A judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that a blogger behind BeaverCountian doesn't have to provide IP addresses or other information that could identify some commenters on the site. The judge found that two commenters served as sources for the blog. Pennsylvania's shield law allows journalists to protect the identity of confidential sources.
Some groups who opposed the FCC's privacy rules had "extensive financial ties to phone and cable companies," The Intercept reports. Two organizations (he League of United Latin American Citizens and OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates) that received money from Comcast argued to the FCC that low-income households "appreciate receiving relevant advertising that is keyed to their interests and provides them with discounts on the products and services they use.”
Providers of virtual private networks say that efforts in Congress to nix the FCC's broadband privacy rules have spurred a spike in interest by consumers. But Techdirt points out that virtual private networks don't necessary cure privacy problems. "In using a paid-for VPN service, you're basically just moving the area of attack," Techdirt writes. "Now, instead of your ISP snooping on you, you need to worry about the VPN company, because they get the same insight into your traffic patterns as your ISP."
Mobile malware is increasing, according to a new Nokia Threat Intelligence Report. Android devices are still more vulnerable than iPhones, according to the report.
Makan Delrahim, the new head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, recently suggested that AT&T's proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner didn't present a competitive problems. "The sheer size of it, and the fact that it’s media, I think will get a lot of attention,” he said in October, according to DSLReports. “However, I don’t see this as a major antitrust problem."
State lawmakers in Illinois are considering three new online privacy laws. One bill would require Web companies to tell consumers what kinds of data is collected about them. A second would limit geolocation tracking by smartphones, and a third would restrict microphone use by apps and other devices. Other states including California, Connecticut, Nebraska and West Virginia have recently passed laws regarding online privacy.
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who sought to hold eBay responsible for alleged patent infringement. The man alleged that his patent on "Carpenter Bee Traps" was being infringed by other sellers who offered products on eBay's platform. US District Judge Karon Bowdre ruled that eBay didn't know of "actual infringement" of the patent, and also wasn't "willfully blind" to infringement.
The government's $300 million broadband map -- which was launched in 2011 in order to provide information about nationwide broadband service -- hasn't been updated in over three years, according to DSLReports. "While the intention was arguably good, the implementation wasn't," writes Karl Bode at DSLReports. "And while the government deserves lots of blame, so do ISP lobbyists that work tirelessly to ensure consumers don't have access to accurate price, speed or coverage data."
Mignon Clyburn, the only Democrat currently on the FCC, says she will fight for net neutrality and to expand affordable broadband access. "I'm no longer in the majority, but my mission and my objectives are the same," Clyburn told Motherboard. "I came here almost eight years ago to ensure that the voices that have not been traditionally heard will have a person representing them."
Hackers are threatening to remotely wipe devices of Apple users, unless the company pays a ransom of either $75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum, or $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards. The hackers say they have access to more than 300 million Apple email accounts.