Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Google has been sued for violating federal wiretapping laws by collecting personal data as part of its Street View project. The Supreme Court rejected to hear Google’s appeal regarding the class action lawsuit for secretly collecting email, passwords, and other personal info for the mapping project. The case will go forward in the lower court as Google maintains its innocence. The case highlights a rising public push for protection of privacy over data usage for commercial gain. Continue reading Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Apple’s Settlement in E-Book Case Will Likely Pay Consumers

Apple has ended its civil class-action lawsuit over the price of e-books with a settlement that is worth an estimated $100-$300 million. Last year, a federal judge ruled that Apple broke antitrust laws by driving up the prices of e-books in cooperation with five major U.S. publishers. If Apple’s appeal of last year’s case is unsuccessful, the tech giant may be paying out millions to e-book customers. The terms of the settlement also cancel a damages trial set for July. Continue reading Apple’s Settlement in E-Book Case Will Likely Pay Consumers

Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

SoftBank’s Sprint unit is reportedly poised to make a $32 billion offer to acquire T-Mobile that could take place early this summer. According to people familiar with the matter, the two telecoms have agreed on the broad outlines of a merger, but are still working on a formal contract. If completed and approved, the deal would combine the country’s third- and fourth-largest wireless operators, and potentially establish stronger competition for industry leaders Verizon and AT&T. Continue reading Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission released a report urging Congress to require data brokers to be more transparent. Data brokers collect information on nearly all U.S consumers, typically without their knowledge, and create profiles based on online purchases, public records, and online tracking cookies. The FTC recommends creating one Internet site where each company explains their purpose and method of data collection and gives consumers a chance to opt out. Continue reading FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

House Passes USA Freedom Act to Curb NSA Surveillance

Late last week the House overwhelmingly passed legislation that is intended to bring an end to the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program. The USA Freedom Act is designed to restrict the federal government’s ability to collect records about citizens in bulk, a program that had sparked debate regarding privacy and civil liberties. The House voted 303-to-121 in support of the USA Freedom Act, which could signal a change in how both political parties view the power of the NSA. Continue reading House Passes USA Freedom Act to Curb NSA Surveillance

DARPA’s Newest Tech Projects that Could Change the World

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), responsible for bankrolling the early Internet, is busy developing new technologies that could have a similar impact on the world. The agency’s $3 billion budget is funding research on atomic GPS technology that does not require a satellite to achieve geo-location awareness, terahertz frequency electronics that could lead to significant health-related applications, a virus shield for the Internet of Things, and Rapid Threat Assessment to aid drug discovery. Continue reading DARPA’s Newest Tech Projects that Could Change the World

FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

The following is on the schedule for the Federal Communications Commission: whether to approve or block AT&T’s newly announced $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, whether to allow Comcast’s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable, establish rules for next year’s auction of TV airwaves to wireless carriers, and determine whether and/or how to regulate the way broadband providers treat traffic over networks (and possibly face a busier calendar if Sprint makes a bid for T-Mobile). Continue reading FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

Pay TV: AT&T Agrees to Purchase DirecTV in $49 Billion Deal

AT&T has agreed to acquire DirecTV for $49 billion. The two companies’ boards approved the agreement yesterday. The deal, which comes just three months after Comcast’s $45 billion agreement to purchase Time Warner Cable, will create a new pay TV giant as video consumption continues to move online. Combining AT&T and DirecTV would result in a company with 26 million pay TV subscribers in the U.S., second only to Comcast and Time Warner Cable if regulators approve their deal. Continue reading Pay TV: AT&T Agrees to Purchase DirecTV in $49 Billion Deal

Net Neutrality: FCC Votes in Favor of Advancing Web Proposal

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 yesterday in favor of moving forward with proposed rules that would allow broadband providers to charge individual companies extra for preferential handling of online traffic. The ongoing debate has divided tech companies regarding the best path to keeping the Internet open. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal would ban providers from blocking or slowing sites, but leaves open the possibility of deals for access to so-called “fast lanes.” Continue reading Net Neutrality: FCC Votes in Favor of Advancing Web Proposal

Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission recently charged Snapchat of deceiving users about the privacy of their personal data and their image and video messages. Under the terms of a new settlement with the FTC, Snapchat will be required to implement a privacy program that will be independently monitored for the next 20 years. If Snapchat violates the agreement, the company may be subject to fines. Snapchat has reportedly resolved most of the privacy issues over the past year. Continue reading Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

California Senate Passes Amended Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill

Weeks after the California Senate voted down legislation that would require anti-theft tech in all new smartphones, it has now passed a revised version of the bill after Apple and Microsoft withdrew their opposition. While the legislation is applauded by law enforcement groups, it is still opposed by some wireless carriers, and could face an uphill battle in the state Assembly. If passed, kill-switch technology would be required for phones sold in California that are manufactured after July 1, 2015. Continue reading California Senate Passes Amended Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill

Internet Giants Dispute Proposed FCC Rules on Net Neutrality

More than 100 Internet companies and two FCC commissioners are voicing their concerns over FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to regulate broadband providers. Wheeler’s plan would allow broadband companies to charge fees to content providers that want to access the fastest lanes, a proposal that does not treat all Internet traffic equally. Amazon, Facebook, Google and Yahoo are among the companies that described the proposal as “a grave threat to the Internet” in a letter to Wheeler. Continue reading Internet Giants Dispute Proposed FCC Rules on Net Neutrality

Government Considers Limits on Customer Data Collection

As the next step in the ongoing privacy debate sparked by the actions of Edward Snowden, the White House has released a report that recommends the government create limits on how companies make use of the information they gather online from customers. The report’s chief author is John Podesta, a senior White House adviser. Private companies fear a government initiative that could regulate how they profit from data gathered through mobile communication and Internet surfing habits. Continue reading Government Considers Limits on Customer Data Collection

Samsung Ordered to Pay Apple $119.6 Million in Patent Case

Apple won a minor victory in its ongoing software patent dispute with Samsung Friday when a federal court jury decided that some Samsung devices infringed on two Apple patents. As a result, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $119.6 million in damages. However, the jury also found that Samsung did not infringe on two other patents in question, and Apple would not receive the $2.2 billion it was seeking. The jury also awarded Samsung $158,400, the result of Apple infringing on a Samsung patent. Continue reading Samsung Ordered to Pay Apple $119.6 Million in Patent Case

Sprint in Talks with Banks to Fund Acquisition of T-Mobile

Sprint is reportedly meeting with five different banks, including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, to expedite its bid for rival T-Mobile. Insiders say that Sprint, which is owned by Japan’s SoftBank, hopes to finance much of T-Mobile’s estimated $50 billion price with corporate bonds. The remaining amount would likely be covered by syndicated loans and convertible bonds. Sprint, which is also working to ease regulatory concerns regarding the deal, is expected to make a formal offer by June or July. Continue reading Sprint in Talks with Banks to Fund Acquisition of T-Mobile

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