Boing Boing 

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.

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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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Judge convicted of planting meth on woman who reported him for harassment

Bryant Cochran was chief judge of Murray County Magistrate Court when a woman reported him for hitting on her while she entered his chambers to take out assault warrants following an attack on her.

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Georgia cops pay $100K for jailing woman who said "Fuck the police"


Amy Barnes was jailed and held in solitary in 2012 when she called out "fuck the police" as she bicycled past Cobb County cops who were questioning a suspect by the roadside.

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The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Procedure

Nathaniel Burney continues his project to create an entire law-degree in comic-book form with The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Procedure, Vol I: Parts 1-3, the followup to his brilliant 2012 book Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law. Never has the Fourth Amendment been more graphic and accessible: Cory Doctorow is learning everything he needs for a life of successful criminal law and/or crime.

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Mystery man has petition approved by Supreme Court, can't be found


Bobby Chen wrote his own petition to the Supreme Court over his suit against the City of Baltimore, which demolished his house and trashed all his stuff -- and the Supreme Court granted it.

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Lawquake! Judge rules that explaining jailbreaking isn't illegal


A federal judge in New York has ruled that telling people where to get DRM-removal software isn't against the law -- it's a huge shift in the case-law around DRM, and it's an important step in the right direction.

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We know you love privacy, Judge Posner. We just wish you'd share.


As I wrote yesterday, 7th circuit judge Richard Posner's views on privacy (basically: "nothing to fear, nothing to hide" and "it should be illegal to made a phone the government can't search") are dismal and unsophisticated -- but they're also deeply hypocritical.

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Pirate Bay down after Swedish police raid

The administrators of The Pirate Bay had previously boasted that their servers were mirrored on cloud hosts all over the world, and that they could be back up and running very quickly after a raid, but the site's been down for a day and more now.

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Republicans in Michigan House pass religious bigotry bill

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by the Republicans in the Michigan House of Reps, follows the same contours as the Arizona pro-bigotry law that Obama Governor Janet Brewer vetoed: it allows shopkeepers to discriminate against people they don't like if they claim their religion demands it.

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Reminder: some US police departments reject high-IQ candidates


Even if you think that IQ tests are unscientific mumbo-jumbo, it's amazing to learn that some US police departments don't, and furthermore, that they defended their legal right to exclude potential officers because they tested too high.

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Judge Posner: it should be illegal to make phones the government can't search

Cory Doctorow on why privacy is about more than concealing crime—and why backdoors are inevitably available to everyone, not just people you trust.

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