States set to penalize “cyber-blinking”
On Friday, California became the second state in the United States to pass a law allowing users targeted by acts of so-called “cyberflashing” to sue or file civil suits against the perpetrators, and the third state to target wider practice.
The measure, which advanced unanimously in the California legislature, mirrors laws in Texas and Virginia and signals a growing push at the state level to address virtual harassment.
The Prohibiting Lewd Activities and Sexual Harassment Act, or FLASH, would allow users who receive “unsolicited” and “lewd” material electronically to seek up to $30,000 in civil damages from the sender.
Unlike the law signed in Texas in 2019, the California measure does not go so far as to qualify cyberflashing as a crime. Instead, it creates a legal mechanism for users who experience “harm” to receive unwanted obscene images to seek compensation.
Bumble, which bills itself as a “female-first” online dating app, co-sponsored the bill and hailed its signing as a major step in efforts to protect users from online abuse.
A Bumble executive said the company hopes to capitalize on the momentum to push for similar bills in places where lawmakers have expressed interest in addressing the issue, including Maryland, New York and DC.
“The law passed in California is a huge problem for women across the country,” Payton Iheme, Bumble’s head of public policy for the Americas, told me on Monday. Iheme added that the measure “will hopefully be an example for other states to follow.”
Bumble, which differentiates itself from rival dating apps by always letting women “take the first step” in conversations, has been leading the charge against cyberflashing laws for years. The company says it has been called to action by surveys it has commissioned, which show nearly one in two US respondents say they have received obscene unwanted images.
But he has largely focused his efforts on promoting state, not federal, action, Iheme said. “We are awaiting news from interested lawmakers at the federal level,” she said.
States are increasingly overtaking federal lawmakers by passing laws on a range of technology fronts, including data privacy, child online safety, and now digital bullying.
As more states pass laws on issues such as privacy, it has accelerated some calls for Congress to act. But Iheme said Washington shouldn’t wait for more states to step into the cyberflash.
“We’re hoping it doesn’t take a majority of states to pass bills and spend time passing bills before federal lawmakers take hold of them,” said Iheme, a Facebook alumnus. and veteran of the Obama White House Science Office. and technology policy (OSTP).
The states’ approach, which focuses on perpetrators of cyberflashing, contrasts with bills introduced in Congress that focus on how platforms enable harassment.
Meaning. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) Last year proposed legislation that would open digital platforms to civil liability for harassment, “cyberstalking” or “cyberstalking,” which could include cyberflashing.
Unlike state laws, the federal bill squarely targets tech companies by partially rolling back their protections under Section 230, the industry’s embattled liability shield.
“The inherent problem with Section 230 is that it leaves states like California with no recourse but to prosecute the perpetrators of these acts, without addressing the role that platforms should play in keeping their users safe. users,” Warner said in a statement. Technology 202.
Adam Masse, a partner at a leading law firm specializing in Section 230 cases, called it “important” for states to create a “cause of action” for victims of cyberflashing. But, he said, “essentially it allows victims to spend their day in court.”
“That should go hand in hand with a common sense regulatory approach for these platforms,” Massey added. “These companies can and should do more to ensure their users are not harassed via offensive and unwanted images.”
Bumble said it sought to combat potential harassment by deploying artificial intelligence to detect unsolicited obscene images and blur them before users see them. The company also allows users to report such material and block senders.
When it comes to legislation, Iheme said penalizing people who send unwanted nudes is likely only part of the answer. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution to these types of problems,” she said. “There must be multiple approaches, and we are part of those conversations.”
Facebook removes China-based influence operation targeting US elections
Facebook’s parent company Meta says it busted a network of China-based accounts that sought to influence US politics ahead of this year’s midterm elections, my colleague Naomi Nix reports.
“The covert influence operation used accounts on Facebook and Instagram claiming to be Americans posting opinions on hot-button issues such as abortion, gun control and high profile politicians such as President Biden and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.),” Naomi wrote. “The network, which focused on the United States and the Czech Republic, was released from fall 2021 to summer 2022. Facebook renamed itself Meta last year.”
“This operation that we have now canceled was the first to focus on both sides of the burning issues of the United States,” said Meta Global Threat Intelligence Lead. Ben Nimmo said in a call with reporters “Although it failed, it is important because it is a new direction for Chinese influence operations.”
Biden administration and TikTok still squabbling over security deal
The Biden administration and the video-sharing platform have reached a pending agreement on a security deal to allow the app to continue operating in the United States, but are still arguing over a final deal, according to multiple reports.
The New York Times reported on Monday that the two parties “laid the groundwork for an agreement in which TikTok would make changes to its data security and governance without requiring its owner, Chinese internet giant ByteDance, to sell it,” but that they are “still arguing over the potential deal,” citing people familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity. A report from Bloomberg News later Monday said both sides “have locked in on concerns Chinese ownership of the company poses a threat to national security,” citing people familiar with the situation who spoke under on condition of anonymity to discuss national security issues.
The popular app has come under scrutiny for years over concerns from US officials that Chinese government officials could gain access to US users’ data or influence its operations. The company denied ever sharing US user data with China or making its decisions.
Twitter and Musk clash in court as trial looms
Ahead of an Oct. 17 trial date in a Delaware court over Elon Musk’s bid to walk away from the Twitter purchase, both sides are scrambling for a quick legal advantage, according to the Wall. StreetJournal. Erin Mulvaney and Alexa Corsica report.
According to the Journal, “Legal teams on both sides build their cases through expert reports and sworn testimony. Co-founder and former CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey and Jared Birchal, head of Mr. Musk’s family office, were due to be interviewed by lawyers last week. Lawyers for Twitter had offered to depose Mr. Musk starting Monday, but his interview was pushed back while lawyers work out their plans, according to people familiar with the matter.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, meanwhile, “was due to sit for a deposition on Monday but this is postponed for personal reasons,” according to the report, citing people familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity. The two sides also “continue to battle over how much information they need to provide to each other as part of the discovery process,” the report said.
FCC takes long-delayed action against spam wave (Axios)
Walmart takes its first step into the metaverse with virtual worlds on Roblox (Bloomberg)
California, New York and six other states take on crypto lender Nexo (Protocol)
Google says shared network costs are a 10-year-old idea, bad for consumers (Reuters)
Apple will manufacture the iPhone 14 in India (Associated Press)
You probably don’t have to worry about public Wi-Fi anymore (Tatum Hunter)
- Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Sameera Fazilithe deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, speaks Wednesday at an event hosted by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution on the technology and service sectors.
- Microsoft Information Security Officer Bret Arsenault discusses cloud innovation and security at a Washington Post Live event Wednesday at 9 a.m.
- The House Science Committee holds a hearing on artificial intelligence Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
- Representatives. Frank Pallone Jr. (DN.J.) and Cathy McMorrisRodgers (R-Wash.), top-ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, discuss privacy legislation during a Washington Post live event Thursday at 11 a.m.
- Raimondo discusses semiconductor legislation at an event hosted by the Global Tech Security Commission Thursday at 11:15 a.m.
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