By Chinh Vo
Spyware Vendor Settles Suit with FTC, Promises To Take Steps To Reduce Misuse
Ars Technica reports that software company Cyber Spy has agreed to cease marketing its keystroke-logging spyware in a way that attracts malicious users. The company’s promise is part of a settlement with the FTC, which charged Cyber Spy in 2008 with unfair selling and advertising because its Remote Spy product provided customers with instructions for attaching spyware to emails in order to track a target’s keystrokes and online activities. The district court in the case issued an injunction, temporarily banning Cyber Spy from selling Remote Spy. Under this settlement, Cyber Spy promises to stop promoting its Remote Spy application as a “100% undetectable” way to “Spy on Anyone. From Anywhere.” The company must also warn purchasers that using the software improperly may violate the law and take other steps to prevent malicious use of its product.
Lawyers Claim Google Deliberately Collected Data from Wi-Fi Networks
Wired reports that lawyers suing Google have claimed that a 2008 patent application demonstrates that the company deliberately programmed its Street View cars to collect private data from open Wi-Fi networks. Google is facing several class action lawsuits following its disclosure that its Street View cars intercepted Wi-Fi traffic, an action that the internet giant attributes to coding error. According to the lawyers, the patent application describes a method for increasing the accuracy of location-based services by intercepting data. Google spokeswoman Christine Chen stated that, despite the lawyers’ claims, the patent application “is entirely unrelated to the software code used to collect Wi-Fi information with Street View cars.” She added that not all of the patent applications that Google files “mature into real products or services,” but did not comment on whether Google has actually used the methods described in the particular patent application in question.
USPTO Proposes Fast Track To Expedite Patent Application Review
The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is proposing a new three-track system that would allow applicants to pay an undisclosed premium, on top of the $1090 filing fee, to expedite review of their applications. Currently, the USPTO reviews patent applications mostly on a first-come, first-served basis. In a press release, USPTO Director David Kappos stated that “traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ examination timing may not work for all applicants” and emphasized a goal of promoting efficiency. The USPTO has faced growing complaints from businesses due to its increasing backlog; last year it took 34.6 months on average for patent applications to be reviewed. The proposal could go into effect next year following a public comment period.