Tag: judge

Samsung bribery case getting tacky

A South Korean court has reassigned the Samsung Group chief Jay Lee’s bribery trial to another judge.

Apparently, the judge had a connection to a woman Lee is accused of bribing.

To be fair to the judge, Lee Young-hoon, who presided over the March 9 pre-trial hearing for Jay Lee and four former and current Samsung Group executives alerted the authorities about his own connection.

But the decision comes a day after an opposition lawmaker accused Lee Young-hoon’s father-in-law of being a financial sponsor for Choi Soon-sil, a confidant of former president Park Geun-hye and a central figure in the graft scandal that led to Park’s removal from office and the Samsung chief’s indictment.

For those who came in late, Park was dismissed as president by the Constitutional Court on Friday last week and has been summoned by prosecution for questioning as a suspect in the bribery investigation.

The special prosecution team that indicted the Samsung chief accused Park of colluding with Choi to pressure big businesses to contribute to non-profit foundations backing her administration’s initiatives.

The court said in a statement that Lee Young-hoon’s father-in-law had denied the allegations and had not met or contacted Choi or her family since the assassination of Park’s father, former president Park Chung-hee, in 1979.

But the case is starting to look even messier than it was when Jay Lee was indicted by a special prosecution team on several charges including pledging $38.03 million in bribes to a company and foundations backed by Choi.


HP gets [censored] reply from a US judge

HP logoThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP’s attempts to keep heavily censored documents away from the prying eyes of the public seems to have incurred the sarcastic humour of a US judge.

The heavily censored documents were practically impossible to read, but HP insisted that they be kept under seal any way.

HP seems to like its black ink, presumably because it makes more money from that than anything else. Judge Charles Breyer gave them a taste of its own redaction.

This certainly won’t stop HP from making another attempt to seal submitted exhibits, but at least it gives the company a succinct depiction of Breyer’s thoughts on its multiple secrecy motions.

Judge Breyer who has been involved in the three year case between Hewlett-Packard and its shareholders should have been long over.

However eight motions in total were filed by HP during the waning days of the legal battle. All eight have been denied by Judge Breyer because…. We don’t know.  Breyer sent back his judgement so heavily redacted no one could read it.

Breyer’s refusal leaves almost everything to its lawyers’ imaginations, however there is a clue in the footnote on the final page.

No motion for reconsideration will be entertained unless HP identifies within three days “a limited amount of exceptionally sensitive information that truly deserves protection” under the “compelling reasons” the footnote said.


Judge worried about tech employment settlement

A US judge said she had concerns about approving a $324.5 million settlement involving Apple, Google and two other tech companies in a lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to avoid poaching each other’s workers.

US District Judge Lucy Koh said that the employers had considerable power over their employees and she was worried that the settlement did little to help them out.

Tech employees filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe in 2011. The case has been closely watched due to the potentially high damages award and the opportunity to peek into the world of Silicon Valley’s elite.

The four companies agreed to settle with the plaintiffs in April for a total of $324.5 million. The plaintiffs had planned to ask for about $3 billion in damages at trial, which could have tripled to $9 billion under antitrust law.

Koh said the employees should have cleaned the employer’s clock  given the strength of the evidence in the case.

Emails showed Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and some of their Silicon Valley rivals hatching plans to enforce their no-poaching agreement.

She aid that she had concerns about whether this is really fair to the class given what they could have got out of the case if they took it further.

Plaintiff attorney Kelly Dermody said the workers faced serious risks on appeal had the case gone forward, especially since the US Supreme Court has been sceptical of large class action lawsuits.

Koh was sceptical the Supreme Court would get involved and said that if there was a good case for further restricting class actions,  she was not sure that this was it.

Koh also praised the settlement for allowing all the plaintiffs to recover money, regardless of whether they filed a paper claim. Workers would receive a few thousand dollars each on average.

However, Google attorney Robert Van Nest said Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe are paying a higher premium to settle the case than Disney and Intuit did, as calculated by the number of employees from each company in the class.

Judge tells off the snoops

A federal magistrate judge in the District of Columbia has denied a government warrant request to search an unnamed user’s mac.com e-mail address.

This is news because it so rarely happens as judges usually allow the government to snoop on who they like.

The case involves alleged corruption and conspiracy by a defence contractor.

Judge John Facciola said that the government was submiting overly broad warrants and made no effort to balance the law enforcement interests against the obvious expectation of privacy e-mail account holders have in their communications.

Federal authorities asked the court to grant the warrant request, which asked for “All records or other information stored by an individual using each account, including address books, contact and buddy lists, pictures, and files,” and logged IP addresses, billing details, and more.

However, the judge said that the government was really after e-mails from December to the present and nothing explicitly requested that Apple gives the government any e-mails.

Facciola thinks it this confusion was caused by poor drafting, but would allow the cops to take anything they like. He thought that the government was using language that has the potential to confuse Apple, which has the job of working out what information must be given to the government in the hope of getting more information.

He added that the court should not be placed in the position of compelling Apple to work out what the government actually seeks and until this application is clarified, it will be denied. 

Judge rules NSA surveillance illegal

A federal judge has ruled that the National Security Agency’s phone record surveillance programme is likely to be unconstitutional.

US District Court Judge Richard Leon, ironically a George Bush appointee, said that the agency’s controversial programme appears to violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The programme collects records of the time and phone numbers involved in every phone call made in the US, and allows that database to be queried for connections to suspected terrorists.

According to the Huffington Post, Leon could not imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval.

He said that the author of the constitution, James Madison, the man who was anti-democracy and thought legislators should be “disinterested” and act against the wishes of constituents, would be aghast by the NSA’s antics.

His ruling came down after conservative activist Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit against Prism in June. The suit claimed that the NSA’s surveillance “violates the U.S. Constitution and also federal laws, including, but not limited to, the outrageous breach of privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and the due process rights of American citizens”.

Leon ordered the government to stop collecting the phone records of Klayman and another plaintiff, and to destroy the records already collected. But he also stayed that order, giving the government another chance to argue the programme doesn’t violate the Constitution. 

Typeface leads to retrial

A convicted sex offender faces a retrial because a judge in the case did not like the fact he used Arial typeface on letters and said as much on Facebook.

According to the Technology and Workplace Blog, an unnamed sex offender [John Doe] was fighting the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board’s decision that he needed to register as a level three sex offender. As part of the normal administrative process, Doe’s case went to hearing examiner Tyson Lynch, who ruled against Doe.

However, Lynch made some huge mistakes by posting a lot of rubbish about the case on Facebook. The list was long, but one of the more memorable was the fact that he could not trust anyone who used the Arial typeface.

He ranted that the Arial font is “not appropriate for motions” followed up with “I might be biased. I think Arial is inappropriate for most things”.

Other mutterings were obviously worse such as the observation, posted during working hours that  “it’s always a mistake when people testify, because they get destroyed in cross examination”,

In another case, the hearing examiner also posted that he “hopes this guy doesn’t show up!!” which was followed up with “Tyson Lynch says yay!! He didn’t show up!”

Oh and don’t use the word ‘lascivious’ in Lynch’s court either, he does not like it.

His Facebook rants tend to dub sex offenders as pervs which another court thought was a bit on the nose.

When the appeal was heard and Lynch’s Facebook page shown, an appeal court said that the comments were “unquestionably inappropriate, unprofessional, troubling, and suggestive of a prejudicial predisposition”.

The remarks imply Lynch made unwarranted negative presumptions against the people he evaluated and was biased against Spanish speakers, and ruled based on the fonts used in written submissions rather than legal arguments.

Due to Lynch’s apparent bias, the court vacated the registry board’s ruling against Doe and granted Doe another hearing. Now every case that Lynch heard could be susceptible to similar claims of bias.

Fortunately, for the US Justice System, Lynch is not working any more according to Facebook Lynch muttered that he thought his agency has been the subject of too many news exposes and he might have to should seek alternative career plans. According to Linkedin, he is now selling  houses as an estate agent. 

Judge halves Apple damages

Apple’s thermonuclear patent troll war against Samsung has run aground spectacularly.

A federal judge slashed a $1.05 billion jury award by more than 40 percent and set a new trial to determine damages.

It is usually said that Apple won its patent claim, which effectively was over the rounded rectangle shape, every time the patent war story is mentioned.

True, the iPhone maker convinced the jury that the Korean company had infringed on its iPhone and iPad patents, but the actual value that the jury awarded was a bone of contention because it seemed to have gone through rather quickly and had not added things up properly.

Judge Lucy Koh of the US district court, Northern District of California in San Jose, decided to strike $450,514,650 from the jury’s award.

She also decided that the two companies may once again square off in a California court to decide how much of the $450.5 million struck from the damages, associated with 14 Samsung products, should stand.

Koh said the jury had incorrectly calculated part of the damages and that a new trial was needed to determine the real dollar amount.

She rejected Apple’s motion for an increase in the jury’s damages award and ordered a new trial on damages for the 14 devices, which include the Galaxy SII.

Shares in Apple closed down 2.5 percent on the back of the ruling, while Reuters noted that shares in Samsung rose 1.1 percent this morning.

Apple continues to stick two fingers up at UK Justice

Apple is continuing to mock British justice for daring to tell it to publish an apology to Samsung.

Apple was told to apologise to Samsung in an advertisement after it lost a court case in which it had claimed Samsung had pinched its ideas. Apple’s apology failed to mention the word sorry and contained some misleading information about the court case situation against Samsung.

Needless to say, a UK Appeals court was not happy with this and told Apple to print a proper apology and stop mucking around.

Apple’s answer to that was something that the military calls dumb insolence.

Apple has uploaded the statement with some JavaScript code that resizes the homepage’s central iPad Mini image and pushes the apology statement below the “fold” of the page.

This means that casual visitors to the Apple UK homepage, who are unlikely to scroll down the page, won’t see the apology.

Apple has only said sorry on its UK homepage. The US page is sized and spaced as normal.

Apple insisted that its programming geniuses would take weeks to build the code for a proper apology. The appeals court gave them 48 hours.

Our guess is that Apple thinks that if the court gets cross about the apology being formatted off the screen, it will just say that it warned the court that it did not have the time to fix it.

We do not think the courts are that stupid. For a start they will wonder why Apple spent all that time putting in faulty Javascript code when all they needed to do was type something into the CMS.

It appears that the only way Apple will come to understand that there is a law outside its reality distortion field is if the judges jail Apple executives for contempt until they stop taking the Nintendo.

Another critical Java bug arrives

Oracle is setting up the bunting for its JavaOne 2012 conference in San Francisco, just as researchers from the Polish insecurity outfit Security Explorations found another critical hole in the company’s Java software.

According to Security Explorations’ researcher Adam Gowdiak, who sent the email to the Full Disclosure Seclist, this Java exploit affects “one billion users of Oracle Java SE software”.

Gowdiak told Computerworld that the hole will have a bigger impact on Java users than any previous problem.

It affects Java 5, 6 and 7 while most of the previous problems with Java have effected its latest version 7.

The last critical security flaw that Oracle just patched was on 30 August. This one is allegedly so bad that users were advised to disable Java on their browsers if they wanted to avoid it.

In this case all the latest web browsers with the latest Java SE software will have to do the same thing.

Gowdiak said his company found 50 problems in various Java SE implementations including 17 different complete sandbox bypass exploits. It reported two issues to Apple and 17 to IBM.

Oracle have not got back to him yet on the bugs.

The bug allows attackers to violate a fundamental security constraint of a Java Virtual Machine.

He said that all you can do is disable Java Plugin in the web browser and wait for the patches from Oracle.

There are still three weeks until the scheduled Java Oct Critical Patch Update, so it might be possible that the bug will be addressed by the company on 16 Oct 2012, he said. 

Java judge tells Google to look for sock puppets

It would appear that judge William Alsup’s quest to find the paid hacks in the Google and Oracle Java case was focused on Google.

According to Wired, Alsup demanded to know from both sides who they were funding to place blogs and news stories online.

Oracle admitted that it hired Florian Mueller, but not to write blogs. Google did not admit to hiring anyone.

Given that the world and its dog knew about Mueller, it did wonder who Alsup was referring too.

Now it looks like Google has been given three days to fess up the name of the sock-puppet it hired. Which means that the judge knows something that we don’t, and Google’s lawyers hope they can get away with.

Google’s argument was that there were so many that indirectly or directly received money from Google that it would be pointless to list all of those people.

To Alsup that particular statement meant that Google has failed to comply with the August 7 order.

Alsup told Google to do its best. “Oracle managed to do it,” he said. “Google can do it too by listing all commenter known by Google to have received payments as consultants, contractors, vendors, or employees.”

Judge Alsup wants to clear up this issue of paid commenters, in part because it could have an effect on any appeal.