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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

FTC Requires Zoom to Enhance its Security Practices as Part of Settlement

“The Federal Trade Commission today announced a settlement with Zoom Video Communications, Inc. that will require the company to implement a robust information security program to settle allegations that the video conferencing provider engaged in a series of deceptive and unfair practices that undermined the security of its users. Zoom has agreed to a requirement to establish and implement a comprehensive security program, a prohibition on privacy and security misrepresentations, and other detailed and specific relief to protect its user base, which has skyrocketed from 10 million in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that, since at least 2016, Zoom misled users by touting that it offered “end-to-end, 256-bit encryption” to secure users’ communications, when in fact it provided a lower level of security. End-to-end encryption is a method of securing communications so that only the sender and recipient(s)—and no other person, not even the platform provider—can read the content. In reality, the FTC alleges, Zoom maintained the cryptographic keys that could allow Zoom to access the content of its customers’ meetings, and secured its Zoom Meetings, in part, with a lower level of encryption than promised. Zoom’s misleading claims gave users a false sense of security, according to the FTC’s complaint, especially for those who used the company’s platform to discuss sensitive topics such as health and financial information. In numerous blog posts, Zoom specifically touted its level of encryption as a reason for customers and potential customers to use Zoom’s videoconferencing services. “During the pandemic, practically everyone—families, schools, social groups, businesses—is using videoconferencing to communicate, making the security of these platforms more critical than ever,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Zoom’s security practices didn’t line up with its promises, and this action will help to make sure that Zoom meetings and data about Zoom users are protected.” According to the FTC’s complaint, Zoom also misled some users who wanted to store recorded meetings on the company’s cloud storage by falsely claiming that those meetings were encrypted immediately after the meeting ended. Instead, some recordings allegedly were stored unencrypted for up to 60 days on Zoom’s servers before being transferred to its secure cloud storage. The FTC also alleged that the company compromised the security of some users when it secretly installed software, called a ZoomOpener web server, as part of a manual update for its Mac desktop application in July 2018. The ZoomOpener web server allowed Zoom to automatically launch and join a user to a meeting by bypassing an Apple Safari browser safeguard that protected users from a common type of malware. Without the ZoomOpener web server, the Safari browser would have provided users with a warning box, prior to launching the Zoom app, that asked users if they wanted to launch the app. The complaint alleges that Zoom did not implement any offsetting measures to protect users’ security, and increased users’ risk of remote video surveillance by strangers. The software remained on users’ computers even after they deleted the Zoom app, and would automatically reinstall the Zoom app—without any user action—in certain circumstances. The complaint alleges that Zoom’s deployment of the ZoomOpener, without adequate notice or user consent, was unfair and violated the FTC Act. Apple removed the ZoomOpener web server from users’ computers through an automatic update in July 2019…”

Password protect PDF files, Google Documents, Sheets, and Google Slides

Google Workspace Marketplace – “And remove password protection from encrypted files. Easily protect any PDF file in your Google Drive with a password and add restrictions around printing, commenting, and annotations. Send the encrypted PDF files via email without leaving Google Drive. The PDF toolbox can also password protect native Google file formats include Google… Continue Reading

Pandemic Amplifies Trouble with Restrictive Licensing and E-Textbooks

SPARC – “…With the shift to remote learning, the demand for digital learning materials has intensified. Library staff are finding themselves having to educate their communities about the licensing restrictions and some are speaking out about the untenable position in which publishers have put them. In a shot across the bow, the University of Guelph… Continue Reading

Webinar – The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law

“Join the Center for Data Innovation on Friday, November 13, 2020 at 12:00 PM EDT for a conversation with Ryan Abbott on his new book The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law. The book argues that, as a general principle, the law should not discriminate between AI and human behavior, and discusses how this… Continue Reading

Academic publishing practices are making ebooks unaffordable, unsustainable and inaccessible to university libraries

Campaign to investigate the academic ebook market – “We are a group of academic librarians, researchers and university lecturers who have compiled an open letter asking the UK government to urgently investigate the academic publishing industry over its ebook pricing and licensing practices. The current situation is not working and it needs to change. Librarians… Continue Reading

Publishers Are Taking the Internet to Court In a lawsuit against the Internet Archive

The Nation – the largest corporations in publishing want to change what it means to own a book. “…The Internet Archive is far more than the Open Library; it’s a nonprofit institution that has become a cornerstone of archival activity throughout the world. Brewster Kahle is an Internet pioneer who was writing about the importance… Continue Reading

2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report

Via Bluefin: “IBM and the Ponemon Institute’s long-awaited 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report has finally arrived — and with it comes critical insight into the current landscape of cyber security. For the fifteenth consecutive year, IBM and the Ponemon Institute have partnered to analyze the latest breaches at over 500 organizations to uncover… Continue Reading

Learn how to find image licensing information on Google Images

Google Blog: “First, we’re making it easier to find licensable images. For results where the publisher or image creator provided licensing information, we will display a “licensable” badge over the image. When you select a badged image to view, we will show a link to the license details of the image, and if provided by… Continue Reading

The Washington Post Will Soon Be Gone From LexisNexis

Washingtonian: “The Washington Post and LexisNexis have been unable to agree to terms. As a result, the Post‘s content stopped updating on LexisNexis products as of Saturday, the service announced to users last week, and archived content will vanish from the service on October 31…” [h/t Barclay Walsh] Continue Reading

YouTube Audio

“Enjoy royalty-free Sound Effects from the YouTube Audio Library. The YouTube Audio Library is a collection of music tracks that are freely available for YouTube creators to download and feature as background music in their videos. These high-quality 320kbps tracks are available royalty-free. Using them will not result in a claim on your video.” Continue Reading

Experts respond to big publishers’ attacks on libraries and digital lending

San Francisco, CALIFORNIA — “Overnight, millions of people all over the world lost access to millions of physical books when libraries and schools closed to stop the spread of COVID-19. The nonprofit Internet Archive (IA) is now being sued by four big publishers for actions IA took to help communities during the pandemic and establish… Continue Reading

A lawsuit is threatening the Internet Archive but it’s not as dire as you may have heard

Vox: “The Internet Archive (also known as IA or Archive.org), home to the giant vault of internet and public domain history known as the Wayback Machine, is currently facing a crisis — one largely defined by misinformation. A group of publishing companies filed a scathing copyright lawsuit earlier this month over the IA’s controversial attempt… Continue Reading