By Elizabeth Jackman
…And it’s only Tuesday!
1. Internet Rules At Center Of ‘E-G8’ Forum In Paris
On March 24 and 25, French President Nicolas Sarkozy hosts a pre-G8 Summit forum with the internet’s key holders, including Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie, Co-founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Whales and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
Sarkozy (supported strongly by Murdoch) is pushing for regulation of the internet, in particular the protection of intellectual property and prosecution of online offenders. Google, so far, has led the charge to temper Sarkozy’s hard line, warning against applying strictures that will negatively impact the evolution of the internet as a community, as a marketplace and as a conduit to growth of new technologies.
Critics of the e-G8 complain that it is inclusive only of big business and that the real agenda is to further commercial interests at the expense of internet freedoms.
The actual G8 Summit will follow on May 26 and 27 in Deauville, France, where Sarkozy hopes to set global internet policies concerning privacy, child predators and piracy.
In late April, Sony’s PlayStation Network outage resulted in a data breach that may have leaked the personal and financial information of more than 70 million users. To-date, the system is still not fully restored, and has resulted in a company-reported loss of $171 million.
To add insult to injury, Sony’s music sites in Greece and Japan were hacked on Sunday and Monday of this week, respectively. Hacker group Lulz Security left taunting messages on the website and via Twitter, as well as links to two unsecured databases.
Washington Post blogger Hayley Tsukayama writes:
Since the initial attacks, Sony has also found a security weakness on its password reset page, been the target of a phishing scam through its home page in Thailand, and seen one of its ISP subsidiaries robbed for about $1,200 in virtual tokens. The reports follow a grim financial forecast that predicts the company will show a $3.2 billion annual loss this year…
Britain has a very useful media chokehold called the “super-injunction”, which, when authorized, imposes a ban on British media from publishing specific personal information pertaining to the receiver and scope of the injunction.
As legal fees may exceed 100,000 pounds, this tactic is typically reserved for celebrities, politicians, and other wealthy denizens requiring cover-ups, rather, “privacy”. The most recent, and now the most infamous recipient of the super-injunction is Manchester United soccer star Ryan Giggs, who attempted to put the legal kabosh on his alleged affair with reality TV “star” Imogen Thomas.
Although British media acceded to the court ruling to withhold coverage of this affair (pun intended), the internet had no such legal qualms. Giggs’ name reportedly appeared in more than 75,000 tweets since last Friday, making a mockery of the super-injunction and the law behind it.
Giggs and Thomas have quickly become global fodder, much to the chagrin of Parliament and the frustration of UK publishers who were prohibited from reporting news that was readily available online.
In the House of Commons, John Whittingdale, a Conservative member of Parliament, said that “you would virtually have to be living in an igloo” not to know what was going on, and that the use of Twitter was “in danger of making the law look an ass.”
Giggs’ attorneys plan on suing Twitter for access to the users who posted his name in relation to this topic, though they will have to take the case State-side as Twitter is based in California.