Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh seek to conscript big tech into the war on terror; the results could be disastrous.
By Ian Millhiser Feb 16, 2023, 6:00am EST
In 2015, individuals affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS conducted a wave of violence and mass murder in Paris — killing 129 people. One of them was Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American student who died after ISIS assailants opened fire on the café where she and her friends were eating dinner.
A little more than a year later, on New Year’s Day 2017, a gunman opened fire inside a nightclub in Istanbul, killing 39 people — including a Jordanian national named Nawras Alassaf who has several American relatives. ISIS also claimed responsibility for this act of mass murder.
In response to these horrific acts, Gonzalez’s and Alassaf’s families brought federal lawsuits pinning the blame for these attacks on some very unlikely defendants. In Gonzalez v. Google, Gonzalez’s survivors claim that the tech giant Google should compensate them for the loss of their loved one. In a separate suit, Twitter v. Taamneh, Alassaf’s relatives make similar claims against Google, Twitter, and Facebook.
The thrust of both lawsuits is that websites like Twitter, Facebook, or Google-owned YouTube are legally responsible for the two ISIS killings because ISIS was able to post recruitment videos and other content on these websites that were not immediately taken down. The plaintiffs in both suits rely on a federal law that allows “any national of the United States” who is injured by an act of international terrorism to sue anyone who “aids and abets, by knowingly providing substantial assistance” to anyone who commits “such an act of international terrorism.”
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- Medtronic was ordered by a jury to pay $106.5 million for infringing a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) patent.
- Colibri Heart Valve filed a lawsuit against Medtronic in 2019, accused it of infringing two patents related to the delivery and controlled release of replacement heart valves, according to court filings.
- The federal jury convened in California to cover the case sided with Colibri, concluding that three of Medtronic’s Evolut systems induce doctors to infringe a patent, it added.
Colibri developed a “self-expanding heart valve device that includes cross-linked biological tissue and a delivery system that can be guided through a patient’s artery to the heart where it is positioned and used to replace diseased valves,” according to a lawsuit it filed in 2020 in a California federal court.
In its lawsuit, Colorado-based Colibri used identical language to describe Medtronic’s TAVR devices and argued the portfolio infringes its patents.
Colibri said that its CEO, Joseph Horn, gave a presentation to Medtronic employees in May 2014 under a nondisclosure agreement. Horn’s presentation covered Colibri’s heart valve products, delivery systems and methods. Medtronic brought a CoreValve TAVR system to market in 2014 and went on to release several upgrades. Colibri’s lawsuit notes similarities between Medtronic’s devices and its patents.
The jury ruled that Medtronic must pay Colibri $106.5 million for patent infringement.
“Medtronic strongly disagrees with the ruling and will continue to vigorously defend against these allegations at the appellate level,” a company spokesperson rote in an emailed statement. “In the meantime, Colibri’s patent has no impact on ongoing operations, as the patent expired in January 2022.”
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma entered settlement agreements with three major pharmacy chains and an opioid manufacturer totaling more than $226 million, Attorney General John O’Connor announced Wednesday.
Including the new settlements with drugmaker Allergan and pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, Oklahoma has received more than $900 million from opioid makers and distributors to help address the state’s opioid crisis, O’Connor said.
“The opioid crisis has inflicted unspeakable pain on Oklahoma families and caused the deaths of thousands of Oklahomans,” O’Connor said in a statement. “Between 2016 and 2020, more than 3,000 Oklahomans died from opioid overdoses.”
The Justice Department on Thursday filed a civil lawsuit against AmerisourceBergen Corp., one of the largest drug distributors in the country, alleging that it failed to report “at least hundreds of thousands” suspicious opioid orders to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Under the Controlled Substances Act, pharmaceutical distributors must monitor the orders they receive for controlled substances, and are required to flag any they deem suspicious to the DEA. According to the filing, AmerisourceBergen repeatedly failed to do so since 2014, despite being made aware of significant “red flags” at pharmacies across the country.
“In the midst of a catastrophic opioid epidemic AmerisourceBergen allegedly altered its internal systems in a way that reduced the number of orders that would be flagged as suspicious. And even up to the orders that AmerisourceBergen identified as suspicious, the company routinely failed to report those suspicious orders,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said during a call with members of the media on Thursday. “In short, the government’s complaint alleges that for years AmerisourceBergen prioritized profits over its legal obligations and over Americans’ well-being.”
The EU’s smallest member state, Malta, has become the Mafia’s El Dorado. This was the shocking conclusion of a study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Martin Schirdewan.
The report shows how Italian mafia clans laundered billions of euros through online gaming platforms in Malta between 2015 and 2022.
Four billion euros of assets were confiscated through investigations into online gaming related to Malta. The study found that “criminals, including those from Calabria’s ‘Ndrangheta and Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, have become part of the Maltese gaming sector through companies they set up and which they used to launder huge sums of money”.
Why is Malta so attractive to criminal organisations? Why are Mafia bosses so keen on Malta? What makes Malta such a haven for some of the most feared tough guys in the criminal world?
The answer was spelt out by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri. He was compelled to admit that there wasn’t a single applicant for the vacant post of Deputy Police Commissioner.