Archive for the ‘Social networking’ Category

Facebook co-operates with bloggers regarding data-collecting cookies that remain after logout from the social media project

The technological industry of today is growing hard and fast, and a new vocabulary is emerging with it.  Cookies are no longer the harmless baked goods of yesterday, but a growing online privacy concern.

It is in this light that a recent discovery by blogger Nik Cubrilovic was made, revealing that Facebook was tracking users’ visits to other sites via cookies.  This tracking was taking place not only during the Facebook sessions themselves but even post-logout from the site.

Whilst Facebook engineers were impressively quick to respond directly to the situation, modifying the manner in which cookies were stored, some cookies still survive the latest changes.  For this reason, the cautious are advised to clear their cookies after every use of the networking site before moving elsewhere on the web.

As Cubrilovic points out, ‘I believe Facebook when they describe what these cookies are used for, but that is not a reason to be complacent on privacy issues… take initiative in remaining safe’.

Given the day-to-day saturation of the modern world in online social media, the onus is now on the individual to monitor their own activities carefully – a task that should hopefully be made easier by the latest Data Protection Regulation from the EU.

This came into force this summer (2012) (as far as cookies are concerned) and requires that sites warn visitors about their cookie usage.  If you are unclear on how your site should implement cookie control in accordance with this directive, we can help.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

The Chinese web firm Cubic Network is suing Facebook as it claims that the timeline feature is in fact a breach of Xiong Wanli’s copyright.  It is believed that ‘friendly’ US lawyers have advised Xiong to file a case.

In 2011, Facebook introduced the Timeline feature allowing members to display their photos, comments and messages in chronological order on their ‘homepage.’  Cubic networks claim that they had the idea three years before, in 2008.

The allegations do not end there.  Xiong is believed to have claimed that the logo of Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference is also a mimic of their own logo.

The Chinese seem intent on suing.  Only recently, they tried to sue Apple over coining the name ‘iPad’.

The public is not the only group to question the Xiong and the Cubic Network’s actions.  It is curious why the Chinese are only raising the case now.  Perhaps Cubic Network is hoping that the giant social networking monster will come down and will provide a hole in the market for a website of their own to be the new dominator.

If you have a copyright idea (and it is genuinely original, or sufficiently different from a base work as to have its own copyright), then you should create an audit trail showing you are the original creator of the work.  If you are in any doubt as to how to do this, we can help you work out what would constitute an original work and what might be deemed to be a copy.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

Companies are being encouraged to introduce well-drafted media policies to ensure employees know their boundaries and the consequences if their actions do not comply with expectations.

The Medical Protection Society’s head of medical services, Dr Nick Clements has reported that as much as a third of all society members use Facebook on a daily basis.   ‘It is all too easy for boundaries between our professional and private lives to become blurred’ said Dr Nick Clements.  Although a smaller crowd use Twitter the same dangers apply.  A single post on any of these sites can jeopardise the individual’s career as well as the company for which they work.

This policy swings both ways.  The private lives of the employee should not be readily available to clients and the general public.  Developments in the technology world mean that almost anything can be tracked. Should companies therefore ban the usage of personal social media altogether?

Though some believe ‘anonymously’ posting information is safe, this is not the case.  Identity can also be traced via an IP address.

Companies and medical organisations alike, must decide to what degree they will or will not tolerate the personal and business use of social media.  They would be advised to offer training for employees concerning their involvement and usage limitations with sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  For example, some Doctors use doctors.net.uk and must not forget that the same code of conduct applies for such sites as for the more obvious social network media.

Ultimately, employees must remember that their behaviour can be traced, anything written be it for work or recreational purposes must be entirely compatible with employment standards.  Every company should have an up to date, accessible and comprehensive social media policy applicable to all past and present employees.

If you are unsure as to what such a policy should contain, or how it can be enforced against employees who breach it, we can help you draft one or deal with a difficult employee who has put your company’s reputation in jeopardy.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog