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Google Privacy Debate Hits Australia

The recent concern surrounding privacy laws is now making waves in Australia.

The European Union announced last week it was investigating whether Google has breached European privacy laws, and now the Australian privacy experts have added their opinion, as reported in the Australian Financial Review:

“Australians using US-based internet search engines are exposing themselves to privacy laws that are routinely bypassed by the US government and opening themselves to invasions of privacy that would never be allowed in other countries”

The issue here, the Aussie experts say, is that US privacy laws are different to Australian ones, and that Google could at any time be forced to give up the information they are holding to the US government. Of course, Google maintains that they have legitimate reasons for collecting information about internet users, but Australians are now being warned that US-based search engines, particularly Google, may be breaching their privacy rights.

GoDaddy Inherits RegisterFly’s Domains

GoDaddy will inherit some 850,000 of the domains originally registered by RegisterFly according to this week’s ICANN agreement. RegisterFly has been struggling for some time. Last month, a federal judge issued an injunction enabling ICANN to terminate RegisterFly’s accreditation. This came after many different problems and customer complaints, not the least of which were fraud accusations.

E-Commerce Times describes one of the fiascoes well:

Those problems include allegations of fraud and that RegisterFly aggressively cajoled customers to purchase upgraded services. Some customers complained to ICANN that they missed deadlines for renewal of domains, only to see those domains transferred to a company owned by RegisterFly CEO Kevin Medina, who then offered to sell the domains back at a higher price.

Google Faces FTC Investigation, Did Microsoft Shoot Itself in the Foot?

The Federal Trade Commission has decided to investigate whether Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick opens up any antitrust issues, according to the NYT.

The inquiry began at the end of last week…[t]his step, known as a “second request” for information, can suggest that a proposed acquisition raises more serious antitrust issues. But legal experts said the request is mainly a sign that the agency is closely scrutinizing the Google deal….Still, privacy issues are not typically the concern of antitrust officials. In reviewing a proposed merger, legal experts say, regulators weigh the likely impact on competition and struggle with tricky technical matters like defining the relevant market to measure.

As we reported a few weeks back, it was highly likely an FTC investigation was coming and is often the norm for acquisitions of this size.

Can Your Business Exist Without You?

What would happen to your business if you suddenly died in an accident? Would if fall apart or run smoothly in another persons hands?

Being Memorial Day I was thinking about our troops when it it dawned on me that out of the thousands of reservists who are now active duty, many own their own businesses and some probably own online businesses. What did they do when called up?

Whether it’s in relation to death or just incapacity to oversee day to day operations, we all need a plan to make sure our businesses are self sufficient and can provide for our families future. Here’s a good start for such a plan.

  1. Create a will and a living will outlining my desires for the business.

Hawaii Court to Decide if a Blogger is a Journalist

There’s an interesting case, going on in Hawaii, that could have far reaching ramifications for bloggers. A judge has ordered Malia Zimmerman of Hawaiireporter.com to submit to questioning which would force her to reveal her confidential sources.

…Zimmerman, an editor and reporter for the Web site, says she is a legitimate journalist, not just some hack who offers half-baked commentary on the news of the day.

“Any journalist who gives their word that they’ll protect somebody’s information or keep them in confidence, you have to abide by that,” Zimmerman said. “It’s not the medium you publish in, it’s what you do with that information.”

ValueClick Announces FTC CAN-SPAM Investigation

It doesn’t look like lead-generation company ValueClick is going to the acquisition-ball anytime soon. It’s unlikely that anyone will want to acquire the company until it’s had the chance to respond to a Federal Trade Commission investigation.

According to ClickZ, ValueClick filed a Form 8-K (which is basically SEC talk for “we have something material to tell the world”) revealing the FTC is investigating the company for possible violations of the CAN-SPAM act.

“We continue to believe that we are compliant with all current state and federal regulations pertaining to our lead generation activities, and we intend to fully cooperate with the FTC in connection with their inquiry,” John Ardis, vice president, corporate strategy for ValueClick, told ClickZ in an e-mail.

Judges Want Fair Use of Google Porn

If you’re one of the many Google Image users that have not turned on safe search, you’ll likely be glad to know that the U.S. Court of Appeals has overturned a previous ruling that would have forced Google to remove thumbnail images of porn taken from the Perfect 10 web site.

The appeals court ruled that the thumbnails fell within a “fair use” exception in copyright law because they play a role in the search process and thus have a function different from that of the original photos.

“We conclude that the significantly transformative nature of Google’s search engine, particularly in light of its public benefit, outweighs Google’s superseding and commercial uses of the thumbnails in this case,” Judge Sandra S. Ikuta wrote for the panel.