STLR Link Round-Up – March 6, 2015

Compuware the First Company to be  Fined $1.1 Million Under New Anti-Spam Law

CRTC penalizes Quebec company for emails sent to consumers without their consent. The CRTC is preparing to mete out a $1.1 million fine against a company it accuses of “flagrantly” flouting Canada’s anti-spam legislation. This case represents the first time the CRTC has sought to impose a financial penalty under the anti-spam law, which came into effect last July.The CRTC alleges the company sent commercial emails to consumers without their consent and did not allow recipients to unsubscribe from the mailings. Chief compliance and enforcement officer Manon Bombardier stated that “this case stood out because of the flagrant nature of the violation.” Compu-Finder was flagged for investigation as it accounted for more than one quarter of the spam complaints received that were related to training companies. The company was notified of the CRTC’s investigation and was given the opportunity to come into compliance with the law. 

Proposed Chinese Security Law Could Entail a Tough Road Ahead for Tech Companies

Currently, U.S. officials and business groups are objecting to a draft Chinese antiterrorism law that they say would enable Beijing to acquire proprietary information or nudge foreign technology companies out of the domestic market. The draft law requires both foreign and domestic telecommunications and Internet service providers to create backdoors in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access, hand over copies of their encryption codes and assist government agencies with decryption when asked. US tech companies will be faced with a choice of whether they want to stay in China and submit to surveillance. The law is being reviewed , and US officials and business groups say it could hurt them in the Chinese tech market. China states that its new cybersurveillance proposal, however, mimics current U.S. practices. Obama told Reuters that this is something he raised directly with President Xi, and he made it very clear that this is something they are going to have to change if they are to do business with the United States.  There is some irony in Western objections to China’s proposed anti-terorrism IT law. As Reuters reported, last year FBI and NSA officials chided Apple and Google for deploying encryption methods law enforcement cannot hack.

Forensic Science and the Law – Rethinking the Connection

Forensic science is very complicated and not easily understood by juries or the average population who hasn’t had much science since they were in school. In a recent case, the judge told the court that because the scientific community hasn’t completely agreed on the extent of the forensic technology, then it wouldn’t be allowed to be used in court. However, perhaps it’s time to think about why or if the judge should be the one to decide in complex cases where there are different interpretations of the mixed-DNA profile. The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales called for a set of judicial primers last fall, pieces of plain English that relay scientific principles in a way that is understandable by just regular people. Maybe it’s time for greater coordination and understanding between science and law to bring better science to courts and therefore improve our judicial system.


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