- Cover your Glass. We’ve addressed in Socially Aware the growing legal hysteria stirred up by Google Glass and other wearable technology. Just as Polaroid cameras were once banned from beach resorts and even the Washington Monument for crying out loud, expect to see all types of businesses and organizations – bars, restaurants, banks, schools, museums, casinos, circuses, strip clubs, accounting firms, you name it – rushing to enact Glass bans. But some bans may make more sense than others. Movie theater owners, for example, are understandably concerned about those wearable devices, such as Glass, that can record video. Should such devices be banned from theaters? The theater industry says yes, absolutely. Indeed, the trade groups that represent movie theaters and movie studios have both set forth a new policy: No devices of any sort in movie theaters that are capable of recording video. But how far will the ban go? For many people who wear eyeglasses to correct their vision, Glass may be their only pair of glasses. Moreover, as technology advances, wearable recording devices will become increasingly difficult to detect – in the not-too-distant future, there may be no effective way of distinguishing between wired glasses and ordinary glasses. No doubt some enterprising entrepreneur is working right now on a solution to that problem.
- Once more into the breach. California Attorney General Kamala Harris just issued a report concluding that the online data of 18.5 million of the state’s residents was compromised in 2013 as a result of intentional data breaches, up dramatically from 2.5 million in 2012. It’s not surprising that the majority of the data that was compromised was stolen electronically by unauthorized access rather than by the physical theft of a machine that held the data. What may be surprising is that the biggest target is social security numbers; they are apparently the gold standard for hackers because a single social security number can lead to an average of $2,330 in fraud, nearly twice as much as a mere credit card. Consumers – and retailers and banks – beware.
- Tainted love. OK, imagine this. You’re single, and you’re using an online dating site or mobile app. You strike up an online conversation with Mr. or Ms. Right, only to subsequently learn that you were interacting with a shill hired by the site owner or app developer to goose traffic and revenue numbers. You’re upset, of course, but is there any legal problem here? The FTC says that there is, and recently fined UK-based JDI Dating and its owner $616,165 for engaging in this and other allegedly deceptive practices. Jessica Rich, head of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau, noted that JDI Dating – which operates sites such as cupidswand.com, flirtcrowd.com and findmelove.com – “used fake profiles to make people think they were hearing from real love interests and to trick them into upgrading to paid memberships.” In its complaint, the FTC had charged JDI Dating with violating the Federal Trade Commission Act. This was apparently the agency’s first enforcement action against a dating site or app.
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Status updates - October 31 2014
USA October 31 2014
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