Airbnb and Me
Temporary apartment renting service Airbnb has had its share of tussles with New York law. In 2011, the city instituted an illegal hotels statute that makes it illegal for users to rent out their apartments for less than 29 days, effectively rendering Airbnb hosts subject to fines. Last September, the city council jacked up the fines that could be levied upon illegal hoteliers advertising their wares through Airbnb from $800 to $2,500.
Privacy is Dead
The Federal Trade Commission is looking to change regulatory lawsthat that protect children’s privacy on the Internet. Although it’s legal right now, a slew of apps and popular websites collect data and pictures from young users. In the most cringe-worthy example, pictures of children that were uploaded to a “get in the picture with Ronald McDonald” game in were kept by McDonald’s in directories that were publicly available to anyone who wanted access to them. McDonald’s tells the Times that they’ve now “blocked public access to several directories on the site.”
The new laws say children’s websites would be required to obtain parents’ permission before tracking kids around the Web for advertising purposes.
But while government restrictions may help protect innocent children, it’s hard not to feel that the responsibility (and the biggest hope for keeping kids safe) lies with their parents. After all, children don’t only stick to apps directed to their demographic.
Gchat can be a welcome haven from the turmoil of the work day, a blinking beacon that serves as an important reminder of your humanity. And yet, the things you’ve typed into that little chat box without clicking the “off the record” button–the fights and breakups and conversations that basically amount to cybering? And all those emails you sent in college with thinly veiled references to drugs? It’d be embarrassing for anyone to read all that, let alone the Po Po.
Luckily for us, cops may finally need a warrant to dig into your inbox. Phew.
Law and Order
Deep web crawlers who have ever accidentally clicked on anything labeled “CP” may now breathe a sigh of relief: an appeals court in New York decided today in a vaguely disturbing ruling that simply viewing child pornography is not a crime.
According to MSNBC:
The decision rests on whether accessing and viewing something on the Internet is the same as possessing it, and whether possessing it means you had to procure it. In essence, the court said no to the first question and yes to the second.