AT&T aims to sidestep shareholder request on surveillance data
(Reuters) - AT&T has asked regulators to let it ignore a shareholder request for details of its customer-information sharing with government agencies, a move that could forestall a heated debate at the telecommunications giant's annual meeting. The No. 2 U.S. mobile operator made the request in a December 5 letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in response to shareholder activists pressing it on the matter. Among them is New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is the trustee of the state retirement fund. DiNapoli and other shareholders of AT&T and its biggest rival Verizon Communications Inc last month sought details on sharing of personal data and communications from the two companies following revelations from former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 23:08:38 -0500
Group charged in PayPal cyber attack pleads guilty
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A group of 13 defendants who had been charged in a cyber attack on PayPal's website pleaded guilty and admitted to the December 2010 attack over PayPal's suspension of WikiLeaks accounts. Following the release of a large amount of classified documents by WikiLeaks, PayPal suspended its accounts so that the anti-secrecy website could no longer receive donations. In retribution, the group "Anonymous" coordinated and executed denial-of-service attacks against PayPal. EBay's PayPal unit is a service that facilitates the electronic transfer of money between parties.
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 20:54:18 -0500
U.S. court upholds trial plan over defunct Nortel's $7.5 billion cash
The fight over defunct Nortel Networks' $7.5 billion in cash will be decided in joint U.S.-Canadian court hearings and not in arbitration, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia upheld a bankruptcy court ruling in March that there was never an agreement to use arbitration to divide the pile of cash among various Nortel estates around the world. Nortel sought protection from creditors in courts around the world in 2009 and its businesses were quickly sold, reducing a once-global corporate giant to little more than a pile of cash. An agreement governing the money refers to undefined "dispute resolvers" that Nortel's European estates argued was arbitration.
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 16:11:07 -0500
Insight: Tech start-ups show little imagination on board gender diversity
By Sarah McBride and Poornima Gupta SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - At Pinterest, the four-year-old online bulletin board service that is valued near $3.8 billion, some 70 percent of the users are female. Male-heavy boards dominate in the start-up mecca of Silicon Valley, which prides itself on progressive thinking and putting talent first. A Reuters survey of the 10 top venture-backed start-ups, as measured by venture funds raised, shows that six do not have any women on the board, including Pinterest. Reuters' research relied on publicly available data and discussions with start-up executives and board members.
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 13:44:17 -0500
Supreme Court to decide on patent protections for software
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to rule on the divisive issue of what kinds of software are eligible for patent protection in a case being closely watched by the technology industry. The court said in a one-line order that it would hear a case brought by Alice Corporation Pty Ltd, which holds a patent for a computer system that facilitates financial transactions. The court took no action on another case raising the same issue involving a patent dispute between WildTangent Inc and Ultramercial Inc. The deep interest that the software industry and patent experts have in what is a threshold issue in patent litigation was underscored by the number of companies and industry groups that asked the court to decide the issue. Companies including Google Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co, Facebook Inc and Netflix Inc had already signaled their interest in the issue by asking the court to hear the WildTangent case.
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 15:29:28 -0500
Apple spent over $60 million on U.S. lawyers against Samsung
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc has paid its leading outside law firm approximately $60 million to wage patent litigation against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in a California federal court, according to Apple legal documents filed late on Thursday. Apple and Samsung are engaged in global litigation over each other's intellectual property. The two mobile technology rivals have gone to trial twice in the last two years in a San Jose, California federal court, and juries have awarded Apple a total of roughly $930 million. In court filings, Apple asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to order Samsung to pay $15.7 million of the total amount Apple has spent in legal fees.
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 12:27:30 -0500
ASUS Padfone Mini 4.3 pictured ahead of its launch next week
We only just got a whiff of a smaller version of ASUS' odd Padfone series as it passed through certification, and now serial leaker @evleaks can show us what it looks like. As its name indicates, the ASUS ...
Sat, 07 Dec 2013 02:04:00 -0500
AT&T shoots down shareholder demands for transparency on law enforcement requests
Last month, institutional investors in AT&T and Verizon asked the two companies begin to issue the kinds of transparency reports popularized by internet businesses like Twitter and Google. Today, AT&T is issuing its response to the request, reports the New York Times, and unsurprisingly, its not too excited about the idea. To AT&T, its response to law enforcement requests represent "ordinary business operations," outside the purview of ordinary shareholders, so its excluding the request from the ballot for next springs annual shareholder meeting. Firms like Google are actively pushing the DOJ
Sat, 07 Dec 2013 01:32:04 -0500
FCC's wireless spectrum auction delayed to 2015 to prep bidding infrastructure
The lead-up to the government's wireless spectrum auction is going to be a little longer than expected, according to the Official FCC Blog. Partly because the government needs to finalize the event's rules and bidding structure. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler writes that he wants to make certain that the event's infrastructure is up to the challenge, too.
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 23:55:00 -0500
Amazon drones will face constant threats from snipers and birds
In addition to meeting whatever requirements the Federal Aviation Administration may have in place for such projects, Amazon Prime Air drones may also have to face actual physical threats. Assuming the company will be allowed to use unmanned autonomous flying devices to deliver goods in 30 minutes or less, Amazon will need to figure out a way to help its drones avoidbird attacks and even sniper threats. Slate mentions a variety of examples from the wild, in which various species of birds attack other birds or flying devices perceived as potential dangers to their habitat. Open-country raptors hawks, eagles, kites, harriers, etc dont take kindly to interlopers on their hunting grounds, and frequently chase, dive-bomb and take talons
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 23:45:58 -0500
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