legal

FTC charges DirecTV with fraud for misleading customers

FTC charges DirecTV with fraud for misleading customers

DirecTV has been charged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for misleading customers. The advertising in question was DirecTV's 12-month discount package. The plan was advertised as costing only $19.95, but obscured from customers was the fact that a 2-year contract was needed to get deal. Even more astounding is that the FTC alleges that DirecTV charged customers for premium channels after a 3-month trial period, and DirecTV never told customers that they needed to cancel these channels in order to avoid being charged automatically.

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Uber, Lyft strike out in ruling on drivers’ worker status

Uber, Lyft strike out in ruling on drivers’ worker status

Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing services like them depend on the drivers that make their services what they are, and those drivers aren't terribly happy. They get paid as independent contractors, which means they do not enjoy employment benefits and must pay self-employment taxes, as well as vehicular maintenance, something that cuts heavily into their pay. Many drivers say that they should be classified as employees and have sought legal help in the matter, and the companies have, of course, pushed back against this, seeking a ruling that the workers are, indeed, contractors. The latest ruling in the matter is yet again not in the companies' favor.

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NSA sued over surveillance by Wikimedia & more

NSA sued over surveillance by Wikimedia & more

The NSA may be used to lurking in the shadows and quietly reading our emails, but the ACLU and Wikimedia Foundation aren't willing to let them stay that way, filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the government agency's actions. The suit, filed today in the US District Court for the District of Maryland, takes issue with NSA "upstream" surveillance which, it's argued, needlessly and intrusively gathers huge quantities of text-based messages sent and received by innocent people. That, the ACLU insists, is an infringement of both First and Fourth Amendment rights, among other things.

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USPTO’s new director is former Googler Michelle Lee

USPTO’s new director is former Googler Michelle Lee

We have been hearing rumbles for a long while now that former Google executive Michelle Lee could become the new head of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and after a couple years of waiting, the news has become official. Back in October 2014, the Obama administration nominated Lee for the position, and as of today the Senate has confirmed her new role. Among other things, Lee previously served as the lead of Google's patents and patent strategy department.

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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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The remainder of Silk Road’s bitcoins have been sold

The remainder of Silk Road’s bitcoins have been sold

Remember the trove of bitcoins nabbed from the illicit underground market Silk Road? The US Marshals have been slowly auctioning them off in batches, something we've been reporting on over past months. The end of this week saw yet another bitcoin batch auction, but it was more notable for one big reason: it was the last of them. The auction took place on March 5 starting at 8AM, with registered bidders being able to email in bids for a batch of 50,000 bitcoins (split up into smaller blocks). Who bought the digital currency has not been revealed.

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Judge grants $415 million settlement in anti-poaching suit against tech companies

Judge grants $415 million settlement in anti-poaching suit against tech companies

We've brought you news about Apple's lawsuits over patent infringement before. This latest lawsuit is from the other side of the industry. This time, workers from various tech companies including Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., and Adobe Systems Inc. have come forward saying that these companies made illegal agreements with each other not to hire new employees coming from one of the said companies. This effectively ended the ability for all of those employees to leverage outside opportunities for better positions within their own companies.

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Lyft entices drivers with new Accelerate rewards program

Lyft entices drivers with new Accelerate rewards program

In the emerging ride-sharing industry, Uber and Lyft have been going at it against each other for a while. Lyft has been trying to entice new drivers, and possibly to lure some away from Uber as well. Lyft's is trying to make their company a bit more alluring to drivers with their new Accelerate program. Accelerate is a rewards program that is designed to give drivers rewards, like a direct line to call Lyft headquarters, based on the amount of rides they give per month.

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Ericsson ramps up patent battle with Apple

Ericsson ramps up patent battle with Apple

Ericsson has set its sights on Apple, accusing the company of infringing dozens of its patents for different aspects of mobile device communications, as well as user interfaces and more. According to Ericsson, the company has offered licensing options to Apple, but the latter company has turned them down (and likewise engaged in a legal battle of its own). Now Ericsson is threatening to file seven more lawsuits in the United States, and it is seeking to block Apple product sales in the US.

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Apple loses $532.9 million patent lawsuit

Apple loses $532.9 million patent lawsuit

In the latest case, Smartflash LLC v. Apple Inc., Apple was ordered by a federal jury to pay $532.9 million in damages to Smartflash LLC in a Texas courtroom. Smartflash is a small company that successfully took down Apple over intellectual property rights. Smartflash claims Apple infringed on three of their patents. They originally sought $852 million in damages while Apple contested that damages should be limited to $4.5 million. Smartflash has also sued Samsung and Google using the same patents pertaining to digital rights management, data storage, and managed access payment systems.

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