Courts

Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against Acacia Research Corp on Wednesday for breaking a contract to license various smartphone and mobile computing technologies. The litigation has been filed in the U.S. District Court in New York, but is currently under a seal. There are not a lot of details available, but this follows a number of patent infringement lawsuits brought by Acacia subsidiaries against Microsoft in October in Texas, Delaware and Illinois.

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An angry shareholder has dropped a class-action suit that he filed back in May accusing Nokia of fraud. Robert Chmielinski, a Nokia investor, had claimed that Nokia spokespeople, including CEO Stephen Elop, knowingly made false statements about how its Lumia line of Windows Phones would boost their position in the global mobile phone market. The suit was based declining stock prices.

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The location services on your Windows Phone can come in handy for navigation apps, finding local services and focus ad banners to content relative to your location. It also allows wireless providers and OS manufacturers to provide location services to allow customers to locate their phones if lost.

A recent Court ruling may have opened the door for law enforcement to use the same location services to track you without a warrant (at least in the Sixth Circuit). The case in question involves a drug dealer, Melvin Skinner, who was tracked by Federal Agents using his cell phone location services. Agents received Court authorization to obtain information on the cell phones used by Skinner that was in turn used to track his location. The tracking information obtained by law enforcement not only connected Skinner to the crimes but would also lead agents to his location for arrest.

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If there is one thing Windows phone users know, it's that their little device can hold a whole lot of information. Whether it's e-mail, personal finances, PIN codes, documents, or naked drunk pictures of yourself at that office holiday party, these mini computers can contain a vast resource of information about our personal lives (and those around you).

While a lot of security issues on smartphones revolves around potential thievery, e.g. remote wiping or spyware, one area up till now has been gray: Do the police have a right to search your phone, even when arrested?

At least according to a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling, no the police cannot search your phone. Like other areas such as car and home searches, police are required to get a search warrant first.  To quote the NY Times:

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled this month, by a 4-to-3 vote, that the search violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Rather than seeing a cellphone as a simple closed container, the majority noted that modern cellphones — especially ones that permit Internet access — are “capable of storing a wealth of digitized information.”

Expanding upon that notion, there is no need to distinguish between "smartphones" and "dumbphones" either as all phones will be covered, ruling out potential areas of dispute in court.

Of course the flip-side is law enforcement will argue that this will make their job harder, something to which we sympathize.  Regardless, we are quite pleased with this decision.  (Counter argument: we're trying to think of situations where remote-wiping could be nefariously employed here once the phone is in possession, but not searched yet by the police.  Hmmm...)

Either way, would you trust that guy (above) with your tricked out, custom Touch Pro 2 with stealth-tethering hack?  Heck, no ...

What are you thoughts?  Sound off in comments...

[via NY Times]

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