It's been a year since UK officials re-opened the privacy case involving Google and its Street View mapping feature, and the Information Commissioner's Office is letting Google off the hook as long as they delete any remaining data within the next 35 days. However, failing to do so could result in legal action.
The UK's head of public prosecutions has issued new guidelines for cases involving social media, a contentious area which has seen users of Twitter, Facebook, and other networks prosecuted for offensive or threatening messages in the past years. The new guidelines, Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC says, aim to cut the threat of "the potential chilling effect" of social media users being afraid of speaking their mind for fear of running the risk of arrest, while still giving law enforcement the power to stop those harassing, stalking, or threatening others, or publishing (or retweeting) grossly offensive or obscene messages.
Ever since Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One and the new Kinect sensor, privacy advocates have been up in arms about how the Kinect watches and listens to its users at all times in order to be at the ready when a voice command or hand gesture is initiated. Lawmakers are also joining in, proposing a new bill that wouldn't ban this kind of technology, but require an opt-in option.
The Pirate Bay has been hit with yet another blow after an Irish court has ordered six internet service providers in the country to block access to The Pirate Bay. The court order was sparked by complaints from four music labels that the file-sharing website was hosting copyrighted content.
The National Security Agency has been on thin ice with the general public lately when whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the US government was spying on American citizens by secretly recording phone calls and tracking users' online activity with the alleged help from big internet companies like Google and Facebook. Because of this, 86 civil liberties groups have banded together to urge Congress to put an end to NSA spying.
A few days ago, the Obama administration announced that they would be cracking down on patent abusers by making some changes to the US Patent and Trademark Office, as well as get the International Trade Commission involved to help fight against frivolous complaints by tech companies to get import bans on competitor products. Several lawmakers are joining the war as well, urging the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on patent trolls.
We're pretty familiar with patent trolls around here, mostly because the technology industry is filled with them. However, President Obama wants to take executive action in order to cut down on patent abuse in the system. It's reported that the White House will reveal its plans tomorrow that includes some changes being made to the Patent and Trademark Office.
It's been quite the journey for Mega founder Kim Dotcom, but it seems like things are slowly coming to a conclusion. The High Court of New Zealand has ordered the FBI to return confiscated hard drives that were taken from Dotcom's home when it was initially raided last year. They have also ordered the US government to destroy all copies that they might have archived.
While self-driving cars have faced a bit of controversy amongst the general public, it seems the government likes the idea for the most part. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is a branch of the US Department of Transportation, has released a policy that looks to fast-track the development and testing of self-driving cars.
We've heard a lot of about lawmakers wanting to levy a tax on violent video games and such, but today's news is a bit different. Vice President Biden (yes, the second most powerful person in the US) wants to levy a tax on media companies who make and distribute violent content, and the money from those taxes as proceeds for victims of violent crimes.