Politician given green-light to name developer's new streets with synonyms for greed and deceit

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A New York State Supreme Court judge has confirmed that Staten Island Borough President James Oddo can name three streets in a new property development with words that imply greediness and deceitfulness on the part of the developers. Read the rest

Why Harvard should welcome free citation manuals

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Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "Third year Harvard Law School student Kendra Albert did a very nice job on her powerful opinion piece in the Harvard Law Record, the student-run newspaper." Read the rest

Honda's lawyers want Jalopnik to dox a whistleblower

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"HondAnonymous" is a commenter on Jalopnik, a Gawker site about cars, who claims to work at Honda's R&D facility. 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

Association of German judges slams US-EU trade deal for its special corporate courts

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Trade agreements like TPP and the US-EU TTIP are notorious for their Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses, which let corporations sue governments in secret proceedings, in order to force them to get rid of environmental, safety and labor laws that reduce profits. Read the rest

Utah's proposed doxing ban too broad, says EFF

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A Utah State House of Representatives bill would outlaw doxing—publishing someone's private info with the intent to facilitate harassment—but the EFF says the planned law's language is so broad it would target free speech.

At fault, Sam Machkovech reports, is the fact that the law doesn't clearly define its terms.

[Lead sponsor State Representative David E.] Lifferth's suggested amendment, on the other hand, offers no such specific, harassment-minded qualifiers in regard to "personal identifying information." The legislation as written would punish citizens for posting a laundry list of information about anyone if a court determined there was intent to annoy, alarm, or offend them, including names, birthdays, phone numbers, place of employment, photographs, or other realistic likenesses. The penalty for first-time offenders would be a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.

Among other things, such legislation might limit citizens' ability to hold public officials and other influential members of society accountable for their actions.

Lifferth has promised to fix the bill's language. Read the rest

Bill criminalizing anal and oral sex passes Michigan Senate

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Michigan is one of the last states to keep an "anti-sodomy" law on the books, which criminalizes oral and anal sex -- most states dropped theirs when the Supreme Court ruled that law like these are unconstitutional. 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

Julian Assange had promised to turn himself if the UN ruled his detention lawful

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When a UN panel from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention upheld Julian Assange's claim that he was being unlawfully detained in London's Ecuadorean embassy, they also stopped Assange from turning himself in to the London police. Read the rest

UN panel determines Assange "arbitrarily detained"

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A UN panel has concluded that Julian Assange is being "arbitrarily detained," reports the BBC

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, knowing that he will be arrested if he leaves. Originally detained in connection to rape and sexual assault claims out of Sweden, Assange says the claims are false and crafted to disrupt his whistleblowing work.

Downing Street said the panel's ruling would not be legally binding in the UK while a European Arrest Warrant remained in place.

"We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy," he added.

"The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden." The Swedish foreign ministry said in a statement that it noted the UN panel's decision "differs from that of the Swedish authorities".

Read the rest

Watch Judge Vonda Evans sentencing racist cops to years in jail

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Racist cops in Inkster, MI., set out to pull over a black motorist and beat him up. One of them, William Melendez, was jailed for no less than 13 months today for his part in the attack, and Judge Vonda Evans's sentencing statement was a powerful and stirring moral condemnation of his behavior and that of his fellow officers, police culture, and the cynicism it leads to.

Watch the footage at Fox 2 Detroit's website. Warning: racial slurs.

Judge Vonda also spoke before the sentencing, saying Melendez and his officer were playing a "game" when they decided to pull over Dent.

"You forgot the eye of justice was watching. The dash cam designed to protect you - caught you. You knew better," she said.

Update: thanks to Aaron Hamer for the embed link. If you're looking for the best quote, it starts at 4h 22m Read the rest

Tattoo artist asserts copyright over customers' bodies

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Solid Oak Sketches has filed copyright registrations in the tattoo designs that decorate the bodies of some of basketball's biggest stars (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kenyon Martin, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe, etc), and has sued Take-Two Software, maker of NBA 2K16 and other basketball video games, for reproducing tattoos as part of the likenesses of the players. Read the rest

Video emerges of Pittsburgh cop beating up teen

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Only after assault charges against Pittsburgh police Sgt. Stephen Matakovich were dropped did the public get to see the video of him beating up a teenager.

The off-duty cop, working as a security guard, claimed that 19-year-old Gabriel Despres kept his hands in his pockets after being ordered to remove them and was therefore a "threat."

A judge agreed Monday that Despres was the aggressor and dismissed the charges against Matakovich, reportedly to cheers among police gathered in the courtroom.

But now the FBI plans to review the case after the video of the Nov. 28, 2015 incident outside Heinz Field was posted online.

Though Matakovich also maintained that Despres lunged at and punched him, the video shows otherwise. The grainy footage depicts Matakovich shoving Despres to the ground and launching a series of punches to his head. Despres lifts his arm at one point to shield himself from the blows, but does not appear to retaliate or resist.

It's not Matakovich's first time in the news: in 2003, he was videotaped threatening to beat up a superior officer on the Pittsburgh Police force, but was let off the hook despite protests from his own commander.

Word of the review came a day after a district judge dismissed charges against Sgt. Stephen Matakovich, a 22-year veteran, who had been accused of using unnecessary force in taking down Gabriel Despres, 20, of South Park.… District Justice Robert Ravenstahl’s decision Monday to dismiss charges of simple assault and official oppression against Sgt.

Read the rest

Cushy plea deal for Maryland Judge who had defendant tortured in court

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Maryland Judge Robert Nalley pleaded guilty Monday to ordering deputies to shock a defendant with a 50,000-volt charge. Nalley, who presided over Charles County Circuit Court, reportedly agreed to a plea deal whereby he receives a year of probation.

It's not Nalley's first trouble, either: In 2010, he pleaded guilty to tampering with a vehicle after deflating the tires of a cleaning woman's car, to punish her for parking in his space. For that, he was suspended for five days without pay.

CBS News reports that he was charged with violating the victim's rights in the July 2014 stun cuff incident. The maximum sentence is a year in jail and a fine of $100,000.

During jury selection, the defendant, reading from a prepared statement, objected to Nalley's authority to conduct the proceedings. After the man repeatedly ignored Nalley's questions and his commands to stop speaking, Nalley ordered a deputy sheriff to activate a "stun-cuff" the defendant was wearing.

"Do it. Use it," Nalley said.

The defendant stopped speaking when the deputy sheriff approached him and activated the device, which administered an electric shock for about five seconds. The defendant fell to the ground and screamed and Nalley then recessed the proceedings, according to the plea deal's statement of facts.

Ars Technica's David Kravets reports that stun cuffs are the hot new thing.

[Victim/defendant Delvon L.] King eventually agreed to serve two years after withdrawing a motion for a new trial. In that motion, he said he could not adequately represent himself out of fear of being shocked again.

Read the rest

Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks' malware checklist

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Boing Boing is proud to publish two original documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, in connection with "Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Extraordinary Rendition," a short story written for Laura Poitras's Astro Noise exhibition, which runs at NYC's Whitney Museum of American Art from Feb 5 to May 1, 2016.

Swatting attempted against Congresswoman who introduced anti-swatting bill

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Late last year, Katherine Clark [D-MA] introduced a bill that specifically criminalized swatting (tricking the police into thinking that there's an armed standoff in your victim's home in order to get them to swarm it with guns blazing); late Sunday night, someone tried to swat her. Read the rest

In $31m award, Jury finds that Walmart retaliated against worker

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A pharmacist fired by Walmart after reporting safety problems was awarded $31m in damages by a jury Friday. Read the rest

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