A new law set to tackle the scourge of fake news is expected to be introduced to Parliament in due course. The Computer and Cybercrimes Bill (the bill) gazetted on 16th June 2017 introduces the following language in clause 12:
“(1) A person who intentionally inputs, alters, deletes, or suppresses computer data, resulting in inauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal purposes as if it were authentic, regardless of whether or not the data is directly readable and intelligible commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to fine not exceeding ten million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both.
(2) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1), dishonestly or with similar intent—
(a) for wrongful gain;
(b) for wrongful loss to another person; or
(c) for any economic benefit for oneself or for another person, is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.”
The bill attempts a catch-all situation but mostly describes the sensationalizing of news as well as individuals manipulating their academic credentials. It makes more sense in trying to curb this which has put a number of politicians in the spotlight as well as a few cases involving a fake doctor, a fake lawyer and a fake CEO).
Fake news is defined as falsehoods presented as news. The use of this term has been applied to legitimate news sources, whose primary asset is their credibility. But perhaps the biggest reason in pushing for gazettement must have come from the fake news factor that many believe impacted the 2016 United States presidential election. If interpreted politically, the bill could result in a chaotic free-for-all of mudslinging with candidates and others being accused of crimes at the slightest hint of hyperbole, exaggeration, poetic license, or common error and thus a recipe for amendment. And campaigns heating up, bloggers and social media administrators should be careful.
The bill awaits Parliamentary approval.
According to Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, “Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results and demoting those of competitors. What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”
Google’s shopping service
Google’s flagship product is the Google search engine, which provides search results to consumers, who pay for the service with their data. Almost 90% of Google’s revenues stem from adverts, such as those it shows consumers in response to a search query.
In 2004 Google entered the separate market for comparison shopping in Europe, with a product that was initially called “Froogle”, re-named “Google Product Search” in 2008 and since 2013 has been called “Google Shopping”. It allows consumers to compare products and prices online and find deals from online retailers of all types, including online shops of manufacturers, platforms (such as Amazon and eBay), and other re-sellers.
When Google entered comparison shopping markets with Froogle, there were already a number of established players. Contemporary evidence from Google shows that the company was aware that Froogle’s market performance was relatively poor (one internal document from 2006 stated “Froogle simply doesn’t work“).
Comparison shopping services rely to a large extent on traffic to be competitive. More traffic leads to more clicks and generates revenue. Furthermore, more traffic also attracts more retailers that want to list their products with a comparison shopping service. Given Google’s dominance in general internet search, its search engine is an important source of traffic for comparison shopping services.
Consumers click far more often on results that are more visible, i.e. the results appearing higher up in Google’s search results. Even on a desktop, the ten highest-ranking generic search results on page 1 together generally receive approximately 95% of all clicks on generic search results (with the top result receiving about 35% of all the clicks). The first result on page 2 of Google’s generic search results receives only about 1% of all clicks. This cannot just be explained by the fact that the first result is more relevant because evidence also shows that moving the first result to the third rank leads to a reduction in the number of clicks by about 50%. The effects on mobile devices are even more pronounced given the much smaller screen size.
This means that by giving prominent placement only to its own comparison shopping service and by demoting competitors, Google has given its own comparison shopping service a significant advantage compared to rivals.
Other Google cases being investigated concern:
1) the Android operating system, where the Commission is concerned that Google has stifled choice and innovation in a range of mobile apps and services by pursuing an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in general internet search; and
2) AdSense, where the Commission is concerned that Google has reduced choice by preventing third-party websites from sourcing search ads from Google’s competitors.
Tip#1: Avoid Giving Your Card To A Server or Bartender
Beware of your cashier. I have been skimmed before at an upmarket restaurant/bar/lounge in Westlands and I realized this is a pervasive problem. Evidence suggests that restaurants are now breeding grounds for skimming activity.
Tip #2 – Pay for your fuel in cash
Petrol station skimmers are found almost every day in petrol pumps but it’s the ones they don’t find that you should be worried about. Pay for your fuel in cash and NEVER put your debit card in a gas pump.
Tip #3 – Supermarkets
The next time you go shopping, be sure to pay close attention to the clerk who swipes your card. Department stores can be potential hot spots for skimming because much like a restaurant or bar, it is not unusual for a clerk to leave your site to process the transaction, making the temptation greater, and the successful completion of the scam easier. Sometimes a skimmer will pay an inordinate amount of attention to the number on your card, so if they seem to be staring as though trying to memorize your number, or examining it front and back as if they’ve never seen such wonders before, it would be smart to watch them closely.
Source: SignalVault and the Identity Theft Resource Center
Friday, June 16th, 2017 time is 2pm I find myself clicking away on the google chrome homepage in the Apps section and I was amazed at the number of add-ons lawyers may not realize exist. I’ve aggregated them to what I call the top 5 add-ons for legal productivity. And they are:
Lexbox helps you organize and monitor your online legal research. It enables you to assemble in one central location relevant legal information from various online sources and to create personalized alerts. Lexbox is your legal research workspace.
Lexbox is the online version of your “legal research folders”. It allows you to organize links to legislation, case law, and webpages by file folders, and assist you in keeping this information up to date. Lexbox has the capacity to generate alerts when new legal research results become available, when cases get cited or when legislation is amended. It also keeps track of your online legal research sessions for invoicing purpose, or to recover missed items. It has the capacity to export this history, as well as stored research items via lists of authorities.
Lexbox currently supports 8 legal research websites with advanced features: CanLII, the Supreme Court of Canada decision website, Federal Court of Appeal decision website, Federal Court decision website, the Tax Court of Canada decision website, the Canadian Federal Legislation website, Ontario’s E-Laws, and the BC Laws website. A bookmarking functionality is also provided to store webpages from any other site.
-Save, monitor and email cases, legislation and webpages
-Save frequent search queries and get alerts for new results
-Get citation alerts and track impact of cases over time
-Get modification alert when legislation is amended
-Create, edit and delete research folders
-Add personal notes to folders and individual items
-Track your online research history sessions
-Export lists of authorities
To get started:
-Install the Chrome extension
-Create your account at https://app.mylexbox.com/#/signup
-Visit one of the supported websites at http://lexum.com/en/products/lexbox/#supportedwebsites
- Blueline fetch: Quickly Fetch Legal Citations
BlueLine Fetch reads your clipboard, finds citations and queries Westlaw, Lexis or Scholar. By using a hotkey, you can fetch citations from anywhere on your computer, even without a Chrome browser open.
The program has a handful of modes and additional features including google searching, multi-mode for batch downloading, quick mode to minimize clicks, name recall, context menu support, and the ability to search for cases by name or opinion text among the cases you recently viewed.
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Bundledocs brief builder software is an all-in-one solution used to create: litigation briefs, trial bundles, court bundles, commercial deal bibles, e-briefs (electronic bundles), report books etc.
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