Perry F. Sofferman - PERRY F. SOFFERMAN, P.A.

Lavabit Case Raises Key Issues on Internet Security

I highly recommend the great post on theLavabit case, written by Jennifer Granick who is associated with the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.
Lavabit,a now defunct encrypted email service provider, refused to turn over its Secure Sockets Layer ("SSL") key to the FBI after being ordered to do so by a federal court.  The SSL is the mechanism by which the link between software applications on your computer and Internet servers is encrypted.  In order for communication to take place between the software and the server a unique session key is produced when the server shares its public key with the client application.

Data Breaches Trigger Notification Requirements

In light of a recent data breach at the University of Arizona, I thought this might be a good time to review the law related to data breach notification.
With regard to the University of Arizona,it was recently reportedthat someone had accessed the server hosting the University’s College of Law website. Potential data accessible to the intruder included class rosters, names and social security numbers.  In addition, the usernames and passwords for the law school’s intranet were also reportedly stored on the breached server.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – What Is It?

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act or “COPPA” took effect in April of 2000.  The Act is meant to protect the private information of children under the age of 13 from websites and online services that are aimed at children.  The Act requires verifiable parental consent for the use of such information by the site. Some key COPPA provisions include the following: (i) the site’s maintaining of a detailed privacy policy, (ii) as noted above, the acquiring of verifiable parental consent before a site may collect personal information, (iii) providing the option for a parent to withdraw consent for any further collection of information, (iv) disallowing a site from making the providing of personal information a prerequisite for a child’s participation in a game or receipt of a prize and (v) maintaining reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality, security and integrity of personal information collected from children.

Proper Handling of DMCA Takedown Notices is Essential

In my last posting we considered what the potential outcome could be for failure to send a takedown notice in good faith.  In this posting we consider what could happen if a party receives a good faith takedown notice and fails to take sufficient action in response.
InDisney Enterprises., Inc. v. Hotfile Corp.,the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that Hotfile’s failure to take action against repeat infringers after receiving takedown notices by rights holders resulted in Hotfile’s loss of its safe harbor protection.

DMCA Takedown Notice Must be Sent in Good Faith

Anyone eager to fire off a DMCA takedown notice should take heed of a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  In the case ofTuteur v. Crosley-Corcoran,the court denied a copyright holder’s motion to dismiss an action brought by a blogger who claimed the copyright holder sent a takedown notice to the blogger’s host even though the copyright holder knew no infringement had taken place.  The claim was brought under 512(f) of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.

The Wiretap Act - What Is It?

In light of therecent decision regarding Google’s Street View, I thought it might be a good time to take a brief look at “The Wiretap Act.”
The Wiretap Act prohibits the intentional interception, either directly or indirectly, of any wire, oral or electronic communication.  The law, first passed as Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, is codified under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2522.  Originally, the Act only covered wire and oral communications, but was extended to electronic communications under the 1986 amendment via Title I of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

Private Sector and Public Sector Face Off on Net Neutrality

In what might be described as a major showdown between the private and public sectors, with equal access to the benefits of the Internet at stake, oral arguments in Verizon v. F.C.C. commenced this morning before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The case stems from the F.C.C.’s issuance of an Open Internet Order stating, effectively, that Internet service providers must keep their pipelines open and free to all users.  The concern is that Internet service providers (ISPs), if permitted, will charge for faster access.

Amazon and the (NY) Tax Man Cometh

Amazon filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday to hear its challenge against New York’s requirement that online retailers collect sales tax.
Amazon, which historically has disfavored such a tax (obviously!) appears to be aggressively challenging the New York law because it appears to define “nexus” differently than the current case law supports.  The key case in this area isQuill Corp. v. North Dakota, a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court case which tied retailers’ obligation to collect sales tax to the retailer having a “physical presence” in the state.

U.S. District Court Refuses to Dismiss Craiglist’s Computer Fraud Claim Against 3Taps

In the Craigslist, Inc. v. 3Taps Inc. et al case, involving the alleged scraping by 3Taps of Craigslist content for use on its own, competitive site, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California refused to dismiss Craigslist’s claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.   Finding for Craigslist, U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Beyer wrote, “Here, under the plain language of the statute, 3Taps was “without authorization” when it continued to pull data off of Craigslist’s website after Craigslist revoked its authorization to access the website.

Global Criminal Networks Making Greater Use of the Internet

The Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Justice Department recentlycalled for greater cooperation among law enforcement agenciesacross the globe.  Assistant Attorney General, Mythilli Raman noted that globalization and the Internet has extended the reach of international criminal networks and that international law enforcement agency cooperation will be required in order to combat it.

Raman cited a variety of programs that could aid law enforcement on an international scale including programs assisting with the extradition of fugitives, the acquisition of warrants by foreign prosecutors, assistance with acquiring subpoenas for electronic data and additional training for foreign law enforcement agents.