Monday, 15 April 2019

Must watch! Lawyer Yair Cohen TV interview on the history of the interne...

Solicitor Yair Cohen in an interview on Al Jazeera explains the three stages the internet has gone through since it was created as an anarchistic free speech platform to what it is to become soon, a fully policed medium.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Yair Cohen interviewed on White Paper on Online Harm

Earlier this week, the UK government published a White Paper in relation to its intention to regulate online and social media platforms.

A “White Paper” isn’t a law but only an initial summary of proposals, or perhaps a “wishful thinking” document for the public to consider and respond to.
If the proposal in the Online Harms White Paper are to become law, the internet will never again be the same place.

The proposed laws will impact on many aspects of our lives. From career and work to children and family.

The government is proposing to put a mandatory duty of care on social media platforms to take reasonable steps to protect their users from a range of harms — including but not limited to illegal material such as terrorist and child sexual exploitation and abuse but also in relation to so called “fake news”.

 This video summarises well what the White Paper is all about and presents everything you need to know about it in about 4 minutes.

Friday, 15 March 2019

This week, Yair Cohen was interviewed on Al Jazeera TV and was asked by the host: 'Do you think that the expectations of the egalitarian nature of the internet were too high?'
Yair: 'I think that the internet, in the early days, was seen almost as an anarchistic place. The idea of the bureaucracy meant that at that time, there was more of an expectation that the people from the government shouldn't be setting foot on there; almost like it was a place free of law. That was during the first 10-15 years of the internet. Then, the whole idea of democracy started to mean something totally different; almost like an uprising - the people versus the government. Whilst, democracy as we know it; what it really means is that people are ruled by the government and people are uprising against the government. So, I think what we are seeing now is more involvement from the government on the internet and there are some people that are not welcoming this. They feel that there should be democracy there. The way I see it is a restoration of the rule of law and creating safer harbours for people to be able to freely express themselves within certain boundaries.'
AJ TV: 'The key question and I am sorry to be asking you, is - How do you police something that is so vast, so disparate and yet also contains so many dark and deep areas?'
Yair: 'Well, if you take a big city such as Los Angeles - the town is not being policed precisely in the same way in every quarter, and every building, every alley and every area. There are certain places where police don't really go and there are places where there is more police presence. I accept that the internet cannot be entirely policed. The interesting thing is that when you have a company such as Google, which operates worldwide, Google then becomes the collector within all the different countries, so once say the UK or the EU government are able to influence Google's behaviour, within the locality, within the UK or Europe, that influence almost becomes viral and it means that Google needs to go and change the way it does things all over the world. So, in a way, global companies are the key to spreading better policing on the internet.'
AJ TV:'How much responsibility do we, as users, have when it comes to what we watch on the internet and reporting things that we regard as offensive or possibly criminal, or have we actually abdicated all of that responsibility and we are just allowing ourselves to be fed with all of this information, as long as it panders to the beliefs that we have?'
Yair: 'That is a very good question. I think for many years we have been left to fend for ourselves on the internet. There wasn't anyone to help or protect or anywhere to go to. What we need to ask is how would we behave if an event occured offline, on the street, if we saw a person being bullied or being assaulted or even a person that was being encouraged to commit suicide, or that type of thing. How would we react, then? We should be reacting precisely the same way on the internet. I think it is become more acceptable for us to say that we don't accept this type of behaviour; we don't want to part of this and we don't want to be part of that. So, there is a lot of responsibility laid on us as people when we see the support of the government and government agencies, it makes life much easier and much safer for say a woman, children, ethnic minorities that previously did not feel safe with the room of the internet.'

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

There are Consequences to Posting Defamation on the Internet

Posting Defamation Online - Legal Consequences

Recently, Yair Cohen, Social Media Lawyer was on BBC Radio Devon with Janet Kipling and they were discussing the consequences of posting defamation on the internet. 

It used to be a perception that the internet was a completely different  planet and that you could say what you wanted on there, as though there are two different societies: offline and online. Offline was heavily policed with laws, regulations and courts and online there wasn't anything. You can say what you want and there isn't any law to stop you. Well, things are certainly changing. 

Listen to how parents were told that there was nothing the police could do about defamation of character when one woman, who started posting untrue allegations online about parents and children at a school ended up being jailed for 9 years. 

There can be serious repercussions for people that post untrue statements about people online: Hefty legal costs, damages and prison. Things are certainly changing and it is becoming a very serious issue for the people that are involved. 

Friday, 22 February 2019

Why advertisers are leaving YouTube

Google’s “no young children policy”

The problem for Google is that whilst declaring that it has a policy of “no young children” on YouTube, Google also promotes on YouTube videos and adverts which target young children. For example, Google pushes adverts for toys, using language and covert messages, which are squarely aimed at young kids.

Google knows very well that huge number of YouTube users are younger than 13. It knows this because it bombards them with money making adverts. Yet, Google is persistently refusing to publicly acknowledge this reality or adapt its policies and systems to reflect this reality and make YouTube safer for young people.

Astonishingly, Google had ensured that there is no effective Read more on child safety online

Friday, 24 November 2017

Right to be forgotten

right to be forgotten
Right to be Forgotten
It seems for many, an application to Google under a right to be forgotten is simply a matter of filling out a form, which represents the only chance they will ever have to get rid of unwanted information on the internet. There might never be another such opportunity so it's important to not mess it up. 

Right to be Forgotten
Unfortunately, so  many right to be forgotten applications are refused because the applicant failed to appreciate that they had to refer Google to the right law or because the
application was being misunderstood by Google's employees, who when in doubt, are instructed by their boss to  say “no”. 

If the applicant is unsuccessful at this stage; they
may request that Google reviews its decision; alternatively they may
complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office or seek a court order
requiring Google to filter search engine results, all of which are
likely to involve incurring further costs. Find out how to get the right to be forgotten application right first time round in the following article:

Right to be forgotten