Why the EU’s “right to be de-linked” should not go global

Google and other search engines should remove links to out-of-date or unwelcome personal information from all of their search results around the world – not just in specific European countries – when people in Europe ask for them to be taken down and there’s no good reason not to, EU data protection officials have decided.

6 key legal issues for web workers

When you work online, it’s easy to feel relaxed about legal issues, but there are many laws that can potentially impact you. Benjamin Wright is an attorney specializing in the issues surrounding working online. He points to six questions that web-based workers must keep in mind:

Today in Cleantech

California’s carbon cap-and-trade program has been put on hold — not by wealthy polluters or right-wing ideologues, but by a judge upholding a lawsuit saying the law doesn’t go far enough. In a decision well-forecast by a March ruling, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith on Friday enjoined the California Air Resources Board from moving forward with its carbon cap-and-trade system set to start in January 2012. Created by AB32, the law that seeks to return the state to its 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2020, the cap-and-trade program would have been a landmark for the U.S. in setting terms and prices for carbon trading. But in holding up a lawsuit from environmental and advocacy groups, Goldsmith found the state hadn’t looked at all available alternatives, such as carbon taxes or outright bans on emissions, that could work better to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, those alternatives are politically unfeasible, making it unclear just how the plaintiffs in the case expect their argument to lead to a better outcome for the people they represent in low-income areas disproportionately affected by local sources of pollution. The state has said it will appeal the ruling, which doesn’t effect other aspects of AB32, such as the state’s renewable portfolio standard calling for one-third renewable energy by 2020, or its low-carbon fuel standard for in-state vehicles.

Today in Mobile

From the you-might-have-missed-this file: A new lawsuit claims AT&T is overcharging iPhone and iPad users as much as 300 percent for data usage. The lawyers bringing the complaint said they have spent $80,000 testing devices to prepare their case, and in one instance were billed for 35 data transactions on an iPhone after they had turned off every feature that could have affected usage. AT&T has said the claims are “without merit,” but it’s clear the plaintiffs here have done their homework. This is one to watch as it wends its way through the courts.

Today in Cloud

There is so much cloud and Big Data news today — from Clustrix, Karmasphere and Rackspace, among others — but the biggest is the Sixth Circuit’s holding that email data stored with ISPs is subject to Fourth Amendment search and seizure rules. Considering how much potentially damaging information is stored in emails, it’s a huge holding in and of itself. However, the logical extension, which could be even more important, is that any data stored with an ISP, web host or cloud provider gets equal protection. The court’s language leaves room to distinguish between email and general data, but hopefully a smart court, or Congress, will realize that it’s a false distinction.

Why Humans are the Biggest Threat to Cloud Adoption

Around the world, organizations and individuals are coming together to tackle technological hurdles to cloud computing. Just this week, Intel launched its Open Data Center Alliance and Cloud Builders initiatives; last week, CloudAudit joined the Cloud Security Alliance. But when it comes down to it, people, not technology, might represent the biggest obstacle to selling cloud services and software.

Today in Cloud

Intel’s new push toward cloud interoperability has the makings of a big deal, but there’s more to pulling this off than meets the eye. I point out a couple of key issues in my story on the news, one of which is getting so many software vendors — particularly large ones — to play nice together. We have been seeing hardline vertically integrated software-plus-systems approaches, as well as serious legal battles between HP, Oracle and SAP. If we’re to see a truly open cloud environment, large vendors like these will have to be on board. If Intel is serious, it probably has the influence to pull it off, but it won’t be easy.