Tag: sued

Robot kills fellow worker

In what could be a first, a robot is being sued for killing a human colleague.

In July 2015, Wanda Holbrook, “a maintenance technician performing routine duties on an assembly line” at an auto-parts maker in Ionia, Michigan, called Ventra Ionia Main, “was ‘trapped by robotic machinery’ and crushed to death”.

On March 7, her husband, William Holbrook, filed a wrongful death complaint in Michigan federal court, naming five North American robotics companies involved in engineering and integrating the machines and parts used at the plant. These included Prodomax, Flex-N-Gate, FANUC, Nachi, and Lincoln Electric.

Holbrook’s job involved keeping robots in working order. She routinely inspected and adjusted processes on the assembly line at Ventra, which makes bumpers.

Holbrook was performing her regular duties when a machine acted very irregularly, according to the lawsuit reported in Courthouse News.

Holbrook was in the plant’s six-cell “100 section” when a robot unexpectedly activated, taking her by surprise. The cells are separated by safety doors and the robot should not have been able to move. But it somehow reached Holbrook, and was intent on loading a trailer-hitch assembly part right where she stood over a similar part in another cell.

The machine loaded the hardware onto Holbrook’s head. She was unable to escape, and her skull was crushed. Co-workers who eventually noticed that something seemed amiss found Holbrook dead.

William Holbrook seeks an unspecified amount of damages, arguing that before her gruesome death, his wife “suffered tremendous fright, shock and conscious pain and suffering”.

He also names three of the defendants — FANUC, Nachi, and Lincoln Electric — in two additional claims of product liability and breach of implied warranty.

The case argues that the robots, tools, controllers, and associated parts were not properly designed, manufactured or tested, and not fit for use.

“The robot from section 130 should have never entered section 140, and should have never attempted to load a hitch assembly within a fixture that was already loaded with a hitch assembly. A failure of one or more of defendants’ safety systems or devices had taken place, causing Wanda’s death,” the lawsuit alleges.

UK sued for selling snooping tech to 'rogue states'

The UK government is in hot water with Privacy International which is suing it for selling surveillance technology to Syria, Iran and Egypt.

The privacy watchdog said that the UK government allowed surveillance technology to be exported to repressive foreign regimes.

For a while now privacy groups have been wondering how Iran had been getting its paws on some natty software to spy on its citizens. The body claimed last year that Creativity Software had been selling a location-tracking system to Iran.

Then there were reports that Gamma International was selling “FinSpy” technology to the now-fallen Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak. That technology was used by the regime to hack into citizens’ email accounts, or even take full control of their computers.

Privacy International has penned a letter to Vince Cable, secretary of state for business innovation and skills, asking the government to change the rules which allow such technology to be easily exported.

The watchdog barked that the controls have not kept pace with the way the market and the technology have shifted.

Privacy International is concerned that the FinFisher range of products and other surveillance equipment has legitimate uses where export controls are unnecessary.

Apparently the government has two weeks to take action and update the list of products that need to be checked before export or Privacy International will file for judicial review and, if appropriate, seek an injunction.

According to ZDNet, a Privacy International spokesperson said the body fully expects to go to court, as it is unlikely the government will take action. 

Security expert Acidgen sued for vulnerability warning

Germans react badly when people tell them that they have made something imprecise, as an independent researcher who goes by the handle “Acidgen” found out.

Acidgen, who is based in Sweden, found a stack buffer overflow bug in Magix Music Maker 16 software and promptly passed the information to Magix.

After several emails Acidgen also provided Magix with what he describes as a “nonharmful” proof-of-concept (PoC) to demonstrate how the flaw could be exploited.  He told the outfit of his plans to publish the flaw and PoC after it was patched.

You would think that Magix would be happy that someone had pointed out the flaw without going public and had done everything by the book.

However Acidgen appears to have then got an email from company’s lawyer threatening a lawsuit for “alleged extortion” for his plans to release a proof-of-concept on the flaw.

Acidgen said the legal threat came out of nowhere. Last he heard was that the company was going to issue a patch.

Then he got a really threatening lawsuit letter saying that they are going to press charges for extortion for the exploit code.

Magix also told him it was alerting antivirus companies of “new viruses” that would “spread” due to his PoC.

According to Dark Reading,  the case against Acidgen doesn’t appear to have legs and appeared to be Magix’s legal department trying to blitzkreig the Swede with a fairly hollow threat.

It seems to have backfired somewhat, because an indignant Acidgen decided to reveal the Magix vulnerability yesterday. He did not publish the proof of concept but it should not be difficult for any hacker to work one of those out for themselves.

What appears to have gotten Magix’s goat was Acidgen’s offer to help the vendor further: Acidgen said that he could fuzz for more vulnerabilities “for free.” “I stated and made clear that I’m not trying to extort them or make money,” he says.

It seems Magix’s lawyer has not really got a clue about how things work in the security industry.

On one hand he seems happy that the researcher has sharied his finding with the company, and that it will use the information to “improve its products.”

Then he appears to go off on one. “MAGIX does not appreciate that you are intending to publicly release the Exploit and to cause irreparable harm. As you maybe aware it is illegal to release software which is intended to commit computer sabotage (e.g. Sec. 202c I No. 2 German Criminal Law).

“In addition this announcement together with your offering to have the vulnerability fixed by your company may be considered as an attempted extortion. You may rest assured that MAGIX will enter into all necessary and appropriate legal steps in this regard. In addition MAGIX will inform manufacturers of antivirus software that there might be a new virus based on your code,” the lawyer penned.”

Now it seems that Magix has clammed up about its legal threats and has not responded to press inquiries.

Acidgen said he had no intention of hurting Magix or the security of its clients: That’s why he is still awaiting a fix before releasing the PoC. 

LinkedIn sued for disclosing user's personal information

LinkedIn has come under fire with one Kevin Low, a user who is suing it for allegedly violating his privacy.

He says the site is in violation of state and federal anti-wiretapping laws, as well as its own privacy policies, which state that members names will not be provided to advertisers without prior consent.

Low says user IDs are passed on in a way to make it possible for third parties to associate a particular user with a particular tracking cookie. This, Low argues, removes users anonymity.

In the complaint, filed in the District Court for northern California, Mr Low said that had he been given the choice he would not have agreed to his personal information being shared. He added that he was “embarrassed and humiliated by the disclosure of his personally identifiable browsing history.”

The statement continued to state that anyone who has used the internet to discreetly seek advice about sensitive topics such as hemorrhoids, sexually transmitted diseases and drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation, could be “reasonably certain that these sensitive inquiries had been captured in the browsing history and incorporated into a personalised profile” which in turn would be sent to marketers for a fee.

He is now seeking class-action status. If this goes ahead it could allow other members to seek damages for violation of privacy.

Of course LinkedIn isn’t the first company to be sued for a similar breach. Last year Facebook was under fire with claims that it had violated users’ privacy with referrer headers that sent users’ names to advertisers.

Taiwanese quango sues LG for patent infringements

LG is being sued by a Taiwanese research quango, which has accused it of infringing on 22 patents on mobile phones, air conditioners, Blu-ray disc players and LCD televisions.

According to the Taipei Times, Hsinchu-based Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which is supervised by the nation’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, filed four lawsuits against LG, which it submitted to a federal court in Texas on 26 November.

The quango, which was founded in 1973 “to strengthen the technological competitiveness of Taiwan” through research and development, claims LG Electronics infringed on patents with 15 of these related to LCD televisions and a further two for mobile phones.

ITRI says that unless LG Electronics is barred from using the inventions,  it “will suffer additional irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law and impairment of the value of its patent rights.”

LG may be in for a tough ride. ITRI is backed by a huge pool of 14,000 patents, meaning it’s well equipped to engage in legal strife. Last year, it obtained 397 U.S. patent rights, the highest among research institutions worldwide, according to the statistics of IFI Patent Intelligence.

The news comes as LG is facing financial difficulties, just days after it decided it must scrap its business wing to save the pennies.

The case is also similar to the IP litigation between Acer and HP three years ago, when the former successfully used the support of the ITRI to force the latter in accepting a settlement.

The ITRI isn’t the only one after LG’s blood. On 24 November, LG, along with Nokia and  STMicroelectronics were sued by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for allegedly infringing its patents.

We wonder if this has anything to do with Sockgate

Android phone makers sued again

Putting Android on a mobile phone is probably the fastest way to get yourself into a US court, short of shooting the president.

As Android starts to get popular it seems that every company, and patent troll in the world wants a piece of it.

This time, LG and Samsung are both being sued by an outfit called Vertical Computer Systems. It claims that the LG Ally, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Captivate, Galaxy Fascinate, Galaxy Epic, Galaxy Mesmerize and the i500 touch-screen mobile phone violate its patents.

Vertical says that it is a “provider of Internet core technologies, administrative software, and derivative software application products through its distribution network.” It says in its suit that LG and Samsung infringed two patents related to a “system and method for generating Web sites in an arbitrary object framework.”

Also named in the same case are Interwoven, an enterprise software company, which Vertical says infringed on one of the same patents as LG and Samsung.

The case was filed its in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Vertical has been in the news before. It sued Microsoft in 2008 also for infringing on one of the same patents, word on the street was that Redmond wrote a cheque for $1,533,000 to make the case go away.

Other patent cases for Android include Microsoft’s vs Motorola, Apple vs HTC, Oracle vs Google, Gemalto vs Google, Samsung, Motorola and HTC; and Apple vs Motorola.

The next thing that will happen is that Vertical will apply to the iTC to get Samsung and HTC products banned from import into the US. We are only guessing but that is the normal thing in these cases.

All these patent cases do not seem to be deterring phone companies from sticking the open saucy operating system on their devices. 

Apple sues Nokia in the UK

It’s rotten luck for Nokia, which is now being sued in the UK by Apple.

According to Reuters the two companies, which have been battling it out in the US over patents, have now taken the spat beyond US borders and into Blighty.

“We are investigating the claims, which appear to be based on nine implementation patents already in suit between the two companies in the United States,” said Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant.

The two firms have been locked in a legal tussle since last October, when Nokia sued Apple in the United States, arguing the iPhone-maker was getting a “free ride” on technologies patented by Nokia since 2007.

It said Apple owed it royalties for using Nokia technology that allows basic mobile tasks such as sending email or downloading applications.

Nokia also said that a number of patents had been trampled on in the creation of the iPhone, including components that handle encryption, wireless networking and speech processing -we may not have believed this had we not heard that Nokia had a smartphone ready before Apple.

However, Apple decided to get its own back in December countersuing Nokia and claiming that it had infringed on some of its patents.

Nokia however, wasn’t having any of this and in May claimed that Apple was infringing on five further patents in the iPhone and iPad.

The US trade body, the  ITC is set to decide on some of the claims between the two companies next year, while the key court hearings are scheduled for 2012 in Delaware.

Now the case has moved to the UK we can’t see any answers anytime soon. If our gran could get hold of the companies she’d bang their heads together.

Limewire founders ruled liable for copyright infringement

The developers of file-sharing software Limewire have been made liable to 13 major record companies for infringing their copyrights.

The ruling by Manhattan Federal Judge Kimba Wood was made after he agreed with the 13 record companies that LimeWire’s parent company Lime Wire LLC and its founder Mark Gorton should be held liable for copyright infringement.

Judge Wood said at the ruling: “The evidence demonstrates that LimeWire optimized LimeWire’s features to ensure that users can download digital recordings, the majority of which are protected by copyright, and that LimeWire assisted users in committing infringement.”

Arista, Atlantic, BMG Music, Capital, Elektra, Interscope, LaFace, Motown, Priority, Sony BMG, UMG, Virgin and Warner Brothers sued Lime Group and made the original lawsuit back in 2006.

They complained that Limewire, which has been operating since 2000 was allowing its 50 million monthly users to download and share pirated material, which infringed their artist’s copyright.

Although the ruling will come as a blow to many users of sites such as this – though we’re not entirely sure anyone actually uses Limewire anymore – record industry bods, are unsurprisingly thrilled at the news.

Mitch Bainwol, Chief Exec of The Recording Industry of Association of America (RIAA) said in a statement: “The court’s decision is an important milestone in the creative community’s fight to reclaim the Internet as a platform for legitimate commerce.

“The court has sent a clear signal to those who think they can devise and profit from a piracy scheme that will escape accountability.”

Back to iTunes then.

Shamed McAfee accused of tricking customers with pop-ups

McAfee has landed itself in hot water following claims that it duped customers into subscribing to third-party services and passed their card information to the service supplier without their permission.

The shamed security company is now being sued by Melissa Ferrington and Cheryl Schmidt who are based in California. They are demanding that McAfee is banned from continuing the practice as well as milking the company for compensatory and punitive damages, which would be decided at a trial.

The lawsuit, which TechEye has obtained, reads: “McAfee sells its products and its services on its website. When consumers buy these products directly from McAfee, however, a misleading pop-up on the McAfee site leads them to unwittingly enrol in subscription based services, offered by a third party, Arpu Inc.”

And times must be tight for the security company as the two women allege that McAfee receives an “undisclosed fee” for doing this. They also claim the company does not inform customers of terms and conditions and that it is sharing their personal information.  

The lawsuit claims that when customers buy McAfee security software online, they are presented with a pop-up asking people to “buy it now”, which looks like part of the McAfee brand. By clicking on the pop-up users agree to pay a $4.95 per month fee to web ad company Arpu.

“The pop-up, mimicking the look of the other pages on the McAfee site, thanks the customer for purchasing McAfee software, and prompts McAfee’s customers to click a red button to ‘Try it Now’,” the lawsuit states. “The pop-up contains no obvious visual cues or conspicuous text indicating that it is an advertisement for another product, or that clicking on ‘Try it Now’ will lead not to the delivery of the McAfee product but rather to the purchase of a completely different product. Instead, all the visual cues suggest that ‘Try It Now’ is a necessary step in downloading the McAfee software.”

It’s not clear what the outcome will be, but if this lawsuit has taught us anything, it’s that even security companies can fall down sometimes.