Items tagged with law

You probably thought you were done with brain-jarring algebra and trigonometry from your school days but that may not be the case, thanks to some legal lunacy out of California. New energy efficiency regulations, which went into effect on July 1st and may be adopted by five other US states, limit the amount of power desktop computers can draw in a year, based on their components and expandability. Due to this, PC manufacturers are scrambling, gamers are up in arms, and everyone is confused by the math at hand, but it is not as cut and dry as you would think. On July 26th, writer and content creator Marie Oakes spotted a new warning on Dell’s website under Alienware PCs, stating that “This... Read more...
It’s a Christmas miracle! A law that will be going into effect on Sunday will make it so customers no longer have to pay rental fees for their own networking equipment. Also, ISPs will be required to delineate and itemize everything that goes into a bill. This is a big win for consumers everywhere and a step forward in tackling the issues with the telecommunications business. For the legal nerds among us who want to read up on the law, you can find it under Public Law 116-94, 133 Stat. 3200-3201. If you are like me and do not want to scroll through everything, here are a few vital abbreviated excerpts from the law: CONSUMER RIGHTS IN SALES.— ‘‘(1) RIGHT TO TRANSPARENCY.—Before... Read more...
The name Team Xecuter might bring back nostalgic waves for console pirates from the early 2000s, but for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, the name likely brought shivers down executives' spines. In the early 2000s, the notorious pirate hackers created several iterations of modification chips for Microsoft's Xbox console. Those chips could override the system's built-in, locked-down BIOS to run pirated games. More recently, the group is known for the SX lineup dongles that could perform similar actions on various Nintendo Switch models. Now, their hacking days may be over.  The U.S. Department of Justice has arrested accused Canadian ringleader Gary Bowser and two of his alleged co-conspirators,... Read more...
Loot boxes are common occurrence these days in gaming, and an incredibly annoying one for many. Three months after Hawaiian representative Rep. Chris Lee invoked Stars Wars to declare that "It's a trap" with regards to Star Wars Battlefront II microtransactions and loot boxes, state lawmakers have introduced four bills that would enact additional regulations on the controversial practice. There are two bills that are currently coursing through the Hawaii state House (Bill 2686) and Senate (Bill 3024); both aim to ban the sale of loot boxes to gamers under the age of 21. Yes, you heard that right -- loot box sales would carry the same age-based restrictions as purchasing alcohol. The bills state... Read more...
Printers are expensive. Recycling and selling used/refilled printer ink cartridges has often been seen as a way to recoup the money that often gets sunk into the cash cow of the printer business - the ink itself. The ruling of Impression Products, Inc. v Lexmark Int’l, Inc, a recent and rather obscure court case, could potentially change how printer ink cartridge items are used, recycled, restored and resold, once they have been purchased by a customer. Impression Products is a small business that specializes in buying and re-manufacturing used printer cartridges. Lexmark International, Inc. recently decided to add the company to a list of other business that they had decided to sue as a result... Read more...
Can the FBI access your email if it is on a foreign server? Google was recently ordered by a United States judge to release emails stored on foreign mail servers to the FBI. The communications are possibly related to a domestic fraud case. U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter in Philadelphia ruled that transferring emails from a foreign server to the FBI does not count as seizure. He contended that the email transfer did not create any “meaningful interference” with the account holder’s “possessory interest”. Furthermore, Judge Reuter insisted that any privacy infringement occurs “at the time of disclosure in the United States,” not when the information is transferred. Judge Reuter’s ruling goes... Read more...
2016 is going to be remembered for a number of fortunate and unfortunate things, with one topic that falls into the latter category being the debacle of U.S. law enforcement vs. Apple. The FBI and other US federal agencies have made it no secret that they would like to be able to gain access to any smartphone if the need arises - something that anyone who cares even remotely about their privacy shouldn't be okay with. In the months that followed, the FBI somehow managed to break into an iPhone 5C without any help from Apple. And while it's not clear if the agency is able to pull that off on more recent iPhones, it looks like the FBI is not willing to divulge how it cracked the device to any other... Read more...
Rapid advances in artificial intelligence technologies is leading to some new and interesting use case scenarios that extend far beyond today's crop of digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana. Underscoring that point is a piece of software developed by computer scientists at University College London that accurately predicts the outcome in actual legal cases. The software uses an algorithm to analyze legal evidence and issues of morality to predict the outcome of trials, and is pretty accurate at it. In being fed data from 584 cases involving torture and degrading treatment, fair trials and privacy, the AI judge reached the same verdicts as the real life ones at the European court of human... Read more...
Yahoo is the latest major US corporation dealing with the fallout of a data breach that happened two years ago. Some might say that Yahoo's heartburn is well-deserved, though, as the company could have handled things better back in the day, which would have led to a better outcome right now. As we covered on Thursday, Yahoo suffered a major breach back in 2014 that resulted in some 500 million user accounts having their information compromised. However, it's only just recently that users have learned of this, so that's the first major criticism of Yahoo but it goes deeper. Yahoo has said that the attack was caused by a "state-sponsored actor", which means the company could have exercised... Read more...
As huge as Google is, it's sometimes easy to think of it as being invincible. The American company seemingly gets away with whatever it wants simply because it dominates its competition. But, the European Union has time and time again proven that Google is not invincible, and in fact, it could now be facing the EU's largest penalty to date. Where we stand today is with a mammoth price tag on Google's head. As it appears right now, this is not a fight Google is going to win (easily), and if it's found guilty, it's going to owe on a fine reaching at least €3 billion ($3.4 billion USD). If the maximum charge is sought, that number could jump to €6.6 billion - a number The Telegraph mentions... Read more...
When Google's Android OS began overtaking every other mobile OS in terms of marketshare, it seemed obvious that at some point, the company would be catching a bit of flak for it. In fact, it seemed inevitable that the EU would have something to say about it, as it's traditionally been strict amount companies that dominate a particular segment of the tech market. Look no further than Microsoft with Windows; the company now has to produce a special edition of the OS in order to appease the EU. Well, the EU does in fact have a beef with Google's dominance, especially where Android is concerned. Last week, a second set of antitrust charges were flung at Google, involving both the search function... Read more...
Over the past couple of years, law enforcement at large has ramped up its efforts to try to gain access to communication mediums, which can include being able to browse unlocked smartphones. As it stands today, most jurisdictions do not give a member of law enforcement the ability to gain access to a smartphone without a warrant, and because a PIN code is personal information, it cannot simply be asked of someone to provide it. That hasn't halted efforts to get rid of such roadblocks, though. Even if it requires brute force, agencies like the FBI want in, especially in high stakes, high profile cases against the threat of terrorism. There has been much discussion regarding the ongoing battle... Read more...
We have been hearing so much about the FBI's pressure on Apple in its encryption fight in recent weeks that it might be easy to forget that it's only just begun in recent weeks. But what a few weeks it's been! In the middle of February, a federal judge ordered Apple to break encryption on an iPhone that belonged to a terrorist part of the San Bernardino attack in December, and Apple wasted no time in defending its stance on things. In gist, CEO Tim Cook and the rest of Apple want to continue giving their customers a phone they can trust, and the government is working hard to cripple that. Cook put it very well when he said, "Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything... Read more...
It's not often that people feel compelled to side with Google on the topic of privacy, but the company's newest CEO, Sundar Pinchai, gives us a great reason to. As Brandon covered in great detail yesterday, Apple has been ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym to provide the FBI access to an iPhone 5c that was used by the terrorists in December's San Bernardino shootings - but, there are a couple of problems with that. Apple insists that the backdoor the U.S. government wants doesn't exist, and CEO Tim Cook rages against the idea that his company should build one for any of its products. If you want to know why he feels this way, he sums it up perfectly with the following statement: People... Read more...
We can’t say that we didn’t see this one coming — an encryption showdown between Apple and the federal government. Apple has been adamant about batting down court orders to decrypt data on iPhones in order to assist criminal investigations, in an effort to generally protect user privacy. In turn, the FBI and other agencies have repeatedly criticized Apple for its stonewalling. Last week, FBI Director James Comey lamented the fact that his elite team of hackers still hadn’t been able to access the data on the smartphone belonging to the San Bernardino gunman that killed 14 people in early December. "It's been over two months now. We are still working on it,” said Comey last week before the Senate... Read more...
If you own or have owned a 3TB hard drive from Seagate, the law firm behind a suit against the company wants to hear from you. At the case page, it's mentioned that three Seagate models are involved here, including the standard desktop version (called Barracuda), the Backup Plus external version, or any other that includes the model number "ST3000DM001." The suit alleges that these 3TB Seagate drives have a failure rate that's far worse than what's advertised. "Consumers report them failing as an unprecedented rate - sometimes even days after their first use," the law firm writes. Making matters worse, it's said that after people lost data with these bunk drives, the replacement they were given... Read more...
A hot topic brought up often in the search for America's next president is the security and privacy of the country's citizens. Unfortunately, such matters rarely find themselves in the hands of politicians who truly understand what they're talking about, and we saw just such an example again Saturday night, during the Democratic presidential debate. During the debate, Hillary Clinton tried to put viewers at ease with the assurance that she has no desire to force companies to engineer back doors in their software that the government could access. "I would not want to go to that point." In her next breath, she contradicts herself: "It doesn't do anybody any good if terrorists can move toward encrypted... Read more...
Should retail employees be compensated for the time spent waiting for their bags to be searched after work? No, says San Francisco District Judge William Alsup, who made the pronouncement on Saturday. In 2013, a lawsuit was filed against Apple for not compensating those who've been forced to spend extra time after their shift waiting to go through security. This requirement is done for obvious reason: Apple's stores are loaded to the brim with high-dollar items that could be shoved into a bookbag without adding much bulk to it. While it'd seem like the massive amount of security cameras that line these stores would be enough, that's not the case. It's not just the fact that these searches take... Read more...
The fight between the Department of Justice and mobile OS creators continues, and as it stands right now, things are not looking so great on the vendor side. Over the past few years, and the past year especially, both Apple and Google have been battled against for allowing users of their respective OSes to encrypt their data, and in effect make it impossible for law enforcement to rummage through. Fortunately, both companies have been battling against this on behalf of consumers; rather than back down, both companies have actually strengthened the security, namely by making encryption default in the latest versions of Android and iOS. That's all fine and good, but what's now concerning is the... Read more...
Proving once again that some lawmakers are still living in the stone age, the UK government has just reintroduced a law that deems ripping CDs and DVDs illegal. Want to toss that new album onto your MP3 player? Convert that DVD movie for viewing on the plane? No, and no. Don't even think about it. What's most ridiculous about this law is that it was remedied last fall, with "Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014". That made it instantly legal for such personal ripping to occur, but as that has been effectively overturned, we're back at square one again. Flickr: Dave Allen There's not much that can be said here that's not blatantly obvious. Imagine... Read more...
Lawmakers in New Zealand have officially made it illegal to harass others and engage in hate speech through digital means. Otherwise known as cyberbullying, offenders who run afoul of the law face stiff penalties -- up to two years imprisonment or a fine up to $50,000 for an individual, or up to $200,000 for a "body corporate," which is a legal entity like a business, government agency, and so forth. It's called the Harmful Digital Communications Bill and it's intended to "deter, prevent, and mitigate harm caused by individuals by digital communications, and provide victims of harmful digital communications with a quick and efficient means of redress." The bill covers any form... Read more...
There have been many stories to come out of the US over the past couple of years that have related to law enforcement requests of personal passwords, and now, it looks like Canada wants to get in on the action. This past week, traveler Alain Philippon was returning to the Great White North from the Dominican Republic, and upon his arrival, customs officers demanded that he give his smartphone's PIN code so that they could fish around. He refused, and now he faces a fine of $1,000 to $25,000 and one year in jail. Philippon states that he didn't give up his PIN because it's personal information, and I agree -- I would have done the same thing. It's bad enough that our luggage has to be scanned... Read more...
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