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TechDirt 12/06/2019 09:23
For decades, big and small telecoms alike the FCC Lifeline program, a fund that's supposed to help subsidize telecom connectivity for low income users. Started by Reagan and expanded by Bush, the fairly modest program doles out a measly $9.25 per month subsidy that low-income homes can use to help pay a tiny fraction of their wireless, phone, or broadband bills (enrolled participants have to chose one). While the program (which you pay into via your telecom bills) has been a subject of fraud, enforcement of abuse hasn't always been consistent. Back in September, the FCC that Sprint had been taking taxpayer funds for roughly 885,000 Lifeline customers who were no longer actually using the company's services. The FCC stated that it would be i.
TechDirt 12/06/2019 06:25
We knew the DHS would get to this point eventually. Since the beginning of its biometric scanning program rollout, the on adding US citizens to the list of people forced to trade their faces for air travel privileges. So far, the program has been limited to suspicious foreigners (which is all of them, including those here on visas), but a recent filing -- caught by Zack Whittaker at TechCrunch -- says flying in the United States . Homeland Security wants to expand facial recognition checks for travelers arriving to and departing from the U.S. to also include citizens, which had previously been exempt from the mandatory checks. In , the department has proposed that all travelers, and not just foreign nationals or visitors, will have to compl.
TechDirt 12/05/2019 22:53
Whatever your views on the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (), there is no denying the impact it has had on privacy around the world. Where the GDPR deals with personal data stored "at rest", the deals with with personal data "in motion" -- that is, how it is gathered and flows across networks. As Techdirt discussed two years ago, the from Internet companies and the advertising industry against increased consumer protection in this area has been unprecedented. Some details were provided at the time in a . Unfortunately, that massive lobbying has paid off. Good ideas in the , like banning encryption backdoors or "cookie walls", have been dropped, as has the right of Internet users to refuse to accept tracking cookies. In the (pdf) pu.
TechDirt 12/05/2019 17:56
The NYPD has finally finalized its body-worn camera footage release policy. It's not much better than its , which sought public input and then ignored every bit of the public's input to craft an officer-friendly deployment policy that left the act of recording to officer discretion. Even the vague promise of eventually releasing BWC footage to the public was too much for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association to bear. The NYC to prevent the release of body camera footage to the public. This lawsuit was pursued as PBA President Pat Lynch made claims about officers' resistance to body-worn cameras that were contradicted by . Something the former mayor thought would be a to persecute otherwise fine officers has actually had zero effect on offi.
TechDirt 12/05/2019 15:51
We've been covering all the various SLAPP suits filed by against his , , , and (most famously) . As we've noted, despite Nunes being a Representative from California, and despite the fact that many of the people and companies he's targeting are California-based, he's filed most of the suits in Virginia state court. The reasons for this seemed to many commentators. Virginia has a very weak anti-SLAPP law. California has a very robust one. We were actually a bit surprised to see Nunes file one lawsuit , but he to file a related lawsuit... back in Virginia. His one other non-Virginia lawsuit was which has . And while these lawsuits all appear to be frivolous attempts to intimidate critics and journalists, they may actually have a potentially g.
TechDirt 12/05/2019 13:49
How much warrantless surveillance is too much surveillance? It depends on which court you ask. Public areas, which include people's front doors and unfenced yards, have very little in the way of privacy expectations. Consequently, there's a lot of warrantless surveillance aimed at these areas, usually in the form of pole-mounted cameras. While warrants could be obtained, they usually aren't. And, in some cases, the surveillance occurs during the early stages of an investigation where enough probable cause hasn't been established to secure a warrant even if investigators thought they might need one. In 2014, a Washington federal court judge said of pole-mounted surveillance was unconstitutional without a warrant. This surveillance wasn't jus.
TechDirt 12/05/2019 13:44
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TechDirt 12/05/2019 12:32
If you look in the dictionary, the word "projection" has . I find it particularly amusing that in Merriam Webster's dictionary, the following two are right next to each other:. the attribution of one's own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects; especially : the externalization of blame, guilt, or responsibility as a defense against anxiety. the display of motion pictures by projecting an image from them upon a screen. This is a story that kind of involves both of those definitions, because it's all about a front group, created and funded by Hollywood, very much "projecting" its own blame, guilt and responsibility onto one of the most respected and thoughtful copyright law professors. And... almost no one wants to comment
TechDirt 12/05/2019 09:30
As Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook face all manner of (justified) regulatory scrutiny, telecom has been able to somehow , despite engaging in (if not ) behaviors over the years. While Congress obsesses about new ways to regulate "big tech," the US government has oddly been busy . That's at least partially by design; giants like AT&T and Comcast pushing for the hyper regulation of companies telecom increasingly competes with in the online ad space. The result: as Silicon Valley faces an endless cavalcade of daily DC and press outrage, the telecom sector has suddenly little to no scrutiny whatsoever. Whether it's the speed at which the competition-eroding T-Mobile merger is being , or the blind eye (like location data), telecom.
TechDirt 12/05/2019 06:27
The recent election in Hong Kong may have , but supporters of protesters and newly-elected candidates still aren't able to do much celebrating on social media. WeChat, the massively popular messaging app owned by China's Tencent, is apparently censoring posts and shutting down pro-democracy accounts. That a Chinese company would censor pro-democracy messages is unsurprising. What's a bit more unexpected is Tencent's apparent willingness to shut down accounts owned by users in other countries, . Bin Xie, an information security analyst at Texas Children’s Hospital, wrote “The pro-China candidates totally lost” in a WeChat group before having his account shut down. Xie is now part of a WhatsApp group for Chinese Americans who’ve recently been.
TechDirt 12/04/2019 22:35
For whatever reason, while we see a ton of instances of someone trying to trademark a word or phrase that is absolutely generic and not a source identifier, often it seems some of the most instances come from the literary world. Why authors have such a hard time with this is perhaps not entirely mysterious. Steeped in an industry with a tradition of strong views on copyright protections, I suppose it's a short leap that those in that industry would assume trademark works the same way. After all, journalists make this mistake all the time, so why not authors? Still, witnessing my book-writing brethren make a run at trademarking words like "" or "" is more than slightly frustrating. And , as author Christine Feehan has applied for a trademark.
TechDirt 12/04/2019 18:29
I'm always happy to see someone add to the growing body of First Amendment/vanity license plate case law. Using a very limited amount of space, some applicants have managed to offend the delicate sensibilities of government agencies, even without using the number 5 twice to spell "A55.". A New Hampshire man applied for a license plate to make an about law enforcement (COPSLIE) only to have it rejected by the state, which claimed this fact was "offensive to good taste." He took his case to the state's Supreme Court and drove away with and a future full of hassling by law enforcement. Completely conversely, the Indiana Supreme Court refused to give a cop , arguing rather absurdly that speech-via-vanity plate isn't protected because it's too… s.
TechDirt 12/04/2019 16:28
A few weeks back, a Canadian court issued a against GoldTV, an IPTV service that copyright holders allege are engaging in piracy by offering streaming access to unauthorized TV streams. The case itself is interesting in that Bell Media and Rogers Media sued GoldTV's owners (listed as John Does) as defendants, but then also had all Canadian broadband ISPs listed as "respondents," including Bell Canada and Rogers Communications -- which almost makes this a case where Bell and Rogers are effectively suing themselves. Wacky. The plaintiffs in the case demanded that the various ISPs block GoldTV. Not surprisingly, Bell's and Rogers' ISP arms consented to the demand with no protest (as did Fido and Videotron). Most of the other ISPs "took no posi.
TechDirt 12/04/2019 15:00
Singapore's continues to pay off for the Singaporean government. It's already been used to made by political opposition leaders and now it's converted Facebook to an extension of the ruling government. , the founder of "anti-establishment" news site State Times Review has been irritating the Singapore government for a few years now. Late last year, his site published an article claiming Singapore's prime minister was complicit in laundering Malaysian government funds through Singapore's banks. This resulted in the Monetary Authority of Singapore filing a criminal complaint against Tan for "impugning its integrity." The Ministry of Law then demanded Facebook remove Tan's posts from its site. None of this worked. Tan, now a resident of Austra.
TechDirt 12/04/2019 13:44
As he , Rep. Devin Nunes has now for accurately reporting what the indicted Lev Parnas's lawyers had told them about Devin Nunes. Rather than state court in Virginia, this time, Nunes' lawyer, Steven Biss filed the case in the big boy federal court in Virginia. may be the most laughable one yet of Nunes' various SLAPP suits, and I should remind you that one of them involves him . The timing of this suit was a bit inauspicious, given that it was filed at around the same time as the House Intelligence Committee released its , which shows multiple phone records showing that Devin Nunes and Lev Parnas were in phone contact with each other -- which is the very heart of the CNN story. From the report:. That appears to show Parnas and Nunes playing.
TechDirt 12/04/2019 13:39
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TechDirt 12/04/2019 12:26
Reporter Jon Schwarz, over at The Intercept, has yet another story of content moderation at scale gone wrong, focusing this time on Twitter and his own account. It seems that a bunch of white supremacists on Twitter got mad at him, found an old joke, taken out of context, reported it en masse, and Twitter blocked him over it. Schwarz's story is worth reviewing in detail, but I think he gets the wrong message out of it. His take is, more or less, that , and can't be bothered to understand the context of things (we'll get to the details of the spat in a moment):. It would be easy to interpret this as active contempt by Twitter for its users. But it’s more likely to be passive indifference. Like any huge corporation, Twitter is focused on the n.
TechDirt 12/04/2019 09:22
We've noted for a while now how mobile carriers don't seem particularly aware that they're associating 5G in the minds of American consumers with hype and bullshit. AT&T's efforts to use bogus phone icons to ; Verizon's tendency to dramatically ; scant handset support and annoying surcharges; overly ambitious marketing means that consumers' first contact with 5G is generally one of disappointment. That's not to say that 5G won't be a solid improvement when it arrives at scale, just that carriers were abundantly eager to overstate what 5G can do and where it's available, and didn't stop to think that they were doing the technology a disservice. The latest case in point: T-Mobile this week proudly proclaimed it had launched "America's first n.
TechDirt 12/04/2019 06:21
Tony Robbins is American. Buzzfeed is an American news organization. Last week, Buzzfeed published its sixth story in an investigative series about Robbins, that included a story of at a summer camp in California. Which, last I checked [ looks around quickly ], is also in America. So, you might wonder why it is that Robbins has . Robbin's layer, Paul Tweed has the decision to sue in Ireland, but I'm having trouble seeing how any of this is convincing:. "My client is entitled to have his name cleared. In my opinion the Irish courts are just as capable of making that determination as the English courts or the American courts," said Mr Tweed. He said Ireland would be the appropriate forum for both sets of proceedings as Twitter’s European headq.
TechDirt 12/03/2019 22:25
I never stop being surprised at how often the of comedy and comedians makes it on our pages. Between strange concepts like comedians claiming copyright on stand-up jokes and a more war sometimes waged on the technology audience members carry around in their pockets, it really does feel like those in comedy should have, you know, a better sense of humor about all of this. But to really see the combination of entitlement and disdain for the public at work in the world of comedy, you have to turn to SNL's Pete Davidson. Davidson apparently to anyone that buys tickets to his stand-up shows, with penalties of up to a million dollars for violations of that agreement. Whatever you do, never tweet at a Pete Davidson comedy show. The “Saturday Night.

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