Starting late last year, hundreds of US businesses began to receive demand letters from secretive patent-holding companies with six-letter gibberish names: AdzPro, GosNel, and JitNom. The letters state that using basic office equipment, like scanners that can send files to e-mail, infringes a series of patents owned by MPHJ Technologies. Unless the target companies make payments—which start at around $9,000 for the smallest targeted businesses but go up from there—they could face legal action. Further reading Patent trolls want $1,000—for using scanners | An alphabet soup of patent trolls is threatening end users with lawsuits. Ars investigated further. In a world of out-there patent claims, MPHJ is one of the most brazen yet. It's even being talked about in Congress. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), who has sponsored the anti-troll SHIELD Act, cited the operation as a perfect example of why the system needs reform. After publishing a story on the scanner-trolling … [Read more...] about Meet the nice-guy lawyers who want $1,000 per worker for using scanners
Declining meeting request politely
Answering questions at a Senate oversight committee hearing this morning, FBI Director James Comey has hinted at growing consensus between technology companies and intelligence agencies over the controversial issue of how to access encrypted data. He also supported what appears to be a fresh push by Senator Dianne Feinstein to introduce legislation to enable courts to order access to encrypted devices. In a written statement to the Judiciary committee, Comey said the FBI had been unable to access the contents of more than 3,000 mobile devices in the first half of the fiscal year, using what he described as “appropriate and available technical tools, even though there was the legal authority to do so.” He said that represented “nearly half” of all the mobile devices it had attempted to access in that time frame. In the statement he also argued that case-by-case investigative workarounds to … [Read more...] about FBI director Comey backs new Feinstein push for decrypt bill
Once again there are indications the UK government intends to use the law to lean on encryption. A report in The Sun this week quoted a Conservative minister saying that should the government be re-elected, which polls suggest it will, it will move quickly to compel social media firms to hand over decrypted data. The paper quoted an unnamed government minister saying: “The social media companies have been laughing in our faces for too long”, and suggested that all tech companies with more than 10,000 users will face having to significantly adapt their technology to comply with the decryption law. The relevant Statutory Instrument, to enable UK government agencies to obtain warranted access to decrypted data from communications service providers, currently sitting in draft form, will be voted through parliament within weeks of a new government taking office after the June 8 general election, according to the report. As … [Read more...] about Could the UK be about to break end-to-end encryption?
Advertisement So, you’ve bought a new speaker-come-smart assistant and it’s proudly sitting in the center of your coffee table.It doesn’t matter whether you have an Amazon Echo, a Google Home, or you’re thinking of buying the new Harman Kardon Cortana speaker, everything is going to be a lot more organized with it in your life.But at what price? What security risks and privacy problems are you exposing yourself to? Here are five security pitfalls of using speaker-based smart assistants.1. Who Is Listening?If a representative from Google showed up on your doorstep and asked to bug your house with mini-microphones, I think most of you would give a profanity-laden response.What’s so different about the new class of speaker-based smart assistants? It’s like willfully allowing a giant corporation to bug your private space. It’s amazing how quickly public opinion changes. In early 2015, there was outrage over the Samsung TV affair Samsung's Latest … [Read more...] about 5 Reasons to Avoid Smart Assistants If You Value Your Privacy
Whether you're buying video games, movies, or any number of other products throughout the internet, there's always a chance said item will go on sale (or simply have its price reduced) shortly after purchase. This can be frustrating to deal with, especially if you paid full price for the product in question -- buying a $60 game only to see it cost $20 hours later never feels good. This problem is even worse in the plane ticket market, where prices can shift by the hundreds of dollars at the drop of a hat. Fortunately, if you use Google Flights to plan and purchase tickets for your trips, the site will have your back over the next month or so. Among numerous other travel-oriented improvements Google is making to the service, Flights will now offer a "Price Guarantee." In short, this means that if you book a flight and the ticket price lowers unexpectedly at any point before launch, you can request a refund for the difference. The "unexpected" part is important: Google will only refund a … [Read more...] about Google Flights launches ‘Price Guarantee’ program, will refund the difference if ticket prices drop