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May 2022
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This Week In Techdirt History: May 22nd - 28th

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Five Years Ago This week in 2017, the FCC was still working hard to ignore support for net neutrality and also ignore how fake much of the opposition was, while Apple and Verizon were joining forces to lobby against the right to repair. We learned more about how little it takes to be branded a […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 29-May-2022
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Yet Another Game Studio Chooses To Mess With Pirates As A Strategy

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There are lots of ways content makers can respond to copyright infringement. From going fully legal and suing, to attempting to threaten to sue to scare the hell out of the “pirates”, to seeking government intervention that would negatively impact all kinds of innocent folks, to trying (and failing) to curb piracy using DRM, none […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 28-May-2022
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San Francisco Cops Are Accessing Autonomous Vehicle Recordings To Collect Evidence

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This report, by Aaron Gordon for Motherboard, looks like a hypothetical dreamed up by a particularly cruel constitutional law professor: For the last five years, driverless car companies have been testing their vehicles on public roads. These vehicles constantly roam neighborhoods while laden with a variety of sensors including video cameras capturing everything going on […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 28-May-2022
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Enormous Fashion Company Zara Opposes Trademark For Tiny 'House Of Zana' Fashion House

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The last time we discussed Zara, the clothing retailer based out of Spain, it was to witness the company tripping all over itself to apologize to mainland China for denoting Taiwan and Hong Kong as countries on its website. Well, now the company is back, this time for engaging in a somewhat silly trademark opposition […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 27-May-2022
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Starlink Users Miffed They Have To Pay Extra To Skip The Long Wait

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While Space X’s Starlink is a promising broadband option if you’re out of range of traditional options (and can afford it), many users who’ve pre-ordered aren’t having a great time. Some say they’ve been waiting for service more than a year, during which time Starlink has often refused to answer basic emails or issue refunds, […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 27-May-2022
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Valve Gets 'Right To Repair/Mod' Right With The Steam Deck

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We’ve talked a great deal about the public’s right to repair the tech they own and how right to repair has finally started to shift in favor of the consumer as of late. In tech in general, and specifically in the video gaming hardware space, manufacturers have long fought to make it impossible for the […]

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posted at: 12:02am on 26-May-2022
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Government Lawyer Facing Sanctions For Lying About A Jail Search He Swore He Had Nothing To Do With

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Cops lie. Cops lie so often it’s hardly even news at this point. The only people left to be shocked by these revelations are the increasingly small segment of the population who’ve actually considered, at some point in their lives, the purchase of a fainting couch. Cops lie because cops can almost always get away […]

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posted at: 12:02am on 26-May-2022
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Minneapolis Pays $1.5 Million Settlement To Man Who Accidentally Shot At Cops During George Floyd Protests

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Following the murder of unarmed black man George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the streets of the city erupted in protest. Police responded accordingly. Which is to say indifferently. Rather than rein in the violence that had triggered the protests, many officers felt they needed to make protesters pay for their ungrateful response […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 25-May-2022
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Copyright As Censorship: Abuse Of The DMCA To Try To Delete Online News Is Rampant

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Online platforms often give access to digital material that is under copyright. If any of that content is infringing, then potentially the platform would be liable as well as the person who uploaded it. Online companies naturally want to be immune to the consequences of any copyright infringement committed by their users. However, companies in […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 25-May-2022
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Jehovah's Witnesses Run Away From Bogus Copyright Claims After Judge Realizes They're Just Trying To Intimidate Critics

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Earlier this year, we wrote about how the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, better known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses — despite a long history of litigating many, many important 1st Amendment cases — had thrown away its reputation as a staunch defender of free speech rights by massively abusing the DMCA 512(h) subpoena process […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 24-May-2022
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Flying Dog Brewery Wins Against North Carolina On 'Vulgar' Beer Label Art

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Back in September we wrote about a lawsuit between Flying Dog Brewery and the state of North Carolina over the latter’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC Board) denying a beer label for use within the state. The ABC Board refused to certify the label for use on the grounds that it was vulgar and offensive, […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 24-May-2022
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This Week In Techdirt History: May 15th - 21st

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Five Years Ago This week in 2017, the NSA was pushing for a smooth renewal of Section 702 while more details were revealed about the process, and more info was emerging on the agency’s abuse of other programs. Meanwhile, we looked at the FCC’s efforts to make net neutrality supporters seem unreasonable, even though it […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 22-May-2022
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The FBI Definitely Wanted NSO Group Malware For Investigative Use Despite Its Earlier (Non)Denial

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The New York Times has obtained more information about the FBI’s courting of NSO Group, something that has since raised questions from its oversight. An earlier report from the Times stated that NSO Group had arrived at FBI headquarters in 2019 to allow the agency to test drive a version of its Pegasus malware, one […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-May-2022
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Stone Brewing, Sycamore Brewing Reach Settlement

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You will recall that we have been discussing a trademark suit between Sycamore Brewing and Stone Brewing recently. As you can see in images in the post we did about the lawsuit, and then the follow up post on the battle over an injunction requiring Stone Brewing to sticker over the offending branding, it’s pretty […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-May-2022
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More Details: Sony Reportedly Telling Its Game Studios Not To Comment On Abortion Issue

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We had just discussed PlayStation Boss Jim Ryan’s somewhat bizarre email to his staff in the wake of the leaked SCOTUS draft opinion that signaled an end to Roe v. Wade being the law of the land. What started off as a reasonable request to respect the spectrum of opinions on a contentious social issue […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 20-May-2022
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Clearview Settles Lawsuit, Agrees To Stop Doing Business In Illinois

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Clearview’s facial recognition AI business model has always been “fuck everything.” The company scraped the open web of all the data it could find, working its way towards a 100 billion image database that alchemizes social media posts into “intel” gold for Clearview. Not giving a damn about anything is starting to eat into Clearview’s […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 20-May-2022
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FCC Wants To Put WiFi On School Busses

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The FCC has announced that it would be backing a plan to put WiFi on school busses in an attempt to bridge that pesky rascal ambiguously called the “digital divide.” According to the plan, the proposal would use the dwindling money available in the FCC’s E-Rate program to deploy hotspots on busses, allowing them to […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 19-May-2022
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White Deputies Search Bus Full Of Black College Students Just Because, Lie About It Later

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Will racism ever be over in the United States? Nah. We’re just too damn good at it. Sheriff’s deputies in Georgia stopped a bus carrying a mostly Black women’s lacrosse team under the apparent assumption there was marijuana on board, and the players and their coaches were humiliated and angered by the experience. The Delaware State University team was […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 19-May-2022
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New York Court Says Denying Access To A Lawyer Somehow Isn't A Constitutional Violation

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If a shackled suspect asks to speak to a lawyer and this request is ignored, is that a violation of their rights? Cops — especially the ones in this case — would likely say “No.” Cops don’t consider themselves legal experts because having any legal expertise makes it more difficult to hassle people over imagined […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 18-May-2022
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PlayStation Boss Addresses Abortion Concerns From Staff With Jaunty Email About His Cats

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In the wake of the SCOTUS draft leak of a decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade, plenty of tech companies have begun scrambling to get public and internal messaging out. We recently discussed how game studio Bungie had put out a statement disagreeing with the draft ruling and committing to its own staff to […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 18-May-2022
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NSA Swears On The Body Of Ed Snowden It Will Not Backdoor New Encryption Standard

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Maybe it’s occasionally OK to shoot the messenger. You know, maybe one to the knee to help determine whether or not they can be trusted. The NSA — which has undermined encryption standards in the past — says it won’t undermine the next strain of encryption, one being built to withstand the inevitable arrival of […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-May-2022
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Conde Nast Threatens Pub In The UK For Existing In Town Called Vogue

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Conde Nast has shown itself to be heavy-handed in the past when it comes to IP laws. And like any other large publisher, Conde Nast makes a habit of policing its IP, including its trademarks. But when you do that policing, you really do have to commit to at least having the bare minimum of […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-May-2022
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This Week In Techdirt History: May 8th - 14th

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Five Years Ago This week in 2017, Europe was putting free speech at risk as it struggled to figure out what to do with the GDPR, but stateside the big fight was over net neutrality. A John Oliver segment on the issue appeared to cripple the FCC website for a second time, but the agency […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 15-May-2022
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The Internet Has Opened Up The Creator Economy To New Heights

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One of the most dramatic differences between the traditional, analogue world of creation, and the modern, digital one, is the democratization that has taken place in this sphere. Until recently, writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers collectively formed a relatively select group that was hard to enter as a professional. Today, anyone with an Internet connection […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 14-May-2022
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NYPD Lawyer Forged Emails, Lied To Courts, Withheld Information From Lawsuit Plaintiffs

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The NYPD has long been a stalwart opponent of transparency and accountability. It has spent years trying to rebrand as a national security agency, drafting on former mayor Rudy Giuliani’s unearned reputation as the post-9/11 savior of New York City. Journalists have noted the NYPD is even more secretive than the CIA and NSA, two […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 14-May-2022
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Visually Impaired Advocacy Group Goes To War With South Africa Copyright Law

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Our own Glyn Moody has written several posts about how exceptions that have been made to copyright laws throughout the world have picked up steam, but also appear to have left the visually impaired hung out to dry. That finally began to change in 2013 with the Marrakesh Treaty, which was specifically designed to restore […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 13-May-2022
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Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy Allegedly Removed 'Unauthorized Sheriff's Gang Tattoo With A Bullet

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The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is home to several gangs. Even though the current sheriff, Alex Villanueva, thinks this is up for debate (via a threatened lawsuit against the LA City Council), enough evidence (anecdotal and otherwise) points to deputies forming cliques that turn the Thin Blue Line from defensive to offensive. Like any gang, […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 13-May-2022
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Malibu Media Finally Paid Wrongfully Accused Six FiguresVia Collections Agency

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Malibu Media. Okay, I’ll wait while your eyes finish rolling all the way. Anyway, the makers of porn under the banner of X-Art have also attempted to build a business in the far stickier industry of copyright trolling. Malibu has a long history of using potentially fake witnesses, failing to serve defendants properly, and running […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 12-May-2022
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No Absolute Immunity For Sheriff, Prosecutor Who Created False Testimony That Locked Up An Innocent Man For 16 Years

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The thing about absolute immunity is it tends to be absolute. Except when it isn’t. This immunity — one that protects prosecutors, judges, and certain politicians — can be stripped, but it happens so rarely it’s little more than a rounding error in the totality of civil rights lawsuits. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, another case involving stripped […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 12-May-2022
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Applying (Artificial) Intelligence To The Copyright Directive's Stupid Idea Of Upload Filters

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Last week the European Union's top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), handed down its judgment on whether upload filters should be allowed as part of the EU Copyright Directive. The answer turned out to be a rather unclear yes, but. Martin Husovec, an assistant professor of law at the London […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 11-May-2022
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China's Grip Further Tightens On Youths: Children Limited In Watching, Supporting Streamers

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China’s longstanding war on the internet, especially relating to children’s use of it, continues. Readers here will be well aware of the plethora of actions taken by China over the years to limit what its residents can see and do with the internet. From the Great Firewall of China to the country’s more targeted approach […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 11-May-2022
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Will People Actually Be Happier If Elon Musk Is Selling Their Data Instead Of Pushing Ads?

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We’re still pretty much in the dark about Elon Musk’s real plans for Twitter. He had talked a little about changing how Twitter’s subscription product worked, and then the only other idea that had leaked was a weird one about trying to charge media organizations to quote or embed tweets. However, late last week, the […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 10-May-2022
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Cops Are Being Trained By Consultants Who Have Publicly Outed Themselves As Bigots And Far Right Extremists

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In news that is altogether so unsurprising it needs a “resigned sob” emoji attached, a Reuters investigation has found that far-right extremists are training cops because of course they are. Given law enforcement’s beginnings as an entity tasked with ensuring plantation owners maintained their access to free labor, it’s little wonder that cop shops have […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 10-May-2022
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This Week In Techdirt History: May 1st - 7th

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Five Years Ago This week in 2017, the NSA was shutting down its 702 program, but with a whole lot of caveats and some questionable statements, while the public dump of the agency’s hacking toolkit was causing privacy problems. Meanwhile, James Comey was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and hinting at expanded […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 08-May-2022
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The 'Stick To Sports' Crowd Is Now Coming After Gaming Companies

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There has been a trend over the past decade or so in which a very specific part of America’s political spectrum appears to be simultaneously advocating for “free speech” in ways that have nothing to do with the American system while also attacking all kinds of other speech and insisting that speech not happen. Hypocrisy […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-May-2022
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Court Dismisses Case After Prosecutors Make It Impossible For Defendants To Access Evidence

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Prosecutors have an obligation to turn over evidence — exculpatory or otherwise — to criminal defendants. They often don’t. In rare cases, this refusal to play by the rules results in dismissals or sanctions. But, for the most part, they tend to get away with it, allowing the government to stack the prosecutorial deck in […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-May-2022
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Judge: Clemency Board With Three Cops On It Doesn't Violate Rule Against More Than Two People From Same Profession

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The justice system loves a stacked deck. Well, certainly the prosecutorial side loves it. Courts are, at best, ambivalent. Occasionally, this behavior gets called out. When the DOJ made it clear it wasn’t really interested in a thorough examination of its many dubious forensic techniques, Judge Jed Rakoff resigned from just-formed “Forensic Science Committee” by […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-May-2022
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SafeGraph Stops Selling Location Data Of Abortion Clinic Visitors, But

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A few days ago, Motherboard revealed they were able to purchase the location data of visitors to Planned Parenthood clinics for just $160 from a company named SafeGraph. While SafeGraph refused to comment at the time, they’ve since written a blot post announcing they’ll be ending the practice. But not without spending much of the […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-May-2022
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Surprising Absolutely No One, Kansas Law Enforcement Can't Accurately Track Forfeitures

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Cops love laws when they’re using them against people, no matter how esoteric or misunderstood (by cops) the laws are. When laws are applied to them, they’re far less concerned about being law-abiding. Kansas implemented a law in July 2019 that required all law enforcement agencies to track and report forfeiture amounts. This hasn’t gone […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 05-May-2022
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Intuit To Pay $141 Million To Millions Of Customers For Its 'Free To File' Bullshit

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We have a whole series of posts going back several years about Intuit, maker of TurboTax software, and its bullshit and misleading practices for fooling the public into thinking they can file taxes for free under the government’s free-to-file program only to deceptively convince them to pay for services instead. The highlights are that the […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 05-May-2022
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Bungie Loses On Copyright Claims Against Cheat Seller

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Nearly the entire online-game-playing world hates the fact that cheating in online games exist. The cheaters don’t, obviously. Nor do those that make money by selling cheats and hacks for online games. Given the majority/minority situation here, it’s perhaps not terribly surprising that efforts to combat online cheating very often go way, way too far. […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 04-May-2022
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New Yorker's Famed Fact Checking Crew Apparently Unaware Of The 1st Amendment?

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The New Yorker magazine is famous for its fact checking effort. Indeed, the New Yorker itself has written multiple pieces about how ridiculously far its fact checking team will go. And when people want to present the quintessential example of how “fact checking” should work, they often point to The New Yorker. Of course, I […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 04-May-2022
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Activision's Plan To Tackle CoD Online Cheaters: Cheat Them Back

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For those that run online video game services, there have been plenty of ways to deal with those who cheat in-game. Some, like Blizzard, look to twist copyright law into a pretzel to argue that cheating in an online game somehow constitutes infringement. Other companies have gone for more creative options. Cheaters in Pokmon Go […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 03-May-2022
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Grindr The Latest Company Caught Selling Detailed User Location Data

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We've noted a few times now that while Facebook gets most of the heat for its privacy scandals, the stuff going on in the telecom, app, and adtech markets in regards to location data makes many of Facebook's privacy issues seem like a grade school picnic. That was well highlighted by the recent Securus, LocationSmart, and numerous T-Mobile […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 03-May-2022
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This Week In Techdirt History: April 24th - 30th

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Five Years Ago This week in 2017, Ajit Pai unveiled his plan to replace net neutrality rules with fluff, while Canada was trying to defend net neutrality. Congress was trying (and then succeeding) to strip oversight from the Copyright Office, while a Texas lawamaker was looking for the power to decide who counts as a […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 01-May-2022
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