The European Union respects data privacy; the United States does not.
The Wall Street Journal’s report that E.U. regulators fined Meta, Facebook’s parent, $1.3 billion for privacy violations struck a raw nerve. The United States has no laws to protect the privacy of consumer data, and Meta was fined because it transferred data collected from its European users for storage in the United States.
E.U. regulators expressed concern that this U.S.-stored data would be purloined by American spy agencies without knowledge or legal recourse of the people from whom it was collected purloined.
Instead of stealing consumer data, U.S. spy agencies are now buying, and sharing, vast quantities of personal data, replacing the intrusive surveillance that spy and law enforcement agencies, domestic and foreign, once used. This is the conclusion of a report commissioned by the Director of National Intelligence. The purchase of data is not subject to Fourth Amendment restraints.
The headline is a mouthful, but in the time you read this column your personal data has probably been collected by the more sophisticated vendors with whom you do business and is being used to target you for more purchases. This now-common practice might offend or it might be seen as consumer-useful. It’s very clear, though, that artificial intelligence plays a role in selecting data capture and crafting the ad messages. Continue reading
April must be copyright month. Those who follow copyright, photography and the free press will have their interests piqued by the Southern District of New York’s holding of fair use as a defense to infringement involving the events of Jan. 6, 2021, Fox News and a freelance photographer who, on January 6, was at the Capitol and filmed the activities.
In particular, she videoed Kelly Meggs participating in a stack formation ascending the Capitol’s stairs. The Department of Justice charged Meggs and attached to its complaint a copy of a still from the photographer’s video.
“AI is the next revolution … there is no going back.”
— M. Werneck, executive vice president, The Kraft Heinz Company.
Not all revolutions benefit humanity. Tech luminaries Elon Musk and AI pioneer Yoshua Bengio recently warned we might be circling the drain. They, and others, have called for a six-month moratorium on training artificial intelligence systems more powerful than Microsoft’s GPT-4. They caution AI can be dangerous to society in ways not understood.
In the first trial involving non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, trademark rights and a First Amendment defense, a jury in New York City earlier this month found an artist had violated the trademark rights of Hermés, the iconic French fashion house.
At issue was the artist’s NFT depictions of Hermés’ Birkin bags and his use of the BIRKIN mark in connection with his art. NFTs are digital depictions of art that reside not on walls or shelves of collectors but in the cloud, accessible via the owner’s computer.
It’s the rare celebrity, whether sports or Hollywood, who has not acted as an advertiser’s spokesperson, or even as an endorser. The deals run from Jimmy Walker hawking Medicare insurance on late night TV to William Shatner, who made $13 million to promote Priceline. That’s not bad money for a few hours on the sound stage every year. Rapper Travis Scott is said to have made $20 million promoting McDonald’s on social media.
Not all of these deals pass legal muster, however, and when a celebrity endorses a product in his field of interest, such as a celebrity racecar driver pushing tires, the public has a right to believe the celebrity means what he says and actually uses the product. Where it is obvious the actor, or celebrity, is merely being paid to act as a spokesperson, product use is not needed. And, when the celebrity is given something of value to add an endorsement, disclosure is required. If these rules are not followed, the result may be a claim by a state attorney general, the FTC, or group of consumers that the celebrity endorser engaged in deceptive trade practices. Continue reading
Decades back when we first represented advertising agencies, the proliferation of titles involved executive vice presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents…well, you get the point. Someone once quipped “hand out titles, not raises.” Today, new positions abound in agencies. There are creative directors, chief experience officers, strategy officers, branding directors, and chief marketing officers. The latest misery to befall the maker of M&M candies evidences the need for a strategy king (or queen) in charge of sensitivity. Continue reading
The FTC claims its latest effort to promote competition will increase the wages of America’s workers by “nearly $300 billion per year,” but what will this effort do to employers and the sellers of businesses?
The subject of the FTC push is a proposed rule that would ban the use of non-compete clauses except where they are imposed, with limitations, on the sellers of a business. The FTC seeks public comment through March 6 on its January 5, 2023, proposed rule. The rule was “encouraged” by President Biden’s July 2021 Executive Order promoting competition. In it, he encouraged the FTC to use its authority under the Federal Trade Commission Act to curtail what he called the unfair use of non-competition clauses and other agreements that may “unfairly limit” worker mobility. Continue reading