The executive order that led to mass spying, as told by NSA alumni

The Oval Office as it looked at the end of President Reagan's second term, as seen in the replica at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Dhrupad Bezboruah One thing sits at the heart of what many consider a surveillance state within the US today. The problem does not begin with political systems that discourage transparency or technologies that can intercept everyday communications without notice. Like everything … [Read more...]

Google will collect $1.3 million from patent troll that sued its customers

Partial patent image from US Patent No. 7,496,943. US Patent Office In January, Google won a jury trial against a so-called "patent troll" called Beneficial Innovations, which sued dozens of media companies over online ad patents. But it wasn't a defensive win in which Google lawyers were laying out arguments about why they didn't infringe a patent. Instead, Google had gone on the offensive and said that Beneficial's … [Read more...]

Cybersecurity official uses Tor but still gets caught with child porn

The former acting cybersecurity director for the US Department of Health and Human Services, Tim DeFoggi, was convicted yesterday on three child porn charges. As reported by Wired, DeFoggi is the sixth suspect to be caught by the FBI's Operation Torpedo, which used controversial methods of defeating the Tor anonymizing software in order to find child porn suspects. One site frequented by DeFoggi was PedoBook, hosted by Aaron McGrath—a … [Read more...]

Order on sketchy site goes awry, firm wants $250 in fees, customer sues

Accessory Outlet A Wisconsin woman has filed a lawsuit in New York state court against a shady online retailer, Accessory Outlet, which had threatened her by saying, “You are playing games with the wrong people” after she attempted to cancel an order for a $40 iPhone case that did not arrive on time. The woman, Cindy Cox, is being represented by the advocacy group Public Citizen, which recently won summary judgment and damages of … [Read more...]

Appeals court knocks out computer bingo patents

Leo Reynolds Today, there's another signal that the days of "do it on a computer" patents may finally be numbered—at least if a defendant is willing to last through an appeal. In an opinion (PDF) published this morning. the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a lower court's decision to invalidate two patents, numbered 6,398,646 and 6,656,045, claiming to cover computerized bingo. Yes, you read that right: … [Read more...]

US courts trash a decade’s worth of online documents, shrug it off

US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta. Kevin / flickr The US Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has removed access to nearly a decade's worth of electronic documents from four US appeals courts and one bankruptcy court. The removal is part of an upgrade to a new computer system for the database known as Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER. Court dockets and documents at the US … [Read more...]