September 28, 2007

Yes, But … [12:08 pm]

We need language to decide what we mean by “privacy” first: Google sees urgent need for global privacy rules

National regulators need to agree on a basic set of global privacy protections for the Internet within the next five years, a senior executive with Google said Monday.

Peter Fleischer, the companys global privacy counsel, said three quarters of countries had no Internet privacy standards at a time when the amount of sensitive personal and financial data on the Web was soaring.

Google–itself criticized for the threat it poses to personal privacy–says the companys business agenda, the world economy and the Internet could suffer unless more is done to ensure basic privacy on the Web.

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Bradley Whitford On YouTube; Playing The Digital Advocacy Game [8:20 am]

Bradley Whitford states his case on YouTubepdf (note that he says some are some surprisingly harsh things - “You can’t out-hypocrit a Republican.”)

Whitford, a Democrat best known for his role as the president’s deputy chief of staff on “The West Wing,” decided to put together a short video for the Courage Campaign opposing a California proposition that would alter the state’s electoral map and would likely benefit Republicans.

There was no set designer, no fancy music, no high production values, no crew. Courage Campaign Chairman Rick Jacobs arrived with a camera at Whitford’s house last week. By Monday, their video, which calls on voters to fight the Republican-backed initiative, was up on YouTube, collecting a steady stream of hits.

“I think there was one cut in it,” said Whitford, who called it one of the easiest productions he’s ever done. He joked, “During the entire video I was wearing neither socks nor shoes.”

Consider the possibilities for actors with a message:

[...] In many respects, YouTube has become the Wild West of digital communication. Anybody can post, but being discovered is usually a matter of luck. Politically active stars have a clear advantage: They’re bound to get noticed simply on name recognition alone. More interesting, they can do so almost totally beyond the reach of campaign finance and contribution laws, as well as candidates and parties themselves.

“It’s a full-service way of expressing yourself on camera politically,” said Whitford, one of the first stars to capitalize on the new medium.

Note: the campaign to change how California allocates electoral votes is having its own problems — GOP electoral initiative dealt major blows - pdf

Related: Law Firms Go a Bit Hollywood to Recruit the YouTube Generation

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Net Neutrality and the Verizon Texting Fight [8:05 am]

Corporate propriety yields to free speechpdf

The company’s treatment of Naral sparked renewed discussion Thursday about the limits of free speech when large corporations control communications networks.

It also reignited debate over what’s known in policymaking circles as net neutrality: the question of whether telecom providers have a right to treat various forms of content differently or whether they must adopt a neutral stance toward everything in cyberspace.

The telecom industry has lobbied aggressively in recent years to be given the right to have the last word on anything crossing its networks. Bills addressing the matter were introduced in Congress last year but didn’t get anywhere.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, a leading advocacy group for net neutrality, said Verizon’s temporary blocking of Naral’s messages highlighted the need for legislation that prohibited telecom companies from asserting control over online or wireless content.

“The fundamental democratic principles of free speech, privacy and open communication are too important to be entrusted to these corporate gatekeepers,” he said in a statement.

Related: A look at the expanding role of texting — The Day After, Warning System Draws Wide Praise at St. John’s

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MPAA Testing The Law [6:53 am]

Hollywood studios go after two piracy sitespdf

The Motion Picture Assn. of America has filed suit against two Web sites that it claims are allowing Internet users to view pirated films, many of which are still in theaters.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday on behalf of the major studios, seeks to shutter cinematube.net (http://cinematube.net) and ssupload.com (http://ssupload.com) from further infringing on the copyrights of the MPAA members.

The sites feature links to hundreds of titles, including such recent releases as “Resident Evil: Extinction,” “The Brave One” and “Good Luck Chuck.”

Seems to me that a “taste” test would give prosecutors other grounds for prosecution — “Good luck Chuck?!?!”

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