Boing Boing 

Australia outlaws warrant canaries


The exceptionally broad new surveillance bill lets the government do nearly unlimited warrantless mass surveillance, even of lawyer-client privileged communications, and bans warrant canaries, making it an offense to "disclose information about the existence or non-existence" of a warrant to spy on journalists.

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Demystifying copyright licensing and 3D printing


It's more complicated than it seems: the functional elements of a 3D print can't be copyrighted, but they may be blended with decorative elements that can be; what's more, if we err on the side of caution by "open licensing" stuff that isn't even copyrighted, the effort to open up copyright ends up normalizing the application of copyright to new subjects.

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Canadian court hands a gimme to copyright trolls


Michael Geist writes, "Canada's Federal Court has issued its ruling on the costs in the Voltage-TekSavvy case, a case involving the demand for the names and address of thousands of TekSavvy subscribers by Voltage on copyright infringement grounds. Last year, the court opened the door to TekSavvy disclosing the names and addresses, but also established new safeguards against copyright trolling in Canada. The decision required Voltage to pay TekSavvy's costs and builds in court oversight over any demand letters sent by Voltage."

The issue of costs required another hearing with very different views of the costs associated with the case. TekSavvy claimed costs of $346,480.68 (mainly legal fees and technical costs associated with complying with the order), while Voltage argued the actual costs should be $884. The court disagreed with both sides, settling on costs of $21,557.50 or roughly $11 per subscriber name and address. The decision unpacks all the cost claims, but the key finding was that costs related to the initial motion over whether there should be disclosure of subscriber information was separate from the costs of abiding by the order the court ultimately issued. The motion judge did not address costs at the time and the court now says it is too late to address them.

With TekSavvy now bearing all of those motion costs (in addition to costs associated with informing customers), the decision sends a warning signal to ISPs that getting involved in these cases can lead to significant costs that won't be recouped. That is a bad message for privacy. So is the likely outcome for future cases (should they arise) with subscribers left with fewer notices and information from their ISP given the costs involved and the court's decision to not compensate for those costs.

Defending Privacy Doesn’t Pay: Federal Court Issues Ruling in Voltage – TekSavvy Costs [Michael Geist]

Portland cops charge homeless woman with theft for charging her phone

In Portland, OR, "Jackie," a homeless former social worker with muscular dystrophy, was hit with a misdemeanor theft charge for charging her phone from a plug on a planter-base on a sidewalk; she spent a day in jail when she missed her arraignment.

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What should the next Aaron Swartz do when the DOJ knocks?

Aaron Swartz found out the hard way that you can't expect justice from the Department of Justice: what should the next Aaron Swartz do when facing decades in prison for information activism?Read the rest

Wikimedia sues the NSA


The Wikimedia Foundation -- which oversees Wikipedia -- eight other organizations, and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit against the DoJ and the NSA, contesting the spy agency's program of mass "upstream" surveillance.

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SC Supreme Court: magistrates must be able to tell time and read

An order from the South Carolina Supreme Court dictates that those seeking to serve as magistrate judges must pass a rudimentary test of critical thinking skills.

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McDonald's sues to block Seattle's minimum wage


They're basing their case on the 14th Amendment, which addressed slavery by guaranteeing all persons equal protection under the law, and since corporations are people, well...

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Ed Snowden says he'll face trial in the US

But only if he's guaranteed a "legal and impartial trial" -- that is, not a trial under ancient law like the Espionage Act.

VPNs: which ones value your privacy?

Torrentfreak has published its annual survey of privacy-oriented VPN services, digging into each one's technical, legal and business practices to see how seriously they take the business of protecting your privacy.

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ACT NOW! Congress wants to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Congress is about to introduce a bill that will let the US Trade Representative lock America into the provisions of the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership, without substantial debate or scrutiny -- including criminal sanctions -- jail! -- for downloading TV shows.

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EFF: Here's how to fix patents in America

Two years in the making, Defend Innovation is a whitepaper by Electronic Frontier Foundation attorneys, setting out a program for fixing America's horribly busted patent system.

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An Internet of Things that do what they're told


California's phone bricking bill seems to have reduced thefts in the short run, but at the cost of giving dirty cops and wily criminals the power to wipe-and-brick your phone at will.

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Canada's new surveillance bill eliminates any pretense of privacy


Michael Geist writes, "Canada's proposed anti-terrorism legislation is currently being debated in the House of Commons, with the government already serving notice that it plans to limit debate. That decision has enormous privacy consequences, since the bill effectively creates a 'total information awareness' approach that represents a radical shift away from our traditional understanding of public sector privacy protection."

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Fair use: a guide for artists

Pat from American University's Center for Media and Social Impact writes, "Can an artist use images from Facebook in her collage? Can an art teacher show pictures he took at an exhibition in class? Can a museum put a collection online?"

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Court has to a law's diagram tortured sentence structure in order to rule


It's been 50 years since Congress passed 18USC§924, but it still remains an enigmatic, insane hairball of unparseable subordinate clauses and impossible twists and turns. -

Security researcher releases 10 million username and password combinations


Security researcher Mark Burnett has released 10,000,000 username/password combos he's downloaded from well-publicized hacks, citing the prosecution of Barrett Brown and the looming Obama administration crackdown on security researchers as impetus to do this before it became legally impossible.

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Necromantic lawyers say George Patton can't appear in video games


California's insane publicity rights regime mean that the general -- who's been dead for 69 years -- can't be a video-game character because people might mistakenly think he endorses the game.

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Britons: we have three days to kill the new Snooper's Charter

The all-pervasive spying bill that was struck down in 2012 is back.

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How to fix copyright in two easy steps (and one hard one)

My new Locus column, A New Deal for Copyright, summarizes the argument in my book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, and proposes a set of policy changes we could make that would help artists make money in the Internet age while decoupling copyright from Internet surveillance and censorship.

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London cop who repeatedly kicked, beat woman who wouldn't leave her child's sickbed cleared

Officer Warren Luke was cleared of the charge of "actual bodily harm" after he admitted to causing more than 40 injuries to a woman who wouldn't leave the hospital bedside of her seven year old daughter, who has cerebral palsy.

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Eric Holder: no more civil forfeiture without warrant/charges


In a surprise move, the US Attorney General has ordered police departments to cease the practice of civil forfeiture (basically, stealing stuff and selling it) unless the forfeiture is related to a specific warrant or charge.

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Yo! Your Honor! A Response to the Chief Justice

PACER is America's all-but-inaccessible public database of court records. Carl Malamud explains the problem—and the solution: you.Read the rest

Russia bans trans people from driving


Under an insane new Russian "safety law," people with "mental disorders" may not drive.

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Porn companies carpetbomb Google with sloppy takedowns, remove tons of Github projects

Takedown Piracy is a copyright enforcement outfit that works on behalf of porn companies; they sent thousands of takedown notices to Google demanding the censorship of search-results for links to pages that contained the word "pure," "rebound," "lipstick," and other common words, including several Github pages that had nothing to do with their clients' movies.

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UK government tells nursery workers to turn in potential terrorist toddlers


They'll have to report 3-year-olds who are "at risk of radicalisation," according to a consultation document that the Home Office is pushing to turn into legislation.

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United and Orbitz sue Skiplagged, a service you should totally use

Skiplagged finds cheap one-way fares by surfacing weird airline pricing strategies, like pricing a NY-SFO-Lake Tahoe flight cheaper than an NY-SFO flight, so you book all the way through to Tahoe, debark at SFO, and walk away from the final leg.

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TX SWAT team beats, deafens nude man in his own home, lies about arrest; judge declines to punish cops or DA


A well-meaning friend of Chad Chadwick called the Missouri City, TX police to say that he was afraid that Chadwick was having emotional difficulties; the cops lied to a judge to say that they had reason to believe Chadwick was heavily armed, then they sent a SWAT-team to his house (where he was asleep in the tub), beat 11 kinds of shit out of him, gave him permanent hearing loss, held him in solitary confinement, fraudulently accused him of resisting arrest, and tried to have him imprisoned -- he was acquitted, but a judge wouldn't punish the cops or the DA, because "There is no freestanding constitutional right to be free from malicious prosecution."

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Telcos' anti-Net Neutrality argument may let the MPAA destroy DNS


The telcos' ongoing battle against Net Neutrality have led them to make a lot of silly legalistic arguments, but one in particular has opened the whole Internet to grave danger from a legal attack from the entertainment industry, which may finally realize its longstanding goal of subverting DNS to help it censor sites it dislikes, even if it makes life much easier for thieves and spies who use DNS tricks to rob and surveil.

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New York bans pet piercing


You'll still be allowed to put tags in your guinea pigs' and rabbits' ears, but no more tattooing or piercing unless it's for the animal's benefit.

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