NSA spying: judge tosses out case because Wikipedia isn't widely read enough


Wikimedia -- Wikipedia's parent org -- has had its case against the NSA dismissed by a Federal judge who said that the mere fact that the site is one of the most popular destinations on the net was not a basis for assuming that the NSA had intercepted data between Wikipedia and its users. Read the rest

Investing in David v Goliath: hundreds of millions slosh into litigation finance funds


Litigation finance (AKA champerty) is the practice of investing in other peoples' lawsuits, with the expectation that you will share in any court awards or settlements should your side win the case. Read the rest

DoJ to Apple: your software is licensed, not sold, so we can force you to decrypt


The DoJ is currently trying to force Apple to decrypt data stored on a defendant's Iphone, and Apple, to its great credit, is fighting back, arguing that on the one hand, it doesn't have the technical capability to do so; and on the other, should not be required to do so. Read the rest

DHS admits it uses Stingrays for VIPs, vows to sometimes get warrants, stop lying to judges


The DHS's newly released policy statement on the use of Stingrays (stationary fake cellphone towers used to track people in a specific location) and Dirt Boxes (airplane-mounted surveillance that tracks whole populations) represents a welcome, if overdue, transparency in the use of cellphone surveillance by federal agencies. Read the rest

Hungarian camerawoman who tripped refugee announces she will sue that refugee


Petra Laszlo is the unpleasant human who tripped a Syrian refugee called Osama Abdul Mohsen as he walked past her with a child in his arms. Read the rest

Call for papers: We Robot, a conference on robots, ethics, philosophy and regulation


Michael Froomkin writes, "We Robot is a cool conference that brings together lawyers, engineers, philosophers, robot builders, ethicists, and regulators who are on the front lines of robot theory, design, or development. The 2016 editioni will be in Coral Gables, Florida on April 1-2, 2016 at the University of Miami School of Law. The main conference will be preceded by a day of special workshops on March 31. Full details at Read the rest

Buck Rogers and the Copyright Trolls

Remember the Sherlock Holmes case where the Conan Doyle Estate was shaking everyone down for sub-litigation payoffs and asserting claims over Holmes (despite serious copyright scholars all saying they had no right to do so) until Les Klinger stuck to his guns?

Now it’s happening again, with some minor variations, only this time the weapon of choice is Buck Rogers.

Eric Holder: I didn't prosecute bankers for reasons unrelated to my $3M/year law firm salary


The Intercept's Dan Froomkin played turd-in-the-punchbowl at outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder's victory lap party at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reception on Wednesday, asking why Holder had declined to put one single banker in jail for the monumental frauds that collapsed the world's economy in 2007-9. Read the rest

Titanic victory for fair use: appeals court says Google's book-scanning is legal

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals just dropped a bombshell, ruling against the Authors Guild in its bid to force Google to stop scanning books and making them searchable.

UK MPs learn that GCHQ can spy on them, too, so now we may get a debate on surveillance


In 1966, UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson told MPs that the UK spy agencies weren't allowed to tap their phones and that if that changed, he'd tell them about it first. In 1997, Prime Minister Tony Blair asserted that this applied to electronic communications. This Monday, UK Home Secretary Theresa May asserted that the "Wilson Doctrine" still applied to MPs. Then, on Wednesday, the investigatory powers tribunal ruled that this was all rubbish. Read the rest

Ukrainian botmaster who tried to frame Brian Krebs extradited to US


When security-researcher/hornet-nest-kicker Brian Krebs outed Sergey "Flycracker" Vovnenko as administrator of a darknet crime site and botmaster of a 13,000-PC-strong botnet used to attack sites and launder stolen data, Vovnenko allegedly masterminded a plot to frame Krebs by mailing him heroin. Read the rest

NYC HR manager sued her 12-year-old nephew for $127,000 over flying hug that broke her wrist


Jennifer Connell says that in 2011, her nephew -- then 8, now 12 -- jumped off his bike and ran to her, giving her a huge hug and shouting "I love you, Auntie Jen," and that the hug resulted in her breaking her wrist. Read the rest

CIA black-site torture survivors sue shrinks who made $85M overseeing CIA torture program


James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen are psychologists who took in almost $85 million in CIA contracts to design and oversee torture programs used on CIA prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and around the world. The contracts ran from from 2001 to 2010. The ACLU is representing Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Gul Rahman, three of the prisoners who were tortured at CIA black sites. Rahman was murdered by his torturers and the ACLU is representing his estate. Read the rest

How a billionaire GOP rainmaker tried (and failed) to rewrite history by suing Mother Jones


Frank VanderSloot is a major Republican donor -- he funneled more than $1M to the Romney campaign -- who is tapped to be one of the kingmakers in the party's leadership race. But the multi-level marketing nutritional supplement billionaire has a dark history he'd like to erase: his many, high-profile, vicious campaigns against gay people. Read the rest

California passes the country's best-ever online privacy law

CA Gov. Jerry Brown at a news conference in Sacramento.

Governor Jerry Brown has signed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which "bars any state law enforcement agency or other investigative entity from compelling a business to turn over any metadata or digital communications—including emails, texts, documents stored in the cloud—without a warrant. It also requires a warrant to track the location of electronic devices like mobile phones, or to search them." Read the rest

Court tells millionaire yoga troll Bikram Choudhury that poses can't be copyrighted


Bikram Choudhury, the millionaire accused serial rapist who popularized hot yoga in America, sued other hot yoga studios in 2003, including "open source yoga" practicioners, asserting that he held a copyright over the sequence of poses conducted in his class. Read the rest

Algorithmic guilt: defendants must be able to inspect source code in forensic devices


Some day, you may be the defendant in a criminal trial that turns on whether the software in a forensic device reached a reliable conclusion about a DNA test or other piece of evidence. Wouldn't you like to have your own experts check the source code on that device? Read the rest

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