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The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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Older News Picks  
  • Conservatives want patent reform. That’s new.
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 10:55 PM EDT
  • The [Manhattan Institute] study directs particular ire at patents on software. “Litigation over software patents has became a drag, not a boon, to technological innovation,” the study notes in its opening paragraph. The study argues that “software patents are hard to define, enabling aggressive plaintiffs’ lawyers exploiting the maze of U.S. legal rules to extract wealth from the nation’s most innovative companies.” In contrast, pharmaceutical patents are “limited to easy-to-define, specific chemical compounds,” producing a much lower rate of litigation. Timothy B. Lee, Washington Post

  • For Jeff Bezos, a new frontier
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 10:48 PM EDT
  • Of Bezos’s purchase of The Post, Kaphan said: “It makes me feel quite nauseous. I’d hate to see the newspaper converted into a corporate libertarian mouthpiece.”

    Paul Davis... pointed to a comment he had made on a Web site defending Bezos’s interest in the newspaper. “If anyone really thinks that Bezos himself is motivated by venal greed and a petty desire to increase his own personal wealth . . . I can’t prove you wrong, but I will say that I think that you’re deluded,” Davis wrote. “It could be that nearly two decades of astounding richness have warped his underlying motivations and morals, but I suspect that they are still pretty much what they were in 1994 — phenomenally driven, able to shrug through moral ambiguity, and always fixated on the big goals and the grand schemes.”...

    Since his deal to purchase The Washington Post was announced, newspaper readers who have found Bezos’s e-mail address have started to pepper him with questions, and Bezos, true to his reputation for customer service, has been responding....

    A man who had paid several hundred dollars to place a marriage announcement did not like how the paper treated him. He wrote to Bezos saying, “Thank god you’re getting involved, you understand customer service!” Weymouth wrote back to the man, but within “two seconds,” so did Bezos. “Thank you for your input,” Bezos told him. “Keep your ideas coming!” - Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post

  • Why Ubuntu’s creator still invests his fortune in an unprofitable company
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 09:47 PM EDT
  • "In my mind the scope of the opportunity has grown and with it my willingness to invest," he said. "I'm interested in the type of disruption, in the idea that at some future date you could have an app running on your phone, that app could be an Ubuntu app, you could dock that app to a big screen, and it would then be an Ubuntu PC. The data for that could be processed in a cloud running an Ubuntu guest and that cloud could be running on an Ubuntu host. Now, I don't want to sound megalomanic. But I think that's a real possibility… That's a pretty extraordinary disruption, and to me the sum of the parts is greater than any single one of them." - Jon Brodkin, ars technica

  • Full Attorney Fees ($9m) Awarded for Pattern of Vexatious Litigation, Affirmed on Appeal
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 09:08 PM EDT
  • Monolithic Power Systems (MPS) v. O2 Micro (Fed. Cir. 2013 [PDF]).

    The court decision here ends with the following statement:

    "More than a decade ago, the Beckman Instruments court foretold, "we can certainly imagine a case in which litigation misconduct would justify an award of attorney fees for the entire litigation." Beckman Instruments, Inc. v. LBK Produkter AB, 892 F.2d 1547 (Fed. Cir. 1989). We are quite confident that this was the kind of case it had in mind." - Patently O

  • The surprising ages of the Founding Fathers on July 4, 1776 
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 08:46 PM EDT
  • For the Journal of the American Revolution, Todd Andrlik compiled a list of the ages of the key participants in the Revolutionary War as of July 4, 1776. Many of them were surprisingly young:

    Marquis de Lafayette, 18
    James Monroe, 18
    Gilbert Stuart, 20
    Aaron Burr, 20
    Alexander Hamilton, 21
    Betsy Ross, 24
    James Madison, 25 - Kottke

  • The man who misled Congress on spying will [not] pick Obama’s intelligence review panel
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 10:56 AM EDT
  • Update: In a Tuesday email, the White House says that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will not, in fact, choose the members of the Review Group. “The panel members are being selected by the White House, in consultation with the Intelligence Community,” writes National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. “The panel will not report to the DNI.” - Timothy B. Lee, Washington Post

  • Google’s Glass goes to Guantanamo
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 10:47 AM EDT
  • Still, I was hoping to use it for interviews at Guantánamo’s prison camps for a report on this year’s Ramadan — the 12th for most of the 166 prisoners there, the first for nearly all the soldiers.

    That was the theory, anyway, when I arrived from Fort Lauderdale on July 22 and showed the device to U.S. Army escorts. They’re from the Kentucky and Indiana National Guard and work as Army journalists writing stories and press releases and taking pictures for the prison staff newsletter, The Wire.

    Given our parallel professions they reacted just as I expected — they were psyched. They stared at the device. They tried it out. We were inside a wooden shed built in a dilapidated aircraft hangar, far from anything remotely sensitive. So they clowned around for the camera.

    It was downhill from there. Army Lt. Col. Samuel House, acting public affairs director, said the command staff was suspicious and forbade me from taking it anywhere near the detention center zone, a decision I hope they’ll revisit in the future. - Carl Rosenberg, Miami Herald

  • Expecting privacy with email providers is extremely naive
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 10:19 AM EDT
  • That's why if you actually care about your privacy, the solution to this situation is to get out of the system, trust yourself, and build your own email server.

    Whether it be an Exchange instance, a Postfix configuration, or a Sendmail setup, it's the only way to be sure that your information is not being read, sold onward, or crunched in some massively large big data project. - Chris Duckett, ZDNet

  • Microsoft Security Advisory: Update for deprecation of MD5 hashing algorithm for Microsoft root
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 10:14 AM EDT
  • The referenced change for February 2014 that is discussed in Advisory 2862973 applies only to certificates that are used for the following:

    server authentication
    code signing
    time stamping

    Other certificate usages of the MD5 signature hash algorithm will not be blocked.

    As for code signing, we will allow for signed binaries that were signed before March 2009 to continue to work, even if the signing cert used MD5 signature hash algorithm. - Microsoft

  • Apple Inc. Would Be in Trouble With or Without Steve Jobs
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 10:10 AM EDT
  • It seems that manufacturers and developers, not just Apple, are at a bit of a loss as to where to take the smartphone industry that doesn't involve a better camera or a longer-lasting battery.

    That's not to say there's a shortage of pretty innovative software features, but they're coming almost exclusively from six miles north of Cupertino.

    In its mad dash to out-innovate Apple, Google has surpassed the tech giant not only in market share, but also in app store downloads and software that's as impressive as it is essential. At this point, many of the best apps on an iPhone come courtesy of Google: Gmail, Google Now, Google Maps, Google Chrome, Google Drive, and others are arguably better than iOS's default offerings. And the polish that Mountain View has given its Android OS has been noticeably popping up in various iterations of iOS. (Control Center, anyone?)

    And that's to say nothing about Google Glass or Chromecast.

    Google has taken the market-leading reins and made Apple look less innovative than we know it can be.

    [PJ: Incidentally, this is why the FairSearch complaint to the EU Commission about bundling is so silly. Of *course* you find Google apps on Android phones. People want the best, and this article states clearly that the best apps are from Google.] - Mike Schuster, Minyanville

  • Investors sue Microsoft over Surface tablet
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 08:43 AM EDT
  • Among other allegations, the suit says Microsoft had already amassed a large excess of Surface RT inventory by March 31, the end of its fiscal third quarter, but had not told investors about it....

    “What Defendants knew, but failed to disclose to investors ... was that Microsoft’s foray into the tablet market was an unmitigated disaster, which left it with a large accumulation of excess, overvalued Surface RT inventory,” the lawsuit says [PDF]. - Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times

  • The Problem With the Administration “White Paper” on the Telephony Metadata Program
  • Wednesday, August 14 2013 @ 08:33 AM EDT
  • On Friday, the Obama Administration released a “white paper” articulating its case for the legality of the NSA call records program under Section 215 of the Patriot Act and under the Fourth Amendment. I found the “white paper” a somewhat frustrating read, as it is essentially a brief for the government’s side with no brief coming to oppose it. Although the white paper raises some interesting points, it also fails to confront counterarguments and address contrary caselaw. - Orin Kerr, Volokh Conspiracy

  • Larry Ellison pessimistic about Apple’s future, shows disdain for Google’s evil ways
  • Tuesday, August 13 2013 @ 11:25 PM EDT
  • Ellison: Let me be very clear. When you program–when you write a program for the Android phone, you use the Oracle tool, you use the Oracle Java tools for everything, and then at the very end you press a button that says convert this to Android format. We don’t compete with Google. We don’t do anything Google does, we just think they took our stuff, and that’s a separate issue.

    Rose: But you think they’re evil?

    Ellison: I think what they did was absolutely evil.

    Rose: And you blame Larry Page?

    Ellison: 100 percent Larry Page.

    Rose: So if what they did is evil, that makes Larry Page evil.

    Ellison: No, it makes what he did evil, which is quite different.

    [PJ: The video interview is worth watching. He also talks about the NSA, saying what they are doing is essential. And he reveals that Steve Jobs opted at the end to stop taking his medications, because he was in so much pain, and he died within a week of stopping.] - Blair Hanley Frank, Geekwire

  • Supreme Court Coverage in the Digital Age (video)
  • Tuesday, August 13 2013 @ 10:34 PM EDT
  • Journalists who cover the Supreme Court talked about about ways digital media have changed how they do their jobs. They mentioned several times justices' reluctance to allow cameras in the Court. Other topics included social media, the faster pace of getting stories out, and how online posting of Court case documents has allowed reporters to do their jobs from home rather than having to physically go to the Supreme Court building. The panelists answered questions from audience members following the panel discussion. - CSPAN

  • Class-action suit filed against Microsoft over Surface RT
  • Tuesday, August 13 2013 @ 10:17 PM EDT
  • The firm is claiming [PDF] that Microsoft "issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s financial performance and its tablet computer, the Surface RT." It is claiming that the company's financial statements for the quarter ending March 31, 2-13 were "materially false and misleading" and that Microsoft officials made misleading positive statements about the Surface RT during the "class period." - Mary Jo Foley, ZDNet

  • Dilbert on NSA
  • Tuesday, August 13 2013 @ 08:31 PM EDT
  • "The government wants access to our customer records..." - Dilbert

  • Exclusive: After Multiple Denials, CIA Admits to Snooping on Noam Chomsky
  • Tuesday, August 13 2013 @ 07:57 PM EDT
  • For years, the Central Intelligence Agency denied it had a secret file on MIT professor and famed dissident Noam Chomsky. But a new government disclosure obtained by The Cable reveals for the first time that the agency did in fact gather records on the anti-war iconoclast during his heyday in the 1970s.

    The disclosure also reveals that Chomsky's entire CIA file was scrubbed from Langley's archives, raising questions as to when the file was destroyed and under what authority. - John Hudson, Foreign Policy

  • Multiple New Polls Show Americans Reject Wholesale NSA Domestic Spying
  • Tuesday, August 13 2013 @ 07:41 PM EDT
  • Just like the American public in the 1970s, Americans in the 2010s know that when the government amasses dossiers on citizens, it's neither good for security nor for privacy. And a wide range of polls this week show widespread concern among the American people over the new revelations about NSA domestic spying....

    So far, Gallup has one of the better-worded questions, finding that 53% of Americans disapprove of the NSA spying. A CBS poll also showed that a majority—at 58%—of Americans disapprove of the government "collecting phone records of ordinary Americans." And Rasmussen—though sometimes known for push polling—also recently conducted a poll showing that 59% of Americans are opposed to the current NSA spying. - EFF

  • NSA “touches” more of Internet than Google
  • Tuesday, August 13 2013 @ 07:36 PM EDT
  • The numbers are no real surprise—we've already discussed how the laws of physics would make it impossible for the NSA to capture everything, or even a significant portion of everything, that passes over the Internet. But they're also misleading. In the world of deep packet inspection, verbs like "touch," "select," "collect," and "look at" don't begin to adequately describe what is going on or what information is extracted from traffic in the process. Considering all that's within what flows across the Internet, 1.6 percent could hold a significant portion of the metadata describing person-to-person communications.

    How much is 1.6 percent?

    The dime on the basketball court, as the NSA describes it, is still 29.21 petabytes of data a day. That means the NSA is "touching" more data than Google processes every day (a mere 20 petabytes)....Regardless how much data flows through the NSA's tap points, all of it is getting checked. While the NSA may "touch" only 29.21 petabytes of data a day, it runs its digital fingers through everything that flows through the tap points to do so. - Sean Gallagher, ars technica

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