Apple engineers quietly discuss refusing to create the FBI's backdoor

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If you're one of the few engineers at Apple qualified to code up the backdoor that the FBI is seeking in its court order, and if your employer loses its case, and if you think you have a solemn duty as a security engineer to only produce code that makes users more secure, not less, what do you do? Read the rest

First-ever Tor node in a Canadian library

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Library workers at Western University's Graduate Resource Centre in London, Ontario, had a workshop from Alison Macrina, the library organiser whose Library Freedom Project won a battle with the US DHS over a library in New Hampshire that was offering a Tor exit node as part of a global network that delivers privacy, censorship resistance, and anonymity to all comers. Read the rest

Sheriff says rape kits are irrelevant because most rape accusations are false

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Bingham County, Idaho Sheriff Craig Rowland told a TV interviewer that he opposes a bill to centrally collect and track rape kits because "the majority of our rapes that are called in are actually consensual sex." Read the rest

John Oliver on Apple vs FBI and the new crypto wars

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John Oliver continues to deliver the best comedy tech analysis in the business, with an epic rant/explainer that delves into Apple vs FBI and the new crypto wars with scathing wit and deep, technical truth that's made miraculously accessible to a general audience. Read the rest

Fellowships for "Robin Hood" hackers to help poor people get access to the law

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New York City's Robin Hood Labs at Blue Ridge Laboratories have opening for paid fellowships to develop apps and technologies to give low-income people legal assistance in civil proceedings, like evictions, debt collection, and immigration procedures. Read the rest

Lawsuit reveals Obama's DoJ sabotaged Freedom of Information Act transparency

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The Obama administration declared itself to be the "most transparent administration in history," but a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that Obama's Justice Department worked tirelessly behind the scenes to kill any chance of increased Freedom of Information Act access to governments at all levels, from lobbying Congress to kill FOIA reform to urging other administrative agencies to obstruct FOIA requests. Read the rest

Using distributed code-signatures to make it much harder to order secret backdoors

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Cothority is a new software project that uses "multi-party cryptographic signatures" to make it infinitely harder for governments to order companies to ship secret, targeted backdoors to their products as innocuous-looking software updates. Read the rest

French Parliament votes to imprison tech execs for refusal to decrypt

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Amendment 90 to France's penal reform bill provides for five year prison sentences and €350,000 fines for companies that refuse to accede to law enforcement demands to decrypt devices. Read the rest

Racial justice organizers to FBI vs Apple judge: crypto matters to #blacklivesmatter

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Phenomena like the Harlem Cryptoparty demonstrate the connection between racial justice and cryptography -- civil rights organizers remember that the FBI spied on and blackmailed Martin Luther King, sending him vile notes encouraging him to kill himself. Read the rest

Senior U.S. immigration judge says 3 and 4 year old children can represent themselves in court

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The ACLU deposed Judge Jack H Weil, a senior judge responsible for training other immigration judges, in a case over whether 3- and 4-year-olds needed legal representation during deportation hearings. Judge Weil insisted that children as young as three could be taught the basics of immigration law and didn't need taxpayer-funded lawyers in order to get a fair hearing.

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Crimefighting for fun and profit: data-mining Medicare fraud and likely whistleblowers

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John Mininno is an ex-malpractice lawyer who raised money from a Wall Street angel and founded the National Healthcare Analysis Group, which uses public data sources to uncover Medicare fraud, then does further data-mining to predict which current or ex-employees will turn whistleblower, cold calls them, and splits the bounty the government offers for whistleblowing with them. Read the rest

Federal judge rules US government can't force Apple to make a security-breaking tool

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We've all heard that there's a federal judge in California who ordered Apple to make a tool to help the FBI decrypt a phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters -- but despite the FBI's insistence that this is a special circumstance, San Bernardino is just one of a dozen-odd cases where the FBI is making similar demands on Apple. Read the rest

500,000 to 1M unemployed Americans will lose food aid next month

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On April 1, 22 states will roll back their food stamps rules to pre-crisis levels, so adults without dependents or disabilities will only be entitled to "three months of food stamps in any three-year period—unless they work at least 80 hours a month, or meet education and training or volunteer benchmarks." Read the rest

BC town votes to install imaginary GPS trackers in criminals

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The town council of Williams Lake, British Columbia has unanimously passed a motion to implant GPS trackers in "high risk offenders." Implantable GPS trackers don't exist. Read the rest

Disney offers to deduct contributions to its PAC from employees' paychecks, to lobby for TPP

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In a mass mailing to employees, CEO Bob Iger asked Disney people to make a regular contribution to Disney PAC to help the company lobby for expanded copyright laws, and the Trans Pacific Partnership. Read the rest

Nine key legal cases about robots, and the messy legal future of robotic devices

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Robot legal theorist Ryan Calo writes, "I thought you might enjoy my new paper, canvassing decades of American case law involving robots. Courts have had to decide, for instance, whether a robot represents something 'animate,' whether the robot band at Chuckie Cheese 'performs,' and whether a salvage crew 'possesses' a ship wreck by visiting it with a robot sub." Read the rest

NH bill would explicitly allow libraries to run Tor exit nodes

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Inspired by the Library Freedom Project's uncompromising bravery in the face of a DHS threat against a town library in Kilton, NH, that was running a Tor exit node to facilitate private, anonymous communication, the New Hampshire legislature is now considering a bill that would explicitly permit public libraries to "allow the installation and use of cryptographic privacy platforms on public library computers for library patrons use." Read the rest

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