Backdown on internet filter plan [SMH] – YAY! “The [Australian] government has finally backed down on its plan for a controversial mandatory internet filter, and will instead rely on major service providers to block ”the worst of the worst” child abuse sites. The retreat on the filter, which Labor proposed from early in its term, comes after a strong campaign by providers. Opponents argued it would not be effective, would be costly and slow down services, and involved too much censorship. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who strongly argued the case for years, will announce on Friday that providers blocking the Interpol worst of the worst list ”will help keep children safe from abuse”. ”It meets community expectations, and fulfils the government’s commitment to preventing Australian internet users from accessing child-abuse material online.” The government will use its powers under the telecommunications legislation, so Senator Conroy will say a filter law will not be needed.”
Mobile Apps Have a Ravenous Ability to Collect Personal Data [NYTimes.com] – “Angry Birds, the top-selling paid mobile app for the iPhone in the United States and Europe, has been downloaded more than a billion times by devoted game players around the world, who often spend hours slinging squawking fowl at groups of egg-stealing pigs. While regular players are familiar with the particular destructive qualities of certain of these birds, many are unaware of one facet: The game possesses a ravenous ability to collect personal information on its users. When Jason Hong, an associate professor at the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, surveyed 40 users, all but two were unaware that the game was noting and storing their locations so that they could later be the targets of advertising.”
Links for March 25th 2010 through March 29th 2010:
Stephen Conroy and US at odds on net filter[Perth Now] – “The Obama administration has questioned the Rudd government’s plan to introduce an internet filter, saying it runs contrary to the US’s foreign policy of encouraging an open internet to spread economic growth and global security. Officials from the State Department have raised the issue with Australian counterparts as the US mounts a diplomatic assault on internet censorship by governments worldwide.”
Sony accuses Beyonce of piracy for putting her videos on YouTube [Boing Boing] – For a period of time (and seems fixed now): “Sony Entertainment has shut down Beyonce’s official YouTube site. Congrats to Sony Entertainment for wisely spending its legal dollars and working on behalf of its artists. Truly, you deserve many laws and secret treaties passed to protect your “business model” (how else could such a delicate flower survive the harsh realities of the real world?).” This really does show how amazingly complicated and messed up the policing of copyright can be online.
Privacy battle looms for Google and Facebook [The Age] – A battle with wide implications for online privacy: “You have been tagged in 12 photos — even if you’re not signed up to the Web site. European regulators are investigating whether the practice of posting photos, videos and other information about people on sites such as Facebook without their consent is a breach of privacy laws. The Swiss and German probes go to the heart of a debate that has gained momentum in Europe amid high-profile privacy cases: To what extent are social networking platforms responsible for the content their members upload? The actions set the stage for a fresh battle between American Web giants and European authorities a month after an Italian court held three Google executives criminally responsible for a user-posted video.”