Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ISP's and service providers use the "harmful to minors" terminology in terms of service provisions

I’ve noticed the occurrence of the phrase “harmful to minors” in some “terms of service” or “acceptable use policies” of various ISPs and service providers, who have recently been updating these legal agreements with users for legal reasons. 

Generally, the user agrees not to post material “harmful to minors” or even allow it to be stored in the cloud.

Would the term be implemented as defined in COPA (which was itself finally overturned at trial in March 2007, as reported here)?  Even though COPA was struck down, it would be perfectly legal for a private service provider to use the term as it sees fit.  
Normally, that would refer to pornographic images or possibly writings. 

Service providers do not screen for material pro-actively, but might act upon a complaint.

They generally also stipulate that they have “zero tolerance” for child pornography and will report it to NCMEC.  As I’ve noted, technology that could scan cloud images for digital watermarks might come into use in the relatively near future.

Google also now warns users that c.p. is illegal (with what is technically an ad) when they use the search term, before display search results.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Sexting" case in Virginia leads to bizarre defamation suit by police officer against teen's defense attorney

In a sexting case in Virginia, there has been a bizarre development where a police officer, David Abbott of the Manassas Police Department, has sued defense attorney Jessica Foster, representing a 17 year old male teen defendant, for comments made to the Washington Post, as reported by Tom Jackman here.  Station WJLA has a story on the matter here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sexting scandal in New Hampshire includes distribution of girls' photos, and damage to their online reputations

On CNN Tonight, on Veterans Day, Don Lemon interviewed three panelists on an escalation of the cell phone sexting “crisis”.  At a school in Exeter NH, some students were distributing photos of underage women that had been sent to them, taking the problem beyond the usual problem of simple “possession” of what is legally child pornography. The CNN story is here
The panelist included Mel Robbins, Gloria Allred, and Yaniv Schulman from “Catfish”.  The women face serious damage to their online reputations, as regard to future employment and university admittance opportunities.