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- The Senate may take up a bill to limit patent trolling. According to Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), the bill “will increase the transparency of patent ownership, protect the customer of a patented product when the manufacturer should really be the defendant and improve the process for reviewing patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.” [H/T Florian Mueller's RT]
- Professor David Olson of Boston College Law School proposes another anti-patent troll policy change: drastically raise post-grant maintenance fees for non-practicing entities in proportion to their portfolio of non-practiced patents. Is that the right way to go? [H/T PatentlyO]
Professor Olson will speak at JETLaw’s annual Symposium on January 24th, 2014.
- Blockbuster video game Grand Theft Auto V rakes in over $1 billion in just three days (and $800 million in one day!).
- Open-source Android-based project Cyanogenmod formed venture Cyanogenmod, Inc. and raised $7 million to further the project.
- The FTC settles for $377,321 with a text message spam company and its two principals.
- Will Blackberry (the former RIM) be around a year from now? The mobile company’s market share has dropped to around 3%, and anonymous sources are claiming it plans to cut fully 40% of its workforce, about 5,000 employees (though WSJ [paywalled] now says it will affect 4,500 employees).
- On the hiring front, the NSA is hiring a privacy and civil rights officer.
- Prominent security expert Bruce Schneier criticizes the NSA for “betray[ing] the internet” and calls for companies to circumvent the spirit of the gag-order laws that prevent them from revealing whether they have received secret orders to turn over information.
HeCory Doctorow proposes a sort of dead-man’s switch, whereby companies would publish the fact that they have never received such an order, then stop publishing that fact if and when they do receive such an order. If this came to pass, could a court order the company to continue to publish its “no” answer to keep its receipt a secret?
- Security software company RSA warns customers not to use one of its product’s encryption features after it was revealed that the NSA had inserted a backdoor. [H/T SANS]
- The ACLU wins a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (which administers FISA) ruling that orders the federal government to begin declassifying its opinions that interpret and apply the Patriot Act. One such opinion was released last week, which indicated that no communications provider has challenged the legality of requests for bulk metadata. [H/T SANS; SANS]
- The FBI admitted in an extradition hearing in an Irish court that it placed malware on servers owned by Freedom Hosting, a provider of Tor-based anonymous online services. The FBI used the malware to identify distributors of illegal pornography, which was apparently rampant on Freedom Hosting systems. [H/T SANS]
- The Fourth Circuit holds that Facebook “likes” (which take only one click) can be protected free speech, reversing the court below. [H/T IT-Lex]
- The Ninth Circuit holds that consent for an officer to search the contents of a cell phone does not extend to that officer’s accepting an incoming call and pretending to be the owner of the phone. [H/T IT-Lex]
- Wired reports on indigents who use free wireless internet access to collect tiny fractions of a Bitcoin by watching YouTube videos (to pump up views) or viewing advertisements.
- California approves ride-sharing mobile apps like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.
- Netflix acknowledges that it monitors popular filesharing websites when deciding what content to buy. [H/T SANS]
- Warner Brothers and the MPAA have scored a major win against filesharing site Hotfile, but Hotfile’s counterclaim for intentional abuse of the DMCA takedown system survives summary judgment.
UPDATE 3:00 pm: Today it emerged that Blackberry has reached a tentative agreement with a financial holding company to take the handset maker private.
UPDATE Nov. 9, 2013: A previous version of this page incorrectly credited the call to use a dead man’s switch (now called a “warrant canary“) to Bruce Schneier. While Mr. Schneier did call for those not bound by security clearances or Section 215 orders (“National Security Letters” or “NSLs”) to speak up if they have been approached by the NSA, Cory Doctorow proposed the use of warrant canaries.
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