enfrdeitjaes

FBI's Presence At The Garland, Texas Shooting Appears To Show It Prefers Easier Terrorism Arrests

Given the FBI's skill at cultivating terrorists to arrest and indict, you'd think it would have done a better job handling the planned terrorist attack in Garland, Texas. The two shooters were killed by local police before they could kill any attendees at a "Draw Mohammed" event thrown by anti-Muslim activist (and bumbling litigant) Pam Geller. The FBI appears to prefer "hunting" terrorists who are about 90% talk and 10% insolvent. The li......
Continue reading
138 Hits

Broadway Play Changes Set Design Over Cafe Trademark Threat And, No, That Doesn't Make Any Damned Sense

When you write enough about trademark disputes, a recurring thing that happens is you keep thinking you've seen it all, but then something insane happens. And truly, after years of writing here at Techdirt, I've come across some mind-bending trademark disputes. But I can't think of a single one that matches the Broadway version of A Bronx Tale changing its set design to appease a cafe owner who insists he is a monarch of Italian pastries. ......
Continue reading
198 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: March 19th - 25th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, the public got a terrifying glimpse of the extent of the NSA's surveillance capabilities thanks to some excellent journalism, which put the agency on the defensive trying to downplay its powers. While this was going on, Senators Wyden and Udall were pressing the Obama administration to open up about its secret interpretation of the Patriot Act. In the fallout of the Megaupload indictment, a restraining ......
Continue reading
151 Hits

Encryption Workarounds Paper Shows Why 'Going Dark' Is Not A Problem, And In Fact Is As Old As Humanity Itself

It was October 2014 when FBI Director James Comey made his famous claim that things were "going dark" in the world of law enforcement because of the increasing use of encryption. Since then, Techdirt has had dozens of posts on the topic, many of them reporting on further dire warnings that the very fabric of civilization was under threat thanks to what was claimed to be a frightening new ability to keep things secret. Many others pointed ou......
Continue reading
231 Hits

Confidence Wavers In Google Fiber As ISP Cancels Installs, Refuses To Explain Why

Late last year Google Fiber announced it would be pausing expansion into several new markets, axing its CEO, and shuffling a number of employees around. Reports subsequently emerged suggesting that Alphabet higher ups were growing frustrated with the high cost and slow pace of fiber deployment, and were contemplating an overall larger shift to wireless. While the company continues to insist that there's nothing to see here and that everythi......
Continue reading
186 Hits

The Ad Industry Is Really Excited About Plans To Gut Broadband Privacy Protections

The broadband, advertising and marketing industries are absolutely thrilled about plans to kill the FCC's new broadband privacy protections for consumers. Passed last year, the rules simply require that ISPs provide working opt-out tools, go to reasonable lengths to protect data and notify users of hack attacks, and be transparent about what data they collect and who they sell to. The rules also require that ISPs obtain opt-in consent (publ......
Continue reading
191 Hits

Industry-Hated Game Emulators Save Two Video Games For Posterity

For far too many years, the video game industry struggled to assert its place as a true artform, one deserving of the kind of respect granted to movies, music, television, and literature. This has been a source of frustration to those of us who can recognize the powerful storytelling device that video games represent, as well as the way modern games contribute to art and social commentary. But by its nature as a relatively new medium, games......
Continue reading
168 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Thad, responding to Ed Sheeran's stand against takedown bots with a good observation about the broken incentives of the DMCA: One of the many problems with the DMCA is that it not only actively encourages hands-off, automatic takedowns, it actually encourages that the algorithms they're based on be as dumb as possible. Because if it can be proven that a rightsholder intentiona......
Continue reading
178 Hits

Lawyer's Association Asks New California Attorney General To Drop Its Abusive Prosecution Of Backpage

The First Amendment Lawyer's Association (FALA) is hoping to end the California Attorney General's crusade against Backpage. The website has already ceded ground in the face of constant criticism, investigations, and legal threats. Earlier this year, it shuttered its adult ads rather than continue to bleed money and time defending itself against bogus prosecutions and investigations. Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris -- who......
Continue reading
228 Hits

Bill Gates And Other Major Investors Put $52.6 Million Into Site Sharing Unauthorized Copies Of Academic Papers

As we've noted, the main reason the Sci-Hub site is so popular with academics is not because it is free -- researchers generally have free access to papers anyway -- but because it is so easy to use. Among other things, it provides a centralized store of a huge number of papers -- 58 million at the time of writing -- that can be downloaded with a single click. But an interesting post on the Green Tea and Velociraptors blog points out Sci-Hu......
Continue reading
226 Hits

DOJ Argues For iPhone Hack Secrecy By Contradicting Statements Made By The DOJ

The DOJ is still fighting a lawsuit over the iPhone exploit the FBI purchased to access the (worthless) contents of a phone used by a participant in the San Bernardino shooting. FBI director James Comey and the DOJ made comments at the time stating a couple of things: 1. The phone crack was expensive. Specifically, Comey said that buying the exploit from this group cost the FBI "more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which......
Continue reading
196 Hits

Chatbot That Helped Beat $4 Million In Bogus Parking Tickets Now Handling Asylum Applications

Last year, 19-year-old UK student Josh Browder released a chatbot called "DoNotPay" that assisted drivers in challenging parking tickets. It was a small program with a huge upside. The bot's legal guidance -- in the form of yes/no questions -- resulted in more than $4 million in tickets being dismissed. Chatbots are no replacement for lawyers, but almost no one seeks legal help when dealing with parking tickets. That's probably why law/tr......
Continue reading
190 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, up here in Canada we were pleased to see our government take a stand against the USTR's Special 301 hearing, although it's a shame they didn't do that before passing new draconian copyright laws. Still, it's a step in the right direction, and That One Guy racked up the most votes on the insightful side with some kudos and hope for the future: Nice for the Canadian government to show a little spine and stand up to the USTR and ......
Continue reading
186 Hits

They're Back: Copying Is Not Theft And Home Cooking Is Killing Restaurants

Copying Is Not Theft and Home Cooking Is Killing Restaurants are back » Last week we brought back two of our 2016 T-shirt designs, and today we've got another two favorites returning to the Techdirt Gear store on Teespring: Copying Is Not Theft (a conversation starter, to say the least...) and Home Cooking Is Killing Restaurants. In addition to our usual offerings (tees, hoodies, mugs and stickers) we've added a bunch of additional opti......
Continue reading
173 Hits

How To Improve Online Comments: Test Whether People Have Read The Article Before Allowing Them To Respond

For a while now, Techdirt has been writing about the decision by some sites to stop allowing readers to make comments on articles. We've pointed out that's pretty regrettable, especially when it's couched in insulting terms of "valuing conversations" or building "better relationships." Dropping comments is a lazy response to a real and challenging problem: how to encourage readers to engage in meaningful ways. As well as a natural tendenc......
Continue reading
171 Hits

Consumer Reports Proposes Open Source Security Standard To Keep The Internet Of Things From Sucking

Thanks to a laundry list of lazy companies, everything from your Barbie doll to your tea kettle is now hackable. Worse, these devices are now being quickly incorporated into some of the largest botnets ever built, resulting in some of the most devastating DDoS attacks the internet has ever seen. In short: thanks to "internet of things" companies that prioritized profits over consumer privacy and the safety of the internet, we're now facing ......
Continue reading
166 Hits

'Blue Lives Matter' Laws Continue To Be Introduced Around The Nation

How much do "Blue Lives" matter? More than non-Blue Lives, apparently, given the national legislative enthusiasm for generating stupid, easily-abused, redundant legislation. Louisiana -- one of the few states where legislators have agreed to extend greater protections to an incredibly-protected group -- has already seen its newly-minted "Blue Lives Matter" law abused by law enforcement. It's been abused so badly that even law enforcement'......
Continue reading
202 Hits

Important Ruling On Perennially-Problematic Creative Commons Non-Commercial License

Techdirt has been warning about the problems with the Creative Commons Non-Commercial License (CC NC) for many, many years. Last September, Mike wrote about an important case involving the CC NC license, brought by Great Minds, an educational non-profit organization, against FedEx, the shipping giant. Copy shops owned by FedEx photocopied some of Great Minds' works on behalf of school districts. The material had been released by Great Minds......
Continue reading
186 Hits

German Judge Fines Father Because He Didn't Tell His Kid Not To Engage In Piracy

Time for German parents to have "The Talk" with their kids. Unprotected sexual activity is probably fine. But casual seeding? That's a problem. TorrentFreak reports that a German court has decided to hold a parent responsible for his child's infringing activity. This doesn't have much to do with the rightsholder being unable to extract fines from a minor, but rather a perceived parenting failure. In a case before a Leipzig court the de......
Continue reading
189 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side comes in response to Sean Spicer's about face on the Confide app, which prompted one anonymous commenter to point out a second layer of hypocrisy: Oh the irony and hypocrisy when the team that screamed "her emails!" so much didn't learn to use official channels from the Clinton issue, but just learned to work harder at hiding their electronic use policy violations. For second pl......
Continue reading
183 Hits

Here's A Tip: If You're Desiging Special Apps To Hide From Regulators, You're Going To Get In Trouble

Crisis management must be a full-time job at Uber. I've argued in the past that some of the attacks on the company are greatly exaggerated, but it keeps running into crisis after crisis -- many of them avoidable. The latest is a big scoop in the NY Times about how Uber has a special program called Greyball (a play on "blackball," get it?) that helped it determine if regulators were trying to get rides and then avoid sending a car. Here are ......
Continue reading
227 Hits

Digital Homicide's $10 Million Lawsuit Against Game Critic Gone

Update: We've made some corrections to this piece to clarify that, while this is a victory for Jim Sterling, it's a result of Digital Homicide agreeing to a settlement, rather than the court tossing the lawsuit, as the original suggested. The saga of game developer Digital Homicide whipped through our pages like an idiotic windstorm. This gust of blustery nonsense started with the company's lawsuit against a game critic, Jim Sterling, the......
Continue reading
187 Hits

Body Worn Cameras Continue To Reduce Police Misconduct, Citizen Complaints In San Diego

A report released by the San Diego Police Department shows its body-worn camera program is actually doing some good. Since officers began wearing the cameras nearly three years ago, the department has seen significant decreases in misconduct allegations and high-level uses of force by officers. A nine-page internal report also says the cameras have shrunk the number of allegations left unresolved due to lack of evidence, helped more of......
Continue reading
210 Hits

FCC Boss Moves To Kill Broadband Privacy Protections. You Know, To Help The Little Guy.

New FCC boss Ajit Pai, apparently taking a break from paying empty lip service to the poor, has quietly announced the FCC will be killing consumer broadband privacy protections before they even have a chance to take root. Hoping the news would get lost in the pre-weekend hustle, the FCC quietly circulated an e-mail on Friday stating that the agency would be moving to kill the rules before they arrive March 2, just as large ISPs had demanded......
Continue reading
202 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, we were pleased to see a cop lose his a immunity in a case over arresting someone on a baseless warrant, but Anonymous Anonymous Coward won most insightful comment of the week by wondering why that's all that happened: What about the judge who signed the warrant that was so lacking in probable cause? Does the Fourth Circuit have any authority to remove their qualified immunity? Of course not. How about a slap on the wrist? Thi......
Continue reading
200 Hits

What Should We Add Next To The Techdirt Gear Store?

Get I Invented Email, Copymouse and more in the Techdirt Gear store » Right now, there are four different designs in available in the Techdirt Gear store on Teespring: our new Copymouse gear, our limited-time I Invented Email gear, and two different styles of Techdirt logo gear. But, under Teespring's new ongoing-order system, over time we're going to start bringing back some of our designs from last year as permanent fixtures in the stor......
Continue reading
202 Hits

In Latest Twist To The Global Trade Deal Saga, EU Now Looking To Fill The Gap Left By US In Exiting TPP

Remember the good old days, when trade deals were so boring nobody even cared they were happening? That started to change with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, (ACTA), where the copyright industries rather foolishly tried to slip in some proposals that would have had big impacts on the online world. As Techdirt reported at the time, that led to an unprecedented awareness of, and resistance to, ACTA that ultimately caused its defeat ......
Continue reading
227 Hits

Coalition Slams DHS Plans To Demand Social Media Passwords

Starting last summer, we noted that the Department of Homeland Security had quietly tested the waters to expand the information it requested of travelers entering the United States, to "optionally" include social media handles. By December it was officially in place. And then, just days into the new administration, the idea was floated to expand this program even further to demand passwords to social media accounts. In other words: that e......
Continue reading
223 Hits

Court To Cop: You Took 80 Days Away From A Person's Life With A Baseless Warrant, So We're Taking Your Immunity

In 2009, April Yvette Smith was arrested on drug dealing charges and spent 80 days in jail. The charges were ultimately dropped by the district attorney, but by the time it happened, Smith had already lost her job. The same can't be said for the officer who obtained her arrest warrant. His job was always secure. The only thing he's lost -- seven years after the fact -- is his immunity from Smith's civil rights lawsuit. The chain of events......
Continue reading
225 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: February 12th - 18th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, mass anti-ACTA protests broke out across Europe as opposition to the bill continued to swell. Bulgaria joined the list of EU members halting ratification of the treaty and even the European Parliament's president spoke out against it. The EU official who resigned in protest of ACTA explained further what was wrong with it, the head of Mozilla called it a bad way to develop policy, Public Knowledge made a ......
Continue reading
210 Hits