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Do Facebook Searches to Show Disability Fraud Violate the Constitution?
July 28, 2014
Looking for evidence of disability fraud, the district attorney for Manhattan last year obtained 381 search warrants and served them on Facebook as part of a long-term investigation into a massive scheme. The search warrants were "sealed," which means they were not made public. Ultimately, 106 former New York police and firefighters were arrested.
Patent Tips Apple's iWatch Hand
July 24, 2014
A patent awarded to Apple may be a tip-off of what it's planning for the smartwatch widely expected this fall. The patent for something Apple referenced in its application as "iTime" is for an electronic wristband that contains a recessed area for a device, such as a watch body. The iTime could feed and display information gathered from sensors in the band on a pop-in electronic device.
EU Rides Apple Over Weak In-App Purchase Policies
July 23, 2014
The EU last year adopted a "common position" on how purchases made within mobile and online applications should be treated by operators of app stores. Now Google is drawing praise for striving to comply with EU guidance, while Apple is being rebuked for dragging its feet. Google announced specific steps it's taking, including removal of the word "free" from any app that enables in-app purchases.
Black Hat Tor-Busting Talk Nixed
July 22, 2014
The Tor Project is working to remedy a vulnerability in its anonymity software following the sudden cancellation of a talk at next month's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that would have revealed it. The planned talk would have demonstrated a way to unmask users of Tor, the privacy-minded Web browsing software. CMU researcher Alexander Volynkin was to deliver the briefing.
Judge Rules Police Can Stuff Entire Email Accounts Into Evidence Lockers
July 21, 2014
Concerns about overly broad searches of digital data by law enforcement once again have emerged after a federal judge issued an opinion stating officials armed with a warrant can seize and hold a suspect's entire email account. Such an action would not violate the suspect's rights under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, said U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein.
Apple Settles E-Book Price-Fixing Case for $450 Million, Maybe
July 18, 2014
Apple has agreed -- conditionally -- to settle a lawsuit over allegations of fixing the prices of e-books brought against it by the attorneys general of 33 states in the United States, following a protracted legal battle. The settlement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which ruled on the case in September.
Dish's Hopper DVR Is No Aereo
July 17, 2014
Dish Network this week chalked up another legal victory for its Hopper DVR service. An appeals court rejected Fox's bid to disallow some features in the Hopper platform, namely the place-shifting capabilities of Dish Anywhere and Hopper Transfers. Dish Anywhere gives Hopper customers the option to view content remotely from Internet-connected devices like tablets, smartphones and computers.
Internet Heavyweights Lock Arms to Block Fast Lane
July 15, 2014
A trade association including Amazon, Google and Netflix on Monday called on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules banning deals by broadband providers for faster delivery of some Internet traffic. The Internet Association, in written testimony submitted to the FCC, called for simple "light touch" rules to ensure an open and neutral Internet.
Amazon Floats Drone Exemption Proposal to FAA
July 14, 2014
Amazon is ramping up its drone delivery project and is hoping approval to conduct outdoor testing on its own property. The company has petitioned the FAA for an exemption from rules barring it from testing the devices. Amazon last year revealed it was working on a project that would allow it to deliver small packages to consumers within 30 minutes of ordering via the unmanned aerial vehicles.
Aereo Aims to Make Lemonade From Supreme Court's Lemons
July 11, 2014
After the Supreme Court appeared to deliver a death blow to Aereo, it has latched onto a part of the Court's decision in an effort to stay alive. The Court determined that Aereo flouted copyright rules by retransmitting programming without a license. Aereo let users watch broadcast TV over the Internet for a monthly fee. Its goal was to give consumers greater TV-viewing flexibility.
FTC Goes After Amazon for Fleecing Kids
July 11, 2014
The FTC has filed suit against Amazon over billing kids for unauthorized in-app purchases that in many cases they did not know they had made. The suit accuses Amazon of violating Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce. The FTC is seeking a court order requiring Amazon to refund victims for the unauthorized charges.
Report: NSA Stalked Prominent Muslim Americans
July 10, 2014
It's been known for years that the U.S. National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have targeted Muslim Americans. What hasn't been widely known is that their targets included lawyers and some who have served the United States at the highest levels. Five highly prominent Muslim Americans were listed on an NSA spreadsheet called "FISA recap."
Tor Embroiled in $1M Revenge-Porn Lawsuit
July 09, 2014
Texas attorney Jason L. Van Dyke recently filed a lawsuit against nude-photo-sharing site Pink Meth and included the Tor Project among its defendants. Pink Meth is an "involuntary pornography" site, the suit charges, enabling users to post nude photos for the purposes of getting revenge on those pictured. It's accessible only to users who have downloaded Tor's anonymity-minded software.
Apple Fails to Get Little I Robot Off Siri's Back
July 09, 2014
The Beijing First Intermediate Court ruled against Apple in a case that pitted it against a Shanghai-based firm and the country's State Intellectual Property Office's Patent Review Committee. The court found that the intellectual property rights of Zhizhen Internet Technology, a company that holds a patent for a voice-controlled digital concierge called "Little I Robot," were valid.
Europeans Want Right to Be Forgotten - but Not for the Other Guy
July 08, 2014
Marie Antoinette may not have been too far off the mark when she intoned the immortal line, "Let them eat cake." When it comes to the right to be forgotten, it seems Europeans want both to have their cake and eat it. They are now up in arms over Google's having deleted links to various news stories from search results in Europe, calling the action part of a backroom campaign to change the law.
Shame on Facebook
July 03, 2014
Do you remember those snotty little kids who didn't seem to understand the difference between right and wrong? You know, the little brats who thought the rules didn't apply to them. The kids who thought they could get away with whatever they wanted -- rules were for somebody else. Well, that seems to be a fitting description of Facebook, as it repeatedly breaks customer trust.
T-Mobile's Legere Sputters Over FTC's Cramming Accusations
July 02, 2014
T-Mobile's efforts to market itself as the un-carrier that puts customers first may be impacted by the FTC's allegations that it has engaged in "cramming" -- charging consumers for services offered by third-party companies without their knowledge or consent. T-Mobile's fiery CEO, John Legere, dismissed the FTC complaint as "unfounded and without merit."
California Embraces Bitcoin
July 01, 2014
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a measure that legalizes the use of bitcoins and other virtual currencies in the state. The law repealed previous legislation that specified only "lawful money of the United States" could be used in California. "Modern methods of payment have expanded beyond the typical cash or credit card transactions," the new law states.
Supreme Court Turns Deaf Ear to Google's Street View Appeal
June 30, 2014
The Supreme Court has declined Google's appeal of a lower-court ruling in a class-action lawsuit that alleges it violated federal wiretap laws with its Street View cars. The court left in place a decision the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down in September. The appeals court declined to dismiss the case, ruling that Google was not exempt from liability under the federal Wiretap Act.
In 'The Internet's Own Boy,' the Good Guy Doesn't Win
June 27, 2014
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, a documentary directed and produced by Brian Knappenberger, is opening at theaters and online this weekend -- and re-opening wounds about the subject and his suicide. The film is a reminder that often the good guy doesn't win, said tech analyst Rob Enderle. "If you are going to fight this fight, be aware it will get really ugly."
Facebook, NY DA Lock Horns Over User Data Warrants
June 27, 2014
Facebook, not known for respecting users' privacy, is battling a New York County district attorney's demand for all information pertaining to the accounts of several hundred of its subscribers. DA Cyrus Vance's office issued 381 secret warrants for the information in July of 2013 in a hunt for retired police officers and firefighters wrongfully claiming Social Security disability benefits.
Verizon to Chromebook Pixel Owners: We're On It
June 27, 2014
After a hornet's nest was stirred up over the premature termination of some Chromebook Pixel users' free data plans, Verizon apparently has begun trying to make amends. "A very small number of Chromebook Pixel customers may have had a promo end prematurely," said Verizon spokesperson Debra Lewis. "We apologize for this and will work with these customers to address the situation shortly."
Google Starts Purging Search Results in Europe
June 26, 2014
Google has started to remove search results in certain cases in Europe, in compliance with the EU's new "right to be forgotten" rules. The EU last month ruled that the company must allow individuals to request the removal of links to news articles, court judgments, and other documents that might turn up in results when searches are conducted on their names.
No Cellphone Search Without Warrant, Supreme Court Rules
June 26, 2014
Police need a warrant to search the cellphone contents of people they have arrested, the United States Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. Warrantless searches, in essence, would impact privacy to a far greater extent than is acceptable. The ruling also applies to individuals stopped for questioning by the authorities, said Jake LaPerruque of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

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