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Terrorist's Penalty Stiffened for Zipped Lips
January 17, 2014
Syed Farhan Hussain, a 22-year-old from Luton, UK, was hit with additional jail time for refusing to divulge the password for a memory stick that police were eager to take a peek at. Police were unable to crack the password themselves and therefore sought Hussain's help; Hussain declined, prompting a guilty verdict under Britain's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
US Supreme Court to Examine Scope of Software Protection
January 17, 2014
Software developers have long been able to protect their innovations by virtue of a favorable provision of U.S. patent law that gives them almost monopoly power to maximize financial returns. The law enables developers to take action against any other party that comes close to duplicating or imitating their software programs through court litigation on charges of infringement.
The Net Neutrality Ruling: All Sound and Fury?
January 16, 2014
A federal appeals court's Tuesday ruling on Net neutrality has sparked dire predictions: Streaming video will cost more; Internet-based multiplayer games could get expensive; and innovation might be stifled. Credo Mobile is gathering names for a petition to FCC Chair Tom Wheeler. However, nothing is going to happen for a while because "it's not a done deal," said tech analyst Dan Rayburn.
The App Store and Children, or Tim Cook's Latest Crock of Bull
January 16, 2014
I was pleased last year when Apple finally took a proactive stance and reached out to 28 million App Store customers who might have been bamboozled by shady in-app purchases in games designed to take advantage of children. However, even that action had dubious beginnings stemming from a class action lawsuit that Apple settled this summer. Most recently, Apple settled a similar issue with the FTC.
Net Neutrality Takes a Licking
January 15, 2014
Net Neutrality received a body slam from a federal appeals court Tuesday, but the door was left open for resuscitating the policy. In a case brought by Verizon against the FCC, the judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found the agency lacked the authority to impose antidiscrimination and antiblocking rules on providers of Internet broadband services.
Internet Crimes Led to Long Jail Sentences in 2013
January 11, 2014
With all the headlines about Internet cybersecurity breaches, there seem to be few headlines about the consequences for cybercriminals. That is because not all cybercriminals are caught, and when they are it often takes months, if not years, before trials. Even when the cybercriminals plead guilty, the sentencing phase often occurs months after the trial.
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.

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