Federal Judge Blocks Florida Law That Restricts Social Media

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged lawmakers to pass Florida Senate Bill 7072 to make it easier for the state’s election commission to fine social media companies from $25,000 to $250,000 for banning political candidates during election season. The law passed, but hours before it was slated to take effect District Court Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction against it, noting that plaintiffs NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) will likely prevail in their effort to have the law declared unconstitutional. Continue reading Federal Judge Blocks Florida Law That Restricts Social Media

Congress Is United in Passing Internet of Things Security Bill

Congress gave unanimous approval to the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act, a law covering all the bases for the security of the Internet of Things. The Act was written with advice from Symantec, Mozilla and BSA | The Software Alliance among others, which contributed a list of considerations including secure development, identity management, patching, and configuration management. The law is perceived as establishing a baseline for IoT devices and products. Manufacturers can choose to release products that do not comply. Continue reading Congress Is United in Passing Internet of Things Security Bill

Californians for Consumer Privacy Make Bid for Enforcement

Californians for Consumer Privacy, which led the push for the privacy law that passed in the state, has a new plan to establish a data protection agency to make sure the law is enforced. The goal is to amend the law via a ballot initiative; it will take the valid signatures of more than 620,000 registered voters to put it on the ballot. The California Consumer Privacy Act now gives consumers the right to see what personal data has been collected, to delete it and to prevent companies from selling it. Continue reading Californians for Consumer Privacy Make Bid for Enforcement

With New Federal Law, Supreme Court Drops Digital Data Case

Following arguments in February, the case of United States v. Microsoft, No. 17-2, ended in a draw, or, as the court said, “no live dispute remains between the parties.” Federal prosecutors wanted to force Microsoft to turn over digital data stored outside the U.S., but a new federal law, agreed both sides, made the case — based on whether a 1986 law applied to digital data — moot. During arguments, some justices had suggested that Congress, and not the court, should define privacy in a new digital world. Continue reading With New Federal Law, Supreme Court Drops Digital Data Case

States Are Battling Sales Tax Loopholes for Amazon Vendors

Starting December 1, shoppers on Amazon will most likely have to pay sales taxes on goods purchased from third-party merchants, in addition to paying tax on those bought directly from Amazon. That’s because, on that date, at least some vendors will begin collecting taxes to receive partial amnesty from back taxes in almost half of the U.S. states, including Florida, New Jersey and Texas. The deadline for the partial amnesty deal is October 17, so it is not yet clear how many merchants will take it. Continue reading States Are Battling Sales Tax Loopholes for Amazon Vendors

SEC Rules That Blockchain Tokens Are Regulated Securities

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ruled that blockchain tokens sold through token sales are to be classified as securities, a ruling that was anticipated and that will have a powerful impact on projects looking to fundraise from U.S. investors. The ruling follows an investigation of The DAO, which raised a record-breaking ICO (Initial Coin Offering) last May and then lost one-third of it in a hack. As a result, part of the Ethereum community executed a rollback transaction of the DAO fundraising; The DAO has since been delisted. Continue reading SEC Rules That Blockchain Tokens Are Regulated Securities

Music Industry, YouTube Battle Over Perceived ‘Value Gap’

As the $7.7 billion U.S. music industry has moved from CDs to streaming, the top venue has become — not Spotify or Pandora — but YouTube, which is responsible for 25 percent of all music streamed. But that’s a problem since accessing music on YouTube is free, and music labels are increasingly unhappy that the platform pays less for songs than other streaming sites, calling it a threat to the music industry. The music industry has begun taking its concerns to regulators, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Continue reading Music Industry, YouTube Battle Over Perceived ‘Value Gap’

Federal Court Decides Not to Rehear Net Neutrality Challenge

A federal court on Monday declined to reconsider the telecom industry’s net neutrality challenge since the FCC and its chairman Ajit Pai plan to roll back the Obama-era rules anyway. The decision could set the stage for an eventual appeal to the Supreme Court. Despite Pai’s recent announcement regarding plans to eliminate and possibly replace net neutrality rules, telecoms and their supporters are still seeking court backing to help provide future legal protection. However, Judges Sri Srinivasan and David Tatel wrote that a rehearing “would be particularly unwarranted at this point in light of the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the FCC’s Order.” Continue reading Federal Court Decides Not to Rehear Net Neutrality Challenge

Court Rules Microsoft Email Surveillance Lawsuit Can Proceed

In April, Microsoft sued the federal government for intercepting its customers’ emails and preventing Microsoft from alerting them. Now, U.S. District Judge James Robart has ruled that Microsoft made a viable argument, but rejects its contention that the government interception is an unlawful search and seizure of property. At the time, federal courts issued Microsoft about 2,600 so-called secrecy orders, and the tech company could not inform its customers, even when the search was over. Continue reading Court Rules Microsoft Email Surveillance Lawsuit Can Proceed

Court Rules Against FCC Effort to Allow Municipal Broadband

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, a federal appellate court, ruled that the Federal Communications Commission overstepped its authority in its effort to eliminate state laws preventing municipal broadband networks. The FCC wanted cities to be able to build their own broadband networks. Last year, Wilson, North Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee petitioned the FCC for permission to be able to build out their own networks, to increase competition in their municipalities despite state laws that prevent that. Continue reading Court Rules Against FCC Effort to Allow Municipal Broadband

Supreme Court Rules on Awarding Damages to Patent Holders

The Supreme Court yesterday sided with patent holders in a decision that would make it easier to award financial damages when inventions are copied without permission. “The high court, in a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, overturned a specialized appellate court that had adopted a hard-to-meet legal standard for winning punitive damages, even in cases where the defendant’s patent infringement was willful,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The decision provides leeway for judges regarding the amount of damages. While the Obama administration supported availability of punitive damages, tech companies such as Facebook and Google argued that strict limits on damage awards would protect innovation and curb unnecessary or abusive lawsuits. Continue reading Supreme Court Rules on Awarding Damages to Patent Holders

New Chinese Security Law Raises Concerns by Tech Industry

New language in China’s recently enacted national security law is generating major concern across the global technology industry. The rules call for a “national security review” of networking, tech products and services, and foreign investment. In addition, the rules call for crucial tech sectors to be made “secure and controllable,” which industry groups fear may suggest that back doors for allowing third-party access to systems would be necessary, perhaps even leading to the sharing of encryption keys or source code. Continue reading New Chinese Security Law Raises Concerns by Tech Industry

President Obama Introduces Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

The Obama administration has proposed new legislation, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act that intends to fill in the gaps between current federal laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Video Privacy Protection Act to provide consumers with added control over how companies use the personal data they collect about individuals. However, some privacy advocates are already arguing that the proposed legislation does not go far enough and provides too much control to companies. Continue reading President Obama Introduces Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

Music Industry: Rulings Could Have Long-Term Consequences

In a 57-page decision issued this week, a New York federal judge ruled against music streaming service Grooveshark in a copyright infringement case. The judge ruled that the service’s parent company, Escape Media Group, and co-founders Samuel Tarantino and Josh Greenberg, had uploaded almost 6,000 songs without licenses, and urged their employees to do the same. Meanwhile, a California judge ruled in favor of musicians Flo & Eddie in a suit against SiriusXM, and now the duo is taking on Pandora. Continue reading Music Industry: Rulings Could Have Long-Term Consequences

FAA Regulations Needed as Aerial Drones Grow in Popularity?

As the price of small drones decreases, the popularity of these tiny unmanned aircraft increases for aerial wedding photographers and gadget enthusiasts alike. In New York City in particular, the proliferation of these devices has state officials and law enforcement officers worried. There is no required training for the amateur pilots operating these drones. In terms of regulations, the Federal Aviation Agency currently permits drones to be flown under 400 feet. Continue reading FAA Regulations Needed as Aerial Drones Grow in Popularity?