One of the major triumphs of Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a rule that banned the finance industry from using binding arbitration clauses to prevent defrauded customers from joining in class action suits to sue crooked banks. Read the rest
Spend enough time in progressive circles, and you'll run into the type of guy lampooned here: the guy who uses progressive catchphases as pickup lines. This skit feels ripped from the headlines of recent podcast drama. Read the rest
The Freedom of the Press Foundation's lawsuit against the DoJ has resulted in the release of documents showing that a bill with that was nearly unanimously supported in Congress and the Senate was killed by behind-the-scene lobbying by the Department of Justice, which feared that they would lose the ability to arbitrarily reject Freedom of Information Act requests if the bill passed. Read the rest
Public Citizen's extraordinary new 74-second political ad features audio of Donald Trump promising to end the role of big money, lobbyists, and special interests in politics, contrasted with headlines describing the industrial big-money ties of his transition team and cabinet picks, packed with billionaires, notorious CEOs of corrupt companies, offshoring specialists, and other looters. Read the rest
Japanese manga artist, Megumi Igarashi, who makes whimsical sculptures from molds of her vulva, was fond guilty of obscenity in Tokyo District Court. She was fined 400,000 yen ($3,670) fine.
Megumi Igarashi, who works under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko – or good-for-nothing girl – was arrested in July 2014 after she distributed data that enabled recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina.
The 44-year-old was fined 400,000 yen (£2,575), half the penalty demanded by prosecutors, at the Tokyo district court on Monday after she was convicted of distributing “obscene” images. She was cleared of another charge of displaying similar material.
Igarashi distributed the data to help raise funds to create a kayak inspired by her genitalia she called “pussy boat.”
The judge, Mihoko Tanabe, said that the data, though “flat and inorganic”, realistically portrayed the shape of a vagina and could “sexually arouse viewers”, according to Kyodo News.
Remember, in Japan: Penis sculpture good. Vulva sculpture bad.
Previously: Artist arrested for distributing 3D file of her genitals Read the rest
Japan is famous for its penis parades, where people carry around giant wooden dicks and buy penis candy and souvenirs. So why is manga artist Rokudenashiko likely to be imprisoned for making whimsical sculptures based on plaster castings of her vulva? (See Japanese artist goes on trial over "vagina selfies and Manga cartoonist arrested for her whimsical vagina sculptures.) Vice's Broadly has a video interview with this brave artist who is getting a raw deal from the Japanese government.
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In December, we wrote about the unbelievably stupid arrest of Rokudenashiko (nee Megumi Igarashi), a Japanese manga artist who makes art with castings of her genitals. She's actually been arrested twice – once for distributing 3-D printable data of her vagina (really, her vulva or pudendum, for the pudants reading this), and another time for for an art display of whimsical sculptures (described by prosecutors as "obscene objects") at a store in Tokyo. Examples of the obscene objects are shown above and below:
Rokudenashiko's been in jail awaiting trial, after a judge refused her lawyer's request to release her. Judge Noriki Ando said Rokudenashiko must remain in prison out of a "fear she may destroy evidence or flee."
Rokudenashiko's trial is now underway. Her lawyers will defend the artist by claiming that her "work is not a precise reproduction of the vulva and does not cause sexual arousal."
The Guardian points out the hypocrisy of the case against Rokudenashiko:
Her case has attracted worldwide attention and criticism of the apparent double standards in the Japanese law’s treatment of sexual imagery. While the country has a thriving pornography industry, its obscenity laws ban the depiction of genitalia, which usually appear pixelated in images and videos.
Commentators pointed out the hypocrisy of her initial arrest, which came soon after Japanese authorities resisted pressure to ban pornographic images of children in manga comics and animated films.
If found guilty Rokudenashiko could spend two years in prison for distributing obscene objects.
Here's a profile of Rokudenashiko, showing how she makes her "vagina sculptures."
And here she describes her (successful) crowdfunded plan to make a "pussy kayak":
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Hobby Lobby is so offended by the idea of contributing to its employees' birth control expenses that it fought all the way to the Supreme Court over the issue. But its retirement plan has over $73M sunk into funds that include companies that make contraception. Read the rest
For years, Google has intervened in regulatory and court proceedings on the side of net neutrality (except for its embarrassing and inexcusable joint filing with Verizon on mobile rules). But now that Google is running its own gigabit broadband service, it has told the FCC that it's perfectly reasonable to discriminate on the basis of which packets are flowing and how they were generated -- justifying its own terms-of-service that block running "servers." Without this policy, it would be harder for Google to sell a "business" service that was distinct from the gigabit home service. Read the rest
Audio: MP3 Download.
I joined "The Madeleine Brand Show" today for a discussion about the marathon hack of PBS.org by a group calling itself LulzSec, or The Lulz Boat. They've published what they claim was the method used: in short, vulnerabilities in Movable Type, and related weaknesses.
As noted here on Boing Boing in previous posts, the hack was said to be in retaliation for the PBS Frontline "Wikisecrets" documentary, which was perceived by Wikileaks advocates (and whoever LulzSec is) to be unfair to the secrets-leaking organization and to accused leaker Bradley Manning.
Taking a news organization effectively offline to protest the content of its coverage is not exactly supporting free speech—but this was about lulz, not logic. And as I said on Twitter when news of the attack first broke: PBS doesn't operate like CNN or Fox News, with a centralized news production process. Attacking PBS like this because one episode of one show wasn't A+ is like firebombing an entire grocery store because one apple you bit was bad.
Of course, unlike a firebombing, PBS will recover just fine. While the hack was ongoing last night, the organization coped by publishing to Tumblr and interacting more directly on Twitter with viewers. But a bunch of poor IT admins at PBS HQ, and affiliate stations around the country whose logins and passwords were exposed, probably had a really crappy Memorial Day (and will have a lot of cleanup and stress in weeks ahead). Read the rest
The judges in a Dutch copyright case plagiarized a legal blogger in writing their opinion. The case held that framing and embedding is a form of copyright infringement (a maximalist copyright view that I find pretty dubious as a policy matter), and the relevant section from the opinion, "in case law and legal literature it is generally held that an embedded link constitutes a publication. After all, the material can be viewed or heard within the context of the website of those who placed the link, and placement causes the material to reach a new audience" is identical to text that appeared earlier on SOLV lawyer Douwe Linders's blog. Dutch copyright's fair dealing rules allow for some quotation without permission, but passing off someone else's text as your own is plagiarism, and weakens the fair dealing claim as well.
Judges plagiarize blog posting in copyright case
Blog posting by SOLV lawyer Douwe Linders
Lethem, Vaidhyanathan, et al talk copyright and plagiarism on NPR ...
Author accuses Shyamalan of plagiarism over "Village," audiences ...
The latest NYT plagiarism case: Bernie Weinraub - Boing Boing Read the rest
Google CEO Eric Schmidt says privacy isn't important, and if you want to keep something private, "maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" (in other words, "innocent people have nothing to hide.")
Bruce Schneier calls bullshit with eloquence: "For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that -- either now or in the uncertain future -- patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable."
But JWZ has the kicker, when he reminds us that Eric Schmidt's Google blackballed CNet's reporters after CNet published personal information about Schmidt's private life: ""Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET News reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story..." "To underscore its point about how much personal information is available, the CNET report published some personal information about Google's CEO Eric Schmidt -- his salary; his neighborhood, some of his hobbies and political donations -- all obtained through Google searches...."
Hey, Eric: if you don't want us to know how much money you make, where you live, and what you do with your spare time, maybe you shouldn't have a house, earn a salary, or have any hobbies, right? Read the rest