In the US, the USPTO is happy to award a patent for almost any idea, concept, or thought, no matter how trivial and regardless of prior art. After all, a patent WAS issued for the generic idea of crowdfunding.
If GM owns the software in my car, that means they can permanently disable my car whenever they get the urge. They can just remove the software they own from the car I own, and my car becomes a large brick.
Need a boost in auto sales? Kill 10,000 cars and put some demand into the market. Legally.
Considering their precipitous stock price decline, it seems like some upstanding citizen would file a class action lawsuit against Rightscorp for neglecting to notify shareholders of known risks and adverse business conditions.
"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. I feel certain that some large company will patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique. If we assume this company has no need of any of our patents then the have a 17-year right to take as much of our profits as they want." Bill Gates, 1991
The NSA is out of control. If the President ordered them today to stop surveillance on U.S. citizens, Germany, France, the U.K., Australia, and Japan, would they? I think not. The NSA is above (or below) the law and the U.S. Constitution.
"One of our last remaining dominant American exports is our creativity."
This may be, but it's not because people in the U.S. are any more creative than people elsewhere in the world. It's because the U.S. is losing its other exports. As the tech playing field levels, the U.S. can compete or it can lose.