For the semiconductor industry, what started out as a cute description of a technology trend has become something like a force of nature. It’s called Moore’s Law. In fact, it’s not a law at all, but a rule of thumb that Silicon Valley pioneer Gordon Moore cooked up back in the 1960s. Moore, co-founder of Intel, noticed that the number of transistors being packed into integrated circuits was doubling every year, and he predicted this trend would continue. The strange thing is, it turned out to be more or less true. Moore’s observation has become the de facto law behind the meteoric rise of the computing industry. Ever since 1975, the number of transistors on a semiconductor chip has doubled roughly every 18 months, enabling microprocessors and memories to get larger and more complex-and far cheaper. Powering this trend is the shrinking of transistors with each chip generation. This rapid diminution of microelectronics makes possible today’s information … [Read more...] about Chips Go Nano
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The Software Freedom Law Center provides free legal representation and other law-related services toopen source software developers. The organization beganin 2005 under the direction of Eben Moglen, a professor of law andlegal history at Columbia University Law School.His law center represents many of the most important andwell-established free software and open source projects. The SFLC'sgoal is to help non-profit FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software)projects succeed.The free legal assistance provides programmers and open sourceprojects with sound legal and organizational structures. The SFLC'sgoal is to protect the public's right to access, use and developsoftware, according to Moglen, the founding director.The SFLC received initial funding of US$4 million from the OpenSource Development Labs. LinuxInsider met with Moglen to discuss thesituations the SFLC faces in pursuing its legal goals.LinuxInsider: What led to the formation of the The Software Freedom Law Center?Eben Moglen: … [Read more...] about EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Who You Gonna Call? Q&A With Software Freedom Law Center’s Eben Moglen
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from Samsung regarding its patent dispute with Apple.The case stems from a 2011 lawsuit by Apple that alleged Samsung copied certain design elements and features from the iPhone and iPad and used them in Samsung Galaxy phones and tablet computers.A jury in 2012 awarded US$1 billion to Apple, finding that Samsung had used some of Apple's tap-to-zoom technology. The award was later reduced.The companies reached a partial agreement in December under whichSamsung agreed to pay Apple $548 million. Samsung insisted at the time that it reserved the right to seek a partial refund, called the award to Apple excessive, and denied that it actually infringed the patents.The high court will listen only to arguments over the scope of the award, not to arguments Samsung made about some of the larger questions concerning patent law."We welcome the court's decision to hear our case. We thank the many large technology companies, 37 intellectual … [Read more...] about Supreme Court to End Samsung, Apple Patent Brawl
The California Assembly has approved a bill that would require employers to warn their employees if they plan to monitor workplace e-mail and Internet activities.SB 1841 -- an act to add Section 436 to the Labor Code, relating to electronic monitoring of employees -- has created a debate that pits the view that the legislation is an attempt to protect an employee's privacy versus the view that it is simply an additional regulatory burden for employers.Supporters of the bill praise the fact that employees will have fair warning of an invasion of privacy, while opponents criticize the bill for creating unnecessary legal complications for employers.The bill was introduced by state Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach, on February 20, was passed by the Assembly by a vote of 41 to 29 on August 17 and has now been sent back to the State Senate.The current law in California prohibits employers from recording employees in certain areas of the workplace without obtaining a court order. A violation … [Read more...] about INDUSTRY ANALYSIS California Weighs Rules on Monitoring Workers
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Samsung last week announced a formal voluntary recall of about 1 million Galaxy Note7 smartphones, after the high-end flagship device was found to have overheated or caught fire in at least 92 incidents.Samsung was notified of 26 cases of people being burned by the defective 5.7-inch smartphones and 55 cases of property damage, according to the CPSC. The recall applies to phones purchased before Sept. 15.In an effort to mitigate damage to the brand's reputation, Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, issued a video statement apologizing to customers and giving a detailed explanation of what the company is doing to resolve what may be the worst product crisis in its history."At Samsung our highest priority is our customers, their aspirations, their needs, their safety," Baxter said in the video message, "and with battery cell defects in some of our Note phones we did not meet the standard of excellence that you expect and … [Read more...] about Samsung Troubles Deepen Following Formal CPSC Action
In a previous column, I addressed the importance of website users understanding what they are agreeing to when they use a site. Now I'll take a look at the other side: What risks do site owners run by having poorly written Terms of Service (ToS) or Click Agreements -- or none at all?If your company offers goods or services through its website (or for that matter, if downloads or advice are offered for a cost -- or even for free), when was the last time you looked to see what your ToS or Click Agreements say? If you've read my prior column, you would know that those ToS or Click Agreements could constitute a binding contract on the user, and that those contractual terms are important to your company.This column is directed to those individuals who should be concerned about what the ToS and Click Agreements say -- CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, CFOs, or anyone responsible for any use of your company's website. If you haven't run those ToS or Click Agreements past your lawyer, this column is … [Read more...] about TECHNOLOGY LAW CORNER Your Customers May Not Review Your ToS and Click Agreements, but You Should!
The United States Department of Justice filed suit on Wednesday against Apple and several book publishers over what it claims is a conspiracy to raise retail e-book prices and limit competition in e-book sales.The defendants changed the business model governing the relationship between publishers from the wholesale model, which gave retailers the freedom to establish their own retail prices, to an agency model, wherein retailers would act as publishers' agents and would have to stick to the retail prices set by the publishers, the DoJ alleged.The DoJ contended that the publishers wanted to limit Amazon's ability to discount e-books.The publishers named in the suit are Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Verlagsgruppe Georg Von Holtzbrink, Holtzbrinck Publishers (doing business as MacMillan), The Penguin Group (a division of Pearson), Penguin Group (USA) and Simon & Schuster."We are pleased that the U.S. Justice Department and Attorney General [Eric] Holder agreed with … [Read more...] about Feds Slam Apple and Publishers With E-Book Price-Fixing Charges
"Target was certified as meeting the standard for the payment card industry in September 2013. Nonetheless, we suffered a data breach." Those words by Target Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel affirmed what security experts know as gospel: Compliance does not equal security."Just because you pass a PCI audit does not mean that you're secure," said Eric Chiu, president and founder of HyTrust. "Clearly we saw that in the Target scenario."PCI standards can suffer from a common regulatory affliction."A standards body takes many years to develop a standard," Chiu told TechNewsWorld. "In that time frame, threats change."In the retail sector, Target was a security standout when it passed its PCI audit in September."The lesson here is even if you're pretty vigilant and at the top of your industry, being secure today doesn't mean being secure tomorrow," Sonali Shah, vice president of products for BitSight, told TechNewsWorld. While CEOs may not know that, … [Read more...] about SPOTLIGHT ON SECURITY Target Breach Lesson: PCI Compliance Isn’t Enough
Citing First Amendment protections, a U.S. District Court judge in Seattle has ruled in favor of Amazon.com in its battle with North Carolina over potentially sensitive customer data the state claims it needs to calculate taxes.Judge Marsha J. Pechman ruled Monday that Amazon is not obligated to provide the names, addresses and purchasing records of North Carolina residents with whom the company has done business between August 2003 and February 2010."The First Amendment protects a buyer from having the expressive content of her purchase of books, music and audiovisual materials disclosed to the government," Pechman wrote in her ruling. "Citizens are entitled to receive information and ideas through books, films and other expressive materials anonymously."The ruling is the latest in a string of disputes between online retailers and state revenue departments interested in collecting millions of dollars in sales and use taxes legally due on transactions with out-of-state retailers. A … [Read more...] about No Taxation Without Customer Privacy, Says Judge in Amazon vs. NC Case
Protecting the data in electronic health records did not start with the advent of HIPAA -- the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 -- as many people think. Protecting health records has been a critical requirement in the healthcare space since the computers became a fixture in hospitals. However, HIPAA added public reports of fines issued for covered entities' failure to properly protect data contained within EHRs.Many people assume that EHR data has limited value to unauthorized users. (Who cares about my blood test results, or that I just visited my dermatologist?) Understanding their value is quite simple, though. In addition to personal health information, or PHI, EHRs contain Social Security numbers, which never expire -- and cybercriminal use of SSNs is not easily detected.Stealing EHRs is better for cybercriminals than stealing credit cards, which can be used only until the card expires, is maxed out or canceled, according to a Trend Micro study released … [Read more...] about TECHNOLOGY LAW CORNER Why Are Health Records So Valuable to Cybercriminals?