple: the site owners don't really want you to realize that you've just agreed to allow any information they collect about you or your PC to be distributed across the Internet for the rest of your life. But you'll miss that because you won't bother to read beyond the ... (view more)

Tue
25
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

Behavioral Tracking: There Oughta Be a Law

Every marketer on the Internet understands that targeting is the name of the game. Better information about website visitors or email lists will produce higher advertising yields. However, there's now a growing group of lawmakers that want to limit ... that practice. In fact, some want to make using personal data for advertising, or "behavioral tracking", a crime. All the ruckus seems to have been started by Richard L. Brodsky, a little-known assemblyman in the New York state legislature who recently introduced a bill that would make the use of personal information for advertising a criminal ... (view more)

Fri
11
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

UK Licensing Rules Slam Lid On Pandora's Box

The Pandora Internet radio service will stop broadcasting to British listeners after the 15 January thanks to a dispute over royalty payments. The site plays music based on the listener's favourite artists or tracks. It analyses songs for musical ... styles, pace, tone and instrument to find similarities between tracks. Users can give a thumbs up or thumbs down to each song they hear (similar to the way TiVo works), decisions that directly affect what new songs will be played in future. The idea is to create a radio station customized for the individual listener. In the United States, licensing ... (view more)

Thu
13
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

You Decide: Open Content, or Proprietary?

Amidst all the recent hoopla over Amazon's proprietary Kindle reader and the 90,000 ebooks available for it, the popular press has overlooked an product using more than 15 times the number of ebooks being made available through Amazon. The Million ... Book Project, led by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, now offers through its Universal Library the complete texts of more than 1.5 million digitized books, with all available over the Internet for free. With a complimentary text reader, no less. (Source: ulib.org ) To understand how large an effort that is, keep in mind that a typical high ... (view more)

Fri
07
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

France Bids for Closer Regulation of eBay

A French watchdog is attempting to close down eBay's site in the country, claiming it is failing to protect consumers. The Council of Sales, which regulates auctions, argues that the site should have to follow the same rules as 'bricks and mortar' ... auction houses in France. These rules, passed in 2000 and designed to clamp down on scams, require all auctioneers to have a government permit. The Council says it's put together a series of complaints about shady practices by eBay sellers, including selling a photocopy as an original 18th century painting, or simply scanning images from auction ... (view more)

Tue
13
Nov
Dennis Faas's picture

'Burning' DVDs...but not the Law

The movie download site CinemaNow.com is partnering with Sonic, makers of the Roxio CD and DVD burning software, to allow consumers to legally burn movies bought online for playback in DVD and HD-DVD players. Curt Mavis, president and CEO of ... CinemaNow, said that his company is, "pleased to unlock a vast collection of previously unavailable content for consumers to instantly access in the home and burn to DVD." (Source: I4U News ) The deal would seem to solve the problem of transferring downloaded content from computer to television. Several products are already on the market to accomplish ... (view more)

Thu
08
Nov
Dennis Faas's picture

ISP Strangles P2P

Yesterday, Canadian ISP (Internet Service Provider) Bell Sympatico admitted that it is restricting bandwidth access during "peak hours" to customers who are using p2p (peer-to-peer) networks such as Gnutella, Bit Torrent and Limewire. (Source: ... Betanews.com ) The company admitted to the action on its online customer support forums. "Bell Sympatico has launched a solution to enhance the online customer experience and improve Internet performance for all our customers during peak periods of Internet usage with the introduction of Internet Traffic Management," a company representative stated on ... (view more)

Wed
07
Nov
Dennis Faas's picture

New Report Counters RIAA Attacks

It wasn't so long ago that we heard the story of single mother Jammie Thomas, forced by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) to pay over $200,000 in fines for making a handful of songs available for illegal sharing on former ... peer-to-peer protocol Kazaa. Now, a new report suggests that file sharers like Thomas probably shouldn't be made out to be criminals. In fact, they're the record industry's best customers. The RIAA may just want to have a chat with British researchers working in the Great White North. According to a report filed by Industry Canada, for every track a ... (view more)

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