Keep dem lawyers busy!
Verizon Uses HP Spying Flap As PR Bait
from the heard-this-one-before dept
Verizon Wireless has filed suit against 20 people it claims fraudulently tricked it into giving away calling records in the HP spying case so they don't "do it again", a company spokesman says. But Verizon's suit doesn't actually name anybody in particular, just "John and Jane Doe I through XX". Yet again, Verizon's trying to cover up its own failure to protect its' customers' data by suing so it looks tough -- and to draw attention away from the fact that it never should have released this information to begin with. Verizon Wireless and other mobile operators have continually obfuscated this issue, just filing lawsuits after they've leaked info they shouldn't have, then blaming the government for somehow not having adequate legislation. Here's an idea for Verizon and its pals to chew on: instead of filing pointless lawsuits after the fact -- never mind filing them against unknown targets -- why not just stop leaking the information? Hopefully that's what they're being asked today on Capitol Hill. Somehow that seems unlikely, though, as instead of looking at regulations to force the phone companies to improve their lax security, some lawmakers are trying to push through laws that would punish the pretexters. That's the equivalent of the phone companies' lawsuits: it looks like lawmakers are doing something (right before election season), when they're not doing anything meaningful at all. [Oh my, how unusual! Bob] Update: Cingular's joined in, too -- but at least they've managed to figure out who to sue.
Cingular Sues PI for Pretexting
Associated Press 16:45 PM Sep, 29, 2006
ATLANTA -- Cingular Wireless, the nation's largest cell phone provider, on Friday sued a private eye caught up in the scandal over the Hewlett-Packard leak investigation, seeking to make him pay for allegedly obtaining customer-call records under false pretenses.
The Atlanta-based company said in federal court papers it wants Charles Kelly, his firm CAS Agency and any of its agents to return all Cingular customer information they may have, give up any profits they made for getting the data and pay unspecified damages for their conduct.
The complaint, which follows a similar suit filed late Thursday by Verizon Wireless, also seeks an injunction against CAS, which is based in Carrollton, Georgia.
... Citing testimony before a House committee, Cingular said the defendants or their agents improperly obtained the customer-call records of CNET news.com reporter Dawn Kawamoto and provided the information to HP as part of the computer maker's probe to root out corporate leaks to the media.
... Kelly was among five private eyes summoned to appear before a congressional hearing to explain their alleged actions. [Makes you wonder why Verizon can't identify its pretexters... Bob]
September 29, 2006
FTC Testifies on Protecting Consumers' Telephone Records
Press release: "The Federal Trade Commission today told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that protecting the privacy of consumers' telephone records requires a multi-faceted approach. Joel Winston, Associate Director of FTC's Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, said that coordinated law enforcement efforts targeting pretexters, steps by telephone carriers to protect their records from intrusion, and educating consumers about actions they can take to protect their records, will help safeguard consumers' telephone records."
Prepared Statement of the Federal Trade Commission on Internet Data Brokers and Pretexting: Who Has Access to Your Private Records?, Presented by Joel Winston, Associate Director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, United States House of Representatives (September 29, 2006).
Subcommittee on Oversight and Hearing - Internet Data Brokers and Pretexting: Who Has Access to Your Private Records? Investigations, September 29, 2006
Our usual Friday Identity Theft disclosure... (You don't have to use a computer to screw up, it just makes the screw up bigger...)
Social Security data disclosed
State mailing error affects 146,000
By Deborah Yetter firstname.lastname@example.org The Courier-Journal Saturday, September 30, 2006
About 146,000 Kentucky state employees and retirees are at risk of identity theft because a recent state mailing shows their names, addresses and Social Security numbers on the envelopes, officials said yesterday.
The Personnel Cabinet sent the letters this week to notify workers and retirees about state health insurance enrollment.
The Social Security number appears as part of a string of 14 numbers above the individual's name and address in the field visible through the envelope window.
Personnel Secretary Brian Crall said that including the Social Security number was an oversight [lacked oversight? Bob] and won't happen again.
... Lee Jackson, a retired state worker who is president of the Kentucky Association of State Employees, he was shocked to learn about the mistake.
"It's just a comedy of errors by this administration. And it all seems to be directed at state employees," he said.
... How it happened
Crall said the state employees' Social Security numbers got into the mailing through a combination of events involving his office and the vendor used to send the letter.
The letter originally was supposed to contain only a five-digit code that identified which agency the employee works for [I don't suppose that was a contractual requirement? Bob] as part of the address. But when addresses were compiled from a state database, the Social Security number was merged with the five-digit agency code into a 14-digit number, Crall said.
... Crall said he's not seeking to blame anyone but is focused on making sure it doesn't happen again.
"It's one of those things where there's no one specifically at fault," [This is NOT a random event. Someone had to program the computer. Bob] he said. "We'll go forward and we'll learn the lesson."
Charles Wells, executive director of the state employees' association, said the state might consider using state employees to do the work.
"I don't think they did this on purpose," he said of the mailing. "It was an accident. But you do lose a certain amount of control over things when you use an outside vendor." [Only if they clearly outsmart you. Bob]
Useful information from (who else) the WSJ
Friday, September 29, 2006
The Laptop Battery Recall Scorecard
I don't know about you but I'm starting to lose track of all the laptop batteries that have been recalled. So for both our edification here is a list of recent laptop battery recalls with pointers to additional information. Here's to flameless, non-exploding laptops.
HA! -- Great minds think alike. As I was researching this article I came across the Wall Street Journal guide to laptop battery recalls. You might want to monitor that for updates if more batteries are recalled.
New York Frees Ex-Sportingbet Chairman
By Verena Dobnik AP 09/29/06 5:00 PM PT
The former chairman of British gambling company Sportingbet was freed by a New York judge Friday after New York's governor declined to sign a warrant extraditing him to Louisiana, where he is charged with illegal online gambling. Offshore Internet gambling is not a crime in New York, and Gov. George Pataki said the state law did not permit extradition.
...because it's easier to have our laws written in other countries...
September 29, 2006
U.S. Becomes Party to Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime
Press release: "On September 22, 2006, the President signed the United States' instrument of ratification for the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. Today, the United States became a party to the Convention upon deposit of the instrument of ratification at the headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. The Convention will enter into force for the United States on January 1, 2007. The Convention entered into force on July 1, 2004. As of September 27, 2006, there were 43 Signatories and 15 Parties to the Convention."
Another Judge Says There's No Trademark Violation In Selling Ads On Trademarked Keywords
from the understanding-trademark-law dept
It seems that companies never stop suing over this particular issue. Despite numerous cases before it, including from Geico and American Blinds, yet another company has sued Google because the company's competitors bought ads on the keyword of their company name, Rescuecom. Of course, this should not be a violation of trademark law. Trademark law is mostly about avoiding confusion for the sake of consumer protection. It's not about giving the trademark owner full rights over the trademark (similar to copyrights or patents). There is also the secondary issue, over whether this is even a Google issue. If it were a trademark violation, then it should be on the company who bought the ad, not Google, who is simply acting as the platform.
The good news is that in this case, the judge has come out and said clearly that there is no trademark violation in selling ads on trademarked keywords. Unlike in some of the other cases, the judge didn't punt on the issue and very clearly said there is no trademark issue here. Of course, Rescuecom is not happy with the decision and will probably appeal. It has made a statement on the matter that is worth quoting just for the level of hyperbole: "A dangerous precedent has been set that allows a behemoth to pit smaller competitors against one another, while it rakes in the additional revenue. The immense power enjoyed by Google will be compounded by this ugly tactic as advertisers clamor to reach critical online audiences. Rescuecom will not be the last company hurt by this scheme." Of course, much of that statement is wrong. This really is no different than earlier cases, and it is consistent with the purpose of trademark law. It has nothing to do with allowing a behemoth to do anything, and whether or not Google makes money has no real bearing on whether it's a problem for Rescuecom. Furthermore, it's not clear how Rescuecom is "hurt" by this. If it's true that they're hurt by someone else's ad, then it would seem that any competitor's advertisement is hurting them as well -- but last we checked, advertising against your competitors is perfectly legal.
For the e-discovery files
Basic Guidelines: Flash memory data recovery (+freeware tools review)
applehedgehog submitted by applehedgehog 22 hours 15 minutes ago (via http://tech-hints.org/?q=node/4 )
Stuck with lost data on a USB memory key or Flash card and don't know what to do? Recovering data from flash memory devices is possible, and not too complex, so follow along. The articles says what to do after accidental disk format, unsafe remove, data corruption and so on. Links to freeware tools are provided along with how-to-use briefs.
Do You Need Permission To Take That Photo??
Gregd submitted by Gregd 17 hours 12 minutes ago (via http://www.photosecrets.com/tips.law.html )
"Before you take that photo, you may need permission for the following: Photographing buildings, works of art, or other copyrighted items; Photographing people; Photographing on public or private property. In this short article, attorney Dianne Brinson briefly discusses when permission may be required."
Video: Computer transforms 2D images into 3D
CLIFFosakaJAPAN submitted by CLIFFosakaJAPAN 17 hours 27 minutes ago (via http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuoljANz4EA&eurl= )
Creating 3D animations from regular 2D images has long been thought impossible by researchers since three decades ago. But the time is different now. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University has announced that they’ve found a way to help computers learn the geometric context of a 2D image automatically