Leaked memo: Donald Trump volunteers banned from critizing him, for life

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The Daily Dot got a copy of the six-page, unenforceable, flaming pile of shit that Donald Trump's campaign revealed to prospective volunteers on Saturday. Even by trumpian standards, it's a conscience-shocker. Read the rest

Vtech, having leaked 6.3m kids' data, has a new EULA disclaiming responsibility for the next leak

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Last December, Vtech, a crapgadget/toy company, suffered a breach that implicated the data of 6.3 million children, caused by its negligence toward the most basic of security measures. Read the rest

Maryland's Attorney General: you consent to surveillance by turning on your phone

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Maryland attorney general Brian E Frosh has filed a brief appealing a decision in the case of Kerron Andrews, who was tracked by a Stingray cell-phone surveillance device. Read the rest

Read the nondisclosure agreement you must sign if you want to have sex with Charlie Sheen

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Beset by blackmailers and tabloid rumors, actor Charlie Sheen was recently forced to announce that he is HIV-positive. The most newsworthy thing to come out of it, I think, is a nondisclosure agreement that potential sexual partners must sign in order to get into his pants. Is this a general practice among celebrities? As crazy as it seems, I wouldn't blame them. Read the rest

Snowden broke a nondisclosure EULA in order to uphold his Constitutional oath

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The crooks that Edward Snowden outed (and their complicit overseers in government) like to talk about how Snowden violated an oath when he gave journalists documents that established that security services in at least five countries were breaking their own laws in order to pursue unimaginably aggressive mass surveillance. Read the rest

Texas doctor's consent form for women seeking abortions

Redditor Mystharia terminated a pregnancy for medical reasons last week; her doctor gave her this consent form, mandated by -- and scathingly attacking -- the Texas legislature, which requires the doctor to enumerate an eye-wateringly detailed account of the foetal development before termination. (Icon: Kevin Dooley/CC-BY) Read the rest

Spotify's new privacy policy lets it collect everything on your phone

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Madness, reports Wired. “we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files … we may also collect information about your location based on, for example, your phone’s GPS location." Read the rest

Oracle's CSO demands an end to customers checking Oracle products for defects

Oracle Chief Security Officer Mary Ann Davidson's deleted post on the company blog was called "No, You Really Can't," and it demanded that Oracle's customers respect the company's outlandish license-agreement terms, and stop checking to see whether the products Oracle sold them were defective. Read the rest

Satanic Temple required protesters to pledge their souls to Satan as condition of entry

The Satanic Temple -- a pair of fun-loving, non-Satan-believing religious freedom activists -- unveiled the statue of Baphomet they plan to put on the Arkansas State Capitol's lawn to complement its existing Christian iconography. Read the rest

Some considerations for potential XKCD phone purchasers

Randall Munroe's xkcd Phone has the greatest warning label of all time: "Presented in partnership with Qualcomm, Craigslist, Whirlpool, Hostess, LifeStyles, and the US Chamber of Commerce. Manufactured on equipment which also processes peanuts. Price includes 2-year Knicks contract. Phone may extinguish nearby birthday candles. If phone ships with Siri, return immediately; do not speak to her and ignore any instructions she gives. Do not remove lead casing. Phone may attract/trap insects; this is normal. Volume adjustable (requires root). If you experience sudden tingling, nausea, or vomiting, perform a factory reset immediately. Do not submerge in water; phone will drown. Exterior may be frictionless. Prolonged use can cause mood swings, short-term memory loss, and seizures. Avert eyes while replacing battery. Under certain circumstances, wireless transmitter may control God." Read the rest

You bought it, you own it, right?

In the latest Electronic Frontier Foundation post for Copyright Week, Corynne McSherry tackles one of the most troubling aspects of modern copyright law: the idea that even though you've bought a device or a copyrighted work to play on it, they're not really your property. Because of the anti-circumvention rules (which are supposed to backstop "copy protection"), it's illegal to discover how your technology works, to tell other people how their technology works, to add otherwise lawful features to your technology, and to make otherwise lawful uses of your media. Read the rest

Apps come bundled with secret Bitcoin mining programs, paper over the practice with EULAs

Researchers at Malwarebytes have discovered that some programs covertly install Bitcoin-mining software on users' computers, papering over the practice by including sneaky language in their license agreements allowing for "computer calculations, security."

The malicious programs include YourFreeProxy from Mutual Public, AKA We Build Toolbars, LLC, AKA WBT. YourFreeProxy comes with a program called Monitor.exe, which repeatedly phones home to WBT, eventually silently downloading and installing a Bitcoin mining program called "jhProtominer." Read the rest

Terms and Conditions May Apply documentary screening this Sunday with Reddit AMA and panel

Cullen writes, "There is is a special screening this Sunday 11/17 at 5PM Eastern by Demand Progress of Terms And Conditions May Apply, a New York TImes Critic's Pick documentary about how governments and corporations are tracking your every online move. The first 3000 people to visit the online screening can watch the film for free. Afterward, there will be a Reddit AMA that focuses on the issues raised by the film, including how to rein in the NSA's surveillance. The film's director, Cullen Hoback, will be joined by several privacy experts including the ACLU's Ben Wizner, who's responsible for coordinating Edward Snowden's legal defense in the US." Read the rest

Terms and Conditions May Apply: documentary about abusive license terms, privacy and surveillance

Cullen Hoback's documentary "Terms and Conditions May Apply" is a scathing look at the abusive, lengthy fine-print that dominates our online lives. If the YouTube trailer and the non-embeddable Guardian trailer are representative, this is an important and timely film. I do quibble with one point -- the movie doesn't distinguish between the stupid license agreements that are a function of a stupid law (for example, requiring LinkedIn users to license the stuff they give to LinkedIn so that LinkedIn can display it) and the ones that are pure greed and venality (AT&T making you agree to extrajudicial wiretapping).

Hoback has an op-ed in today's Guardian where he sets out his thesis with great clarity, and draws the important connection between Patriot Act surveillance and fine-print "agreements." Unfortunately, the video itself seems to be exclusively available through Itunes, which has some pretty dreadful license terms, and mandatory DRM to boot. Read the rest

Santa's privacy policy

"Santa's Privacy Policy" is a McSweeney's classic from 2010. On the one hand, the joke is pretty much all in the headline and doesn't really need much elaboration. On the other hand, this is pretty well done.

We obtain information from a variety of sources. Much of it comes from unsolicited letters sent to Santa by children all over the world listing specific items they would like to receive for Christmas. Often these letters convey additional information as well, such as the child’s hopes and dreams, how much they love Santa, and which of their siblings are doodyheads.

The letters also provide another important piece of information—fingerprints. We run these through databases maintained by the FBI, CIA, NSA, Interpol, MI6, and the Mossad. If we find a match, it goes straight on the Naughty List. We also harvest a saliva sample from the flap of the envelope in which the letter arrives in order to establish a baseline genetic identity for each correspondent. This is used to determine if there might be an inherent predisposition for naughtiness. A detailed handwriting analysis is performed as part of a comprehensive personality workup, and tells us which children are advancing nicely with their cursive and which are still stubbornly forming block letters with crayons long past the age when this is appropriate.

Our network of fully trained, duly deputized mall “Santas” file reports from the field, telling us which children are well-behaved, which are elf-phobic, which are prone to sphincter control issues, and which are squirmy beard-pulling monstrous little brats.

Read the rest

Zappos's crappy EULA found unenforceable, leaving Zappos without a legal leg to stand on

Of all the stupid clauses in the license "agreements" that the Internet crams down your throat, the cake-taker is "this agreement subject to change without notice." In other words, you're "agreeing" to anything and everything that the company dreams up, for the rest of time. This clause -- and its place in a "browsewrap agreement" that you supposedly agreed to just by visiting a website with "by visiting this website, you agree to our terms of service" on the bottom of it -- was found to be unenforceable by a federal judge in Nevada, who voided out the company's whole agreement on that basis, leaving the company vulnerable to lawsuits after a password leak affecting 24 million customers.

Eric Goldman's posted analysis:

Zappos can hardly be surprised by this adverse judicial ruling. We have known for years that browsewraps are unenforceable (see some of the cases discussed here) and judges clearly dislike unilateral amendment clauses (see, e.g., the uncited Ninth Circuit's Douglas ruling from 2007 and the cited 2009 ruling in the Blockbuster/Facebook Beacon case).

Still, the ruling leaves Zappos in a bad position. Its contract is legally irrelevant, meaning that all of the risk management provisions in its contract are ineffective--its disclaimer of warranties, its waiver of consequential damages, its reduced statute of limitations, its clause restricting class actions in arbitration...all of these are gone, leaving Zappos governed by the default legal rules, which aren't nearly as favorable to it. Losing its contract provisions meant Zappos is legally naked.

Avoiding this outcome is surprisingly easy.

Read the rest

Commensense about ebooks

Joanna Cabot's An Open Letter to E-Book Retailers: Let’s have a return to common sense is just what you'd hope for from a post with a title like that: three commensensical points about ebooks, licensing and DRM that I generally agree with (though I quibble a little here and there). 1. If your button says "Buy this ebook," then I own it. 2. Ebooks are read by households, not devices or the users to whom they're registered. 3. It's not piracy to share the kids' ebooks you buy with your kids. (Thanks, Dan!) Read the rest

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