MPR Reporter Accused of “Hacking”

Texas based Lookout Services has accused a Minnesota Public Radio reporter with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The reporter was doing a story about how Lookout had exposed the private data of a number of Minnesota consumers. Apparently doing your job as a reporter carries with it the risk of being a “hacker.”

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has both civil and criminal provisions and prohibits the “unauthorized access” of a computer. The phrase “unauthorized access” is pretty vague and has allowed prosecutions to go forward for such things as creating a phony Facebook account as Lori Drew had done to harass her daughter’s classmate. But unlike the Drew case, there is the new twist of a reporter doing the unauthorized accessing. So, which should be more important: a company’s right to be secure in its data, or a journalist’s right to discover and report? If the reports are true, perhaps a company should be expected to take reasonable security precautions before having CFAA remedies available.

See more at the MinnPost article.


Proposed “Loud Commercial” Regulation

I hate how TV commercials are about twice as loud as the regular programming. Nevertheless, I can’t see how this proposed legislation would be implemented effectively. From what I gather from this story at Yahoo! News, the FCC isn’t especially keen on the idea either.

HT to Slashdot.org


New FTC Guidelines for Bloggers Takes Effect December 1st.

Starting on December 1, 2009 the Federal Trade Commission’s new guidelines for testimonials by bloggers, Tweeters, Facebook-ers and others will take effect. These guidelines are set to help determine whether or not paid testimonials or endorsements are covered by the FTC Act. Bloggers who are paid by a company in exchange for a positive review of its products are making endorsements and may have to disclose any financial ties to that company.

Link to the FTC Press Release.
PC World’s Guide to the new guidelines