legal

PayPal ordered to pay $25 million over deceptive practices

PayPal ordered to pay $25 million over deceptive practices

PayPal, used by online merchants and shoppers to send and process payments, has just settled a federal lawsuit from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over alleged deceptive practices in its "Bill Me Later" program which is now known as PayPal Credit. PayPal will be returning $15 million to customers who lost money due to PayPal's practices, and a $10 million fine has been levied against PayPal, going towards the CFPB. After the settlement, PayPal will be required to correct its consumer disclosure policies, making them "clearly and prominently" displayed to consumers.

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Google and Apple urging Obama to keep smartphones secure

Google and Apple urging Obama to keep smartphones secure

Encrypted data on smartphones today make it difficult for law enforcement around the world to decipher data on smartphones that needs to be used in investigations. The difficulty for the technology industry is that the vast majority of smartphone users aren’t breaking the law in any way and want their personal data to be secure. At the same time law enforcement officials like FBI Director James B. Comey (pictured) are concerned that the growth of encrypted technologies is hindering law enforcement agencies during investigations.

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Google reprimanded for YouTube Kids app showing inappropriate content

Google reprimanded for YouTube Kids app showing inappropriate content

Google's recent mobile app, YouTube Kids, a version of the popular video service that curates safe content for young children, has come under fire from two child and consumer advocacy groups claiming that the app is deceiving. The Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a complaint with the FTC, stating that "the app is rife with videos that would not meet anyone’s definition of 'family friendly.'" The complaint included evidence of video clips that had been found on YouTube Kids that were described as disturbing and/or harmful to young children.

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Apple’s Samsung damages cut by $382m after “rounded corners” appeal

Apple’s Samsung damages cut by $382m after “rounded corners” appeal

Apple's $930m win against Samsung in 2012 faces a slash of more than 40-percent, after an appeals court ruled that the things like rectangles with rounded corners couldn't be protected. The closely-watched court case eventually decided three years ago that not only had Samsung infringed on iPhone patents, it had infringed "trade dress" too, effectively damaging its unique brand in the process. Now, though, the latter part of that ruling is being called into question, and it's worth $382m.

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CRISPR-Cas9 modifies your DNA, under legal fire

CRISPR-Cas9 modifies your DNA, under legal fire

A revolutionary method of editing the human genome has this week become the subject of a patent war. Back in April of 2014, patents were awarded by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to the Broad Institutes’ Dr. Feng Zhang, MIT, and Harvard to develop the technology behind "CRISPR-Cas9". This April, the UC Board of Regents’ legal team spoke with the USPTO about reconsidering their action, suggesting they award the patent to the inventor of the original method, UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna. One way or another, this radical DNA modifier must be made.

We need X-Men, after all.

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Apple stops RadioShack’s customer data sale

Apple stops RadioShack’s customer data sale

As part of RadioShack long-expected collapse and bankruptcy filing, the company recently completed an auction of the data from some 117 million customers. The court-supervised sale was held in order to raise money to pay off $1.3 billion in debt, and the hedge fund Standard General came away as the highest bidder, paying $26.2 million for the RadioShack name and customer data. An interesting filing was made by Apple, however, which argued that customer data from the sales of its own products should not be resold.

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Sprint and Verizon settle FCC’s cramming charges for $158 million

Sprint and Verizon settle FCC’s cramming charges for $158 million

Verizon and Sprint have settled with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over a series of unauthorized customer charges. The government probe alleged that Sprint and Verizon charged customers subscription fees for third-party services such as horoscope, or daily humor services. Although the lawsuits have only just now been settled, the companies were asked to halt their dubious "premium short message services" back in late 2013. The unauthorized subscriptions were about $9.99 per month, and Sprint and Verizon typically took a forty percent cut from each "crammed" charge.

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FTC chides Michigan for banning direct-to-consumer vehicle sales, like Tesla

FTC chides Michigan for banning direct-to-consumer vehicle sales, like Tesla

The FTC has come out defending auto manufacturer's right to direct-to-consumer sales. The regulatory agency claims this is much bigger than Tesla, which has been getting all the press from forgoing dealerships and selling its electic vehicles directly to consumers, aggravating conventional manufacturers. The FTC's latest post is a direct comment on Michigan's new, legislation which has yet to be passed.

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Lawsuit seeking to ban in-flight gadgets gets dismissed

Lawsuit seeking to ban in-flight gadgets gets dismissed

Commercial airline passengers used to have to turn of their mobile devices before takeoff and landing, until a 2013 decision by the FAA finally allowed passengers to use mobile devices throughout entire flights. The freedom to play Angry Birds or tweet from takeoff was almost taken away by a 2014 lawsuit from the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA). That's right, if an army of flight attendants had their way, we would all be sitting in silence and twiddling our thumbs during every takeoff and landing.

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FCC marches on with open internet rules, AT&T stay denied

FCC marches on with open internet rules, AT&T stay denied

AT&T and fellow telecom companies are trying to prevent the FCC from rolling out new Net Neutrality rules. The telecom companies' latest strategy to slow down the new regulation process from taking effect was to request a stay, which would delay the reclassification of internet as a public utility. The court officially denied the stay in its latest ruling. The telecom companies claimed that because they didn't seek a say request against the three "bright-line" internet rules from the FCC's new Internet regulation, (no throttling, no paid prioritization, and no obstruction of legal content) their stay would not harm the public interest. Yet, the court failed to agree.

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