ACLU asks court to reveal 23 secret surveillance laws


The ACLU and the Yale Law School Media Freedom Clinic have filed a motion demanding the release of 23 judgments from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret, closed courtroom that evaluates surveillance requests from America's spy agencies. Read the rest

Turkish court fines bystander/tourist who sued police for shooting out his eye


Shavkatbek Saipov was vacationing in Turkey in 2013 when he was hit in the eye by a teargas cannister fired by police during the brutal crackdown on the Occupy Gezi protests; he lost the eye and sued the Turkish police. Read the rest

Turing's law: UK to retroactively pardon thousands of men prosecuted for having sex with men


When the Crown pardoned codebreaking war-hero and computer science pioneer Alan Turing in 2013, we noted that 50,000 other British men who were also convicted of "sodomy" remained criminals in the eyes of the law. Read the rest

Harry Shearer sues studio over Spinal Tap, says he's received $98 in royalties over 30 years


Shearer's $125 million lawsuit against Studio Canal and Vivendi enumerates a parade of horribles that the entertainment companies have visited upon him, from ripping him off with crazy, corrupt accounting practices to allowing the Spinal Tap trademarks to lapse but still charging him royalties to perform as his character from Tap. Read the rest

UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal says GHCQ illegally spied for 17 years


The independent tribunal ruled on a case brought by Privacy International, concluding that the UK spy agency GCHQ was acting illegally for 17 years while it amassed huge databases of "bulk collection" data of cellphone location and call-data -- a practice revealed by the Edward Snowden docs. Read the rest

Judge throws off robe, kicks ass in court after defendant struggles with officer


His name is McBain. Judge McBain. If you're a walking protection order violation trying to intimidate your victim in court, God will not save you from the contempt citations, or indeed the whirling limbs, of Judge McBain.

A court officer seen in the video told that as he tried to take Larson into custody, the defendant “tensed up” and tried to fight him. Larson and the officer, identified by as Jared Schultz, struggled as Larson continued to point and talk to the woman.

“Tell me to leave you alone!” he said. “Tell him right now!”

“Tase his a– right now!” McBain shouted, as he threw off his judge’s robe, ran over to the two men and then physically helped pin Larson to the ground. Throughout the scuffle, Larson is heard cursing periodically.

Read the rest

New York Times responds to Donald Trump's lawsuit threat: bring it on


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump boasted of groping women. This opened the gates, and women came forward with claims of Trump groping them. The New York Times reported their allegations. Trump threatened to sue the Times. Times lawyer David E. McCraw responds:

Dear Mr. Kasowitz:

I write in response to your letter of October 12, 2016 to Dean Baquet concerning your client Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President of the United States. You write concerning our article “Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately” and label the article as “libel per se.” You ask that we “remove it from [our] website, and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology.” We decline to do so.

The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation. Mr. Trump has bragged about this non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a “piece of ass.” Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump’s unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has had the slights effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.

But there is a larger and much more important point here. The women quoted in our story spoke out on an issue of national importance – indeed, as an issue that Mr.

Read the rest

AI's blind spot: garbage in, garbage out


Social scientist Kate Crawford (previously) and legal scholar Ryan Calo (previously) helped organize the interdisciplinary White House AI Now summits on how AI could increase inequality, erode accountability, and lead us into temptation and what to do about it. Read the rest

Lawsuit would force Parliament to vote on Brexit


Gina Miller, an "investment manager," has brought a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Brexit referendum, arguing that UK law requires a Parliamentary vote on the matter before the government can act on it. Read the rest

Trump threatens to sue New York Times over new groping allegations


Following new allegations of sexual assault aimed at Donald Trump by women, the millionaire presidential candidate is threatening the New York Times for publishing them.

In a "demand for retraction," Trump lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz writes that the article is "reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se" and "nothing more than a politically-motivated effort."

The Guardian tallies the new allegations.

Two women, Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks, told the New York Times that Trump groped or kissed them without consent. Another woman, Mindy McGillivray, claimed she was groped by the Republican nominee at a Trump foundation event at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida. Natasha Stoynoff, a reporter for People magazine, who said Trump forced himself on her shortly before she was due to interview him and his wife in 2005. Two Miss USA contestants claimed Trump deliberately walked in on them when they were naked in a dressing room. Five Miss Teen USA contestants also told Buzzfeed he had entered their dressing room while the young women – aged between 15 and 19 – were getting changed. A recording emerged in which Trump appears to sexualise a 10-year-old girl, with a video recording him saying of the child: “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”

In separate recordings that emerged in the past week, Trump himself told Howard Stern in 2005 that he did in fact go backstage when contestants were undressing:

Trump's election campaign appears to be falling apart. Read the rest

Icelandic Supreme Court: all nine top bankers are guilty of market manipulation


All nine of the top Icelandic bankers from the Kaupþing market manipulation case have been found guilty by the country's Supreme Court, which reversed the district court that had acquitted two of the defendants last year. Read the rest

What it's like to register to vote in states with voter suppression law


Leroy Switlick, a 67-year-old visually impaired man who has voted in every election for the last 40 years may not get to vote this year, because he lives in Wisconsin, where Republican governor Scott Walker passed a voter-suppression law that requires people like Switkick, who've never traveled and never held a driver's license, to show photo ID (like a passport or driver's license) to vote, and the DMV has failed in its duty to issue him a non-driver ID. Read the rest

The FCC helped create the Stingray problem, now it needs to fix it


An outstanding post on the EFF's Deeplinks blog by my colleague Ernesto Falcon explains the negligent chain of events that led us into the Stingray disaster, where whole cities are being blanketed in continuous location surveillance, without warrants, public consultation, or due process, thanks to the prevalence of "IMSI catchers" ("Stingrays," "Dirtboxes," "cell-site simulators," etc) that spy indiscriminately on anyone carrying a cellular phone -- something the FCC had a duty to prevent. Read the rest

Poland abandons total abortion ban: "a lesson in humility" -UPDATED


Mass protests in Poland and across the world have led Poland's far-right government to drop its Vatican-pleasing total ban on abortion, which was so sloppily overbroad that it potentially criminalized miscarriage and surgeries to save foetuses' lives. Read the rest

California's 40-year-old ban on property tax raises has made the rich a lot richer


In 1978, California ballot initiative Proposition 13 capped property taxes at 1% of assessed value and increases at 2% per year, creating a massive hole in the ability of cities to fund their operations, which has only been partially plugged by hiking sales taxes and utility rates, regressive moves that disproportionately shift the burden of civic services to low-income households. Read the rest

Jewish man arrested at Kansas City library speech after asking "provocative" questions


Take care when asking provocative questions at Kansas City's library events: you might end up in jail.

The executive director of Kansas City Libraries says he's outraged by the charges against Jeremy Rothe-Kushel, a Jewish man grabbed by private security after asking the event's speaker, former diplomat Dennis Ross, uninvited follow-up questions. Off-duty cops moved in to arrest Rothe-Kushel when he objected to the hands-on treatment—as well as a library staffer who had moved to intervene.

The Associated Press reports Kansas City police spokeswoman Capt. Stacey Graves as saying officers "acted properly in helping private security stop an audience member from asking follow-up questions."

Issues arose after Ross finished speaking and took a question from Jeremy Rothe-Kushel concerning whether Jewish Americans like Rothe-Kushel should be concerned about actions by the U.S. and Israel that amount to "state-sponsored terrorism."

"When are we going to stand up and be ethical Jews and Americans?" Rothe-Kushel asked.

When Rothe-Kushel tried to ask another question, a private security guard grasped his arm, followed by an off-duty police officer, both employed by the Jewish Community Foundation. Rothe-Kushel then shouted, "Get your hands off of me right now!"

Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, tried to intervene. Both men were arrested by off-duty officers.

On-duty officers posted to the event apparently did not get involved until later: he was arrested by a man out of uniform and paid by the event's organizers.

Rothe-Kushel was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest. Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, was charged with interfering with an arrest. Read the rest

Sen Mitch McConnell blames Obama for bill that Obama vetoed and McConnell repeatedly voted for


Congress has overridden Obama's repeated veto for the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act," which allows US citizens to sue the Saudi government over its alleged complicity in the 9/11 attacks -- and which may allow people in other countries hamed by actions sponsored by the US government sue the US in those countries' courts. Read the rest

More posts