Items tagged with law

Love the Earth? Sure, we all do--after all, we live here. Love it enough to throw out your current TV and buy one that meets heightened energy requirements? Um....Just this week California regulators adopted the "nation's first energy-efficiency standards for televisions," with hopes of reducing energy drain during a period where many Americans are looking to buy larger, more energy-dependant sets. Of course, the Golden State has always been one to watch energy usage, and the 5-0 vote by the California Energy Commission isn't all that surprising. Reportedly, the new rules will be phased in starting in 2011, and given that California residents purchase around 11% of the TVs sold each year in America,... Read more...
According to people familiar with the matter, the Federal Communications Commission plans to open an inquiry into Google's Voice service, looking into how the service works and whether or not the Internet giant is restricting calls. Earlier this week, a group of 20 Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who mostly represent rural areas wrote a letter to the FCC asking it to investigate Google's ability to block calls."We are formally requesting an investigation by the FCC into the nature and function of Google Inc's voice service," they wrote in the letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. The FCC has already sought information from Google and AT&T. At the heart... Read more...
AAA recently declared a goal to ban texting while driving. The automobile club is not alone. Yesterday, the Obama administration said it would seek to ban text messaging by interstate bus drivers and truckers and would encourage states to pass their own laws against driving cars while distracted. According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the administration also plans to put restrictions on cell phone use by rail operators, truck drivers, and interstate bus drivers. "Driving while distracted should just feel wrong — just as driving without a seat belt or driving while intoxicated," LaHood said at the end of a two-day conference on the problem. "We're not going to break everyone of their... Read more...
With data theft seeming to be increasing in frequency (read this and this), a California legislator has introduced a bill that would make companies report more information to people affected by the breaches.State Sen. Joe Simitian's bill would require companies involved to report to the state attorney general any data breach that affected more than 500 California residents. The proposed law also details what the companies have to tell their customers about the breaches.He spoke at the University of California - Berkeley about a symposium on the topic and suggested too many companies don't make things clear enough:While some breach notification letters do a good job of telling users what happened... Read more...
When pimping Windows Vista prior to its release, Microsoft called it "the most secure OS ever." Of course, software is just software, and there are bugs in anything. And on Friday, security firm Phion AG announced they had discovered a TCP/IP stack buffer overflow. As researcher Thomas Unterleitner indicated: Since this buffer overflow overwrites kernel memory, it could be possible that members of the Network Configuration Operator group exploit this and take control over the operating system without any restriction. This buffer overflow could be exploited to inject code, hence compromising client security. It's a new vulnerability, meaning it is not reproducible on Windows XP. Microsoft was... Read more...
Spore is a critically-acclaimed game, but (at least by users) its DRM has been universally panned. Many of those who know anything about the SecuROM copy protection used in the game don't want it near their computers, unless they absolutely have to. And while Electronic Arts (EA) has "loosened things up" slightly, the DRM has spawned thousands of negative reviews at Amazon.com and protest creatures. And now, it has birthed a class action lawsuit (.PDF). The lawsuit was filed on Sept. 22nd by Melissa Thomas, represented by Alan Himmelfarb and Scott Kamber with KamberEdelson LLC. The lawsuit makes a number of statements, including: What purchasers are not told is that, included in the purchase,... Read more...
NVIDIA has been hit with a securities fraud class action lawsuit over the defective GPUs which it admitted to in July. The complaint was filed by New York-based law firm Shalov Stone Bonner & Rocco. It alleges that NVIDIA knew about the flawed GPUs as early as November 8th, 2007 though no public announcement was made until July 2, 2008. After the announcement, NVIDIA stock dropped 30%. Since then manufacturers have issued BIOS updates to "fix" the issue, but all these have done is increase use of the fan to prevent the GPUs from overheating. The class action lawsuit is detailed on Shalov Stone Bonner & Rocco's website. Paragraph 23 of the complaint (.PDF) says: According to multiple public... Read more...
France and the UK have already begun considering such "three strikes" downloading laws, but with France taking over the EU presidency on 7/1, there is talk - and a vote upcoming - on a E.U. version.Now Sarkozy, who took over the European presidency this week, is trying to stretch the measure across Europe through amendments (pdf) to the Telecoms Package, a review of European telecoms law currently in the European Parliament.Critics fear that through this legislation European ISPs could also be mandated to block legitimate traffic in an effort to 'prevent' illegitimate traffic slipping by. Some amendments will transform the ISPs from technical intermediaries into law enforcers.Action groups Netzpolitik.org,... Read more...
The latest events in the Megan Meier MySpace suicide case took place Monday, when Missouri governor Matt Blunt signed into law a bill which revised the the state's already existing harassment law to include telephone and electronic communication.Those under 21 would face only a misdemeanor, but for adults, this is a felony, with a sentence of up to four years in prison.The Megan Meier case caught the attention of the nation when it brok. A teenage girl committed suicide after a MySpace romance went bad. The romance itself and the boy involved were in fact fictional, perpetrated as a vindictive prank by the mother of a former friend who lived down the street.The suicide occurred in October of... Read more...
Apple is certainly litigious over the use of the word "pod," and on Wednesday it received a taste of its own medicine, as it was sued over its "Mighty Mouse."  No, it's not for the reason you might think, as its already licensed the name "Mighty Mouse" from CBS.Apple is facing a new lawsuit over its Mighty Mouse peripheral, reports say. The case was filed in Greenbelt, Maryland by a company called Man & Machine, which is accusing Apple of violating a trademark associated with its own Mighty Mouse device, an optical mouse designed to be waterproof and chemical-resistant for use in environments such as labs and hospitals. Crucially, M&M began selling its product in 2004, over a year... Read more...
We don't know what to do with all the multi-core chips we already have, never mind the eight and sixteen core processors looming on the horizon. The software is not keeping pace with the hardware.  That realization is dawning over all the big players in computer chip design and tech educators. Think tanks dedicated to parallel computing are being founded and funded at numerous prestigious universities, including Stanford University, with support from all the big chip players, hoping to close the gap between the silicon and the ones and zeros. The Stanford lab, which will cost $6 million over three years, will be led by Kunle Olukotun, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science.... Read more...
Microsoft's latest attempt to derail the "Vista Capable" class-action law suit via another appeal has been stymied:"In a brief order dated April 21, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Microsoft's request to overturn a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman in February that granted class-action status to a lawsuit that charges the company deceived consumers in 2006 with its Windows Vista Capable marketing program."Perhaps the best part about Microsoft's appeal is that it usually means they have submitted internal and/or external documents that will probably be made public.  Those documents tend to be a gold mine of information about the less-than-cozy world of... Read more...
I know it's Microsoft that has the reputation for being computer monopolists. But all they supply to the affair is the Operating System and a free browser, after all. You can run it on any computer you like, or one that has enough horsepower to render Vista, anyway. You want a monopoly? Apple is a vertically integrated competitor killer. Psystar, a small manufacturer from Miami thought you'd like to get what is essentially Mac Mini performance, but with twice the memory, at half the price. Persuading a generic PC to run OS X isn’t that hard to do. Ever since Apple (AAPL) switched from PowerPC to Intel, hackers in the OSx86 movement have been playing cat-and-mouse with Cupertino, writing a series... Read more...
People and/or companies filing suit against Apple ought to get a volume discount these days.The latest lawsuit, filed by Stacie Somers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Apple uses unfair business practices.  Unfair could mean a lot of different things, but in this particular suit it refers to the iPod's inability to play Windows Media Audio files.“Further, Apple sells songs on the iTunes store with its own copy-protection technology, FairPlay, which is incompatible with music players other than the iPod.The suit contends iPod-owning consumers can only buy music from iTunes, an unlawful tie-in that violates U.S. antitrust laws. Apple could license... Read more...
It is no secret that in the printer market, the money is all in the consumables.  Paper, ink, and the like are where the money is made, not printers themselves.  As such, a Boston man has filed a lawsuit against Staples and HP on collusion and anti-trust grounds.A Boston man has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing hardware maker HP and office supply retailer Staples of colluding to inflate the price of printer ink cartridges in violation of federal antitrust law. According to the suit, HP allegedly paid Staples $100 million to refrain from selling inexpensive third-party ink cartridges, although the suit doesn't make it clear how plaintiff Ranjit Bedi arrived at that figure.For most... Read more...
You can nearly set your watch by the weekly Apple lawsuits, and future generations may count them to establish a sense of time between historic tech events in the same that way we count tree-rings to determine when natural disasters took place.This week's lawsuit was filed on behalf of Klausner Technologies and asserts that the Visual Voicemail technology, a service from co-defendant AT&T that works with the iPhone, infringes on two of their patents.  This isn't the first time that we've reported claims of patent violations leveled at Apple's iPhone, but the damages being sought are worth mentioning as is the fact that Klausner has won similar law suits against other huge industry names... Read more...
Apple and Burst.com have settled their patent dispute for $10 million USD after two years of litigation.  The initial complaint was over four separate patents that covered transmission of compressed audio and video files that were used in iLife, iTunes, QuickTime and of course, the iPod.  Given the digital media nature of the listed products, and the installed base (especially for the iPod) it seems like $10 million USD might be a bargain price.“Under the agreement, Apple will pay Burst.com US$10 million and get access to Burst.com’s patent portfolio, with some exceptions, Burst.com said in a press release. Apple won’t have access to four of Burst.com’s current and pending patents,... Read more...
The Megan Meier MySpace case, in which Megan committed suicide after a MySpace hoax committed by no less than an adult, has caused a Missouri community to craft a law to prevent something from this from happening again, at least without some punishment for the perpetrators.The goal of the ordinance, said Assistant City Attorney John Young, is to punish people who use threatening or obscene language or images through electronic communication to inflict emotional distress on another person. Young said he researched similar legislation in other cities and states in drafting the ordinance.Megan Meier hanged herself with a cloth belt from a support beam in a closet in her Dardenne Prairie home Oct.... Read more...
It seems that Apple get slapped with a new law suit every time anybody in their Cupertino headquarters sips a latte.A new law suit filed by SimmonsCooper LLC on behalf of DBC in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Digital Background Corporation claims that the video backdrop feature for iChat violates their 1998 patent.“DBC's claim that infringement has been willful appears to stem from the fact that its technology has been readily accessible through a Windows product dubbed StarFX, which notes in its credits that the employed virtual backdrop technology is patented. The software application is "designed to be the industry standard for manipulating and enhancing PC... Read more...
Yahoo has been embroiled in a lawsuit over information it gave the Chinese government regarding several Chinese dissedents.  Last week it took a huge amount of criticism at a Congressional hearing.  Today it settled that case.No details have been given of the settlement but Yahoo will be covering legal costs.The case alleged that Yahoo had provided information to the Chinese government that had then been used to prosecute the dissidents.Yahoo said it had to comply with Chinese laws to operate in the country.A statement released by the World Organization for Human Rights USA, which brought the case, said Yahoo had decided to settle the case following criticism at a US Congressional hearing... Read more...
There haven't been too many law suits that have this kind of far-reaching industry-wide consequences: PCI-Express itself has come under attack by Microlinc LCC according to their latest filing in Texas.Perhaps the strangest part of all is that this suit will put even rivals AMD and Intel on the same side, not something that is accomplished that often:“As a result, Intel is named alongside nine other companies that the plaintiff believes are contributing to the perceived infringement. Intel's rival AMD is included for using PCI Express for its mainboards, as is NVIDIA. Large computer makers Apple, Acer, Dell, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba are all accused of aiding Intel by building desktops... Read more...
If watching all 3 “Back To The Future” movies was supposed to teach us anything, it's that people shouldn't tinker with time.  Nor should anyone modify DMC-12s without serious contemplation of the consequences, but perhaps attempting to treat time like a toy was perhaps the more serious message.Apparently nobody got this message out to the good people in the U.S. Congress, and their 2005 change to the daylight savings system has caused all kinds of havoc.  Thankfully nothing along the lines of Armageddon-esque/Y2K-horror story events seem to have happened, but rather plenty of small things seem to have gone wrong.  Here are a few interesting stories about such events:“At least... Read more...
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