Monday, September 02, 2019

YouTube gets fined for violation of children's privacy. COPPA, a slap on the wrist





Media sources report that Google has been forced to pay a civil fine of $150M to $200M to settle claims that it had illegally collected children’s data, in violation of the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.


The FTC voted 3-2 alone party lines, similar as for removing formal network neutrality.
  
Democrats thought that this was a slap on the hands.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Lawsuit against Boy Scouts of America shows hypocrisy of past decades over "moral" policies


A lawsuit was filed this week against the Boy Scouts of America claiming hundreds of boys were abused over the decades, despite pretense of straight morality.  Cara Kelly et al have a story in USA Today Wednesday. 

The BSA have long had membership controversies.  The BSA defended a lawsuit by James Dale in 2000 when the Supreme Court defended their anti-gay ban on the theory they were a private organization. Despite private pressure, they doubled down somewhat in 2004, and did not adopt more inclusive policies for members and leaders until 2013-2015, as explained in Wikipedia. 

The BSA was a major employer in the Dallas-FW area (even employing computer programmers) when I lived there in the 80s, with headquarters I think in Irving near highway 183.


However, this litigation seems to refer to problems that occurred years and decades before their more inclusive policies were adopted.

The BSA has also been in legal disputes with the Girl Scouts. 
  
A roommate at William and Mary in the fall of 1961 told me he had witnessed abuse at a summer camp in Virginia in 1960.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Could tech companies replicate s.o. registry laws with their own "social credit" blacklists, given current uproar over right wing extremism?



I haven’t talked much about the idea of keeping convicted sex offenders from having Internet access after they serve their sentences (as part of registration), but the Los Angeles Times offered an editorial on June 23, 2017 about the matter, link here

This concerned the Supreme Court’s striking down a North Carolina law which led to the re-arrest of a previously convicted offender for using Facebook.

The Court had argued that persons should be able to use the Internet for more mundane uses, like job searches.
  
But there is another angle.  Given all the pressure on tech companies to cut down on extremism (especially from the alt-right) and also new liabilities imposed on them by developments in Europe, we may have a day when tech companies have their own requirements of “social credit” to have an account at all.


Monday, July 08, 2019

Epstein's case proves that billionaires can wind up held in jail for a long time; does FOSTA matter here?



The arrest of Jeffrey Epstein shows that billionaires can go to jail and probably be denied bail as flight risks, if there is probable cause that “they” participated in sex trafficking or child pornography (they often go together).  In Epstein’s case, it seems that most of this was going on in Florida, but his homes in NYC also contained plenty of “illegal” material.  Here is the Daily Beast story by Harry Siegel et al. 

I guess you can be in the privileged set at Mar a Lago and wind up in jail.

  
It is fair to say that this prosecution would probably work even if the FOSTA law had not been passed. But the fallout may include more suspicion online of some websites or video channels.   

Although probably not at issue here, another possibility is that someone can be framed. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Ars Technica writer caught in a sting; he had advocated legalizing c.p.; OANN reports



On June 12, One America News with Jack Posobiec (himself controversial because of supposed right wing connections) reported the arrest in NYC of Ars Technica journalist Peter Bright, caught in a sting similar to NBC’s “to catch a predator”.

The video shows Bright’s advocacy of lowering age of consent and making child pornography legal (which it may well be in Russia).
  
His page is still up on Ars Technica

The Daily Dot also has a story about the sting, as of June 7, which had taken place in April.
  
His Twitter account was still up as of July 3 but Twitter flashes a warning about his account as under investigation. Does the name of his account refer to PizzaGate? 

Friday, June 21, 2019

YouTube seems to have problems now with COPPA, again



YouTube keeps getting into trouble.  Now the problem is COPPA, the Child Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.

Various offences, reported to the FCC, seem to occur when some unscrupulous creators change kids’ content with spicy material to earn more ad clicks, and others happen when kids are inadvertently shown autoplays of regular videos and private information is collected.

YouTube may have to segregate the kids’ section completely, and turn off autoplay, at least for the kids.
  
Here is a Think Progress summary

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Male student goes in drag in do-it-yourself undercover sting



A 20-year-old male student disguised himself as a 16 year old girl, and used a Snapchat gender filter to entrap a California police officer looking for an underage heterosexual partner.  Inside Edition reports.  This sounds like “To Catch a Predator” on steroids.
  
It is really going the extra mile to go into drag, maybe shave your body, to entrap someone.

This is not recommended.