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Apple Lawsuit, Facebook Privacy and Whistleblowers

Copyright, privacy laws and the fate of whistle blowers

Man suing Apple for $10bn

A businessman has filed a $10bn lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the iPhone, iPad and iPod all infringe his 1992 invention of an Electronic Reading Device, or ERD.

Ross says he worked on the idea – his first and last invention – for more than a year, drawing on his experience as a software consultant. The culmination of his work was three hand-sketched technical drawings of the ERD between May and September 1992, before filing a patent in November of that year.

The ERD was conceived as a reading and writing device, with a back-lit screen, that stored media on the device and on remote servers. The patent was filed four years before the Palm Pilot launched and 15 years before the first iPhone.

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Facebook wins Belgian privacy case

The Belgian data protection authority on Wednesday lost a legal battle with Facebook in which it sought to stop the social network from tracking the online activities of non-Facebook users in Belgium who visit the social network's pages.

The Belgian Privacy Commission said the Brussels Appeals Court had dismissed its case on the grounds that the regulator has no jurisdiction over Facebook Inc, which has its European headquarters in Ireland.

That marks a victory for the U.S. company, which staunchly maintained that only the Irish Data Protection Commissioner has jurisdiction over how it uses Europeans' data.
Facebook has had run-ins with a number of European privacy watchdogs over its use of people's data.

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'Luxleaks' tax scandal

Two whistleblowers who revealed sweetheart tax deals for companies including Pepsi and Ikea have been found guilty of breaking secrecy laws and given suspended sentences of up to 12 months.

Two ex- PricewaterhouseCoopers staffers were found guilty in Luxembourg of stealing confidential tax files that helped unleash a global scandal over generous fiscal deals for hundreds of international companies.

Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet face suspended sentences of 12 months and 9 months and were ordered to pay fines of €1,500 (£1,230) and  €1,000 (£822) for their role in the so-called LuxLeaks scandal.

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