Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Internet Insurance

Search engines and portals may be liable for linking to controversial material.
December 1, 2002

In April 2002 a German railway sued Google for linking to a Web site that provided instructions for sabotaging rail systems. The case has been bogged down in jurisdictional disputes, but a growing number of similar lawsuits are awakening U.S. businesses to the perils of putting information online.

Although there have been no significant monetary awards for damages, the insurance industry has been quick to seize upon the opportunity. Chubb, AIG, and the St. Paul Companies are among the first to introduce special “Internet liability” policies designed to help clients pay settlements or damages if they’re sued for posting or linking to material that infringes copyrights, is defamatory, or violates privacy rights. “Companies may not be considering the fact that there is a liability they are carrying just by including links to other people’s Web sites,” says Bill Rohde, president of global technology underwriting at the St. Paul Companies.

So far, most companies aren’t buying. For one thing, U.S. courts are still deciding whether standard liability policies implicitly cover Internet risks. At Marsh and McLennan, a New York Citybased insurance broker, dozens of clients have some form of Internet insurance, according to Norm Jacobi, managing director and chief technology officer of the firm’s technology and telecommunications practice. Still, he says, for most companies “the real interest is in controlling the underlying risks” by safeguarding private data, altering linking policies to avoid legal complications, and educating employees about security threats. And that may be the best way to ensure that liability fears don’t slow the Internet economy.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.