Boing Boing 

Bill to ban terms of service that say you're not allowed to complain

Introduced by Eric Swalwell (D-CA), the draft Consumer Review Freedom Act bans the "un-American" practice of making people agree not to complain as a condition of using websites.

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Secret Law is Not Law

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Cindy Cohn is on fire: "Let’s be clear: Under international human rights law, secret “law” doesn’t even qualify as 'law' at all."

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Not one Republican Senator voted for campaign finance reform


The entire GOP Senate caucus voted against Tom Udall's proposed Constitutional amendment that would have allowed states to set rules limiting campaign contributions, overturning the notorious Citizens United Supreme Court decision that found that money was a form of protected speech.

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Dietary supplement company sues website for providing a forum for dissatisfied customers

Roca Labs sells dubious snake-oil like a "Gastric Bypass Alternative," and their terms of service forbid their customers from ever complaining; they say that Pissedconsumer.com committed "tortious interference" by providing a place where disgruntled buyers could air their grievances.

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Being physically unable to commit a crime is no defense against a system that has been fine tuned for prosecution

Techdirt's Tim Cushing highlights some of the more Kafkaesque moments in modern American justice -- handcuffed men who shoot themselves in the back, men who are arraigned for crimes they allegedly committed while in jail, and comes to this conclusion:

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Keurig's K-Cup coffee DRM cracked


When they unveiled the stupid idea of locking out competitors' coffee-pods, I predicted this would happen, and I still wonder if Keurig will be dumb enough to bring a test-case that makes some good law; after all, they are a good candidate for Battle Station Most Likely to Have a Convenient Thermal Exhaust Port.

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Customer fined $250 for complaining, told "You are playing games with the wrong people"

Public Citizen is helping Cindy Cox sue Accessory Outlet for charging her $250 when she complained that an Iphone case hadn't shipped when promised; the company's rep told her that he'd fine her even more for emailing him to protest, adding an ominous "You are playing games with the wrong people and have made a very bad mistake."

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Dashcam nails cops who beat man while shouting "Stop resisting arrest"

Two cops from Bloomfield, NJ's police department have been indicted, and another plead guilty after a suppressed dashcam video showed them beating a man who was facing years in prison for "resisting arrest" (the DA dropped his charges right away).

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Twelve triple three: Secret history of Reagan's exec order that spawned mass surveillance


Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 in 1981, reversing the Carter and Ford reforms of government surveillance (sparked by the Church Commission, convened in the wake of Nixon's wiretapping scandal); GWB expanded it twice more, once during each term.

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Open Intellectual Property Casebook: free, superior alternative to $160 textbook


James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, eminent copyright scholars at the Duke Center for the Public Domain, have released their 788-page Open Intellectual Property Casebook as a free, open, CC-licensed download, replacing textbooks that normally sell for $160 (you can get a hardcopy is $24); it's not just a cheaper alternative, either -- it's a better one, enlivened with sprightly writing, excellent illustrations (including comics in the vein of Boyle and Jenkins's Bound By Law).

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As Office of US Courts withdraws records for five top benches, can we make them open?


Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has announced that they are removing the archives for 5 important courts from their infamous PACER system. PACER is the ten-cent-per-page access to U.S. District and Appeals courts dockets and opinions."

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Republican FCC commish defends states' rights to ban municipal ISPs


Ajit Pai's chief of staff says that the FCC shouldn't allow cities to set up public ISPs where state law prohibits it, even when no other broadband is available, and warns Democratic commissioners that they shouldn't do things that future Republican administrations might object to.

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Ferguson's "free speech zone" is a padlocked no-man's-land


Man arrested for briefly failing to keep moving #Ferguson/Jon Swaine/@jonswaine

The ACLU was denied an emergency injunction against Ferguson's cops' illegal "no standing on the sidewalk" rule because Ferguson promised to erect a "free speech zone," but the only thing on that site is a fenced-off, locked-up pen that no one is allowed to use.

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Fictional products don't violate trademark laws


The makers of Clean Slate, a drive-wiping program, sued Warner over a fictional product with the same name in The Dark Knight Rises; the judge quite sensibly told them that trademark protects you from unfair competition -- it doesn't let you own words.

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NYPD arrest NY gubernatorial challenger for videoing street-arrest

Randy Credico is challenging Cuomo in the primary; so much for the NYPD's vaunted stop arresting photographers memo.

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EFF guide to cell phone use for US protesters

It's a timely update to their 2011 edition, incorporating new Supreme Court precedents that give additional protection to protesters who face arrest while video-recording or otherwise documenting protests -- required reading in a world of #Ferguson.

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Brooklyn Law Clinic students scare away patent trolls

The school's clinic is run like a law office and offers free counsel based both on need and on the interestingness of the cases for law students.

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EU wants Google to extend "right to be forgotten" to global users


Right now, Google blocks "forgotten" articles on EU versions of its site.

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Comcast retention rep's network boasts expose company to liability

When the Comcast Rep From Hell insisted that Comcast had the "fastest network in the USA," he was speaking on behalf of the company -- and it was a lie.

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Fewer than 10% of UK families opt into "parental" filters

But they're going to be on-by-default, opt-out-only in the near future anyway, because the Great Firewall of Cameron is based on lazy populism, not evidence.

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Ocala, FL criminalizes sagging pants

If you're on city property and your pants hang more than 2" below your "natural waistline," you face a $500 fine, and for repeat offenders, jail.

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Yet another Ikea fan-site threatened by the company


It's not just Ikeahackers: Ikea has gone all-out war on its web-fans.

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Senate passes phone unlocking bill


The Senate has approved a bill (which already passed in the House) that makes it legal for you to unlock the phones you own so you can choose which carrier you use.

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New Mexico threatens inmate with 90 days' solitary because his family made him a Facebook page

The New Mexico Corrections Department has a policy prohibiting inmates from "accessing the Internet through third parties," which they've interpreted to mean that prisoners whose families maintain Facebook pages for them can be punished with solitary confinement.

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Scalia may have opened path for Quakers to abstain from taxes


The controversial Hobby Lobby decision elevated religious belief over legal compliance -- this may be good news for Quakers, Amish, Mennonites and others who've historically faced punishing reprisals for withholding some of their tax to avoid funding the military.

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Hearings into mass surveillance begin in UK

The secretive UK investigatory powers tribunal has begun its hearings into the legality of mass surveillance conducted by tapping fiber optic lines, through a Snowden-revealed programme called TEMPORA.

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Drone protesting grandmother gets a year in prison in Syracuse


Mary Anne Grady Flores, a grandmother from New York State, was sentenced to a year in prison for nonviolently recording a likewise nonviolent protest over the training of drone pilots at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse.

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Secret proposed UK snooping law published - DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

The secret, emergency snooping law that the UK Tories plan on ramming through Parliament this week without debate has been published. It's bad, and the leadership of Labour and the Libdems are complicit in the plan to make it law.

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Silicon Valley wage fixing: Disney, Lucas, Dreamworks and Pixar implicated


It's not just tech companies that participated in the massive, illegal "no-poaching" cartel.

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UK government set to ram through surveillance legislation


The UK government is has put MPs on notice that a bill will be considered and moved on July 14, but they won't say what it is. Veteran Labour MP Tom Watson thinks it's data retention legislation that will enlist the private sector to comprehensively spy on everything you do and save it for long periods, turning it over to the government when asked. And almost no one -- not even MPs -- will get a chance to read the bill right up to the last minute, when they'll be whipped to vote for it by their party leadership.