jm + boing-boing   8

How Theranos used the USPTO to defraud investors and patients
When legendary grifter Elizabeth Holmes was 19 years old, she conceived of a medical device that could perform extensive diagnostics in an eyeblink from only a single drop of blood; she had no idea how such a device would work or whether it was even possible, but that didn't stop her from drawing up a patent application for her "invention" and repeatedly submitting to the patent office until, eventually, she was awarded a patent for what amounted to a piece of uninspiring design fiction.

For Holmes, the patent was key to convincing investors, partners, and patients that her massive, years-long fraud (a company called "Theranos" bilked investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars) was legit; the USPTO helped her out by trumpeting the importance of patents to "inventors" like Holmes, comparing her to Benjamin Franklin in their public communications.

Patents are only supposed to be issued for devices with "utility" -- that is, they have to actually work before you can get a patent for them. But it's been decades since the USPTO has paid meaningful attention to this criterion when evaluating applications, handing out patents for imaginary "inventions" to con artists, delusional hucksters, and other "inventors" who are willing to pay the filing fees that keep the lights on at the Patent Office. And since most people only have a vague idea of the rigor used in patent examination, these patents for design fiction can be used as impressive "proof" when crooks set out to deceive their marks.

[....] 'More than a decade after Holmes’ first patent application, Theranos had still not managed to build a reliable blood-testing device. By then the USPTO had granted it hundreds of patents. Holmes had been constructing a fantasy world from the minute she started writing her first application, and the agency was perfectly happy to play along.'
fraud  patents  uspto  theranos  inventions  boing-boing 
march 2019 by jm
Playboy is suing Boing Boing - but linking is not copyright infringement
Boing Boing linked to a an imgur archive of all Playboy centerfolds,
and Playboy is suing them:
Playboy’s lawsuit is based on an imaginary (and dangerous) version of US copyright law that bears no connection to any US statute or precedent. Playboy -- once legendary champions for the First Amendment -- now advances a fringe copyright theory: that it is illegal to link to things other people have posted on the web, on pain of millions in damages -- the kinds of sums that would put us (and every other small publisher in America) out of business.
intellectual-property  copyright  playboy  boing-boing  centerfolds  porn  history  linking  web 
january 2018 by jm
GCHQ's Spam Problem
'“Spam emails are a large proportion of emails seen in SIGINT [signals intelligence],” reads part of a dense document from the Snowden archive, published by Boing Boing on Tuesday. “GCHQ would like to reduce the impact of spam emails on data storage, processing and analysis.”' (circa 2011). Steganography, anyone? (via Tony Finch)
spam  anti-spam  gchq  funny  boing-boing  sigint  snowden  surveillance 
february 2016 by jm
Syria's lethal Facebook checkpoints
An anonymous tip from a highly reliable source: "There are checkpoints in Syria where your Facebook is checked for affiliation with the rebellious groups or individuals aligned with the rebellion. People are then disappeared or killed if they are found to be connected. Drivers are literally forced to load their Facebook/Twitter accounts and then they are riffled through. It's happening daily, and has been for a year at least."
boing-boing  war  facebook  social-media  twitter  internet  checkpoints  syria 
april 2014 by jm
URGENT: Input needed on EU copyright consultation - Boing Boing
The EC is looking for feedback -- but not much, and pretty sharpish.
Go to www.copywrongs.eu and answer the questions which are important to you. You do not have to answer all the questions, only the ones that matter to you. [...] The deadline is 5 February 2014. Until then, we should provide the European Commission with as many responses as possible!
ec  eu  copyright  law  europe  boing-boing  reform 
january 2014 by jm
UK Internet censorship plan no less stupid than it was last year - Boing Boing
Cory Doctorow's long list of articles describing how the UK's censorware-for-all plan is going to fail. I like this bit:
When we argued our case to the vendor's representative, he was categorical: any nudity, anywhere on [Boing Boing], makes it into a "nudity site" for the purposes of blocking. The vendor went so far as to state that a single image of Michelangelo's David, on one page among hundreds of thousands on a site, would be sufficient grounds for a nudity classification. I suspect that none of the censorship advocates in the Lords understand that the offshore commercial operators they're proposing to put in charge of the nation's information access apply this kind of homeopathic standard to objectionable material.


I guess this means the Daily Mail will be similarly classified as containing "nudity" and blocked, given their smut column on every page?
daily-mail  fail  censorship  censorware  boing-boing  michelangelo  sculpture  nudity  uk  politics  filtering  overblocking  web  internet 
july 2013 by jm

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