Dead model’s parents can’t get Facebook messages, judge says — Tech News and Analysis

Dead model’s parents can’t get Facebook messages, judge says — Tech News and Analysis.

Another story has hit the media about privacy in the social media sphere. GigaOm and others are reporting about a recent decision by a California probate court in which the court refused to require Facebook to turn over the contents of a deceased woman’s account to her parents (who were the named executors of her estate).

The Court found that federal Stored Communications Act forbids companies not just from sharing user’s e-mails without their permission, but also social media communications, as well.  The GigOm article above links to an interesting artificial by Venkat Balasumbramani which was posted on Eric Goldman’s Technology and Marketing Law blog which discusses in greater detail a number of the recent court cases across the country dealing with privacy and social media issues and some of the landscape which they are beginning to carve out.

It is clear, however, that they law has a lot of catching up to do on this issue of privacy in a world of electronic communications. Eventually the law will catch up on this subject, whether through new legislation or court interpretation of existing legislation.In the meantime, there will be a great deal of uncertainty and inconsistency in the law, leaving rocky shoals to navigate.


Employers Banned From Asking For Social Media Passwords In California | TechCrunch

Employers Banned From Asking For Social Media Passwords In California | TechCrunch.

California has just passed a law that will make it illegal for employers in that state to require applicants and/or employees for the passwords to the their social media accounts. While it is too early to say if this will become a trend, it is clear that there is increasing concern about the extent to which there is some expectation of privacy within the social media sphere. This is the same tension which was played out in the recent case in which Twitter was required by a court in New York to turn over information on an account holder who was arrested in connection with the Occupy Wall Street protests.

This is an area of the law which remains quite unsettled. While the courts catch up on the issue of how to handle privacy issues with respect to social media, it is clear from this new California law that employers need to tread carefully with respect both limiting and investigating their employees and applicants’ use of social media.

European Newspapers vs. Google – Copyright tug-of-war with consequneces.

A classic case of the tension between rights holders and technology companies. On one hand the technology companies (in many cases) enable greater uptake of the content. On the other, rights holders often see technology companies monetizing their content without and direct benefit to the rights holder. (Pinterest and Google are two of the big battlegrounds in this fight.) There is merit on both sides of this fight, and it is clear that not only do copyright laws need to evolve to logically deal with this tension, but so do the business models on both sides. There is not a clear new paradigm that works for both sides yet, but if one doesn’t arrive soon, there will be an awful lot of unnecessary casualties on both sides of this battle.


Google (s GOOG) has launched a broadside against a proposed law in Germany that would see search engines forced to pay license fees for linking people to news stories.

Well, actually that’s slightly inaccurate: the draft law would make search engines pay for reproducing newspapers’ headlines and first paragraphs. So, take those away and the links are fine. Even if nobody will have the faintest idea what they’re linking to.

Google’s North Europe communications chief, Kay Oberbeck, sounded off about the issue this morning in a guest post for a German press agency. That was in German, of course, so I got him to vent in English as well:

“Nobody sees a real reason why this should be implemented,” he said. “It’s really harmful, not just for users who wouldn’t find as much information as they find now, but such a law is also not justified for economic reasons or…

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Can a new crowdsourcing venture help in improve the state of the U.S. patent process?

This looks like an interesting addition to the patent review process. Ultimately, I am skeptical that it will make a significant impact on the process, bit it certainly cannot hurt and may even help!


A new partnership between the US government and a popular Q&A site may help rid the country of the low quality patents that have produced an endless series of lawsuits that threaten to stunt parts of the technology sector.

Starting today, the website Stack Exchange will run a channel devoted to patents on which the public can help scrutinize pending application. The move serves to crowdsource the arduous task of examining patents, permitting the general public to submit information that will help the patent office decide whether or not something is a new and useful invention.

It works like this. Once a patent examination is made public, anyone can submit it to Stack Exchange and launch a discussion. Others can then offer “prior art” that they believe is relevant to determining whether the patent should be granted. The collection of prior art is then sent on to an examiner at the…

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Strategic Considerations for Cloud Computing as Part of Corporate IT Infrastructure.

An interesting article on corporate IT strategy. Particularly when read in context with come of the comments and responses from the Author.
Clearly effective use of cloud computing resources by corporations requires some very careful thought (and re-examination of its IT risks).


Cloud computing changes everything, including corporate strategy as a practice. I have listed five reasons why, although I’m sure there are many more. Long story short: Corporate strategists need to get out of their 20th century mindset and into the 21st century.

1. Emergent strategy rules

For years, the practice of strategy has been about analyzing value chains, applying frameworks like Porter’s five forces or newer strategic-intent-driven ideas like Blue Ocean Strategy. The problem with those framework-driven ideas is they assume a very static, deterministic model of the world. They work when the variables required to solve a problem are already well known, few in number and change at a slow pace.

Cloud computing doesn’t operate in the intentional strategy space. There are a lot of unknowns, many of which can change rapidly. A small firm could develop something valuable very quickly, scale it to millions of users in a…

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Anonymous reminds Apple that UDIDs are creepy — Apple News, Tips and Reviews

Anonymous reminds Apple that UDIDs are creepy — Apple News, Tips and Reviews.

I am not sure which is more creepy, the way in which Apple has been using Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) to track iPhone and iPad users’ behavior or the fact that (if the claims of where these leaked UDIDs came from are true) the fact that an FBI agent had a trove of over 12 Million of them, along with other  personally identifiable information matched up to these UDIDs.

In any event, it goes to show that there remain many concerning security and privacy issues surrounding the use of mobile devices.