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As The Battleground For Warfare Moves To Cyberspace, DOD Contemplates Altering Recruitment Requirements

While we've viewed much of the hyped up discussions about cyberwarfare with some trepidation here, we now live in a reality where it would be clearly silly to suggest that the internet and internet-connected devices are not an emerging battleground for rival nations. While much was made these past few years about what mostly amounted to the penetration of private business networks, the discussion about several democratic elections throughou...
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It's Time For The FCC To Actually Listen: The Vast Majority Of FCC Commenters Support Net Neutrality

The vast majority of consumers (from both parties) support net neutrality. This has been supported repeatedly not only by independent polls , but even the cable industry's own surveys . Yet for most of the last decade, ISP lobbyists and think tankers have managed to frame the subject in the media as a partisan one -- quite successfully using the country's deep political divisions to fuel disagreement and stall real progress. In reality, our...
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Leaked NSA Hacking Tool On Global Ransomware Rampage

Welp. What was that we were saying about the problems of the NSA creating hacking tools that leak , rather than helping patch security flaws ? Oh, right. That it would make everyone less safe . And here we are. With a global ransomware rampage , referred to as "WannaCry" putting tons of people at risk, thanks to leaked NSA malware: Leaked alleged NSA hacking tools appear to be behind a massive cyberattack disrupting hospitals and companies ...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

We've got a double winner on the insightful side this week, with PaulT taking both the first and second places spots. In first place is his response to our thoughts on why Netflix was unconcerned about the hacker trying to extort them by threatening a leak : "That, in turn, is largely because Netflix's flat-rate, relatively-inexpensive pricing model provides enough value that users don't find piracy to be the superior alternative (read: the...
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NSA Statements On 'About' Collection Shutdown Contradict PCLOB's Findings

The impact the dropping of the "about" collection will have on the NSA's upstream harvesting will either be massive or minimal, depending on who you ask. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board's report on the "about" collection noted a few things , one of them being the supposed impossibility of preventing inadvertent collection. All of these types of “about” communications can provide intelligence value, helping the government lea...
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This Week In Creative Commons History

Since I'm here at the Creative Commons 2017 Global Summit this weekend, I want to take a break from our usual Techdirt history posts and highlight the new State Of The Commons report that has been released. These annual reports are a key part of the CC community — here at Techdirt, most of our readers already understand the importance of the free culture licensing options that CC provides to creators, but it's important to step back and loo...
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British Columbia Winery Has Trademark Opposed By Pre-Packaged Foods Company For Some Reason

I have personally made something of a crusade as of late out of my position that the world's trademark offices need to be more nuanced when it comes to the alcohol industry. Far too many disputes have arisen recently between beer breweries, wineries, and spirit-makers, when anyone with a base understanding of those industries realizes how separate they actually are, rendering the potential for customer confusion a moot argument. To the layp...
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Tech Companies Continue To Tell Courts To Reject Trump Travel Exec Order

Earlier this week we noted that 162 tech companies (including us) had signed an amicus brief for the appeal in the 4th Circuit (in Virginia) arguing that President Trump's travel ban executive order was unlawful. The same group of companies (plus one more -- as it looks like Pandora was added to the latest) have filed basically the same amicus brief in the appeal in the 9th Circuit (which is the appeal of the decision in Hawaii that a small...
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Cop Arrested, Fired After Wife Captures His Abusive Actions On His Own Body Camera

This is one of the strangest " but for video " cases ever. We know many cops are hesitant to clip body-worn cameras on themselves for a variety of reasons. The official statements always express concern about privacy, as though people interacting with public servants somehow believe these interactions are private. Others show concern for police officers' privacy, as though the public is really hoping to FOIA footage of officers sitting in t...
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Microsoft Follows Valve Down The Road Of Refunds On Digital Game Purchases

With Steam's policy for providing refunds on digital game purchases being roughly two years old, many people forget the context of the time when Valve began offering those refunds. It's worth being reminded that at that time nobody in the neighborhood of the Steam client's popularity was offering any real avenue for getting refunds on digital game purchases. Those that did mostly did so under the most restrictive conditions, with insane sin...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, the silver lining on a horrible story of police battering an arrestee was that the deputy, at least, lost his immunity. One anonymous commenter won most insightful comment of the week by giving a nod to the victim's courage and resilience : the real story here is not the creep. it's paul stephens. that man must have the soul of nelson mandela to have withstood that abuse and kept his wits about him. all due respect. For second pl...
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Copyright Society's 'World IP Day' Lesson: Give Us Your Copyrights For Nothing

Every year around April 26th, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) hosts a weird dog and pony show of copyright/patent/trademark maximalism that it calls World IP Day . In the past, we've pointed out that the events and festivities are disturbingly one-sided and frequently clueless. For example, two years ago, WIPO used Bob Marley's famous line "Get Up, Stand Up" as the theme for World IP Day, ignoring the history of Jamaican...
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Initiative for Open Citations Takes Alternative Approach To Freeing Up Knowledge

We've just written about widespread frustration at the slow pace of the shift to open access publishing of academic papers, and about how some major funding organizations are trying to address that. Open access aims to make entire publications publicly available, and that is meeting considerable resistance from traditional publishers who derive their healthy profits from charging for subscriptions. Rather than continue to tackle publishers ...
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Texas Supreme Court Is Skeptical About Wikipedia As A Dictionary

This is an interesting opinion from the Texas Supreme Court on citing Wikipedia as a dictionary . The underlying case involves an article in D Magazine titled "The Park Cities Welfare Queen." The article purports to show that the plaintiff, Rosenthal, "has figured out how to get food stamps while living in the lap of luxury." After publication, evidence emerged that the plaintiff had not committed welfare fraud. She sued the magazine for de...
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Uber Now Banned In Italy... Because Competition Is Bad?

The absolute scariest cab ride of my life happened in Rome a few years back, and I'd prefer not to relive that experience, but apparently I might not have much of a choice next time I'm in Italy, as the country recently banned Uber completely , claiming that it was "unfair competition." Now, let's be clear: there are many, many reasons to not like or trust Uber. You certainly have every right to not like the way it goes about its business o...
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The Bull Statue Copyright Claim Is Ridiculous... But Here's Why It Just Might Work

You're probably quite familiar with the famous Charging Bull statue (also known as the "Wall Street Bull") which is found in Bowling Green Park right off Wall St. in lower Manhattan. The statue was originally placed there as a "guerilla sculpture" by artist Arturo Di Modica without permission. Image by Sylvaln Leprovost under a CC-BY 2.0 license Eventually, because New Yorkers seemed to like the damn thing, the city granted a "temporary" pe...
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City Officials Step Up After DOJ Told To Stop Worrying About Civil Rights Violations By Law Enforcement Agencies

It appears the DOJ will no longer be in the business of policing the police. A memo issued by every cop's new best friend, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, states the DOJ will be doing more to empower police and will conduct fewer civil rights investigations of law enforcement agencies. On one hand, it makes sense to have the locals handle their own problems. On the other hand, the locals have repeatedly shown a willingness to ignore abusive...
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Daily Deal: ARMOR-X One-Lock Air Vent Car Mount

We all know that driving while distracted is dangerous. Keep your devices handy and hands-free with the $13 ARMOR-X One-Lock Air Vent Car Mount . Its easy one-lock mounting system locks to your phone and hooks up to the air vent quickly for immediate access, and it rotates 360 degrees so you can find the optimal viewing angle. It's designed to work with most vehicle vent blades and can hold most cell phones even in their cases. Note: The Te...
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Yes, There Are Other Laws That Protect Privacy, But FCC's Rules Were Still Helpful

There's been a lot of hype and confusion about Congress's decision (supported by the new FCC) to kill off the broadband privacy rules that were put in place late last year by the Tom Wheeler FCC, though they had not yet been officially implemented. As we noted, it's an unfortunate exaggeration (pushed by some well meaning folks) to say that ISPs will now be packaging up and selling individuals' specific browsing history . That's just not tr...
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FBI Tries New Rule 41 Changes On For Size In Fight Against Long-Running Botnet

The DOJ is proud to announce it's flexing its new Rule 41 muscle. The changes proposed in 2015 sailed past a mostly-uninterested Congress and into law, giving the FBI and other DOJ entities permission to hack computers anywhere in the world with a single warrant. With the new rules, the law has finally caught up with the FBI's activities. It deployed a Network Investigative Tool -- the FBI's nifty nickname for intrusive malware that sends i...
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Portugal Pushes Law To Partially Ban DRM, Allow Circumvention

You might think that copyright on its own has enough problems. And yet DRM , originally designed to protect digital copyright material from unauthorized copying, has managed to make things much worse. It not only punishes with extra inconvenience those who acquire legal copies -- but not those who manage to find illegal versions without DRM -- it also allows the DMCA to be used to disable competitors' products, to create repair monopolies ,...
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eSports Gets An Introduction To Major College Sports At The University Of Utah

We've been following the evolutionary milestones for eSports for some time now. What was once an event class considered equal parts fringe and foreign has made impressive strides towards the mainstream in mere years. It started with a small university granting scholarships for eAthletes, progressed into the realm of coverage on sports broadcasting giant ESPN , and made yet another leap with an eSports section of the pie being carved out by ...
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Idaho Governor Says Cops Matter More Than The Public Or Its Representatives, Vetoes Forfeiture Reform Bill

The governor of Idaho doesn't care about his constituents. State legislators had successfully pushed through an asset forfeiture reform bill with overwhelming support, but Governor Butch Otter vetoed it on April 6th. (h/t Ed Krayewski at Reason ) The bill ran into some law enforcement resistance on its way to being passed. A 58-10 vote sent it to the governor's desk over the concerns of law enforcement, who apparently felt that law enforcem...
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Techdirt Podcast Episode 117: Why This ISP Supports Net Neutrality, Privacy Rules And More

Since Congress threw out new privacy rules for ISPs that were supposed to come into effect soon, there's been a renewed uproar on all sides of the debate about internet regulation. While the big ISPs generally want to be able to do as they please, there are smaller service providers out there that fully understand and embrace the need for privacy, net neutrality and more. One such ISP is Sonic , and this week we're joined by CEO Dane Jasper...
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MPA Gets Ireland To Crack Open The Site-Blocking Door It Plans To Bust Through

Give an inch and they will take a mile, as the saying goes. This mantra applies quite nicely to the recent spate of site-blocking efforts that have taken place around the world. Once content owners, chiefly Hollywood and music groups based in America, manage to slightly open the door to having entire sites blocked by order of government, they then barge through and expand the scope of the site-blocking exponentially. And the groups doing th...
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