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Hachette Banished to Amazon's Woodshed
June 02, 2014
Hachette -- whose best-selling authors include J.K. Rowling and James Patterson -- remains at loggerheads with Amazon over renewal of a book distribution deal between the two. The stalemate has slowed the flow of books from the publisher to the online retailer to a crawl. Negotiations have been going on for more than a month, but the snag between the companies has just recently come to light.
Patent Troll Reforms Crash and Burn
May 30, 2014
Information technology groups and a wide range of other businesses are so divided on proposed changes to U.S. patent law that a key U.S. lawmaker abruptly terminated work on patent reform legislation last week. The legislation addresses intellectual property protection practices, informally known as "patent trolling," that overwhelmingly affect computer software and IT components.
Getting Away With Privacy Murder
May 29, 2014
Snapchat in May agreed to implement a comprehensive privacy program and be audited for the next 20 years to settle U.S. Federal Trade Commission charges that it had, among other things, lied to users when it said messages sent through its service would be erased after a designated period of time. However, Snapchat's privacy violation is infinitesimally small compared to some others.
Next on the Open Source Horizon: 3D Printing
May 28, 2014
3D printing is not yet a mainstream business activity, but the technology has progressed to the point where users can print three-dimensional objects and manufacture their own prototypes and replacement parts with relative ease. Three-dimensional printing is much more than a hobby industry today. Home users can download design files from websites and print a variety of products for their own use.
Chinese Media: Cisco Is Playing on US Cyberspy Team
May 28, 2014
Cisco has been accused of being in bed with U.S. cyberspying efforts, according to a Chinese state media outlet. Cisco "carries on intimately" with U.S. spying apparatuses, the outlet claims, and plays "a disgraceful role" in efforts to prop up U.S. power over the Web. Cisco denied the accusations. Beijing definitely seems to have taken umbrage with last week's U.S. indictments for cyberespionage.
Iranian Court Wants a Word With Zuckerberg
May 28, 2014
Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned by an Iranian court over privacy-violation concerns, according to news reports on Tuesday. The court in question, located in Iran's southern province of Fars, reportedly also opened a case against Facebook-owned social networking services WhatsApp and Instagram and ordered that they be blocked.
Sony, China Strike PlayStation Deal
May 27, 2014
Japanese electronics giant Sony has inked a deal in China to manufacture and sell PlayStation consoles in the Middle Kingdom. The partnership creates two joint ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl, which will enable Sony to operate out of Shanghai's free trade zone. China's early-2014 approval of videogame consoles from foreign companies reversed a years-long ban.
China's Payback for US Hacker Indictments Begins
May 27, 2014
The Department of Justice last week unsealed indictments against five members of the Chinese military who were accused of hacking into the computer systems of U.S. companies to steal everything from trade secrets to confidential corporate correspondence. China's initial response was to deny any wrongdoing and charge that the U.S. had hacked into the systems of Chinese companies.
China Calls for Increased Testing of IT Products
May 23, 2014
The ever-testy cyberstandoff between the U.S. and China got a new twist when Beijing announced that it would start "cybersecurity vetting of major IT products and services" used for national security and public interests. The vetting is designed to prevent suppliers from using their products to control, disrupt or shut down clients' systems, or from using the systems to scoop up information.
iMessage Flaw Bugs Apple
May 22, 2014
Apple has vowed to fix a persistent bug in its iOS mobile OS that punishes former iPhone users. The flaw, which has been in iMessage since the release of iOS 5, prevents former iPhone users from receiving SMS messages from current users. Apple recently fixed a server-side iMessage bug that was causing an issue for some users, and it will provide an additional bug fix in a future software update.
Iran Releases Fans Detained Over Music Video
May 22, 2014
Iran has released at least some of the people who appeared in a music video for a song by American pop artist Pharrell Williams. The video, set to the Williams tune "Happy," showed people dancing on rooftops of the capital of Tehran. It is not clear if all of the people arrested for making the Tehran-based video have been released or if they later will be put on trial.
Google's EU Migraine Rears Up
May 21, 2014
Yeah, about that breakthrough between Google and European antitrust regulators... The European Union's antitrust chief might pursue a tougher stance on Google than the one outlined in a February agreement, which was believed to have end -- finally -- the legal circus between the two sides. Google had agreed to display rivals' links more prominently in its search results, a chief concern.
Anonymous Philippines Harasses China
May 20, 2014
Anonymous Philippines, the Philippines branch of the hacktivist collective Anonymous, defaced more than 200 Chinese websites over a territorial dispute between the two countries. The group announced the move on its Facebook page, offering a detailed list of all websites it had infiltrated. The hacking spree stems from the dustup over Scarborough Shoal, also known as "Huangyan Island."
Will Samsung and Apple Lay Down Their Swords?
May 20, 2014
After years of legal wrangling over their mobile technology intellectual patent rights in courtrooms around the world, Apple and Samsung apparently are ready to call it a day. Representatives of the companies reportedly are in negotiations to settle their legal differences out of court. This is not the first time such a rumor has surfaced, noted Peter Toren, partner with Weisbrod Matteis & Copley.
US Toughens Stance on Chinese Cyberspying With 5 Criminal Indictments
May 20, 2014
The U.S. Justice Department on Monday kicked up a notch the Obama administration's efforts to curb China's economic espionage activity against American businesses. A grand jury indicted five members of the Chinese army on DoJ allegations they conspired to hack into the networks of U.S. companies to steal information that would be useful to their competitors in China.
Russian Rocket, Satellite Don't Quite Make It
May 19, 2014
A space-bound satellite designed to provide Internet access to remote regions in Russia and neighboring states was destroyed when its ride blew apart mid-flight. The Proton-M rocket, affixed with a European-built Express AM4R satellite, seemed to be doing just fine until nine minutes into the flight, when it exploded some 93 miles above Earth. The exact cause of the crash apparently was not known.
'I Am Google': Pride Comes Before a Fall
May 19, 2014
Last week, I observed repercussions from one of the most arrogant moves I've ever seen an executive make. A small uproar occurred when a Google product strategist learned there were fewer people than he'd expected at an event he'd volunteered to speak at. As he stormed out, he uttered the immortal words, "I Am Google," to the event organizer -- whom he apparently thought was a booth babe.
In the Eye of the Right-to-Be-Forgotten vs. Right-to-Know Storm
May 16, 2014
A disgraced politician, a pedophile, and a doctor who received negative ratings from patients reportedly are among the hordes of people asking Google to take down links to information published about them. The requests followed Tuesday's preliminary ruling by the European Court of Justice indicating Google may have to remove links to people's names on request, if appropriate.
FCC OKs Controversial Net Rules, Screaming Period Begins
May 15, 2014
The FCC has approved proposed new rules governing neutrality on the Internet. Following a public comment period and review of those comments by the commission, the agency will finalize the rules, possibly as soon as the end of this year. "Today marks the starting line for a new conversation, not the finish line," said Nuala O'Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology.
Fallout Begins Following EU Google Decision
May 15, 2014
This week's European high court decision against Google was "astonishing," according to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who called it "one of the most wide-sweeping Internet censorship rulings I've ever seen." Wales, like anyone who read the ruling, noticed that the parameters for judging whether content be removed were exceptionally ambiguous. This puts Google in dilly of a pickle, Wales said.
Steering Driverless Cars to Market
May 14, 2014
The hype around driverless cars, or autonomous vehicles as they're also known, is increasing, with Google on Tuesday taking reporters for spins around the city of Mountain View, Calif. Figuring prominently in resulting news reports were the big red kill button between these cars' front seats; the emphasis on safety in their design; and yes, a few abrupt lane changes.
No, Bot! UN Ponders Regulations for Killer Robots
May 14, 2014
In a move that could complicate the creation of any more Terminator movies, United Nations diplomats on Tuesday discussed international laws to govern, or simply ban, the use of killer robots. This was the first time that a UN meeting was devoted entirely to the topic, which makes sense given that the robots in question don't yet exist. That said, the UN wants to be proactive.

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