STLR Link Roundup – October 10, 2012

Philippines Top Court Suspends Cybercrime Law

Last week, the Philippines Legislature passed the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The statute was aimed at deterring a wide variety of cybercrimes including hacking, distribution of child pornography, identity theft and libel. Amidst public concern that the law could be an illegitimate restriction of free speech, particularly due to the restriction of certain websites and the harsh criminal penalties for online libel, the top court in the Philippines suspended the law for 120 days and scheduled oral arguments for Jan. 15 2013. Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch, supported the top court suspension but added that it should “go further by striking down this seriously flawed law.”

Facebook Offers New Settlement For Privacy Violations

After having its initial settlement rejected by the courts, Facebook filed a new agreement with the parties with regards to its “Sponsored Stories” advertising mechanism. “Sponsored Stories” is an advertising mechanism where Facebook shows a user’s “likes” that user’s friends. Users were not given the opportunity to opt out nor were they compensated for their endorsements. Under the new agreement, Facebook agreed to pay each of the affected users $10 and to provide opt-out options for legal minors.

Google Settles Book-Scanning Lawsuit With Publishers

After a seven-year legal battle, Google has settled with the Association of American Publishers over Google’s book scanning practice. Google has long been scanning, indexing and displaying portions of publicly available books under the “fair-use” exception of the U.S. copyright law. Since the settlement will only be binding upon the signing parties, its terms remain confidential and do not require court approval. Tom Allen, president and CEO of the AAP, said in a statement that the settlement “shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content while still respecting the rights of copyright holders.”

U.S. House Panel Warns of Risk in Chinese Manufactured Equipment

In an investigatory report issued October 8, the House Intelligence Committee said that the Chinese companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE, Inc. were threats to national security. Both companies sell telecommunications equipment for use in wireless networks. The report warned that malicious hardware or software implanted by these two companies could potentially cripple U.S. information networks and provide the Chinese government the ability to steal American trade secrets. Especially problematic to the Committee was the perceived links between the two companies and the Chinese government. The report stated that the U.S. government should not do business with the two companies and that American companies should avoid buying components from those companies. Both Huawei and ZTE rejected the panel’s findings as untrue and dismissed claims as speculative.


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