The U.S. Congress has a month to decide on what it should do about a pending rule change that would arguably grant federal law enforcement agencies more authority to remotely hack into computers. Congress can let this amended rule go into effect by doing nothing, so before they let their idleness get the better of them, a group of nearly two-dozen members of the House and Senate are now pushing the Justice Department for more details. [More]
The nearly decade-long legal battle over a 29-second YouTube clip of a toddler dancing to a barely discernible Prince song may end up going before the Supreme Court after free speech advocates representing the mother who shot that video petitioned the nation’s highest court. [More]
For nearly two decades, provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act have made it illegal in many cases for people to circumvent copyright protections on things like CDs, DVDs, e-books, and MP3s, even when the intended use of this data may be protected by law. A new lawsuit filed today by the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that these aspects of the DMCA don’t stand up to legal scrutiny. [More]
Airbnb and VRBO are shaking up the hospitality industry by letting anyone with a spare room become an innkeeper. Uber and Lyft are disrupting the for-hire car market by letting you turn your car into a taxi. While these new platforms might be opening up the so-called “sharing” economy, some of them may also be a bit too willing to share user data with law enforcement. [More]
When the FCC voted in February to consider new rules for your cable box, that kicked off a multi-month cycle of public comments, where anyone and everyone can have their say. The deadline for the first round struck at midnight Friday, which means most of the comments are just rolling onto the internet for all and sundry to have a look at.
Legislators in D.C. are currently considering a law that would compel tech companies to have weak device and software encryption so that law enforcement can snoop when necessary, while federal prosecutors have repeatedly used a 227-year-old law to try to force Apple and Google to work around existing security on their products. A new lawsuit seeks to find out if the government has also been using a highly secretive court to force tech companies to assist in breaking their own encryption. [More]
A week after it was first reported that Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Richard Burr (NC) were prepping a bipartisan bill that would compel tech companies to build their devices and software with weakened encryption or built-in backdoors for law enforcement, the actual bill has been introduced. Here’s what you need to know about why consumer and privacy advocates are concerned.
Last year, a small hobbyist photo-sharing website decided to fight back against a lawsuit alleging that it infringed on a bizarre patent covering virtually the entire concept of online voting. The patent-holder plaintiff subsequently dropped the case after a heavy-hitting advocacy organization got involved, but the court has ordered the plaintiff to fork over thousands of dollars in legal fees for its “unreasonable” conduct. [More]
The day after Apple filed its formal objection to a Feb. 16 court order compelling the company to assist the FBI in unlocking an iPhone that belonged to one of the terrorists who killed 14 people last December in California, a group of nearly four dozen tech industry experts have asked the court to rethink its decision. [More]
Last week, T-Mobile CEO John Legere went on Twitter to post video responses to questions about his company’s Binge On program. While the rabble-rousing exec is often applauded for his plainspoken demeanor, he was roundly criticized for cursing out one pro-consumer group that has been critical of his company. After a few days to think about it, Legere is now apologizing. [More]
Google is one of more than 200 companies that have signed on to the “Student Privacy Pledge,” in which it promises to, among other things, “Not collect, maintain, use or share student personal information beyond that needed for authorized educational/school purposes.” But a new complaint accuses the Internet biggie of breaking its oath and spying on kids’ online activity. [More]
By now, you’ve probably heard about the “Dancing Baby” lawsuit, involving a botched attempt by Universal Music to have YouTube remove a video 29-second video of a playful toddler because a Prince song can be heard in the background. Today a federal appeals court sided on one important issue with that kid’s mother, who is suing Universal, claiming the music giant overstepped the law by not considering that the background music falls under the umbrella of an acceptable fair use. [More]
Back in February 2007, a mother of a young boy posted a short, grainy video of her baby “dancing” around the kitchen while a Prince song plays, barely audibly, in the background. In the eight years since, the video has received nearly 1.3 million views on YouTube — not because it’s a particularly interesting clip, but due to its role in a copyright lawsuit that won’t go away. [More]
As expected following the June 1 expiration of one of the PATRIOT Act’s most controversial privacy-invading provisions, the Senate today passed a substitute bill, the USA FREEDOM Act (or rather, deep breath… the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015) that prohibits the sort of mass data collection the National Security Agency enjoyed under the recently sunset Patriot provisions, but still leaves in place many concerns for privacy advocates. [More]
Congratulations! You just bought a new Chevy, GMC, or Cadillac. You really like driving it. And it’s purchased, not leased, and all paid off with no liens, so it’s all yours… isn’t it? Well, no, actually: according to GM, it’s still theirs. You just have a license to use it.
“Podcasting” might as well have been the word of the year in 2014, when “Serial” shot the form straight to the top of the pop-culture buzz charts for a few months. But while everyone in America was plugging in earbuds and trying to decide whodunit, the U.S. Patent Office had the more important end of the challenge: deciding who actually owns the patent for the idea of podcasting.