Archive for Lawsuit

BREAKING: US Government And Numerous States Sue Facebook In An Attempt To #DeleteFacebook

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 9, 2020 by itnerd

Last week we got the first hint that Facebook was about to get sued. Now it’s happened. CNN is reporting that Facebook is being sued for anticompetitive behavior by dozens of states and the US Government:

The parallel lawsuits, months in the making, represent an unprecedented challenge to one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful corporations. The complaints zero in on Facebook’s acquisition and control over Instagram and WhatsApp, two key services in its social media empire. 

The suits come roughly 14 months after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office was leading a group of attorneys general in investigating Facebook for potential anticompetitive practices. More than 40 attorneys general ultimately signed onto Wednesday’s complaint. The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, has been conducting its own antitrust investigation of Facebook since June 2019. 

Much of the scrutiny of Facebook concerns the companies it has purchased to build up a massive audience that now totals more than 3 billion users across its portfolio of apps, according to its financial statements. That dominance has raised questions by some legal experts, including US lawmakers, about whether Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg set out to neutralize competitive threats by gobbling them up.

Facebook however is ready for a fight:

As the drumbeat in Washington against Facebook has grown louder, the company has had years to prepare for a showdown. It’s moved to tightly integrate its apps on a technical level, a decision some critics have suggested is a strategy to frustrate any potential breakup. It’s stepped up its hiring of lawyers with antitrust and litigation experience. And the company has fine-tuned its talking points, settling on a narrative that Facebook welcomes regulation but that cracking down too hard could risk giving other countries like China a competitive edge in the fast-moving technology sector. 

The company has also argued that regulators reviewed the WhatsApp and Instagram deals at the time and did not see a reason to block them then. Instagram was acquired particularly early on in its lifecycle, before many came to view it as the successful giant it is today.

We’ll see who’s right as you can bet that this will be an all out fight by everyone involved to take down Facebook. And I for one hope that they take down Facebook as this is one company that needs to be taken down because of their horrible handling of user data on many levels.

Feds Plan To Sue Google For Anti-Trust As Early As Today [UPDATE]

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 20, 2020 by itnerd

The US Justice Department plans to accuse Google of maintaining an illegal monopoly over search and search advertising in a lawsuit to be filed on Tuesday, the government’s most significant legal challenge to a tech company’s market power in a generation, according to officials at the agency:

In its suit, to be filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., the agency will accuse Google, a unit of Alphabet, of illegally maintaining its monopoly over search through several exclusive business contracts and agreements that lock out competition, said the officials, who were not authorized to speak on the record. Such contracts include Google’s payment of billions of dollars to Apple to place the Google search engine as the default for iPhones. The agency will argue that Google, which controls about 80 percent of search queries in the United States, struck agreements with phone makers using Alphabet’s Android operating system to pre-load the search engine on their phones and make it hard for rival search engines to become a replacement. By using contracts to maintain its monopoly, competition and innovation has suffered, the suit with argue.

The suit reflects the pushback against the power of the nation’s largest corporations, and especially technology giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Conservatives like President Trump and liberals like Senator Elizabeth Warren have been highly critical of the concentration of power in a handful of tech behemoths. Attorney General William P. Barr, who was appointed by Mr. Trump, has played an unusually active role in the investigation. He pushed career Justice Department attorneys to bring the case by the end of September, prompting pushback from lawyers who wanted more time and complained of political influence. Mr. Barr has spoken publicly about the inquiry for months and set tight deadlines for the prosecutors leading the effort.

This will be interesting to watch because this can be the first of many lawsuits to be filed by the feds. Lawyers at Amazon, Facebook and Apple have to be very worried as it looks like Google is going to be made an example of. If and when the lawsuit gets announced, I’ll update this post.

UPDATE: The Lawsuit has dropped.

UPDATE #2: Google calls the lawsuit “deeply flawed” in a blog post.

Life Labs Gets Sued After Getting Pwned

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on December 27, 2019 by itnerd

You had to know that after getting hacked that Life Labs would be facing a lawsuit of some sort. Now according to CBC, a class action lawsuit has been filed:

A B.C. man is attempting to launch a class-action lawsuit against Canadian Laboratory testing company, LifeLabs, one day after it announced a large cyberattack on its systems affecting the private information of 15 million Canadians.

Kenneth Morrison, a retired Vancouver computer technician, filed a notice of civil claim against LifeLabs Wednesday in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, alleging the company breached its contract with Morrison to keep his private information safe.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The company has 21 days to respond. And it will be interesting to see how they respond. The thing is that I think that they will have difficulty defending themselves given the facts that are at hand. Thus they might want to get the chequebook ready.

Peace In Our Time: Apple And Samsung Settle Years Long Patent Infringement Dispute

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on June 28, 2018 by itnerd

Samsung and Apple have had a patent infringement dispute that goes back seven years and went something like this:

  • Apple sued Samsung for pretty much copying the iPhone and scored a $1 Billion victory.
  • Samsung appealed, but not before Apple got some Samsung phones banned in the US.
  • Subsequent trials dropped that billion dollar figure to $539 million this past may. But this is more than the $399m figure Samsung had managed to shave off in the past.

Yesterday, both parties settled. No clue how much cash traded hands. Though it is a safe bet that Samsung likely cut a big cheque to make this go away. But all claims in the case be dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled.

Thus after 7 long years, there is peace in our time in the smartphone world. Until the next patent infringement lawsuit.

Bose Gets Accused Of Spying On It’s Users

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 20, 2017 by itnerd

A class action lawsuit has been filed after a owner of a pair Bose headphones allegedly discovered how much personal information that the Bose Connect app was sending to Bose. This allegedly included songs listened to, for how long, and when.

Court documents [Warning: PDF] state that Kyle Zak bought himself a pair of Bose QuietComfort 15 wireless headphones in March, and downloaded the Bose Connect smartphone app that allows the user to control the headsets from their phone. Bose’s app collects data on what kind of songs he was listening to, and for how long, along with a personal identifier code. The lawsuit says these records are routed to a data mining firm called Segment.io which advertises that it can “collect all of your customer data and send it anywhere.” The thing is, he never gave anyone permission to collect his data and send it anywhere. Plus he claims that he wouldn’t have bought these headsets had he known that Bose was doing this.

For giggles I borrowed a pair of Quiet Comfort 35 headsets and downloaded the Bose Connect App onto my iPhone and discovered that he might have a point. For example, you need to give the app access to GPS data which makes zero sense to to me seeing as you are listening to music which the last time I checked, didn’t require you to give out your location to do so. But the flipside to that is that there’s a section in the software detailing Bose’s privacy policy that clearly states that the app collects data and sends it to third parties. So perhaps this individual missed that part. But I am a computer nerd and not a lawyer.

Now none of this has been proven in court. But if it is, he wants $5 million in his bank account. Bose hasn’t commented, but I for one can’t wait to see what they come back with.

Apple Sued Over “Touch Disease” On iPhone 6

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 30, 2016 by itnerd

Last week,  iFixit published a blog post that brought to light an issue that is plaguing a growing number of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users. They called it  “Touch Disease.” But whatever you call it, it is a hardware problem causes iPhone displays to become unresponsive and feature a thin gray flickering line along the top. At the time that I posted, I figured it would not be long before someone sued over this. Sure enough, three people have via a class action lawsuit:

Thomas Davidson of Pennsylvania, Todd Cleary of California, and Jun Bai of Delaware have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple over an alleged defect that causes iPhone 6and iPhone 6 Plus touchscreens to become unresponsive and fail, according to court documents filed electronically this week.

The class action complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for Northern California, accuses Apple of violating California’s consumer fraud statutes, through fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, and for violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.

Now, iFixit argues that every iPhone 6 are “ticking time bombs” when it comes to this so this might be a serious problem for Apple, as well as bad press that they really don’t need seeing as they’re about to launch the new iPhone on September 7th. We’ll see if that’s true or not in court shortly.

Kick Ass Torrents Kicked In The Ass By Cops

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2016 by itnerd

The world’s largest torrent site known as Kick Ass Torrents is no more. As reported by TorrentFreak, Artem Vaulin a.k.a “tirm” who is reputed to be the person who is suspected to be the owner of this site was arrested yesterday in Poland and charged for criminal copyright infringement and money laundering.

The KAT.com and .TV domains will likely be seized by Verisign, while the main .CR domain and others will likely be seized as warrants will be issued and sent to the respective authorities.

The US now awaits his extradition where I am sure he’ll have a fun time.

FTC To Amazon: Kids Making In App Purchases Is Your Fault

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 28, 2016 by itnerd

Apple got hit with this a while ago, and now it’s Amazon’s turn to get smacked over in app purchases by kids. The FTC said this in a news release:

The judge’s order in the case finds that Amazon received many complaints from consumers about surprise in-app charges incurred by children, citing the fact that the company’s disclosures about the possibility of in-app charges within otherwise “free” apps were not sufficient to inform consumers about the charges.

“We are pleased the federal judge found Amazon liable for unfairly billing consumers for unauthorized in-app purchases by children,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “We look forward to making a case for full refunds to consumers as a result of Amazon’s actions.”

The order calls for further representations from the FTC and Amazon regarding the precise amount of monetary relief Amazon owes consumers as a result of its unlawful practices. In addition, the order grants a partial summary judgment requested by Amazon regarding injunctive relief requested by the FTC in the case.

The next step is for the FTC and Amazon to figure out how much the latter has to pay up. Whatever that number is, it will likely not be a small one. You can expect that other companies that offer in app purchases will be getting a call from the FTC as they are batting 1000 on this front.

e-Book-Gate Appears To Be Over…. Apple To Pay Up

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 7, 2016 by itnerd

Bloomberg is reporting that The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from Apple in regards to being found guilty of fixing e-Book prices in the US:

The justices turned away an appeal by Apple, leaving intact a federal appeals court ruling favoring the U.S. Justice Department and more than 30 states that sued.

The rebuff means Apple must comply with a settlement it reached with the states in 2014. The accord calls for Apple to pay $400 million to e-book consumers, $20 million to the states, and $30 million in legal fees.

So this appears to be over and you can close the book on this case. And as usual, the only winners appear to be the lawyers.

Canadian Court Rules Cops Can’t Troll Cell Tower Data To Solve Crimes

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 14, 2016 by itnerd

An Ontario judge has ruled there was a breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in situations where Cops grab large amounts of data from cell phone towers to use to solve crimes. Here’s the details from the CBC:

[Justice John] Sproat was ruling in a case where police in Peel Region, west of Toronto, obtained a court order for the names, numbers, addresses and banking details of every mobile-phone user whose signals were bouncing off various cellphone towers during a series of jewelry-store robberies in early 2014.

Rogers and Telus challenged the court order as a breach of privacy that would have involved giving police information about more than 40,000 customers, nearly every one of them innocent. Telus officials told the court it was the “most extensive” police demand for customer data the company had ever received.  

“We thought that crossed the line and was too broad and intrusive,” said David Watt, chief privacy officer for Rogers Communications Inc., in a statement e-mailed to CBC News on Thursday. “We’re glad the court agreed.”

What I like about this decision is that it make it clear that Cops can’t just troll large amounts of data in the hopes of finding criminals. Clearly the judge felt that there has to be a reasonable expectation of privacy and Cops need to be surgical in their approach to solve crimes.

Now the decision is being reviewed by the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. That means that it is possible that this decision may be appealed. Thus you might want to watch this space for updates.