American Law Institute Votes on Rollback of Consumer Privacy

· · Link

The American Law Institute (ALI) will vote tomorrow on a proposal that would make it easier for companies to bind you to contracts, even without visiting the website.

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably clicked “I agree” on many online contracts without ever reading them. Soon you may be deemed to have agreed to a company’s terms without even knowing it. A vote is occurring Tuesday that would make it easier for online businesses to dispense with that click and allow websites that you merely browse — anything from Amazon and AT&T to Yahoo and Zillow — to bind you to contract terms without your agreement or awareness.

New Federal Bill Would Outlaw Video Game Loot Boxes

· · Link

Under federal legislation proposed by Republican Sen. Josh Hayley (Mo), video game loot boxes would be prohibited.

Hawley’s proposed bill, outlined Wednesday, covers games explicitly targeted to players under age 18 as well as those for broader audiences where developers are aware that kids are making in-game purchases. Along with outlawing loot boxes, these video games also would be banned from offering “pay to win” schemes, where players must spend money to access additional content or gain digital advantages over rival players.

I think this is a good move. Companies like EA would have to make good games again, instead of relying on a player’s “sense of pride and accomplishment.”

This Algorithm Could Erase Your Criminal Records

· · Link

This month, a California judge erased thousands of criminals records with the help of an algorithm. The creators of it say they’re just getting started.

It discards any record involving a violent crime, as such records do not qualify. For those that remain, the tool automatically fills out the necessary paperwork. In other words, the algorithm replaced the process being done manually at the expungement clinics.

Working with San Francisco’s raw data, Code For America was able to identify 8,132 eligible criminal records in a matter of minutes – in addition to the 1,230 found manually already. They dated as far back as 1975, the year in which the city started digitising its files.

Qualcomm Owes Apple $1 Billion Rebate Payment

· · Link

A federal judge recently ruled that Qualcomm owes Apple almost US$1B in patent royalty rebate payments.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on Thursday ruled that Qualcomm, the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone chips, was obligated to pay nearly $1 billion in rebate payments to Apple, which for years used Qualcomm’s modem chips to connect iPhones to wireless data networks.

Poor People Need Privacy As Much as Everyone Else

· · Link

Elizabeth Brico writes how privacy might be turning into a luxury, and how poor people can’t afford the legal costs if their identity is stolen because of all the data breaches.

For her part, Gilman argued that many times, names and addresses can be enough to commit the types of identity fraud she has helped her low-income clients battle. “It can cost time and money to clean up the effects of identity theft because low income people are already living on the economic margins, any loss of funds can be catastrophic,” she said. “You have less privacy as a poor person,” Muentz added. “Privacy is becoming a luxury.”

Huawei Suing U.S. Government Over Ban

· · Link

Huawei is suing the U.S. government because its products were banned from being used by federal agencies.

According to one of the people familiar with the matter, Huawei’s lawsuit is likely to argue that the provision is a “bill of attainder,” or a legislative act that singles out a person or group for punishment without trial. The Constitution forbids Congress from passing such bills.

Now Kansas Introduced a Porn Filter Bill

· · Link

Last month I wrote about an Arizona politician wanting to introduce a porn filter bill. Now Kansas wants to do the same thing, although it sounds like this one won’t attempt to fund the border wall.

“It’s to protect children,” Garber, a Republican, said in an interview. “What it would do is any X-rated pornography stuff would be filtered. It would be on all purchases going forward. Why wouldn’t anybody like this?”

Why indeed. Because you guys don’t seem to care about children outside of the womb.

It Doesn't Look Good for Qualcomm in Antitrust Trial

· · Link

Qualcomm and the FTC have presented closing arguments in the antitrust trial, and it doesn’t sound good for Qualcomm.

The evidence is overwhelming that Qualcomm engaged in exclusionary conduct. The effects of Qualcomm’s conduct, when considered together, are anticompetitive.

It will be interesting to see if this case will finally close, or if Apple and Qualcomm will keep fighting like Apple and Samsung do.