Your Samsung Smart TV May Not be Spying On You, But Here’s Why You Should Still Be Careful

Samsung has come under fire more than once in recent weeks. In one incident, owners of its Smart TVs have been complaining that Samsung is inserting Pepsi ads during the playback of their own locally stored movies. Samsung initially tried to sell ads on its Smart TVs, but quietly stopped the distribution of paid apps for its Smart TVs and connected Blu-ray players about a year ago because it realized that most people simply didn’t want to pay for TV apps. This isn’t a huge surprise, considering that publishers generally prefer subscription models such as Netflix that allow them to monetize their content across different platforms. (With Netflix, consumers pay Netflix directly, which allows the company to make its service available on mobile as well as connected devices without having to share its revenue with any platform operator.)[1]

In a second and more concerning incident, the company fell under criticism when an owner of a Samsung Smart TV discovered that the company’s privacy policy included warnings not to disclose private information while in front of the TV, with the implication that the device might be listening in on our all your conversations. The privacy policy cautions its customers with the following warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”[2] Samsung hands over the data to third parties in order to convert speech commands into text as well as to help the company improve its services. It isn’t clear from the privacy policy who the third party is, nor is it clear whether the transmissions are encrypted. Thus, although Samsung says it doesn’t retain the voice data or sell it to others for profit, the possibility remains that the recorded data could be extracted before transmission to the third party. In other words, if the data isn’t encrypted, it’s possible that the televisions could be hacked and used to eavesdrop on customers. Continue reading Your Samsung Smart TV May Not be Spying On You, But Here’s Why You Should Still Be Careful

Creating a Safe Haven in the Online-Dating Community

Internet dating websites have become an increasingly popular way for people to meet their significant others. These websites provide an easily accessible way to engage in the dating world, in a time when lifestyles have become jammed packed with other obligations. Safety concerns accompany this increased usage because of the nature of these websites. Member profiles only provide a glimpse of the potential partner, and often times are false or misleading. A user may unknowingly be communicating with a sex offender, and not even know it. This interaction has the potential of leading to a sexual offense. Continue reading Creating a Safe Haven in the Online-Dating Community

What Happens to a Person’s “Digital Assets” When They Die?: A Legislative Proposal

The Internet has become an expansive virtual world users around the world are exploring, annexing, and defining, just as they always have always done in terra firma, or the natural physical world. With the click of a mouse, anybody has the ability to purchase digital books, movies, and music. People are also using the Internet to communicate with others. We create online accounts, paving digital footprints, trails of data from our Internet usage, and building pseudo-homes within the terrains of the World Wide Web on social media sites. It is undeniable that social media use is booming. According to Pew Internet Project, as of January 2014, 74% of online adults use social networking sites. When Internet users first make accounts on sites like Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter, the process is straightforward. However, there is a complicated quandary that is all too often overlooked but demands attention: how to handle these digital outlets when an account-holder dies.

Take a moment and think about your “assets” and everything you “own.” Merriam Webster Dictionary describes an asset as “something that is owned by a person, company, etc.,” and Black’s Law Dictionary defines ownership as “the complete dominion, title, or proprietary right in a thing or claim.” When I was first asked the question above, only tangible items came to mind. I own the bejeweled wrist-watch I purchased with my very first paycheck (which is currently, luckily, in storage), the screen portrait my parents gave to me as an apartment-warming present, and a collection of CDs my older brothers handed down to me from their adolescence. These physical items constitute a small portion of my assets. However, according to some states, the dimensions of my assets are much greater than I ever possibly imagined. Delaware in particular has adopted a new law declaring “digital assets” such as social media accounts as inheritable property. Continue reading What Happens to a Person’s “Digital Assets” When They Die?: A Legislative Proposal

Women’s World Cup ‘Turf War’ is Over

This past October, a group of professional women’s soccer players, including stars Abby Wambach and Nadine Angerer, filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association (the “CSA”) in the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. The suit arose from the CSA’s and FIFA’s decision to use artificial turf instead of real grass for the 2015 women’s World Cup. All previous world cup tournaments and the upcoming men’s World Cup in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022) have been played and will be played on natural grass.

However, now the players decided to drop the lawsuit. FIFA has a long standing reputation of sexism and favoritism to the male soccer players over their female counterparts, and with the dropped lawsuit, it seems as if they will continue to get away with it. Continue reading Women’s World Cup ‘Turf War’ is Over

3D Printing and Patent Liability

Dr. Hideo Kodama developed the first three-dimensional printing technology, called Rapid Prototyping (“RP”), in 1980. Kodama developed his RP technology for creating industrial prototypes. Kodama unfortunately failed to file the full patent specification before the one-year deadline. Six years later, the United States Patent Office issued Charles Hull the first patent for his stereolithography apparatus (“SLA”), constituting the genesis of modern 3D printing technology. Numerous new 3D printing methods were developed and patented between the 1980s and early 2000s. Within the past ten years, the 3D printing sector has settled into two distinct emphases.

One end of the 3D printing spectrum is high-end, highly engineered industrial parts, with growing applications in the aerospace, medical, automotive industries among others. The other end of the spectrum existed the concept modelers. Concept modelers had a focus on cost-effective concept development and functional prototyping, in a similar vein to the early printers of the 1980s. Concept modelers constitute a precursor to today’s desktop models, though purposed for industry at the time. In January 2009, the first commercially availably printer was put on the market, the BfB RapMan 3D printer. Sometimes called the second or third Industrial Revolution, 3D printing has had an undeniable impact on the industrial sector and has enormous potential for future consumers. Continue reading 3D Printing and Patent Liability

Suggestions for Bitcoin Regulation

Bitcoin is widely relevant. Just look at the variety of Bitcoin-related accounts on Instagram, including one where a family of four is travelling around the United States using only Bitcoins. Bitcoin has also been introduced to mainstream consumers across the world as pre-paid gift cards. Walk into a convenience store in South Korea or Taiwan and buy yourself some Bitcoins on the spot. Similarly, Bitcoins have real-world implications since major retailers such as Overstock have begun to accept Bitcoins as an alternative form of payment. Continue reading Suggestions for Bitcoin Regulation

That Facebook Hoax Explained

“Better safe than sorry right. Channel 13 news was just talking about this change in Facebook’s privacy policy. Better safe than sorry. As of January 3rd, 2015 at 11:43am Easter standard time. I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. By this statement I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me based on this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308-11 308-103 and Rome statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a not like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish this statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE you MUST copy and paste to make this I will leave a comment so it will be easier to copy and paste!!”

Anyone who has a Facebook account has seen this status, or a similar status, time and time again. Even your smartest Facebook friends have taken it upon themselves to “protect” the information and photos they have posted online. While copyright and contract lawyers may laugh at the thought of falling for such a claim, these posts have become a reoccurring phenomenon since their origin in 2012. While it is unknown why the hoax began in the first place, the hoax does provide incite into Facebook users’ fears and confusion over intellectual property and contractual rights. This is what has inspired me to write this article in order to explain the rights Facebook users obtain and the rights they sign away when they create an account.

Continue reading That Facebook Hoax Explained