law

California’s “kill switch” law is now in full swing

California’s “kill switch” law is now in full swing

Starting this month, any smartphone made after July 1 that will be sold in the State of California is legally required not only to have a kill switch feature but must also have it turned on by default. But considering the expenses and work that will be required to have devices specific to California only, this practically means the kill switch law will be in effect throughout the US. This is just the latest, and perhaps the most forceful, effort to curb smartphone theft, which has thankfully declined substantially in recent months.

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Driver fined for using Apple Watch while driving

Driver fined for using Apple Watch while driving

Smartwatches were designed to actually pry us away from our smartphones by only bringing to our attention very critical notifications, and even then only for a short while. At least that's the theory. And that theory will be one that still needs to be tested by the law, which has grown rather indecisive when it came to the latest breed of smart devices in the market. That is something that a driver from Pincourt, Quebec found out the hard way when he was fined with a $120 ticket for driving with an Apple Watch.

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House passes USA Freedom Act, curtails NSA’s powers

House passes USA Freedom Act, curtails NSA’s powers

The NSA and other government agencies like it have been dealt yet with another near fatal blow. Just a week after the Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU that the agency's massive data collection spree was illegal, the House of Representative further reduces the NSA's power. In an almost landslide vote of 338 to 88, the House passed what is known now as the USA Freedom Act of 2015, which imposes limits on what the government can and cannot demand in terms of private phone data.

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Uber pays fines in Portland ahead of possible re-launch

Uber pays fines in Portland ahead of possible re-launch

Late last year, Uber arrived in Portland, Oregon. The service was unauthorized, and city officials weren’t taking it lightly. A covert operation to request rides and fine drivers was underway (they got two warnings before a fine, technically), which brought as much confusion to the scene as happy hipsters who could bypass the taxi system. After the kerfuffle, Uber agreed to withdraw from the city for 90 days. As City Hall considers new rules that would allow Uber to operate, the ridesharing service has agreed to pay $67,750 in fines handed down by the city over the unsanctioned launch.

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Tesla Motors banned from direct sales in West Virginia

Tesla Motors banned from direct sales in West Virginia

Thanks to a decision made Friday by West Virginia's governor, Tesla Motors will not be allowed to practice its direct-sales approach in the state. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill that protects franchised auto dealers, making them the only outlet where new vehicles can be purchased from. The new law states that auto manufacturers are prohibited from acting as a new car dealer or operating as a dealership. Not surprisingly, Tesla is unhappy about the decision, which just so happens to have been supported by West Virginia's Senate president, Bill Cole, himself a car dealer in the state.

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Obama signs bill to allow sanctions be placed on ‘malicious’ hackers

Obama signs bill to allow sanctions be placed on ‘malicious’ hackers

Taking dead aim at “malicious cyber attackers”, President Obama today signed into law a bill that will allow those who target US companies for things like DDoS attacks to have sanctions imposed upon them. In announcing the bill, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism chief Lisa Monaco said “by freezing assets of those subject to sanctions and making it more difficult for them to do business with U.S. entities, we can remove a powerful economic motivation for committing these acts in the first place”.

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Three foreigners charged with massive email breach in US

Three foreigners charged with massive email breach in US

There is that saying about the long arm of the law and the places that it reaches. Considering how this latest cyber crime case practically covers three countries both near and far from the US, that might very well be applicable here. Several agencies of the US government made a joint announcement revealing some of the details that concerns two Vietnamese nationals and one Canadian who have been involved in one of the most massive case of email hacking and spam in the history of the US.

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Canadian arrested after refusing to give phone passcode to border agent

Canadian arrested after refusing to give phone passcode to border agent

Earlier this week, a Canadian man was taken into custody by border agents after entering the country on an international flight from the Dominican Republic. Was he carrying prohibited items in his baggage, or maybe didn't have his travel documents in order? No, he merely refused to give up the passcode to his smartphone when stopped by agents for a search, on the grounds that the information was "personal." In what may set a legal precedent, this is Canada's first case in charging a citizen for refusing to provide their phone's passcode.

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Criminals caught with $260,000 in stolen LEGO sets

Criminals caught with $260,000 in stolen LEGO sets

It's hard not to notice these days that Lego is a hot commodity. Between a hit movie based on the small plastic bricks to collaborations with dozens of other franchises, which even cross over into video games, the near-timeless toy is more popular than ever. Like anything with a high value, thieves want to get their hands on it, often for the purpose of reselling it. In two separate situations last week, U.S. police caught more than a few criminals with nearly $260,000 worth of stolen Lego sets in their possession.

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Google voices opposition to court-blessed remote hacking

Google voices opposition to court-blessed remote hacking

The Internet has definitely changed the legal landscape by blurring the boundaries of geophysical territories. It has made the world both a smaller and bigger place, and the law is having a bit of trouble trying to catch up. Sometimes, in scrambling to adjust to the times, governments overreact and try to claim overarching powers. Such might be the case with the proposed amendment to the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, which could allow the government to remotely access computers even in other countries.

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