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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Derek Kerton , with an excellent response to the game developer that has decided to DMCA PewDiePie videos (though it is very generally applicable): ""I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make," writes Vanaman on Twitter." I am sick and tired of people who get angry when value is added on top of their platforms by other players in the ec...
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When Godwin's Law Met The Streisand Effect

Okay, here's a fun post for a Friday evening: Earlier this week, I was at World Hosting Days , where I gave a keynote speech about the importance of CDA 230 and things like intermediary liability protections -- and why they are so important to protecting free speech online. The emcee of the event was Mike Godwin, who (among his many, many accomplishments over the years as an internet lawyer and philosopher) coined Godwin's Law . The organiz...
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House Passes Amendment Rolling Back Jeff Sessions' Civil Asset Forfeiture Expansion

Trump's pick for attorney general unsurprisingly holds the same ideals as his boss. He also holds the same misconceptions and misplaced nostalgia for tough-on-crime policing that went out of vogue as soon as it became apparent it wasn't doing anything but filling up prisons. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been going hot and heavy on a 1980s-esque law enforcement policy revival. He booted the DOJ off the civil rights beat , telling state...
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171 Hits

0-Day Vulnerability Exposes Thousands Of AT&T Broadband Customers To Attack

AT&T and hardware manufacturer Arris are being accused of leaving millions of broadband subscribers open to attack. A new report by security researcher Joseph Hutchins highlights how five flaws were discovered in Arris routers used by AT&T and numerous other ISPs around the world. Hutchins notes that some of the flaws may have been introduced after they were delivered to AT&T, since ISPs traditionally modify hardware for use on their networ...
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Prelude To Disaster: Craft Beer Trademark Applications Have Doubled In Ten Years

We've been sounding the warning bells on this for some time now, but the craft beer industry has a trademark problem. As the industry continues its explosive growth, bringing with that growth all of the benefits to the economy and to the public along with it, so too has grown the industry's use of trademarks on all of these new brands. What once was a relatively small cottage industry filled with congenial small players has morphed into ver...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, we're going to go out of order again, since we've got a good discussion with our first place winner in the middle — sandwiched by two good editor's choices. On our post about friend-of-patent-trolls Judge Rodney Gilstrap crafting an incredibly broad set of conditions for having patent cases heard in East Texas, aerinai offered up our first editor's choice for insightful with some thoughts on the impact this will have : Goodbye Ea...
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Equifax Security Breach Is A Complete Disaster... And Will Almost Certainly Get Worse

Okay, chances are you've already heard about the massive security breach at Equifax , that leaked a ton of important data on potentially 143 million people in the US (basically the majority of adults in America). If you haven't, you need to pay more attention to the news. I won't get into all the details of what happened here, but I want to follow a few threads: First, Equifax had been sitting on the knowledge of this breach since July. The...
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The $3.5 Million Check Comes Due for Lenovo And Its Security-Compromising Superfish Adware

You might recall that back in 2015, Lenovo was busted for installing a nasty bit of snoopware made by a company named Superfish on select models of the company's Thinkpad laptops. Superfish's VisualDiscovery wasn't just annoying adware however; it was so poorly designed that it effectively made all of Lenovo's customers vulnerable to HTTPS man-in-the-middle attacks that were relatively trivial for an attacker to carry out. More specifically...
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Canadian Cops Belatedly Asking For Authorization To Deploy Stingray Devices They've Been Using For Years

Better late than never is the motto of Canadian law enforcement Stingray Squads. Documents obtained by Vice Canada show police scrambling to obtain warrants for equipment they were already deploying . “Given recent media events my inspector has asked that I make an official request … for an authorization,” writes a member of the Calgary Police Electronic Surveillance Team on April 6 of this year. “There is some urgency to try and get this a...
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198 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week (or last week, I suppose — this post was moved for the long weekend!) our first place comment on the insightful side comes in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions using Hurricane Harvey as an argument for increased police militarization. An anonymous commenter set things straight : Speaking as a first responder/first responder trainer... ...no. What's needed instead are exactly the kinds of resources that this administration...
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Last Chance To Get Your Techdirt Anniversary Gear!

Only available until tomorrow! Get your Original Techdirt Logo Gear » It was last week that we celebrated Techdirt's 20th anniversary , and part of that included digging up the very first Techdirt logo... ...and turning it into some limited edition t-shirts, hoodies and stickers ! Now it's your last chance to get your hands on this special anniversary gear, as the sale ends tomorrow, Sunday September 3rd. So if you want one, hurry up and or...
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Officers With Personal Body Cams Taking The 'Public' Out Of 'Public Accountability'

America's largest sheriff's department is rolling towards an accountability train wreck. Despite years of discussing the issue, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department still has no cohesive policy on body cameras, nor has it taken steps to outfit its officers with the devices. This less-than-ideal situation is being made worse by deputies purchasing their own body cameras with personal funds . An estimated 20 percent of Los Angeles Coun...
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98.5% Of Original Comments To The FCC Oppose Killing Net Neutrality

Let's not mince words: the FCC's plan to gut net neutrality protections in light of severe public opposition is likely one of the more bare-knuckled acts of cronyism in modern technological and political history. That's because the rules have overwhelming, bipartisan support from the vast majority of consumers, most of whom realize the already imperfect rules are some of the only consumer protections standing between consumers and giant, un...
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179 Hits

NPR Gives Up On News Comments; After All, Who Cares What Your Customers Have To Say?

We've noted time after time how the trend du jour in online media is to kill your news comment section, muzzle your valuable on-site community, then couch the decision under all manner of disingenuous prattle. Reuters and Recode, for example, killed visitor news comments several years ago because, they claimed, the companies really value conversation . The Verge also tinkered with killing comments, purportedly because it just really valued ...
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Trump Rolls Back Ban On Transfer Of Military Equipment To Law Enforcement Agencies

As part of his ongoing effort to reverse everything President Obama ever did, President Trump will be rolling back the previous administration's 1033 program ban . The program allowed local law enforcement agencies to help themselves to Defense Department equipment -- often paid for with federal grants -- as long as they said the magic words ( terrorism/drugs ) on the application. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who led the campaign for the...
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192 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: Techdirt Was Born!

As you likely know by now, we're celebrating Techdirt's 20th anniversary this week. We've got a podcast episode about our history as well as some limited edition gear featuring a revamped version of the very first Techdirt logo : And today, instead of our usual history round-up, we're taking a look back at the very first post — which was actually not a post originally, but a newsletter, containing a selection of tech news from the week. On ...
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196 Hits

DOJ To End Operation ChokePoint; Porn Stars Free To Bank Once More!

You may recall that in 2014 we wrote about a strange occurrence having to do with Chase Bank refusing to provide its banking services to Teagan Presley, a rather well known adult film actress. When it became clear that Presley wasn't the only performer to whom this was happening, it initially looked as though banks were engaging in a form of slut-shaming of adult film actors. It turned out, however, that it was the federal government doing ...
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Chateau Marmont, Hotel For Celebrity Humans, Sends Trademark C&D To Cateau Marmont, Hotel For Cats

While spending a great deal of time writing about dumb trademark disputes can be both monumentally frustrating and fill your mind with despair, I will be the first to admit that it also is a great avenue for entertainment and laughter. This story is about a situation firmly in the latter categories. The Chateau Marmont is a famous hotel in Los Angeles with a reputation for catering to celebrities both in its lodgings and at the restaurant. ...
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198 Hits

Australian Gov't Accessed Domestic Metadata Thousands Of Times, Shared Some Of It With China

The Australian government has released its latest report [PDF] on its domestic metadata collection efforts and it has a bit of surprising news in it. Josh Taylor and Paul Farrell of Buzzfeed report the Australian government isn't keeping all the domestic metadata it's hoovered up to itself . It's sharing it with several other countries, including one surprising name: There were a total of 23 disclosures of information from the Australian Fe...
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Court Says Gov't Needs More Than The Assumption Someone Owns A Cellphone To Justify A Search

The DC Court of Appeals has shot some holes [PDF] in a favorite law enforcement assertion: that cellphones are automatically containers of criminal evidence just because suspected criminals -- like nearly everyone else in the nation -- have cellphones. A criminal case involving a suspected getaway driver for a year-old homicide somehow led to police seeking a warrant to seize and search all electronics found at the suspect's current residen...
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207 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: August 13th - 19th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, while Amazon was realizing it had little choice but to get in on the patent portfolio buying game , Google was launching a prior art finder to help stop bad patents — though some worried it might be used by trolls to find targets . Meanwhile, Google also made the controversial decision to start filtering searches based on DMCA notices received by the site , but of course even this wasn't enough to satisfy t...
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Two Bollywood Film Producers Get Court To Block Tons Of Sites In India, Including Archive.org

How many innocents would you accept being caught up in an action designed to nab criminals? How many good people is it acceptable to throw into jail alongside the truly bad actors? Most people would agree that any action that penalizes the innocent in order to punish the guilty is a bad course, with only truly minimal amounts of collateral damage being acceptable. Now let's port that over to internet sites and ask how many innocent websites...
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As A Streaming Future Looms, ESPN Is Damned If It Does, Damned If It Doesn't

So for years we've examined how executives at ESPN completely whiffed at seeing the cord cutting revolution coming, and personified the industry's denial that a massive market (r)evolution was taking place. As viewers were beginning to drift away from traditional cable and erode revenues, ESPN executives were busy doubling down on bloated sports contracts and expensive Sportscenter set redesigns. Only once ESPN lost 10 million viewers in ju...
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Court Says CFAA Isn't Meant To Prevent Access To Public Data, Orders LinkedIn To Drop Anti-Scraper Efforts

Some good pushback against the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) has been handed down by a federal court. LinkedIn, which has frequently sued scrapers under both the CFAA and DMCA, just lost an important preliminary round to a company whose entire business model relies on LinkedIn's publicly-available data. hiQ Labs scrapes LinkedIn data from users whose accounts are public, repackages it and sells it to third party recruiters and HR depa...
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237 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, following the huge overreaction of Canadian telecoms to the site TVAddons, some commenters expanded on the ways in which this is not truly about piracy. Ryunosuke was one such commenter, and his explanation won first place for insightful : I agree, Piracy, like a black market, is a symptom of a system that is not working. Something that is in demand is not being properly vented, in this case, entertainment. Between high costs and...
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This Week In Techdirt History: August 6th - 12th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, we saw a couple interesting leaks. The fair use text from the TPP was made public, and we discovered (with little surprise) that the US proposals were about weakening fair use, not strengthening it . Meanwhile, a leak of MPAA documents revealed their plans to use sock puppets to smear Richard O'Dwyer , the TVShack operator that the agency was trying to extradite from the UK. And speaking of questionable ext...
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Elsevier Continues To Build Its Monopoly Solution For All Aspects Of Scholarly Communication

Techdirt has just written about the amazing achievements of Sci-Hub , and how it now offers the vast majority of academic papers free online. One implication may be that traditional publishing, with high-cost journals hidden behind paywalls, is no longer viable . But as we noted, that doesn't mean that traditional publishers will disappear. For one thing, many are embracing open access, and finding it pretty profitable (some would say too p...
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Australian Public Servants Warned Against Liking Social Media Posts That Are Critical Of Government Policies

The Internet effectively turns everyone into a publisher, able to promulgate their ideas in a way that was not open to most people before. That's great for the democratization of media -- and terrible for governments that want to control the flow of information to citizens. The Australian government is particularly concerned about what its 150,000 public servants might say. It has issued a "guidance" document that "sets out factors for empl...
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297 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, three of our four winning comments came in response to the ACLU's amicus brief filing in Bob Murray's lawsuit against John Oliver. First up, our winner of most insightful comment of the week is TheResidentSkeptic giving Murray some advice : Dear Bob When you realize that you are in the process of digging yourself into a hole, there are 2 approaches to consider. 1) STOP DIGGING This is known as the "sensible" approach, and is reco...
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212 Hits

Jeff Sessions Suggests He's Steering The DOJ Towards Prosecuting More Journalists

Jeff Sessions and the DOJ are back to threatening leakers again. It seems counterproductive, considering each new threat of leak investigations does little to stem the steady flow of leaks . But the new DOJ boss seems ready to go further than his predecessors. Having already expressed an interest in taking care of Obama's unfinished business by going after Wikileaks , Sessions now appears to be headed towards threatening journalism and the ...
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200 Hits