This Week in Web #41


The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on the value of design patents in the Apple-Samsung hearing Tuesday

Ina Fried, Recode

Samsung has already had a trying few months, what with Galaxy Note 7’s being replaced after battery meltdowns, Then those replacement phones also catching fire, and finally the company being forced to recall both batches in super flame-retardant return boxes, killing the flagship phone entirely.

Another issue over the past five years has been an escalating lawsuit between Samsung and Apple over design patents the latter holds. The $399M of the $1.05B award against Samsung related to the design patent is what’s being argued at the Supreme Court this week. I am of the opinion that it shouldn’t hold up in part because the design patents are broad and not what I would consider novel concepts. While Chief Justice Roberts probably doesn’t agree with me on that, he does seem to think that the outside design does not affect the guts of the phone and the profits earned by them.

This Twitter bot is tracking dictators’ flights in and out of Geneva

Amar Toor, The Verge

A Twitter bot was created earlier this year (with open source code to boot) that tracks planes belonging to dictatorial governments flying in and out of Geneva. The journalist who created the tool wanted to shed some light on the shadowy workings of Swiss banks. If we can’t get transparency, we can at least try to keep tabs!

Do You Have The Right To Privacy?

Gearbrain Editorial Team

A panel moderated by Gearbrain discussed how to maintain businesses while respecting the privacy of clients. The discussion centers in part around Internet of Things devices, which are gathering more and more information from users with elss and less oversight.

If the argument exists that you can’t have both security and privacy, or perhaps can’t have security without privacy, can we at least agree that you shouldn’t have to have neither? CDN company Akamai has shown that some SSH vulnerabilities in IOT devices have existed for years, potentially decades. Moreover, they’re not getting patched even after they become publicly known for the same reason that common security protocol was not followed in the first place: the rush to get to market makes important tasks like customer security and privacy less important as deadlines loom.

For now the devices may not even be worth it. If you can spend 11 frustrating hours trying to boil a kettle of tea with a connected device, is it worth it?

Even the US military is looking at blockchain technologyβ€”to secure nuclear weapons

Joon Ian Wong, Quartz

The lasting legacy of Bitcoin may not be the volatile currency itself, but the normalization of the concept of digital currency in general, and the blockchain, the powerful ledger that drives this and other secure transactions. DARPA is working on a use case for blockchain to maintain tighter control over the inventory of nuclear arms and parts that the government commands. At the very least, it can make it harder to lose track of nukes or fly them around by accident, costing military jobs.

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