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Tech association woes continue

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It’s a safe bet that one group who won’t be sad to leave 2013 behind will be TechAmerica.

The Washington DC based technology trade association was sued over dues by their own members in 2012. It appeared that the Illinois case would be settled last October, but a source close to the situation has indicated that no agreement has been reached. The suit is still alive and could head to a jury trial in 2014.

Then last month, four of TechAmerica’s employees who led the group’s procurement practice walked out en masse and joined rival ITI (Information Technology Industry Council). TechAmerica responded by suing their former employees for $5 million in damages claiming theft of competitive information.

All of this legal action is apparently causing some unhappy feelings among the current TechAmerica board. This column as learned that several board members are concerned that the association’s legal problems are getting in the way of the main task at hand: strengthening the tech industry’s lobbying position in Washington and state legislatures.

Tying up other loose ends as we close out the year and gear up for another week of CES madness in early January:

Cyberstalker sentenced – The Singapore cyberstalker - Colin Mak - who was convicted of harassing American singer Leandra Ramm and two others was sentenced today to three years in jail and fined $5,000. The landmark case is the first time an international cyberstalker has been successfully prosecuted. “We would have liked to see him get four to forty years,” said A.J. Fardella at a presentation about the case earlier this month. For Fardella, the computer forensics specialist who helped Ramm, it was still a satisfying conclusion to a shocking example of electronic harassment run amok.

Deadline extended for new energy law – Revisions to Title 24 in California requiring the widespread use of energy saving devices in all new construction, have been delayed. The California Energy Commission announced late last week that the new law will not take effect until July 1st of next year. As reported in this column , the new law could have a big impact on Silicon Valley and much of the tech industry was largely unaware of the changes. Now everyone has six more months to get ready.

McAfee on the run again – For high entertainment, it doesn’t get any better than the exploits of John McAfee. The antivirus technology pioneer made his first appearance in Silicon Valley a few months ago after fleeing Belize where he was wanted to investigation of a murder. McAfee settled this year in Portland, Oregon where he presumably planned to live a more quiet life building a new encryption company. But now he has fled to Canada in the wake of new accusations that he stalked the property manager of his apartment complex. McAfee is reported to now reside in Montreal and has said he will not attend a hearing in Portland on the matter which is scheduled for the first week of January.

If McAfee somehow manages to connect with the mayor of Toronto while running around Canada, the pair could put every other TV reality show out of business in no time flat.


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