Legislation

Will the Web Remain Free? Net Neutrality Vote Comes In.
May 19, 2014

The FCC voted 3-2, along party lines, to proceed with establishing new net neutrality rules. Wednesday's vote opens a lengthy comment period (through July 15) on a number of proposals for final rules, including enhancing transparency rules for broadband providers, the adoption of a no-blocking rule for legal content and a requirement that broadband providers conform to "reasonable commercial practices." It also proposes to create an ombudsman who would act as a watchdog for consumers and startups. As part of the rulemaking, the FCC asks for comment on whether it should prohibit “paid prioritization” and whether it should reclassify the

Denny's Daily Zinger: Investor Creates Bogus PAC
May 14, 2014

Last week, a story broke about the Senate Banking Committee looking to phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, those government-sponsored agencies that guarantee home mortgages. Fannie and Freddie backed the home loans of millions of borrowers with lousy credit histories. The result: the $817 billion bailout by the federal government back in 2008. Enter Bruce Berkowitz

Be Warned of the "Professional Plaintiff"
May 14, 2014

A client recently received the ultimate "shakedown" letter—claiming violation of the California CAN-SPAM law as a result of getting eight emails, demanding $80,000 in statute-mandated damages, yet willing to settle for $2400. Unfortunately, this has become a cottage industry. The California law has a private right of action that has been taken advantage of by a few noteworthy legal vigilantes. Their actions have created a template for the "shakedown."

European Court: Google Must Remove Links to Personal Info Upon Request
May 14, 2014

People should have some say over the results that pop up when they conduct a search of their own names online, Europe’s highest court said Tuesday. In a landmark decision, The Court of Justice of the European Union said Google must listen and sometimes comply when individuals ask the Internet search giant to remove links to newspaper articles or websites containing their personal information. Campaigners say the ruling effectively backs individual privacy rights over the freedom of information

White House 'Big Data' Review Recognizes Innovation and Self-Regulation
May 12, 2014

When the White House announced its intent to study the rise of "Big Data," as a citizen, I guessed there might be a lot to say about government surveillance, public safety and terrorism, in light of Snowden. As a consumer, I suspected there might be a lot of attention to data breaches, in light of the recent Target incident among others. As a working individual whose livelihood depends on data access and use for more relevant marketing, I was nervous

Denny's Daily Zinger: Sick of Goo-Goos and Non-Marketers
May 8, 2014

On May 1, 2014, under John Podesta's leadership, the White House released its 79-page report, "BIG DATA: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values." I am sick unto death of non-marketers and goo-goos (good government goodie two-shoes) making destructive marketing policy and forcing us to live with it. For example, the word "discrimination" appears 30 times in the report

USPS to Regulate Air Space for Package Delivery Drones?
May 8, 2014

In the not-too-distant future, the United States' lower airspace will be abuzz with all manner of pilotless delivery UAVs, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly called drones. Amazon was the first to announce it, then Walmart, Domino's, and now it's no longer a news story, so we don't hear about the others rushing to join or beat them. Congress has asked the FAA to write regulations to embrace them. Issues of type, size, weight-carrying capability, landing zones, safety, personal privacy and liability all need to be thought out and agreed and enacted. How about the rights of public entities, including law

White House Calls for Email Privacy Reform
May 6, 2014

The White House this week released a report on big data in which it calls for an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The act, which should in fact be called the Electronic Communications Lack of Privacy Act, is sorely in need of reform. The ECPA allows the government to access email that is older than 180 days, or has been opened, with a subpoena. In short, it has the legal authority to read most of your email without a warrant

White House Readies Big Data Report
April 30, 2014

The White House is expected to release a report on the implications of “big data” any day now. Just after the New Year, in the wake of revelations about NSA surveillance, President Obama announced that the White House would undertake a 90-day “comprehensive review of big data and privacy,” led by long-time advisor John Podesta. Though the review was borne out of concerns with government surveillance, the review has included a close look at commercial data use as well. And while the report is not yet public, the AP kicked off speculation

DMA’s Post-Woolley Future
April 29, 2014

“In the fast-paced environment of direct marketing in 2014 and beyond, the best role for a trade association is to protect our self-regulation status—which is a privilege, not a right,” says Thomas J. Benton, interim CEO/COO of DMA. “That means guiding the industry in protecting consumers and the responsible use of data, helping consumers get the right offers and services in the right channels to power their digital lifestyles