Entries with tag legal cases.

Major Bitcoin Exchange Is Embroiled in Ongoing Legal Saga

A pending class-action lawsuit in Chicago has alleged that the now-closed Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, once the world’s largest, committed fraud. The company has filed for bankruptcy protection in both Japan and the US. Mt. Gox says it is working to discover what became of those bitcoins that it lost, which led to the company’s demise. In its bankruptcy documents, Mt. Gox claims it could not find 750,000 customer bitcoins, worth about $474 million, and $28 million in cash, although the company said it subsequently found 200,000 of the bitcoins. The exchange is working with Japanese police to determine what happened to the missing bitcoin. (SlashDot)(IT World) 

Ex-Gubernatorial Candidate Convicted of Tech-Stock Fraud

US District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin sentenced a one-time candidate for the Oregon state governorship to six years in prison for fraudulently convincing investors he had access to shares of Facebook before its initial public offering in 2012. According to the court, Craig Berkman, who ran unsuccessfully for the governorship in 1994 and was formerly head of Oregon’s Republican Party, told investors he had an inside line on pre-IPO technology stocks to gain their trust and money. Berkman raised $13 million from investors in 2011 and 2012 with the claim that he would buy pre-IPO shares in various technology companies. Instead, the court ruled, he used the funds to pay some investors and cover personal expenses, such as settling $6 million in debts. In 2008, Berkman left Oregon for Florida after being charged with fraud. He pleaded guilty in federal court in New York in June on new charges including securities and wire fraud. The sentence was less than the eight years and one month outlined in federal sentencing guidelines. Berkman will also reportedly pay about $11 million in restitution to his victims.(Reuters)(The Oregonian)

Alleged Harvard Bomb-Hoax Perpetrator Attempted to Cloak Threatening E-mails

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested a student they say is responsible for a bomb threat at Harvard University this week. The student allegedly used a temporary anonymous e-mail account routed through Tor—a network used to make communications anonymous—to send a series of threatening messages to random Harvard departments such as the campus police and student newspaper. However, FBI and Harvard technicians were able to trace the e-mails because they originated on the campus’s wireless network. Authorities have charged Eldo Kim, 20, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with making the threat to avoid taking a final exam. The messages, sent prior to the exam, resulted in the evacuation of four large buildings. Kim was a sophomore studying psychology and Japanese, according to the Harvard Crimson. If convicted, Kim, who was released on bond, faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of suspended release, and a $250,000 fine. (SlashDot)(NBC News)(CNN)(The Boston Globe)(The Harvard Crimson -- 1) (The Harvard Crimson -- 2) 

Lawsuit Contends that LinkedIn Hacks Users’ E-Mail Accounts

A class action suit filed by four LinkedIn users asserts that the social-networking site accesses its members’ e-mail accounts and gathers information from them without explicit permission. The suit contends that LinkedIn hacked the users’ external e-mail accounts and downloaded the addresses of their contacts “for monetary gain” by promoting its services repeatedly to the users’ nonmember contacts. At issue is whether the social networking site acted without clearly notifying the user or obtaining consent. Users have complained to LinkedIn about its “harvesting” of email addresses and repeated spamming of those addresses, notes the complaint. The lawsuit, filed in a San Jose, California, federal court, is asking for damages and an order prohibiting LinkedIn from continuing its “wrongful and unlawful acts.” LinkedIn, in a brief blog post, called the accusations false and says it never sends messages or invitations to join LinkedIn without user permission. (PCWorld)(The New York Times)(LinkedIn Blog)

US Court Rules Circumventing IP Blocks Violates Federal Law

A new federal ruling holds that disguising an IP address or using a proxy server to visit Web sites from which someone has been blocked violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The ruling was issued by US District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer for the Northern District of California and stems from a lawsuit between Craigslist and 3Taps, a data harvesting firm. 3Taps was scraping apartment rental information from Craigslist postings for the PadMapper apartment listing application. PadMapper, which displays listings from various sources on a Google Map, was served with a cease-and-desist letter in July 2012 for violating Craigslist’s terms of service and took the listings down. 3Taps had its IP addresses blocked as a result, but discovered a workaround that allowed it to continue its data scraping activities. Craigslist filed a copyright claim against 3Taps and PadMapper; 3Taps countersued, claiming that Craigslist seeks to create a monopoly in the market by eliminating its competition. The law was originally passed in 1984 by Congress  to fight hackers, but has since been interpreted by the government as extending to violations of terms of service agreements or computer use policies. 3Taps still could face civil damages for unauthorized access to Craigslist. (WIRED)(CNET)(Craigslist v. 3taps @ The Volokh Conspiracy blog)

Wikileaker Manning Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, responsible for the largest leak of classified documents in United States history, was sentenced by a military judge to 35 years in prison Wednesday. The 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst gave the WikiLeaks website more than 700,000 documents in early 2010, including US Embassy cables. The leaked information endangered lives and interfered with the government’s diplomatic efforts, prosecutors said. The maximum sentence possible was 90 years. Prosecutors had asked that he be given 60 years, while the defense sought a 25-year sentence. He will be given credit for time served, which is about three-and-a-half years. The judge also reduced his rank, gave him a dishonorable discharge, and ruled that he would forfeit all pay. Last month, Manning was acquitted on a charge of aiding the enemy, which carried a possible life sentence. He was found guilty on five counts of violating the Espionage Act and five counts of theft. Once his case has been reviewed, it will automatically be sent to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, according to reports. The continuing process through the military legal system is expected to be a lengthy one. Manning is eligible for parole in roughly nine years. (WIRED)(National Public Radio)

Apple Awarded $1 Billion in US Patent Row with Samsung

A California jury has awarded $1.05 billion to Apple after finding that Samsung “willfully” infringed on six Apple patents. Samsung says it will contest the verdict. Because the jury found that Samsung willfully infringed on Apple’s patents, the judge could award triple the $1.05 billion jury judgment. In the wake of the verdict, it remains unclear what Samsung, which is based in South Korea, will have to do to remain active in the US market. Analysts say that company might have to license technology from Apple or else pull all devices using the infringed-upon technologies from the market and redesign them. A South Korean court recently ruled that Apple and Samsung infringed on each other’s mobile-device-related patents. The court awarded both companies damages and banned sales of some of their products in South Korea. Both consumers and analysts have expressed concern that the US ruling could inhibit innovation and cause device prices to rise. (PhysOrg)(AFP)(The New York Times)(ZDNet)

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