Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Consumers Encouraged to Protect Their Privacy Online

/PRNewswire/ -- The Internet offers an exciting world of information and entertainment at the click of a mouse. Consumers are spending hours surfing, shopping, playing games and communicating online, but as with any activity, it is important to put security, privacy and safety first. As U.S. businesses and consumers mark tomorrow, January 28, 2010, as National Data Privacy Day, consumers are encouraged to examine how they currently protect themselves online, and what steps they can take to ensure their privacy is secure when connecting through a mobile device, home broadband or any other Internet connection.

"Technology is such an important part of our lives, and we must use it responsibly by protecting our personal information," said Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. "Any information you post online can never fully be removed, so guard your information very carefully and never share it with strangers or enter into unfamiliar Web sites."

The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe), Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and AT&T offer the following important tips for consumers to protect their privacy online:

What happens online stays online...forever. The Internet helps us enhance our social and civic lives. As you post the picture from spring break, or share your most intimate details or views, remember many Web sites and social networks are public, and information posted online is often permanent and searchable.

Know with whom you are sharing information online. Social media sites, chat rooms and other online forums can be anonymous, and some people may be pretending to be someone they are not. Be as suspicious of a stranger online as you are of strangers in public places.

Review privacy policies, privacy settings and profile preferences. Be cautious of giving out personal information, particularly your Social Security number and names of family members, unless you are familiar with the company and its Web site privacy policy. Many companies, like AT&T, have made it easier to understand their policies.

Keep virus and spyware protection up to date and in place. Computer viruses often look like something they are not - such as a picture, screen saver or even a Web link. Some spyware programs can track everything you do online and send this information to an unauthorized user, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft. Antivirus and spyware protection programs scan and monitor your computer for viruses and spyware and then alert you before damage occurs. AT&T offers its broadband customers the award-winning AT&T Internet Security Suite powered by McAfee®, which offers protection on up to 10 PCs and is included with qualifying plans.

Avoid sending sensitive personal data over public connections. Be aware that many public computers, such as those at the library and unsecured Wi-Fi connections can enable other users nearby to capture the information you are sending or receiving. If you have to use an unsecured or public connection, make sure the site is secure. The AT&T Wi-Fi network supports secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) access. If you have VPN, AT&T recommends that you connect through it for optimum security.

Never respond to e-mails or pop-ups asking for personal data or passwords. Use filtering software to help block unwanted e-mail and to reduce the likelihood of receiving viruses and spyware from unknown senders. Also use pop-up and ad-blocking features that let you control the quantity and type of pop-ups you receive or to block them completely.

Use a strong password for all devices and accounts. Use combinations of letters, numbers, upper and lower case characters, and symbols in your passwords. Change your passwords frequently.

Find Web sites on your own; don't use links in e-mails or on other sites. "Phishing," also known as "brand spoofing" or "carding," is a trick Internet scammers use to "fish" for consumers' financial information and password data using fake company e-mails and Web sites. Many companies, like AT&T, will not send e-mail requests to customers asking for personal account or credit card information. Instead of clicking the link in the e-mail, go to the site directly from your browser or search engine.

Look for signs that a Web site is secure before sending financial or personal data. Secure sites will often show a "lock" icon or there will be an "s" after the "http" ("https:///"). If you don't see these indications, then the site is probably not secure and you should carefully consider whether to send personal or financial data over the site.

Talk to your kids, teens and tweens. Teach children to never share their name, address, phone number, school name or any other personal information about their family while online.

Use the parental control tools available to make your job easier. Parental controls, such as AT&T's Smart Limits, enable you to establish sensible boundaries around the technology your family uses on a daily basis and to determine how and when your children can use their phone, computer or other connected device.

"I want to thank our state and community leaders who work every day to help keep consumers safe online," said Marshall Criser, III, AT&T Florida President "At AT&T, we are dedicated to promoting online safety awareness and education and providing our customers with the necessary tools to be safe and responsible digital citizens."

Last year, AT&T announced its support with the American School Counselor Association of iKeepSafe's Project PRO, an effort to teach students how to protect their privacy and reputation online. Project PRO enables school counselors, parents and teens to become an active part in managing a student's digital reputation through innovative educational resources such as video clips and training documents. To date, more than 4,200 educators and counselors throughout the country have sought out the curriculum.

"The Internet Keep Safe Coalition is thrilled to work with the Florida Attorney General and AT&T in commemoration of Data Privacy Day, and to join the effort in helping to raise awareness and educate the public on data safeguards," said iKeepSafe President Marsali Hancock. "We applaud Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's efforts to expand awareness about the need to protect your security, privacy and safety to families nationwide. Let this Day serve as a catalyst for all of us to improve the way we manage our personal privacy online."

To help consumers have a safer online experience, AT&T offers a full library of supportive Internet safety and security tips as well as interactive safety games for children, all available at http://www.att.com/safety.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Consumer Watchdog Lauds Clinton's Call for Open Internet, Stresses Need for Online Consumer Privacy Safeguards

/PRNewswire/ -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's condemnation of cyber attacks and censorship is an important endorsement of a free global Internet, but just as important to ensuring the Internet's contribution to democracy and economic growth is a commitment to consumer privacy, Consumer Watchdog said today.

"Too many online companies ignore a consumer's right to control information gathered about their behavior on the Internet," said John M. Simpson, a consumer advocate with the nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer group. "Consider Google; they track your every move as you use their services and surf the Web just so they can mine the accumulated data and serve up targeted ads."

Consumer Watchdog said Clinton's speech demonstrated the State Department is playing a key role in ensuring an open Internet globally, but said the Federal Trade Commission must act to ensure consumer privacy is guaranteed within the United States.

Clinton's high-profile speech on Internet policy came after a recent incident in which hackers, widely believed to be tied to the Chinese government, gained access to Google and at least 30 other corporate computer networks. Google revealed the cyber attacks and said it would no longer self-censor search results on its China Internet search engine, Google.cn.

Cyber attacks and censorship undermine the free flow of information on the Internet and must be thwarted, Consumer Watchdog agreed. Equally important to a vibrant cyber economy, the group said, is that consumers are able to trust online companies not to abuse their privacy. Too often privacy guarantees are given short shrift in the drive for profits.

"For instance, Google tells us they are a technology company that wants to organize the world's information and make it accessible," said Simpson. "In analyzing Google's every move we need to understand they are fundamentally an advertising business. Most of what they do is to maximize those revenues."

Documents filed with the SEC show that 97 percent of the Internet giant's revenue came from advertising in the third quarter of 2009. The documents show that 53 percent of its revenue came from outside the United States.

"Google was right to end its misguided self-censorship in the face of the Chinese cyber attacks and good for them," said Simpson. "But while I'm concerned about the Chinese attacks, I'm even more concerned about the private data gold mine Google and other online companies have gathered about us, what they do with it and whom they share it with. Consumers must have control of what data is gathered, how it is used, how long its kept and whether it is even gathered."

Meanwhile, the FTC is holding a series of roundtable discussions to discuss online privacy issues. The second in the three-part series is next Thursday in Berkeley, Ca. Read about the Privacy Roundtable: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/privacyroundtables/

Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca. Our website is: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

State Legislators Say Net Regulation Will Hurt Investment and Jobs

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has delivered a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing proposed network neutrality regulation. The state lawmakers expressed serious concerns that the unintended consequences of the proposed federal regulatory expansion into the Internet will harm states' economies. ALEC's letter was signed by 91 legislators from 36 states.

Connecticut State Representative Bill Hamzy serves as Chair of ALEC's Telecommunications & Information Technology Task Force and is the lead signatory of the ALEC letter opposing network neutrality regulation. "Federal regulation of broadband networks is the wrong way to spur the kind of technological innovation and financial investment in broadband infrastructure that will bring sustainable job growth to state economies. Since the FCC cannot even point to any existing problem with the Internet, it should say 'no' to network neutrality regulation," he said.

The ALEC letter described the proposed network neutrality regulation as "an unprecedented foray into government control of broadband private networks and the Internet" that could result in economic slowdown and setback in the states. "If adopted, extensive regulatory control and uncertainties will harm innovation, stifle investment, and curtail job growth. We believe that unintended consequences stemming from the draft rules will be detrimental to our states' economies and forestall marketplace recovery."

In 2007, ALEC adopted a Resolution on Network Neutrality that calls on the federal government and states to refrain from imposing such regulation.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation's largest nonpartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators.

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China News from U.S. Hit by Denial of Service Cyber Attack Originating from China

/PRNewswire/ -- Concurrent with the Chinese cyber attack on Google's gmail, VerticalNews China was the subject of a denial of service (DoS) attack on Wednesday that originated from China. The company also publishes the popular China Weekly News, and both titles are available on the Internet.

VerticalNews China is a product of NewsRx, a 25-year-old news publisher headquartered in Atlanta. The attack was quickly stopped when the company's IP service identified the source and blocked it. VerticalNews China can be found at www.VerticalNews.com.

"Your VerticalNews site was getting a denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) from someone in China. We went ahead and quickly blocked the source IP address at the router level," according to NewsRx's IP service located in Bowie, Maryland.

"In a DoS attack, they are not hacking into your machine, but are preventing it from being usable to everyone else by sending very high volumes of traffic in very short amounts of time. I think you may have been targeted because of your VerticalNews China coverage."

VerticalNews China covers day-to-day business news, medical research, manufacturing and technology developments in China. It does not have a political agenda, but is a major supplier of detailed, in-depth news about China. Today's issue is fairly typical of its coverage, including articles on the number of gas stations in China; a report that Liberty Mutual Group Insurance has received permission to open an office in Zhejiang; that CBI China will host the third annual China Petrochemical Summit; that Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited has received an award; and a report that forecasts Asia Pacific jet fleet growth will expand 80%, led by China.

"I do know that the large-scale attack originated in China, and now that we know it can happen, we've taken steps to hopefully prevent future disruptions," said Susan Hasty, publisher at NewsRx, the parent company of VerticalNews. "We have every intention to continue coverage of vital news about China."

VerticalNews China and VerticalNews India were launched by NewsRx in 2009, to expand the company's coverage of the Far East. The content is also available at the online sites of Lexis Nexis, Dialog, ProQuest and Gale through the additional VerticalNews titles China Weekly News, China Business Newsweekly, Journal of India, India Business Newsweekly, and Asia Business Newsweekly.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Universal Music Group (UMG) Partners With Free All Music to Offer Free Legal Downloads

/PRNewswire/ -- Universal Music Group, the world's leading music company, has partnered with ad-sponsored digital music download service FreeAllMusic.com (www.freeallmusic.com) to offer consumers free, legal downloads from UMG's broad digital catalog of chart-topping musical artists. The announcement was made today by David Ring, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Business Affairs for UMG's eLabs, and Richard Nailling, Chief Executive Officer of FreeAllMusic.com.

Through this agreement, thousands of tracks representing many of the world's most prominent artists are being made available now in FAM's current private beta period, where users will be offered up to 20 free downloads per month, five per week, starting every New Music Tuesday. This is based on the usage patterns of a typical "hits-oriented" iTunes customer. FreeAllMusic.com is keeping with its "walk before we run" philosophy in slowly building its user and advertiser base.

FreeAllMusic.com is a new music service that provides consumers with downloadable, high-quality, iPod-compatible MP3s of popular songs that are advertiser-paid, free, legal, and unrestricted (DRM-free). In exchange for watching one brief video commercial per download on the FreeAllMusic.com site, users receive a permanent, high-quality download which they can enjoy anytime, anywhere with no further advertising or restrictions. There is no software required for the service. Users' music selections and sponsoring brands are then promoted externally through an opt-in, consumer-informed digital advertising network.

To download a free track, registered users simply select a participating brand they prefer, and watch a brief video from that brand. After each download, FreeAllMusic.com serves additional advertisements for that brand across targeted websites. Visitors to those sites will see ads displaying information about downloads, supporting brands, and FreeAllMusic.com. Users can also email information about their download to friends, who can also download it legally for free...if they watch the ad, too. Sharing of download activity can also be posted on popular social networking sites.

Charter brands for the private beta period include Coca-Cola®, Warner Bros. TV, Zappos.com, LIONSGATE®, LG, inconcert3D, and Powermat.

Fans get their free music legally, brands gain new loyalties, and artists are compensated no differently than if the tracks were purchased, creating a fair balance for all participants.

"For the first time, a legitimate free music download service is making 'doing the right thing' easier than piracy. Our site is fast, easy and fun for consumers," noted FreeAllMusic.com's Richard Nailling. "The addition of UMG's artists from Lady Gaga and Rihanna to Taylor Swift and Jay Sean means people can count on FAM to offer an excellent selection of DRM-free music for just about every taste."

"Free All Music has created a new advertising model that connects fans, artists and brands," stated Mr. Ring. "It provides an opportunity for fans to support the artists that they love, and brands to build loyalty with existing and new consumers. Universal Music is committed to enabling and supporting services that provide engaging alternatives for fans looking to legally download music."

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New Report: Google vs. Apple in Wireless

/PRNewswire/ -- A new Jeff Kagan Report & Comment discusses Google and its first wireless phone, Nexus One and Android: how it may change the wireless industry and how it compares to and competes with the Apple iPhone.

This report also looks at how Google and Apple will impact others like RIM, Palm, Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola and others, as well as networks like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and others.

"Strategies are changing in the wireless industry. In a few short years the entire industry will look completely different. Will you be a leader or will you be caught by surprise?" asks Kagan.

The report discusses the changing wireless industry and the two companies that are not wireless companies yet are both leaders in their field and using their power to reshape this industry.

Smart phone growth is accelerating and will become dominant during the next few years. There are enormous opportunities and risks involved for every player, including handset makers, networks, network equipment, and App makers.

The wireless industry already looks much different over the last few years and that transformation will continue. Over the next few years it will look like an entirely different place.

This report discusses where the industry has been and where it is heading. It looks at the new opportunities and the hidden challenges. It looks at how certain leaders may lose their footing and become followers or worse. It has happened before in the 1990's and it is about to happen again.

Click here for PREVIEW and additional information about reports: http://www.jeffkagan.com/ or http://www.jeffkagan.com/jeff_kagan_report_&_comment.htm

OTHER REPORTS:

(1) Is Motorola coming back to life?

(2) What's next at Sprint?

(3) Changing telecom job market 2010

(4) RIM Blackberry: How will new competition from Apple and Google impact the company?

(5) State of the industry 2010; wireless and telecom in transition

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Georgia Tech Professor Howard Schmidt Named National Cyber Czar

President Barack Obama has appointed Howard Schmidt, adjunct faculty member in the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) in the College of Computing, as the new White House cybersecurity coordinator.

“Howard is one of the world’s leading authorities on computer security, with some 40 years of experience in government, business and law enforcement,” said John Brennan, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, in an e-mail announcing the appointment last month. “Howard will have regular access to the president and serve as a key member of his National Security Staff. He will also work closely with his economic team to ensure that our cybersecurity efforts keep the nation secure and prosperous.”

At Tech, Schmidt has helped set up the GTISC industry advisory board. He has worked on a research project to evaluate the cyber security policies of various United States stakeholders. He has also given lectures on security policies and strategies.

Schmidt previously served as former chief security strategist for the US CERT Partners Program and former special advisor to the White House for Cyberspace Security under President George W. Bush. He joined Tech in 2006 to work with GTISC to improve the state of information security by lending his vast knowledge and expertise in this growing technological area.

Schmidt’s distinguished career as an information security advocate includes leadership positions with both public and private sector organizations. He has served on the President’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, was an augmented member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology and held executive positions with the Information Systems Security Association, the Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Information Security Privacy Advisory Board. Schmidt also served as vice president and chief security strategist for eBay and chief security officer for Microsoft Corporation, forming and directing the computer giant’s Trustworthy Computer Security Strategies Group.

David Terraso
Georgia Tech

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Tennis Channel Files FCC Complaint Against Comcast

/PRNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, January 5, Tennis Channel filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission demonstrating that Comcast Cable Communications is violating the FCC's program carriage rules, which prohibit cable system operators from discriminating against unaffiliated cable programming services in favor of networks they own. According to the complaint, Comcast isolates Tennis Channel on a premium sports tier received by a small fraction of Comcast subscribers while it carries Comcast-owned networks that compete with Tennis Channel on basic tiers available to far more subscribers at no additional charge.

"We did not want to file this complaint, but Comcast has left us with no choice," said Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO of Tennis Channel. "After steadily building the most comprehensive single-sport network in television over the past few years, in the first half of 2009 we had numerous discussions with Comcast. We made offers with added incentives for it to move us to a competitive, broadly penetrated service tier, as it has done recently with the MLB, NHL and NBA channels, in which it has financial interests. But Comcast declined to do so."

According to evidence included in the complaint, Tennis Channel's ratings performance is comparable in its service area to that of Comcast's leading sports services, the Golf Channel and Versus; it offers coverage of all four of tennis' Grand Slam events, while the Golf Channel and Versus offer little or no comparable coverage of the major events in the sports they cover; it charges a per-subscriber rate that is about half the rate charged by the Golf Channel and Versus, but broadcasts more than 2,700 hours per year of event coverage - compared to 2,400 hours on the Golf Channel and 1,350 hours on Versus; and it offers a full-time high-definition service.

Comcast's Golf Channel and Versus are among the most broadly distributed channels on Comcast systems, reaching almost all of Comcast's 23.8 million subscribers, according to the complaint, while Tennis Channel is limited to the added-cost premium sports tier that reaches only about 2.6 million homes. "This ten-to-one disparity in carriage seriously impedes our ability to grow and compete in the sports cable marketplace," said Solomon. "It results solely from Comcast's decision to protect the services it owns from legitimate competition."

The complaint notes that Comcast executives have conceded that they give special carriage consideration to their owned services and that advertiser-supported services like Tennis Channel cannot succeed if they are carried on the Comcast sports tier. The complaint also establishes that only unaffiliated sports networks are carried on that tier and that all of the services in which Comcast has an interest enjoy considerably broader coverage.

"This case is truly the litmus test for unaffiliated programmers everywhere, and the future of the public's interest in having a wide variety of voices and choice in the media marketplace," said Solomon. "Ultimately, we simply want to be treated comparably to the way Comcast treats the sports program services it owns."

Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 MSOs, Verizon FiOS TV, and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.

The sport of tennis itself is currently enjoying major growth. Thirty million Americans played tennis last year, the most in two decades, according to study commissioned by the United States Tennis Association and Tennis Industry Association. A Sports Illustrated list of the top 10 athletes of the past decade included two tennis players and named a tennis player No. 1. Additionally, Tennis Channel's ratings for top-level tennis events are competitive with those for programming on the highest-ranking cable networks.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Justices Step Into Uncharted Waters With 'Sexting' Cyber-Liability Case

/PRNewswire/ -- When the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take the case of a California police officer who sent sexually explicit text messages on a department-issued pager, news reports underscored the potential impact on private employers. Whether this case will lead to a new "blueprint" for privacy rules in the American workplace is uncertain at best, but it does point to the rising prominence of cyber-liability in our Twittering, Facebooking, iPhone-enabled age, said veteran attorney Joseph P. Paranac, Jr., a member of LeClairRyan's Labor & Employment team.

"In its first major case on cyber-liability, the Supreme Court is striding into uncharted territory," noted the Newark-based attorney. "But it is important to emphasize that this case, in which a police chief acquired and read transcripts of texts sent by his officers, involves a public employer. This was a state action. That means it is covered under Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Public employees have a greater expectation of privacy than their private-sector counterparts."

The Supreme Court will hear the case, Ontario v. Quon, this spring. At issue is whether the police chief in Ontario, Calif., violated the privacy rights of SWAT team member Jeff Quon and three other officers by acquiring and reading records of their texts, many of which turned out to be sexually explicit. The chief, who shared the texts with city officials, had sought to find out whether the officers were reimbursing the department for all personal messages sent from their pagers. The officers sued, and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in their favor.

While the public nature of this case might limit its ultimate impact on private employers, Ontario v. Quon nonetheless touches upon unexplored questions that are at the heart of the rapidly evolving field of cyber-liability, Paranac said.

For more than a decade, lawyers have urged employers to adopt straightforward policies on how their employees use company-owned computers, pagers and other electronic devices. The City of Ontario Police Department did have such policies in place, and specifically warned employees that their communications were subject to monitoring. According to the Ninth Circuit's ruling in the Quon case, however, the lieutenant in charge of monitoring pager use for the department had undermined this written policy by telling officers he would not read their texts.

"His informal policy, notwithstanding the official policy, was to go to the officers and ask them for a guesstimate of their personal pager use over and above the monthly content limit of 25,000 total characters," Paranac noted. "According to the court decision, the supervisor would then ask the officers to reimburse the department based on those guesses."

In the view of the Ninth Circuit panel, this mixed message was enough to create an expectation of privacy regarding personal texts. "Again and again, Labor & Employment attorneys have urged employers to adopt, clearly communicate and consistently enforce cyber-communications policies," Paranac said. "This case illustrates precisely why."

Indeed, the decision, which included a 10-page dissent, pointed to other cases in which government agencies, by adopting such straightforward and consistent approaches, were able to diminish their employees' privacy expectations. "This was true despite the greater expectation of privacy generally afforded public employees," Paranac noted.

As befits the complexity of cyber-liability, however, courts do appear to be demarcating some notable exceptions even to clearly enunciated Internet and electronic-communications policies. "For example, the case of Stengart v. Loving Care Agency Inc., which is headed for the New Jersey Supreme Court, centered on whether e-mails sent by an employee to her lawyer using a company-owned computer are protected by the attorney-client privilege and therefore off-limits from monitoring," Paranac noted. "In that case, the plaintiff used her password-protected Yahoo account, not the company's e-mail system, to communicate with her attorney about a planned lawsuit against the company."

The nation's highest courts might well carve out similar exceptions for other sensitive communications, such as doctor-patient e-mails sent with employer-owned equipment. "This puts employers in a quandary," Paranac said. "The best they can do is to establish and enforce clear and consistent polices, because we are just at the beginning of a process in which the courts will likely shape the limits of those policies. Until that process is complete, employers and employees alike will have to operate within a kind of cyber-liability grey area."

In its Quon ruling, meanwhile, the Ninth Circuit asserted that Arch Wireless, the pager provider that turned over the text transcripts to the police chief, violated the Stored Communications Act (SCA) of 1986 by doing so. The act stipulates that stored communications be released by third-parties only with the permission of the sender or receiver of the original message. "This act, which has largely been forgotten about and is rarely if ever cited in cyber-liability cases, was passed back in the prehistoric age, when it comes to Internet, e-mail and mobile devices," Paranac explained. "If the SCA is resurrected as a result of the Quon case, there could be major liability implications for third-party communications companies like Verizon and AT&T. They will likely have to grapple with questions like, 'Are we actually allowed to hand these texts or e-mails over to the employer?' "

In certain instances, IT specialists who work with third-party providers to facilitate access to employee communications might even be subject to liability under a newly resurrected SCA, Paranac noted. "I would not be surprised if Congress were to revisit the Stored Communications Act," he said. "If you look at the iPhone and the whole universe of apps, many of which are GPS-enabled, it becomes clear that we are dealing with communications and devices that nobody even dreamed of in 1986."

Much the same could be said of cyber-liability itself, the attorney added. "The wheels of justice turn slowly, and both courts and lawmakers are struggling to catch up to technology," he said. "Technology, however, evolves at an ever-accelerating pace."

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