James sez, "Everyone knows that Facebook's Beacon application was a privacy disaster. But it was also probably illegal.
I've written up an analysis of Beacon under a 1988 law that flatly prohibits video stores from telling people what their customers rented. Every time Blockbuster spammed your friends list with an announcement about your latest online video purchase, it was violating that law. At a minimum $2,500 fine per violation, this could be a pretty serious legal problem for Blockbuster and Facebook."
There are two possible sources of VPPA trouble here . First, in step (4) when Facebook found out that Ethan had purchase The Producers, that might have been a disclosure either by Ethan or by Blockbuster. Second, in step (6) when Ethan's friends found out that he'd bought it, that might have been a disclosure by Ethan or by Facebook.
Let's start with the disclosure to Facebook (step (4)). Blockbuster looks like it has a strong argument here that Ethan was the discloser, not it. After all, it was Ethan's browser that told Facebook what he'd rented, not Blockbuster's web site. Since Ethan isn't a video tape service provider, that's the end of the story.
I don't think that argument works, though, because Ethan's disclosure to Facebook is pretty much a textbook example of an involuntary act.
Maria Farrell admits that comparing smartphones to abusive men (they try to keep you from friends and family, they make it hard to study or go to work, they constantly follow you and check up on you) might seem to trivialize domestic partner violence, but, as she points out, feminists have long been pointing out […]
Trump wants to roll back regulations that promote low-power light bulbs, even though at this point the industry has moved on and isn’t likely to do much in the way of modernizing incandescents. His interest is, as always, deeply personal: he thinks LED lights make him look orange. “The light bulb,” the president began. “People […]
The wonderful folks at Paleotronic (previously) have rounded up scans of articles from 1980s-era computer magazines that advised new computer users on navigating the burgeoning world of dial-up BBSes.
Studies have shown cannabidiol (more popularly known as CBD) to be effective in two main areas: Pain relief and stress relief. Both of those make the non-psychoactive, cannabis-derived compound a natural for topical creams. There’s no shortage of CBD products out there, but here’s eight of our favorites, all specifically designed for dermatological use – […]
If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]
Life isn’t getting any less hectic, and pressure cookers are a quick, healthy solution for a growing number of kitchens. But if you thought your Instant Pot was versatile, there’s a major upgrade on the market: The Yedi 9-in-1 Total Package Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker. If you’ve somehow never used a pressure cooker before, try […]