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The iii is an international group of researchers who study the legal, social, philosophical, and economic aspects of the internet. We comment on novel technologies, internet in general and more specific the interplay between the internet and the contributors’ own areas of expertise. More about us.


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Blog

A jubilant day for Net Neutrality?

5 Feb, 2015   | by:

On Wednesday, Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), made an announcement that let Net Neutrality advocates rejoice: he proposes the introduction of new rules “to preserve the internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression”. The proposed reclassification of internet services as Title II services under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 would impose stricter rules on those services, banning paid prioritisation, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. More…

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Buying your way around ad blocking software. The story of Adblock Plus

4 Feb, 2015   | by:

According to a 2014 report by Adobe and Page Fair, nearly 150 million internet users browse the web using ad blocking software, a 70 percent increase compared to 2013. It is safe to say, that ad blocking software is on the rise, and poses a serious problem for internet and media companies who have built their businesses on advertising revenue. More…

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Using NYC Taxi Data to identify Muslim taxi drivers

21 Jan, 2015   | by:

Remember that NYC Taxi data set that allowed you to see who visited a gentlemen’s clubs and which celebrity took a taxi where? Reddit user uluman now seems to have found a way to distinguish Muslim taxi drivers from the set. More…

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Privacy Roundtable – Re-Setting the Stage for Privacy

15 Jan, 2015   | by:

I’ve been meaning to blog about the Privacy Roundtable for a while and now with the New Year and all I’m finally getting around to it. The Privacy Roundtable is – similarly to the iii – an interdisciplinary group of PhD students (there are eight of us to be precise: Lea Aeschlimann, Rehana Harasgama, Flavius Kehr, Christoph Lutz, Veselina Milanova, Severina Müller, Pepe Strathoff & Aurelia Tamò) from the University of St.Gallen who meet more or less regularly to talk about privacy issues of our day and age.

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The Right to Remember: On the WP29’s Opinion concerning the Right to Be Forgotten Ruling & the Balancing of the Freedom of Expression

10 Dec, 2014   | by:

Two weeks ago the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) issued Guidelines on the Implementation of Google Spain judgment.

Let’s have a look at how often the WP29 elaborates on the delicate balance between oblivion, erasure or forgetting and the individuals’ right to freedom of expression. More…

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The Ghettoization of Facebook

19 Nov, 2014   | by:

(Disclaimer: I first wanted to name this post “Applying dynamics of urban sociology to the Internet”… I think “The Ghettoization of Facebook” is much sexier, though)

Can we analyze the digital sphere with the same concepts that have proved helpful in describing urban developments in the “real world”? Yes, we can! Today, I want to apply two such concepts to the Internet: gentrification and ghettoization.
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The server’s security certificate is not valid – Continue anyway?!

14 Nov, 2014   | by:

Certificate-Safari

Everyone is familiar with this scenario: you want to browse onto a particular website but instead a message pops up warning you that the security certificate of the site is no longer valid. What do you do now? Continue?
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Looking Into Living Rooms: Watch Footage Of Thousands Of Internet-Connected Cameras Online

4 Nov, 2014   | by:

A nightmare from the Internet of Things has arrived just in time for Christmas: images from thousands of internet-connected cameras from all over the world are publicly available, online, and ready for anyone to easily view. In September, MailOnline reported about an unspecified website that allows ‘home hackers’ to spy on people through internet-connected cameras. About a week ago, Motherboard‘s Joseph Cox also reported on the website without explicitly mentioning the website’s URL in his article. However, by linking to a WHOIS-record of the website’s domain name, Cox gave away the website’s URL. Many Dutch media are now reporting about the website and mention the website’s URL: insecam.com.

From pictures of backyards to schoolyards, detention centres to daycare centers, and even living rooms, you can watch them all on insecam.com. After browsing the website for a while, I saw many pictures of recognizable people having a coffee or working at their office. Below are some less-intrusive examples that hopefully still illustrate the magnitude of the privacy problems at issue.

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Are you Google famous? A look into the search engine’s algorithm in a post-right to be forgotten world

2 Nov, 2014   | by:

Fame is often a subjective inquiry. A famous person to one person can be a stranger to another. Someone considered famous in one country can be an average citizen in another. But Google, while implementing the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) ruling in Google, Inc. v. Mario Costeja González regarding the right to be forgotten, has attempted to make an objective determination of who the public considers famous. More…

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A Less Discussed Take on Cyberbullying: Building the Culture of Empathy

31 Oct, 2014   | by:

October was the national bullying prevention month in the United States and the media paid significant attention to the issue, with even Monica Lewinsky joining the anti-bullying campaign in an effort to end the culture of humiliation. Some anti-bullying campaigners criticized her involvement saying it would set back their cause because of Lewinsky’s tainted background. The latest results of the Pew Research Study on online harassment indicate the pervasiveness of this phenomenon: 60% of internet users said they witnessed someone being called offensive names; 53% have seen efforts to purposefully embarrass someone; and 24% witnessed someone being harassed for a sustained period of time (“sustained” usually being one of the requirements for researchers to label behavior as bullying). More…

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Obama stumps for net neutrality as FCC considers regulations that could alter Internet speeds

13 Oct, 2014   | by:

Not all of U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign promises have come to fruition. Remember Obama’s 2007 pledge to lead the most transparent administration in history? Seven years later, excessive prosecutions and threats under the Espionage Act, pressures on reporter James Risen to reveal his confidential sources, and resistance to Freedom of Information Act requests, among other measures, have proven that Obama has not lived up to his campaign rhetoric concerning transparency and press freedoms. More…

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Putting Oblivion, Erasure and Forgetting into Context

8 Oct, 2014   | by:

Damian George and I recently published an article on the right to be forgotten respectively the right of oblivion and erasure in the Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Law (JIPITEC). In this publication we discuss different cases handled by French, German and Italian courts and attempt to understand how the different legal backgrounds have led to a diverse implementation of the European data protection principles into national legislation.

We draw different insights from our comparative case law analysis and would like to share some of them here. More…

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The value of your personal data in a panoptic society

7 Oct, 2014   | by:

As the usage of Apps and other web-based services grows on a daily basis, using data as a currency has been the talk of the town – or more the globe. According to IBM which was quoted in an article written in 2013 by three consultants working for Deloitte: “Ninety percent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years” and Between now and 2020, the global volume of digital data is expected to multiply another 40 times or more”. More…

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2014- The Year the Internet may kill you

6 Oct, 2014   | by:

By the end of this year the Internet may kill you, and it won’t be due to heart failure from binge-watching Netflix shows. A recent report released by Europol has stated that 2014 will witness the first ‘cyber murder,’ or a murder committed through a hacked internet-connected device. As the Internet of Things grows, and items such as houses, cars, and health devices become “smart” and increasingly connected by the Internet, flaws in cyber security and the ever-present ingenuity of cyber hackers has become a real threat to personal security.

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The Singularity – On How Information Travels and Why That Matters for Consumers

6 Oct, 2014   | by:

It is October 5, and as I type this article, the entire online gadget world is craving for one of the most awaited products to launch in 2015. Yes, I am referring to the Apple Watch, pitched during the Apple even in Cupertino on September 9 earlier this year. Apple spared no marketing gimmicks in its attempts to draw global attention to next generation ‘wearable technology’. For instance, watching the Apple Watch video on their website makes me think of something Salman Khan once said in one of his Youtube videos: “If this doesn’t blow your mind, then you have no emotion.” More…

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Can you shoot a drone?

6 Oct, 2014   | by:

Drones are in the news. Or more accurately, their pilots and the people annoyed by them. The French Local has a story about an Israeli tourist flying a drone over the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris:

“The 24-year-old tourist had launched the drone, equipped with a Go-Pro camera, above the famous Gothic church on Wednesday morning, and sent it hovering over the historic Hotel Dieu hospital and a police station, a police source told AFP.”

The French police arrested him and made him spend the night in jail. The Israeli tourist was also given a hefty fine for “operating an aircraft non-compliant with safety laws.”

Another drone-story takes place not in a public space, but in the privacy of someone’s backyard. CBS Philadelphia reports about a New Jersey man being accused of shooting down his neighbor’s drone.

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Giving data back to its users, MIT Media Lab creates the Personal Data Store

29 Sep, 2014   | by:

MIT Media Lab researchers have developed a new program openPDS/SafeAnswers in which the starting point is that users collects their own data, and apps can only ask questions about this data, not get access to the data itself. A great way to protect privacy, if adopted generally.
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How should/do Google & Co. carry out the “Right to be Forgotten”?

28 Sep, 2014   | by:

The CJEU’s decision in the Case of Google Spain, Google v. AEPD has caused a lot of discussion around the globe (See both Anna’s and Stefan’s blog about the decision). Search Engines, especially Google, have called for guidance on how to decide whether information connected to a person’s name is

inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing at issue carried out by the operator of the search engines”

and thus has to be deleted. More…

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Ello Ello, bye bye Facebook?

26 Sep, 2014   | by:

Ello is new social networking space on the web that has recently received a lot of press. And signups. As writing this story, Ello’s popularity has crashed its front-end servers. (This is a problem of popularity other alternatives to Facebook like Diaspora could only dream of.)

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What does celebrity surveillance mean for the rest of us?

25 Sep, 2014   | by:

The first celebrity photo hack has already received a great deal of attention, and the second hack has gotten only slightly less. Much has already been thoughtfully written about the first hack, the celebrity women exposed by the hack (forbes), and the legal, security, and privacy implications (Apple states no iCloud breach). Stefan might be poised to speak with the most authority about the legal defense of copyright, and I urge anyone curious about current research into Revenge Porn and copyright in the United States to check out the work of Levendowski on this topic (see here).
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