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EFF launches 'Takedown Hall of Shame'

o Paul McNamara
29.10.2009 kl 21:38 |

The Electronic Frontier Foundation last week aimed a historically potent weapon -- the spotlight of public shame -- at those corporations and individuals who abuse copyright claims to stifle free speech.

 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation last week aimed a historically potent weapon -- the spotlight of public shame -- at those corporations and individuals who abuse copyright claims to stifle free speech.

Explains EFF Senior Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry: "Free speech in the 21st century often depends on incorporating video clips and other content from various sources. It's what 'The Daily Show' with Jon Stewart does every night. This is 'fair use' of copyrighted or trademarked material and protected under U.S. law. But that hasn't stopped thin-skinned corporations and others from abusing the legal system to get these new works removed from the Internet. We wanted to document this censorship for all to see."

The organization's "Takedown Hall of Shame" will be updated regularly. Among the first group of inductees are National Public Radio for trying to remove a YouTube video that criticizes same-sex marriage; NBC for targeting an Obama campaign video and CBS for going after one from the McCain campaign. Also "dishonored" are radio blowhard Michael Savage; election bungler Diebold; the endlessly discredited "paranormalist" Uri Geller; and even the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which apparently has donned a black hat on such matters. Who knew?

The Hall of Shame is part of EFF's "No Down Time for Free Speech" campaign.

The organization has been active of late when it comes to launching Web sites that focus on specific issues; for example: TOSBack, which tracks changes in Web site terms of service so that you don't have to; Surveillance Self-Defense, which offers advice on keeping prying eyes off of your electronic information; and, of course, its longstanding and highly effective Patent Busting Project.

They do good work.

A wise reversal in TD Ameritrade case

A federal judge last week rejected a class-action lawsuit settlement that would have seen TD Ameritrade escape with less than a wrist slap in an egregious data-breach case that touched as many as 6 million customers and should call for at least a public flogging.

12 biggest data breaches of the past 12 months

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco ruled that the agreement, which he had granted preliminary approval earlier this year, actually offers so little benefit to those who had personal information exposed that he could not abide giving it a final stamp. As we first reported on Buzzblog more than two years ago, TD Ameritrade received repeated warnings from IT security experts that it had been victimized by hackers and that personally identifiable information of its customers had been comprised.

A subsequent class-action lawsuit, spearheaded by computer consultant Matthew Elvey, was settled out of court by attorneys for both sides -- an agreement Elvey rejected and data-breach experts criticized as sending the wrong message because it offered no real compensation.

Public Citizen, which backed Elvey, issued this statement after the judge's most recent decision: "The company's offer to provide its clients with a one-year subscription to anti-spam software would do nothing to protect customers from identity theft and would be useless to those who already have anti-spam software or could obtain similar protection for free. … Ameritrade should not get off the hook for its massive security breach until it comes clean with its clients and shows it has fixed the problem."

Don't hold your breath, but at least the judge has sent a message indicating that more must be done to make amends.

Keywords: Legal  Internet  Networking  
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