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Category Archives: E-Commerce

Senate Sends Legislation Protecting Consumer Reviews to President

News release: “The U.S. Senate [November 28, 2016], by unanimous consent, sent bicameral legislation to the White House for the President’s signature that will outlaw the use of “gag clauses” in non-negotiable form contracts. Some businesses have attracted national scrutiny for using gag clauses to punish or silence honest criticism of products and services. The sponsors of the Senate version released the following statements: “By ending gag clauses, this legislation supports consumer rights and the integrity of critical feedback about products and services sold online. I appreciate the bipartisan efforts of my Senate and House colleagues to get this legislation over the finish line,” said Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.). “Reviews on where to shop, eat, or stay on websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor help consumers make informed choices about where to spend their money. Every consumer has the right to share their honest experiences and opinions of any business without the fear of legal retaliation, and the passage of our bill brings us one step closer to protecting that right,” said Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “Just as word of mouth is used by family and friends to share experiences with particular brands or businesses, online reviews have significant benefits to consumers in their purchasing decisions. I’m pleased this legislation will now be sent to the president’s desk. It will help make certain consumers in Kansas and across the country are able to make their voices heard without fear of lawsuits or financial repercussions for honest feedback,” said Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)…”

Pew – Gig Work, Online Selling and Home Sharing

24% of Americans report earning money from the digital ‘platform economy’ in the past year. The extra income they make is a luxury for some, but a necessity for others. “From neighborhood handymen to freelance computer programmers, Americans have long taken on piecemeal work in lieu of (or in addition to) traditional salaried employment. But… Continue Reading

FTC “Sharing Economy” Report Explores Evolving Internet And App-Based Services

“A Federal Trade Commission staff report released today provides an in-depth assessment of evolving business models that rely on internet and app-based “sharing economy” platforms used by millions of Americans. The report summarizes a June 2015 FTC public workshop and highlights a number of competitive benefits and potential consumer protection challenges posed by disruptive business… Continue Reading

100,000 android smartphones have backdoor hacking your data sending it to China

Secret Backdoor in Some U.S. Phones Sent Data to China, Analysts Say – “For about $50, you can get a smartphone with a high-definition display, fast data service and, according to security contractors, a secret feature: a backdoor that sends all your text messages to China every 72 hours. Security contractors recently discovered preinstalled software… Continue Reading

Amazon sues resellers of counterfeit goods

WSJ – “Amazon.com Inc. this week filed lawsuits targeting sellers allegedly listing counterfeit goods on its website, publicly cracking down on an issue that has caused increasing friction. The two lawsuits, Amazon’s first legal challenge against its third-party sellers for bogus products, pertain to fake versions of the Forearm Forklift, a strap system that allows… Continue Reading

Cell phone numbers are new avenue to disrupt privacy and access personal data

New York Times – A 10-Digit Key Code to Your Private Life: Your Cellphone Number – Steve Lohr – “A mobile number can be even more valuable than a Social Security number, since it’s tied to so many databases and connected to a device you carry with you.” Continue Reading

Vanity Fair – Welcome to the Dark Net

Welcome to the Dark Net, A Wilderness Where Invisible World Wars Are Fought and Hackers Roam Free “…Definitions. A vulnerability is a weakness in a network’s defenses. An exploit is a piece of software that takes advantage of a vulnerability. A zero-day exploit is a piece of software that takes advantage of a vulnerability that… Continue Reading

Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note7 Smartphones Due to Serious Fire and Burn Hazards

Consumer Product Safety Commission: “This recall involves the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone sold before September 15, 2016.  The recalled devices have a 5.7 inch screen and were sold in the following colors:  black onyx, blue coral, gold platinum and silver titanium with a matching stylus. Samsung is printed on the top front of the phone… Continue Reading

NextGov – Who’s in Charge of Regulating the Internet of Things?

Via NextGov – “The “internet of things” refers to a group of technology so vast the term is beginning to lose meaning. The internet of things hints at a vision of a ubiquitous network of electronics: refrigerators pinging their owners’ smartphones if they’ve run out of eggs, wearable devices that can detect the tell-tale vibrations of… Continue Reading

The Independent – full list of 98 different datapoints that Facebook stores about people

“Facebook reveals every creepy bit of information that it stores on its users. There are 98 different things – including some of the most personal information there can be about a person…” Continue Reading

Pay It Forward Investigating a Sustainable Model of Open Access Article Processing Charges for Large North American Research Institutions

University of California Libraries, June 30, 2016, Revised July 18, 2016. Pay It Forward Investigating a Sustainable Model of Open Access Article Processing Charges for Large North American Research Institutions “As the global open access movement continues to grow and evolve, the question of whether a wholesale shift of the scholarly journal publishing system to… Continue Reading