Laws and Legalities

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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Court finds Apple guilty of stealing Nokia and Sony’s ring-silencing patent for its iPhone

Apple stole this tech from Nokia and Sony, Court asks to pay $3 million in losses

Apple asked to pay $3 million for patent infringement

Apple has lost a patent infringement law suit to patent licensing entity, Mobile Media Ideas LLC and has been ordered to pay $3 million in damages to the company, reported Ars Technica.

A Delaware federal jury on Wednesday ruled that Apple had infringed a patent, owned by Maryland-based MobileMedia Ideas LLC, for ring-silencing technology on mobile phones.

Apple apparently infringed MobileMedia’s Patent No. RE 39,231, which is related to ring-silencing features on mobile phones. In 1994, Sony patented a method for users to control incoming calls on a mobile phone, whereby an alert sound would be either stopped, or the sound would reduce after the initial loud alert during certain user actions or as a result of user operations with the phone.

MobileMedia Ideas LLC, owned by Nokia, Sony and IP rights management firm MPEG LA, has been fighting a war since 2010 to get it legally declared that Apple has infringed Patent No. RE 39,231, together with 15 other patents, in its iPhone line of smartphones.

In 2012, the court made the first decision against Apple wherein it found the electronics giant infringing only four patents, which included call alerts, call handling, call rejection and the phone’s camera. However, in 2015, Apple appealed again and an appeals court dismissed three of the patents but sent back the fourth patent (call silencing) to be reviewed by the courts.

This led to another trial in which Apple argued that the telephone ring patent was invalid because it was too vague. However, the federal court of Delaware disagreed, and decided that Apple was indeed guilty of infringing the patent on September 21.

Even though the $3 million verdict is hardly going to make an impact on Apple, it is likely that Apple will not take this lying down either and will appeal to the Federal Circuit.. On the other hand, this verdict is not a huge win for MobileMedia Ideas LLC, who was reportedly seeking $18 million in royalties from the trial.

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14-year-old girl sues Facebook for allowing her nude photos

Teenager sues Facebook and the man responsible for posting her nude photograph on the social media site

Teenager sues Facebook and the man responsible for posting her nude photograph on the social media site

Facebook is being sued by a 14-year-old girl in Northern Ireland after a nude photograph of hers was repeatedly published on the site. In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the world, the girl is taking legal action against Facebook and the man suspected of posting her explicit pho.

The picture was obtained by blackmail and published on a ‘shame’ page as a form of revenge claims the lawyers for the teenager. It is understood her photo was posted on a so-called shame page several times between November 2014 and January 2016.

One of the teenager’s barristers, Edward Fitzgerald QC, at a hearing in the High Court in Belfast, said blocking the sharing of the image should have been a “red-line” issue for the company.

“A naked 14-year-old’s picture was being put on a shame page,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“If they had blocked it all this subsequent publication of her naked image would not have taken place.”

Barristers Edward Fitzgerald QC and Peter Girvan, representing the teenager, compared uploading and distributing the image to an act of child abuse.

Brett Lockhart QC, acting on behalf of Facebook, stated that the case should be struck out before it reaches trial and argued the claim for damages should be dismissed.

He referred to a European directive that he argued provided protection from having to screen a huge amount of online material for what is posted on one page.

Mr Lockhart also stressed that the social networking site always takes down images immediately to any reported breaches brought to its attention.

However, Mr Fitzgerald contended that Facebook had the power to prevent any republication of the photograph by using a DNA process to recognize the image.

The girl, who cannot be identified, is seeking damages for negligence, misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act.

The judge reserved his decision on an application to have the case halted following submissions.

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Viewing pirated films or torrent websites not a crime, rules an Indian high court judge

Viewing pirated films or torrent websites not a crime, rules an Indian high court judge

Viewing illicit content not illegal, Bombay HC clarifies

The High Court of Bombay has clarified that it is not appropriate to suggest that merely viewing an illicit copy of a film is a punishable offence under the Copyright Act.

Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court also ruled that its only when a user distributes a copyright infringing content that he or she is committing an offense. “The offence is not in viewing, but in making a prejudicial distribution, a public exhibition or letting for sale or hire without appropriate permission copyright-protected material,” Justice Patel said.

He asked Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to drop the line “‘viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating’ a particular film is a penal offence” from the ‘error message’ and directed them to display a more generic message for copyright infringement in the “error message” to these blocked URLs to state that the site was blocked pursuant to an order of the court.

Last month, several Indian Internet users noticed that their favorite torrent websites were blocked, displaying a rather ominous message that said they could face up to three years in prison for simply viewing copyrighted content. The viewers who tried to access The Pirate Bay, ExtraTorrent and hundreds of other sites went in a tizzy after reading the message displayed.

Acting on a plea by producers of the film Dishoom against online piracy, the court had recently ordered ISPs to block sites showing pirated content, along with an “error message” as a measure to ensure genuine e-commerce sites are not affected.

Judge Patel ordered Internet provider Tata Communication Ltd. (TCL), which manages the blocking message, to remove the viewing part. The court directed that the message should say, “Infringing or abetting infringement of copyright-protected content including under this URL is an offence in law. Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957, read with Section 51, prescribe penalties of a prison term of up to 3 years and a fine of up to `3lakh.”

The court also told that anyone with a grievance could contact the nodal officer of the ISP. The judge noted that the ISP must appoint a nodal officer with a dedicated email address and reply to complaints within two working days. The order must be followed by all ISPs including Vodafone and MTNL, said the HC.

However, on August 12, Tata Communication Ltd. (TCL) had said that it was not “technically impossible” to implement the directive.

Source: Torrentfreak

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In protest against Nintendo’s legal threats, developers rename the game “No Mario’s Sky” to ‘DMCA’s Sky’

In protest against Nintendo’s legal threats, developers rename the game "No Mario's Sky" to ‘DMCA’s Sky’

“No Mario’s Sky” taken down by Nintendo, its dev team comes out with ‘DMCA’s Sky’

Nintendo is a known bully when it comes to fan-made games which mention its characters or copy its plot. It has in the past initiated legal action against such fans who use Nintendo copyrighted material in their indie games. However, one such developer team has decided to hit back at Nintendo.

The developers behind a game called No Mario’s Sky based on Nintendo character have decided to rename their game as DMCA’s Sky after being threatened with legal action by Nintendo.

Sadly, that couldn’t stop it being withdrawn from triannual game coding competition, Ludum Dare.

For the uninitiated, No Mario’s Sky was based on one of the most famous characters from Nintendo stable, Mario. Mario has been a milk cow for Nintendo since its release in 1981.

Since his debut as Jump Man ” in the arcade game Donkey Kong on July 9, 1981, Mario has been one of the best-known characters in gaming circuit. The Mario franchise is the best-selling video game franchise of all time with over 210 million units of the overall Mario series of games have been sold throughout the world.

However, Nintendo is very possessive about its lucky mascot. Just like many big technology companies, Nintendo sees its intellectual property rights as its most valuable asset. As a result, the company is cracking down on anyone using Nintendo characters without permission, from fan-made Metroid clone AM2R to Pokémon Uranium.

The developers behind No Mario’s Sky also felt the Nintendo ire when Nintendo of America attorney Brian Sniffen sent a legal notice against their game which was just a few hours old.

ASMB Games (Alex McDonald, Sam Izzo, Max Cahill, Ben Porter) and their creation No Mario’s Sky, a game featuring “exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated universe.” took just four hours to piss Nintendo and threaten them of legal action.

“We represent Nintendo of America Inc. (“Nintendo”) in intellectual property matters. Nintendo recently learned that content available at infringes copyrights owned by Nintendo. This notice is provided pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 USC § 512, and’s Terms of Service,” Sniffen wrote in a DMCA complaint sent to ASMB.

“This page provides access to downloadable files which violate’s Terms of Service and infringe Nintendo’s copyrights in its Super Mario video game franchise, including but not limited to the audiovisual work, images, and fictional character depictions….We would appreciate your expeditious removal of all infringing content.”

Unable to take on the might of Nintendo, ASMB immediately took the game down. Sadly that also had an effect on their standing at Ludum Dare.

“NO MARIO’S SKY IS NO MORE-IO!” the team announced. “Due to a copyright claim by Nintendo we’ve had to take the game down. As we’ve had to remove the game, we are voiding our entry into Ludum Dare. Thanks for playing, everyone!”

However, after initial scare, ASMB decided to fight back and decided to relaunch the game as DMCA’s Sky.

“Thanks everyone for playing and enjoying our little fan game,” ASMB said in a follow-up. “We would love to see an official Nintendo game in this style — a Mario Galaxy-style game in 2D within a procedurally-generated universe.”

It remains to be seen whether Nintendo will go after DMCA’s Sky as well but ASMB lost out a golden chance to make it to Ludum Dare.

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Grumpy Cat to sue ‘pirating’ coffee maker over Grumppuccinno copyright violations

Grumpy Cat to sue ‘pirating’ coffee maker over Grumppuccinno copyright violations

Grumpy Cat’s owners take coffee maker to court over copyright infringements, demands $600k

Owners of the Grumpy Cat have asked a California federal court to issue a $600,000 judgment against Los Angeles-based Grenade Beverage, which apparently abused their copyrights that allowed the coffee maker to use cat’s visage to market a line of coffee drinks. Further, the owners have also asked for a ban on the company in question from selling any merchandise associated with Grumpy Cat along with damages for trademark and contract breach.

“Ironically, while the world-famous feline Grumpy Cat and her valuable brand are most often invoked in a tongue-and-cheek fashion, Defendants’ despicable misconduct here has actually given Grumpy Cat and her owners something to be grumpy about,” reads the original lawsuit.

For those unfamiliar, Tardar Sauce (born April 4, 2012), is a cat and Internet celebrity known for her “grumpy” facial expression, and thus she got the common name Grumpy Cat. According to her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, her permanently grumpy-looking face is due to an underbite and feline dwarfism. Grumpy Cat rose to popularity after a picture of hers was posted in the social news website with grumpy captions. Currently, “The Official Grumpy Cat” page on Facebook, which has over 8.7 million likes.

Thanks to their pet’s unique facial expression that turned her into an overnight Internet star, the cat’s owners were quick to capitalise on this and make millions.

Last year, the cat’s owners, incorporated as Grumpy Cat LLC, took Grenade Beverage to court in an attempt to get the coffee maker to cease infringing associated copyrights and trademarks.

Grumpy Cat’s owners moved for a default after Grenade Beverage failed to reply properly to the allegations. Therefore, a judge this summer moved toward entering a default judgement in favor of Grumpy Cat’s humans. However, they proceeded a few days ago and put in a request for motion for default judgment.

According to the lawsuit, Grumpy Cat (the company) licensed the brand in 2013 to be used for the ice drink “Grumppuccino,” to be sold by the California company, Grenade Beverage.

However, Grenade apparently went beyond that agreement and started selling Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee. Further, Grumpy Cat claims that Grenade failed to provide an accounting of sales and profits and failed to pay a percentage of Grumppuccino profits. It also started selling unauthorized Grumppuccino T-shirts.

“Not only was the Infringing Product never approved by Plaintiff under the License Agreement, but the packaging and marketing materials for the Infringing Product, as depicted in the example below, primarily and exclusively incorporate Plaintiff’s exclusive intellectual property, including the Grumpy Cat Copyrights and the Grumpy Cat Trademarks,” the memorandum reads.

Several allegations that were mentioned in the original complaint have been repeated in the memorandum (pdf) supporting the new motion. Despite the coffee maker removing its website and social media accounts, Grumpy Cat LLC is still seeking statutory damages for four different copyright claims.

“Here, the magnitude of Grenade’s willful infringement of Plaintiff’s Grumpy Cat Copyrights, willful disregard of this Court’s authority, and refusal to stop its blatant infringement renders Plaintiff entitled to a $150,000 statutory damages award for each of the Grumpy Cat Copyrights, in a total amount of $600,000,” the motion reads.

In addition, the company wants all profits from Grumpy Cat-related products that were sold by Grenade, plus $15,000 in legal fees.

Together with the non-party company Grumpy Beverage, defendants Paul and Nick Sandford, Paul and Nick Sandford, who are affiliated with Grenade Beverage, have filed a counterclaim in a hope to affirm that they are the rightful owner of various Grumpy Cat coffee-related trademarks and copyrights, as well as several disputed domain names.

Source: TorrentFreak

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Google Fined $6.75 Million Over Android Mobile Dominance In Russia

Google Fined $6.75 Million Over Android Mobile Dominance In Russia

Russia Fines Google $6.75 Million For Violating Antitrust Rules

The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has fined Alphabet Inc.’s Google 438 million rubles ($6.75 million) on Thursday for violating antitrust rules on tablets and mobile phones. In other words, Google has been found guilty for exploiting its dominant market position by forcefully making retailers install its search engine and keep a suite of apps on mobile phones for sale on the Russian market.

In September last year, the FAS found Google guilty in breach of a law on “protecting competition” after Russia’s largest search engine, Yandex NV filed a complaint against the search giant. It asked anti-trust authorities to stop Android handsets from being automatically pre-loaded with Google’s own apps and services. Google also didn’t allow third-party services, such as Yandex’s search, to be preinstalled.

Google has two months to pay the fine, said the FAS. The fine amount was calculated as a share of Google Play’s domestic sales, a FAS representative said. Local rules specify that fines signify 1 percent to 15 percent of a violator’s revenue for 2014, the official said, without providing more information on the exact figure.

“We are sure that the requirements will provide the possibility for development of competition on the mobile software market in Russia, which will have a positive effect for consumers,” said Yelena Zayeva, the head of its department for regulating communications and IT.

All companies whose production is on sale in Russia have to observe the law on competition, “including transnational corporations,” Zayeva added.

After receiving notification from FAS about the fine, Google said in an e-mailed statement: “We have received notice of the fine from FAS and will analyze closely before deciding our next steps.”

“In the meantime, we continue to talk to all invested parties to help consumers, device manufacturers and developers thrive on Android in Russia,” Google said.

The FAS has ordered Google to make changes to its agreements with device makers. However, the search giant has appealed the solutions. The latest appeal hearing has been scheduled for August 16.

Google has been slapped with similar anti-trust charges in other countries, particularly in the European Union, which has launched three cases against Google, one of which is particularly about using the dominance of the Android mobile phone operating system to limit competition.

Source: Bloomberg

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