Items tagged with Legal

We all have that one friend or family member that's notorious for accidentally calling from their smartphone every so often without realizing it. Known as butt dialing (or pocket dialing if you want to be a little more tactful), the polite thing to do once you realize what happened is to hang up the phone so you don't end up hearing something you shouldn't. Or you could throw manners out the window and continue to listen to a private conversation, which may not be entirely moral, but it's not illegal.A federal appeals court in Ohio ruled that a person who accidentally pocket dials does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The ruling was part of a case involving James Huff, the former... Read more...
Certain judges in the Eastern District of Texas have dealt a blow to patent defendants when it comes to fending off patent trolls. Before we get into that, let's talk a moment about Alice v. CLS Bank. That's a case that went to the Supreme Court where it was ruled that abstract ideas implemented on a generic computer are not patentable.The ruling prompted many patent defendants to file "motions to dismiss" claims of patent infringement based on the Alice decision. More than half of those cases have been won, and apparently that isn't sitting will with some judges in the Eastern District of Texas.Those judges now require that defendants ask permission to file motions to dismiss early in the case,... Read more...
Reddit regrets the way it handled "The Fappening" (or "Celebgate," if you prefer), the name given to the incident in which hackers plucked hundreds of nude celebrity photos from iCloud and made them available for posting to public sites. While it's too late to go back in time and take a mulligan, Reddit is making changes to its privacy policy to prohibit posting nude and sexual photos and videos without the subject's consent. Posting sexually explicit images and videos without the subject's knowledge or permission is part of a growing trend called "revenge porn." In many cases, there's little recourse for victims of revenge porn to go after their exes or the parties responsible for posting their... Read more...
Not even a week after Yandex filed a complaint against Google for its anticompetitive practices, a San Jose judge dismissed a lawsuit that focused on similar accusations. In this lawsuit, Google was ultimately accused of being anticompetitive. This accusation stems from the fact that the company bundles many of its own apps on most (or all) Android devices, and like the Yandex complaint, Google's search engine is default (and I mentioned last week, it's not clear to me if the functionality of that bar can be altered without having to use a custom launcher). This could be considered a major win for Google, as Microsoft wasn't so lucky in the EU years ago, when it was ultimately forced to introduce... Read more...
Every hardware maker has constraints -- be it battery life, heat, size, or available materials. On the design front, one challenge that has thus far been impossible to overcome is the FCC stamp that has to be imprinted on the exterior of any device certified for use amongst the United States' airwaves. Now, that's history. President Obama signed the E-Label Act into law, enabling gadget makers to place that tiny logo in software within a product rather than on the outside.It seems fairly small in the grand scheme of politics, but it was a bi-partisan bill that had little issue sweeping support in the House and Senate. Beyond the FCC logo, gadget builders can also stamp ID numbers and other labeling... Read more...
In a continuation of the legal battle between NVIDIA and Samsung, the latter company has just filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission to block sales of NVIDIA's SHIELD Tablet on the basis that it infringes on its patents. This legal battle began this past September, when NVIDIA sued both Samsung and Qualcomm for infringing on its graphics IP. At that time, NVIDIA requested that Samsung's Galaxy phones and tablets be blocked from being sold. Earlier this month, Samsung struck back, counter-suing NVIDIA and also adding a seemingly innocent boutique vendor in the mix, Velocity Micro. As Velocity Micro doesn't have a part in the design of the NVIDIA products it installs in... Read more...
When you're as a big as Apple, lawsuits are impossible to avoid. After fighting Samsung for years on the design front, Apple's latest scuffle in the courtroom is happening in a country where a huge chunk of its profits are coming from: China. Recently, Apple has been attempting to have a Chinese company's voice-recognition patent ruled invalid, as its validity threatens Apple's ability to let Siri run free in China. Zhizhen Network Technology is attempting to block Apple from selling products in China with Siri installed, alleging that by doing so, it's infringing on a patent that it owns. With the verdict ruling the patent as valid, Apple's fight will continue with an appeal to the Beijing Higher... Read more...
You might want to be careful with that next "Like" on Facebook, because as it appears, companies can use that to their advantage in the event a lawsuit is filed against them. In General Mills' updated legal terms, the company totally backs consumers into a corner if they follow the company on social media, use its digital coupons, subscribe to its newsletters, and et cetera. Basically: Ignore General Mills' online presence entirely, and you may still have the right to sue the company. In the event that you fall victim to one of General Mills' gotchas, your only option would be to settle through arbitration, and avoid the courts entirely. Clearly, this is not a great move for consumers, and it... Read more...
Yahoo, new logo and all, it turning over a new leaf when it comes to privacy, reporting, and what the public is allowed to know. In the wake of the NSA / PRISM scandal, which is honestly still ongoing, Yahoo has followed Facebook in issuing a public transparency report. Facebook did likewise last month, and now Yahoo has published the company's first global transparency report, which details government data requests from January 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013. As you might expect, the report includes national security requests. Here's the bottom line from Yahoo: "For each country in this Transparency Report, we show the number of government data requests that we received during the reporting period... Read more...
Bitcoin, the digital currency that has its fair share of supporters and haters, has been deemed illegal in Thailand. Writing in a blog post on Monday, Bitcoin announced that over the last several months, it has been trying to get its currency registered by the Thailand government to ensure it was offering its digital funds through legal means. After initially denying Bitcoin the legal status to allow citizens to buy and sell its currency, the government's financial watchdog, the Bank of Thailand, offered to hear its case on July 29th. At a Bank of Thailand conference yesterday, Bitcoin showed off to 15 members of the financial agency how the currency works, and provided insight into its operation,... Read more...
Well, you can't exactly say that you didn't see this coming. Google Glass has raised awareness from the tech-savvy crowd all the way to the mainstream, and while a lot of folks on the cutting edge are keenly interested in seeing how Glass changes our world for the better, there are plenty of skeptics out there who can't wait to pass judgement. Already, a bar in Washington state has said that they will not allow patrons wearing Glass as a way to protect the privacy of its other guests, and now, a legislator in West Virginia has already proposed a law that would make it illegal to drive while wearing a Glass headset. Good thing it's not a law already, as a number of people deep within Google have... Read more...
Here's something you don't hear about often: Microsoft is under investigation with regard to bribery. U.S. authorities are examining the company's potential involvement with "companies and individuals that allegedly paid bribes to overseas government officials in exchange for business." The United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have both cracked open cases to investigate the allegations, which specifically involve Microsoft in China, Italy and Romania. Microsoft itself confessed that it has acknowledged the ongoing investigation, stating: "We take all allegations brought to our attention seriously, and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries. Like... Read more...
One has to wonder what the technology universe would feel like if Apple and Samsung weren't at each other's throats. For months now, we've just seen the two tech titans battling like no other in courtrooms all across the globe, largely bitter of patents and who infringed on who. But all told, it's all rather boring. For consumers, it's all just noise that's impeding innovation on both fronts, and that's no good for anyone. Thankfully, it seems that with the end of the year coming up, the two are inching closer to putting all of this aside. Just this week, Samsung decided to cease its efforts to block sales of Apple products in Europe. Earlier still, a U.S. judge rejected Apple's request to outright... Read more...
While Apple and Samsung ended up in court over patent disputes, it's being made clear that a courtroom battle isn't necessarily a requirement. HTC and Apple have also been at each other's throats for over two years now, but suddenly, it looks as if these two have decided to make up. It's in stark contrast to the messy courtroom battle that Samsung and Apple have gone through, and it could signal a change in how Apple's evaluating these types of decisions. You see, Apple let out a lot of internal information by way of the trial being public, and it also spent a great deal of energy and money in the process. By settling, it's easier to continue to do business with these companies, and it should... Read more...
The patent case between Apple and Samsung--you know, the one where if Apple wins, the company assumes total dominance of the mobile device market and Samsung dries up and blows away--is a bare-knuckle legal slugfest, and it recently took an interesting turn. Samsung brought forth videotaped testimony from one Roger Fidler (Program Director for Digital Publishing at the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute), who asserted that he’s been working on tablet designs since 1981, and according to Bloomberg, that in the mid-1990s, “Apple personnel were exposed to my tablet ideas and prototypes”. That’s a good hard groin kick to Apple’s claim that its... Read more...
"Rampant patent litigation." If you've followed consumer technology for any small amount of time, you'd know that it's happening. Apple vs. Samsung. Yahoo vs. Facebook. HTC, Motorola, Google -- you name it. If it's a large tech company, it's probably worried somewhat about being sued over patents. Companies that are involved don't seem to be making any grandiose public claims about this misfortune. But the tech media, and consumers at large, are growing tired of the back-and-forth. And you know it's bad when even a entity as large and hulking (and busy) as the International Telecommunication Union puts out a press release addressing the matter. The ITU has been involved in a lot of the patent... Read more...
Ouch. Toshiba is the latest panel maker to feel the pinch after being fined a whopping $87 million by a U.S. jury in a price fixing verdict. This week, Toshiba and its subsidiary, Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC), announced that a jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco) issued a verdict against Toshiba in the amount of $87 million due to alleged antitrust practices in the LCD business. It's just one of many companies found guilty over the past few years, and Toshiba is making clear that it expects to not pay for any of it. Why? Because they think they're innocent. This class action was filed in 2007 by direct purchasers... Read more...
Nope! That's the answer given to Apple by the International Trade Commission, shutting down its hopes for an emergency ban against HTC products. It's actually one of only a few "No!" responses heard on the legal front lately, as Judge Koh managed to give Apple the ability to halt sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Nexus pending the outcome of the whole shebang. Now, the U.S. ITC has ruled that HTC can continue to import smartphones while the agency "investigates whether the phones violate an order that the Taiwanese company stop infringing an Apple." The claim is that HTC is still in violation of an order issued in December; the ITC denied the emergency request to have phones like the... Read more...
A disturbing stream of reports have been circulating concerning employers demanding the Facebook passwords of potential employees before hiring them. Aside from the fact that such a demand is a gross breach of privacy and frankly opens those employers up to legal liability for all sorts of reasons, it’s just a crappy thing to do. The job market is tough, and plenty of desperate job seekers would do, say, or sign just about anything to land a job, and apparently some employers know that and are taking advantage of their leverage. We know--it’s easy to become indignant upon reading this and boldly claiming that you’d rather starve to death than give up your Facebook password as... Read more...
A few weeks ago, Amazon.com dropped associates in California due to a new sales tax law. Needless to say, this action made many loyal Amazon users and sellers unhappy. Many people blamed the state of California while others placed blame on Amazon. Regardless of which party you chose to blame, the fact is, the accounts for Amazon associates in California have been terminated. Now, Amazon.com is seeking a ballot initiative that could repeal the California law that requires online retailers such as Amazon to collect sales tax. The California attorney general's office received a petition on Friday. Next, the attorney general's office will prepare a title and summary for the initiative. The initiative... Read more...
Performing certain actions will get you sent to the 'Big House' no matter where you live. Taking another person's life, for example. Robbing a bank. Stampeding across town in a drunken stupor without your clothes on at three o'clock in the afternoon (trust us on this one). But in Tennessee, you could be locked up for logging into your buddy's Netflix account and watching an episode of The Twilight Zone. According to a report in The Tennessean, state lawmakers passed a new bill endorsed by Gov. Bill Haslam that, come July 1, will make it a crime to use someone's login information to watch movies or listen to music from streaming services like Netflix and Rhapsody. The bill, which was unsurprisingly... Read more...
Nokia has been under a great deal of pressure lately to perform strong. The company has lagged behind major smartphone vendors, and they're starting to lose their massive grip on the worldwide cellphone market. Their low-end phones still dominate sales in many developing nations, but in North America, the iPhone and lots of Android phones have lapped Nokia's N8 and other high-end, Symbian-based solutions. But that hasn't stopped the company's legal team from being on top of their gae. Nokia has announced this week that they have filed claims in the UK High Court, Dusseldorf and Mannheim District Courts in Germany and the District Court of the Hague, Netherlands, alleging that Apple infringes... Read more...
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