Monday, August 23, 2010

July/August Privacy Catch Up

So...the blog has been uncharacteristically quiet for the last month or so. This is not because nothing privacy related has happened in the legal world. For example, the FBI and federal prosecutors announced that they will not be filing criminal charges related to the Lower Merion Spy Cam Scandal (link here), something I wrote about hereas possibly being the creepiest privacy violation of 2009. Also, it turns out that the millimeter wave scanners used to see through clothes to catch those ever-elusive terrorists can store and transmit images, despite assurances from the TSA that that was not the case (link. In more positive news, the appeals court for the District of Columbia circuit has rejected a claim by the government that round the clock warrantless GPS surveillance is ok (article here). There was also some legislative action, as internet advertisers warned that a new privacy bill, the "best practices act" would "would turn the Internet from a fast-moving information highway to a slow-moving toll-road." Also, speaking of slow-moving toll-roads, Google and Verizon came together to formally announce that net neutrality (i.e., the concept that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally) is a rather quaint notion that shouldn't apply to wireless networks. All in all, it's been a relatively busy month or so.

So why no posts? Well, in addition to all of these privacy events, we also got a huge non-privacy decision - Bilski v. Kappos - which basically upended a decade's worth of precedent on whether you can get patents on novel software or business methods. Since software and business method patents are a big part of my practice, a good deal of the time that I would have spent on privacy was spent on patent stuff instead. To make matters worse, at least time-wise, I also got a copy of Starcraft II, which turned out to be a huge time suck. Happily, rather than releasing a full game, with three playable races and campaigns for each (the approach taken with the original), Blizzard decided to only release a human campaign, which turned out to be approximately a third of a game's worth of play for a full game's price. As a result, I not only get to get back to blogging sooner, I also get to know to avoid new releases from Blizzard in the future, which I guess means that everyone wins.

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