Open Journal Systems

Ex-Uber Self-Driving Head Files for Bankruptcy After Being Ordered to pay Google $179 Million

Anthony Levandowski received a judgement assessing $179 million in damages regarding his employment agreement with Google, which prohibited holding confidential information or engaging in businesses that Google was participating in. Also implicated were non-solicitation provisions in contracts covering Google’s acquisition of two of Levandowski’s companies. Whether Uber had indemnified Levandowski and may be liable for a substantial portion of the payment to Google is still an open dispute.

This development follows a 2017 dispute where Levandowski resigned from Waymo (Google’s self-driving car project at the time), downloading thousands of files and using them to launch self-driving truck company Otto, which was purchased by Uber in 2016. Levandowski is also facing a 33-count federal indictment for theft and attempted theft of Google’s trade secrets.

Apple Will Pay Up to $500 Million to Settle Lawsuit Over Slowing Down Older iPhones

In a settlement agreement awaiting judicial approval on April 3, Apple may be ordered to pay owners of certain iPhone models up to $25 per affected device. The total settlement would range from $310-$500 million. This development follows a backlash beginning in 2017 when it was discovered that Apple was intentionally slowing down older iPhones. Many alleged that it was to force customers to upgrade, while Apple stated that it was to deal with aging battery issues. Since then Apple has offered battery replacements at significantly reduced prices.

The Dangerous Truth About India’s Cryptocurrency Verdict

The Supreme Court of India struck down the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ban on financial institutions providing banking services to cryptocurrency businesses. The verdict was based on the Indian Constitution’s right guaranteeing the freedom to practice any profession (Article 19 (1) (g)), while the court also stated that the RBI had failed to substantiate a threat from cryptocurrency with empirical data. This ruling still leaves the legality of cryptocurrency trading in an uncertain position in India, as it framed cryptocurrencies as a separable “by-product” of blockchain technology, and that a legislative ban of cryptocurrency would override their verdict’s protection of the practice. 

Countering the threats to the future of cryptocurrency in India are regional governments with tech-heavy economies and the Federal Ministry for IT, both of whom are pushing for better governmental awareness and regulatory clarity regarding blockchain technologies and support the expansion of blockchain-based startups. Telangana State, in which Hyderabad is located has gone as far as to label itself a “blockchain district,” and to create infrastructure supporting those startups. 

Forced Coronavirus Quarantines? Texas Appoints Judges for Emergency Hearings

There is a legal process to force infected patients into isolation under Texas state law. As of March 4, Texas districts have been called have been ordered to appoint two on-call judges to hold hearings whenever necessary to force involuntary quarantines for patients who are refusing. While no hearings have been held yet, and few are anticipated, judges are receiving primers so that they may execute a quarantine order through an emergency ex-parte hearing at any time, day or night.

ACLU Sues ICE Over Its Deliberately-Broken Immigrant ‘Risk Assessment’ Software

A Risk Classification Assessment Tool used by ICE and developed as a way to decide whether arrested immigrants can be released on their own recognizance was overhauled during the Trump administration such that it now almost always recommends detention. The ACLU lawsuit cites a reduction in release rate for “low risk” migrants from 47% to 3%, that in the face of increased arrests of migrants living in U.S. cities. Those denied release are likely to spend weeks or months in jail before having an opportunity to seek release before a judge. 

Trump Administration Is Barred From Enforcing 3D Gun Rules

On Friday a federal judge in Seattle issued a preliminary injunction blocking rules that would allow anyone to 3D-Print a gun in their home. The Obama administration had blocked a company from publishing computer-aided gun design files. A Trump-lead State Department tried to reverse the ban in 2018 but was blocked by a federal judge in a lawsuit ruling that the State Department had not provided proper justification to the public for the reversal. Several states have joined the opposition to the Trump administration’s new rules, including Washington, New Jersey, and New York. These states claim that the revised rules would allow the Commerce Department to grant licenses to post 3D-printed gun files over the internet or to export them without congressional oversight. U.S. District Judge Richard Jones has also remarked that 3D-printed guns could render arms embargoes, export controls, and other security measures against the open access of firearms ineffective.