[T]he prospect of a Cupertino-based megacorporation losing business to local repair shops isn’t a very sympathetic argument at the Nebraska statehouse. And so Apple has tried a slew of other tactics, according to state Sen. Lydia Brasch, who was recently visited by Steve Kester, an Apple state government affairs specialist.”Apple said we would be the only state that would pass this, and that we would become the mecca for bad actors,” Brasch, who is sponsoring the bill, told me in a phone call. “They said that doing this would make it very easy for hackers to relocate to Nebraska.”
an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist will testify against the bill at a hearing in Lincoln on March 9. AT&T will also argue against the bill, the source said. The source told me that at least one of the companies plans to say that consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire.
It’s no secret that copyright holders are trying to take down as much pirated content as they can, but one anti-piracy outfit is targeting everything that comes into its path. Over the past week Copyright UNIVERSAL has tried to censor legitimate content from Netflix, Amazon, Apple, various ISPs, movie theaters, news outlets and even sporting leagues.
For the first time ever, this month’s Stupid Patent of the Month is being awarded to a design patent. Microsoft recently sued Corel for, among other things, infringing its patent on a slider, D554,140, claiming that Corel Home Office has infringed Microsoft’s design. The design patent, as detailed by Microsoft in its complaint, is titled “User Interface for a Portion of a Display Screen” and entitles Microsoft to own this:
Children are being raped, citizens murdered, and lost souls trafficked for sex and the police can’t do anything about it thanks to Apple and Google, senior government lawyers and a top cop have claimed.
In an op-ed in The New York Times, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr; Adrian Leppard, commissioner of the City of London Police; Paris’ chief prosecutor François Molins; and Javier Zaragoza, chief prosecutor of the High Court of Spain, said that the current situation is unsupportable and legal changes are needed to keep the public safe.
John “Jeb” Bush, younger brother of ex-president George “Dubya” Bush and former Governor of Florida, has found the solution to America’s healthcare problems: his Apple Watch.
At a “town hall” meeting at the Chamber of Commerce in Tempe, Arizona, Jeb said: “I think we should repeal Obamacare,” before pointing at his wristjob, reports Cult of Mac.
“On this device in five years will be applications that will allow me to manage my healthcare in ways that, five years ago, were not even possible,” continued the Republican politician, who many expect to run for the US presidency.
David Doherty, from the doctors-on-the-video-phone service 3G Doctor told El Reg that Bush isn’t alone in thinking that wearables are the holy grail for healthcare, but that Bush misses the point.
“Wearables and Obamacare are incompatible,” Doherty said. “Obamacare is an insurance scheme; if insurance companies know what you are doing through your wearable they will refuse to insure you.”
Maybe confusing a $400 watch and an insurance scheme is a mistake only a man who aspires to be US President can make.
The Senate today is holding a key procedural vote that would allow the Trans-Pacific Partnership to be “fast-tracked.”
So who can read the text of the TPP? Not you, it’s classified. Even members of Congress can only look at it one section at a time in the Capitol’s basement, without most of their staff or the ability to keep notes.
But there’s an exception: if you’re part of one of 28 U.S. government-appointed trade advisory committees providing advice to the U.S. negotiators. The committees with the most access to what’s going on in the negotiations are 16 “Industry Trade Advisory Committees,” whose members include AT&T, General Electric, Apple, Dow Chemical, Nike, Walmart and the American Petroleum Institute.
The TPP is an international trade agreement currently being negotiated between the US and 11 other countries, including Japan, Australia, Chile, Singapore and Malaysia. Among other things, it could could strengthen copyright laws, limit efforts at food safety reform and allow domestic policies to be contested by corporations in an international court. Its impact is expected to be sweeping, yet venues for public input hardly exist.
Industry Trade Advisory Committees, or ITACs, are cousins to Federal Advisory Committees like the National Petroleum Council that I wrote about recently. However, ITACs are functionally exempt from many of the transparency rules that generally govern Federal Advisory Committees, and their communications are largely shielded from FOIA in order to protect “third party commercial and/or financial information from disclosure.” And even if for some reason they wanted to tell someone what they’re doing, members must sign non-disclosure agreements so they can’t “compromise” government negotiating goals. Finally, they also escape requirements to balance their industry members with representatives from public interest groups.
The result is that the Energy and Energy Services committee includes the National Mining Association and America’s Natural Gas Alliance but only one representative from a company dedicated to less-polluting wind and solar energy.
The Information and Communications Technologies, Services, and Electronic Commerce committee includes representatives from Verizon and AT&T Services Inc. (a subsidiary of AT&T), which domestically are still pushing hard against new net neutrality rules that stop internet providers from creating more expensive online fast-lanes.
And the Intellectual Property Rights committee includes the Recording Industry Association of America, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Apple, Johnson and Johnson and Yahoo, rather than groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which shares the industry’s expertise in intellectual property policy but has an agenda less aligned with business.