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iTunes Drops DRM

Yesterday, Apple made a major but not entirely unexpected announcement that likely amounts to the last goodbye to digital rights management in the for-purchase digital music market. Beginning immediately (the full transition will take into the early spring), Apple will offer all iTunes tracks in the high-quality DRM-free format it calls “iTunes Plus.” Until now, the…

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ISPs Taking Up New Role of Taking Down Illegal File Sharers?

Shortly before Christmas it was reported that RIAA will greatly reduce its filing of lawsuits against unlawful file sharers. Instead, under a deal brokered by NY A.G. Andrew Cuomo, RIAA will work with ISPs to send notices to suspected file sharers, with the ISPs eventually taking action to limit or even terminate subscribers who don't change their behavior….

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Practical Privacy Audit

Pop quiz: You’ve just chosen to "opt-out" of an online program or service that gathers information on you. Do you: (A) Breathe easier knowing the collection of your personal information has stopped. (B) Stay alert knowing that just because you’ve chosen to "opt-out" doesn’t mean the information gathering stops, it merely means you’ll stop getting…

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Porn Shorn From Free WiFi Internet Proposal

The so-called porn free wireless Internet proposal that FCC Chairman Martin aggressively pursued since last summer has quietly been laid to rest. Martin’s proposal to auction off a slice of spectrum and then require that 25 percent of it be turned into a free, nationwide wireless network deserved careful consideration by the Commission. But Martin’s…

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Secretary Leavitt Announces New Privacy Principles, HHS Publishes Guidance

Last week, during a keynote speech to the National Health Information Network Forum here D.C., Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Leavitt announced key privacy principles for electronic health information exchange, called The Nationwide Privacy and Security Framework for Electronic Exchange of Individually Identifiable Health Information. Leavitt hopes these principles will guide the…

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Neutrality and Caching

There has been lots of discussion in Internet neutrality circles this week about Monday’s Wall Street Journal article claiming that Google, in seeking to enter caching deals with ISPs, is departing from its stance in favor of Internet neutrality. Google and a number of commenters (here, here and here) by now have…

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Maybe It’s Time for a ‘Child Porn Czar’

Writing critically about child pornography and Internet related issues makes any columnist twitchy. Words must be precise, ideas and intent clear, and even then such writing is more like tap dancing through a minefield than it is an editorial undertaking. As a result, the subject of child pornography and those chosen to police it are given…

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IG: Terror Database Filled with Outdated, Unfounded Information

Guardian, an FBI system for sharing counterterrorism information, suffers from numerous data integrity and management problems, according to a recent Inspector General’s (IG) report. As a result of spotty oversight and noncompliance with internal rules, the report concluded that Guardian consistently holds inaccurate, outdated, and incomplete records. Out of the records the IG examined, 61 percent did not…

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Health Data De-Identification Rules in Need of Update?

We’re heading into flu season, though we don’t yet know exactly when, where, or how hard the disease will strike. As the New York Times reported, this year Google may be able to help us predict outbreaks as much as a week to 10 days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can. Google Flu…

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Supreme Court’s “Fleeting” Interest in the First Amendment

On Election Day last week, the legal community was momentarily distracted from the momentousness of the election by the possibility that the Supreme Court Justices might utter profanities in the hallowed chamber. Sadly, they restrained themselves. But the lack of “f-bombs” (as the Solicitor General called them) didn’t take away from the intrigue surrounding the oral argument in FCC…

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