The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), which provides a number of rules and regulations with respect to children’s online privacy, recently got an overhaul. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amended COPPA in December of 2012 and those amendments are scheduled to take effect starting July 1, 2013.
So what exactly is COPPA? Well, in essence, the Rule allows parents to have control over the information that online websites and mobile applications collect from children who are under 13 years of age. Given the amount of constant change that takes place in the world of technology, the FTC found it necessary to ensure that the COPPA rules keep up with such changes. In a press release issued by the FTC, Chairman Jon Leibowitz said, “I am confident that the amendments to the COPPA Rule strike the right balance between protecting innovation that will provide rich and engaging content for children, and ensuring that parents are informed and involved in their children’s online activities.”
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is taking the fight to the scam operators who have been duping the public using his good and extremely popular name. Indeed, the two-time Emmy Award-winning, nationally syndicated daytime series The Dr. Oz Show is launching an aggressive campaign to stop illegal use of the Dr. Oz name, image and show. This campaign dubbed “IT’S NOT ME,” began Monday, May 6, 2013.
As you may be aware, over the past several years the Internet has become overrun with advertisements featuring one or another product allegedly endorsed by Dr. Oz. On Monday Dr. Oz told viewers that he endorses none of these and he is going to fight to take back his name.
“Today I am taking back my name and protecting my viewers from people I consider dangerous, who try to mislead you into buying products I don’t endorse,” Dr. Oz told the audience. “Anything you see on this show is part of a conversation I am having with you about your health. We are always transparent about our trusted, official partnerships and a full list of these partners is available on our website.”
On April 17, 2013, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an Order Denying Petition to Quash Civil Investigative Demandin the Matter of Jerk, LLC. This means that an investigation started by the FTC will now proceed and Jerk.com will either need to challenge the FTC in court or they will need to turn over the requested files and information. The hammer seems to be coming down on Jerk.com, which should make an awful lot of tormented, harassed and cyber-bullied people quite happy.
Jerk, LLC operates Jerk.com, a social networking website that collects and displays profiles, which include photographs, names, ages, email and physical addresses, telephone numbers, and opinions. Information on the website includes, among other things, information that is publicly available on other Internet sites and newly created user-generated content. Jerk.com encourages users to add personal information to profiles and to rate the profiled individuals as either “jerks” or “saints.”
Qualcomm Incorporated, headquartered in San Diego, CA, is a global leader in the design and manufacture of wireless telecommunications products, like cell phone semiconductors and tracking devices. Recently, Qualcomm has broadened its product and service base in wireless Internet networking and application programming. The company’s commitment to research and development make Qualcomm a visible presence at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office each week.
Today, we’ll take a close look at some of the more intriguing, recent Qualcomm patent applications recently published by the USPTO, many of which show the technology developer focusing on improving mobile network connections. Patent applications released within the last month describe systems of improving mobile device Internet connectivity to peripheral devices, like printers, or while indoors for pedestrian traffic analysis. More efficient means of social network messaging is the subject of another application. A fourth application included here is filed to protect a gesture-based system of interacting with computer projectors.
One patent received recently by Qualcomm, and covered below, protects a system of geographically locating computers and other devices connected to the Internet through an IP address, which doesn’t typically contain any geographical data.
Senator Ron Wyden was first to submit legislation on unlocking cell phones.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has recently become a hot topic in Congress. The renewed interest is the result of a “We the People” petition that successfully reached the required number of signatures to merit a response from the White House. The petition, titled “Make unlocking cell phones legal,” said, “We ask that the White House ask the Librarian of Congress to rescind this decision, and failing that, champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal.” The White House fully agreed with the petition, responding, “It’s time to legalize cell phone unlocking,” and adding, “if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network.
Within days of the White House’s response, lawmakers were rushing to offer legislative fixes compatible with the petition. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) was the first to introduce a bill, the Wireless Device Independence Act (S.467), which would create a permanent exemption for unlocking. Most recently, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced legislation, cosponsored by four other senators from both parties, that would reverse the Library of Congress’s decision and restore the exemption.
But many proponents of the original petition reacted negatively to these legislative proposals. Derek Khanna, for example, one of the most public advocates of cell phone unlocking, said of the legislation that “the worst … approach would be to simply reverse the decision of the Librarian of Congress and provide a temporary ‘exception’ for three years and let the Librarian rule on this again in three years.”
The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on affiliate marketers that allegedly bombarded consumers with hundreds of millions of unwanted spam text messages in an effort to steer them towards deceptive websites falsely promising “free” gift cards.
In eight different complaints filed in courts around the United States, the FTC charged 29 defendants with collectively sending more than 180 million unwanted text messages to consumers, many of whom had to pay for receiving the texts. The messages promised consumers free gifts or prizes, including gift cards worth $1,000 to major retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and Target. Consumers who clicked on the links in the messages found themselves caught in a confusing and elaborate process that required them to provide sensitive personal information, apply for credit or pay to subscribe to services to get the supposedly “free” cards.
“Today’s announcement says ‘game over’ to the major league scam artists behind millions of spam texts,” said Charles A. Harwood, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is committed to rooting out this deception and stopping it. For consumers who find spam texts on their phones, delete them, immediately. The offers are, in a word, garbage.”
The White House website explains that it is the right of the people to petition the government, a right that is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Of course, the idea of petitioning the President is not something that is new, but the ability to use the Internet to create an online petition that may be considered and responded to by the Federal Government is indeed quite new. Not surprisingly, the Obama Administration, known for savvy use of the Internet both in governance and campaigning, pioneered this unique approach to making government reachable by the masses.
With this in mind, last week, a petition was created to petition the White House to take down the website Jerk.com. To date the petition has unfortunately not received many votes. Earlier today I was the 28th e-signer of the petition. My guess is that this is due to lack of publicity more so than anything else. Once people learn of the petition my guess is that the signatures will accumulate quickly, but will there be enough time to reach the 100,000 signature threshold by February 22, 2013?
The first order of business, however, is to get the required 150 signatures so that the petition will be searchable on WhiteHouse.gov. To view and/or sign the petition visit We the People.
By now you may have noticed that most successful businesses have a blog. This is no coincidence. Blogging can help you gain customers, drive traffic to your website and raise your rank in the search engine result pages. Here is a list of business blogging do’s to help you get started with your own blog.
1. Choose an easy application.
One of easiest, most effective ways to blog is to use WordPress. It is the most common and widely used by many successful bloggers. The reason it is so popular is because it makes blogging easy. It provides you with templates and other tools to quickly and easily set up your blog. It is not necessary to know website design or even HTML with a plug-in blog platforms like WordPress. It also allows you to add a plethora or plugins and widgets to completely customize your blog; and again, it’s all quick and easy. WordPress.com is a free service, but you will be required to have wordpress.com as an extension on your web address. If you want your own, hosted site, you can go purchase a domain and install WordPress.org.
Jerk.com is one of those sites on the Internet that is the poster-child for everything wrong with the anonymity of Internet communications. Shrouded in the secrecy provided by the Internet, anonymous cowards become emboldened to say vile things and stoop to ridiculous lows — even publishing pictures of minors and asking the Internet community to vote on whether the minor is a jerk. That is the business Jerk.com is in, and they refuse to remove any profile that has been created regardless of the vile, anonymous comments that have been posted.
An earlier edition of the Jerk.com “REMOVE” page explained:
No one’s profile is ever removed because Jerk is based on searching free open internet searching databases and it’s not possible to remove things from the Internet. You can however use Jerk to manage your reputation and resolve disputes with people who you are in conflict with.
That obviously ridiculous and inaccurate statement of fact and law has been watered down now, but based on what I hear from those who feel aggrieved by Jerk.com suggests that their philosophy seems to continue to be that no one gets removed. Jerk.com almost seems to play the part of victim, suggesting that it is impossible to remove something from their servers. It is certainly possible for Jerk.com to remove a profile.
On January 2nd, Amazon claimed a small victory in its battle with Apple. An Oakland, California judge sided with Amazon when she rejected Apple’s claim that Amazon’s Appstore was committing false advertising.
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton while there are similarities in the names of the digital application storefronts, Apple has not proved that Amazon has in fact tried to pass itself off as an official Apple app store.
In her order to dismiss the claim, Hamilton wrote, “There is no evidence that a consumer who accesses the Amazon Appstore would expect that it would be identical to the Apple App Store, particularly given that the Apple App Store sells apps solely for Apple devices, while the Amazon Appstore sells apps solely for Android and Kindle devices. Further, the integration of Apple devices has more to do with Apple’s technology than it does with the nature, characteristics, or qualities of the App Store.”
In reading this article, I invite you to continually ask yourself if domination, by any governmental authority is ever for the good of the people – or just for the power structures they serve?
To begin, maybe you kept up with the crescendo of increasing anticipation and the ultimate climax of the WCIT held this December in Dubai. But, just in case you haven’t, it was somewhat of a bomb-threat that fizzled out, instead of exploding. At least for now.
From December 3 – 14, delegates from national governments around the world met in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). The event was hosted by a United Nations agency, called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The purpose was to revise and modernize a 1988 treaty known as the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs). This treaty is governed by the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
For the sake of clarity, let’s look at the scope of authority the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has over international radio-communication issues – and then we’ll look at the treaty’s authority. And, finally, what happened at the recent conference in Dubai.
The Federal Trade Commission adopted final amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule that strengthen kids’ privacy protections and give parents greater control over the personal information that websites and online services may collect from children under 13.
The FTC initiated a review in 2010 to ensure that the COPPA Rule keeps up with evolving technology and changes in the way children use and access the Internet, including the increased use of mobile devices and social networking. The updates to the COPPA Rule reflect careful consideration of the entire record of the rulemaking, which included a public roundtable and several rounds of public comments sought by the agency.
“The Commission takes seriously its mandate to protect children’s online privacy in this ever-changing technological landscape,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “I am confident that the amendments to the COPPA Rule strike the right balance between protecting innovation that will provide rich and engaging content for children, and ensuring that parents are informed and involved in their children’s online activities.”
How to Write a Patent Application is a must own for patent attorneys, patent agents and law students alike. A crucial hands-on resource that walks you through every aspect of preparing and filing a patent application, from working with an inventor to patent searches, preparing the patent application, drafting claims and more. The treatise is continuously updated to address relevant Federal Circuit and Supreme Court decision impacting patent drafting.
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