Business

Russian Meddling Could Lead to Greater Privacy Concerns on Social Media

By: Whitney Hosey *| Staff Writer

https://pixabay.com/en/social-networking-marketing-business-2187996/

On October 31, the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee began a two-day inquiry into possible effects of Russian sponsored advertising via social media during the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter were questioned to determine whether it was possible Russian paid adverts present on these sites impacted the election. Another major concern is how these platforms may have been misused in order to do so, and what steps the companies are taking to ensure their sites are not used in this manner again.

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Wireless Technology Gets Tangled Up in the Legal System

By: Jamie Burchette *| Staff Writer

By Redrum0486 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DynaTAC8000X.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Redrum0486 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DynaTAC8000X.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

It is an age-old story – companies work together, but the relationship sours. Sometimes this is the end of the story, and sometimes this is only the beginning. The relationship between Keyssa Inc and Essential Products Inc seems to be heading in the latter direction.

Keyssa is a company that wants to change the way devices connect with each other. There are already several existing ways: cables, Wi-Fi, etc., however, Keyssa’s product, Kiss Connectivity, promises many benefits over existing connections. Wireless connections take up a significant amount of space inside devices since the connection requires antennas. While these antennas are small, they are relatively large when they are placed inside a smartphone. On the other hand, Kiss Connectivity is “coffee bean-sized” and takes up less space. And, unlike cables, Kiss Connectivity does not require an opening in the device. Kiss Connectivity is more secure than Wi-Fi since it is a direct connection between the two devices without going through any routers. Even more impressively, Kiss Connectivity allows data transfer speeds of up to 6GB per second.

Keyssa has been developing this technology since 2009, and it is just starting to roll it out. In October 2016, Keyssa announced it was placing Kiss Connectivity in Intel 2 in 1 devices. In August 2017, Keyssa partnered with Samsung and Foxconn to place Kiss Connectivity chips in smartphones. Keyssa’s thunder, however, was stolen by the Essential Phone.  The Essential Phone was released shortly after the partnership was announced, and it came equipped with a “magnetic connector with wireless data transfer.” For Keyssa, this move raised some eyebrows, and, subsequently, Keyssa filed a lawsuit against Essential Products.

Keyssa’s lawsuit does not allege that Essential Products stole their chip technology. Instead, this lawsuit has taken a different path. According to Keyssa, the two companies spent ten months discussing Keyssa’s technology. These discussions involved Keyssa’s trade secrets, which Essential Phone was obligated not to disclose under a non-disclosure agreement. Eventually, Essential Products ended the relationship and, instead, used a competing chip from SiBEAM.  Still, the Essential Phone incorporated elements, such as testing methods and antenna designs, which Keyssa claims are trade secrets which they had shared with Essential Products.

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Big Wins for Johnson & Johnson Are Giving Plaintiffs a Lot to “Talc” About

By: Emily Marcum *| Staff Writer

By Austin Kirk (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aukirk/12795954293/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Austin Kirk (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aukirk/12795954293/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Over two-thousand lawsuits are currently pending in state and federal court alleging that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn women about the potential cancer risks associated with its popular talc-based baby powder product. Around 5,000 women claim that they developed ovarian cancer from using the Johnson & Johnson powder containing talc. Talcum powder is made from the mineral, talc, which is mostly made up of three elements magnesium, silicon, hydrogen, and oxygen. In its natural form, some talc can contain asbestos, a known cancer-causing agent. As a result, the United States has ensured since the 1970s that all talcum products used in consumer products are asbestos-free. The American Cancer Society has talc containing asbestos listed as a carcinogen. However, the studies regarding the asbestos-free talc contained in the Johnson & Johnson baby powder and other consumer products remains inconclusive. The American Cancer Society urges consumers that are concerned about talcum powder to avoid or limit their use of consumer products that contain it.

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A Washing Machine Turned Green

By:  Maureen Gallagher *| Staff Writer

By U.S. Secret Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Secret Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Though the term money laundering can conjure an image of a washing machine stuffed with green, the term actually has a more sinister meaning. For money launderers, a dollar bill’s physical appearance plays no role – they are concerned with the cover up. Money laundering is the process of transforming sums of money from criminal activity into sums of money from legitimate activity. It allows profits from criminal activity, like drug trafficking, to appear to originate from a legitimate source. The dirty money is cleaned, hence the term “laundering”.

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Native American Tribe Makes Huge Gamble in Patents Litigation

By: Jamie Burchette *| Staff Writer

By Xasartha (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Xasartha (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Native American tribes were sovereign nations long before Europeans arrived in America. Eventually, European settlers pushed Native American tribes into smaller and smaller pieces of land and their sovereign power was weakened. While the Native American tribes’ existence as an independent nation was recognized in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, the U.S. Government’s treatment of the Native American tribes was less than respectful. Native Americans continued to lose their land and have their culture attacked. Things changed, somewhat, with the introduction of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The U.S. Government recognized the Native American’s tribal sovereignty and stopped taking Native American land.

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FDA Knocking Off Drug Prices by Encouraging Knock-Offs

By: Whitney Hosey *| Staff Writer

https://pixabay.com/en/nutrient-additives-2358476/

Traditionally, the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) role in pharmaceuticals is to ensure that products are safe and effective. Now, in response to public backlash against increasing complex drug prices, the FDA is taking a more active approach to drug prices and accessibility. The FDA is authorized to deal with matters which concern public health, however, it is expanding that definition to include increased access to more affordable life-saving drugs, in the form of generic versions of the existing medications. While the FDA is not engaging in price fixing, the new measures released in October 2017 will, according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, help increase competition in the market by encouraging companies to invest in making generic versions of these medications.

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It Is a Dog’s World and We Are Paying for It

By:  Maureen Gallagher *| Staff Writer

pexels-photo-406014

The apps are at it again, and they are out for your money – the money you throw at your dogs that is. Styled as Ubers for dog walking and sitting, startups like Wag! and Rover provide a convenient platform to facilitate the exchange of cash between dog watcher and dog owner, all for a nice commission. Sensing a lucrative area ripe for development, venture capitalists have “poured more than $200 million into Wag and Rover combined.” Wag! promises “on-demand access to experienced dog handlers in your community you can hire for dog walking, dog sitting, or dog boarding 7-days a week.” Dog owners can track their dog’s walk via GPS and receive a report card and photo for the average price of $20 a walk.

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U.S. Senate Speeds Up Self-Driving Car Legislation

By: Gabriela Mejias *| Staff Writer

By Driving_Google_Self-Driving_Car.jpg: Steve Jurvetsonderivative work: Mariordo - This file was derived fromDriving Google Self-Driving Car.jpg:, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23386014

By Driving_Google_Self-Driving_Car.jpg: Steve Jurvetsonderivative work: Mariordo – This file was derived fromDriving Google Self-Driving Car.jpg:, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23386014

Self-driving cars, once a futuristic idea, are now becoming a reality. With Tesla, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), General Motors, and Uber all working on self-driving car technology, it is only a matter of time before autonomous cars become mainstream. To help expedite this process, the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved a bill addressing the roll-out of self-driving cars. The bill is called the American Vision of Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act, or the AV Start Act. Under the AV Start Act, automakers can obtain exemptions from safety rules that require cars to have human-controls. The entire Senate must vote on the bill but is expected to give it the thumbs up.

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Amazon’s Inescapable Tax Liability

By: Jamie Burchette *| Staff Writer

By User:Verdy p, User:-xfi-, User:Paddu, User:Nightstallion, User:Funakoshi, User:Jeltz, User:Dbenbenn, User:Zscout370 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By User:Verdy p, User:-xfi-, User:Paddu, User:Nightstallion, User:Funakoshi, User:Jeltz, User:Dbenbenn, User:Zscout370 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Amazon is an innovative and successful company which boasted a pretax income of $3.89 billion in 2016. Yet, the government always takes its cut. The United States has a corporate income tax rate of approximately 38.91% and the average corporate tax rate in Europe is 18.35%. In 2016, Amazon paid $1.43 billion in corporate income taxes. When trying to find a way to cut expenses and increase profits, taxes make for a tempting opportunity. There are legal ways to mitigate the cost of taxes, but Amazon went too far and is now facing the consequences. Countless celebrities and even mobsters have suffered under the might of taxes. Now, it is Amazon’s turn.

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Will Big Oil Lawsuits Go Up in Smoke?

By: Greg Volk *| Staff Writer

By U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

These days United States governmental policy on carbon emissions is – like the climate itself according to broad scientific consensus – in a state of significant change. After the Obama administration struggled to implement rules aimed at reducing carbon emissions, a chief cause of human-induced climate change, the Trump administration is trying equally as hard to undo them. Perhaps that is why some state and local governments are taking matters into their own hands.

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