Tag: United States

United Nations Defends Internet to Russia’s Control

Within the current year, a couple of researchers from George Mason University, have established a website called WCITLeaks.org. This site allows users to upload and share documents that many government officials don’t want you to know about. One of which being the “Draft Compilation of Proposals with Options for Revisions to the ITRs.”

This ties into Russia’s desire to censor the internet. The United States plans to put this action to a halt at a United Nations conference later this year. Russian officials say they want the right to block access where it is used for “interfering in the internal affairs, or undermining the sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and public safety of other states, or to divulge information of a sensitive nature”.

This may sound like a reasonable cause but the power that this would give the Russian government is far too fearful.

Members of the United Nations will gather this December to create a treaty for the World Conference on International Telecommunications. Russia has clearly shown the direction they want internet development to head in.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly felt a need for centralized control over the internet.

President Vladimir Putin, on right, pushes for centralized control of the web.

U.S. delegation has promised to block any and all proposals from Russia, and other countries for that matter, that they find to threaten the current governing structure of the internet or give “tacit approval to online censorship.”

However, these assurances have yet to lessen tension for bureaucrats and those that hold the power of the internet so dearly. The possibility of damaging the world’s single most powerful engine for exchanging information, employment opportunities, and revolution across the globe has kept many on their toes.

“Examples of where the internet has acted as a voice for change include when social networks played a key role in the Arab Spring uprisings that last year upended regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.”

Besides these factors, the provision has also been found to be in violation of Article 19 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says “people shall have the right to access information through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Such an amended treaty would be sure to be followed by intense investigation by lawmakers wary of its promising dangers.

The U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) works around the general agreement of the public. So its proposals can be stopped by a considerable amount of objections from various countries.

Protesters from the Anonymous India group iun Mimbai of hackers protest laws that give government control of internet usage.
More than 190 nations are expected to attend the Dubai conference and the U.S. delegation now seeks support for positions at the meetings in anticipation of the conference.
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Facebook Faces Sponsored Stories Lawsuit for $10M

About a month ago, Facebook settled a lawsuit for “Sponsored Stories” and was forced to pay $10 million. This just became public from federal court in San Jose, California.

What is a Facebook Sponsored Story?

Sponsored Stores are advertisements including a friend’s name, profile picture, and text saying that they like a certain product, service, or person that is being advertised. These “stories” are valued at 3 times the amount of a regular advertisement and act as a recommendation. However, that friend’s “like” is made public without their awareness and they are not being compensated for their referral.

Five Facebook members filed against the social network for this as it is in violation of California law. This could have included a substantially larger number had the word gotten out and Facebook would be facing billions in penalties.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh found the Sponsored Stories to cause “economic injury” be involving people’s names, pictures, and interests. Therefore, a cy-pres settlement was issued, meaning Facebook’s $10 million will be sent to charity.

“California has long recognized a right to protect one’s name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage,” Koh wrote.

Yet another privacy lawsuit for Facebook has reached their door. Not only in court, but outside Facebook has been spending large amounts on various causes. From their expansion of their headquarters and $1 billion Instagram purchase, to possible future purchases – Facebook is showing just how financially powerful it is.

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