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Latest Google Transparency Report Shows over Half of Government Requests are Warrantless

Google’s Transparency Reports are a semi-annual compilation of requests Google receives from governments around the world for Internet user data. The reports are an effort by Google to keep users informed about the data requests and how often it complies with them. (Note: See this EDUCAUSE blog for background information.)

Privacy and Security are High on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Agenda for the New Congress

On January 16, 2013, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, set out the agenda of the Judiciary Committee in the 113th Congress with updates to key legislation, including laws on email privacy and cybersecurity. Updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a law that Sen. Leahy wrote and guided through the Senate in 1986, continues to be an important issue for the Committee.  Leahy has also been involved with cybersecurity issues and has authored legislation that would stiffen penalties for hackers. 

Copyright Reform in the U.K. Will Impact Education, Research, and Accessibility

It will soon become legal in the U.K. to copy music from a CD to an iPod, show copyrighted texts on an interactive whiteboard, and use copyrighted works in a parody.  Until now, these have been illegal activities.

The British government has unveiled a comprehensive set of measures aimed at modernizing copyright in the country.  The government, aware that its copyright laws were outdated and constrained innovation commissioned a review to make recommended changes based on studying the issue.  This newly released report, Modernising Copyright: A Modern, Robust and Flexible Framework, is the output of the original Hargreaves Review, which it had commissioned and which summarized the outdated state of fair use in the U.K.

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Senate Passes Video Privacy Protection Act Amendment

As 2012 drew to a close, the Senate passed an amendment to the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) (H.R. 6671) that will make it easier for users to share their online video viewing activities.  The bill would amend the VPPA by clarifying that consumers may consent to the disclosure of their video viewing information:

FTC Issues Amended Rule on Identity Theft “Red Flags”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced publication of an Interim Final Rule on identity theft “red flags” that narrows the circumstances under which creditors are covered by the Rule.  The agency originally promulgated the Red Flags Rule in 2007.  In December 2010, Congress enacted the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010 (PL 111-39) that narrowed the definition of “creditors” covered by the Rule.  Those changes were primarily designed to exempt small businesses, such as doctors' offices, accountants, and small stores, from the requirements.  Most colleges and universities are unlikely to be affected by the modification of the definition of a creditor.

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ECPA Reform Moves Forward to Require a Warrant for Email

Today, November 29, 2012, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would require law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant from a judge before gaining access to the contents of email and other electronic communications stored in the cloud.  The amendment to the Senate version of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) (H.R.

DMCA Section 1201 Rulemaking to Determine Exemptions to the Prohibition on the Circumvention of Technological Controls to Copyrighted Works

On October 25, 2012, the Register of Copyrights and the Librarian of Congress announced new recommendations for exemptions to Section 1201(a)(1)(A) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Section 1201(a)(1)(A) of the DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent technological controls found in electronic devices that control access to copyrighted works.  Section 1201(a)(1)(B), however, allows the Register to grant exemptions to be reviewed every three years.  In this triennial review, the Register upheld the legality of “jailbreaking” smartphones and decrypting DVD and e-book controls for the visually- and hearing-impaired.

A First 100 Days Innovation Agenda for the Next Administration

On November 13, 2012, the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution hosted a panel to look at ways to reform the U.S. economy, improve innovation, and address the difficult economic problems the country faces that need new solutions.  Questions posed included: How can policymakers encourage growth through innovation?  What areas offer the most promising growth for the 21st century?  The discussion coincided with the release of the Brookings paper, Building an Innovation-Based Economy, and focused on broad topics in the areas of infrastructure, entrepreneurship, knowledge transmission, and protecting digital assets.  Panelists included:

Major Internet Service Providers to Implement Copyright Alert System

Sometime in November 2012, the major Internet service providers (ISPs) will implement a copyright alert system (CAS) whose goal is to cut down on illegal peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted material.  (See EDUCAUSE blogs on April 5, 2012 and July 5, 2011 for background information on this nascent effort.)

The Problem of Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: The Copyright Office Seeks Input

The Copyright Office has today, October 22, 2012, published a Notice of Inquiry on the subject of orphan works and mass digitization.  The Office is reviewing the problem of orphan works under current U.S. copyright law in order to advise Congress as to what has changed in the legal and business environments and what additional legislative, regulatory, or voluntary solutions are necessary.

An “orphan work” is an original work of authorship for which a good faith, prospective user cannot readily identify and/or locate the copyright owner in a situation where permission from owner is necessary. (For further information, see the U.S. Copyright Office, Report on Orphan Works (2006) at:

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