Five bar and cafe owners arrested in France for running no-log WiFi networks

Found on ZD Net on Monday, 12 October 2020
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The bar and cafe owners were arrested for allegedly breaking a 14-year-old French law that dictates that all internet service providers must keep logs on all their users for at least one year.

French media pointed out that the law's text didn't only apply to internet service providers (ISPs) in the broad meaning of the word — as in telecommunications providers — but also to any "persons" who provide internet access, may it be free of charge or via password-protected networks.

So, taking this law literally, everybody at home has to keep logfiles as soon as a friend or family member uses their Internet connection.

Man refused to disband party that violated COVID order, gets year in jail

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 05 October 2020
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A Maryland judge sentenced a man to one year in jail after finding him guilty of throwing two large parties in violation of a state pandemic order that banned large gatherings. Police were called to the man's home twice in one week, and he refused to disband the party on the second occasion, authorities said.

The order classified any "knowing" and "willful" violation as a misdemeanor that can be punished with up to a year behind bars and a $5,000 fine. Myers therefore got the maximum sentence on the second count.

There are cases where you can, and should, question the current rules. A rule to protect people from a possibly deadly pandemic is at the bottom of that list.

Apple v. Epic hearing previews a long, hard-fought trial to come

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 28 September 2020
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In her statements, Judge Rogers seemed more inclined to Apple's view of its position in the wider video game market. "If we look at this plaintiff and industry, walled gardens have existed for decades," she noted. "Nintendo has had a walled garden. Sony has had a walled garden. Microsoft has had a walled garden... In this particular industry, what Apple is doing is not much different... It's hard to ignore the economics of the industry, which is what [Epic is] asking me to do."

That implies that walled gardens are good. They are not. Apple could simply allow users to break free and root their devices if they want to.

Banksy's Weakass Attempt To Abuse Trademark Law Flops, Following Bad Legal Advice

Found on Techdirt on Wednesday, 16 September 2020
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Banksy -- who has claimed that "copyright is for losers" -- has always refused to copyright his random graffiti-based art. However, as it now becomes clear, one reason he's avoided using copyright is because to register the work, he'd likely have to reveal his real name. Instead, it appears he's spent a few years abusing trademark law to try to trademark some of his artwork, including his famous "flower bomber" image, which was registered to a company called Pest Control Office Limited.

After realizing that his own lack of use in commerce was going to be an issue, Banksy created a "pop-up shop" in London, called (admittedly, cleverly) Gross Domestic Product. The pop-up shop itself was a Banksy-kind of performance art in its own way. The store was loaded up, but was never planned to be opened.

The whole setup seemed much more likely to undermine his trademark claims, as it only underlined exactly how bogus the trademark claims were in the first place.

His art is way overhyped anyway and is just a great method for money laundering.

Apple fires back in Fortnite App Store battle

Found on BBC News on Thursday, 10 September 2020
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It denied that its 30% commission was anti-competitive and said the fight was "a basic disagreement over money".

The legal battle between the two companies comes as Apple faces increased scrutiny of its practices running the App Store.

It's all about money? Now who would have expected that?

Judge says Apple can't revoke Unreal Engine dev tools, asks 'Where does the 30 per cent come from?'

Found on The Register on Tuesday, 25 August 2020
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A federal US judge questioned why Apple takes a 30 per cent slice of developer revenues as she ruled that while Apple cannot cut off Epic's access to iOS Unreal Engine development tools, she would not order the company to allow Fortnite to return to the App Store.

The judge reportedly asked Apple lawyer Richard Doren at the Zoom hearing yesterday: "The question is, without competition: where does the 30 per cent (App Store commission) come from? Why isn't it 10? 20? How is the consumer benefiting?"

It's 30 percent because Apple was able to get away with that so far.

Microsoft backs Epic against Apple in legal fight over Unreal Engine on iOS

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 24 August 2020
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Microsoft uses Unreal Engine for iOS games such as Forza Street, and Gammill says Epic's software is "critical technology for numerous game creators, including Microsoft... if Unreal Engine cannot support games for iOS or macOS, Microsoft would be required to choose between abandoning its customers and potential customers on the iOS and macOS platforms or choosing a different game engine when preparing to develop new games."

The hole is getting deeper and deeper for Apple.

Fortnite: Epic Games sues Google and Apple over app store bans

Found on BBC News on Saturday, 15 August 2020
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Apple and Google both removed the hit game from their app stores after Epic Games bypassed their payment systems, to avoid giving them a cut of sales.

Both platforms take a standard 30% of purchases on their app stores.

Epic Games had clearly expected that to happen, quickly publishing a video mocking Apple's famous 1984-themed television advert about fighting a police state. It published court documents almost immediately.

It's always been baffling how Apple and Google can demand 30% from sales just because they allow apps into their walled gardens. Imagine Microsoft would get a 30% cut from all sales done via Windows computers.

TikTok threatens legal action against Trump US ban

Found on BBC News on Sunday, 09 August 2020
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The company said it was "shocked" by an executive order from the US President outlining the ban.

On Thursday, Washington announced recommendations that Chinese firms listed on US stock markets should be delisted unless they provided regulators with access to their audited accounts.

China's Foreign Ministry on Friday accused the US of using national security as a cover to exert hegemony.

Funny how China is angry about hegemony while they do exactly the same to companies who want to do business in China.

Facebook sues EU antitrust regulator for excessive data requests

Found on Reuters on Thursday, 30 July 2020
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Facebook is suing EU antitrust regulators for seeking information beyond what is necessary, including highly personal details, for their investigations into the company’s data and marketplace, the U.S. social media group said on Monday.

In addition to the two lawsuits against the Commission, Facebook is also seeking interim measures at the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-highest, to halt such data requests until judges rule, according to a court filing.

Oh that irony.