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September 2019
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Denmark Releases 32 Prisoners Convicted Because Of Flawed Mobile Phone Tracking Data

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A few weeks ago, Techdirt wrote about Denmark reviewing 10,000 court verdicts because of errors in mobile phone tracking data that was offered as evidence in those cases. At that time, it wasn't clear how many of the group were affected by the unreliable data. However, the Guardian reports that 32 people have already been freed. Given the large number of cases involved, it seems unlikely that many have been reviewed in such a short space of time. If that's the case, it is possible that quite a few more verdicts will be overturned, and more people released. Companies providing mobile phone services in Denmark are naturally keen to distance themselves from this mess. Jakob Willer, speaking on behalf of the country's telecoms industry association, said it was not their job to provide evidence:

"We should remember: data is created to help deliver telecom services, not to control citizens or for surveillance," Willer said. He conceded it could be valuable to police, but insisted its primary purpose was to facilitate communication between users.
That's an important point. If the authorities wish to use this kind of data they need to take into account that it was never designed to track people, and therefore has limitations as evidence. Fortunately, Denmark's embarrassing discovery that an unknown number of over 10,000 verdicts may be based on unreliable evidence has been something of a wake-up call for the country's lawyers. Karoline Normann, the head of the Danish law society's criminal law committee, told Agence-France Presse:
"This situation has changed our mindset about cellphone data. We are probably going to question it as we normally question a witness or other types of evidence, where we consider circumstances like who produced the evidence, and why and how."
It's troubling that it didn't occur to the legal profession to do that before. Just because information comes from high-tech sources doesn't mean it is infallible or that it can't be challenged.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.

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Liverpool FC Fans Plan Protest Of Their Own Club Over Trademark Issue

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It was only a few weeks back that we were discussing Liverpool FC, a soccer team playing in the UK Premier League, attempting to get a trademark for "Liverpool", the city in which it plays. While the club has made a point of reminding the public that its application is quite narrow, limited specifically to products and services revolving around soccer, that same public has pointed out there are both other indpendent soccer clubs in the city that would technically be infringing on that applied-for mark and that there is a culture of independent retailers selling fan gear that would get caught up in this as well. Liverpool FC, meanwhile, maintains that it wouldn't go after either group, but instead are interested only in protecting its fans from mass-makers of counterfeit apparel and the like.Which makes it somewhat strange that it's those very fans that are now organizing a protest against the team for its attempt to trademark the city's name.

Liverpool fans are mobilising again. This time it is not in pursuit of glory or organising a massive trek to watch the men in red. They are protesting against the club, a situation the Kop had hoped was consigned to the past.The Spirit of Shankly Supporters Union (SOS) has called for a show of strength during Saturday’s English Premier League fixture against Newcastle United. A decade ago demonstrations were a regular occurrence.
There's a culture for this sort of thing for the Liverpool FC, it's true. Still, it's not great for the message from Liverpool FC that it's doing all of this for the fans, when it's those same fans that are telling them to knock it off.
It remains to be seen exactly how big this protest is going to be, but it's been clear thus far that the soccer club doesn't have any serious support from the public in this move it says is for that same public. And not only is the everyday Joe Soccer Fan concerned. Even Liverpool's mayor has come out stating concern should Liverpool FC have its trademark approved.
Moore has said these independent operators are not the target of the trademark application. It is “not about local traders, it is about large-scale operations that are flooding the market,” he tweeted. The club will, he suggests, come up with a system that will enable them to continue. That idea creates issues of its own, such as cost and the selection process.These assurances have not been enough to assuage many people within the city, including Joe Anderson, the mayor. SOS have asked fans “to support unique independent businesses by wearing a piece of their merchandise” on Saturday. It is a mild shot across the bows that SOS, with characteristic wit, are calling “Independents Day”.
At this point, it's hard to see how any of this worth the trouble for Liverpool FC. Probably time to just cut your losses, guys.

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