Ever since MegaUpload was hit with arrests and seizures last week, everyone has been wondering how the US government managed to get access to internal communications between the company’s founders. Most of the incriminating conversations cited in the indictment are Skype IMs that would have long been purged from Skype’s servers. According to Cnet, it has been confirmed that the FBI obtained a warrant to obtain the data, and that might have included using government-issued spyware.
After seizing MegaUpload and freezing its assets last week, U.S. District Attorney Neil MacBride wrote in a letter to the site's lawyers saying "hosting companies may begin deleting the contents of the servers beginning as early as February 2, 2012." That's bad news for people who were using the site for legitimate backup purposes, but a last minute stay of execution for all those digital bits is still possible.
The European Commission today announced it has opened a formal investigation into Samsung's use of patents and whether the handset maker is running afoul of EU antitrust rules. Samsung's business practices are being examined "as a matter of priority," the Commission said, though it did not say when it expects to complete its investigation.
The debate over the seizure of MegaUpload may intensify this week as the site's hosting companies, Carpathia Hosting Inc. and Cogent Communications Group Inc., get ready to purge its data, according to an AP report. Federal prosecutors said in a letter that the data purge could take place as soon as Thursday. With MegaUpload's money frozen by the government, customers who were using the service for legitimate purposes could be screwed.
Before smartphone patents took over the spotlight, everyone’s favorite patent troll was Rambus. The technology licensing firm has been using the so-called Barth patents for years to sue tech companies and extract licensing fees as a settlement. After invalidating two of the three Barth patents earlier this year, the U.S. Patent Office has now invalidated the third as well.
All the fire and brimstone rhetoric following the MegaUpload shutdown makes it seem like there was no legitimate use for the site. Despite that image, thousands of users were using MegaUpload to store and share their own files, which have now been lost. In response, Pirate Parties in several countries are putting together a list of affected users in preparation for a lawsuit against the FBI.
Back in 2010, the Library of Congress issued a rulemaking statement that exempted jailbreaking, rooting, and otherwise unlocking mobile devices from DMCA anti-circumvention laws. For all intents and purposes, this made these activities completely legal, and stopped Apple from making all those threats against the jailbreak community. In 2012, that exemption is set to expire unless it is renewed, and the EFF wants to make sure that it is.
Motorola filed a new patent infringement suit of its own against Apple today, and it targets the iPhone 4S and iCloud. Motorola cites six patents that it has used against Apple before as proof of Apple’s infringement. Interestingly, Google’s merger agreement with Motorola prohibits the later from filing any new patent suits without getting permission from Google first. Presumably, this means Google gave Moto the go-ahead to sue Apple.
In the wake of the near miss that was SOPA/PIPA, the forces of the Internet are looking to exact some revenge, to go on the attack if you will. MPAA President and former Senator Chris Dodd presented an inviting target recently when he said on Fox News that the entertainment industry’s campaign contributions to politicians would be tied to their support of anti-piracy legislation. The result is a White House petition calling for a bribery investigation, and an Internet heavyweight calling for Dodd to be fired.
Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $425,000 to settle allegations that it knowingly failed to report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that certain lithium-ion battery packs contained a defect or otherwise created an unreasonable risk or serious injury or death, the CPSC announced this week. The battery packs in question are prone to overheating and pose a fire and burn hazard.