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

Federal appeals court blasts North Carolina's unconstitutional, Republican gerrymandering, orders new districts by Jan 24

North Carolina is one of several Republican-held states whose legislatures have created bizarre, misshapen and fundamentally, provably unfair electoral maps that ensure that the votes of Democrats in their states almost never result in representation by Democratic lawmakers. Read the rest

San Francisco judge says Trump can't kill DACA until lawsuits are resolved

The Trump administration won't be able to order the cancellation the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until the outstanding lawsuits about the legality of such an order have been resolved, thanks to a ruling by Federal judge in San Francisco. Read the rest

Donald Trump is suing my publisher, and its response is magnificent

Henry Holt is a division of Macmillan (owners of Tor Books, who publish my novels); they're the folks who published Michael Wolff's bestselling Fire and Fury, which has so thoroughly embarrassed Donald Trump that the President of the United States has threatened to sue them. Read the rest

Although the upcoming Senate Net Neutrality vote is unlikely to work, it is still an activist triumph with real consequences

After Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai killed Net Neutrality -- a deed so indefensible he literally won't defend it -- activists announced their intention to pressure 30 Senators into calling for a vote to overturn it. Read the rest

Twitter complies with Germany's new hate-speech laws by cutting off the account of a satirical magazine that mocks hate speech

When a German neo-Nazi politician tweeted that German police were trying to "to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men," her account was briefly suspended -- but when the satirical magazine Titanic put up its own tweet mocking the Nazi, their account was suspended, too. Read the rest

Disney's 1998 copyright term extension expires this year and Big Content's lobbyists say they're not going to try for another one

In 1998, Disney led an entertainment industry lobbying effort that resulted in the term of copyright being extended by 20 years, even for works that had already been created -- a law with an incoherent basis, given that the US copyright system is constitutionally constrained to passing laws to promote new creative works (giving creators more copyright on works they've already created doesn't get them to make new ones, and it reduces the ability of new artists to remix existing works, the way Disney did with the Grimm's fairy tales). Read the rest

Wells Fargo's CEO told Congress that he wouldn't enforce binding arbitration, so Wells is getting sued in Utah

A class action suit by some of the 3,500,000+ Wells Fargo customers defrauded in the company's fake account scam was foundering in Utah, thanks to the company's insistence that its binding arbitration clauses also applied to the accounts it fraudulently opened (that is, by agreeing not to sue the company for defrauding you over the accounts you opened, you were also agreeing not to sue them if it opened a bunch more accounts and forged your signature on the papers). Read the rest

"The efficiency gap": understanding the math behind a crucial Supreme Court gerrymandering case

Last October, the Supreme Court heard argument in Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin gerrymandering case that has far-reaching implications for the November midterms in 2018; the court is expected to rule next June. Read the rest

I Can't Breathe: Matt Taibbi's scorching book on the murder of Eric Garner and the system that let the killers get away with it

Matt Taibbi is one of the best political writers working in the USA today, someone who can use the small, novelistic details of individuals' lives illuminate the vast, systemic problems that poison our lives and shame our honor; his 2014 book The Divide conducts a wide-ranging inquiry into the impunity of corporate criminals and the kafkaesque injustices visited on the poor people they victimize; in I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, Taibbi narrows his focus to the police murder of Eric Garner, a Staten Island fixture and father, and the system that put murderers in uniform in his path.

Child molester Roy Moore said he wants to repeal all Constitutional amendments after the first ten, which would revive slavery and end votes for women and black people

Roy Moore, who has been thoroughly endorsed by Donald Trump, said in 2011 that the US government would "solve many problems" by ridding itself of every Constitutional amendment after the first ten -- a list that included the 13th Amendment (which ended slavery), the 14th (which gave citizenship to former enslaved people); the 15th (which gave the vote to black men) and the 19th (which extended voting to women). Read the rest

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