It appears that today U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte of Virginia introduced a piece of legislation to broad bi-partisan support which is aimed squarely at cutting down on the number of frivolous and abusive patent suits which are roiling the technology industry.
The proposed legislation would institute a “loser pays” system for attorneys’ fee awards, would delay burdensome discovery requests until the court has first interpreted the disputed patent, and would increase transparency of patent ownership (curtailing patent troll’s favored M.O. of using multiple shell companies to hide behind and/or use a fronts in patent litigation).
This proposed litigation, while not necessarily a panacea for the the intelelctual property problems currently facing companies in the technology industry, would certainly go a long way to curb some of the more egregious and abusive tactics currently being utilized by non-practicing entities (a/k/a patent trolls).
It will be interesting to see if this bill will actually be passed into law. Here’s to hoping!
For those using the Google Chrome web browser, it is important to know that a critical privacy bug has been found in the browser software which has not yet been fixed by Google.
Specifically, Chrome routinely stores sensitive information, such as names, e-mails, contact information, and/or even credit card information which are typed by users into web forms at trusted websites. It appears that Chrome stores this information within the program in plain text which can be easily accessed by anyone with access to the user’s computer.
As such, until Google addresses this vulnerability, users should be extremely cautious in entering private data into websites using the Chrome browser if there is any chance that the user’s computers can be accessed by others. Furthermore, because the information is cached in the program without any encryption or any other security measures, any trojan horse or similar malware on a user’s computer could potentially access this information and forward it on to identity thieves.
While this clearly has serious potential repercussions for individuals using Chrome, the situation is even more serious for businesses, who could, as a result, be out of compliance with PCI-DSSsecurity rules which are usually mandated by credit card processing companies, if the business wants to be able to accept payments by credit card.
As such, individuals and businesses alike need to take this vulnerability very seriously.
The New Yorker has an excellent piece online which discusses in detail the events leading up to the shutdown of Lavabit, a secure e-mail provider which was used by Edward Snowden.
The article details the pressure placed upon Lavabit and its owner not just to turn over information that would shed light on Edward Snowden’s activities, but rather, information which would give the government wholesale access to all email passing through the services.
This article raises serious issues for IT companies who have committed to safeguard the privacy and/or security of its customers. It also raises serious concerns regarding the extent to which the U.S. Government is willing to (and in fact does) compromise the privacy of innocent U.S. citizens as a routine matter.
In an interesting case involving a postage stamp depicting a photograph of the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the U.S. Postal Service has been found to have infringed upon the copyrights of the sculptor who created the Memorial. It appears that at the time the memorial was commissioned, that the government did not secure copyrights to the statute, which by default remained with the sculptor.
Subsequently the U.S.P.S. made use of a photograph of the memorial on a postage stamp. When sued by the sculptor for copyright infringement, the U.S.P.S. unsuccessfully argued that their use was “fair use”, and accepted defense to copyright infringement. Ultimately the federal court determined that the Postal Service’s use of the intellectual property did not fall within the definitions of fair use, and after much pushing and pulling byt he respective sides, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims as found that the U.S.P.S. owes the sculptor $684,844.94 in damages for its infringement of his copyrights.
This case highlights the complexity of the application of intellectual property law and the high stakes involved in failing to secure the appropriate rights to use intellectual property in a particular way.
If you have purchased products directly from Adobe, you need to be aware of this and (i) be on the lookout for notification for Adobe about whether this affects you, and (ii) monitor your identity (particularly with respect to any card used to purchase the Adobe product), to ensure you are not a victim of identity theft.
Interesting. I can see the interesting things that can be accomplished with this technology, but the specter of getting barraged with adds on my phone when I walk into a mall is not attractive. I, for one, can say: if a place starts spaming based on proximity, that is one of the fastest ways to keep me from going to that location. Ever.
Alongside the introduction of Apple’s latest mobile operating system iOS 7, the company also rolled out its answer to the NFC technology it has gone out of its way to avoid in iPhones, iPads and iPod touch handhelds. The solution is called “iBeacon,” and it allows for the creation of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons that emit signals iOS 7-powered devices will automatically react to when they come within range of the beacon. These beacons can be apps installed on Apple’s iOS devices or they can be dedicated hardware that use BLE to interact with Apple handsets and tablets. There are some great use cases out there that really could make fantastic use of Apple’s new iBeacon feature, but there is also a darker side of iBeacons that could become a huge annoyance for iPhone owners and other iOS device users.