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TechDirt 06/17/2019 23:11
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just handed down a refresher [PDF] on a few legal issues, most notably what is or isn't "reasonable" when it comes to suspicion. Police officers thought an anonymous tip about a man carrying a gun and someone running away from them created enough suspicion to chase down Daniel Brown, stop him at gunpoint, and search him for contraband. Contraband was found, leading to Brown's motion to suppress. The lower court said this combination -- an anonymous report of a gun and Brown's decision to run when he saw the police cruiser -- was reasonable enough. Not so, says the Ninth Circuit, pointing out the obvious fact that a person carrying a gun can't be inherently suspicious in a state where carrying a gun in
TechDirt 06/17/2019 18:30
We've noted for many years that (like so many "internet of things" devices) modern smart televisions have the security protection equivalent of damp cardboard . Not only are they often easily hacked (something intelligence agencies are super excited about since it gives them audio access to targets), but the companies that make them have been busted repeatedly for hoovering up user usage data (and even audio from your living room), and then failing to adequately secure it . This week, Samsung took a bit of heat for urging the company's TV customers to, for the first time, occasionally run an antivirus scan on their television sets. The Tweet was online online briefly before Samsung deleted it, apparently realizing it only advertised the fac.
TechDirt 06/17/2019 14:55
This one combines a few stories that we've covered a lot over the years, showing how they're intersecting. For some time now we've been covering the US's evidence-free attacks on Huawei , the Chinese telco equipment giant. Basically, for years, there have been stories insisting that Huawei is too closely linked to the Chinese government, leading to fear mongering stories saying that the company should be effectively barred from the US. However, multiple attempts to find security flaws in Huawei's products have failed to show any kind of backdoors, and the fact that US-based Huawei competitors often seem to be making the loudest noises about the Chinese giant should raise some eyebrows. The other story we've covered a lot is around China and.
TechDirt 06/17/2019 13:42
The war on fan-made subtitles waged by the entertainment industry has been going on for a long, long time. While fansubs could, and probably should, be viewed as a potential boon to the entertainment industry, allowing those in far-flung lands to suddenly enjoy its products, fansubs have instead been painted as an aid to pirated content overseas or, in some cases, as copyright infringement themselves, given that they essentially copy parts of the content scripts. If nothing else is clear as a result of this introduction, it should be that major industry players absolutely hate fansubs. ... Except when they can make use of them, apparently, as Comcast-owned Swiss broadcaster Sky had been found using fansubs in its streaming service in the du.
TechDirt 06/17/2019 13:37
Listen to your favorite music or podcasts for longer, with fewer distractions thanks to these True Wireless Bluetooth Fitness Headphones . These are some of the smallest and most lightweight earphones on the market. They're ergonomically designed to sit comfortably in and around your ear so you can jog, hit the gym, or do your daily commute without having to worry about them falling out. They're on sale for $45. Note: The Techdirt Deals Store is powered and curated by StackCommerce. A portion of all sales from Techdirt Deals helps support Techdirt. The products featured do not reflect endorsements by our editorial team. Permalink | Comments | Email This Story.
TechDirt 06/17/2019 12:35
Alexis Madrigal, over at the Atlantic has a mostly interesting piece recounting the history of how the big internet companies started calling themselves platforms . The history is actually pretty fascinating:. There was a time when there were no “platforms” as we now know them. That time was, oh, about 2007. For decades, computing (video games included) had had this term “platform.” As the 2000s began, Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle proposed “ the web as a platform ,” primarily focusing on the ability of different services to connect to one another. The venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, then the CEO of the also-ran social network Ning, blasted anyone who wanted to extend the definition. “A ‘platform’ is a system that can be programmed and
TechDirt 06/17/2019 09:28
Every few years or so, giant cable and broadband companies like Comcast will proclaim that they've finally seen the light , and will be spending time shoring up their terrible customer service. Like a few years ago, when Comcast proclaimed it had hired a " Customer Experience VP " who would finally make addressing the company's historically terrible customer service a top priority. CEO Brian Roberts also can be found at least once a year claiming that the company is going to finally address the problem by hiring better people, improving support systems, and generally revisiting the company's policies. But year after year, big cable and broadband companies fail to deliver. Case in point: the latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index was re.
TechDirt 06/14/2019 18:25
A little over a year ago, we discussed Matt Furie, the creator of the Pepe the Frog character that became an alt-right meme sensation, suing Infowars for selling posters featuring his character. That post was fraught with subtle takes, frankly, largely the result of Furie's wishy-washy history over how he protected his creation, or not, and the fact that the other side of the story was Infowars. Infowars is of course a conspiracy-mongering lie-factory run by play-acting assclowns that make gobs of money by getting followers to harass the parents of dead children and then selling those same followers merchandise and diet pills. A better description of the hellscape that is 2019 cannot be found. Still, Furie's decision to sue Infowars despite.
TechDirt 06/14/2019 15:21
Almost exactly three years ago, we were pleasantly surprised to find that a jury unanimously ruled that Led Zeppelin did not infringe on a song by the band Taurus called "Spirit" with "Stairway to Heaven." We noted that, similar to the Blurred Lines case , if you just listen to bits and pieces of each song, you can hear a similarity, but that does not, and should not, mean it was infringing. As we've pointed out, while Stairway and Taurus can sound similar:. ... the same is true of Stairway, Taurus... and J.S. Bach's Bouree In E Minor, which you'd better believe is in the public domain:. Given all that, we were disappointed last fall when the 9th Circuit suddenly vacated the jury's decision and ordered a new trial, claiming that the jury inst.
TechDirt 06/14/2019 13:47
The lies law enforcement tells about civil asset forfeiture are just that: lies. They may not be intentional lies in some cases. Many law enforcement officials may actually believe the bullshit they spill in defense of taking property from people without convicting them of crimes . But that doesn't change the fact that it's bullshit. If law enforcement was serious about crippling drug cartels, they wouldn't be watching the roads leading out of their jurisdictions for drivers to pull over and shake down for cash. They'd be watching roads leading into the state to seize the drugs before they can be sold. But that's not how it's done . Drug busts are rare. Cash seizures -- especially small ones -- happen all the time . When a Nashville televis.
TechDirt 06/14/2019 13:42
The Complete Salesforce Lightning Certification Training Bundle has four courses designed to get you up to speed on the new Lightning update for Salesforce and prepare you to take the ADX201 exam. You'll start by learning organization and user set up, and basic security and access. You'll then learn about standard and custom objects, sales and marketing apps, and data analytics. The final course covers reports and dashboards, workflow and process automation, desktop and mobile administration, and AppExchange. The bundle is on sale for $19. Note: The Techdirt Deals Store is powered and curated by StackCommerce. A portion of all sales from Techdirt Deals helps support Techdirt. The products featured do not reflect endorsements by our editoria.
TechDirt 06/14/2019 12:27
There are many reasonable complaints making the rounds these days about the big internet companies, and many questions about what should be done. Unfortunately, too much of the thinking around this can be summarized as "these companies are bad, we should punish them, any punishment therefore is good." This is dangerous thinking. I tend to agree with Benedict Evans who noted that there's a similarity between calls to break up big tech companies and Brexit in the UK:. “Break up Google/Amazon/Facebook!’ reminds me a lot of Brexit. It sounds really good, until you ask ‘well, into what?’, or ‘and what specific problem does this solve?’— Benedict Evans (@benedictevans) June 9, 2019. I've pointed out a few times now that most calls to break up or r.
TechDirt 06/14/2019 09:27
Back in 2016 Russia introduced a new surveillance bill promising to deliver greater security to the country. Of course, as with so many similar efforts around the world the bill actually did the exact opposite -- not only mandating new encryption backdoors, but also imposing harsh new data-retention requirements on ISPs and VPN providers. As a result, some VPN providers like Private Internet Access wound up leaving the country after finding their entire function eroded and having some of their servers seized. Last March Russia upped the ante , demanding that VPN providers like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, and HideMyAss help block forbidden websites that have been added to Russia's censorship watchlist. Not surprisingly those companies bal.
TechDirt 06/14/2019 06:23
Roughly one year ago, we wrote about La Liga, the Spanish soccer league, pushing out an app to soccer fans that allowed the software to repurpose a mobile device's microphone and GPS to try to catch unauthorized broadcasts of La Liga matches. The league publicized this information, which had previously been buried in obscure language in its TOS, as mandated by the GDPR. At the same time, the league attempted to brush the whole thing off as above board, claiming that what was in the TOS informed users of the app enough that their own mobile devices were being compromised and turned into copyright snoop networks. If this all sounds like The Dark Knight Rises for European soccer... you aren't wrong. La Liga apparently was wrong, however, in it.
TechDirt 06/13/2019 22:04
The latest in our never ending series of posts on why content moderation at scale is impossible to do well, involves Twitter now claiming that a tweet from the account @TheTweetOfGod somehow violates its policies:. What the fuck, Twitter. Seriously. What the fuck. What the fuck is this. — God (@TheTweetOfGod) June 11, 2019. If you're unfamiliar with that particular Twitter account, it is a popular account that pretends to tweet pithy statements from "God" that attempt (often not very well, in my opinion) to be funny in a sort of ironic, satirical way. I've found it to miss a lot more than it hits, but that's only my personal opinion. Apparently, Twitter's content moderation elves had a problem with the tweet above.
TechDirt 06/13/2019 18:07
We've noted for years how broadband providers have increasingly imposed arbitrary, confusing, and punitive usage caps and overage fees to cash in on the lack of competition in US broadband. Not only have industry executives admitted these limits aren't technically necessary , they've increasingly been abused to hamstring competitors. AT&T, for example, doesn't impose the limits on its broadband customers who use its streaming video service (DirecTV Now), but will impose the added charges if you use a competitor like Netflix . For more than a decade ISPs have slowly but surely imposed such limits hoping that consumers wouldn't notice (think of the frog in the pot of boiling water metaphor with you as the frog). But as video streaming service.
TechDirt 06/13/2019 15:06
Former revenge porn extortionist and current pro se litigant, Craig Brittain , is one severely-narrowed complaint away from having his lawsuit against Twitter tossed. Brittain sued Twitter over the deletion of several accounts, including those he had whipped up for his Senate run . The court's first pass at the lawsuit moved it to California, a venue shift Brittain explicitly agreed to each time he created another alt account. Terms of service say suing Twitter means suing in California, even if you're an Arizonan Senate hopeful with a closet that contains nothing but skeletons. Contrary to Brittain's fervent and litigious belief, there's nothing illegal about deleting Craig Brittain's multiple Twitter accounts. Brittain's lawsuit tried to

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