Laws and Legalities

This sys admin trashed his employer’s network and left a note saying he quit

This sys admin trashed his employer's network and left a note saying he quit

Sysadmin trashes his employer’s network before quitting, says he was authorized to do so according to company policies

An employee taking revenge on his/her employer is getting quite common nowadays. Yesterday we had reported how a sys admin used VPN to hack into his employer’s web server after being fired. The sys admin proceeded to cause a loss of $1.1 million loss to the paper making factory before being caught. What Michael Thomas did is more or less similar to what the above sys admin did to the paper factory. Actually, Thomas did what many sys admins secretly dream of doing: he trashed his employer’s network and left a note saying he quit.

The Register reports that way back in December 2011 Thomas completely trashed his employer ClickMotive’s entire network. Not only that, Thomas proceeded to delete ClickMotive’s backups and notification systems for network problems leaving them high and dry. He also cut their VPN access and deleted internal wiki pages, and removed contact details for the organization’s outside tech support. Thomas’ revenge left ClckMotive stranded and without any means to troubleshoot the chaos that Thomas caused.

After doing all of above, Thomas left his keys, laptop, and access card with a letter stating that he quit. Sensing that ClickMotive would be helpless after the mayhem he had caused, Thomas tongue in cheek also offered to stay on as a consultant to sort out his own created chaos.

While what Thomas did may endear him with other like-minded sysadmins, he did break the law and authorities charged him with a felony count of “intentionally causing damage without authorization, to a protected computer.”  The judge and the jury also agreed with the authorities and sentenced Thomas to time served plus three years of supervised release. He was also penalized a hefty fine of $130,000 to recoup ClickMotive’s losses.

Thomas has filed an appeal against the sentence in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. In his appeal, Thomas says that while he did intentionally cause damage it wasn’t “without authorization.” In fact, he was expressly authorized to access all the systems he accessed, and he was expressly authorized to carry out the deletions he did – every sysadmin in the world deletes backups, edits notification systems and adjusts email systems. Thomas says that he did what he was paid to do and none of his actions were forbidden by ClickMotive under its own policies.

Here is Thomas’ version of what went down at ClickMotive:

Thomas was hired to ClickMotive by a friend of his – Andrew Cain. It so happens that before Thomas, Cain was the only IT employee of ClickMotive and also the company’s first employee. One fine day, ClickMotive fired Cain without assigning any reason. Cain suspected the reason for his firing was the founders were looking to sell the company and didn’t want to pass on the benefits eligible to Cain. On the other hand, ClickMotive offered a hefty bonus to Thomas to stay on and look after Cain’s work.

Cain informed Thomas that he would be suing the company for wrongful dismissal and proceeded to launch DDoS attacks against ClickMotive website. Thomas says that he did what a normal sysadmin would do after such attacks.

While Thomas’ alibi for deleting the backup looks solid on paper, the appeals court has to agree to it. The Register says that if the Appeals court goes on to agree with Thomas, it may have severe implications for sysadmins across the entire United States and in some degrees, around the world.

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‘Freedom 251′ aka $4 smartphone maker Ringing Bells’ MD arrested over fraud allegations

'Freedom 251' aka $4 smartphone maker Ringing Bells' MD arrested over fraud allegations

Ringing Bells head Mohit Goel of Freedom 251 fame detained for alleged fraud

Mohit Goel, the Founder and Director of Ringing Bells, was arrested on Thursday afternoon in Uttar Pradesh, India on allegations of fraud charges. He was held after one of the smartphone’s distributors claimed it had not received handsets it had paid for.

For those unfamiliar, Indian smartphone maker Ringing Bells shook the entire tech world in February 2016 by announcing the world’s cheapest smartphone, Freedom 251 exclusively at a price of Rs. 251 (which is less than $4). They invited everyone to make registrations for grabbing the smartphone at an inexpensive price. The company’s website on which pre-orders were taken crashed with huge numbers of people trying to access it to book a phone. While the smartphone attracted strong demand, it also invited widespread skepticism and scrutiny from regulators claiming it as a scam.

Despite all the hiccups and accusations, Ringing Bells actually started shipping its Freedom 251 smartphones in mid-2016. However, a number of distributors have alleged that they placed orders for the devices and received a smaller number than they had paid for.

The FIR by complainant Akshay Malhotra of Ayam Enterprises, a Ghaziabad resident and one of the distributors of the company, has named a total of five persons, including Goel in his complaint. Ringing Bells managing director and Goel’s brother, Anmol Goel, Goel’s wife Dharna Garg, general manager Sumit Kumar, and partner Ashok Chaddha have also been named in the FIR.

He said that Goel convinced him to pay Rs. 30 lakhs ($3million) for the devices. However, the firm delivered devices worth less than half of that amount to him.

Malhotra said that a total of Rs. 16 lakh payment was pending from the company as they could not deliver smartphones and accessories and kept on prolonging the matter for nearly a year.

“So, I had to file the FIR. We gave them a total of Rs 30 lakh for distributorship for phones and accessories in December, 2015 when Goel was the managing director. Then, the agreement was signed and the amount paid in advance. Later, they delivered some goods which were not of proper quality,” Malhotra said.

“However, due to delay in delivery, we asked them to return the amount. Nearly Rs. 10 lakh was paid to us in two instalments. They also gave us some goods which were valued around Rs. 3-4 lakh. Finally, a total of Rs. 16 lakh was pending which was never returned,” he added.

When the dealer pursued Ringing Bells for a refund for the unfulfilled order, he is said to have received death threats for demanding money back from the alleged fraudsters.

On the other hand, Goel said he was willing to pay back the money and did not know what had “transpired”.

“The payments of several distributors were pending and we have promised to pay them by March 31. I still don’t know what transpired. I was willing to pay back his payment and he was also ready. I don’t know why police declined this. It is surprising that a couple of days back Noida crime branch gave us a clean chit and soon I am implicated in another case now,” the Hindustan Times quotes Goel as saying.

The Ghaziabad police have claimed that they had received several other complaints of fraud against Ringing Bells and would deal with them swiftly. Currently, they have Goel in custody and intend to take him to court at the earliest.

“There were complaints of cheating against Goel. He had taken money from several people under the guise of providing them distribution agencies of his smartphone company Ringing Bells last year. However, he had failed to honour his commitments. We have arrested him and he will be taken to court on Friday,” said Deepak Kumar, SSP of Ghaziabad.

So far, the company has only shipped around 70,000 smartphones and the Ringing Bells website has been non-functional for months.


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Go Ahead With Kim Dotcom’s Extradition To U.S. Says New Zealand Court

Go Ahead With Kim Dotcom's Extradition To U.S. Says New Zealand Court

New Zealand Court rejects Kim Dotcom’s appeal against extradition to U.S.

German internet entrepreneur and founder of Megaupload Ltd., Kim Dotcom has lost another legal round after the New Zealand High Court ruled that he can be extradited to the U.S. over online piracy allegations linked to his now-defunct Megaupload web empire. The court said that while Dotcom’s alleged copyright offenses don’t warrant removal to the U.S., he can still be extradited for fraud.

Auckland High Court Judge Murray Gilbert upheld a District Court ruling that there was enough evidence to send Dotcom and his three co-accused, Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Botato for trial in the U.S.

Since 2012, the U.S. has been seeking Dotcom’s extradition on 13 counts including conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, wire fraud and money laundering. He also carries a maximum of 20 years in jail.

“It’s a political case. It’s a political judgment,” Dotcom wrote on Twitter after the ruling and compared New Zealand’s legal system to “Sharia law.”

His legal team described the outcome as “extremely disappointing.”

While Judge Gilbert agreed with an argument put forward by Dotcom’s legal team that he couldn’t be extradited on copyright infringement grounds because the allegation against him is not a criminal offence in New Zealand, he said a conspiracy to commit copyright infringement amounted to conspiracy to defraud was an extradition offence under a treaty between New Zealand and the U.S.

“I agree with the district court judge that the evidence summarized in the record of the case is sufficient to establish a prima facie case on all counts. I also agree with his ultimate conclusion that the appellants are eligible for extradition on all counts for which their surrender is sought,” Judge Gilbert said in his 360-page judgment.

Ultimately, he found Dotcom and his co-accused were still eligible to surrender.

“I’m no longer getting extradited for Copyright. We won on that,” Dotcom tweeted after the ruling. “I’m now getting extradited for a law that doesn’t even apply.”

The U.S. has accused Dotcom and his associates of operating an “international organized criminal enterprise responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of copyrighted works.” They also accused them of racking up over $175 million in illegal profits and causing more than $500 million in harm to copyright holders. The U.S. Department of Justice shut down the site in January 2012 and seized approximately $50 million in assets.

Dotcom, who also goes by the name Kim Schmitz, has maintained his innocence and accused U.S. prosecutors of overreach. Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield said the decision meant the case was no longer the “largest criminal copyright case”.

“As we have said all along, there is no such offence under our Copyright Act. We were right.”

He said the final hurdle to overturning extradition will be determined by the Court of Appeal.

“We remain confident that this last point which would prevent extradition in this complex and unprecedented legal case, will be resolved in Kim’s favour in a manner consistent with parliament’s intent, international law and importantly, one might think, the United States’ own law,” Mr Mansfield said.

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Oracle refuses to let go of Google for using Java in its Android operating system

Oracle refuses to let go of Google for using Java in its Android operating system

Oracle-Google Lawsuit Continues: Oracle refuses to accept pro-Google “fair use” verdict in use of Java for Android API battle

Looks like the animosity between Oracle and Google is going to continue for some more time! The software giant on Friday night filed an appeal brief reviving its copyright and patent claim lawsuit against Google over its use of Oracle programming code to create the Android operating system.

The legal battle that formally started in 2010 over bits of Java code called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), has wound its way through two federal trials and multiple appeals courts. In May last year, Oracle had lost the plagiarism case it had filed against Google.

Google had argued that the copying fell within the “fair use” provision of copyright law, meaning it was free to use it. At that time, a jury of 10 unanimously agreed with Google. The search giant then had issued a statement in support of the jury’s decision.

“Today’s verdict that Android makes fair use of Java APIs represents a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products,” a Google spokesperson said in May.

However, then Oracle had said that it would appeal against the verdict, which it did this Friday night. The brief, filed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, aims to overrule a federal jury’s decision in May that Google’s use of Oracle software didn’t violate copyright law.

Oracle contends in the seven-year legal battle that Google’s use of Oracle software, specifically its use of Java API in its Android OS, violates copyright law.

“In the first trial in this case, the jury found that Google’s Android software infringes Oracle’s copyrights in the Java Standard Edition (‘SE’) platform but hung on the question of whether Google’s copying was a fair use,” Oracle said in its filing on Friday afternoon.

“After the trial, the district court held that the portions of Java that Google copied were not entitled to copyright protection and entered judgment for Google.”

Oracle’s lawyers argue in the appeal filing, “Google started trial knowing a fact it kept secret from everyone else: It was days away from announcing that ‘the full functionality of Android would soon be working on desktops and laptops, not just on smartphones and tablets.'”

”When a plagiarist takes the most recognizable portions of a novel and adapts them into a film, the plagiarist commits the ‘classic’ unfair use,” Oracle wrote in their appeal referencing ‘fair use’ provisions in copyright law.

”Google’s copying in this case is the software equivalent of this classic unfair use.”

The company argued that Google “reaped enormous commercial benefits from copying … Java APIs,” to explicitly “target and steal Oracle’s customers.”

The case, Oracle America vs Google Inc, will be heard by the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in the Northern District of California. Google has yet to comment on the appeal made by Oracle.

The tech industry is keeping a close eye on the legal battle between Oracle and Google because it could have a chilling ripple effect on some of the ways that software developers freely use and share code today.

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Facebook Stole VR Tech For Oculus Rift Ordered To Pay $500 Million To ZeniMax Media

Facebook Stole VR Tech For Oculus Rift Ordered To Pay $500 Million To ZeniMax Media

Oculus Rift Lawsuit: Facebook Ordered To Pay $500 Million To ZeniMax Media for Stealing VR Tech

A judge has ruled that Facebook indeed stole VR technology from ZeniMax Media for its Oculus Rift VR. Facebook’s virtual reality (VR) subsidiary Oculus and its executives have been ordered to pay $500 million in damages to game developer ZeniMax Media in a lawsuit over copyright infringement and the violation of a non-disclosure agreement by a U.S. jury in Texas on Wednesday.

The jury awarded the sum after determining that Oculus executives violated a ZeniMax non-disclosure agreement in the early days of building the Oculus Rift VR headset.

The lawsuit was filed in 2014 for a dispute between ZeniMax and Oculus, with ZeniMax alleging that John Carmack, the Chief Technology Officer at Oculus and Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey stole intellectual property to begin work on the Oculus Rift VR headset. The company also claimed that Facebook hurried through its acquisition process, not properly inspecting Oculus and its executives for possible conflicts and other warning signs.

ZeniMax had alleged that video game designer John Carmack developed core parts of the Rift’s technology while working at a ZeniMax subsidiary.

Oculus hired Carmack in 2013.

ZeniMax was seeking as much as $4 billion in the case. The case hinged on the alleged violation of a non-disclosure agreement and claims that intellectual property stolen from ZeniMax was crucial to Rift’s success. The judgment requires Oculus to pay $200 for violating a non-disclosure agreement, $50 million for copyright infringement and $50 million for the misuse of ZeniMax trademarks. Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe were also ordered to pay $50 million and $150 million, respectively, for false designation.

ZeniMax said in a statement that it was satisfied with the verdict, but they would consider to go for additional legal proceedings: “We will consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropriated technology, including by seeking an injunction to restrain Oculus and Facebook from their ongoing use of computer code that the jury found infringed ZeniMax’s copyrights.”

On the other hand, Oculus said that it would appeal the ruling. “The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor,” an Oculus spokesperson said in an email. “We’re obviously disappointed by a few other aspects of today’s verdict, but we are undeterred. Oculus products are built with Oculus technology. Our commitment to the long-term success of VR remains the same, and the entire team will continue the work they’ve done since day one – developing VR technology that will transform the way people interact and communicate. We look forward to filing our appeal and eventually putting this litigation behind us.”

Facebook purchased Oculus in 2014 for more than $2 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in court that he was not aware of the intellectual property claims between Oculus and ZeniMax.

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Department Of Labor Sues Oracle For Paying White Men More

Oracle Sued By US For Paying White Men More Than Minorities

Oracle sued by the U.S. Department of Labor over its hiring practices

The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against software giant Oracle America for allegedly paying white men more than their colleagues and for unlawfully favoring Asian applicants in its recruiting and hiring efforts for technical roles.

The lawsuit is the result of an Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs review of the company’s practices at its Redwood Shores, California, headquarters, according to a release from the Labor Department.

“The leading technology company has a systemic practice of paying Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title, which led to pay discrimination against female, African American and Asian employees,” the department said in a statement.

At the same time, according to the complaint, Oracle was far more likely to hire Asian applicants—particularly Indian people—for product development and technical roles than black, white, or Hispanic job seekers.

However, Oracle denied the allegations.

“The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations and wholly without merit,” Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said.

“Oracle values diversity and inclusion, and is a responsible equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Our hiring and pay decisions are non-discriminatory and made based on legitimate business factors including experience and merit,” she said.

The suit further alleged that Oracle obstructed Labor Department investigators by refusing to produce data on compensation or hiring that would support their claim.

“Oracle refused to provide prior-year compensation data for all employees, complete hiring data for certain business lines, and employee complaints of discrimination,” the department said.

The department said it tried for nearly a year to “resolve Oracle’s alleged discrimination violations” before filing the lawsuit.

“Federal contractors are required to comply with all applicable anti-discrimination laws,” said OFCCP acting Director Thomas M. Dowd. “We filed this lawsuit to enforce those requirements.”

If the suit is successful, people affected by the alleged discrimination will receive relief for “lost wages, stock, interest, front wages, salary adjustments, promotions and all other lost benefits of employment and a reform of discriminatory policies.” More than 1,000 female Oracle employees are estimated to have been affected by the alleged discrimination, the lawsuit said.

Also, the lawsuit could turn out to be costly for Oracle. The Department of Labor noted that Oracle has a bevy of government contracts that could be at risk.

“Oracle has received hundreds of millions in federal government contracts,” said the Department of Labor. “If Oracle fails to provide relief as ordered in the lawsuit, OFCCP requests that all its government contracts be canceled and that it be debarred from entering into future federal contracts.”

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Microsoft sued by employees for making them to watch child porn, murder and violent videos

Microsoft sued by employees for making them to watch child porn, murder and violent videos

Forced to watch child porn and murder for their job, Microsoft employees developed PTSD, claims lawsuit

Two former employees of Microsoft’s Online Safety Team are suing the company after it forced them to watch videos and pictures of “indescribable sexual assaults,” murder and child abuse, saying that it made them develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over time. Both of them are now suffering from symptoms of PTSD, which include nightmares, anxiety, and hallucinations. The lawsuit revolves around Microsoft not providing them with efficient healthcare and treatment.

“It’s horrendous. It’s bad enough just to see a child get sexually molested. Then there are murders. Unspeakable things are done to these children,” Ben Wells, one of the attorneys who filed the suit in Washington said.

The two plaintiffs, namely Henry Soto and Greg Blauert, were a part of the Online Safety team. According to them, their jobs which involved keeping a check on the company’s online services like e-mail or Bing for illegal content such as child pornography and violent videos, and decide what kind of content should be taken down or reported to the police.

Soto and Blauert had been in charge of the safety team, starting from 2008. They further allege that they were not informed in any way about the possible psychological dangers of taking this kind of work and the potential for “debilitating injuries”, and that they were denied any support.

“Many people simply cannot imagine what Soto had to view on a daily basis as most people do not understand how horrible and inhumane the worst people in the world can be,” his lawyers were quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Blauert was also required to “review thousands of images of child pornography, adult pornography and bestiality that graphically depicted the violence and depravity of the perpetrators.”

Employees “were not told that the more they became invested in saving people, the less able they would become to recognize and act on their own symptoms of PTSD,” the suit claims.

Instead of offering proper psychological care for employees, Microsoft reportedly developed a “Wellness Program,” which instructed them to take smoke breaks and long walks to deal with their condition, says the complaint. They were even asked to play video games during their breaks. This stood in contrast to members of the company’s Digital Crimes Unit, who were reportedly provided with a ‘comprehensive mental health program’ that was allegedly not made available to Soto, Blauert and others in the Online Safety team.

Microsoft’s compassion fatigue counsellor allegedly “lacked sufficient knowledge and training regarding vicarious trauma or PTSD and lack the authority to take employees off content or rotate them entirely out of the department.” They believe that Microsoft’s safety program supervisors are unaware of the consequences of the viewing these taxing and disrespectful pieces of content on a daily basis. The two of them were stuck in the said department for about 18 months and this took a toll on their psyche.

When Soto initially met with psychiatrists, he said he was experiencing sleep disturbances, nightmares, anxiety and “suffered from an internal video screen in his head and could see disturbing images”. However, as time passed by, he began experiencing visual hallucinations, panic attacks in public, disassociation and depression.

“One of the triggers for him is children,” Wells told the Guardian. “At times, he can’t look at his own son … He can’t see a knife in the kitchen … He can’t look at computers.” Soto eventually went on medical leave.

On the other hand, Blauert is said to have suffered a breakdown in 2013 due to the work demands when he was experiencing “intractable crying, insomnia, anxiety and PTSD”, the suit said. He is now triggered by adults who look like “potential abusers” and “fears for the safety of children he meets”. He is also unable to look at any “child related content” on computers and has not returned to work due to the triggers, according to the complaint.

The two employees claimed that they provided suggestions on how to improve work in the department, but apparently those were ignored. As a result, Blauert and Soto together with their wives filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in the past month, alleging negligence, disability discrimination and violations of the Consumer Protection Act.

The plaintiffs have also applied for worker’s compensation after being recommended for medical leave, but were allegedly denied coverage. According to the lawsuit, “The worker’s condition is not an occupational disease,” denial letters from a worker’s compensation agency read.

In response to this, a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement:

“Microsoft applies industry-leading, cutting-edge technology to help detect and classify illegal images of child abuse and exploitation that are shared by users on Microsoft services. Once verified by a specially trained employee, the company removes the image, reports it to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and bans the users who shared the images from our services. We have put in place robust wellness programs to ensure the employees who handle this material have the resources and support they need.”

The plaintiffs seek damages for pain and suffering, economic and treble damages under the Consumer Protection Act and Washington Disability Discrimination Act.

Neither Blauert nor Soto has returned to work.

If the suit prevails, it could have consequences for corporations across the industry, and Wells said he hopes the case motivates others to speak out about poor working conditions.

You can read the full complaint, filed in December 2016, here, as originally reported by Courthouse News.

Source: The Guardian

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Nokia sues Apple for patent infringement in iPhone and other products

Nokia alleges Apple stole its tech to make iPhone, files court cases in Germany and the U.S.

Nokia alleges Apple stole its tech to make iPhone, files court cases in Germany and the U.S.

Apple has been in trouble for copying tech and designs several times since the launch of iPhone in 2007 till date. Now it has another lawsuit to face this time from Nokia. Nokia says that Apple stole its patented technologies like display and even the iOS to make its own iPhone.

The yesteryears king of mobile phones, Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. on Wednesday in Germany and the U.S. for patent infringement over intellectual property used in the iPhone and other Apple products. The suit was filed in Regional Courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich in Germany and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Nokia says its complaint includes “32 patents in a suit across all of the actions, covering technologies such as the display, user interface, software, antenna, chipsets and video coding. Nokia is in the process of filing further actions in other jurisdictions.”

In a statement, Nokia said, “Since agreeing a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple’s products.”

However, Apple claims that Nokia’s failing cellphone business has prompted them to transfer patents to patent assertion entities to get out of FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) licensing deals it established for essential patents, allowing the company to collect higher royalties.

From Apple’s complaint: “With its cell phone business dying, Nokia began to seek out willing conspirators and to commence its illegal patent transfer scheme in full force; that scheme has continued in full effect to the present. The driving force behind Nokia’s strategy was to diffuse its patent portfolio and place it in the hands of PAEs. Acacia and Conversant were its chief conspirators.”

On the other hand, Nokia’s own patent infringement complaint against Apple claims that the company has declined to establish licensing deals for Nokia technology that is used in Apple products.

Ilkka Rahnasto, head of Patent Business at Nokia, said: “Through our sustained investment in research and development, Nokia has created or contributed to many of the fundamental technologies used in today’s mobile devices, including Apple products. After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple’s use of these patents, we are now taking action to defend our rights.”

This is not the first time Apple is involved in a patent battle. Earlier this year, it paid $24.9 million in a Siri patent lawsuit and $625 million in a Facetime patent lawsuit. And how can one forget, Apple’s famous five-year-patent battle with Samsung over design features. Luckily for Apple, they won that patent infringement battle against Samsung.

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Pornhub protests against proposed South Carolina law to install porn blockers

Pornhub protests against proposed South Carolina law to install porn blockers

South Carolina seeks to ban porn, Pornhub releases sex habits of South Carolinians

South Carolina’s new legislation proposes porn blockers on all new computers sold; $20 for unlocking it, Pornhub says South Carolina’s citizens enjoy porn

It if thought that the United States of America was the epitome of free speech and liberty, wait a second, there is a state in the US that seek to block what you want to see on your PC/laptop. A state legislator in South Carolina is hoping a one-time tax on porn consumption will dissuade grown-up residents from watching people have sex on their computers.

According to the new legislation called Human Trafficking Prevention Act which was filed this month by Rep. Bill Chumley, the PC/laptops in South Carolina can be sold only after installing a  porn blocker. The only way to lift the block is to pay $20 to the state government.

Anyone in South Carolina who loves their adult stuff on their computer screens should now be worried. The state wants to censor NSFW content by forcing tech companies to install porn-blockers on all computers sold. According to Rep. Chumley, this is the only way to prevent children from accessing porn and to protect them from exploitation. Chumley told GoUpstate, “If we could have manufacturers install filters that would be shipped to South Carolina, then anything that children have access on for pornography would be blocked. We felt like that would be another way to fight human trafficking.”

The legislation provides a way out to vendors or customers over the age of 18. If they want to buy a new PC or Mac without the blocker, they can pay a one-time $20 fee per device to get the blockers lifted. So essentially, South Carolina’s citizens wishing to watch adult movies will end up paying the government for their NSFW stuff. While this looks hunky dory to the senator, Pornhub insights reveal a different story. Taking a contrarian view against the proposed legislation, PornHub says that the senator is going against the wishes of South Carolina citizens.

To protect its title of the most popular adult entertainment website in the world, Pornhub wants a censorship free world. So in response to South Carolina’s anti-porn bill, it decided to out the ways in which South Carolinians enjoy their adult stuff.

According to the to insights,  South Carolinians really do enjoy adult films. So much so, that they stay on the site longer than most other states. “Folks from South Carolina visit Pornhub for 29 seconds longer than the U.S. average,” writes Pornhub Insights. “That ranks them 7th for the longest lasting power, just behind Louisiana and Arkansas.

South Carolinians also seem to like spice in their adult films which can be seen from the insights. It remains to be seen whether Rep. Chumley’s proposed legislation can be forced down the throat of South Carolina citizens.

Either way, Rep. Chumley seems to have unheard the ineffectiveness of blocking anything.

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Apple owes VirnetX $302.4 million after losing FaceTime patent retrial

Apple owes VirnetX $302.4 million after losing FaceTime patent retrial

Apple Ordered To Pay VirnetX $302.4 Million In FaceTime Patent Retrial Loss

Apple Inc. was orderedby a federal jury in the Eastern District of Texas on Friday night to pay more than $302 million in damages to VirnetX Holding Corp’s over the use of patented internet security technology without permission, included in its FaceTime communications app. The damage award also includes the amount Apple must pay for use of VirnetX technology in Virtual Private Network on Demand, also called VOD.

The verdict came in the third trial in Tyler, Texas in a case that began in 2010. The patent battle between Apple and VirnetX started when the patent troll filed a lawsuit against Apple in Texas for the infringement of four patents for secure networks, known as virtual private networks, and secure communications links.

A jury in 2012 awarded $368.2 million in damages. However, the Court of Appeals, overturned part of the verdict, citing issues on the instructions that the trial judge gave to the jurors on how to calculate for the damages.

On remand, VirnetX’s two suits were combined, and in February, the highest amount that the jury ordered Apple to pay to VirnetX was $625.6 million for technology used in FaceTime. The amount was one of the highest ever awards ever recorded in a patent case in the United States. However, in August, the appeals court threw that ruling out, saying jurors may have been confused by references to the first reiteration of this case and were unfair to Apple.

In the latest trial, jurors were asked to determine damages on two VirnetX patents that Apple had already been found to infringe, and to find out both infringement and damages on another two patents. The $302.4 million award was in line with what VirnetX had been demanding.

While Apple declined to comment on the issue, attorney for VirnetX could not be immediately reached.

“According to court documents, Apple is to face another court proceeding over whether it willfully infringed the patents, which could lead to higher damages,” reports Reuters. “Apple will also have to contend with the trial in a second lawsuit VirnetX filed against Apple over newer versions of Apple security features, as well as its iMessage application.”

However, in order for VirnetX to actually get paid for its patents, the case will have to once again go through the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, the specialty of which is patent law.

Source: Reuters

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