lawsuit

Outraged Students Sue Facebook Over Privacy (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/students-sue-facebook-over-privacy-2012-12

max schrems facebook austrian law student

VIENNA (Reuters) – An Austrian student group plans to go to court in a bid to make Facebook Inc, the world’s biggest social network, do more to protect the privacy of its hundreds of millions of members.

Privacy campaign group europe-v-facebook, which has been lobbying for better data protection by Facebook for over a year, said on Tuesday it planned to go to court to appeal against decisions by the data protection regulator in Ireland, where Facebook has its international headquarters.

The move is one of a number of campaigns against the giants of the internet, which are under pressure from investors to generate more revenue from their huge user bases but which also face criticism for storing and sharing personal information.

Internet search engine Google, for example, has been told by the European Union to make changes to its new privacy policy, which pools data collected on individual users across its services including YouTube, gmail and social network Google+, and from which users cannot opt out.

Europe-v-facebook has won some concessions from Facebook, notably pushing it to switch off its facial recognition feature in Europe.

But the group said on Tuesday the changes did not go far enough and it was disappointed with the response of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which had carried out an audit after the campaign group filed numerous complaints.

“The Irish obviously have no great political interest in going up against these companies because they’re so dependent on the jobs they c! reate,” europe-v-facebook founder Max Schrems told Reuters.

Gary Davies, Ireland’s deputy data protection commissioner, denied Facebook’s investment in Ireland had influenced regulation of the company.

“We have handled this in a highly professional and focused way and we have brought about huge changes in the way Facebook handles personal data,” he told Reuters.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is due to hold a conference call later on Tuesday to answer customer concerns about its privacy policy, which will include representatives from Facebook Ireland.

LOSING PATIENCE

Schrems, who has filed 22 complaints with the Irish regulator, said more than 40,000 Facebook users who had requested a copy of the data Facebook was holding on them had not received anything several months after making a request.

The law student also questioned why Facebook had only switched off facial recognition for users in the European Union, even though Ireland is the headquarters for all of Facebook’s users outside the United States and Canada.

Facebook is under pressure to reverse a trend of slowing revenue growth by selling more valuable advertising, which requires better profiling of its users.

Investors are losing patience with the social network, whose shares have dropped 40 percent in value since the company’s record-breaking $104 billion initial public offering in May.

Last month, Facebook proposed to combine its user data with that of its recently acquired photo-sharing service Instagram, loosen restrictions on emails between its members and share data with other businesses and affiliates that it owns.

Facebook is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States, where it is charged with violating privacy rights by publicizing users’ “likes” without giving them a way to opt out.

A U.S. judge late on Monday gave his preliminary approval to a second attem! pt to se ttle the case by paying users up to $10 each out of a settlement fund of $20 million.

Ireland also hosts the European headquarters of other high-tech firms including Microsoft and Google thanks to generous tax breaks.

Europe-v-facebook said it believed its Irish lawsuit had the potential to become a test case for data protection law and had a good chance of landing up in the European Court of Justice.

Schrems said the case could cost the group around 100,000 euros ($130,000), which it hoped to raise via crowd-funding – money provided by a collection of individuals – on the Internet.

(Additional reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin; Editing by Mark Potter)

(This story was corrected to fix the headline, lead and the first paragraph to show that the campaign group plans to sue Irish regulator, not Facebook, in the first instance)

Copyright (2012) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 news No Comments

What Facebook’s Biggest Advertisers Say About ‘Invalid Clicks’ (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-facebooks-biggest-advertisers-say-about-invalid-clicks-2012-11

zuckerberg

Facebook’s larger advertisers, unsurprisingly, aren’t willing to say much — on the record, at least — about the proposed class action lawsuit which claims up to 20 percent of pay-per-click advertising on the site comes from “invalid” clicks.

Facebook says the suit is bogus, and is fighting an appeal in the case.

One key issue in the case is Facebook’s refusal to allow its clicks to be audited by a third party like the IAB, the Media Ratings Council or Ernst & Young.

Speaking privately, the company’s clients and competitors tell us they are aware that Facebook is non-transparent when it came to its advertising business.

None of them believed Facebook was acting improperly. And none sympathized with the suit. One said, “We trust Facebook and know that they are always working to refine their filters and to identify invalid clicks.”

Another added, “I don’t think they’re ripping people off.”

However, they also said that because Facebook is so big it is able to play by its own rules in a way that might not be healthy .

“They don’t let you audit,” said one client. “It’s a little bit suspect. A bit of a conflict of interest. … You have to trust Facebook’s numbers.”

Another added, “They’re not playing by the rules everyone else is playing by. It’s definitely an issue that there’s this 800 pound gorilla out there that isn’t playing by the rules.”

One major issue for advertisers is that they can only observe Facebook’s clicks independently if they send traffic off the site! to thei r own web sites. As most campaigns are designed to send traffic to the advertisers’ Facebook page, those clicks remain inside Facebook – and thus invisible to outside analytics.

“A lot of campaigns are not sending traffic off site so there’s no way to check,” one client told us.

Another said, “If we are driving users to a Facebook page — then we rely on Facebook metrics (impressions, clicks, conversions, engagement …) as the click goes directly to the Facebook page and not through a redirect AND we can’t fire pixels on Facebook pages like we can on external sites.”

Shuman Ghosemajumder, Google’s former click fraud czar who is now vp/strategy at Shape Security, told us that he knows many of the team members at Facebook who are working on click validation. “They are investing heavily in this area,” he says. A third-party audit of clicks, however is a “non-trivial” event at a company, he says. It requires time and resources, and an outside company must come in and perform experiments with the internal engineers. Nonetheless, “they need to take this very seriously,” he says.

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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 news No Comments

Papa John’s Faces $250 Million Lawsuit Over SMS Spam

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5960412/papa-johns-faces-250-million-lawsuit-over-sms-spam

Papa John's Faces $250 Million Lawsuit Over SMS SpamPapa John’s has clearly been a little over-eager with its digital promotion. Now, it’s facing a $250 million class-action lawsuit over all the spammy text messages it’s been sending you and everybody else around the US.

It’s alleged that Papa John’s sent 500,000 unwanted messages in early 2010, CNN Money reports. It gets worse: at times, customers were receiving 15 texts in a row, even in the middle of the night. Nobody needs a pizza offer that badly.

Of course, those texts were actually sent through a third-party text messaging service—in this case one called OnTime4U—so both companies will find themselves in the dock. And it could prove costly: the plaintiffs in the case are seeking damages of $500 per text. Think of all the pizza you could buy with that. [CNN Money]

Image by jdnx under Creative Commons license

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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5943860/disgusting-pink-slime-company-launches-billion-dollar-offensive

Disgusting Pink Slime Company Launches Billion Dollar Offensive (Updated)In America, it’s not illegal to sell disgusting cow purée washed with ammonia for human consumption. But, according to BPI, the company that makes this dystopian meat filler, it’s illegal to talk about it. Time for a $1.2 billion lawsuit.

Mother Jones reports that BPI, which caught an enormous amount of (deserved!) hell for selling the grotesque quasi-protein, is “launching a $1.2 billion defamation suit against ABC News and three whistleblowers-two federal employees and a former BPI worker -who spoke to the news network.” This is what you do when you want to silence your critics after they call you out for doing something gross to the poor, uninformed, beef patty-chomping American public. But unless you work at ABC, this isn’t such a big deal. What is a big deal is that pink slime could be on the verge of a vile, goopy comeback.

Cargill, one of the largest privately owned companies in the United States, is a firm like BPI—they manufacture food on a massive industrial scale. They’re also keen on pink slime, and according to internal focus groups, they think the US public might be too. Why? We’re forgetful and generally don’t care about reality: “The issue is perception, not facts or science,” says a Cargill rep. Americans have extremely low attention spans. We’re done freaking out about pink slime—or “finely textured beef,” as the food factories call it—and have moved on to other worries, like Islam and re-runs of The Big Bang Theory:

“We found that in a month’s time the issue was in consumers’ rear view mirror and fading fast.  When they learned how this 100% beef product is produced and why it has value to everyone from farm to fork, they were comfortable with it being included as part of their ground beef.”

Cargill is now considering a re-launch of their own pink goop crap formula, meaning all the undesirable parts of the cow could be headed to your grocery store again in time for next BBQ season. Yum. [Food Navigator via Mother Jones]

Update: A BPI rep wrote in to say the original image included with this post was not, one of their products.

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Monday, September 17th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Apple v. Samsung jury finds Apple’s patents valid, awards it nearly $1.05 billion in damages

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/24/apple-v-samsung-decision/

The federal court jury in the patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung has presented its verdict after deliberating for just 21 hours and 37 minutes following the three week trial. This particular case started with Apple’s lawsuit last April and now the jury’s decision is that Samsung did infringe on Apple’s ‘381 bounceback patent with all 21 of its products in question. For the ‘915 patent on pinch-and-zoom, the jury ruled all but three of the devices listed infringed, and more damningly, found that Samsung executives either knew or should have known their products infringed on the listed patents. The jury has also found against Samsung when it comes to Apple’s contours on the back of the iPhone and its home screen GUI. The Galaxy Tab, was found not to have infringed upon Apple’s iPad design patents. The bad news for Samsung continued however, as the jury decided that not only did it willfully infringe on five of the seven Apple patents, but also upheld their validity when it came to utility, design and trade dress.

The amount of the damages against Samsung is in: $1,051,855,000.00 (see below). That’s less than half of the $2.5 billion it was seeking, but still more than enough to put an exclamation point on this victory for the team from Cupertino. The final number is $1,049,343,540, after the judge found an issue with how the jury applied damages for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G LTE and Intercept. The jury also ruled that Apple did not infringe upon Samsung’s patents with the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and has awarded it zero dollars in damage. We’ll have more information for you as it become available.

Update: Both companies have released statements on the matter, with Apple stating via the New York Times the ruling sends a loud and clear message that “stealing isn’t right.” Samsung has its own viewpoint calling this “a loss for the American consumer” that will lead to fewer choices, less innovation and high prices. You can see both in their entirety after the break.

Continue reading Apple v. Samsung jury finds Apple’s patents valid, awards it nearly $1.05 billion in damages

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Apple v. Samsung jury finds Apple’s patents valid, awards it nearly $1.05 billion in damages originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 24 Aug 2012 18:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saturday, August 25th, 2012 news No Comments

Hot Travel Startup Hipmunk Goes After Company Demanding Patent Payout

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/hipmunk-i2z-technology-patent-license-2012-7

Troll 400x300

Startup Hipmunk is taking legal action against i2z Technology over a patent dispute.

The patent in question, No. 5,345,551, is one that allows for content to be displayed on numerous windows.

Hipmunk is suing the company after i2z initially stated Hipmunk was infringing on its patent and demanded a licensing agreement.

The other company, i2z Technology, is a shell business located in Texas and run by a lawyer based out of California, according to GigaOm.

The company doesn’t appear to provide any service or product but instead gathers patents in order to make money through licensing or litigation—what’s known in the business as a “non-practicing entity,” or, less politely, a “patent troll.”

This request came right after Hipmunk secured $15 million in funding.

The travel startup, which allows users to search for flights and hotels, didn’t take the bait. It says that i2z Technology has tried to pull this stunt with other companies, including Yelp, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and many others.

In its lawsuit, Hipmunk states, “the products and services on its travel search site do not infringe, contribute to the infringement of, or induce others to infringe any valid and enforceable claim of the ’551 patent, either directly or indirectly, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents.”

Hipmunk’s lawsuit shouldn’t come as a surprise to people familiar with the startup. One of the advisors, Alexis Ohanian, is an outspoken advocate for internet freedom and in the past has protested against SOPA. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him take on patent reform.

Check out the lawsuit in its entirety:

Hipmunk Versus i2z Technology

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Thursday, July 5th, 2012 news No Comments

Expired Groupons Are Valid Again After Court Ruling

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5898699/your-expired-groupons-are-valid-again-thanks-to-85-million-court-ruling

Your Expired Groupons Are Valid Again Thanks to $8.5 Million Court Ruling (Updated)Remember that deal you purchased on Groupon—$30 for a $50 laser hair removal? It expired, and your unibrow has grown out of control. But you’re in luck. Groupon has agreed to pay an $8.5 million settlement in a class action lawsuit claiming that expiration dates are illegal. Better yet, the court also ruled that you can use all those Groupons you bought that expired last year. Mulligan!

Your coupons are still good if they were purchased before Dec. 1, 2011. Most future Groupons won’t expire so quickly, either. The company agreed that for the next three years, no more than 10 percent of its coupons will carry a use-by date that is less than 30 days after the date of issue.

The settlement is a result of the consolidation of 17 lawsuits in a San Diego district court, which allege that Groupon is violating consumer protection laws. Shoppers feel like an expiration dates force them to buy something, the suit argues.

Groupon didn’t immediately respond to questions about how you can cash in on your bygone coupons. We’re also investigating how you can get in on the settlement. We’ll update when we have the info. [Bloomberg]

Update: Groupon told us if you have expired Groupons, you can redeem them in the normal way. Print out the coupon or load it up on your smartphone, and the merchant should honor it as usual.

Update 2: Groupon says your coupons are valid for the purchase price post-expiry. For example, if you paid $20 for a $40, you’d get the $20 credit. It also noted that this is not a new policy, nor was it dictated by the settlement.

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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 digital No Comments

The Most Overpaid CEOs In America (OXY)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/obermatt-overpaid-underpaid-ceos-america-2012-2


oil occidental irani

Executive compensation is one of the most ironic hotly-debated topics out there.  It’s hotly debated because people often complain that CEOs are overpaid.  It’s ironic because most of the people who complain about excessive pay have the capacity to do something, yet they do nothing.

You see, every year shareholders of a company are mailed a Form DEF 14A, also known as the proxy statement. In the proxy are the details of the company’s executive compensation plans, and they are typically written plain English.  If shareholders don’t like the plan, they vote it down.

But many shareholders will receive the proxy in the mail and throw it right into the trash. And by default, they vote in favor of whatever plan is recommended by the Board.

Anyways, research firm Obermatt (via The Economist) computed the excess pay of CEOs of the S&P 100 companies.  Excess pay is calculated as deserved pay less actual pay.  Deserved pay is measured considering earnings growth and shareholder return and the compensation practices of peer group companies.

On the top of the “Most Overpaid” list is Occidental Petroleum’s Ray Irani. Irani is widely considered the poster child of excessive pay.

On the bottom are fan favorites Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett.

Here’s a chart of Obermatt’s rankings courtesy of The Economist:

chart

SEE ALSO: These CEOs Were Paid $100+ Million To Quit >

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 news No Comments

Watson now hunting down patent trolls, plans Ken Jennings’ elaborate demise

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/09/watson-now-hunting-down-patent-trolls-plans-ken-jennings-elabo/

The Watson supercomputer used its speech recognition, natural language processing, machine learning and data mining abilities to crush puny human Ken Jennings’ dreams of winning at “Jeopardy!”, but now Big Blue has it chasing down medical patent trolls for fun. Incorporating the Strategic IP Insight Platform, IBM has now programmed Watson to scan millions of pharmaceutical patents and biomedical journals to discover, analyze, and record any info pertaining to drug discovery. SIIP can then look for the names of chemical compounds, related diagrams, the company and scientist who invented and works with the compounds and related words to determine a patent’s rightful owner. The SIIP function can also highlight which patents could be targeted for acquisition by trolls looking to control a property via a lawsuit or licensing agreement. Click past the break for a video outlining the project, along with Watson’s announcement of its engagement to “Skynet“.

Continue reading Watson now hunting down patent trolls, plans Ken Jennings’ elaborate demise

Watson now hunting down patent trolls, plans Ken Jennings’ elaborate demise originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 09 Dec 2011 05:20:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Friday, December 9th, 2011 news No Comments

These Court Docs Show Only 90 Preorders (With 15 returned) [Tablets]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5505724/joojoo-tablet-these-court-docs-show-only-90-preorders-with-15-returned

Joojoo Tablet: These Court Docs Show Only 90 Preorders (With 15 returned)These Paypal documents from the JooJoo/Techcrunch lawsuit show that only 90 preorders for the $500 device, roughly $44k worth, were made. This is what happens when you launch a tablet the same month as Apple, at the same price.

And 15 of those turned into cancellations (which were hard to do, we hear.) That doesn’t seem like it’s enough money to cover legal fees or kick production into high gear. I’m going to reiterate our stance: It seems like a great device, but you should wait for things to shake out before putting down more money. And remember, this costs as much as an iPad.

Joojoo Tablet: These Court Docs Show Only 90 Preorders (With 15 returned)
Joojoo Tablet: These Court Docs Show Only 90 Preorders (With 15 returned)

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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