STLR Link Roundup – March 21, 2014

Class Action Status Denied for Gmail Case

In its fight against claims that it illegally scanned private e-mails on its Gmail accounts, Google has just won a major victory. The U.S. District Court in San Jose, California refused a bid for class-action status. Allowing the case to proceed as a class action would have allowed plaintiffs to pool resources, and would ultimately have put greater pressure on Google to settle.

E-mail users have claimed that Google has intercepted and read the content of e-mail messages for targeted advertising. The plaintiffs have argued that each person was eligible for damages of $100 a day for violations of federal wiretap law, meaning that the amount at stake could have reached into the trillions of dollars.

Former Microsoft Employee Charged With Leaking Code

Software architect Alex Kibkalo has been accused of stealing company trade secrets during his tenure at Microsoft. Specifically, he was accused of leaking Windows 8 code to a tech blogger. He also secretly released a tool that may have allowed for unauthorized activation of copies of Windows, which could have harmed Microsoft’s ability to generate revenue. He is now facing federal criminal charges.

Microsoft caught the internal leak by tapping into the Hotmail account of the third party blogger, and read that blogger’s email and instant messages. Microsoft says it was within its legal authority to do so, based on its Terms of Service which allow it to access information in the accounts stored on its Communications Services. The details of Microsoft’s tap into the blogger’s account were addressed in a suit filed by the U.S. government against the employee.


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