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Author: arstechnica (Page 1 of 1593)

Verizon kicking people off network for using just a few gigabytes a month

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Spencer Platt)

When Verizon Wireless started disconnecting rural customers for using too much data, the nation's largest wireless carrier described them as extremely heavy data users who were costing the company money. When the disconnections began in June, Verizon told Ars the customers "are using vast amounts of data—some as much as a terabyte or more a month—outside of our network footprint."

But it's now become clear that Verizon's disconnection notices also went to people using just a few gigabytes a month. As we've previously reported, the affected customers are supported by Verizon’s LTE in Rural America (LRA) program, which relies on a partnership between Verizon and small rural carriers who lease Verizon spectrum in order to build their own networks.

Verizon customers in these network areas may not see a "roaming" indicator on their phone, but they're technically on another network and Verizon has to pay roaming charges to the local network operator. When Verizon acknowledged last week that it is disconnecting another 8,500 customers, the company said that "the roaming costs generated by these lines exceed what these consumers pay us each month."

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Appeals court: East Texas can’t keep patent case because of one local salesman

The federal courthouse in Marshall, Texas. (credit: Nicolas Henderson / flickr)

Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court sharply limited where patent cases can be filed. For many tech companies that are regularly sued by the type of patent-licensing shops known as "patent trolls," the TC Heartland decision was welcome news. By limiting venue to places where defendants are incorporated or do business, TC Heartland was seen as an opportunity to shut down many lawsuits being brought in the Eastern District of Texas, a venue that has been historically attractive to so-called trolls and has a huge concentration of patent lawsuits.

Not long after TC Heartland, though, the East Texas judge who hears more patent cases than any other turned down a motion to transfer by supercomputer maker Cray Inc., which was sued for patent infringement by Raytheon in 2015. Lawyers for Cray argued that, under the provisions of TC Heartland, their client was entitled to have its case in a home venue. But US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap disagreed and said that Cray's ties to the district—a single salesperson, working out of his home—was enough to keep the case in the Eastern District.

Today, Gilstrap's decision was reversed by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals. In a 20-page decision (PDF), the three-judge panel directed the case against the Seattle-based tech company to be transferred.

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After murder conviction and suicide, Aaron Hernandez found to have severe CTE

Enlarge / New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez in January 2013. (credit: Getty | Boston Globe)

Former New England Patriot’s tight end Aaron Hernandez had a severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated head trauma. The finding was announced today in a press conference held by his lawyer, according to the New York Times.

CTE leads to progressive cognitive impairment and behavioral regulation problems—and it has notably been linked to depression, suicide, and impulsive and violent behavior.

Hernandez committed suicide in April while serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of his friend. He was 27.

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Oil companies sued to pay for cost of rising sea levels, climate change

San Francisco Embarcadero. (credit: David Yu)

At least five California municipalities are suing five major oil companies, claiming in public nuisance lawsuits that the firms should pay for the infrastructure costs associated with rising sea levels due to climate change.

The latest suits announced Wednesday by Oakland and San Francisco name BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell. The cities claim the oil companies knew of the dangers of fossil-fuel-driven climate change but kept mum. The cities claim that global warming, which they say has melted ice sheets and heated sea water, has contributed to rising seas by about eight inches in California over the past decade. They say it could rise 10 feet by the year 2100.

"The bill has come due," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. "It's time for these companies to take responsibility."

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CCleaner malware outbreak is much worse than it first appeared

The recent CCleaner malware outbreak is much worse than it initially appeared, according to newly unearthed evidence. That evidence shows that the CCleaner malware infected at least 20 computers from a carefully selected list of high-profile technology companies with a mysterious payload.

(credit: Talos)

Previously, researchers found no evidence that any of the computers infected by the booby-trapped version of the widely used CCleaner utility had received a second-stage payload the backdoor was capable of delivering. The new evidence—culled from data left on a command-and-control server during the last four days attackers operated it—shows otherwise. Of 700,000 infected PCs, 20 of them, belonging to highly targeted companies, received the second stage, according to an analysis published Wednesday by Cisco Systems' Talos Group.

Because the CCleaner backdoor was active for 31 days, the total number of infected computers is "likely at least in the order of hundreds," researchers from Avast, the antivirus company that acquired CCleaner in July, said in their own analysis published Thursday.

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