Governments across the world are increasingly under pressure from privacy advocates and some consumers to better regulate the use of personal data on line. Under Ed Vaizey’s proposed plan announced last week, Google and Facebook and other social media networks and search engines would be required to sign up to a new code under which consumers would be able to get redress if they feel their privacy has been invaded.

The UK government is in discussions with the ICO, Information Commissioners Office, about how to develop such a code. What this will mean for advertisers using social media is as yet unclear though Ed Vaizey likened this idea to the mediation service offered by the Press Complaints Commission, which is both worrying and perhaps reassuring since the PCC is not renowned as particularly effective means of redress for consumers but is totally self regulated by the newspaper industry. Thus we might be led to assume that the search engines are being asked to run their own such self regulatory body. Given the lack of funds in the public purse one can assume this to be the case. No doubt Google will argue that it already has means for consumers to complain and seek redress. The cost of establishing and maintaining an independent body offering a complaints and mediation service would be colossal and without funding it seems unlikely this idea will take off in the immediate future.

What would it mean though for website owners and major brands?Continue Reading An Internet Bill of Rights?

Give Google credit that when it announced its acquisition of AdMob, a leading provider of mobile advertising services and technology, in November 2009, it proactively addressed the likelihood of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into the transaction. Google even went as far as posting a web page that the media, regulators and other interested

Has blogging made critics out of us all? Maybe so, but we still have to watch what we say as illustrated in a recent New York case, Cohen v. Google/Blogger.com. Fashion model Liskula Cohen filed suit demanding that Google disclose the name of an anonymous blogger (who we now know was Rosemary Port) who created and

Using another’s trademark as a keyword for online search marketing purposes is a murky area of law. Is this trademark infringement? Is this a permissible action? Although one may assume that these questions are two sides of the same coin, in reality they are not. The case law on this issue – especially those cases

Rumor has it that Google will be launching its much-publicized “interest-based advertising” in April, allowing advertisers to serve ads based on a user’s prior interactions (e.g., browsing the advertisers’ websites, tracking interests). Google will track categories of web pages that users visit in Google’s content network and if, for example, a user visits motion picture