The hot, confusing mess that is digital privacy

The last day’s NSA headlines have been about how it broke the law and even violated the Constitution. But that’s just a small part of an opinion that raises more questions than answers, and that underscores the complex nature of data privacy.

Rackspace helps school Congress on copyright and open source

Rackspace VP of Intellectual Property Van Lindberg was one of six tech-industry executives testifying before the House Judiciary Committee about intellectual property on Thursday. He highlighted the value of open source and the sometimes ridiculous nature of DMCA takedown requests.

In a cloud computing economy, the NSA is bad for business

A lot of Americans might say they support NSA surveillance of their online activities, but many other people — including folks overseas — aren’t so thrilled. Can these laws withstand pressure from a tech lobby concerned about lost profits from fleeing users?

Study: Trolls account for 40 percent of patent lawsuits

A study of 500 patent lawsuits found that those brought by patent trolls, which the study’s authors call “monetizers,” account for nearly 40 percent of the cases brought in 2011. Of course, their study doesn’t account for the untold thousands that never make it to court.

Where the Tea Party is right, and wrong, about tech policy

Tea Party favorite Senator Rand Paul took to the podium at a Heritage Foundation event last week to talk about tech policy. However, individual rights and less government regulation certainly are important to the future of the internet, there are necessary limits to that freedom.

Big data as a tool for detecting (and punishing?) bullies

A group of researchers has developed a machine learning model that can detect tweets relating to bullying, and even identify bullies, victims and witnesses. Next, it wants to add sentiment analysis to determine individuals’ emotional states. But if they see trouble, how do they intervene?

Censorship: OK to fight copyright infringement but not sex abuse?

Internet censorship is once again in the news after a federal judge posited a proposed Washington law aiming to prevent child prostitution is likely unconstitutional under the Communications Decency Act. A bigger question is why free speech still reigns online except when copyright is involved.

Yes, we should be afraid of facial-recognition software

My gut instinct is to call Senator Al Franken a well-meaning fool when it comes to his latest outcry — this time against the advent of facial-recognition software — but he actually has a point. Facial-recognition software opens up a whole new class of privacy concerns.

Why Kleiner Perkins might get its arbitration after all

The press might be preparing for a trial or big-dollar settlement in Ellen Pao’s sexual harassment case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, but her lawyers probably aren’t sleeping easy just yet. There are still two issues that could move the case to arbitration.