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If you're looking for the definition of demurrer or argle-bargle, pretty much any reputable dictionary published in the last hundred years will do. But if you're looking to find the meaning of "botnet," you might have to rely on less-established sources, even Wikipedia. While language and technology evolve quickly, giving us an endless list of neologisms ranging from "fax machine" to "defriend," the dictionary makers of the world, those modern-day Samuel Johnsons and Henry Campbell Blacks, take a bit more time to separate the wheat from the "chillax."

But they catch up eventually. This week, Merriam-Webster announced that it was adding more than 1,000 words to its pages, many of them technological in origin. Now you'll finally have something reliable to cite the next time you're explaining open-source NSFW listicles.

FCC Puts the Brakes on 'Zero Rating'

In what may be the first casualty of net neutrality rules, the new Federal Communications Commission announced it will not investigate internet service providers who may offer "zero-rating" data plans to customers.

The FCC notified AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Comcast that the investigations the Obama administration started are over. The zero ratings investigations looked into whether the companies were violating net neutrality rules by not charging customers to use data with certain apps.

"These free-data plans have proven to be popular among consumers, particularly low-income Americans, and have enhanced competition in the wireless marketplace," FCC chairman Ajit Pai said.

Legal Implications of Autonomous Ships

An oil tanker, weighing half a million tons, is churning through San Francisco Bay without a crew. What could possibly go wrong?

This is more than a hypothetical question. It is the future. Robot-assisted boats are already coursing through the oceans, bays, and waterways around the world.

And with advances in artificial intelligence, the next big thing in the shipping industry will likely be autonomous ships. These office-building-sized tankers, filled with liquid fires-waiting-to-happen, will be creeping around the globe without a man on board to pilot them.

Feeling a little seasick?

A class action lawsuit against PACER, the online Public Access to Court Electronic Records service that everyone loves to hate, overcame an important hurdle last week.

The suit accuses PACER of charging too much for records and, on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle certified the class, which includes just about anyone who has used PACER in the last six years.

New FCC Chair Reignites Net Neutrality Rules

Knock, knock, Neo.

Behind the screen you are looking at right now, another world is knocking.

It's not the Matrix; it's the internet. And it is blowing up in a debate about the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

On one side, Comcast, AT&T, and ISP lobbyists are heaping praise on Ajit Pai, who was appointed FCC chairman by President Donald Trump. On the other side, consumer groups, public interest advocates, and the media are hating on the new appointee.

Uber Settles FTC Case for $20 Million

The FTC filed its complaint in federal court on Thursday, and Uber settled the case before the court closed the same day. That's about as fast as Uber gets, no disrespect intended to many Uber drivers out there.

To show its good faith, Uber will pay $20 million to be distributed to those drivers who received less than the average pay that the company has advertised. The FTC alleged the company falsely advertised on Craigslist and other websites that drivers earned between $15 and $29 an hour. In cities like Boston, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia, however, fewer than 10 percent of Uber drivers earned as advertised.

Shiva Ayyadurai wants to be known as the man who created email -- so much so that he once trademarked the phrase "the inventor of email." Ayyadurai says he came up with "the electronic mail system as we know it today," in 1978, when he was a 14-year-old boy in New Jersey. It's an assertion some support. Others, however, have questioned Ayyadurai's claims, stating that email existed well before 1978. Techdirt was just one blog to make that argument, and is currently facing a $15 million libel suit from Ayyadurai as a result.

Here's one interesting wrinkle from this complicated case: Ayyadurai's suit makes the somewhat puzzling claim that the U.S. government has legally recognized him as email's inventor -- because he registered the copyright for email.

High Court Spares Backpage Adult Services Ads, but 'Censors Have Prevailed'

For online publishers, the law giveth and the law taketh away.

Just after the U.S. Supreme Court turned back a case challenging federal shield laws for online publisher Backpage, the embattled company shut down its adult services section under pressure from the U.S. Senate.

On Monday, the high court let stand a decision against women who sued Backpage for facilitating child sex trafficking and left in place the Communications Decency Act that has protected website operators from liability for content posted by others. Late Monday, Backpage shuttered its classified ads for adult services amidst Senate allegations that it was involved in online prostitution.

"Backpage's response wasn't to deny what we said. It was to shut down their site," the senators said in a statement. "That's not 'censorship' -- it's validation of our findings."

Scammers Are Phishing for Lawyers Nationwide

How many fake emails does it take to fool a lawyer? And no, this is not a lawyer joke.

Apparently, it takes more than seven states' worth of email because scammers have targeted lawyers across the country and they are not letting up. Attorneys from New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Alabama have recently received email with phony threats of lawsuits and disciplinary actions against them. The phishing scam is designed to entice lawyers to click on a link that results in their computers being taken hostage by ransomware.

"Attorneys are receiving email claiming that their business was subject of a complaint for which they have 10 days to respond," New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a press release. "The email includes a hyperlink to the 'complaint' but in reality it links to a website that installs malicious software on the person's computer."

Lawyers know jargon. We've got our alphabet soup of laws and government agencies, our obscure doctrines, our endless, archaic Latin phrases. But even lawyers can be left scratching their heads at the constantly evolving (and sometimes meaningless) stream of tech jargon that can pass their way. We're talking about the startup kids who want your help incorporating a company that will "gamify cross-office collaboration through SoLoMo tech." Or the new law school grad who is so excited to tell you about his project coding "self-enforcing crypto-ledger-based smart contracts."

Are those even words?