Source: This article was published lawjournalnewsletters.com By JONATHAN BICK - Contributed by Member: Barbara Larson

Internet professional responsibility and client privacy difficulties are intimately associated with the services offered by lawyers. Electronic attorney services result in data gathering, information exchange, document transfers, enhanced communications and novel opportunities for marketing and promotion. These services, in turn, provide an array of complicated ethical issues that can present pitfalls for the uninitiated and unwary.

Since the Internet interpenetrates every aspect of the law, Internet activity can result in a grievance filed against attorneys for professional and ethical misconduct when such use results in communication failure, conflicts of interest, misrepresentation, fraud, dishonesty, missed deadlines or court appearances, advertising violations, improper billing, and funds misuse. While specific Internet privacy violation rules and regulations are rarely applied to attorney transactions, attorneys are regularly implicated in unfair and deceptive trade practices and industry-specific violations which are often interspersed with privacy violation facts.

Attorneys have a professional-responsibility duty to use the Internet, and it is that professional responsibility which results in difficulties for doing so. More specifically, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.1 (competence) paragraph 8 (maintenance) has been interpreted to require the use of the Internet, and Rules 7.1 – 7.5 (communications, advertising and soliciting) specifically charge attorneys with malfeasance for using the Internet improperly.

Internet professional conduct standards and model rules/commentary cross the full range of Internet-related concerns, including expert self-identification and specialty description; the correct way to structure Internet personal profiles; social media privacy settings; the importance and use of disclaimers; what constitutes “communication”; and the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Additionally, ethics rules address “liking,” “friending” and “tagging” practices.

The application of codes of professional conduct is faced with a two-fold difficulty. First, what is the nature of the attorney Internet activity? Is the activity of publishing, broadcasting or telecommunications? Determining the nature of the attorney Internet activity is important because different privacy and ethic cannons apply. Additionally, the determination of the nature of the attorney activity allows practitioners to apply analogies. For example, guidance with respect to attorney Internet-advertising professional conduct is likely to be judged by the same standards as traditional attorney advertising.

The second difficulty is the location where activity occurs. Jurisdictions have enacted contrary laws and professional-responsibility duties.

Options for protecting client privacy and promoting professional responsibility include technical, business and legal options. Consider the following specific legal transactions.

A lawyer seeking to use the Internet to attract new clients across multiple jurisdictions frequently is confronted with inconsistent rules and regulations. A number of jurisdictions have taken the position that Internet communications are a form of advertising and thus subject to a particular state bar’s ethical restrictions. Such restrictions related to Internet content include banning testimonials; prohibitions on self-laudatory statements; disclaimers; and labeling the materials presented as advertising.

Other restrictions relate to content processing, such as requiring that advance copies of any advertising materials be submitted for review by designated bar entities prior to dissemination, and requiring that attorneys keep a copy of their website and any changes made to it for three years, along with a record of when and where the website was used. Still, other restrictions relate to distribution techniques, such as unsolicited commercial emailing (spam). Spam is considered by some states as overreaching, on the same grounds as ethical bans on in-person or telephone solicitation.

To overcome these difficulties and thus permit the responsible use of the Internet for attorney marketing, both technical and business solutions are available. The technical solution employs selectively serving advertisements to appropriate locations. For this solution, the software can be deployed to detect the origin of an Internet transaction. This software will serve up advertising based on the location of the recipient. Thus, attorneys can ameliorate or eliminate the difficulties associated with advertising and marketing restrictions without applying the most restrictive rule to every state.

Alternatively, a business solution may be used. Such a business solution would apply the most restrictive rules of each state to every Internet advertising and marketing communication.

Another legal difficulty associated with attorney Internet advertising and marketing is the unauthorized practice of law. All states have statutes or ethical rules that make it unlawful for persons to hold themselves out as attorneys or to provide legal services unless admitted and licensed to practice in that jurisdiction.

There are no reported decisions on this issue, but a handful of ethics opinions and court decisions take a restrictive view of unauthorized practice issues. For example, the court in Birbower, Montalbano, Condon & Frank v. Superior, 949 P.2d 1(1998), relied on unauthorized practice concerns in refusing to honor a fee agreement between a New York law firm and a California client for legal services provided in California, because the New York firm did not retain local counsel and its attorneys were not admitted in California.

The software can detect the origin of an Internet transaction. Thus, attorneys can ameliorate or eliminate the unauthorized practice of law by identifying the location of a potential client and only interacting with potential clients located in the state where an attorney is authorized to practice. Alternatively, an attorney could use a net nanny to prevent communications with potential clients located in the state where the attorney is not authorized to practice.

Preserving clients’ confidences is of critical importance in all aspects of an attorney’s practice. An attorney using the Internet to communicate with a client must consider the confidentiality of such communications. Using the Internet to communicate with clients on confidential matters raises a number of issues, including whether such communications: might violate the obligation to maintain client confidentiality; result in a waiver of the attorney-client privilege if intercepted by an unauthorized party; and create possible malpractice liability.

Both legal and technological solutions are available. First, memorializing informed consent is a legal solution.

Some recent ethics opinions suggest a need for caution. Iowa Opinion 96-1 states that before sending client-sensitive information over the Internet, a lawyer should either encrypt the information or obtain the client’s written acknowledgment of the risks of using this method of communication.

Substantial compliance may be a technological solution because the changing nature of Internet difficulties makes complete compliance unfeasible. Some attorneys have adopted internal measures to protect electronic client communications, including asking clients to consider alternative technologies; encrypting messages to increase security; obtaining written client authorization to use the Internet and acknowledgment of the possible risks in so doing, and exercising independent judgment about communications too sensitive to share using the Internet. While the use of such technology is not foolproof, if said use is demonstrably more significant than what is customary, judges and juries have found such efforts to be sufficient.

Finally, both legal and business options are available to surmount Internet-related client conflicts. Because of the business development potential of chat rooms, bulletin boards, and other electronic opportunities for client contact, many attorneys see the Internet as a powerful client development tool. What some fail to recognize, however, is that the very opportunity to attract new clients may be a source of unintended conflicts of interest.

Take, for example, one of the most common uses of Internet chat rooms: a request seeking advice from attorneys experienced in dealing with a particular legal problem. Attorneys have been known to prepare elaborate and highly detailed responses to such inquiries. Depending on the level and nature of the information received and the advice provided, however, attorneys may be dismayed to discover that they have inadvertently created an attorney-client relationship with the requesting party. At a minimum, given the anonymous nature of many such inquiries, they may face the embarrassment and potential client relations problem of taking a public position or providing advice contrary to the interests of an existing firm client.

An acceptable legal solution is the application of disclaimers and consents. Some operators of electronic bulletin boards and online discussion groups have tried to minimize the client conflict potential by providing disclaimers or including as part of the subscription agreement the acknowledgment that any participation in online discussions does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Alternatively, the use of limited answers would be a business solution. The Arizona State Bar recently cautioned that lawyers probably should not answer specific questions posed in chat rooms or newsgroups because of the inability to screen for potential conflicts with existing clients and the danger of disclosing confidential information.

Because the consequences of finding an attorney-client relationship are severe and may result in disqualification from representing other clients, the prudent lawyer should carefully scrutinize the nature and extent of any participation in online chat rooms and similar venues.

Categorized in Internet Ethics

When we talk about “ethics” we refer to attitude, values, beliefs, and habits possessed by a person or a group. The sense of the word is directly related to the term “morality” as Ethics is the study of morality.

What are the Ethics in computer?

Computer ethics is a branch of practical philosophy concerned with how computer workers should make professional and social judgments. 

Margaret Anne Pierce, a professor in Georgia Southern University's Department of Mathematics and Computers, has divided computer technology and usage ethical decisions into three categories:

  • Personal code of an individual.
  • Any workplace-based informal code of ethics.
  • Formal ethics education.

Ethical Issues in Computer

As we all know, that Computer is an effective technology and it raises ethical issues like Personal Intrusion, Deception, Breach of Privacy, Cyber-bullying, Cyber-stalking, Defamation, Evasion Technology or social responsibility and Intellectual Property Rights i.e. copyrighted electronic content. In a Computer or Internet (Cyberspace) domain of Information security, understanding and maintaining ethics is very important at this stage. A typical problem related to ethics arises mainly because of the absence of policies or rules about how computer technology should be used. It is high time, there is some strict legislation regarding the same in the country.

Internet Ethics for everyone

  1. Acceptance- We should accept that the Internet is a primary component of our society only and not something apart from it.
  2. We should understand the sensitivity of Information before writing it on the Internet as there are no national or cultural barriers.
  3. As we do not provide our personal information to any stranger, similarly it should not be uploaded to a public network because it might be misused.
  4. Avoid the use of rude or bad language while using e-mail, chatting, blogging, social networking. Respect the person on another side.
  5. No copyrighted material should be copied, downloaded or shared with others.

Computer Ethics

Following are the 10 commandments as created by The Computer Ethics Institute which is a nonprofit working in this area:

  1. Thou shall not use a computer to harm other people;
  2. Thou shall not interfere with other people’s computer work;
  3. Thou shall not snoop around in other people’s computer files;
  4. Thou shall not use a computer to steal;
  5. Thou shall not use a computer to bear false witness;
  6. Thou shall not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid;
  7. Thou shall not use other people’s computer resources without authorization or proper compensation;
  8. Thou shall not appropriate other people’s intellectual output;
  9. Thou shall think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing;
  10. Thou shall always use a computer in ways that insure consideration and respect for your fellow humans.

Computer and Internet both are time-efficient tools for everyone. It can enlarge the possibilities for your curriculum growth. There is a lot of information on the Internet that can help you in learning. Explore that Information instead of exploiting others.

Computer Internet Ethics

Source: This article was published cyberblogindia.in By Abhay Singh Sengar - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

Categorized in Internet Ethics

Legal research is generally the process of finding an answer to a legal question or checking for legal precedent that can be cited in a brief or at trial. Sometimes, legal research can help determine whether a legal issue is a "case of first impression" that is unregulated or lacks legal precedent. Virtually every lawsuit, appeal, the criminal case, and legal process, in general, requires some amount of legal research.

Legal information is organized into two general categories:

  1. Primary Law: Binding law that is codified in statutes, regulations, and caselaw.
  2. Secondary Sources: Not legally binding, this type of information explains the primary law and legal theory; including legal digests, treatises, journals, etc.

The U.S. legal system is based on precedent -- that is, decided court cases -- in conjunction with statutes and common law. Therefore, the function of legal research typically is to find out how previous courts have decided cases with similar fact patterns. Most legal research is now performed online. For example, FindLaw's sister company, Thomson Reuters Westlaw, provides online legal research tools you can use to look up cases and verify current law.

Terms to Know

  • Opinion: The formal written expression by a court or judge detailing the reasons and principles of law upon which the case is decided.
  • Parallel Citation: A citation reference to the same case printed in two or more different case reporters.
  • Stare Decisis: The doctrine under which courts adhere to precedent on questions of law in order to insure certainty, consistency, and stability in the administration of justice.
  • Shepardize: To look up a case's citation in Shepard's Citations in order to check the status of the case, whether it is still considered good law, parallel citations, or the use of the case in other jurisdictions.
  • KeyCite: This helpful case citation tool is provided by Thomson Reuters Westlaw. You can view the history of a case, statute, administrative decision, or regulation to help determine whether it is "good law" and to retrieve citing references.

How Your Attorney May Use Legal Research

Your attorney (or a paralegal under their supervision) may review statutes, caselaw, and secondary authority before deciding how to proceed with your case. Since the law is based on precedent, caselaw with a similar fact pattern can give your attorney an idea of how things may play out in court.

Similarly, a corporate lawyer may conduct legal research in order to determine whether a proposed new policy would expose the company to liability. This may include research into building codes, employment laws, or federal environmental regulations.

Source: This article was published hirealawyer.findlaw.com

Categorized in Investigative Research

The Internet offers researching lawyers a ton of information from countless sources. All for free.

Rather than publishing a book or a journal article, legal professionals with niche expertise can share their research, insight, and commentary in a blog post. Lawyers conducting research can turn to Google and have a list of relevant sources — often such blog posts. Lawyers will soon be turning to Alexa for answers.

Should lawyers avoid such online resources, never before available, because they’re free and not provided by a legal publisher charging a subscription?

Yes, according to Minneapolis lawyer and blog writer for Thomson Reuters, Jeremy Byellin, in a post on the Legal Solutions Blog.

"Google is great for finding answers to random questions that come up such as movie times and trivia answers. However, is your run-of-the-mill search engine truly correct for your legal research?"

Byellin argues that you can’t tell if the authority is still valid, verifying resources takes time, there’s no centralized research, and your research is not automatically saved.

But Byellin goes off the tracks contending that the amount information available on the Web is limited as compared to subscription services.

"There is undoubtedly a plethora of information available on free websites. However, it is highly unlikely that these sites have anywhere near the sheer volume of resources that are found on paid legal research (link to Westlaw advertisement) services."

Lawyers I checked with across the country, via a Facebook discussion, aren’t buying the argument that free resources should be avoided.

Per Michigan lawyer and veteran bloggerEnrico Schaefer, whose firm has carved out a national practice, via technology and innovation:

"[Google is] the perfect way to start all research and spot issues. There is no legitimate argument against google-based research for lawyers. Research is always about digging deeper. Just because Google represents the first couple of shovel fulls doesn’t make it any less important than pulling the cases and keycite."

Seattle lawyer and publisher of the IP Litigation Blog, Phil Mann, adds:

"Nine times out of ten, a simple Google search is effective in leading me to blogs discussing the principal cases and relevant law. For “deeper” research, going to Pacer and downloading the principal briefs is often effective, and can save considerable time in writing, too."

Austin family law attorney, Michael Whelan, says the open web is a good place to start:

"We may start with Google to get a quick idea of the issues, but we’ll take that direction to dig deeper. There’s something to be said for starting with far more readable resources when doing general research."

California lawyer Emma Louise McCavana agrees:

"Cursory research using Google is a great first step to help identify issues not just legal issues and help begin the path of research. When litigating, Westlaw is the resource of choice for primary law and sources. Google books also allows access to some secondary resources not otherwise available. Reliance, if any, on blogs -tertiary. Trusting your source is key."

There will be certain practices where lawyers feel most comfortable sticking to paid subscriptions. Texas appellate lawyer and publisher of the Texas Appellate Law Blog, Todd Smith says:

"I never rely on Google for legal research, but that’s largely a function of the kind of work I do (civil appeals). Westlaw is a must for me.Most blogs don’t go into the kind of depth I need to be useful for anything other than a 30,000-foot view. That’s not a knock on blogs—you know I’m a fan. I’m generally looking at something in fine detail, and case law and law-review-type commentary are usually a better access point for me."

Texas cybersecurity lawyer and long time blogger, Shawn Tuma, seeing five links to a Westlaw research ad in Byellin’s post, captures it well:

"They are all tools — like any professional uses — tools, multiple tools. You may have the best hammer in the world but, if all you have is a hammer, you’re not building many houses. Of course, when you’re sponsored by the hammer manufacturer, then of course you try to argue that all you ever need is a hammer!I use everything that is available, letting my professional training, experience, and judgment guide me on which tool is the best for a particular job. Anybody that thinks there are absolutes when it comes to this stuff needs to stop focusing on the trees and see the whole damn forest."

I get that I’m biased towards the value of legal blogs. I was also a plaintiff’s trial lawyer for 17 years, who looked anywhere for good information. No question I’d be all over Google today for ideas from other lawyers, briefs, interrogatories, information to impeaching opposing experts — you name it.

I can’t imagine most lawyers today limiting research on Google to movie and trivia times. Free can be good, if used appropriately.


Source:  http://abovethelaw.com/

Categorized in Investigative Research


IN THE AGE of big data analytics, the proprietary algorithms web sites use to determine what data to display to visitors have the potential to illegally discriminate against users. This is particularly troublesome when it comes to employment and real estate sites, which could prevent users from having a fair crack at jobs and housing simply by failing to display certain listings to them based on their race or gender.

But four academic researchers who specialize in uncovering algorithmic discrimination say that a decades-old federal anti-hacking statute is preventing them from doing work to detect such discrimination. They say a provision of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be used to criminally prosecute them for research that involves scraping publicly available data from these sites or creating anonymous user accounts on them, if the sites’s terms of service prohibit this activity.

The researchers, along with First Look Media Works, which publishes The Intercept, filed a lawsuit today against the Justice Department, asserting that opening fake profiles to pose as job and housing seekers constitutes speech and expressive activity that is protected under the First Amendment. They further argue that because sites can change their terms of service at any time without informing visitors, this can suddenly turn any speech or activity on the site into a criminal act—a violation, they say, of the Fifth Amendment right to due process, which requires proper notice to the public of what constitutes criminal behavior.

They’re asking the US District Court in the District of Columbia to enjoin the government from enforcing what they say is an unconstitutional provision that prevents them from doing meaningful research.

“Being able to run socially beneficial studies like ours is at the heart of academic freedom,” Christian Sandvig, an associate professor of information and communication studies at the University of Michigan and one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “We shouldn’t have to fear prosecution just because we’re doing our jobs.”

The case gets at the heart of what many consider to be a problematic provision in the anti-hacking law. Ordinarily, violations of a site’s terms of service should only allow a site to bring civil action against users who breach those terms. But under the CFAA, federal prosecutors have interpreted terms-of-service violations as exceeding a site’s authorized access, a criminal hacking violation that carries a maximum prison sentence of one year and a fine. Subsequent violations can result in a sentence up to ten years in prison and a fine.


The risk of prosecution for violating a site’s terms of service isn’t limited to academics, nor is it theoretical; the government has already done so at least twice. In 2008, federal prosecutors charged a Missouri woman named Lori Drew with three counts of violating the CFAA after she and two others created a fake Myspace profile to bully a classmate of Drew’s daughter, who subsequently committed suicide. Myspace’s user agreement requires registrants to provide factual information about themselves; in creating a fake profile for a nonexistent teenage boy in violation of those terms, federal prosecutors asserted that Drew obtained “unauthorized access” to MySpace’s servers.

The next year, the government prosecuted the owners of the ticket-scalping service Wiseguy Tickets for using a script and botnet to bypass Captcha protections on several ticket-selling sites—in violation of the sites’ terms of service—and purchase concert and sporting event tickets in bulk. The defendants pleaded guilty.

That these prior cases involve bullying and scalping, rather than important academic research, matters little next to the precedent they established for how the government can invoke the CFAA.

Algorithmic Hijinks
The complaint (.pdf) was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of First Look, Sandvig, and three other academics: Karrie Karahalios, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Illinois; and Alan Mislove and Christo Wilson, associate and assistant professors of computer science at Northeastern University.

All four academics have a track record in researching algorithms for discrimination. Sandvig and Karahalios were part of a 2014 study looking at how to audit for algorithmic discrimination (.pdf). Mislove and Wilson are part of the Algorithmic Auditing Research Group at Northeastern University and have co-authored several papers about measuring discrimination online. First Look’s interest in the lawsuit stems around the media outlet’s interest in doing similar discrimination research for stories.


Web sites often use algorithms to analyze user profile information, web surfing habits—determined through tracking cookies that sites place on the computers of visitors—and other information collected by data brokers from public records, social media sites, and store loyalty programs. The algorithms, which are proprietary and therefore not transparent in how they work, can determine not only the ads a site serves to visitors but can also determine things like the job and housing listings a visitor sees on them. This can lead to discrimination that is illegal under the Fair Housing Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

“Big data enables behavioral targeting, meaning that websites can steer individuals toward different homes or credit offers or jobs—including based on their membership in a class protected by civil rights laws,” the plaintiffs state in their complaint. Because of this, “[b]ehavioral targeting opens up vast potential for discrimination against marginalized communities, including people of color and other members of protected classes.”

Sandvig and Karahalios are currently researching popular housing and real estate sites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Redfin.com, and Homes.com to determine if they offer different property listings to users based on race and other characteristics. Mislove and Wilson are conducting similar research of job sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com to determine if their algorithms assign lower rankings to people based on gender or color. Job recruiting algorithms often rank job seekers for employers based on relevance, which can have an effect on who employers contact and who gets a job. If an algorithm consistently gives certain classes of people a low ranking, this could cause them to miss out on potential jobs.

Similar types of auditing in the offline world has long been considered a critical tool by courts and the government for uncovering racial discrimination in housing and employment practices. Past tests, for example, have consistently found that Caucasian job applicants receive about twice as many callbacks or job offers as African-American ones.

For the online equivalent, researchers must audit algorithms for evidence of discrimination using scripts to scrape publicly available data on the web sites, and create fake user profiles. Sandvig and Karahalios, for example, plan to generate multiple fake user accounts, known as “sock puppets,” that exhibit behavioral characteristics associated with different racial groups to see if the housing sites discriminate against them.

But Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, Redfin.com, Homes.com, and Apartments.com all prohibit scraping in their terms of service, and many of these sites also prohibit users from providing false information. Job sites like LinkedIn, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, and TheLadders.com also prohibit this activity, raising the potential for the researchers to be criminally prosecuted.

Chilling Effects
The concern is that by threatening researchers who violate service terms with criminal prosecution, web sites could effectively chill research that helps determine if the web sites themselves are breaking laws. And because it’s the web sites that draft the terms of service, “the recipe for avoiding Fair Housing Act and Title VII liability for algorithmic discrimination is straightforward,” the plaintiffs write. “[M]erely employ terms of service that preclude subsequent speech about such discrimination, and it can continue unchecked.”

Indeed, the plaintiffs say, some web site terms of service specifically require researchers to obtain advance permission to conduct research on their site, making it easy for gatekeepers to refuse access to researchers who might portray the site in a negative light. Other companies include blatant non-disparagement clauses in their terms that prohibit site visitors—including researchers—from speaking negatively about them.


“The work of our clients has a clear social benefit and is protected by the First Amendment,” says Esha Bhandari, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “This law perversely grants businesses that operate online the power to shut down investigations of their practices.”

The plaintiffs say that by delegating power to companies to determine what constitutes criminal conduct, the government has essentially relinquished control of the lawmaking process to private companies, which they say is unconstitutional.

In 2008, that didn’t matter to the jury in Lori Drew’s case. Although they acquitted Drew of the three CFAA felonies with which the government charged her, they convicted her on lesser misdemeanor charges of unauthorized access, setting a dangerous precedent for others who violate a site’s terms of service. US District Judge George Wu served as the voice of reason, however, when he overturned the conviction on grounds that the government’s interpretation of the CFAA was unconstitutionally vague and set a dangerous precedent. The ACLU says that there’s ambiguity as to whether that ruling could have meaningful influence on future cases.

In giving federal authorities the power to criminally prosecute anyone who violated a site’s terms of service, the conviction, if allowed to stand, essentially converted “a multitude of otherwise innocent internet users into misdemeanant criminals,” Wu said.

That danger still looms today. The researchers’ lawsuit aims to change that.

Source:  https://www.wired.com/2016/06/researchers-sue-government-computer-hacking-law/





Categorized in Internet Privacy

The future of the internet is at risk from multiple scenarios, and quick action is needed to protect it, says the Internet Governance Commission.The internet has reached a crossroads in its history, and concerted and immediate action is needed to preserve the openness, transparency, security and inclusivity that have made it such an important factor in global social and economic improvement over the past two and a half decades.

This was the key conclusion of the Global Commission on Internet Governance’s final report and recommendations on the future of the internet, One Internet, which was released at the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy in Mexico.Set up two years ago, the commission was chaired by former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt, and included among its members Wendy Hall, professor of electronics and computer science at the University of Southampton.

Speaking to Computer Weekly at the time of the commission’s launch in 2014, Hall said the internet was finely balanced between “controlled spaces” and “utter anarchy”, and an international approach to governance was vital, hence her decision to join the commission.

“We need to understand what we can expect when it comes to companies and governments accessing our data. The founders of the internet didn’t set it up for governments to gather data on us – that was never the intention, and we must explore this,” she said.

In the wake of the commission’s final report, Hall said the fundamental question that now had to be answered is how to meet the governance challenges the internet creates, without undermining those aspects that make it a powerful platform for social and economic growth around the world.

“The choice of not making a choice is, in itself, a choice – one that could lead to harsh consequences. We risk a world where the internet is closed, insecure and untrustworthy – a world of digital haves and have-nots,” said Hall.

“The action outlined by the report must be taken soon so that we can create an environment of broad, unprecedented progress where everyone can benefit from the power of the internet.”

Bildt added: “The threats to privacy and the risk that the internet will break apart are real.”

“If we want a future where the internet continues to provide opportunities for economic growth, free expression, political equality and social justice then governments, civil society and the private sector must actively choose that future and take the necessary steps to achieve it,” he said.

Recommendations for governments and companies

The One Internet report contained a number of recommendations for both national governments and IT companies.Among the most important of these recommendations are that governments should only intercept, collect and analyse communications data for legitimate, open and legal purposes, which does not include gaining a domestic political advantage, industrial espionage or repression.

Governments should not force the industry to compromise the security of their products through hidden backdoors, and should refrain from making companies their enforcement arms.It also suggested the private sector act to establish a system of transparency reporting that showed what content was being restricted or blocked by state-level actors, and why.

National governments should also collaborate to provide mutual assistance to deter and limit the damage inflicted by cyber attacks, and refuse shelter to those who commission or carry them out. Governments should also collaborate to create a list of off-limits targets.

When it came to the online security of the general public, the commission recommended consumers be free to choose what services they use and be given greater say in how their personal data was used by these services.It added that no user should be excluded from using an online service on the basis that they were worried about their security.

For industry, the commission recommended that the developers of new technologies ensure their creations remain compatible and open standards-based. It also suggested innovators ensure their creations conform to principles of openness to provide a platform for future innovators.

The commission also set out goals around ensuring the internet was as inclusive as possible, saying governments should act to provide public access where possible, do more to improve digital literacy through education in schools and ensure accessibility to disabled people and others more likely to be excluded.

Importantly, the report also suggested that refugees – of whom there are now 65.3 million in the world, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) – be provided with access to the internet by host governments, NGOs, or a combination of both.

It added that the IT sector needed to come together with both governments and wider society to help understand the effects of online algorithms on what content is made available to users online.

Finally, it said, the process of international, multi-stakeholder internet governance should be open to evolution to ensure the ongoing presence of a single, unified internet.“The internet is the most important infrastructure in the world. It is the world’s most powerful engine for social and economic growth. To realise its full potential, the internet of the future must be open, secure, trustworthy and accessible to all,” said Hall.

“The commission has built a roadmap towards ensuring the future of the internet. If the roadmap is adopted, the internet will continue to be civilisation’s most important infrastructure. If the roadmap is ignored, the internet’s power to build a better world will erode. The time to choose is now.”

Source:  http://www.computerweekly.com/news/450298950/Act-now-to-save-the-open-internet-says-Internet-Governance-Commission

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Another day, another hack. At least, that's how it's starting to feel.

People are getting hacked or becoming otherwise compromised in their digital lives at an alarmaing rate, and it seems as though that's not going to slow down any time soon.

Just earlier this month, it was revealed that hackers had gained access to millions of Twitter accounts, and not by hacking into Twitter itself. No, instead they simply gathered passwords from previous hacks and matched them with usernames.

With hackers on the rampage, there are plenty of things to keep in mind - things that will help you protect yourself and your online data, and ensure that you retain full control over your personal information.

How hackers are getting your information

Often when we think of the word "hacking", we imagine pages and pages of code, hours spent cracking away on a computer, and finding a way to get around having to use passwords. In reality, however, hackers can simply write a program that will look through information to find what they need to log in to a user's account. That's without having to spend hours at the computer combing through code.

"Hackers will most often parse existing breach data for emails, usernames, and passwords, and then attempt to reuse those credentials on popular websites," Alexander Heid, Chief Risk Officer at SecurityScorecard, a security monitoring service, tells TechRadar. "To achieve this, hackers will make use of 'checker' scripts. These are scripts which are designed to test batches of username:password combinations on specific websites to identify valid accounts. These scripts exist for every imaginable service, and are constantly updated and circulate within the hacker underground."

So, what does that mean? When you create a new account somewhere, you likely reuse at least some information for its creation. Even if you're not using the same username or password, information like answers to security questions or other details can all help hackers gain access to your account.

Hacker Source Flickr credit -650-80

Of course, some hackers are a little more hands on. That's where malware comes in. Malware is basically a type of software designed specifically to infect your computer, often in an attempt to steal your personal information.

A prominent form of malware is a keylogger, which basically tracks everything you type and then sends that information back to the hacker who wrote the malware code. That makes it way too easy for hackers to gain access to your accounts; all they have to do is wait until you log on to something and they'll be able to do the same.

There's one more method that hackers often use to get username and password information - phishing emails. These are essentially emails designed to look like they're from a company like Apple or Amazon, and trick you into willingly giving over your information.

Often times, there's a link in these emails that will take you to an official-looking website where you're supposed to log in to an account. Only, the website isn't official, it just looks like it is. Log in, and you're basically handing your information over to whoever sent the email.

How can you stay safe?

Now that you know how hackers are acquiring personal information, it's sure to be a little easier to protect yourself. The first thing to talk about is passwords.

Make passwords a priority

As mentioned, hackers are often able to use previous data breaches to find passwords, then find accounts on other sites and use the same username:password combination to get in. That should be far too easy for hackers to get into an account, but, in reality, people continue to use the same password, or the same few passwords, for their entire digital lives.

The solution? Come up with a new password for every account you have. Yes, it's a pain, but the fact is that creating unique and secure passwords for each of your accounts is an important step in remaining secure online. Not only that, but it could help save you time in the long run; if one of your accounts is hacked, having unique passwords prevents you from having to change the password for all of your accounts.

Source: http://www.inc.com/john-boitnott/how-entrepreneurs-can-ride-the-internet-of-things-to-success.html

Categorized in Internet Privacy


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