The Solace of Oblivion by Jeffrey Toobin [The New Yorker]
"In Europe, the right to be forgotten trumps the Internet."
The Supreme Court has unanimously reversed (large PDF
) the California Court of Appeals in Riley v. California
, deciding that police cannot search the contents of a phone without a warrant during an arrest
, and that "the fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought." [more inside]
During their Freedom Hosting
investigation and malware attack last year, the FBI unintentionally obtained the entire e-mail database of popular anonymous webmail service Tor Mail. And now, they've used it in an unrelated investigation to bust a Florida man accused of stealing credit card numbers
. [more inside]
The Secret History of Privacy.
"Something creepy happened when mystery became secular, secrecy became a technology, and privacy became a right..." [Via]
The Council of the European Union recently released a proposal to amend the General Data Protection Regulation. Scaling back from becoming the most strict privacy regulation in the world, the amendment greatly favors corporate interests while reducing the rights of data subjects
. [more inside]
When it hits you, no matter how much you expect it, it comes as a surprise — a literal shock, like a baseball bat swung hard and squarely into the small of your back. That sensation — which is actually two sharp steel barbs piercing your skin and shooting electricity into your central nervous system — is followed by the harshest, most violent charlie horse you can imagine coursing through your entire body. With the pain comes the terrifying awareness that you are completely helpless. You cannot move. You lose control of almost everything and the only place you can go is down, face first to the floor.
That’s what it feels like to be hit with a Taser.
- Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider
) has investigated News Corporation
for PBS Frontline [transcript]
. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered
" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air
But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK
. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled yesterday
[.pdf] that a citizen's refusal to decrypt encrypted drives is protected by the Fifth Amendment, at least under some circumstances. In doing so it reversed the district court's contempt order entered against a John Doe defendant after he refused to decrypt his laptop hard drive and five external hard drives in response to a subpoena. This decision arguably conflicts with an earlier decision
in which a district court in Vermont required a defendant to provide the password to his encrypted drives. The Eleventh Circuit distinguishes the earlier case on the basis that the government in that case knew of the existence of the files and simply couldn't access them, while in the recent case the government did not know the names of files or even whether or not files actually existed on the encrypted drives.
"The Fraley plaintiffs sued Facebook, alleging that its 'Sponsored Stories' feature, which displays ads on Facebook containing the names and pictures of users who have 'Liked' a product, violated California’s Right of Publicity statute. The statute forbids the commercial use of an individual’s name or likeness without consent. Integral to the plaintiffs’ claim was the assertion they had been injured because they were “celebrities” to their Facebook friends, such that their endorsements of the products in the Sponsored Stories held economic value—economic value that they were deprived of when Facebook published their Stories without their consent." - Famous for Fifteen People (Stanford Law Review)
: Celebrity, Newsworthiness, and Fraley v. Facebook (Citizen Media Law Project)
This past July, Forbes blogger Kashmir Hill posted a three-part series about "online defamation and involuntary nudity." The first entry
focused on an offender: Hunter Moore,
owner of IsAnyoneUp.com (Link is NSFW.)
The second entry
focused on a victim: Paul Syiek, whose company was defamed by a disgruntled ex-employee on the consumer website Rip-off Report
. The third
profiled a Senior Copyright attorney at Microsoft, Colette Vogele, who co-founded a side project this year to help victims: WithoutMyConsent.org
. [more inside]
Public interests will be harmed absent requiring defendants to make available unencrypted contents in circumstances like these. Failing to compel Ms. Fricosu amounts to a concession to her and potential criminals (be it in child exploitation, national security, terrorism, financial crimes or drug trafficking cases) that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers to obtain such evidence through judicially authorized search warrants, and thus make their prosecution impossible.
The "if you were innocent, you'd have nothing to hide" argument rears its head, in a big way. [more inside]
“Watching the video I thought that it was wise of Major League Baseball to combine this sort of sentimental moment with mass speculative litigation. It kept brand values strong. I felt strangely grateful
that I could have a moment to remember that afternoon. Surprised by the evidence of both copyright violation and father-daughter affection.” —Paul Ford, “Nanolaw with Daughter” [more inside]
"With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches," [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] said. "We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about... We can look at bad behavior and modify it.
" The Atlantic
's editor James Bennet discusses with Schmidt how lobbyists write America's laws, how America's research universities are the best in the world, how the Chinese are going all-out in investing in their infrastructure, how the US should have allowed automakers to fail, and ultimately Google's evolving role in an technologically-augmented society in this broad, interesting and scary interview
(~25 min Flash video) [via
NSA E-Mail Surveillance Renews Concerns in Congress.
"Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency’s ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation." [Via]
Facebook and the Social Dynamics of Privacy
(coming soon to the Iowa Law Review), by James Grimmelmann
(law professor, programmer, MeFi's own grimmelm
, and Level 1 Ensign Zombie): just in time for Facebook Connect
and Google Friend Connect
, Grimmelmann suggests we rethink what privacy means both in legal terms and how that impacts social networks and their users. (Previously
) [more inside]
Worried about social-network data mining? Facebook hires Ted Ullyot, former right-hand man to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
, as its general counsel. Tapping Ullyot, who worked on the infamous torture memo
and other illustrious projects
, is a sign that the burgeoning Scrabble platform "is a little more grown-up,"
says Facebook public-policy VP Elliot Schrage.
Two Yale Law School graduates who allege they were subjected to a campaign of online harassment
against the site's owner
and two dozen internet trolls
for copyright infringement, defamation, and a variety of other tort and IP claims. In the latest developments, the website's owner was dropped
from the lawsuit, and another defendant
moved (seemingly pro se) to quash
a subpoena served originally on their ISP to reveal their identity. [more inside]
Up Against Big Brother:
"For 18 years the Electronic Frontier Foundation
has fought for the rights of ordinary Americans in cyberspace. Now it’s stepped into the limelight with a legal challenge to warrantless surveillance
." [Via Boing Boing.]
, the US House passed the SAFE Act
. No, not that one
. Points of note:
- If signed into law, the SAFE Act will require people offering WiFi at their cafe, library, or even allowing their neighbours to use it, who notice that someone appears to have viewed certain dirty cartoons
, or pictures of fully-clothed children looking sexy, to immediately make a comprehensive report to John Walsh's CyberTipLine
, and retain the images, or face a fine of up to $150,000.
- ISPs or email services have the same obligations, and must store all data relating to the user's account, to be handed over to the authorities.
- The Democrats rushed the legislation through using a mechanism intended for non-controversial legislation. There was no hearing or committee vote. The legislation changed significantly before the vote and was not available for public review.
- The bill passed 409-2
. Opposed were Paul Broun (R-Georgia) and Ron Paul (R-Texas). The Senate is next, so consider telling them what you think
"And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government."
Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, publicly responds to criticisms
on the publication of information about clandestine surveillance of private bank records of Americans
, offering a rare glimpse into the Fourth Estate's complicated negotiations with the government over issues of public interest.
"Don't worry Mr. President, we have Kansas surrounded."
Warrantless searches: they're not just for wiretaps anymore. U.S. News and World Report
probes the Bush administration's covert drive to conduct physical searches of American homes without court approval.
So if you run the CD in your personal computer, by the end of it, the Minnesota GOP will not only know what you think on particular issues, but also who you are.
So you finish, and then the phone rings. "Hello, Mr/Mrs. Voters, it's Joe and I notice you support gun control and the marriage amendment, would you like to donate some money to us?" That might startle the person who may have thought he/she was viewing the presentation in the privacy of the computer room. ...
once more: the entire German edition was shut down
this week over the contents of a single entry
. The parents of the article's subject, a German hacker who died in 1998 under mysterious circumstances
, are displeased with his real name being disclosed in the encyclopedia. It is now back online; however, the future of the family's efforts is currently unclear, not only due to the German order's debatable validity in the US - but also because the order was, initially at least, mistakenly addressed
to St. Petersburg, Russia, instead of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Domains by Proxy
is a fairly popular service run by GoDaddy
that aims to protect your personal info from whois requests. The domains by proxy homepage has links to law enforcement
and civil subpoena
policies, making it sound like you actually have to do something deemed illegal by a judge or officer to get outed. One blogger found out something as simple as a letter from a local lawyer
was enough to reveal all his personal details in a whois request, without ever being notified beforehand. Might be worth reading up on EFF's guide to anon blogging
if you ever start a whistleblower site.
Here's an interesting story for people who like to write and post stuff on the internet
Judge Diana Lewis of Circuit Court in West Palm Beach issued an order that forbids Mr. Max to write about Ms. Johnson. That prohibition is not limited to his website
. She ruled on May 6, before Mr. Max was notified of the suit and without holding a hearing. She told Mr. Max that he could not use "Katy" on his site. Nor could he use Ms. Johnson's last name, full name or the words "Miss Vermont." The judge also prohibited Mr. Max from "disclosing any stories, facts or information, notwithstanding its truth, about any intimate or sexual acts engaged in by" Ms. Johnson. Finally, Judge Lewis ordered Mr. Max to sever the virtual remains of his relationship with Ms. Johnson. He is no longer allowed to link to her Web site.
All this as a result of a lawsuit in which Ms. Johnson maintained that Mr. Max had invaded her privacy by publishing accurate
information about her.
Is this your fetus? Are you the one I slept with?
Remember when we discussed this
before? Florida has now been forced by 4 plaintiffs and the ACLU
to repeal the so-called Scarlet Letter law that forces women who are pregnant and giving children up for adoption to take out an ad local papers once a week for 4 weeks, stating her name and her sexual history in the last year, to let men know if they *might* be the father. Here
is the ACLU legal brief. The details about the decision are in the first link.
Thank god for the ACLU.
Women who put babies up for adoption required to publish sexual pasts
Web sites can't collect info
on minors, but Florida wants all women, including minors, to publish their sexual history in local newspapers before they're allowed to give their child up for adoption. Abortions are difficult to get
in Florida, almost impossible for some minors because of parental notification and permission requirements, yet wouldn't this law push more women towards abortion rather than towards adoption?
Government Will Ease Limits on Domestic Spying by F.B.I.
(NY Times link) As part of a sweeping effort to transform the F.B.I. into a domestic terrorism prevention agency, Attorney General John Ashcroft has decided to relax restrictions on the bureau's ability to conduct domestic spying in counterterrorism operations, senior government officials said today.
Here's the Wash. Post's
take on the story.
Privacy in Cyberspace.
The Berkman Center for Internet and Society
at Harvard Law School
is offering a free "lecture and discussion" series on Internet Privacy. The series began today and is comprised of six modules that are introduced weekly over six weeks. Registration is free and open to all.
Hmmm....maybe while they're not looking, we can do some really bad
Corporate lobbyists love distractions, especially a major crisis at the end of a legislative session. California is no exception. How has your state legislature been screwing you while this crisis has been going on?
Say goodbye to personal liberty
if this bill
gets passed. A bill aimed at fighting drugs on and off line will limit your freedom of speech, allow police to enter your house with a warrant but not telling you what it's for. One step closer to the Police state. And one heck of a supreme court case in the wings.
Yahoo! is being sued