News from the video game industry for the week of April 12
Every Sunday, MacNN and Electronista take a moment to look back at some of the notable stories in the world of gaming. This week, the EFF take on the ESA over potential DMCA exemptions, Microsoft makes the Xbox One less power hungry when switched off, and Blizzard enabled a system for purchasing of in-game World of Warcraft gold using real-world money.
Personal information overheard by smart TV may be transmitted to third party
Filings look to rescue old games from anti-circumvention provisions, five other requests
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed six Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption requests with the US Copyright on November 3 as a part of the three-year process to address revisions to the act. All six requests were filed in an attempt to give users basic access to software and devices, with one request looking to give consumers a way to play games abandoned by developers and publishers.
Jury awards Personal Audio $1.3 million, less than the $7.8 million sought
Podcasters may not be in the clear of potential patent violations after a ruling this week in a Texas court. Six jurors found that CBS Corporation, home of the television network with shows like The Big Bang Theory and Person of Interest, infringed upon the patent by streaming episodic content of its television shows on the Internet. The trial only lasted four days, with CBS failing to prove the patent owned by Personal Audio LLC should be invalidated.
Court ruling could have impacts on global security
Apple, Cisco, and AT&T have filed amicus curiae briefs in support of Microsoft's appeal of court decision that could force it to turn over email from an Irish customer to US law enforcement. Magistrate Judge James Francis IV ordered Microsoft to supply the data based on the Stored Communications Act, even though the content in question not only belongs to an Irish person but is stored on servers in Dublin. Microsoft has argued that this violates the SCA, international law, and treaties the US has signed that govern how to handle requests for data on foreign citizens.
Report scores tech companies on protecting user data from the government
An annual report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has declared that Twitter and Sonic.net are the best tech companies for protecting its users from government snooping and requests from courts and law enforcement. Out of the 18 companies examined in the report, MySpace and Verizon were judged the worst, failing to score a single star in any category, while Apple, AT&T, and Yahoo managed to attain at least one star out of a possible six.
Copyright takedown requests reach 250k pre week
Google has shed more light on URL takedown requests that it receives from various companies reacting to alleged copyright violations. The search giant has broadened its transparency reports to visualize trends, highlighting the surge in takedown notices. More than 1.2 million takedown requests were processed just last month, issued from thousands of copyright owners and reporting organizations.
Fate of legislation remains unclear
New York State Senator Thomas O'Mara is attempting to push "right to know" legislation that would effectively ban online speech posted anonymously. The bill aims to "amend the civil rights law" to "protect a person's right to know who is behind an anonymous Internet posting."
EFF letter asks congress refuse cybersecurity bill
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published an open letter co-signed by a number of engineers, security professionals, and academics who are against proposed cybersecurity bills. Critics argue that security legislation under consideration, including CISPA, uses overly broad language that could potentially lead to privacy loss for Internet users.
White House NSC speaks out against CISPA
An Obama administration official has voiced concerns over the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which is scheduled for a House of Representatives vote next week. In a statement to The Hill, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden noted that such legislation must protect privacy while providing security provisions for critical infrastructure systems.
CISPA goes too far claim EFF
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a campaign to fight the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a cybersecurity bill designed to allow companies and the federal government to share information to prevent or defend from cyberattacks. The EFF, along with other civil liberties organizations, dispute the bill on the basis that is written too broadly and would be a loophole in existing privacy laws.
MegaUpload case to focus on server data
MegaUpload's newly-hired lawyers on Friday successfully fought for the data of nearly 60 million MegaUpload users stored on 1,100 servers. The US District court's Judge Liam O'Grady agreed to require further negotiations between the lawyers representing consumers, major Hollywood studios, the US government, and MegaUpload's hosting service, as well as MegaUpload itself. The servers could could have otherwise been sold by Carpathia Hosting, with the information contained on them possibly sold or deleted as a result.
EFF seeking petition to keep jailbreaking legal
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is lobbying users to sign a petition in its quest to convince the US government that jailbreaking smartphones and tablets is legal. Back in mid-2010, the Library of Congress ruled that the act is legal, provided it doesn't violate copyright laws. That ruling will soon expire, some believe, and doesn't cover tablets; the EFF is concerned that both need to be address.
SOPA to no longer censor outside sites
Key Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) promoter Representative Lamar Smith stated Friday that he wanted to remove the domain name blocking provision from the proposed bill. He wanted the Congressional Judiciary Committee to "further examine the issues" surrounding the measure, according to CNET. A corresponding move was already underway with the Senate equivalent of the bill, Protect IP (PIPA), from Senator Patrick Leahy.
EFF greenlit to sue NSA over wiretaps
The Electronic Frontier Foundation confirmed a partial win in trying to combat warrantless wiretapping. While it had lost one appeal for carrier immunity, its representative Caroline Jewel and others were cleared by a Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals to sue the NSA, former President George W. Bush, much of the top Bush administration, and President Obama for allegedly violating the US Constitution's rights to association and reasonable search and seizure. The court had decided that there was enough specific detail about the program to go ahead with a complaint directly against the government.
Nothing stopping plaintiff from going outside US
In January, ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, seized several sports streaming sites using US-based .org and .com domains. Puerto 80, the owner of one of these sites, Rojadirecta, filed suit in the US District Court of Southern NY, claiming the seizure constituted a violation of First Amendment rights. Yesterday, presiding judge Paul Crotty ruled that free speech had not been violated and refused to order the government to return the domains.
Judge lets Sony spy on Geohot visitors in PS3 suit
George Hotz faced another setback in his defense against Sony's anti-jailbreaking lawsuit late Thursday after a judge granted Sony a potentially controversial amount of information access. It now has permission to get the IP addresses, accounts and other details of anyone who has visited either his main Geohot site or his PS3 jailbreak Blogger site between January 2009 and the modern day. Sony made clear that the access wouldn't be limited to those who downloaded the jailbreak code.
Sony sues Geohot and fail0verflow over PS3 cracks
Sony on Tuesday quietly accompanied its restraining order attempting to silence the discoveries of permanent PS3 jailbreaks by filing a lawsuit against its discoverers. Both the Fail0verflow team and George Hotz, better known as original iPhone unlocker Geohot, were accused of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's rules against bypassing locks. It further accused the two of contributing to copyright infringement and breaking both the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as California's Computer Crime Law.
Court says e-mail privacy guarded by 4th Amendment
A US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that e-mail was legally protected by the Fourth Amendment. It determined in a 3-0 vote that e-mail was similar to traditional communication and thus that the government still needed a search warrant to intercept and read e-mail. Users still had a reasonable expectation of privacy online, the court said.