Congress calls on Bezos to come explain Amazon’s possible lies

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 02 May 2020
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Among the practices under examination is Amazon's treatment of third-party vendors on its massive marketplace platform and its use of data generated by those merchants to compete against them directly with first-party private label sales. Company representatives explicitly told Congress several times in the past year that Amazon does not access vendors' data in that way or for those purposes.

Except it turns out that it totally does. Media reports, most recently a story published last week by The Wall Street Journal, have found many employees saying they used and were encouraged to use that data, despite company policy saying not to.

"Amazon has had multiple chances to come clean about its business practices," Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, said in a series of tweets. "Instead, its executives have repeatedly misled the Committee and the public. Enough."

Lying to Congress is on the dumbest things one can do. Congrats, Jeff.

Snapchat domain squatter loses comedy £1m URL sellback attempt

Found on The Register on Tuesday, 28 April 2020
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Having registered, East Londoner Muhibur Rahman built a photo business website on it. He even managed to get the site listed on Trustpilot.

Unlike its core product, Snapchat did not go away within a few seconds. Instead its lawyers went to Nominet's quasi-legal Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) in January, cited all of the company's global trademarks on the word "snapchat" and asked the DRS to take the domain name off Rahman. Everyone who buys a dot-UK domain name signs up to Nominet's Ts&Cs allowing the DRS to do this very thing if it decides that your new domain name infringes someone else's trademarks.

It should have been pretty obvious that his would not go well.

Uber accuses Levandowski of fraud, refuses to pay $179M Google judgment

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 21 April 2020
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Levandowski joined Uber in 2016 after almost a decade at Google, where he had been a leading self-driving engineer. Uber bought Levandowski's months-old self-driving startup Otto for hundreds of millions of dollars, intending to make Levandowski and his team the core of Uber's fledgling self-driving car project.

Uber fired Levandowski and settled with Google. But Google continued to pursue Levandowski in arbitration, winning a $179 million award. Levandowski argues that Uber has an obligation to pay the judgment on his behalf under an indemnification deal Levandowski negotiated as part of the 2016 acquisition of his company.

Nobody would believe that Uber had no hopes for inside information when they hired Levandowski.

Grsecurity maker finally coughs up $300k to foot open-source pioneer Bruce Perens' legal bill

Found on The Register on Monday, 30 March 2020
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Spengler and OSS sued Perens for a June 2017 blog post in which Perens ventured the opinion that grsecurity, Open Source Security's Linux kernel security enhancements, could expose customers to potential liability under the terms of the General Public License (GPL).

OSS says that customers who exercise their rights to redistribute its software under the GPL will no longer receive software updates – the biz wants to be paid for its work, a problem not really addressed by the GPL. Perens, the creator of the open-source definition, pointed out that section six of the GPLv2 prohibits modifications of the license terms.

That lawsuit sure backfired. They should have just accepted the GPL terms without trying to wiggle around and ignore the fine print.

Australian privacy watchdog sues Facebook for *checks notes* up to £266bn

Found on The Register on Monday, 09 March 2020
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In a case lodged with the Federal Court today, the Australian Information Commissioner, Angelene Falk, accused Facebook of exposing the data of 311,127 Australians between March 2014 and May 2015 through the This Is Your Digital Life app, a quiz that harvested the data of 87 million users worldwide.

The suit seeks a maximum penalty of AU$1.7m (£870,000) per person, meaning Facebook faces a AU$529bn (£266bn) fine if the court awarded the max civil penalty for each of the 311k+ people affected.

If only this would succeed.

Copyright Troll Lawsuit Over Duct Taped Banana Picture

Found on Techdirt on Thursday, 13 February 2020
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Back in December, it's likely you heard the wacky story about the "art installation" at the Art Basel gallery in Florida of a banana duct taped to the wall, which sold for $120,000. You may have also heard about how someone stepped in and ate the banana, but the original purchasers were still happy, despite the recognized absurdity of the whole thing.

A copyright lawsuit has been filed against the owners of the website ClickOrlando, claiming that they used a photograph of the duct taped banana taken by John Taggart without licensing it in its article about the artwork.

This entire absurdity ist just mind-blowing stupid. "Modern art" and "art installations" are only a way to launder money.

Girlsdoporn offline after losing legal battle

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 21 January 2020
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On 3 January, a judge in San Diego ruled the firm had lied to the women about how the videos would be shared and whether they would be identifiable.

The women who brought the lawsuit were told their videos would not appear online and were intended for private investors or overseas DVDs.

However, they were uploaded to the subscription platform and clips were also circulated to other, free-to-view, sites.

Here's your reminder to think about the results of your actions. If it is so risky to do, better don't do it at all, because these days the videos will never stay private. "Overseas DVDs" will get ripped, well, overseas and uploaded anyway. If you want to do this sort of business, be prepared for a full disclosure and never trust any promises coming from the producers.

FBI seizes WeLeakInfo, a website that sold access to breached data

Found on ZD Net on Friday, 17 January 2020
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The website provided access to people's cleartext passwords, allowing hackers to purchase a subscription on the site and gain access to billions of user credentials.

The website was dirt cheap, which made it highly accessible even to low-skilled hackers with liddle funds. For as little as $2 per day, hackers could perform unlimited searches for a user's data on the site.

Currently, there are at least three other websites that operate similar to LeakedSource and WeLeakInfo -- selling access to hacked data, including cleartext passwords. They are Dehashed, Snusbase, and Leak-Lookup. All three are still up, at the time of writing.

As long as big leaks happen, sites such as these will exist. To reduce leaks, companies must get into really big financial troubles for messing up; but as seen with Equifax, this does not seem to happen at all.

F.B.I. Asks Apple to Help Unlock Two iPhones

Found on New York Times on Saturday, 11 January 2020
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Apple regularly complies with court orders to turn over information it has on its servers, such as iCloud data, but it has long argued that it does not have access to material stored only on a locked, encrypted iPhone.

And Attorney General William P. Barr has recently turned up his criticism of encryption. He said last month that finding a way for law enforcement to gain access to encrypted technology was one of the Justice Department’s “highest priorities.”

Encryption is either secure, or broken. There is nothing between along the lines of "but only we need access".

FBI Arrests Former Bank Employee Charged With Stealing Cash From Bank Vault

Found on Department of Justice on Sunday, 15 December 2019
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Henderson, 29, of Charlotte, is charged with financial institution fraud and related charges, for stealing more than $88,000 in cash from the vault of the bank where he was employed, and then committing a separate loan fraud in connection with the purchase of a luxury automobile.

The indictment also alleges that throughout July and August 2019, Henderson used a social media account to post several pictures of him holding large stacks of cash.

Looks like sometimes social media can be a good thing.