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Judge In Nokia and Apple Lawsuit Owned Apple Stock During Proceedings

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2021-09-01 03:25
A federal judge was recently found to have owned Apple stock while presiding over a case brought against the tech giant by Nokia, though the discovery is unlikely to lead to further legal action. AppleInsider reports: Apple and Nokia were embroiled in a bitter patent dispute from 2009 to 2011, with both companies filing a series of legal complaints and regulatory challenges as competition in the smartphone market came to a head. The issue was ultimately settled in June 2011, and while terms of the agreement were kept confidential, Apple was expected to make amends with a one-time payment and ongoing royalties. According to a new court filing on Monday, a federal judge presiding over one of many scattershot legal volleys filed by Nokia owned stock in Apple when the suit was lodged in 2010. Judge William M. Conley of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin disclosed the potential conflict of interest in a letter to both parties dated Aug. 27. "Judge Conley informed me that it has been brought to his attention that while he presided over the case he owned stock in Apple," writes Joel Turner, the court's chief deputy clerk. "His ownership of stock neither affected nor impacted his decisions in this case." It is unclear how many shares Judge Conley possessed during the case, but ownership of company stock in any capacity would have required his recusal under the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. An advisory from the Judicial Conference Codes of Conduct Committee explains that disqualifying factors should be reported "as soon as those facts are learned," even if the realization occurs after a judge issues a decision. "The parties may then determine what relief they may seek and a court (without the disqualified judge) will decide the legal consequence, if any, arising from the participation of the disqualified judge in the entered decision," Advisory Opinion 71 reads, as relayed by Turner. Apple and Nokia are invited to respond to Conley's disclosure by Oct. 27 should they wish to seek redress, though the companies are unlikely to take action considering the case was not a lynchpin in Nokia's overarching strategy.

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Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes On Trial As Jury Selection Begins

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2021-09-01 00:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica, written by Tim De Chant: Nearly a decade ago, Theranos touted a revolutionary diagnostic device that could run myriad medical tests without having to draw blood through a needle. Today, the startup's founder, Elizabeth Holmes, goes to court, where she's facing 12 criminal counts for statements she made to investors and consumers about her company's technology. Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 after dropping out of Stanford University at the age of 19. Driven by her phobia of needles, Holmes wanted to create diagnostic tests that use blood from finger pricks rather than from needles. The idea caught on, attracting well-connected board members like Henry Kissinger and James Mattis, drawing over $400 million in investments from wealthy investors including Larry Ellison and Rupert Murdoch, and securing lucrative partnerships with Walgreens and Safeway. At its peak, Theranos was worth over $9 billion. But Theranos' myth started unwinding in 2015 when a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that the company had been performing most of its tests on traditional blood diagnostic machines rather than its own "Einstein" device. The company's own employees doubted the machine's accuracy. Holmes and [Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, Theranos' president and chief operating officer] were indicted in June 2018, and soon Theranos was facing mounting civil and criminal investigations. The company settled a Securities and Exchange Commission probe and shut down shortly thereafter. The end of Theranos didn't halt the scrutiny of Holmes' and Balwani's behavior, though. Three rounds of indictments have brought the total to 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The latest indictment, which supersedes the previous two, was filed in June 2020. Both Holmes and Balwani have pleaded not guilty, and Balwani's trial will begin next year. The indictments aren't limited to claims about the company's proprietary diagnostic machine but also include what Holmes and Balwani allegedly said to investors about revenue and business deals. The prosecution says the pair told investors that Theranos would bring in over $100 million in revenue in 2014, helping the company break even, and hit $1 billion in 2015, amounts that exceeded the executives' actual expectations. Prosecutors also say that the pair falsely told investors that the company landed contracts with the Pentagon. The road to trial has been filled with delays, first due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then again when Holmes became pregnant. Her child was born in July, around the time the trial was supposed to begin. If convicted, Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison. Today's proceedings kick off jury selection, in which prosecutors and defense attorneys will begin questioning over 100 potential jurors. [...] Opening statements are scheduled to begin on September 8, and the trial may run through mid-December. Holmes is expected to claim that Balwani, who was her boyfriend for much of Theranos' existence, was an abusive and controlling partner. A court filing released on Saturday revealed that Holmes is expected to take the stand during the trial and allege that he monitored her calls, texts, and emails and was physically violent, claims that Balwani denies. Her attorneys say these actions affected her "state of mind" when the alleged fraud took place.

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Biden Launches US Digital Corps To Bring Young Tech Talent To Government

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2021-08-31 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fast Company, written by Mark Sullivan: On Monday the Biden administration announced a new program, called the U.S. Digital Corps, designed to attract young tech talent to roles in the government. The Corps offers early-career technologies a chance to get engaged in government via a two-year fellowship focused on major Biden administration priorities, including coronavirus response, economic recovery, cybersecurity, and streamlining government services. The program will begin by recruiting 30 people with skill sets in software engineering, data science, design, cybersecurity, and other critical technology fields this fall. It'll place them in one of five agencies -- the General Services Administration (GSA), Veterans Affairs, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- where they'll start work in 2022. Only 3% of the government's workforce is under 30 years old, says the GSA, which will handle the recruiting. And only a quarter of the current workforce are women. The GSA says it'll hire a diversity of people for the Corps to help even out those ratios. The program will recruit from "leading undergraduate programs," as well as from "alternative training pathways" such as apprenticeships, bootcamps, and certificate programs. [...] The U.S. Digital Corps is a collaboration between GSA, the White House Office of Management and Budget, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. It's the "first and only government-wide, technology-specific recruitment program for early-career Americans," says the GSA in a press release.

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Blue Origin's Stay of SpaceX's Moon Lander Contract Gets One-Week Extension Thanks to...PDF Files

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2021-08-30 03:34
Earlier this month Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin sued NASA over a moon lander contract awarded to SpaceX. Now Mashable reports that "America's next trip to the moon may suddenly be delayed a bit thanks to...PDFs?" A U.S. federal judge has granted the Department of Justice a week-long extension in its lawsuit with Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin. The reason? Large PDF files... According to the DOJ, there is more than 7 GB of data related to the case. However, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims' online system allows for only files of up to 50 MB in size to be uploaded. This all amounts to "several hundred" PDFs, including other file formats that would be converted to PDFs. The DOJ says it also sought to convert multiple separate documents into individual PDF batches but explained that those larger files could cause the upload system to crash. "We have tried several different ways to create 50-megabyte files for more efficient filing, all without success thus far," the DOJ said. Instead of using the online file system, the U.S. government will transfer the documents for the case to DVDs. Futurism reports the situation was exacerbated "because the agency staff that could have fixed the issue were at the 36th Annual Space Symposium last week." On Twitter, space reporter Joey Roullete notes the judge's ruling means an additional one-week stay before the awarding of SpaceX's contract.. Or, as Mashable puts it, "Space exploration is currently on hold thanks to a lawsuit and a slew of pesky PDF files."

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10 US Government Agencies Plan Expanded Use of Facial Recognition

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2021-08-29 21:45
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. government "plans to expand its use of facial recognition to pursue criminals and scan for threats, an internal survey has found, even as concerns grow about the technology's potential for contributing to improper surveillance and false arrests." Ten federal agencies — the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Interior, Justice, State, Treasury and Veterans Affairs — told the Government Accountability Office they intend to grow their facial recognition capabilities by 2023, the GAO said in a report posted to its website Tuesday. Most of the agencies use face-scanning technology so employees can unlock their phones and laptops or access buildings, though a growing number said they are using the software to track people and investigate crime. The Department of Agriculture, for instance, said it wants to use it to monitor live surveillance feeds at its facilities and send an alert if it spots any faces also found on a watch list... The GAO said in June that 20 federal agencies have used either internally developed or privately run facial recognition software, even though 13 of those agencies said they did not "have awareness" of which private systems they used and had therefore "not fully assessed the potential risks ... to privacy and accuracy." In the current report, the GAO said several agencies, including the Justice Department, the Air Force and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reported that they had used facial recognition software from Clearview AI, a firm that has faced lawsuits from privacy groups and legal demands from Google and Facebook after it copied billions of facial images from social media without their approval... Many federal agencies said they used the software by requesting that officials in state and local governments run searches on their own software and report the results. Many searches were routed through a nationwide network of "fusion centers," which local police and federal investigators use to share information on potential threats or terrorist attacks... U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, who have called the technology "the way of the future," said earlier this month that they had run facial recognition scans on more than 88 million travelers at airports, cruise ports and border crossings. The systems, the officials said, have detected 850 impostors since 2018 — or about 1 in every 103,000 faces scanned.

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Facebook Has Trackers in 25% of Websites and 61% of the Most Popular Apps

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2021-08-29 20:34
Megan Borovicka forget all about her Facebook account after 2013, reports the Washington Post. "But Facebook never forgot about her." The 42-year-old Oakland, California, lawyer never picked any "friends," posted any status updates, liked any photos or even opened the Facebook app on her phone. Yet over the last decade, Facebook has used an invisible data vacuum to suction up very specific details about her life — from her brand of underwear to where she received her paycheck... It isn't just the Facebook app that's gobbling up your information. Facebook is so big, it has convinced millions of other businesses, apps and websites to also snoop on its behalf. Even when you're not actively using Facebook. Even when you're not online. Even, perhaps, if you've never had a Facebook account. Here's how it works: Facebook provides its business partners tracking software they embed in apps, websites and loyalty programs. Any business or group that needs to do digital advertising has little choice but to feed your activities into Facebook's vacuum: your grocer, politicians and, yes, even the paywall page for this newspaper's website. Behind the scenes, Facebook takes in this data and tries to match it up to your account. It sits under your name in a part of your profile your friends can't see, but Facebook uses to shape your experience online. Among the 100 most popular smartphone apps, you can find Facebook software in 61 of them, app research firm Sensor Tower told me. Facebook also has trackers in about 25 percent of websites, according to privacy software maker Ghostery... Facebook got a notice when I opened Hulu to watch TV. Facebook knew when I went shopping for paint, a rocking chair and fancy beans. Facebook learned I read the websites What To Expect, Lullaby Trust and Happiest Baby. Over two weeks, Facebook tracked me on at least 95 different apps, websites and businesses, and those are just the ones I know about. It was as if Facebook had hired a private eye to prepare a dossier about my life. Why does Facebook think that's okay? The company emailed me answers about how its tracking technology works, but declined my requests to interview its chief privacy officer or other executives about its alleged monopoly.... Who in their right mind thought they were signing up for this much surveillance back when they first joined Facebook? The article points out that in 2014 Facebook began allowing its advertisers to target users based on websites they'd visited...and now also gathers more data about users from other companies. And "While many companies were using browser cookies, which could be easily cleared or blocked, Facebook tied what it learned to real identities — the names on our Facebook profiles." And beyond that, companies "can report other identifying information to Facebook like your email to help it figure out who you are... If you've never had a Facebook account at all? It may still be watching." It's a lucrative business, the Post points out. "In 2013, the average American's data was worth about $19 per year in advertising sales to Facebook, according to its financial statements. In 2020, your data was worth $164 per year." What does Facebook know about your off-Facebook activity? You can find out at this URL. If you just want to stop them from giving this information to advertisers, the right side of that page has an option to "Clear History — Disconnect off-Facebook activity history from your account." But you then have to also click "More Options" and then "Manage Future Activity" to also stop them from later matching up more of your off-Facebook activity to your profile for advertisers. If you try to select it, Facebook warns what you'll be missing — that "Keeping your future off-Facebook activity saved with your account allows us to personalize your experience." And proceeding anyways then generates a popup reminding you that "We'll still receive activity from the businesses and organizations you visit. It may be used for measurement purposes and to make improvements to our ads systems, but it will be disconnected from your account." And apparently your activity on Oculus isn't covered, and will still remain connected to your Facebook account.

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Cuba's Government Will Recognize - and Regulate - Cryptocurrencies

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2021-08-29 17:34
The Associated Press reports: Cuba's government said Thursday it will recognize — and regulate — cryptocurrencies for payments on the island. A resolution published in the Official Gazette said the Central Bank will set rules for such currencies and determine how to license providers of related services within Cuba. The popularity of such currencies has grown among a technologically savvy group in Cuba as it has become harder to use dollars, in part because of toughened embargo rules imposed under former President Donald Trump... Because [cryptocurrencies] can be used for long-distance transactions that are supposedly anonymous, they are often popular with people attempting to evade government regulations — presumably including U.S. restrictions on sending money to places such as Cuba.

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Elizabeth Holmes Might Accuse Ex-Boyfriend/Former Theranos Executive of Psychological Abuse

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2021-08-29 16:34
Slashdot reader Charlotte Web quotes CNN: Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder and former CEO of Theranos whose criminal trial is set to begin in a matter of days, is likely to defend herself by claiming she was the victim of a decade-long abusive relationship with her ex-boyfriend, also a former Theranos executive, court documents reveal. According to the newly unsealed documents, Holmes plans to have an expert testify about the psychological, emotional and sexual abuse she experienced from Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, who served as the company's COO, including the abusive tactics he allegedly used to "exert control" as well as the psychological impact. Balwani, according to a court filing, "adamantly denies" the claims. Holmes is also "likely to testify herself to the reasons why she believed, relied on, and deferred to Mr. Balwani," according to a filing from Holmes' attorney. In a separate filing from Balwani's attorneys, they acknowledge Holmes' plans to introduce evidence that Balwani verbally disparaged her, controlled what she ate, how she dressed, and who she interacted with, "essentially dominating her and erasing her capacity to make decisions." The filing calls the allegations "deeply offensive to Mr. Balwani" and "devastating personally to him...." Balwani, a former software executive, joined Theranos in 2009, becoming Holmes' second-in-command. Nearly 20 years Holmes' senior, the pair had met in 2002 on a trip to Beijing through Stanford University's Mandarin program. Balwani's case is slated to begin in 2022 after the completion of Holmes' trial.

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America's Stock Regulators Probe Gamification in Trading Apps

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-08-28 23:34
Possibly anticipating some new regulations, America's Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating "gamification and behavioral prompts used by online brokerages that encourage trading," reports CNBC. And SEC chairman Gary Gensler has specifically requested public input on two questions: First, the SEC chair wants to know how the financial regulator should protect investors against a potential conflict of interest. Online brokerages generate profits when their customers trade more often. Robinhood Markets, for example, makes money in part by sending its customers' orders to high-frequency traders in exchange for cash. That process is itself controversial and known on Wall Street as payment for order flow. But if game-like prompts or congratulatory messages from online brokerages cause customers to make more trades — and especially if more trades result in poorer portfolio performance at slightly worse prices — should the SEC intervene? Gensler's second key question is a bit more cerebral. In essence, the SEC wants to answer: If brokerages' game-like or predictive prompts assume optimal outcomes and impact how often customers trade, should the regulator consider those in-app prompts as formal investment recommendations or investment advice? Or, as Barrons puts it, "Critics say that some stock-trading apps look more like online games or gambling services, and their graphic interfaces are coercing users into making bad decisions." Meanwhile, MarketWatch (via Dow Jones Newswires) reports on another issue: "According to a new survey from consumer finance website MagnifyMoney, 32% of U.S. investors say they have made trades while drunk." Gen Z members fell into the trap the most of any generation, with 59% confessing to drunk trading, while 9% of baby boomers admitted to trading under the influence. This can be combined with the rise in "emotionally charged" investing that traders say they would later regret. Per the survey, 66% of Americans admit to making impulsive investing decisions... Entering trade orders on mobile devices has assuredly made stock trading easier to complete while engaged in other tasks, including imbibing, but why does it seemingly impact younger investors more? According to the Addiction Center, an informational group for people struggling with substance-use disorders and co-occurring behavioral and mental-health disorders, the gamification interface of trading apps like Robinhood could be a factor. A Robinhood spokesperson told MarketWatch their platform was designed "to remove historical barriers to investing and open financial markets to millions upon millions of people previously left behind. "We are proud to expand access to the financial system and enable everyday people to learn and invest responsibly."

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Programmer Apologizes For Sending Letters Claiming Patent on Age-Old Web Standard

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-08-28 22:37
"The director of a tiny UK company has apologised after sending letters to businesses suggesting they had infringed his patents that he claimed covered an age-old web standard," writes The Register. LeeLynx shares their report: The tech in question is the content security policy (CSP) mechanism that websites use to protect their visitors from cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks and similar exploits that steal data and hijack accounts. Specifically, the cryptographic nonce [number-used-once] feature of CSP to stop unauthorized scripts from running. Datawing Ltd sent a number of letters to small businesses this month claiming to own one UK and one US patent on CSP and its use of a nonce. After an initial wave of alarm and outrage on Twitter when the letters surfaced, The Register tracked down their author: a penitent William Coppock... "What a stupid plonker, all I've done," he sighed, adding that he has six children and has been diagnosed with cancer. Applying for the UK and US patents cost him his "life savings," he said, adding: "I didn't intend any harm to come to anyone. Maybe I've just got to sell or give this thing to Mozilla...." [H]e denied to The Register that he was a patent troll. A law firm had checked over the letter and the "patent infringement outline" document before he sent them, he claimed. Coppock also apologised to all who received his letters and urged them to contact him if they had any questions about it. We have asked the law firm Coppock named for comment on the advice he says it gave him and will update this article if we hear back from it.

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How Microsoft, Google, Apple, and IBM Will Help the US Improve Its Cybersecurity

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-08-28 21:34
Infosecurity magazine reports: Some of the world's biggest tech companies have committed tens of billions of dollars to improving supply chain security, closing industry skills gaps and driving security awareness among the public, according to the White House. As reported by Infosecurity yesterday, the Biden administration welcomed the CEOs of Microsoft, Apple, Google, IBM and others to a meeting yesterday to discuss the "whole-of-nation" effort needed to address cybersecurity threats." The result of that encounter has been a series of commitments from these firms, including $10bn from Google over the next five years to expand zero trust and improve supply chain and open source security. The tech giant will apparently also help 100,000 Americans earn "digital skills certificates." IBM said it would train 150,000 people in cyber skills over the coming three years and focus on improving the diversity of the security workforce, while Microsoft has committed $20bn over five years to drive security by design, and $150m for federal, local and state governments. Apple will establish a new program to improve supply chain security, including among its 9000 US suppliers, with multi-factor authentication (MFA), vulnerability remediation, event logging and incident response all playing a key role. Amazon is making MFA devices available to all AWS customers and rolling out the security training it offers employees to the general public. Aside from these commitments, the White House announced the expansion of its Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative, from the electricity sector to natural gas pipelines, and said the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) would develop a new framework for supply chain security. In another potentially significant move, insurer Resilience said it would require policyholders to meet a threshold of cybersecurity best practice as a condition of receiving coverage — something experts have been demanding for some time across the industry. NextGov.com also quotes the president's remarks about a cybersecurity executive order issued May 12th: "Because of that order, government will only buy tech products that meet certain cybersecurity standards, which will have a ripple effect across the software industry, in our view, ultimately improving security for all Americans,"

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T-Mobile CEO Apologizes For Data Breach Affecting Over 53 Million Users

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-08-28 17:34
"T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert published an open apology to customers Friday after hackers stole more than 50 million users' personal data, including their Social Security numbers and driver's license information," reports NBC News: "The last two weeks have been humbling for all of us at T-Mobile," he wrote. "To say we are disappointed and frustrated that this happened is an understatement." The incident is the fourth known breach at T-Mobile since 2018, and by far the largest. The full count of how many customers had their data stolen is unclear, but the company said last week it had identified more than 53 million affected customers, most of them on subscription plans. It also included an unspecified number of "prospective" users who are not T-Mobile customers... It is unclear why T-Mobile was storing customers' driver's license information and Social Security numbers without encrypting them in a way that would make it difficult or impossible for hackers to see them even if they stole them. Jackie Singh, a cybersecurity consultant, said it was irresponsible on the part of T-Mobile, especially for hard-to-change sensitive personal data like Social Security numbers. "It is frankly bizarre to learn that in this day and age, a major telco continues to store critical customer data in plain text," she said. "Offering two years of credit monitoring services doesn't change the fact that harm was done to their customer base." NBC says they spoke to the person identified as the perpetrator by the Wall Street Journal, who told them last week that he'd planned to sell the information on more than 100 million users for a hefty profit. Meanwhile, T-Mobile's CEO now says they're alerting affected users and have set up a hub for victim services. Beneath the words "NOTICE OF DATA BREACH," it adds the tagline "Keeping you safe from cybersecurity threats. What you need to know and how we're protecting you."

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EU Agency Advises Against Using Search, Browsing History For Credit Scores

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-08-28 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Record, written by Catalin Cimpanu: The European Union's lead data protection supervisor has recommended on Thursday that personal data such as search queries & internet browsing history should not be used for the assessment of credit scores and creditworthiness. The recommendation comes from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), an independent agency attached to the EU that advises policymakers "on all matters relating to the processing of personal data."a document published on Thursday. In addition, the agency advises that providers of financial and credit services should also not be allowed to use health data, such as cancer data, as well as any special category of personal data under Article 9 of the GDPR for the calculation of credit scores. The EDPS recommendations follow a recent blog post for the International Monetary Fund, where researchers see the possibility of using the data from your browsing, search, and purchase history to create a more accurate mechanism for determining the credit rating of an individual or business.

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After 18 Years, SCO's IBM Litigation May Be Settled for $14.5 Million

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-08-28 05:30
Slashdot has confirmed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware that after 18 years of legal maneuvering, SCO's bankruptcy case (first filed in 2007) is now "awaiting discharge." Long-time Slashdot reader rkhalloran says they know the reason: Papers filed 26 Aug by IBM & SCOXQ in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware for a proposed settlement, Case 07-11337-BLS Doc 1501: By the Settlement Agreement, the Trustee has reached a settlement with IBM that resolves all of the remaining claims at issue in the Utah Litigation (defined below). The Settlement Agreement is the culmination of extensive arm's length negotiation between the Trustee and IBM. Under the Settlement Agreement, the Parties have agreed to resolve all disputes between them for a payment to the Trustee, on behalf of the Estates, of $14,250,000. For the reasons set forth more fully below, the Trustee submits the Settlement Agreement and the settlement with IBM are in the best interests of the Estates and creditors, are well within the range of reasonableness, and should be approved. The proposed order would include "the release of the Estates' claims against IBM and vice versa" (according to this PDF attributed to SCO Group and IBM uploaded to scribd.com). And one of the reasons given for the proposed settlement? "The probability of the ultimate success of the Trustee's claims against IBM is uncertain," according to an IBM/SCO document on Scribd.com titled Trustee's motion: For example, succeeding on the unfair competition claims will require proving to a jury that events occurring many years ago constituted unfair competition and caused SCO harm. Even if SCO were to succeed in that effort, the amount of damages it would recover is uncertain and could be significantly less than provided by the Settlement Agreement. Such could be the case should a jury find that (1) the amount of damage SCO sustained as a result of IBM's conduct is less than SCO has alleged, (2) SCO's damages are limited by a $5 million damage limitation provision in the Project Monterey agreement, or (3) some or all of IBM's Counterclaims, alleging millions of dollars in damages related to IBM's Linux activities and alleged interference by SCO, are meritorious. Although the Trustee believes the Estates would ultimately prevail on claims against IBM, a not insignificant risk remains that IBM could succeed with its defenses and/or Counterclaims The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware told Slashdot that the first meeting of the creditors will be held on September 22nd, 2021.

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Parents of Teens Who Stole $1 Million In Bitcoin Sued By Alleged Victim

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-08-28 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet, written by Charlie Osborne: The parents of two teenagers allegedly responsible for stealing $1 million in Bitcoin are being sued. According to court documents obtained by Brian Krebs, Andrew Schober lost 16.4552 in Bitcoin (BTC) in 2018 after his computer was infected with malware, allegedly the creation of two teenagers in the United Kingdom. The complaint (.PDF), filed in Colorado, accuses Benedict Thompson and Oliver Read, who were minors at the time, of creating clipboard malware. The malicious software, designed to monitor cryptocurrency wallet addresses, was downloaded and unwittingly executed by Schober after he clicked on a link, posted to Reddit, to install the Electrum Atom cryptocurrency application. During a transfer of Bitcoin from one account to another, the malware triggered a Man-in-The-Middle (MiTM) attack, apparently replacing the address with one controlled by the teenagers and thereby diverting the coins into their wallets. According to court documents, this amount represented 95% of the victim's net wealth at the time of the theft. At today's price, the stolen Bitcoin is worth approximately $777,000. "Mr. Schober was planning to use the proceeds from his eventual sale of the cryptocurrency to help finance a home and support his family," the complaint reads. The pair, tracked down during an investigation paid for by Schober, are now adults and are studying computer science at UK universities. The mothers and fathers of Thompson and Read are named in the complaint. Emails were sent to the parents prior to the complaint requesting that the teenagers return the stolen cryptocurrency to prevent legal action from being taken. However, the requests, sent in 2018 and 2019, were met with silence. Schober's complaint claims that the parents "knew or reasonably should have known" what their children were up to, and that they also failed to take "reasonable steps" in preventing further harm. In response (.PDF), the defendants do not argue the charge, but rather have requested a motion to dismiss based on two- and three-year statutes of limitation. "Despite his knowledge of his injury and the general cause thereof, Plaintiff waited to file his lawsuit beyond the two and three years required of him by the applicable statutes of limitations," court documents say. "For this reason, Plaintiff's claims against Defendants should be dismissed." However, Schober's legal team has argued (.PDF) that the teenagers were not immediately traced, and roughly a year passed between separately identifying Read and Thompson. Schober's lawyers have requested that the motion to dismiss is denied.

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US Intelligence Agencies Split On COVID-19 Origins, Offer No High-Confidence Conclusions In New Report

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2021-08-27 22:01
The U.S. intelligence community said Thursday that it was divided over the exact origin of Covid-19 in China. CNBC reports: "After examining all available intelligence reporting and other information, though, the IC remains divided on the most likely origin of Covid-19. All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident," the unclassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said. In May, President Joe Biden ordered a closer intelligence review of what he described as two likely scenarios of the origins of the Covid-19. "Here is their current position: 'while two elements in the IC leans toward the [human contact] scenario and one leans more toward the [lab leak scenario] -- each with low or moderate confidence -- the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other," Biden said. Developing...

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Tech's Lobbying Push Follows Market Consolidation, Study Shows

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2021-08-26 18:04
The flood of lobbying dollars spent by tech companies has increased with market concentration, according to a new study that cites similar patterns in the pharmaceutical and oil industries. Bloomberg: The report suggests that entrenched firms face less competition and don't have to invest as much in innovation, giving them more resources to spend influencing the democratic process. Reed Showalter, an attorney with the anti-monopolist group American Economic Liberties Project who wrote the study, said policy makers and antitrust enforcers should look beyond the impact that mergers have on consumers and consider how market concentration affects the democratic process. "We need to more closely scrutinize various elements of competition policy that have allowed industries to become more concentrated over the last 30 to 40 years," Showalter said in a phone interview Tuesday. "Allowing unchecked concentration is the cause for a lot of the democratic harms that we're also seeing people complain about as big money enters politics. There's no coincidence there."

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California Expands Lawsuit Against Activision Blizzard

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2021-08-26 01:20
California has expanded its anti-discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, adding temporary workers to the female full-time employees of whom it is suing on behalf. The state's Department of Fair Employment & Housing also alleges the game maker has interfered with its investigation. Axios reports: The amended complaint was filed Monday and redefines the "group" it says was wronged by the gaming giant. A copy reviewed by Axios specifically mentions that California's protections against anti-harassment, equal pay and other equal employment opportunity protections "exist for employees and contingent or temporary workers." Throughout the lawsuit, the word "employees" has been changed to "workers" in reference to harassment, sex discrimination regarding pay and other allegations. The DFEH also says Activision Blizzard has stymied its efforts through NDAs, requiring employees to speak with the company ahead of contacting the DFEH, and its involvement with WilmerHale, a law firm the game maker said will investigate misconduct issues. The suit claims that this "directly interferes" with DFEH's ability to "investigate, prosecute, and remedy workplace discrimination and harassment violations on behalf of employees and contingent or temporary workers." It alleges, in part, that "documents related to investigations and complaints were shredded by human resource personnel" in violation of what it asserts is the game company's legal obligation to retain them pending the investigation. A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard said that the company has "complied with every proper request in support of its review even as we had been implementing reforms to ensure our workplaces are welcoming and safe for every employee." "With regards to claims that we have destroyed information by shredding documents, those claims are not true. We took appropriate steps to preserve information relevant to the DFEH investigation," the spokesperson added. "We have provided the DFEH with clear evidence that we do not have gender pay or promotion disparities. Our senior leadership is increasingly diverse, with a growing number of women in key leadership roles across the company." California sued the video game studio last month over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and potential violations of the state's equal pay law.

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Google Says Staff Have No Right To Protest Its Choice of Clients

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2021-08-25 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Google employees have no legal right to protest the company's choice of clients, the internet giant told a judge weighing the U.S. government's allegations that its firings of activists violated the National Labor Relations Act. "Even if Google had, for the sake of argument, terminated the employees for their protest activities -- for protesting their choice of customers -- this would not violate the Act," Google's attorney Al Latham said in his opening statement Tuesday at a labor board trial. National Labor Relations Board prosecutors have accused the Alphabet Inc. unit of violating federal law by illegally firing five employees for their activism. Three of those workers' claims had originally been dismissed under President Donald Trump, because agency prosecutors concluded that their opposition to the company collaborating with immigration enforcement wasn't legally protected, according to their lawyer. But that decision was reversed after President Joe Biden fired and replaced the labor board's general counsel. Google has been roiled over the past four years by a wave of activism by employees challenging management over issues including treatment of sub-contracted staff, handling of sexual harassment, and a contract with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which some of the fired workers accessed internal information about and circulated a petition against. Google has denied wrongdoing, saying in a Monday statement that it encourages "open discussion and debate" but terminated staff in response to violations of its data security policies. "Google terminated these employees not because of their protest as such, but because in the pursuit of their protest, they accessed highly confidential information that they had no right to access," its attorney told the judge Tuesday. Federal labor law prohibits retaliating against employees for collective action related to their working conditions, but the exact scope of that protection has been debated for decades. Biden's appointees have signaled they interpret the scope of what that covers much more broadly than their Trump-era predecessors. Latham said he isn't aware of any case in the labor board's eight decades of existence in which it has held "an employer's choice of customer" to be an issue workers have a right to protest. "What we have here is a protest that does not seek to improve employees' terms and conditions of employment," but rather "a purely political protest that sought to use Google's government contracts, or potential government contracts, as leverage," he said.

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Apple Wins Patent For Dual-Display MacBook With Virtual Keyboard, Wireless Charging Capabilities

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2021-08-25 02:45
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to Apple for a dual-display MacBook with a virtual keyboard replacing the traditional keyboard and with the ability to wirelessly charge an iPhone. 9to5Mac reports: As reported by Patently Apple, this patent was submitted three years ago, and only now has Apple won it. With this patent, the company could take a radical path and get rid of a physical keyboard. The interesting thing about this application is that while rumors suggest that Apple will remove the only touchable interface on the MacBook Pro, the Touch Bar, this patent imagines a MacBook with no physical keyboard at all. Patently Apple says this virtual keyboard could be rearranged, swapping the position of the virtual keyboard and trackpad. With a virtual keyboard, Apple could bring gestures from iOS and iPadOS as well, such as pinch, zoom, slide to select, and more. In the patent, Apple says this MacBook includes biometric sensors, which we could interpret as Face ID, fingerprint sensors (aka Touch ID), and a wireless charger, which would be in the left down corner of the notebook.

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