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Will Data Localization Kill the Internet?
February 10, 2014
In the wake of revelations that the U.S. and UK governments regularly monitor private communications, a number of countries are considering a new type of law called "data localization." In the simplest of terms, data localization laws would require that businesses that operate on the Internet store that data within the country where the businesses are located.
California Kill Switch Bill Tackles Smartphone Theft
February 07, 2014
California Sen. Mark Leno on Friday introduced a bill in the legislature that would require all smartphones and devices sold in the state to have a kill switch starting Jan. 1, 2015. Senate Bill 962 comes against a backdrop of rising smartphone theft. It is now the leading property crime in the U.S., accounting for one third of all robberies nationwide.
Turning Up the Heat on Insider Trading
February 07, 2014
Criminal and civil allegations of insider trading recently were filed against Brian Jorgenson, a senior portfolio manager at Microsoft. This news amazed me, because over the last few years there has been an abundance of published information about the hazards of insider trading, especially the criminal consequences. Consider what happened to the hedge fund billionaire, Raj Rajaratnam.
Google's Long European Antitrust Nightmare May Be Over
February 06, 2014
It looks like Google and European regulators have, at long last, reached a settlement to allay antitrust concerns. Google has struck a deal with EC competition regulators, which now awaits formal approval. Under the terms laid out, Google would have to swallow its stiffest-ever antitrust penalties, but it would nonetheless avoid a finding of wrongdoing and a potentially massive fine.
Google Dodges EU Antitrust Bullet
February 05, 2014
The European Commission has accepted Google's latest proposal to settle a probe of its practices pending agreement with the 125 companies and organizations that filed complaints against the Internet giant. Google last week made its third settlement offer, following a warning from the Commission on Jan. 15 that it would take action if the issue were not resolved soon.
Dems Introduce Bills to Bring Back Net Neutrality
February 04, 2014
Democratic members of Congress this week moved to replace by legislative means the Net neutrality rules that a court decision last month suddenly rendered defunct. Lawmakers introduced the Open Internet Preservation Act in both chambers. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last month changed the telecom and data landscape by striking down FCC rules that mandated ISPs treat all Internet data the same.
Internet Domain Names Get More Character
February 04, 2014
Tuesday ushered in a series of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that for the first time in Web history, include Arabic, Chinese and Russian characters. The new gTLDs -- which are the suffixes to Web addresses, such as ".com" and ".net" -- were approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. ICANN invited applications for new domain names in 2012, at a cost of $185,000 a pop.
Dutch Court Lets ISPs Flee Pirate Bay Battle
January 30, 2014
The Pirate Bay is once again wide open, thanks a ruling by an appeals court in the Netherlands that decreed Internet providers no longer have to block IP addresses associated with the site. The Hague Appeals Court reasoned that the required blocking was impossible to implement or enforce because users were able to use workarounds to access the site.
Google, EC Antitrust Settlement in the Wind
January 29, 2014
Google reportedly is close to settling the antitrust case the EC brought against it more than three years ago. This is its third offer to the EC so far, and it reportedly includes commitments from Google on how it will treat rivals and how it will use content from other providers. "We are ... at a critical point in the Google investigation," said Antoine Colombani, EC spokesperson for competition.
Healthcare Fiasco Energizes Federal IT Reform Efforts
January 29, 2014
The widespread problems in implementing the Affordable Care Act have provided some momentum to the efforts by the Obama administration and Congress to ratchet up reforms in the management and procurement of IT. President Obama conceded the need to put more emphasis on such reforms when he spoke about the troubled health exchange website and other IT problems with the Healthcare.gov rollout.
Google, Samsung Cut 10-Year Global Patent Deal
January 28, 2014
Samsung and Google on Monday solidified their business relationship, announcing a far-reaching, global cross-licensing agreement that will cover not only existing patents, but also intellectual property developed by the sprawling companies over the next 10 years. Under the agreement, the companies will give each other access to their patent portfolios, paving the way for deeper collaboration.
DoJ Throws a Couple of Bones, Tech Firms Back Off
January 28, 2014
The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday announced two new options for tech companies to report on government requests for information about their customers. In response, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo withdrew their lawsuits against the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over the issue. The five said they would "continue to encourage Congress to take additional steps."
US, British Intelligence Scoop Data From Smartphone Apps
January 28, 2014
Don't get angry, but... U.S. and British intelligence agencies have long been mining data from smartphone apps such as the wildly popular Angry Birds. The National Security Agency and its British brethren at the Government Communications Headquarters reportedly have targeted the swell of data moving to and fro on mobile apps, based on previously secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Privacy Board Urges Shutdown of 'Illegal' NSA Data Dig
January 23, 2014
The United States National Security Agency should end its controversial bulk telephone metadata collection program, recommended the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The board's report, issued Thursday, says Section 215 of the U.S. Patriot Act, which provides the foundation for the NSA's authority, "does not provide an adequate legal basis to support the program."
ICE Goes Medieval on Glass-Wearing Moviegoer
January 22, 2014
A man who wore Google Glass to a movie last weekend was hauled out of the theater and questioned for several hours by federal authorities over piracy concerns. The officials reportedly took no action against the man after they determined the wearable tech device functioned as his prescription glasses, and that he did not have the Google Glass recording feature activated.
Wife of Indian Minister Dead After Exposing Husband on Twitter
January 20, 2014
The wife of Shashi Tharoor, an Indian minister and member of parliament, was found dead in a luxury hotel in New Delhi days after exposing her husband's alleged infidelity via Twitter. The cause of death is not known, but a forensic expert reportedly dubbed it a "sudden, unnatural death." Private messages between Tharoor and a Pakistani journalist popped up on Tharoor's Twitter account Wednesday.
Obama's NSA Reforms Draw Tepid Response
January 18, 2014
In a keenly anticipated speech, President Obama on Friday announced reforms to the NSA's surveillance activities, but his pronouncements failed to please just about everyone. "We heard nothing in his speech or proposal that will repair the damage that has been done to the tech industry and the future of the Internet," said Matt Simons, director of social justice at ThoughtWorks.
FTC Delivers Stern Message With Apple's In-App Refund Deal
January 17, 2014
For the second time in less than a year, Apple has agreed to reimburse its customers for purchases within applications made by children without their parents' consent. In a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday, Apple agreed to pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to consumers who incurred charges on their iTunes accounts through dubious in-app purchases.
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.

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