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FTC Debates Cybersecurity Injury Standard
January 5, 2016
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is engaged in an internal struggle over how it should assess the effect on consumers when businesses fail to provide proper e-commerce security. The outcome of the debate will have a significant impact on the FTC's ability to initiate cybersecurity violation cases. The legal issue could spill over to federal courts or even Congress for resolution.
Security Execs Sweat Insider Threats
December 31, 2015
Insider threats are becoming increasingly worrisome to corporate security executives. That is one of the findings in a survey of C-level businesspeople Nuix released last week. "The insider threat seems to be a bigger concern this year than it was in previous years," said Nuix's Keith Lowry. "People are recognizing that it is a significant weakness that has yet to be fully addressed."
California's Proposed Rules Could Stop Google Car in Its Tracks
December 18, 2015
The California Department of Motor Vehicles on Thursday proposed rules for autonomous vehicles, and Google isn't happy about one of the provisions. The new rules for autonomous autos were presented for public commentary. The DMV has invited the public to weigh in on the proposal in two workshops, one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles, early next year.
Congress Passes Budget Bill With Controversial Cybersecurity Provision
December 18, 2015
Congress on Friday passed an omnibus budget bill that included the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA. The Senate earlier this year passed CIS, which many conservative and liberal politicians, high-tech firms, and privacy and civil liberty advocates oppose. The latest version includes amendments that will allow corporations to share customers' information with the government.
WhatsApp Brouhaha Breaks Out in Brazil
December 17, 2015
A Brazilian judge on Thursday lifted the ban a different judge had imposed on WhatsApp hours earlier, according to reports. It did not seem reasonable to affect millions of users to penalize Facebook, WhatsApp's owner, for failing to cooperate with judicial rulings, the judge reportedly said, suggesting that the imposition of a larger fine would have been more appropriate.
Three Charged in Hacking Case That Spammed 60M
December 17, 2015
Federal prosecutors in New Jersey on Tuesday charged three men in a $2 million identity theft scheme to hack corporate computer systems and blast spam messages to more than 60 million people. The defendants face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on wire fraud charges, and up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines on email and computer conspiracy charges.
Seattle Lets Ride-Sharing Drivers Unionize
December 16, 2015
The Seattle City Council this week approved an ordinance that will allow drivers for Uber and Lyft to form unions, becoming the first U.S. city to pass such legislation. The City Council voted 9-0 in favor of the ordinance, which doesn't require the mayor's signature to pass. Drivers for Uber and other ride-sharing networks are classified as independent contractors, like taxi drivers.
Aussie Cops Raid Home of Elusive Suspected Bitcoin Inventor
December 10, 2015
Australian police on Wednesday raided the home of a shadowy figure who just hours earlier had been outed as one of the original founders of bitcoin digital currency in two separate media reports. Identified in multiple media reports, Australian entrepreneur Craig Steven Wright was said to be the man who created the controversial bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Feinstein Revives Terrorist Activity Reporting Bill
December 10, 2015
Sen. Dianne Feinstein has reintroduced a bill that would require technology companies to alert law enforcement of certain activities that might be related to terrorist threats. It would mandate that technology companies notify authorities of communications regarding attack planning, recruitment, or distribution of information relating to explosives if they should become aware of that activity.
Samsung Grudgingly Agrees to Write Apple a $548M Check
December 7, 2015
Samsung and Apple last week filed a court document indicating the companies had come to an agreement under which Samsung will pay Apple $548 million toward partial resolution of an epic legal dispute. At the heart of the conflict were Apple's allegations that Samsung effectively had stolen the technology behind certain key iPhone features for its own competing devices.
EFF Sues Google for Snooping on Students
December 3, 2015
The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that Google has used personal student data mined from its school Chromebook distribution, and requesting an investigation and an injunction against the practice. The EFF also launched a campaign to educate parents and school administrators about the risks of student data collection.
More Things, More Cyberattacks
December 2, 2015
Not a day passes without mention of the Internet of Things in the media, as it appears to expand exponentially. Roughly 6.4 billion things will be connected to the Internet in 2016, at a rate of 5.5 million new things per day, according to Gartner. More than 20 billion devices will be in use by 2020. As a result, everyone must be more cognizant of cyber-risks.
Court Lifts NSL-Imposed Gag Order on Warrantless FBI Probing
December 1, 2015
Calyx founder Nicholas Merrill -- who made history in 2004 when he sued to lift a nondisclosure order imposed by an FBI National Security Letter -- has won his 11-year battle. The ruling, handed down this summer by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, was stayed for 90 days to give the government time to file an appeal. It became public when the stay expired on Monday.
Pirate Bay Scores Rare Legal Victory
December 1, 2015
A District Court in Stockholm, Sweden, last week ruled against an international group of content providers who sought to force a local Internet service provider to block The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site, said lawyers for the plaintiffs. The content providers had filed a lawsuit suit to compel ISP Bredbandsbolaget to block The Pirate Bay from operating in Sweden.
New US Asteroid Mining Law Could Violate International Space Treaty
November 30, 2015
President Obama last week signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which governs ownership of asteroid resources, possibly triggering a new battle in the commercial space race. Section 5103 of the Act gives U.S. companies the right to resources mined from asteroids, although it does not give them rights to the asteroids themselves.
BlackBerry to Pull Out of Pakistan on Privacy Grounds
November 30, 2015
BlackBerry on Monday announced that it will cease operations in Pakistan at the end of the year. The move is the result of a shutdown order from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which in July notified the company that its BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers would no longer be allowed to operate in the country beginning in December for what it said were security concerns.
Austrian High Court to Rule on Class Action Status in Facebook Privacy Case
November 27, 2015
The Austrian Supreme Court will consider whether a suit against Facebook Ireland can proceed as a class action. Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems brought the suit to challenge the transfer of private data to Facebook's European subsidiary in Ireland. The Vienna Court of Appeals previously had ruled that the suit could be filed locally, as Schrems' claim fell under local privacy laws there.
NY AG Subpoenas Yahoo in Daily Fantasy Sports Battle
November 21, 2015
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman this week sought an injunction to keep DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in the state, according to press reports. He also subpoenaed Yahoo as part of his effort to end the operation of daily fantasy sports platforms in New York, press reports said. If he's successful, it could tip the dominoes in other states.
Drone, Ferris Wheel Altercation a Worrying Sign of the Times
November 17, 2015
A drone crashed into the 175-foot-tall Seattle Great Wheel last week, triggering a police investigation. The Great Wheel is a ferris wheel near the downtown Seattle waterfront. No damage or injuries were reported in the crash. "I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often," commented Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
Microsoft Hands Cloud Data Control to German Trustee
November 12, 2015
Microsoft announced it will offer its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM cloud services to business clients using two Germany-based data centers hosted by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. The arrangement will protect the integrity and privacy of customer data, the company said. The data centers will be under the control of T-Systems, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, which will act as data trustee.
NSA Keeps Some Security Bugs Under Its Hat
November 10, 2015
The U.S. National Security Agency is getting a collective side-eye after posting what it characterized as proactive information: the fact that it discloses 91 percent of security vulnerabilities that pass through its internal review process. While the agency appears pleased with its newfound transparency, it's being called out en masse for the things it's not reporting.
Lawsuit Threatens Amazon's Prime Now Delivery Model
November 6, 2015
Four former delivery drivers for Amazon Prime Now, or APN, last week filed a lawsuit against Amazon, arguing they should have been classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The suit also names Scoobeez, the courier service through which they worked for Amazon; ABT Holdings, Scoobeez's parent company; and 10 John Does as co-defendants.
Film Industry Claims Victory in Shutdown of Major Piracy Sites
November 4, 2015
The Motion Picture Association of America ran a victory lap after announcing the shutdown of movie and television torrent sites Popcorn Time and YTS. The shutdowns resulted from major legal wins in Canada and New Zealand. The MPAA last month obtained injunctions against the sites in those countries, effectively blocking them from further operation.
Airbnb Holds its Breath as San Franciscans Vote on Prop F
November 3, 2015
San Franciscans will vote Tuesday on Proposition F, also known as the "Airbnb Initiative," which seeks to restrict short-term rentals. Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. At first glance, it appears that the fight is about short-term rental aggregators such as Airbnb. However, the battle lines are muddy. On one side, landlords support Prop F. However, many tenants also support it.
Library of Congress Brings Digital Rights Rules Into Modern Era
October 29, 2015
The Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, on Wednesday published new rules to replace a set of controversial -- and for many, outdated -- measures. Consumers now may hack their own tablet computers, automobile software and Blu-ray devices without fear of being sued. The ruling upgrades certain provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Europe's New Net Neutrality Law Draws Jeers
October 28, 2015
The European Parliament on Tuesday passed Net neutrality legislation to a chorus of boos from Net neutrality proponents. The European Union has found consensus on the common principles of Net neutrality -- no blocking, no throttling and no prepaid prioritization -- said Commissioner GŁnther H. Oettinger. However, the rules have three major loopholes, Net neutrality supporters said.
CISA Passes Senate Despite Privacy Advocates' Fear and Loathing
October 28, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 74-21 to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, in the face of strong opposition from legal and cybersecurity experts, the high-tech industry, privacy and civil liberties organizations, and members of the public. The Act calls for several federal agencies to share cyberthreat indicators between the public and private sectors.
NY AG Could Be Broadband-Speed Mythbuster
October 26, 2015
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an investigation into Verizon, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable. The purpose of the probe is to determine whether three of the state's top telecom companies are providing high-speed broadband Internet as advertised to consumers and businesses. The probe was launched in response to consumer complaints on the issue.
Key EU Court Ruling Gives Bitcoin Tax-Exempt Status
October 23, 2015
The European Union's Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that bitcoin, the virtual payment system that has shown promise and potential as an emerging currency, should be considered exempt from Value Added Tax under existing law. Swedish national David Hedqvist sought a ruling from the Swedish Revenue Law Commission to determine whether bitcoin should be subject to VAT.
Report: Cybersecurity Pact Fails to Deter Chinese Hackers
October 20, 2015
The cybersecurity pact the U.S. and China agreed to last month apparently has not stopped Chinese hackers from trying to steal intellectual property from U.S. companies. "Over the last three weeks, CrowdStrike Falcon platform has detected and prevented a number of intrusions into our customers' systems from actors we have affiliated with the Chinese government," said CTO Dmitri Alperovitch.
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