Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Center for Digital Democracy challenges "self-regulation" under COPPA over problems and Marvel, Sanrio

The Center for Digital Democracy has filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission about information collection practices of both “Marvel Kids” and Sanrio, which are said to violate recent FTC rules regarding implementing COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. . Slate has a detailed blog posting about the case here
In general, the companies are said to be enticing children to share information without seeking required parental permissions.  Slate gives some discussion of the Hello Kitty Carival from Marvel.
Slate linked to the Digital Democracy complaint here  and also discusses the Children’s Advertising Review Unit. 
COPPA is said to have a de facto “safe harbor” provision that encourages self-regulation.  It is also supposed to apply to sites that intentionally market to children or who know that minors are providing information online.  It is not completely clear that it could not affect a site intended for the “general public”. There was some discussion of this aspect of COPPA here Jan. 1, 2013. 
This situation can test whether “self-regulation” within the child-site industry can keep problems from spreading. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

UVa dean arrested on c.p. viewing and possession, shows how insidious the problem gets

The Associated Press and Washington television station WJLA report that an associate dean at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville was arrested for viewing child pornography, apparently at least partly from home, between January and October 2013.  It appears that some of the activity occurred through a P2P network. It’s not clear if this was a sting, but the FBI and local or state police departments do set up stings to see who will link on sites they know to be illegal. 
Again, this case heightens the risk to individuals who visit such sites and then rationalize their behavior because nothing seems to happen for months.  They could also incur civil liability to each victim (previous post).  WJLA has the AP story here. A problem that should be explored is whether this happens with other people's WiFi routers.  

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Civil liability exists to individual minor victims for possession or viewing of c.p.

The New York Times has a story on p. A12 Tuesday about a case before the Supreme Court to decided whether persons who viewed child pornography bear civil liability to the specific minor involved as well as criminal liability for possession.  I had not heard that such civil liability for viewing or possession can exist.  The link for the story is here

Civil liability for possession (even without publication or distribution) is well known from lawsuits against supposed P2P downloaders of copyrighted material. 
Victims often received repeated letters from attorneys advising them of new individuals who may owe them liability.