Amazon sparks digital ownership debate

“Orwell fans, lock your doors,” was the reaction from Amazon user Caffeine Queen after she and others had received notice from Amazon last Friday that their e-book versions of “1984″ and “Animal Farm” had been removed from their Kindle device.

Amazon explained later that these electronic versions were distributed illegally and that customers were refunded.

Amazon’s decision to remotely delete the e-books not only infuriated customers, it sparked a debate on digital ownership.

Richard Waters of the Financial Times argues that this episode questions the future of ownership in an electronic age:

“New internet media platforms like this raise a dilemma. Their owners have the power to control information on the client. So if they have a legal responsibility to remove data from their systems – say, after receiving a take-down notice under the DMCA – failing to expunge it may expose them to liability.”

Facebook updates privacy controls

Facebook is super easy to use in many respects. Send out that snarky message and the whole world knows what’s on your mind. But even though the site’s managers have tried to give users privacy options, figuring out how to limit who can read your murkiest thoughts has been less than straightforward.

The “compounding effect of more and more settings has made controlling privacy on Facebook too complicated,” Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly said on the Facebook blog.

As a result the social network site is now testing new ways for members to improve their privacy controls more easily.  This should mean that when you post those embarrassing photos or irreverent comments, you’ll be able to easily control who sees them without having to worry about oversharing with your boss or professional acquaintances.

from UK News:

The phuss over Phorm

The targeted online advertising company Phorm, which has been accused of spying, breaking the law and just about everything else in the last year, has launched its latest charm offensive in its battle to prove its innocence.

The British company sparked damning headlines last year when  it signed up the three biggest Internet service providers BT, Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse to provide adverts to Web
sites based on the surfing trends of users.

Phorm says the system is completely anonymous, does not store data on its users and will enable online publishers to make more money by showing more relevant adverts. With more interesting ads, there would also be fewer needed, they say.

Facebook says Oops, (we) did it again

One day after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social networking site would stand by its revised terms of use, he capitulated and said Facebook would return to its old terms while “we resolve the issues that people have raised.”

Zuckerberg said Facebook would work on a “substantial revision.” In the meantime, members can voice their opinions — or as the case has been, give vent to their outrage — through “Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities,” a group created by the networking site.

Here’s a sampling of the 4,229 wall posts so far:

“you guys are a major corp and you think im to believe for a second that you would not share all of our information to make some money for yourselves……PLEASE TELL US ALL ANOTHER LIE!!!!!!!!!!” (James Stull, Montreal, QC)

Google, Viacom privacy accord leaves unanswered questions

masks.jpgGoogle and Viacom reached a late night accord on safeguarding the anonymity of Google YouTube viewers. Google will no longer have to hand over the user names and IP addresses of its viewers.

But what of the scuffle around the viewership data of Google and YouTube’s own employees? CNET’s Greg Sandoval reported last week the negotiations stalled on Google’s unwillingness to turn over information on its own employees, citing unnamed sources.

In other words, how would Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement suit against Google turn out if the data showed YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley viewing and uploading “Colbert Report” videos?