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TechDirt 02/26/2020 22:46
It doesn't happen often enough, but it is so very refreshing to watch a bunch of assholes get torn new assholes. (h/t ). A man who was violently "arrested" (read: beaten) by several Allentown (PA) police officers by a jury. The judge had plenty of harsh words for the officers who participated in this brutal farce. John Perez tried voicing his opinion to some cops who were apparently using a bunch of foul language while "investigating" (read: standing around) reports of an armed man in the neighborhood. The cops didn't like Perez's questions and decided to punish him for his inquiries. showed the violent response from the Allentown cops, who first pushed Perez to the ground before deciding he needed to be punched into submission. Perez ended
TechDirt 02/26/2020 13:46
The telephone metadata program the NSA finally in 2019 was apparently well past its expiration date. Since the in 2013, critics have argued the program needed to die since it was obviously the sort of rummaging (only without the warrant!) the founding fathers headed off with the Fourth Amendment. The program wasn't remade/remodeled until the passage of the in 2015. That took the phone records away from the NSA and left them at their place of origin -- the databases maintained by telcos and other service providers. The government was also required to put forward some sort of articulable suspicion before asking for phone records from telcos. The NSA was uniquely unprepared to handle these sorts of transactions, having been built from the grou.
TechDirt 02/26/2020 13:41
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TechDirt 02/26/2020 12:33
What is it with politicians (and other commentators) who keep confusing the 1st Amendment with Section 230? The latest is Rep. David Cicilline, who wants to that host "demonstrably false" political ads:. Rep. David Cicilline is drafting legislation to take away a broad tech liability protection for online platforms that knowingly publish “demonstrably false” political ads, he says at a National Association of Broadcasters’ event. This has been an issue a bunch of folks have been raising of late. and have both expressed anger that Facebook has chosen not to fact check political videos. However, as we've noted repeatedly, there are all sorts of problems with a proposal like this. First, and perhaps biggest, is the 1st Amendment. Contrary to wh.
TechDirt 02/26/2020 09:17
Last October the DC US Court of Appeals of the FCC's controversial net neutrality repeal with a 2-1 vote. But the ruling wasn't a total win for Ajit Pai's FCC. the FCC and broadband industry's attempt to include a provision in the repeal that would have banned US states from being able to protect consumers, noting that when the Trump FCC abdicated its consumer protection authority, it also gave up its right to say what state regulators and lawmakers could or couldn't do. The courts also forced the FCC to take several parts of the Orwellian-named "restoring internet freedom order" (which did nothing of the sort) back to the drawing board. Specifically, the Ajit Pai FCC was told it spent little to no time considering how its handout to indust.
TechDirt 02/26/2020 06:14
is a popular law enforcement pastime. The problem is there really aren't many good arguments to be made against the use of encryption, so people like and have to summon up apocalyptic scenarios or beat down straw men of their own creation to score points for their side. Given that the anti-encryption side is loaded with disingenuous intentions, it's really no surprise to see statements being made by law enforcement officials that are either stupid or lies… or maybe some combination of both. a real gem from an official representing a Tennessee law enforcement agency. [NPR Host Martin] KASTE: There's been a lot of media attention lately on the FBI showdowns with Apple about opening iPhones used in terrorism. But those situations are relativel.
TechDirt 02/25/2020 22:53
Here's some good news for a change. The Smithsonian has just announced , in which it has released 2.8 million high quality digital images and 3D models into the public domain under a CC0 public domain dedication. With Smithsonian Open Access, we’re increasing the public’s ability to use millions of digital assets—2D and 3D images and data. Open Access items carry what’s called a CC0 designation. This means the Smithsonian dedicates the digital asset into the public domain, meaning it is free of copyright restrictions and you can use it for any purpose, free of charge, without further permission from the Smithsonian. As new images are digitized, if they are determined to be copyright-free, the Smithsonian will dedicate them as CC0 ongoing. I.
TechDirt 02/25/2020 18:46
Here's a promising development on the facial recognition front -- one that won't make facial recognition tech developers very happy. Bans have been around the nation but this legislative pitch . On Wednesday, Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced legislation to place a moratorium on the use of facial recognition by the federal government or with federal funds—unless Congress passed regulations for the technology. The aims to create a 13 member congressional commission representing interested parties—including law enforcement, communities subjected to surveillance, and privacy experts. It's a temporary ban but it's better than doing nothing about the federal government's enthusiasm for unproven tech. The DHS has been.
TechDirt 02/25/2020 14:58
Last week, was discovered to be hosting tons of sensitive data harvested from victims' phones in an Alibaba data bucket set to public with no password protection. ClevGuard makes , an app whose name suggests it's something parents can use to monitor their children's cell phone use, but the developer has helpfully noted the software's also great for monitoring spouses and employees. After being notified of the issue, Alibaba secured the bucket and made sure ClevGuard was made aware of the problem. But ClevGuard's not finished being stupid about this. Rather than quietly go about securing its exfiltrated data -- which includes contacts, photos, GPS location data, and content harvested from a variety of messaging apps -- the company has decide.
TechDirt 02/25/2020 13:45
Earlier this month, we wrote about an in a bizarre lawsuit brought by Fox news commentator Ed Butowsky, represented by lawyer (a name you might recognize). Butowsky sued NPR and reporter David Folkenflik for accurately reporting on a by another Fox News commentator, Rod Wheeler, accusing Fox News and Butowsky of defaming him in regards to a story about Seth Rich -- about whom conspiracy theorists seem to regularly fantasize. As we noted, highlighted over a dozen times that it was reporting on claims from Wheeler's lawsuit, and yet the judge, Amos Mazzant, ignored all of this to say that it did not have clear sourcing, and thus allowed the case to move forward. We're still somewhat dumbfounded by this, but NPR and its lawyers have decided th.
TechDirt 02/25/2020 13:40
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TechDirt 02/25/2020 12:24
In of this series on the Department of Justice’s February 19 workshop, “Section 230 — Nurturing Innovation or Fostering Unaccountability?” ( and ), we covered why is important, how it works, and how panelists proposed to amend it. explored Section 230’s intersection with criminal law. Here, we ask what DOJ’s real objective with this workshop was. The answer to us seems clear: use Section 230 as a backdoor for banning encryption — a “backdoor to a backdoor” — in the name of stamping out child sexual abuse material (CSAM) while, conveniently, distracting attention from DOJ’s appalling failures to enforce existing laws against CSAM . We conclude by explaining how to get tough on CSAM to protect kids without amending Section 230 or banning encr.
TechDirt 02/25/2020 09:20
Back in 2014 the FTC for selling "unlimited" wireless data plans with very real and annoying limits. The lawsuit noted that, starting in 2011, AT&T began selling "unlimited" plans that actually throttled upwards of 90 percent of your downstream speeds after using just two or three gigabytes of data. AT&T spent years trying to wiggle out of the lawsuit via a variety of legal gymnastics, including that the very same net neutrality and FCC Title II rules AT&T was trying to kill prevented the FTC from holding it accountable. Nearly a decade after the battle began, the company without actually admitting any wrongdoing. That $60 million, after lawyers get a cut, will be split among millions of customers who signed up for AT&T unlimited data plans.
TechDirt 02/24/2020 22:54
A recent [PDF] by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals once again highlights the utter absurdity of . To qualify for immunity, all a law enforcement officer needs to do is show they violated someone's rights in a new way -- one not previously considered by the court. Since there's no on-point precedent, it was not "clearly established" that this violation of rights was actually a violation of rights the officer should have been aware of, so the officer walks away from the lawsuit unscathed. "On-point" means . If a cop shoots an unarmed person who happened to walk by a window rather than through a door, and it's only been established that shooting an unarmed person walking through a door is a Constitutional violation, the window shooting is go.
TechDirt 02/24/2020 18:39
A few times in the past we've discussed the differences between and ownership of the copyright associated with that work. I'm reminded of this distinction -- which confuses the hell out of many people -- after lawyer Eric Turkewitz a question about who would own the copyright in this (oldish) viral video of a while filming, only to be discovered by an interested pig. It's gone viral a few times, and makes the rounds here and there. It's mildly entertaining. But, what caught Turkewitz's eye is that the video on YouTube has the following description which includes "licensing information.". It says:. Camera falls from a sky diving airplane and lands on my property in my pig pen. I found the camera 8 months later and viewed this video. For licens.
TechDirt 02/24/2020 15:04
continues to insist it is not adding facial recognition to its sadly super-popular doorbell cameras. Its insistence is suspect for several reasons. First, it employs a "Head of Facial Recognition Tech" . A company that isn't planning to add facial recognition doesn't need anyone in charge of tech it's not planning on using. Second, to Congressional questions stated that the company would continue to other options in response to "customer demand." If enough customers express an interest in facial recognition, Ring would be stupid not to add that to its list of features, even if it has spent months denying it ever plans to do so. Third, its answers to direct questions about facial recognition software are anything but direct. about this featu.
TechDirt 02/24/2020 13:44
Back in September, we wrote about Devin Nunes dropping the he'd filed in California against some of his critics, only to immediately file an absolute laugher of a lawsuit against Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson, alleging racketeering (RICO) claims. Nunes claimed -- ridiculously -- that he'd obtained the info he needed from the California lawsuit (where he might have faced anti-SLAPP claims) in order to file this new lawsuit. As we noted at the time, Ken "Popehat" White's usual warning of totally applied to this new case. And, contrary to one of our more amusing commenters who insisted that this case was solid, Judge Liam O'Grady appears to have made quick work of it, with an incredibly short and to the point ruling (Politico ):. As presently pl.
TechDirt 02/24/2020 13:39
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