An Australian court on Tuesday ruled that Google engaged in “misleading and deceptive” advertising practices, Reuters reported. The court said that between March 2006 and July 2007, Google published search results for queries related to Honda Australia with paid advertisements for Honda competitor CarSales. The advertisements led users to believes that CarSales was linked to Honda Australia. The search giant argued that it was not responsible for misleading search results since it was merely a conduit for advertisers. The court disagreed, however, and ordered Google to set up a compliance program that will ensure paid advertisements will not mislead consumers. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission praised the ruling, saying that Google and other Internet search engines will now be held responsible for “deceptive paid search results.” More →
A teacher’s aide at an elementary school was fired last year for refusing to give her Facebook login credentials to her supervisors, ZDNet reported on Sunday. In April 2011, Kimberly Hester signed on to Facebook while she was not at work and jokingly posted a picture of a co-worker’s pants around her ankles, with the caption “Thinking of you.” A parent and Facebook friend saw Hester’s photo and complained to the school. A few days later, the superintendent reportedly requested three times that she hand over her user name and password. Hester refused each time, and was put on paid administrative leave and eventually suspended as a result. She is now at the center of a legal battle with the school district, with arbitration scheduled for May. The House of Representatives last week shot down a proposed amendment to FCC legislation that would have prevented current and potential employers from seeking access to employees’ Facebook accounts. More →
According to legal documents for its upcoming hearing with Oracle, between 2008 and 2011 Android generated less than $550 million in revenue for Google. Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, which use Google Maps and search, generated more than four times as much revenue for the Mountain View-based company during the same time frame, The Guardian reported on Thursday. Roughly 100 million Android devices have been activated since the end of 2011, with an average of 850,000 devices activated each day, suggesting that Google pulls in slightly more than $10 per Android handset each year. Google CEO Larry Page said during an earnings call in October that the company was “seeing a huge positive revenue impact from mobile, which has grown 2.5 times in the last 12 months to a run rate of over $2.5 billion.” Page’s comments indicate that a large sum of Google’s mobile revenue comes from services outside of its Android ecosystem. Since the release of the iPhone, Google has had a deal with Apple to offer its Maps and search services on the popular handset, which may contribute largely to the company’s $2.5 billion in mobile revenue. More →
Google on Tuesday offered to pay Oracle a percentage of its Android revenue if Oracle wins a patent infringement suit set to be tried soon. Google offered to pay the company roughly $2.8 million in damages on the two patents remaining in the case, giving Oracle 0.5% of Android revenue on one patent until it expires this December, and 0.015% on a second patent until it expires in April 2018. Reuters reports that Oracle rejected the offer, however, claiming it was too low. Earlier this month, a U.S. judge in San Francisco scheduled the trial between the two companies for April 16th. Oracle sued the the Mountain View-based firm in 2010, alleging that Google’s Android operating system infringes Oracle’s intellectual property covering the Java programming language. In addition, the company is also suing Google for copyright infringement, which could reportedly earn Oracle hundreds of millions of dollars. The company previously claimed that the search giant earns $10 million in annual revenue each day from Android activations. More →
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Tuesday claimed that Apple is using misleading promotions for its new iPad tablet, Reuters reported. The ACCC will ask an Australian high court on Wednesday to order the Cupertino-based company to make customers aware of the true technical capabilities of the device, correct its current advertising and refund any affected buyers. Apple’s newest iPad can utilize 4G LTE networks, however it can only do so in North America. The company has still advertised the device as a “4G” tablet in countries where it is not compatible. Australian carrier Telstra offers the country’s only 4G LTE network, but it uses different spectrum than carriers in the United States and Canada. More →
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who was arrested and charged with racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering in one of the largest criminal cases of its kind, is maintaining his innocence. Dotcom has previously questioned his accusers’ motives, claiming he isn’t a so-called piracy king, but a man who ran a legitimate business that offered online storage and bandwidth. In an interview with TorrentFreak, Dotcom said that he can refute nearly every claim in the case being brought against him. Read on for more. More →
It isn’t uncommon for companies to scan through the Internet looking for information on potential hires. Young job seekers, however, have found ways to avoid having prying eyes find private data by applying a wide-range of privacy settings to their Facebook accounts. Now, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday that numerous employers are asking potential hires to hand over login credentials to their email accounts, social networking websites and other online services. The ACLU immediately blasted the practice, calling it “an invasion of privacy” and insisting that “people are entitled to their private lives.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal echoed these concerns and is now drafting a bill to make such actions illegal. Read on for more. More →
Facebook on Thursday acquired 750 patents from IBM in an effort to boost the company’s defense and counter new lawsuits, according to Bloomberg. The patents reportedly cover various technologies relating to software and networking. The acquisition would more than double the size of Facebook’s portfolio, which currently includes at least 56 issued patents and 503 filed U.S. patent applications. The patent acquisition comes after Yahoo, a business partner of Facebook, filed a massive patent infringement lawsuit against the social networking site. More →
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who was recently arrested and charged with racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering, may be able to reclaim his seized assets due to a botched court order, according to a report from the New Zealand Herald. Police raided Dotcom’s home on January 19th and seized, among other valuable assets, his cash, cars and mansion. New Zealand police have admitted to making a “procedural error” when filing documents to seize Dotcom’s property, however. A court has ruled that the incorrect restraining order is “null and void” and has “no legal effect.” The publication states there is no guarantee Dotcom will get his assets back though, as his lawyers must first prove a lack of good faith when the procedural error was made. More →
A German judge has suspended a patent infringement suit filed by Apple against Samsung covering the company’s slide-to-unlock patent, Reuters reported on Friday. The Mannheim court said that it will await a decision in a separate lawsuit covering the same patent in Munich before it makes its ruling. The lawsuit relates to the “slide-to-unlock utility model” and comes two weeks after the same court dismissed a suit covering similar technology. The Cupertino-based company recently filed a separate complaint against Motorola in Germany, also covering its slide-to-unlock patent. Since April, Samsung and Apple have filed more than 30 lawsuits against one another throughout various countries around the world.
Yahoo has filed a massive patent infringement lawsuit against its business partner, Facebook, AllThingsD reported on Monday. The search company claims that Facebook’s News Feed, advertising methods, privacy settings and more infringe its patents. “Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology,” Yahoo’s lawsuit said. The company claims that Facebook has been “free riding” on Yahoo’s intellectual property and royalty payments alone will not be enough. Read on for more. More →
Samsung on Wednesday confirmed that it has filed another lawsuit against Apple in South Korea, according to a report from Reuters. Since last year, the two companies have been involved in heated legal battles throughout 10 different countries, racking up more than 30 separate complaints that have been filed. The newest lawsuit targets the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, and Samsung claims both devices infringe three of the company’s “utility” patents, which involve methods of displaying data, a device’s user interface and short text messages. Apple’s former CEO Steve Jobs vowed to destroy Android, and since then the Cupertino-based company has been involved in numerous patent disputes with Motorola, HTC and Samsung, the top three Android vendors in the world. More →
Interpol on Tuesday announced that 25 suspected members of the hacker group “Anonymous” have been arrested in a raid across Europe and South America. The suspected members ranged in age from 17 to 40 and are accused of planning coordinated cyber-attacks against various government institutions, such as Colombia’s defense ministry and presidential Web sites, Chile’s Endesa electricity company and national library and other targets. The arrests were the result of an ongoing investigation by local and federal police agencies, which searched 40 locations in 15 cities and seized 250 pieces of technology equipment since mid-February. “This operation shows that crime in the virtual world does have real consequences for those involved, and that the Internet cannot be seen as a safe haven for criminal activity, no matter where it originates or where it is targeted,” Acting INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services Bernd Rossbach said. Read on for Interpol’s press release.