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Apple, Samsung Plan Mediation Meetup
January 10, 2014
Apple and Samsung have set a date on which they'll attempt to iron out their differences in a patent dispute that's headed to trial in March. The companies have agreed to meet before a mediator on Feb. 19, according to a document filed with a federal district court in California, to discuss a settlement of their differences over some smartphone patents that Apple claims have been violated by Samsung.
France Finally Levies Teeny Fine Against Google
January 09, 2014
Privacy regulators in France have slapped Google with the maximum fine allowed by law, confirming both the nation's dissatisfaction with Google and Europe's need to overhaul its data-privacy penalties. France followed through on threats made in June and September to fine Google over its privacy policies, laying down a penalty of roughly $200,000 -- the max fine allowed under EU regulations.
So Now China IS Lifting Videogame Console Ban
January 07, 2014
China reportedly will temporarily lift a sales ban on foreign videogame consoles, reversing a 14-year prohibition. Companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo -- which long have salivated over the heretofore obstructed gold mine of Chinese videogamedom -- will be allowed to make game consoles in Shanghai's free trade zone and then sell them in China.
Tech Firms Urge Supreme Court Action on Software Patent Quagmire
December 27, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to jump into a software patent case that could resolve the muddled situation that has been vexing IT companies, legal experts and federal judges for years. Specifically, the Supreme Court said earlier this month that it would rule on Alice Corp. Pty. v. CLS Bank International, a case involving the patent status of software developed by an Australian firm.
Was 2013 the Run-Up to Nineteen Eighty-Four?
December 23, 2013
It is time to look back on 2013 and consider what we've learned about technology and human nature. Both Apple and Dell were massively changed, and Google went from a company that wanted our private information to one that wanted our jobs. The U.S. government decided, through the NSA, that laws don't apply to it. Those who brought this to our attention got big punishments.
FCC Ready to Scotch Sports Blackout Rules
December 21, 2013
The Federal Communications Commission this week released a proposal that could significantly change the sports blackout rules that can prevent local TV broadcasts of games when a stadium doesn't sell out. The rules regarding blackouts were adopted in 1975, when the majority of National Football League teams' revenue came from ticket sales, the proposal notes.
The Devil Made Ex-Microsoft Exec Do Insider Trading
December 21, 2013
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington and the Securities and Exchange Commission have lodged criminal and civil enforcement actions against a former senior portfolio manager at Microsoft and his friend, alleging insider trading. They also accuse the two of planning to use their illegal gains to launch a hedge fund.
Surveillance Report Blasts NSA, Recommends Overhaul
December 19, 2013
A task force set up by President Obama to review the National Security Agency's surveillance activities has suggested a list of what it calls "significant" reforms, including restrictions on spying. Among the recommendations: changes in surveillance of both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens to protect their privacy; and an overhaul of the NSA and the secretive FISA Court.
Chinese Man Heads to US Prison for Microchip Smuggling Attempt
December 19, 2013
A Chinese citizen was sentenced to three years in U.S. prison Wednesday for trying to smuggle American-made microchips from California to China. The man, Philip Chaohui He, was targeted in a 2011 sting at a Los Angeles-area port. He was nabbed while approaching a Chinese freighter, toting with him 200 radiation-hardened microchips tucked inside a tub of baby formula.
CFPB Suit Targets Predatory Online Lending Practices
December 19, 2013
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau this week put online finance companies on notice that it will not overlook them merely because they operate in cyberspace. Specifically, the bureau sued CashCall for collecting money consumers allegedly did not owe. In its suit, the bureau charged that CashCall and its affiliates engaged in unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices.
Brazil Shoots Down Snowden Asylum Speculation
December 18, 2013
Brazil reportedly does not plan to grant asylum to Edward Snowden. Snowden stoked the Brazil asylum speculation Tuesday when he offered, via an open letter, to help Brazil investigate the extent of spying on Brazilian citizens and President Dilma Rousseff. Snowden's temporary asylum in Russia, where he fled to after a stint in Hong Kong, is set to expire in August.
NSA's Latest Threat: Constitutional Law
December 17, 2013
A federal judge has ruled that the NSA's collection of telephone metadata is likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adding another point of debate to this volatile issue. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's ruling has extra impact because he is a conservative appointed by George W. Bush. "That sets a serious precedent," said CREDO Mobile's Becky Bond.
Snowden Amnesty Idea Kicked Around
December 17, 2013
NSA official Rick Ledgett, who has been with the agency for 25 years, suggested offering whistleblower Edward Snowden amnesty, but Gen. Keith Alexander squashed the idea. About 31,000 of the possibly 1.7 million documents Snowden stole from the agency contain information that could be helpful to enemies of the U.S., Ledgett said, and it would be worth discussing a Snowden amnesty to secure them.
US, Canada Take Heat for Fighter Jet-Escorted Santa
December 17, 2013
Some people are objecting to North American Aerospace Defense Command online updates on the whereabouts of Santa. The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood is particularly off-put by a video that shows Santa's sleigh being escorted by fighter jets. NORAD maintains that the images are safe for children, pointing out that it has depicted jets accompanying Santa, Rudolph and Co. since the 1960s.
Norway Dashes Cold Water on Bitcoins
December 16, 2013
Norway's government ruled that Bitcoins don't qualify as a real currency, and it will treat them as an asset -- as opposed to a legitimate currency -- that is subject to capital gains tax. Many countries have been weighing in on how they will treat Bitcoins. Earlier this month, China said that its banks and financial institutions shouldn't handle the digital currency.
There's a New Fair Use Law in Town
December 16, 2013
More than eight years ago, the Authors Guild filed a class action against Google on behalf of thousands of authors, claiming that Google infringed the authors' copyrights. The Authors Guild recently lost its case based on the fair use doctrine that's generally reserved for nonprofit use by academic institutions, libraries and the press.
China: We've Got the Goods on Qualcomm
December 13, 2013
China has "substantial evidence" on Qualcomm in an antitrust probe, according to a report in the state-run China Daily that quotes Xu Kunlin, the head of the National Development and Reform Commission's anti-price-fixing bureau. The Daily didn't divulge any specific details -- just Xu's confident assertion that Qualcomm is squarely in the crosshairs.
Apple Breaks Legal Serve in Samsung's Home Court
December 13, 2013
A South Korean court has dismissed a lawsuit claiming Apple violated three Samsung short-messaging patents. It found that two of the patents allegedly violated were not unique leading-edge technology exclusive to Samsung, and that nothing in the third patent applied to technologies used by both companies. Samsung's patents cover the display of text messages and the grouping of messages on a phone.
Australian State Outlaws Non-Consensual Sexting
December 12, 2013
The Australian state of Victoria has made it illegal to distribute explicit images without consent. The new law specifically outlaws "non-consensual sexting," which generally takes place when lovers split and there is post-breakup payback in the form of intimate photos of the former partners. The law does exempt children in order to ensure that they aren't charged with child pornography.
AllSeen Alliance to Standardize Internet of Things
December 10, 2013
The Linux Foundation on Tuesday announced the formation of the AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry consortium working on a standard of interoperability among devices connected to the Internet of Things. LG will incorporate the Alliance's technology into the smart TVs it offers next year. The alliance's technology framework is based on Qualcomm's AllJoyn open source project.

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