In December of 2013, it was discovered that the major American retailer Target was, aptly enough, the target of a major hacking event that resulted in the breach of personal information for anywhere from 70 million to 110 million customers. Although credit card information was not obtained in each case, it does make nearly 100 million people more susceptible to identity theft.
The cyber attack was accomplished by hacking into Target’s point-of-sale devices to install a program that records data from credit cards swiped through an infected device. This information is then sent to a remote server so others can access the data. And Target isn’t the only major corporation to deal with a recent hacking scandal; in recent days, luxury retail company Neiman Marcus announced that they were dealing with a very similar situation involving the theft of customer information.
Statistics show that hacking activities across the globe have been ramping up at a feverish clip the past few years, and we’re seeing plenty of evidence that small and mid-sized businesses have to be on their guard more than ever to prevent an attack. Still, a survey conducted by Ernst & Young found that 96% of executives don’t believe their business is prepared to handle a cyber attack. Appreciation of vulnerability is, of course, an important first step, but what can you do to prevent an attack? What should you do when an attack has occurred? Every business needs to think through these issues before there is a problem.
The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, takes place this year in Las Vegas between January 7 and January 10. The annual event is a very important trade show for the consumer electronics and appliances industry, and it’s where many manufacturers get the chance to showcase their newest developed technologies before they hit retail markets.
The CES industry show is typically when the next big trends in consumer technologies are made widely apparent to the media. Past events have heralded the coming of HDTV as well as mobile electronic devices, including tablets and smartphones. In fact, the almost ubiquitous nature of these mobile devices are supporting the newest trend emerging from the CES: the “Internet of Things.”
Internet of Things
Expert technology analysts have forecasted that, by the year 2050, there will be a total of 50 billion devices operating worldwide which are connected to the Internet. According to this article published by LATimes.com, that equals about 5 devices for every human being that will be living at that time.
Washington – The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that its Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) will hold a public meeting to discuss copyright policy issues raised in a recently released green paper, “Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy“(Green Paper). In addition to the meeting, the IPTF is soliciting public comments, both of which are part of the IPTF’s efforts to continue a dialogue on how to improve the current copyright framework for stakeholders, consumers, and national economic goals. The meeting will be held on October 30, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The IPTF intends to hold the public meeting in the Amphitheatre of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
Specifically in the Green Paper, the IPTF proposes five copyright policy issues to address, and the meeting will provide an opportunity for discussion that will be used to formulate the IPTF’s views and recommendations regarding copyright policy. The five issues include: (1) establishing a multistakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system for removing infringing content from the Internet under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA); (2) the legal framework for the creation of remixes; (3) the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; (4) the application of statutory damages in the contexts of individual file sharers and of secondary liability for large-scale infringement; and (5) the appropriate role for the government, if any, to help improve the online licensing environment, including access to comprehensive databases of rights information.
In the meantime, there is important business to be done by WIPO.
Kicking off the 51st meeting of Member States, Gurry took the opportunity to both look back and look forward with his address to the WIPO Assemblies. Gurry told the audience that “[t]he twelve months since the last Assemblies have seen many positive results for the Organization.” He would go on to point out that global IP systems continue to remain strong, saying: “the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Madrid System for the international registration of marks and the Hague System for the international registration of designs, continued to experience growth levels that out-perform the world economy.” Gurry also discussed the continued progress being made relative to technical systems that connect the IP Offices of Member States.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce today released a green paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper) to advance discussion on a set of policy issues critical to economic growth. The Green Paper discusses the goals of maintaining an appropriate balance between rights and exceptions as the law continues to be updated; ensuring that copyright can be meaningfully enforced on the Internet; and furthering the development of an efficient online marketplace.
The Green Paper released today is the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of digital copyright policy issued by any administration since 1995. The report is a product of the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) with input from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Through the IPTF, the USPTO and NTIA will solicit further public comments and convene roundtables and forums on a number of key policy issues.
“Copyright law strikes a number of important balances in delineating what is protectable and what is not, determining what uses are permitted without a license, and establishing appropriate enforcement mechanisms to combat piracy, so that all stakeholders benefit from the protection afforded by copyright,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “Ensuring that our copyright policy provides incentives for creativity while promoting innovation on the Internet is a critical and challenging task. The Green Paper released today is an important step toward ensuring that the United States’ creative industries continue to have a substantial impact on strengthening our nation’s economy.”
The Samsung Group of Seoul, South Korea, is a conglomerate made up of many subsidiaries that are in the business of developing different electronics. Samsung’s line of products is as varied as washing machines, televisions, microwaves and handheld electronic devices. Recently, the manufacturer announced that it would begetting more serious in the tablet market with the upcoming release of the 12.2-inch Galaxy Note tablet.
In this edition of IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow our series returns to focus once again on Samsung and its recent appearances at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. As has often been the case recently, many of the more intriguing patents and patent applications from Samsung deal with electronic device development. One patent document protects a better system of constructing biochips to monitor drug trials. An application filed by Samsung describes a devised method of allowing mobile phones to give off fragrance in response to user interaction. Upgrades to electro-wetting displays, which use water and oil to affect light displays, are featured in a second patent application.
Smarter computing systems are also a major focus for Samsung. We also look at an application that would protect a system for controlling social network user interactions based on emotional states, and more efficient systems of detecting eye regions for facial recognition.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is taking the fight to the scam operators who have been duping the public using his good and extremely popular name. Indeed, the two-time Emmy Award-winning, nationally syndicated daytime series The Dr. Oz Show is launching an aggressive campaign to stop illegal use of the Dr. Oz name, image and show. This campaign dubbed “IT’S NOT ME,” began Monday, May 6, 2013.
As you may be aware, over the past several years the Internet has become overrun with advertisements featuring one or another product allegedly endorsed by Dr. Oz. On Monday Dr. Oz told viewers that he endorses none of these and he is going to fight to take back his name.
“Today I am taking back my name and protecting my viewers from people I consider dangerous, who try to mislead you into buying products I don’t endorse,” Dr. Oz told the audience. “Anything you see on this show is part of a conversation I am having with you about your health. We are always transparent about our trusted, official partnerships and a full list of these partners is available on our website.”
Qualcomm Incorporated, headquartered in San Diego, CA, is a global leader in the design and manufacture of wireless telecommunications products, like cell phone semiconductors and tracking devices. Recently, Qualcomm has broadened its product and service base in wireless Internet networking and application programming. The company’s commitment to research and development make Qualcomm a visible presence at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office each week.
Today, we’ll take a close look at some of the more intriguing, recent Qualcomm patent applications recently published by the USPTO, many of which show the technology developer focusing on improving mobile network connections. Patent applications released within the last month describe systems of improving mobile device Internet connectivity to peripheral devices, like printers, or while indoors for pedestrian traffic analysis. More efficient means of social network messaging is the subject of another application. A fourth application included here is filed to protect a gesture-based system of interacting with computer projectors.
One patent received recently by Qualcomm, and covered below, protects a system of geographically locating computers and other devices connected to the Internet through an IP address, which doesn’t typically contain any geographical data.
The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on affiliate marketers that allegedly bombarded consumers with hundreds of millions of unwanted spam text messages in an effort to steer them towards deceptive websites falsely promising “free” gift cards.
In eight different complaints filed in courts around the United States, the FTC charged 29 defendants with collectively sending more than 180 million unwanted text messages to consumers, many of whom had to pay for receiving the texts. The messages promised consumers free gifts or prizes, including gift cards worth $1,000 to major retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and Target. Consumers who clicked on the links in the messages found themselves caught in a confusing and elaborate process that required them to provide sensitive personal information, apply for credit or pay to subscribe to services to get the supposedly “free” cards.
“Today’s announcement says ‘game over’ to the major league scam artists behind millions of spam texts,” said Charles A. Harwood, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is committed to rooting out this deception and stopping it. For consumers who find spam texts on their phones, delete them, immediately. The offers are, in a word, garbage.”
Microsoft Corporation finds itself on the defensive side of a lawsuit that could make them pay for infringing two patents on reflexive advertising in search engines. The lawsuit is being brought forth by I/P Engine, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of mobile technology innovator Vringo, Inc.
The patent infringement lawsuit, filed in the Southern District Court of New York State, seeks reasonable royalties from Microsoft for not only infringing on I/P Engine’s patents in Microsoft’s own search engine, which employs filtering technology, but also for continuing to engage in the practice for years after alerted to the patents. I/P Engine alleges that Microsoft has been knowingly infringing upon U.S. Patent No. 6,314,420 (the ‘420 patent), which is titled “Collaborative/Adaptive Search Engine,” since at least October 2003 and U.S. Patent No. 6,775,664 (the ‘664 patent), which is titled “Information Filter System and Method for Integrated Content-Based and Collaborative/Adaptive Feedback Queries,” since at least December 2008.