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February 2023
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Yet Another Former Israeli Intelligence Officer Linked To Yet Another Shady Company Offering Hacking Tools

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I’m not sure what’s happening inside Israel’s intelligence services, but it’s not sending the world its best when it’s done with them. For months, we’ve been covering tons of negative news generated by tech companies started up by former Israeli government employees. Most of this has been focused on NSO Group, a malware merchant with […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 28-Feb-2023
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Slim Shady Files Shady Trademark Opposition Over Application For 'Reasonably Shady' Podcast

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And if that title didn’t really confuse you all that much, then you’ve managed to get the point. Eminem hasn’t been shy about asserting his intellectual property rights in the past, though much of his efforts on that front have actually been to the benefit of artists from his fights with record labels. That doesn’t […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 28-Feb-2023
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This Week In Techdirt History: February 19th - 25th

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Five Years Ago This week in 2018, the FCC’s broadband availability data was being derided as inaccurate and “shameful”, while the agency was relaunching its map that hallucinates broadband competition. We got a clear idea of when net neutrality protections would formally end, while more than half of US states were pushing their own net […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 26-Feb-2023
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Chinese Government To Censor AI Chatbots Out Of Fear Of Their Speech

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At this point it should be common knowledge that if it has to do with any kind of speech, there is nothing that China won’t try to control and/or censor. It’s something of an amazing self-contradiction: in order to be large and powerful, the Beijing government believes it has to behave as though it is […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 25-Feb-2023
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Cops Talk Council Member Into Changing Her Mind On ShotSpotter With Data That Doesn't Actually Show It's Worth Paying For

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ShotSpotter claims its gunshot detection tech is something cities battling gun violence just can’t (almost literally) live without. Data generated by cities paying millions for the tech often says otherwise. On multiple occasions over the past few years, cities have terminated their contracts with ShotSpotter, citing the tech’s overall uselessness. Cops in Newark, New Jersey […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 25-Feb-2023
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DOJ Supports 'Right To Repair' Class Action Against John Deere

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U.S. consumer protection in general has had an ugly few decades. One bright spot however has been the shift in the “right to repair” movement from niche nerdy fare to the mainstream. Not only have corporate efforts to monopolize repair resulted in a flood of proposed state and federal laws, the Biden Administration's executive order on monopoly power […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 24-Feb-2023
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Lego Confirms Zelda Lego Set By Trying To DMCA Leaks Of It To Hide It

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The Streisand Effect. Some folks know it. Some folks even think that some people that know it use it purposefully to their own advantage. Other times people who should know better simply flail around and end up turning content viral which they had intended on burying. So, whenever we do these kinds of posts, someone […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 24-Feb-2023
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After Introducing Caps And Raising Prices, Starlink Introduces $200 Global Roaming Charge

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To be clear, Elon Musk's Starlink broadband service is great if you have no other options and can afford it. Especially if you've spent an eternity stuck on an expensive 3 Mbps DSL line straight out of 2003, or a traditional, capped, expensive satellite broadband connection. The ability to get somewhere between 10 and 100 […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 23-Feb-2023
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'Spellbreak' Developer Gets It Exactly Right In 'Shutting Down' Its Game

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We’ve been talking a lot about video game preservation and strategies for maintaining as much of this cultural output as possible in an industry where the norm is to sunset games after a certain period of time. Most recently, we discussed the comments made by legendary game designer John Carmack, prescribing how game publishers and […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 23-Feb-2023
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New York Legislators Once Again Trying To Curb Law Enforcement Access To Military Gear

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For years, law enforcement agencies converted themselves into quasi-military agencies with the assistance of the Defense Department. Whatever the military no longer needed, cops could have for cheap or free, as long as they remembered to say things about “national security” when filling out their 1033 program requisitions. Unsurprisingly, the acquisition of warrior gear (camouflage […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 22-Feb-2023
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Sports Illustrated Sure Looks Like It's Trading Human Journalists for AI

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Karl just wrote about CNET, a once-vaunted resource for tech journalism, absolutely stepping on every rake it could find by using AI-generated content that was absolutely laughable: the content tended to be inaccurate, plagiarized, or otherwise so full of mistakes that an army of editors had to rework the content, largely wiping away any cost […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 22-Feb-2023
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One City Builder Game's Tale Shows Just How Wide Open The DMCA Process Is For Abuse

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We’ve had no shortage of posts at Techdirt on the problems of fraud and abuse in the current DMCA takedown process. The reason for that is pretty obvious: the whole thing is so wide open to this kind of abuse that it’s actually sort of a wonder that it doesn’t suffer from it even more […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 18-Feb-2023
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Kansas State Police Facing Multiple Lawsuits For Pretextual Traffic Stops

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Thanks to drug legalization, there’s a new “drug corridor” that Kansas law enforcement is taking advantage of. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012. Ever since then, state troopers have camped out on I-70 to stop people heading to or from the weed-friendly state. It’s weird to call a road leading to a state with […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 18-Feb-2023
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AT&T 'Unlimited' Customers Still Awaiting Their $12 Payout More Than A Decade After Being Throttled And Lied To

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In 2014 the FTC sued AT&T for selling unlimited wireless data plans with very real and annoying limits. The lawsuit noted that, starting in 2011, AT&T began selling unlimited plans that actually throttled upwards of 90 percent of your downstream speeds after using just two or three gigabytes of data. AT&T spent years trying to wiggle out […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-Feb-2023
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Video Game 'The Day Before' Dealing With Trademark Challenge Over A Calendar App

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We’ve dealt with a great many silly trademark disputes in the video game industry over the years, but this one is a special kind of stupid. Fntastic, the studio behind the forthcoming The Day Before horror game, has released a couple statements lately regarding an apparent ongoing trademark dispute. The first announcement confirmed that the […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-Feb-2023
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YouTuber Gets Copyright Strikes For Posting Publicly Streamed Parole Hearings

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Perhaps it’s a result of spending many years now writing about intellectual property matters, but it is still shocking just how little understanding there is for how fair use works in conjunction with copyright law. It’s especially irritating when the folks who don’t understand it come from the government itself. Which brings us to the […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 16-Feb-2023
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The Missed Opportunities Of The Khan FTC Are Glaring

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A few months ago at a conference, I was somewhat surprised to hear from an academic whose views on antitrust are closely aligned with FTC chair Lina Khan complain to me that Khan appeared to be a disaster as an FTC Commissioner, noting that multiple FTC staffers had been complaining or heading for the exits. […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 16-Feb-2023
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FCC Nominee Sohn Faces Third Hearing As Democrats Dawdle, The GOP Obstructs, And A Sleazy Telecom Industry Smear Campaign Continues

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Telecom and media giants have been working overtime to block Gigi Sohn from being seated at the FCC. That has involved a sleazy smear campaign, seeded in the press by non-profits linked to companies like News Corporation, AT&T, and Comcast, falsely accusing Sohn of being a radical extremist who hates Hispanics, rural Americans, cops, puppies, and freedom. With Sohn freshly […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 15-Feb-2023
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In A World Where AI Art Is Cheap And Easy To Generate, Do We Still Need Copyright?

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To say that AI-generated art is controversial would be something of an understatement. The appearance last year of free tools like Stable Diffusion has not just thrown the world of art into turmoil, it has raised profound questions about the nature of human creativity. AI art also involves thorny issues of copyright that have piqued the interest […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 15-Feb-2023
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NYPD Adds $121 Million In Settlements To Its $11.2 Billion Tab

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New York’s Finest continue to set the sort of records New York residents would rather the NYPD didn’t. The NYPD is not too big to fail. But it’s apparently too big to curtail. In 2019, it capped off a spectacular two-year run in which it racked up over a half-billion in lawsuit settlements. That’s on […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 14-Feb-2023
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The LDS Church Opposes 'Bad Mormon' Trademark Application Over 'Tarnishment' Concerns

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The Church of Latter Day Saints has made it onto our pages before for trying to abuse intellectual property laws, typically to keep content out of the public eye that it finds undesirable. I do like to note in posts like this that the LDS Church has also occasionally been quite lenient when it comes […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 14-Feb-2023
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Overcoming a cyber "gut punch": An interview with Jamil Farshchi

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How do you survive--and thrive--after a crisis? The chief information security officer of Equifax offers hard-won advice for leading under pressure, building a strong risk culture, and making security strategic.

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posted at: 12:00am on 14-Feb-2023
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The Microsoft Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard Gets Major UK Pushback

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Over a year ago, as the world was still largely reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, we wrote about the trend beginning to form for consolidation in the video game industry. Industry consolidation is very typical in times of economic strife and it appears the video game industry is not immune to it. We heard about […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 11-Feb-2023
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Texas SWAT Team Destroys Home While Searching For The Wrong Person At The Wrong Address

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To be sure, SWAT operations are pulled off flawlessly around the nation every day. The right addresses are hit. The right windows are smashed. The right doors are destroyed. The correct perps are arrested. The proper people are filled with bullets if needed, etc. But, far too often, they go wrong. Often more concerned with […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 11-Feb-2023
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NFL Loses Lawsuit Over Phoenix Super Bowl 'Clean Zone'

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It’s nearly time for the Super Bowl, the NFL’s orgy of advertising with a bit of football mixed in to keep things interesting. And, as per usual, the NFL has been running around pretending that it has intellectual property rights that it doesn’t have. This year, while not an entirely unique thing, the NFL has […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 10-Feb-2023
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Utah Newspapers Try To Educate Utah Politicians On Why Their 'Protect The Children' Anti-Internet Bills Are Actually Dangerous For Kids

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A few days ago we wrote about some bills in the Utah legislature that were promoted as “protecting kids” by demanding age verification for all internet services, and then barring some kids from using them, while also giving parents access to kids’ accounts. These bills are almost certainly going to pass. They seem to have […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 10-Feb-2023
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Amid More Game Shutdowns Occurring, John Carmack Weighs In On Preservation

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The conversation about preservation in the video game industry is continuing at a nice pace. Honestly, the most encouraging part of all of this, as someone who has been writing about this topic for several years now, is seeing how much more mainstream the topic has become. It used to be that certain servers or […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 09-Feb-2023
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CNET Insiders Say Tech Outlet Softened Coverage To Please Advertisers

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It hasn’t been a great few weeks for CNET. If you hadn’t seen, the company was busted using AI to generate dozens of stories without informing readers or the public. Despite newfound hype, the AI wasn’t particularly good at its job, creating content that had persistent issues with both accuracy and plagiarism. Of the 77 […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 09-Feb-2023
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'Taco Tuesday' No Good As A Trademark For Beer; Paging Taco John's

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It’s always fun when the USPTO demonstrates its internal multiple personality disorder on intellectual property concerns. That’s probably a tad harsh; after all, the USPTO is made up of people, and different people will view similar situations differently. Unfortunately, part of what the USPTO is supposed to uphold and set are standards for intellectual property […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 08-Feb-2023
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Biden State Of The Union Will (Again) Blame The Internet For Harm To Kids

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Tonight is President Biden’s State of the Union address, and according to notes released from the White House, he will (for the second year in a row) throw in something blaming the internet for harming kids’ mental health, and pushing for things like a ban on targeted advertising. He did the same thing last year […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 08-Feb-2023
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NYPD Narcotics Detective Facing 26 Criminal Charges Walks After Prosecutors Withhold Evidence

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NYPD detective Joseph Franco developed a late career habit of letting perps walk. Very late career. He was fired. But not before wreaking enough havoc, prosecutors were forced to toss nearly 100 convictions. Franco spent two decades working for the NYPD. How much of that was honest work is unknown. He was charged with perjury […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Feb-2023
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Dwarf Fortress: How Freeware Turned Into Millions

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If you’re not familiar with Dwarf Fortress, you’ve missed out on a legendary story about a labor of love. The game, a minimalist experience in which you are managing a colony of dwarves as they live their lives and conduct their dwarf-y business, was created by two brothers sixteen years ago. It’s an incredibly deep […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Feb-2023
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Belarus Follows Russia's Lead & Creates Unfriendly Countries List For Legalized Piracy

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Roughly a year ago, we discussed Russia’s response to some of the sanctions the West was placing upon it, including its plan to simply legalize copyright infringement, so as to keep the country running despite the crippling sanctions. That blanket legalization plan morphed somewhat months later, when Russia instead pivoted to a plan to create […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 04-Feb-2023
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No Immunity For Cops Who Shot Man Multiple Times, Then Searched His House For Evidence Of 'Assaulting An Officer'

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There are plenty of valid reasons to seek a search warrant. Investigating a crime you can’t punish anyone for (because you’ve killed them) isn’t one of them. That’s the upshot of this recent federal court decision — one that will no doubt be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Appeals Court to see if the cop-friendly […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 04-Feb-2023
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Why The Failure By Funders To Require Academics To Retain Copyright In Their Papers Is The Biggest Obstacle To Open Access Today

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Back in August last year, Techdirt covered a major announcement by the US government that all taxpayer-supported research should be immediately available to the public at no cost. As Mike wrote at the time, this is really big, not least for the following key element mentioned in the press release: This policy guidance will end […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 03-Feb-2023
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OpenAI Wants To Help You Figure Out If Text Was Written By OpenAI; But What Happens When It's Wrong?

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With the rise of ChatGPT over the past few months, the inevitable moral panics have begun. We’ve seen a bunch of people freaking out about how ChatGPT will be used by students to do their homework, how it will replace certain jobs, and other claims. Most of these are totally overblown. While some cooler heads […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 03-Feb-2023
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ShotSpotter Employees Not Only Have The Power To Alter Gunshot Reports, But Do It Nearly 10% Of The Time

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What’s being presented by ShotSpotter as good news for people who feel they’ve been wrongly accused, doesn’t actually appear to be all that comforting. ShotSpotter’s mic tech and AI combine forces to report possible gunshots to law enforcement customers. It’s very hit or miss, he said with all possible puns intended. ShotSpotter says it’s nearly […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 02-Feb-2023
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CFL Decides To Shut Down Cool YouTube Channel Promoting Its Product For Free

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For sports fans in general, one of the great benefits of social media sites, particularly Twitter, has been the way highlights are shared across those platforms, both by individuals and, more commonly, by the leagues and teams themselves. Both Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have been particularly good at this, […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 02-Feb-2023
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Ted Cruz Goes After 'Woke' Microsoft Over Xbox Power Saving Settings Update

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If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you will be familiar with the concept of the anti-“woke” culture war the Republican Party grows and farms for its own purposes. This isn’t to say there aren’t real cultural conflicts we need to work out as a country, but that […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 01-Feb-2023
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Starry's Broadband Ambitions Fall Apart, Lays Off More Employees

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You might recall that Aereo founder Chaitanya Kanojia's attempt to disrupt the TV industry ran face-first into an army of broadcaster lawyers and a notably ugly ruling by the Supreme Court. Undaunted, Kanojia returned with a new plan to try and disrupt the broken U.S. broadband industry. But that plan isn’t going so hot either. Kanojia’s new […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 01-Feb-2023
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