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White House-backed cybersecurity bill sacrifices privacy

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) warned on Monday that the Senate's cybersecurity legislation is an "overreaction" that would undermine Americans' right to privacy.
He said the legislation, which is supported by the White House, shares some of the same "defects" as the House's Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
Senate bills "subordinate all existing privacy rules and constitutional principles to the poorly defined interest of 'cybersecurity.' "                                
Both bills would remove legal barriers that prevent companies from sharing cyber-threat information with each other and with the government. The Senate bill, which is sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), is widely considered to have stronger privacy protections than CISPA.
But Wyden said the Senate bill should be more specific about what types of data can be shared and which agencies can have access to it. He argued it should be tougher for companies to secure legal immunity under the legislation.
"As they stand, these bills are an overreaction to a legitimate fear," he said. "The American people will respond by limiting their online activities. That’s a recipe to stifle speech, innovation, job creation and social progress."  more from The Hill

Ultramercial, Apple, Google, Tenenbaum: Intellectual Property

Court’s March 20 decision limiting the ability to obtain legal protection for some diagnostic medical tests.
In yesterday’s case, the justices set aside a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that allowed a patent for a way to make consumers watch advertisements before they can view copyrighted material on the Web. The appeals court had said patent owner Ultramercial LLC, which offers online advertising services, could pursue a lawsuit against WildTangent Inc., which lets consumers play online games after first watching a commercial.
“It’s kind of a bad omen for these business-method patents,” said Brad Wright, a patent lawyer with Banner & Witcoff in Washington who isn’t involved in the cases.
The Supreme Court ruled March 20 that a medical diagnostic test owned by Nestle SA (NESN)’s Prometheus unit covered little more than an abstract idea and law of nature. Six days later, the justices ordered the Federal Circuit to revisit a decision allowing human genes to be patented.
WildTangent’s appeal to the Supreme Court was supported by Google Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) (VZ)
The appeals court ruling exposes “high-tech companies to increased litigation risk by sanctioning sketchy, high-level claims that lack the specifics that transform abstract ideas into patentable processes,” Google and Verizon said in their filing with the court.


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