Arizona may end draconian feminine hygiene rationing for prisoners

Right now, if prisoners use up their 12 allotted pads for the month, they have to work 27 hours to afford a $4 box of tampons. Read the rest

Cloudflare terminate Sci-Hub domains, declining to challenge court order

Cloudflare has terminated service to Sci-Hub, the site that provides paywall-free access to virtually all scholarly work, citing Aaron Swartz as inspiration -- Cloudflare previously serviced the sci-hub.la, sci-hub.tv, and sci-hub.tw domains, but in response to an injunction obtained by the American Chemical Society, they will no longer provide that service. Read the rest

Popehat's new First Amendment law-podcast is great!

Make No Law is a just-launched podcast hosted by Ken "Popehat" White (previously), a former Federal prosecutor who writes some of the best, most incisive legal commentary on the web; the first episode deals with the oft-cited, badly misunderstood "fighting words" doctrine and its weird history in the religious prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses (my sole complaint is that he didn't work in E. Gary Gygax). Read the rest

The in-depth tale of Bylock, the Turkish messenger app whose 1x1 tracking GIF was the basis for tens of thousands of treason accusations

A group of exiled Turkish human rights lawyers have published an in-depth history of how Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkish government has described Bylock, an encrypted messenging app, whose 1x1 analytics pixel was used as the basis for accusing tens -- if not hundreds -- of thousands of Turks of treason, with consequences ranging from loss of employment and ostracization to imprisonment, to torture, to suicide. Read the rest

Appeals Court: Britain's Snoopers Charter is illegal mass surveillance and must be urgently reformed

Just over a year ago, the top court in Europe ruled that the Snoopers Charter, a mass surveillance regime created by the ruling Tory party, was unconstitutional. Read the rest

"We Shall Overcome" has overcome copyfraud and is now unambiguously public domain

A group of activist lawyers/documentarians have made a vocation of fighting copyfraudsters in the courts, first forcing Warner Chapell to relinquish its bogus claim over "Happy Birthday" and then targeting Ludlow Music Inc. and The Richmond Organization who had spent decades fraudulently collecting licensing fees for the public domain civil rights hymn "We Shall Overcome." Read the rest

Florida state cop says he can't remember why he bought mobile stalking app

Flexispy is a creepy, potentially illegal piece of stalkerware marketed to abusive men who want to spy on their partners; but Jim Born, an ex-DEA cop and retired Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent (now a crime novelist) says that he thinks he "used on a case or tried it to understand how it worked. Nothing nefarious." Read the rest

South Korea, gripped by suicide epidemic, criminalizes suicide-pacts

South Korea has one of the world's highest suicide rates -- it has steadily mounted since 2000, rising to 25.6 per 100,000. Read the rest

God told judge to tell jury that defendant should not be convicted, so he did

In New Braunfels, Texas, State District Judge Jack Robison walked into the jury room, twice, during deliberation in a teen sex trafficking case and told the jurors that the defendant shouldn't be convicted. Why? Because God told him to.

"He said he had thought it over and prayed on it and that God told him that he had to say this," said Mark A. House, jury foreman in the weeklong trial of Gloria Romero Perez that concluded Jan. 12.

Robison, a veteran jurist who presides in the 207th district that covers Comal and Hays counties, quickly informed the state and defense counsel of his conduct and recused himself from the punishment phase of the trial.

"It's probably the most unusual thing I've experienced in 20 years as an attorney," said Sylvia A. Cavazos, who represented Perez. "Judge Robison apologized in open court to the jury, saying something to the effect that 'I apologize but, if God tells me to do something, I have to do it...'"

Cavazos contends Perez should receive a new trial because of Robison's actions, but she noted, "The DA's position was (no retrial should occur because) he encouraged them to find her not guilty, and the jury had already reached their verdict, and he didn't change their minds."

House has filed a complaint against Robison with the state judicial authorities.

"Judge facing complaints over trying to sway jury" (San Antonio Express-News) Read the rest

Comic-strip contracts, so no one argues they’re too confusing to be enforceable

University of Western Australia Law professor Camilla Baasch Andersen has helped businesspeople draft legally binding contracts that take the form of simple comic-strips, arguing that their simplicity not only promotes understanding, but also insulates companies from the risk of courts finding their contracts unenforceable because they were too confusing (an Australian court has forced insurers Suncorp and Allianz to refund AUD60m paid for insurance that was of "little or no value," but which Australians purchased thanks to confusing fine-print that made it hard to assess). Read the rest

City of Sarajevo bans unsanctioned utterances of its name, threatens Facebook groups

The proprietors of every Facebook page containing the word "Sarajevo" in its title reportedly received demand letters from the city government of Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia, threatening legal action unless the proprietors pay a royalty for permission to use the city's name in their pages. Read the rest

EFF to NSA: you scammed your way to another six years of warrantless spying, and you'd better enjoy it while it lasts

Last week, cowards from both sides of the aisle caved into America's lawless spy agencies, and today bipartisan senators reprised that cowardice to ensure that the Senate would not get a chance to vote on amendments to the renewal of Section 702, the rule that has allowed the NSA to conduct mass, warrantless surveillance on Americans in secret, without meaningful oversight or limits. Read the rest

Drunk droning is now against the law in New Jersey

As of Monday, there is a new kind of "DUI" in New Jersey: Droning Under the Influence. On his final day of being New Jersey's (incredibly unpopular) governor, Chris Christie signed a law making it illegal to fly an unmanned drone aircraft drunk or under the influence of drugs.

Reuters reports:

The law prohibits flying a drone with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, the same as for driving a vehicle, or while drugged. Violators face up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. The measure, which passed the Democratic-controlled state legislature earlier this month, also bars flying a drone near a prison or in pursuit of wildlife. The drone measure was among 109 bills that Christie signed into law on his last full day in office, spokesman Brian Murray said by email. Christie’s successor, Democrat Phil Murphy, is to be sworn in on Tuesday.

photo by Andrew Turner Read the rest

Powerful film on how Bronx Freedom Fund rescues those who can't afford bail

Bail is intended to compel defendants show up for court, but for poor citizens who can't make bail, it can lead to pre-trial jail terms that can ruin their lives. The Bail Project profiles Ramel, who was bailed out by the nonprofit Bronx Freedom Fund. Read the rest

Seven years after attempting to rip off Ken "Popehat" White, fraudster gets 108-month federal prison sentence

It's been seven years since I started following Ken "Popehat" White's relentless pursuit of a con artist who sent his company a fake invoice. Read the rest

Federal Appeals Court rules that violating a website's Terms of Service is not a crime

A Ninth Circuit Appellate Court has rejected Oracle's attempt to treat violating its website terms of service as a felony under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Read the rest

Federal prosecutors say that Ohio man used MacOS malware that covertly operated cameras and mics and exfiltrated porn searches for 13 years

An indictment in the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio's Eastern Division alleges that Phillip R Durachinsky created a strain of MacOS "creepware" called Fruitfly, which was able to covertly operate the cameras and microphones of infected computers as well as capturing and sharing porn searches from the infected machines; the indictment alleges that Durachinsky used the software for 13 years, targeting individuals, schools, and federal agencies including the Department of Energy. Read the rest

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