Posts Tagged ‘Internet’

WhatsApp limits forwarding in India after mob lynchings

July 20, 2018

WhatsApp announced limits on Friday on the forwarding of messages by its 200 million Indian users in an effort to stop a spate of horrific lynchings and to assuage government threats of legal action in its biggest market.

More than 20 people have been butchered by crazed mobs in the past two months across India after being accused of child kidnapping and other crimes in viral messages circulated wildly on WhatsApp.

Late Thursday, India’s government, scrambling to find a response, threatened to take WhatsApp to court, saying the “medium” for spreading malicious rumours “cannot evade responsibility and accountability”.

“If (WhatsApp) remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action,” the information technology ministry said.

The Facebook-owned firm responded on Friday with an announcement it will test limiting the ability to forward messages and cap at five the number of contacts or groups that messages can be forwarded to.

It addition, it said it will remove the “quick forward button” next to media messages, making sending on messages more cumbersome.

An Indian newspaper vendor reading a newspaper with a full back page advertisement from WhatsApp intended to counter fake information
WhatsApp published full-page advertisements in leading Indian newspapers

“We believe that these changes — which we’ll continue to evaluate — will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app,” a statement said.

Worldwide, the company will limit the number of forwards to 20 other groups, a spokesman said.

Under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the firm had already announced new features to help users identify messages that have been forwarded.

It bought full-page adverts in Indian newspapers with tips on how to spot misinformation.

Read: When a text can trigger a lynching: WhatsApp struggles with incendiary messages in India

The ministry also called on WhatsApp to enable the “traceability” of messages when an official request is made.

But the platform on Friday said its messages would stay “end-to-end encrypted”.

Chocolates to kids

Lynchings are nothing new in India, but the spread of smartphones — there are a billion plus handsets, and data is cheap — to even the most remote corners has enabled rumours to be shared at lightning speed.

In India, people forward on WhatsApp more messages, photos, and videos, than any other country in the world, the company says.

Gopal Chandra Das, father of lynching victim Nilotpal Das, with a picture of his son at his residence in Guwahati, the capital city of Assam, pictured on July 9. ─ AFP
Gopal Chandra Das, father of lynching victim Nilotpal Das, with a picture of his son at his residence in Guwahati, the capital city of Assam, pictured on July 9. ─ AFP

The latest incident last Friday saw a 27-year-old software engineer beaten to death by a crowd of more than 2,000 people in the southern state of Karnataka after he and his friends offered chocolates to local children.

Fatal attacks have also been carried out on Muslims by “cow protection” groups roaming highways and inspecting livestock trucks. Cows are sacred to the majority Hindu community.

Indian authorities have launched awareness campaigns and patrols and imposed internet blackouts in some areas but the impact has been limited.

One official “rumour buster” was himself beaten to death in the north-east in June.

In China WhatsApp is subject to major disruption, prompting people to use the homegrown WeChat. But elsewhere in Asia and beyond, WhatsApp and other tech firms have come under fire for the spread of “fake news”.

Major media organisations, often in partnership with big technology and social media corporations, have stepped up fact-checking and other steps to support credible journalism.

Internet firms, after initial reluctance to define themselves as “media”, have stepped up efforts to identify false news and to “curate” stories from “trusted” news sources.

In Pakistan, WhatsApp this week began a week-long publicity campaign offering tips to spot fake news ahead of elections on July 25.

In India, the firm is in discussions with the government on how to tackle spam messages ahead of upcoming elections and bringing in a fake news verification model similar to one used recently in Mexico, the Economic Times reported on Friday.

This week, the Supreme Court told the government to enact new legislation. Commentator and former magazine editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta told AFP that just criticising WhatsApp was insufficient.

“You can shoot the messenger but the primary responsibility lies with the government to take action against the perpetrators,” he told AFP.

For more live updates, follow Dawn.com’s official news Instagram account@dawn.today

https://www.dawn.com/news/1421344/whatsapp-limits-forwarding-in-india-after-mob-lynchings

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‘Fake news often goes viral’: WhatsApp ads warn India after mob lynchings
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/13/fake-news-whatsapp-ads-india-mob-lynchings
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Anti-Semitic online harassment in Germany on the rise, study finds

July 19, 2018

When Yorai Feinberg first opened his restaurant in Berlin, he felt welcome. But lately the Israeli has increasingly been the recipient of hate mail. A new study has found that hate in Germany has become more radical.

    
Yorai Feinberg (picture-alliance/dpa/J. Carstensen)

Yorai Feinberg has gotten used to hearing from “Ludwig Fischer.” Every few days the Berlin restaurant owner receives emails from a man who writes under the pseudonym of one of Hitler’s most notorious SA henchmen. He calls Feinberg a “filthy rat,” says the Holocaust is just a “scam” and rants that all Jews will land in the gas chamber.

Feinberg has collected some 60 pages of hate mail from Ludwig Fischer alone. “I don’t take it so personally anymore. I don’t take it too seriously,” says Feinberg.

Threshold getting lower

The Israeli says that when he came to Berlin six years ago, he felt at home right away: “I was immediately welcomed in Berlin.” Feinberg lived in Vienna before moving to Berlin, where he says the mood toward Jews and Israelis was less relaxed than in Germany. But he adds: “Things have gotten a bit worse meanwhile.”

The last few months have seen several high-profile attacks on Jews in Germany. Just last week a Jewish-American professor was attacked by a young German of Palestinian descent in the city of Bonn. In April, an attack on a yarmulke-wearing man in Berlin made international headlines.

Read moreGerman Jewish groups say NGOs must fight anti-Semitism if they want public funds

But it is online where attacks and insults are most frequently directed toward Jews and Israelis. That is according to a new study conducted by the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), in which researchers studied 300,000 mostly anonymous texts. Most came from social media sites. The conclusion: Not only are more hateful comments directed at Jews, they are also becoming more radical.

“The threshold is sinking,” says Monika Schwarz-Friesel, who heads the TU Berlin institute for language and communication. “People use the anonymity of the internet to disseminate anti-Semitic comments.”

Anti-Semitism from the heart of society

Feinberg had his first encounter with anti-Semitism in Germany’s capital on the street. In December of 2017, a man berated him for several minutes in front of his restaurant. Feinberg recorded the incident and put it online. He says he received a lot of support from across the country. Nevertheless, he has also received an increasing amount of hate mail. “The problem is not a few evil individuals,” he says, “but all of those who agree with them.”

Read more‘Solidarity Hoodie’ challenges anti-Semitism

The TU Berlin study backs up that statement. “Anti-Semitism doesn’t only come from right-wing extremists or the populist scene,” says Schwarz-Friesel. She notes that left-leaning and liberal people as well as Muslims drew her attention with their anti-Semitic comments. “Everyday anti-Semitism rooted in the heart of society is the most dangerous,” in Schwarz-Friesel’s estimation. Radical statements are often brushed off as crazy, but when educated segments of society express anti-Semitic sentiment it is much more likely to gain acceptance, she says.

Old prejudices

“We were shocked to see that prejudices against Jews had changed so little over the last hundred years,” says Schwarz-Friesel, adding that Jews are still seen as the “scourge of the world,” a race that must be eradicated.

The arguments of today’s anti-Semites differ little from people with similar prejudices in the sixteenth century. One slight change, however, is that today’s anti-Semitism is often mixed with criticism of the state of Israel.

Read moreSeparating anti-Semitism from criticism of Israel

Most of the hate mail directed at Feinberg comes from the far-right. Pseudonyms like Ludwig Fischer point to a particular bent and the texts themselves tend to suggest a certain ideological template. Writers often deny the Holocaust, claiming that concentration camps never existed and that the Jews themselves that were responsible for the mass murder that took place during the Second World War, not the Nazis.

“The atmosphere in Germany has become more extreme overall, in every direction,” says Feinberg “Those on the right are getting more extreme and the left has also grown more extreme as a result.”

No perpetrator punished

Nevertheless, Feinberg is fighting the hate, but it isn’t always easy. When he shared the first hate mail he received from Ludwig Fischer on Facebook, it was immediately taken down and his account was blocked. The social media network’s censorship algorithms seemingly do not differentiate between the threatening and the threatened. Feinberg says he also feels abandoned by the justice system: “None of the attackers have been punished yet. I have experienced a number of extreme cases where I think the person issuing the attacks deserves to be punished for their actions.”

“If this trend continues, anti-Semitism will become more normal in real life, not just online,” says Schwarz-Friesel, explaining that today, the internet and reality are more intertwined than ever.

Still, Feinberg is hopeful that the situation will improve: “I am not going to leave Germany just because of a tiny and insignificant part of society.”

https://www.dw.com/en/anti-semitic-online-harassment-in-germany-on-the-rise-study-finds/a-44738878

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In Germany, online anti-Semitism is going mainstream

July 18, 2018

Jew-hatred on the web has risen 22% in a decade, with bigotry masquerading as anti-Israel criticism and relying on classic tropes, research reveals

Private security personel with 'Aryan Brotherhood' on his T-shirt opens the gate at the venue of the 'Schild und Schwert' (Shield and Sword) neo-Nazi festival, in the small eastern German town of Ostritz on April 20, 2018.( AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL)

Private security personel with ‘Aryan Brotherhood’ on his T-shirt opens the gate at the venue of the ‘Schild und Schwert’ (Shield and Sword) neo-Nazi festival, in the small eastern German town of Ostritz on April 20, 2018.( AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL)

A long-awaited study by internationally renowned anti-Semitism expert Monika Schwarz-Friesel has found that the amount of German anti-Semitic content on the internet has grown massively in the last 10 years, permeates mainstream society, and is increasingly extreme.

Released Wednesday, the research project studied 300,000 pieces of German internet content between 2014 and 2018, with a focus on social media. During the first year of the study, slightly less than 23 percent of the content was classified as anti-Semitic. In 2017, this number had jumped to over 30%.

A similar study conducted by Schwarz-Friesel in 2007 found only 7.5% of the internet content examined to be anti-Semitic, indicating an increase of more than 22% over the last decade.

The latest results show not only a massive increase in the amount of anti-Semitic content found online, but also a radicalization in terms of the content’s quality. For example, anti-Semitic comments in response to news and other articles have not only grown in number, but have become more rabid.

The study was funded by the German Research Association, and the results were published today at a press conference at the Techinical University of Berlin, where Schwarz-Friesel is a professor of cognitive science.

Monika Schwarz-Friesel. (Marc Neugröschel/Times of Israel)

“Anti-Semitism is ubiquitous in online communication,” says Schwarz-Friesel. “It has also increased and intensified in regard to Web 2.0, and hyperlinks to photos, texts, songs, and films.”

In fact, campaigns against anti-Semitism themselves on social media networks such as Facebook elicit massive amounts of anti-Jewish comments. Thirty-eight percent of comments posted in response to a 2014 German Facebook campaign entitled #Never Again Jew-Hatred were actually anti-Semitic.

The study also found that much online anti-Semitism appears as stereotypes projected at the State of Israel.

Schwarz-Friesel says that Israel-related anti-Semitism can be distinguished from legitimate criticism of Israel through several quantifiable metrics. She says there is little ground for oft-voiced concerns that any criticism of Israel can potentially be viewed as anti-Semitic.

Pepe the Frog, an internet meme, has become a symbol of the alt-right. (Twitter/Lior Zaltzman)

“It has been scientifically proven that Israel-related anti-Semitism is based on classic anti-Jewish stereotypes,” says a statement by Schwarz-Friesel and her team of researchers.

Remarkably, the study also found that anti-Semitic statements masquerading as criticism of Israel often appear in contexts unrelated to the Middle East conflict.

The Israel-related anti-Semitism, according to the researchers, is especially worrying as it is often considered to be socially acceptable and therefore meets little resistance among the mainstream and elites of society. This causes it to play an especially integral role in the spreading and consolidation of anti-Semitic worldviews.

However, anti-Semitism related to Israel is not the most widespread form of Jew hatred online. Fifty-four percent of the anti-Semitic material reviewed by researchers was based on classic anti-Semitic tropes, such as, “Jews are humanity’s greatest woe.”

Countering assertions that Muslim anti-Semitism is largely a response to Israeli politics, Muslim anti-Semitism was found to be based on such classic stereotypes more often than on Israel-related topics.

Worryingly, the study claimed that the overall increase in online anti-Semitism was not coming from extremist elements. This signifies that bigotry against Jews is not confined to radical splinter groups, but rather permeates mainstream society.

Finally, the study found a uniformity in anti-Semitic notions among users regardless of political affiliation or ideological background, bearing witness to anti-Semitism’s social entrenchment and cultural continuity.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-germany-online-anti-semitism-is-going-mainstream-study-finds/

Indian police arrest 25 in latest WhatsApp rumor-led lynching

July 15, 2018

Image result for india, police, photos

Police in India have arrested more than two dozen men who were part of a mob that lynched a 32-year-old man after rumors spread over WhatsApp that he was a child-kidnapper, police said on Sunday.

The killing of Mohammed Azam, who police said was a call center employee, in the southern state of Karnataka on Friday, was the latest in a series of assaults in India triggered by false messages about child abductors spread through Facebook Inc-owned WhatsApp.

At least three people have been killed and more than a dozen assaulted over such rumors this year, according to media reports.

Dileep Sagar, a police inspector in Karnataka, said a mob of at least 50 people attacked Azam and a relative after they were spotted offering chocolates to children in a remote village.

India is WhatsApp’s biggest market, with more than 200 million users.

The Information Technology ministry wrote to WhatsApp this month asking it to take measures to curb the spread of such fake messages.

WhatsApp put out advertisements in newspapers last week announcing an “education campaign” on how to spot fake news, adding it would also start labeling forwarded messages.

A spokeswoman for the company contacted on Sunday declined to make an immediate comment.

The inspector, Sagar, said at least 10 police officers, including him, were inured as they tried to control the attackers. Azam’s relative was injured.

Police have also arrested the administrator of a WhatsApp group on which the false messages were spread.

India: villagers lynch visitor for offering chocolate to girl

July 15, 2018

 

Villagers beat a person to death and injured two others with sticks and stones because they suspected them to be child-lifters.

The incident Friday night happened at Thoul hamlet and Murki village in Aurad taluk, Bidar district, India.

fake news

Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp on July 10, 2018 published full-page advertisements in Indian dailies in a bid to counter fake information that has sparked mob lynching attacks across the country. PHOTO |

India blames an uptick of mob violence and lynchings on fake news and widely spread rumours on social media.

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‘Fake news often goes viral’: WhatsApp ads warn India after mob lynchings
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/13/fake-news-whatsapp-ads-india-mob-lynchings

When fake news sparks violence: India grapples with online rumours, mob violence

July 14, 2018

India has been shaken by a spate of mob killings sparked by a hoax about child kidnappers spread on WhatsApp.

In just two months, 20 people have been murdered in such attacks. Officials and social media platforms have so far been powerless to stop the violence.

But who is to blame? And why is a rumour turning people to violence?

– A rumour is born –

An online hoax emerged more than a year ago in eastern India claiming strangers were sedating and abducting children. Six men falsely accused of snatching kids off the streets were killed by mobs in Jharkhand state, police said.

© AFP/File | India is fertile ground for fake news to take hold and spread

In February this year, the rumours resurfaced nearly a thousand miles away in western India. By May, it had reached the country’s southern states, often accompanied by a grainy video purporting to show men on motorbikes stealing kids.

This falsehood spread like wildfire via WhatsApp, which boasts 200 million users in India who send a billion messages a day.

Later, a grisly video claiming to show Indian children killed by organ-harvesting gangs went viral. The macabre images were Syrian infants killed in a gas attack five years ago.

Translated into regional languages, the rumour triggered violence across India, particularly in rural areas where distrust of outsiders is entrenched and digital literacy is poor.

By early July, at least twenty people had been killed in the previous two months. Among the victims were homeless people, two picnic goers and an elderly woman handing out chocolates to children.

– Police powerless –

India’s police rounded up suspects and formed patrols, driving village to village to quash the rumours. In some areas, travelling musicians sung about the scourge of fake news.

Authorities in some states shut down internet access in a desperate bid to stop the hoax from spreading.

But the awareness campaigns had limited effect. In one instance, an official “rumour buster” was himself beaten to death.

Anger turned to WhatsApp, blamed by authorities for spreading “irresponsible and explosive messages”.

– Seeking penance –

WhatsApp said it was “horrified” by the violence and assured Indian authorities it was taking action.

The Facebook-owned company said it was working with Indian researchers to better understand the problem and had introduced changes which it said would reduce the spread of such messages.

But some pointed out that WhatsApp as a medium was not to blame, and urged the authorities to tackle the violence.

– Mob rule –

India is no stranger to mob violence, with well-documented cases of crowds turning on victims for every manner of transgression, real or imagined.

In recent years, for example, there has been a sharp escalation in “cow vigilantism” — Hindu extremists murdering Muslims and thrashing low-caste Dalits accused of killing cows or eating beef.

Many of the victims in other vigilante killings, such as those over child kidnapping rumours, are targeted because they are outsiders.

– Facts vs. Fiction –

India is fertile ground for fake news to take hold and spread.

It has a billion-plus mobile phone users — more than any other country on earth — and close to half a billion people with internet access, most via their smartphones.

Cheap handsets and data plans are bringing more Indians online but many are first-time internet users unskilled in discerning fact from fiction.

Indian police say there is no substance to the child kidnapping rumours, but the viral videos may not appear outlandish to some.

More than 120,000 children were abducted or went missing in 2016, according to the most recent Indian government figures. There is no data available on the number of children who were found.

AFP

India: Sex and blackmail are taking on a vicious new life on the internet

July 8, 2018

On a late February evening after work, Rahul Mehta (name changed), a 27-year-old bachelor in Delhi, was settli ..

Young beautiful spanish woman in the streets of Barcelona. : Stock Photo

“You have been fooled. I’m a man, not a woman, and if you do not send me $2000, I will share the video with your friends and family….

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Sending suggestive pictures on a cellphone or over the Internet can result in state and federal penalties.

Americans are accustomed to a wide range of privacy protections under the U.S. Constitution, including protection for some private behavior that involves explicit images. The media has widely covered a new sexual behavior that has evolved with the proliferation of the Internet and cell phones: sexting.

Sexting is the taking or sharing of nude or sexually suggestive photographs over the Internet or using a cell phone. While this behavior has been often discussed in the media as something in which teens engage, adults in Virginia need to remember that if they engage in this behavior – even when the image sent digitally is meant to remain between consenting adults – in some situations they could face state or federal criminal charges as a result.

A danger faced by an adult who sexts with another consenting adult is that once the image is sent, there is no control over who may view it or whether it could be opened in a public place, which could increase the possibility of criminal charges.

Obviously, it is a crime for an adult to send a nude picture to a minor, but an 18-year-old dating a 17-year-old may not think about this if he or she sends a picture of him or herself to a boy or girlfriend who is still a minor. In addition, a college student who engages in such behavior may face not only a criminal investigation and potential charges, but also university or college disciplinary proceedings.

Some of the Virginia state crimes that could potentially be charged for sexting behavior include:

  • Stalking
  • Distributing an obscene item
  • Photographing him or herself obscenely for distribution
  • Displaying pornography or obscene video material to children
  • Engaging in obscene sexual display
  • Engaging in indecent exposure
  • Engaging in an obscene exhibition or performance
  • And others

Many of these crimes have more serious penalties if a computer is used to commit them, if children are involved or for repeat offenses.

Such behavior may also violate federal criminal laws, especially since sending images electronically easily crosses state lines.

What are the penalties?

Virginia and federal pornography and obscenity laws are harsh and may not take into account whether the person intended that anyone other than the recipient see the image or meant the sexted image to be part of an intimate relationship between consenting adults. Conviction could result in years of prison time as well as requirement that the defendant register as a sex offender. In addition, significant harm can result to career, reputation and personal and family relationships.

Anyone facing an investigation or charges for a sex crime related to sexting, even if it was an innocent mistake, should seek legal advice and reputation immediately. Being in such a situation can be confusing and extremely frightening. A defense attorney will launch an investigation on behalf of the accused, exploring potential defenses like unreasonable search and seizure of electronic devices or inadequate intention to commit the offense.

A defense lawyer will advise the client of the pros and cons of negotiation with the prosecution and if necessary advocate vigorously at trial. Facing such charges is an extremely serious situation and not one to face without an experienced attorney on your side.

https://www.weisbergattorneys.com/Articles/An-adult-can-face-sex-crime-charges-for-Internet-sexting-in-Virginia.shtml

California Passes Sweeping Data-Privacy Bill

June 29, 2018

By passing bill, legislature headed off a more restrictive ballot initiative that recently qualified to appear before voters in November

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California lawmakers gave consumers unprecedented protections for their data and imposed tough restrictions on the tech industry, potentially establishing a privacy template for the rest of the nation.

The law, which was rushed through the legislature this week and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday, broadens the definition of what constitutes personal information and gives California consumers the right to prohibit the sale of personal data to third parties and opt out of sharing it altogether. The bill applies to internet giants such as Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google but also will affect businesses of any size that collect data on their customers.

Ashkan Soltani, a digital researcher and former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission, said the regulations are the first of their kind in the U.S.

While the law only applies to consumers in California, tech companies will likely shift their policies to conform to the new law given the complexity of carving out conflicting standards. It may also spur Congress to consider federal legislation, coming after multiple hearings in which legislators peppered industry executives with questions about whether they were taking data privacy seriously enough.

The bill doesn’t go into effect until 2020 and could still be amended. It is almost certain that major tech firms will lobby heavily to get certain concessions, and an industry group said Thursday that it would push for changes.

By passing the bill, the legislature headed off a more restrictive ballot initiative that recently qualified to appear before California voters in November. The ballot initiative was strongly opposed by most of the tech industry, which broadly viewed the legislation as the lesser of two evils.

At a press briefing on Thursday, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company supported the bill.

GDPR: What Is It and How Might It Affect You?

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation on data privacy will come into force on May 25, 2018. This video explains how it could affect you, even if you don’t live in the EU.

Alastair MacTaggart, a San Francisco real-estate developer who spearheaded the ballot initiative, said the passage of a data-privacy law in Silicon Valley’s home state bodes well for privacy advocates around the U.S. “If it happened here, it will happen in the rest of the country,” Mr. MacTaggart said at a press conference at the Capitol building in Sacramento following the governor’s signing. He said he would withdraw the ballot initiative.

“My hope is other states will follow, ensuring privacy and safeguarding personal information in a way the federal government has so far been unwilling to do,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd (D., Napa), who co-authored the law.

The law that was passed has some similarities with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation law, which went into effect last month.

One difference is that the California measure includes more provisions allowing consumers to opt out of data sharing as opposed to forcing them to opt in before continuing to use online sites. However, the California bill places the onus on consumers to request disclosure or opt out, while the European law requires businesses to be more active about providing disclosures to consumers, said Quyen Truong, an attorney at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

The California law also protects consumers from companies charging consumers a premium if they don’t share their data. Additionally, the law prohibits a business from selling the personal data of anybody under the age of 16 unless that child agrees; parental permission is still required for children under 13 years. It gives consumers the right to have their personal data deleted; the right to know the commercial purpose for collecting their data; and the categories of sources from which the data are collected.

The legislation grants the state attorney general the authority to fine companies that don’t secure consumers’ sensitive information from cyberthreats.

In a statement, Robert Callahan, vice president of state government affairs for the internet Association, an industry group that includes Google, Facebook and Amazon, said, “It is critical going forward that policymakers work to correct the inevitable, negative policy and compliance ramifications this last-minute deal will create for California’s consumers and businesses alike.”

Appeared in the June 29, 2018, print edition as ‘California Passes Privacy Template.’

Google Influence Gets Credit for Killing New York’s Revenge-Porn Bill

June 21, 2018

New York’s revenge-porn bill died early Thursday morning after the Senate adjourned for the year and took no action in the wake of an 11th-hour campaign by Google against the legislation.

The proposal — which has languished in Albany since its introduction in 2013 and was recently taken up again after a Post exposé — would have made nonconsensual dissemination of sexually explicit images a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Google is opposed to any government oversight over how it regulates content.

It would have also helped victims sue Web hosts to remove the offending images.

But Google mounted a late effort against the bill, with the Internet behemoth opposed to any government oversight over how it regulates content.

Attorney Carrie Goldberg, who’d been leading lobbying efforts for the bill, was livid that senators went home without even taking a vote, effectively killing the legislation until next year.

The only long-shot chance for the bill is if lawmakers decide to come back for a special session, though there’s been no talk of that.

“It’s deeply disturbing that Google and tech lobbyists were quiet as a church mouse for the five years this bill has been percolating in Albany and then literally the morning it’s up for vote, they bulldoze in with coercive demands on our lawmakers to change the language,” Goldberg said.

“It’s a disgrace how weak our lawmakers look for bowing down to these tech corporate overlords.”

The Internet Association — an influential lobbying group working on behalf of Google and a host of other Web sites used to disseminate revenge porn — fought the bill, which has passed the Assembly but needed Senate approval.

Gov. Cuomo had pledged to sign the bill, had the proposal made it to his desk.

The legislation’s sponsor, state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) said he plans to continue to push for the bill’s passage.

But Boyle’s pledge didn’t placate Goldberg, who accused lawmakers of being in the pocket of “Big Tech.”

“There could be no better showing of what unfettered power big tech has on our government. It’s sickening. Any claims they make that big tech is aligned with victims of revenge porn are as hollow as Trump saying he’s aligned with separated immigrant families facing deportation,” she said.

“Big Tech, especially Google, created the revenge porn problem. And now, just as we were about to enable victims to demand removal of their most intimate material from the internet via this law, Google renews its abuse.”

A rep for Google could not be reached for comment.

Additional reporting by Julia Marsh, Max Jaeger and David K. Li

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Social Media Contributing to Epidemic of Mental Illness

June 14, 2018

NHS is “picking up the pieces” of an epidemic of mental illness among children, fuelled by social media, the head of the service has warned.

Simon Stevens urged companies like Google and Facebook to take more responsibility for the pressures they place on children.

Young girl using an iPad at home

It follows calls for social media and online gaming firms to have a statutory “duty of care” to protect children from mental ill health, abuse and addictive behaviour.

By 
The Telegraph
13 JUNE 2018 • 7:00PM
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The icons of social media apps, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp, on a smartphone

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester, Mr Stevens said Britain’s children were hit by a “double epidemic” of mental illness and obesity.

The average person in this country spends twice as long on the toilet as they do exercising
–Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England

But he said the health service could not tackle its ills alone – turning on social media giants to do more to protect children.

“We have to ask some pretty searching questions around the role of technology companies, social media and the impact that is having on childhood,” he said.

“This cannot be a conversation that is simply left to the NHS to pick up the pieces for an epidemic of mental health challenge for our young people, induced by many other actors across our economy.”

He also called for more action to tackle unhealthy lifestyles, and said he hoped to see “renewed pragmatism” from the Government in its updated childhood obesity strategy, due to be published soon.

“The average person in this country spends twice as long on the toilet as they do exercising,” the NHS chief executive said.

Protect yourself and your family. Find out more about our Duty of Care campaign to regulate social media