December 17, 2001

RISKS Digest: P3P, IE6 and legal liability (new version of web browser criticized for forcing cookie-laden sites to publish privacy policies, exposing them to potential liability)

November 28, 2001

Wired News: Routes of least surveillance (how to avoid surveillance cameras in NYC) (also see iSee)
N.Y. Times (via Int'l Herald Tribune): Rivals mobilize alternatives to U.S. system (Europe, China, Russia, and Canada are developing navigation systems to serve as alternatives to U.S.-controlled GPS)

October 10, 2001 Britney Spears hacked into (prankster posts fake version of CNN site with false news report, then promotes the hoax by exploiting CNN's own "e-mail this" service)
Wired News: Osama has a new friend (also see Bert Is Evil!; Fox News: Bin Laden's felt-skinned henchman?; Bert working with bin Laden?; Fractalcow; the original Bert and bin Laden image; and the poster that used the image: photo #1 [Dutch news agency ANP], photo #2 [Reuters], and photo #3 [Reuters] / larger version of #3)

September 20, 2001

CNET eBay's charity auction upsets some sellers (note the statement near the end of report that PayPal is deducting credit card processing costs from Red Cross donations -- PayPal's web site says that "100% of the proceeds" will be donated)

September 13, 2001

InformationWeek: Report: FBI seeks e-mail about attacks; E-mails link Osama bin Laden's terrorist network to Tuesday's bombings
Computerworld: FBI to investigate Internet's role in terrorist attacks; Washington Post: Privacy trade-offs reassessed; objections to surveillance technology face new test after attack
InformationWeek: Cyberscuffles follow terrorist attacks; Newsbytes: Hackers discuss retaliatory cyberstrikes
Wired News: Congress mulls stiff crypto laws
Los Angeles Times: Officials call for more net security
Privacy Headquarters: How to aid investigators (a guide for financial institutions dealing with requests for information by law enforcement authorities in the wake of terrorist attacks)
Space Imaging: Attack on America (pre-attack and post-attack satellite photos)
ZDNet Anchordesk: Aftermath: How terrorists attacked your privacy rights, too
Computerworld: Consumers warned to beware of online disaster-relief scams; eWeek: Tragedy attracts spammers (also see CNET,, MSNBC, Wired News, and ZDNet News)
Computerworld: FBI issues cyberthreat advisory
The New Republic: Law and Order (by Jeffrey Rosen)
The Register: Taleban site hacked and defaced

August 22, 2001

August 16, 2001

CNET Gateway closes a half-dozen Country stores (is it finally starting to dawn on Gateway that their entire comparative advantage arose from not having to collect sales tax -- an advantage they lost by opening retail stores? ... naah, they're probably just reinventing the wheel once again)
Reuters: U.S. sites fail EU privacy test
AP: Online court cases move forward

August 05, 2001

Wired News: Mantle, Mays and AOL discs (AOL CDs are becoming increasingly popular among collectors) -- seems strange, but it beats actually using AOL
CNET Spiegel charges credit cards in coupon gaffe (retailer accuses customers of misusing its online coupon codes, then posts charges to customers' credit cards for the amount it says they owe, prompting investigations by FTC, BBB, and MasterCard)

July 20, 2001

Wired News: What pops up must come down (irritating ads spur more users to install adblocking software) Sound familiar? Customers seek to assert nonexistent rights (informational web site with industry perspective says banks should be able to ignore customers' privacy opt-out requests if they aren't submitted using the bank's own form, even if the customer uses a standard form notice like this)

July 19, 2001

AP: users say farewell to free read (Let's see here ... it didn't succeed when they charged for it, and it didn't succeed when they made it free, so now they're going to charge for it again. Why not pay people to use it, instead? They'd lose a little on each customer, but they could make up for it in volume, right? Is it too late for me to patent that business model?)
Wired News: Fixing a hole where spam comes in

July 11, 2001

CNET eBay, PayPal open new chapter in feud; Start-up auction site sues PayPal
The Register: Europe bottles spam ban
OK, I hate to give them a free plug, but this web site is definitely worth checking out: Birthdate Search Engine. You can search for anyone's birthday (in the USA), and about half the time you'll find it. (You'll also get the person's zip code, which you can look up using one of these links: Census, ZipInfo, ZipFind.) Supposedly this data comes from "public records" ... but I have my doubts.
Winchester (UK) City Council: Get your butt here

July 03, 2001 E-tailers duel on shipping charges ( and Barnes & both are offering free shipping on orders of two or more items -- though you may be able to find better prices through or

June 21, 2001

The American Humane Association's Film and TV Unit rates movies based upon the treatment of animals during production. Check out their reviews of Freddy Got Fingered and Joe Dirt.
CNET IM chats don't fade from PCs' memories

June 14, 2001

CNET Trojan horse targets Word users (yet another security hole attributable to sloppy Microsoft code)

June 13, 2001

As if X-10's new "popunder" ads on the N.Y. Times web site and elsewhere weren't annoying enough, the company now lets you opt-out of the annoying ads -- but you have to let them place a cookie on your hard drive in order to opt out. (Actually, they'll put a cookie on your hard drive when you visit their web site, whether or not you opt out.) Yet another argument for an opt-in rule, if you ask me.

June 08, 2001

St. Petersburg Times: Clothes make the inmate (jail trusties say their new uniforms make them look like the Hamburglar)

May 17, 2001

CNET EU considers Net traffic, e-mail archive (police demand that all Internet communications be recorded and maintained for up to seven years) (also see Politechbot, The Register, and Statewatch)

April 26, 2001

Federal Trade Commission press release: FTC supports legislation to limit junk e-mail (also see Spam Laws)
The FTC's position may sound reasonable, but in fact the Commission favors a horrid out-out bill, S. 630. The FTC praises that bill in its testimony, saying that it "could make the use of commercial email a more effective marketing tool, because consumers likely would be more willing to trust the contents of a piece of UCE if they know the source of the email."

The FTC has been studying the spam issue for several years; you'd think that by now they would have figured out that the problem doesn't have anything to do with the content of communications. An effective spam law could help solve the spam problem, but legislating an opt-out rule would only make it much, much worse than it already is. Consumer groups rally to decry spam before Senate meeting

April 10, 2001

MasterCard International: Cease-and-desist letter to rec.humor.funny (apparently MasterCard can't buy a sense of humor)

March 27, 2001

CNET EU asked to tone down privacy standards (also see Reuters) (let's see here ... several years ago the European Union enacted a directive to protect the privacy of Europeans, and now American companies are suddenly upset that they may not be able to invade the privacy of European citizens as they do with Americans ... what's wrong with this picture?)

March 18, 2001

March 16, 2001

BBC News: Larry Potter returns to print (author of '80s Larry Potter books sues author of Harry Potter series, citing numerous instances of alleged plagiarism)
SecurityFocus: Verio gags EFF founder over spam

March 15, 2001

Washington Post: The address you leave behind (startup change-of-email-address company says it will forward e-mail for $10 per person per month)
... gee, $10 a month seems a bit steep to me, especially since they're going to send spam to each sender whose message they forward. (Worse yet, unless your old ISP has accepted a payoff from to keep forwarding your mail, you'll still have to keep paying that ISP's monthly fees.) How about $0.01 per person per month, and no spam? Uh, wait, I can do this myself for free, and not risk having someone at read my e-mail, spam my correspondents, market my new e-mail address or other personal info, or lose my e-mail while they're bouncing it across the country and back.
The Onion: Starbucks to begin sinister 'Phase Two' of operation
SecurityPortal: URL, URL, little do we know thee (an interesting article about URL spoofing)
Ananova: Everest climber breaks toe in home fall

March 07, 2001

Reuters: Aimster says Pig Latin code can circumvent Napster injunction (federal copyright law makes it illegal to reverse-engineer the simple encryption performed by its Aimster Pig Encoder, according to Aimster's CEO)
LawBlog is gay (thanks to FARK for the reference)
ISP-Planet: Three ISPs team up with controversial registrar (following launch of idealab!'s registry for non-ICANN-approved top-level domains, Earthlink and other ISPs agree to configure their name servers to recognize domains)

March 02, 2001

Wired News: Napster clone's curious terms (Aimster's new terms of service prevent copyright holders from searching for infringements)
Washington Post: Breaking it open, making it better (hackers upgrade their ReplayTV and TiVo digital video recorders)
Wired News: Do marketers know you're sick? (proposed health privacy regulations include loophole for marketers)
Ananova: Re-trial 'possible' after bored juror e-mails hundreds

March 01, 2001

The Recorder: Ground zero: Prosecutors in Silicon Valley are awash in requests for warrants to search e-mail servers (officials are flooded with complaints about anonymous Yahoo and Hotmail users)
Reuters: Eggs scrambled in truck crash (a truck carrying 10 tons of eggs crashed into another truck, scrambling breakfast-time traffic)
Reuters: Travel sites in free fall (stock prices plunge after Northwest Airlines says it will no longer pay commissions to travel web sites)

February 23, 2001

National Law Journal: Texas Supreme Court puts an end to law firm bonuses during clerkships
AP: U.S.-bound Chinese students get lesson in scandal
Orlando Sentinel: Barry University School of Law loses second bid for ABA approval; Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier: Appalachian School of Law wins provisional status from ABA
U. of Florida Alligator: UF's first notification letter sent to parents (university will inform parents of child's violations of campus alcohol policies)
Ananova: Court allows artist to sell sexual Barbie photos (also see RCFP press release)
USA Today: Filtering firm stops selling lists of sites kids visit
CNET High school student wins parody case (also see Ananova, and ACLU press release)
Wired News: Beware those insidious vcards (also see CNET, Computerworld,, The Register)

February 19, 2001

Newsweek: ‘Joyce DeWitt Virus’ harms almost no computers, experts say
Politechbot: Disposal fees for unsolicited ads on new computers (purchaser of new computers seeks payment from Microsoft for removal of contaminants, including "Windows 2000")
Politechbot: Here's what happens to email and web pages after someone dies
The Atlantic: The Reinvention of Privacy
N.Y. Post: Kid cyberslams teachers (12-year-old student suspended from school for posting web site containing altered photos and insults about teachers) (also see Ananova)
N.Y. Post: Oh, brother! DWI bust for Roger (Roger Clinton arrested for drunken driving arrest less than a month after a pardon by his former presidential half-brother wiped away his criminal record) (also see Pravda)

February 17, 2001

Reuters: Bush, in Mexico foray, faces dreaded green nemesis (President Bush visits ranch of Mexican president and broccoli grower Vincente Fox)

February 16, 2001

Federal Trade Commission: Internet "pagejacker" settles FTC charges
Village Voice: Making Nike sweat (Nike declines customer's order for personalized sneaker with the word "Sweatshop" on it) (also see Slashdot and Nike iD)
Oklahoma State Daily Collegian: Alumni's privacy may be at risk (alumni group sells data to credit card issuer)
Ananova: 'Free internet access' lands family with £17,000 bill ("free" service caused Floridian's computer to dial ISP in Britain)
SatireWire: Headhunting firm decapitates 250
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: Protest letter to the U.S. Secret Service (agents interrogated student author of editorial asking Jesus to smite George W. Bush)