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Privacy and Opt-Out

Many people are aware of the use of cookies for tracking purposes.  But that is old technology.  Many advertisers use more sophisticated techniques for targeting advertisements, such as tracking pixels or audience matching or audience matched advertising.

In Australia, some advertising systems allow consumers to opt-out of audience matching targeting.  This is not well-known or promoted.  To opt-out, go here.

Responsibility for User Comments Posted on Facebook

The High Court of Australia decided today that a newspaper with a Facebook page is responsible for defamatory comments posted by Facebook users on the newspaper's Facebook page.

"The appellants' attempt to portray themselves as passive and unwitting victims of Facebook's functionality has an air of unreality. Having taken action to secure the commercial benefit of the Facebook functionality, the appellants bear the legal consequences."

None of this is surprising.  There are many prior cases in different areas that reach the same result.  There was an Advertising Standards Board decision against VB that came to a similar conclusion in a different area of law, and also the ACCC v. Allergy Pathways case from about 10 years ago.

The next question is whether Facebook could be liable for defamation for user content.

Fairfax Media Publications v Voller [2021] HCA 27 

And see Social Media Best Practice Guide from the ACA and the Diageo case from ASB.

What is interesting about the High Court decision is that it focuses on cases and texts from over 100 years ago, and looks at very few cases concerning the Internet or social media.


Privacy and Streaming Services

A recent report from the USA found that most of America’s popular streaming services and TV streaming gadgets such as Netflix, Roku and Disney+ failed to meet minimum requirements for privacy and security practices. The lone exception was Apple.

See Common Sense Media report

US Court says AI machine cannot be inventor

Reaching a different conclusion to an Australian Federal Court decision, a US District Court looking at the same facts decided that an AI machine cannot be an inventor on a patent.

See Bloomberg story: “The unequivocal statements from the Federal Circuit that ‘inventors much be natural persons’ and ‘only natural persons can be inventors’ supports the plain meaning of ‘individual’ in the Patent Act,” the judge ruled.

Facebook Sued for $150 billion by Rohingya refugees

Rohingya refugees are suing Facebook over its own admitted failure to stop the spread of hate speech that contributed to violence in Myanma...