NYPD Using Drones To Check Out Noisy Backyard Parties Over Labor Day Weekend

from ars TECHNICA The New York City Police Department said it will use drones to check out backyard parties when neighbors call to complain about large crowds this weekend. “The drones are going to be responding to non-priority calls and priority calls,” NYPD Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said at a press conference yesterday. “For example, if we have any 311 calls on our non-emergency line where if a caller states there’s a large crowd, a large party in the backyard, we’re going to be utilizing our assets to go up, to go check on the party, to make sure if […]

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Court Tosses Arkansas Age Verification Law For Violating The 1st Amendment

from TechDirt Just after a judge granted an injunction against Texas’ adult content age verification law on 1st Amendment grounds, a judge in Arkansas did the same to that state’s social media age verification law. Trade organization NetChoice had challenged the law, and the court basically gave them a complete and total victory. Just like the ruling in Texas, the opinion here is a good read. As with Texas, Arkansas relied on Tony Allen, who represents the age verification providers, to claim that the technology works great and the laws are fine. As in Texas, the court here is not […]

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Once-Suspended Twitter User Argues California Violated His First Amendment Rights

from SCOTUSblog Last week the federal government encouraged the justices to review a pair of petitions involving two nearly identical laws in Florida and Texas that seek to regulate how large social media platforms can block, remove, or demonetize user content. Lawmakers in both states passed the bills to address what they perceive as censorship of conservative viewpoints; the platforms countered that the laws violate their own First Amendment rights. This week, we highlight cert petitions that ask the court to consider, among other things, a First Amendment challenge against efforts by another populous state, California, to regulate online content. […]

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A Generative AI Copilot for Lawyers (with Demo)

from Synthedia “Spellbook is like a GitHub Copilot for lawyers or an AI copilot for lawyers,” said Scott Stephenson, the CEO of Rally. He added, “GitHub Copilot was the inspiration … I remember very well the first time I used it.” Rally created Spellbook by fine-tuning GPT-3 on legal documents. Stephenson said the company also uses some of Cohere’s models and others they have developed in-house. The software suggests language for contacts and also helps review contracts. “You can ask questions about documents, find missing clauses, unusual terms, and things like that … You can also ask freeform questions like […]

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Proposals But No Consensus On Curbing Water Shortages In Colorado River Basin

from ars technica In 2007, the seven states that rely on the Colorado River for water reached an agreement on a plan to minimize the water shortages plaguing the basin. Drought had gripped the region since 1999 and could soon threaten Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the largest reservoirs in the nation. Now, that future has come to pass and the states are again attempting to reach an agreement. The Colorado River faces a crisis brought on by more than 20 years of drought, decades of overallocation and the increasing challenge of climate change, and Lake Mead and Lake Powell, […]

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Project Texas: The Details of TikTok’s Plan to Remain Operational in the United States

from Lawfare Since 2019, TikTok has been negotiating with the U.S. government to address concerns about potential national security risks posed by the platform. Failure to reach an agreement that satisfies the U.S. government’s concerns could have severe consequences for TikTok’s ability to continue operating in the United States: TikTok would likely be banned or required to sell off a majority stake in the company. In the past several months, rumors have swirled about what the contours of such an agreement might be and when it might be announced. While some details have emerged about Project Texas, the code name […]

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The Fallout From the First Trial of a Corporate Executive for ‘Covering Up’ a Data Breach

from Lawfare Uber’s former chief security officer (CSO), Joe Sullivan, was found guilty on Oct. 5 of obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. § 1505) and misprision of a felony (18 U.S.C. § 4) based on what the Justice Department called his “attempted cover-up of a 2016 hack of Uber.”  In 2016, while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was investigating Uber for an earlier incident, Sullivan learned of another hacking incident that affected the Uber accounts of more than 57 million riders and drivers. In its prosecution of Sullivan, the government alleged that, rather than disclose the incident to the FTC, […]

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December Argument Session Will Feature Divisive Cases On Election Law, First Amendment

from SCOTUSblog The Supreme Court’s December argument session will feature two of the highest-profile cases of the 2022-23 term: a free-speech claim by a website designer who opposes same-sex marriage and a case involving the power of state legislatures to set rules for federal elections. That news came with the release of the court’s December argument calendar on Tuesday. The justices will hear argument in 303 Creative v. Elenis, the case brought by Colorado website designer Lorie Smith, on Dec. 5. Smith wants to expand her business to create custom wedding websites, but she opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds […]

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What Will AI Do To Branding?

from Fast Company A few months ago, when artificial-intelligence services that generated images based on text prompts started taking over the Internet, Heinz decided to test just how much its brand was synonymous with ketchup in general. Working with the agency Rethink, Heinz asked AI image-maker DALL-E 2 to render “ketchup” and variations with different aesthetic modifiers (“renaissance,” “impressionism,” “street art,” etc.). The results, though varied in style, were all unmistakably Heinz-centric—notably referencing the unique shape of the Heinz label. Apart from being a fun stunt, it was a mighty flex, demonstrating the power of the Heinz brand. More here.

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The Problem of ‘Personal Precedents’ of Supreme Court Justices

from NYTs Supreme Court justices, like most people, like to appear to be consistent. No one wants to be thought to be a flip-flopper, an opportunist or a hypocrite. That means justices try not to disavow earlier legal views, even ones that appeared in dissents, in opinions they wrote as appeals court judges, in academic work, at their confirmation hearings and elsewhere. This impulse, which a provocative new article calls “personal precedent,” can be at odds with respect for precedent in the conventional sense. The force and legitimacy of such personal precedents has seldom been explored, and the rare scholars […]

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Rebuffing Cable Lobby, FCC Bans Deals That Block Competition In Apartments

from ars technica The Federal Communications Commission has voted to ban the exclusive revenue-sharing deals between landlords and Internet service providers that prevent broadband competition in apartment buildings and other multi-tenant environments. The new ban and other rule changes were adopted in a 4-0 vote announced yesterday. Although the FCC “has long banned Internet service providers from entering into sweetheart deals with landlords that guarantee they are the only provider in the building,” evidence submitted to the commission “made it clear that our existing rules are not doing enough and that we can do more to pry open the door […]

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Why Can’t We Make Women’s Equality the Law of the Land?

from NYTs Even if you are a political junkie, there’s a good chance you didn’t realize that the United States Constitution grew 58 words longer this week. Those words, which begin, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” are the text of the Equal Rights Amendment. Section 3 of the amendment states that it takes effect two years after its ratification, which happened on Jan. 27, 2020, when Virginia became the 38th state to sign on. By its own terms, then, the 28th […]

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Meta’s Failed Giphy Deal Could End Big Tech’s Spending Spree

from ars technica Instagram? Sure! WhatsApp? Go nuts. But don’t mess with GIFs. That’s the strange position taken by Britain’s competition watchdog in choosing to block Meta’s takeover of GIF repository Giphy. Meta, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruled, must now sell all the GIFs—just 19 months after it reportedly paid $400 million for them. It’s a bold move—and a global first. Never before has a tech giant been ordered to press undo on a completed deal rather than pay a fine or make promises about how the newly merged businesses would operate. Meta, the parent company of […]

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The FTC Sues Nvidia to Block Its Historic Deal With Arm

from Wired (via Ars Technica) The Federal Trade Commission has sued to block Nvidia’s acquisition of Arm, the semiconductor design firm, saying that the blockbuster deal would unfairly stifle competition. “The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s competition bureau, said in a statement. “Tomorrow’s technologies depend on preserving today’s competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. This proposed deal would distort Arm’s incentives in chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia’s rivals.” More here.

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US Gov’t Will Slap Contractors With Civil Lawsuits For Hiding Breaches

from ars technica In a groundbreaking initiative announced by the Department of Justice this week, federal contractors will be sued if they fail to report a cyber attack or data breaches. The newly introduced “Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative” will leverage the existing False Claims Act to pursue contractors and grant recipients involved in what the DOJ calls “cybersecurity fraud.” Usually, the False Claims Act is used by the government to tackle civil lawsuits over false claims made in relation to federal funds and property connected with government programs. More here.

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An Insider from the Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Speaks Out

from The New Yorker One day last spring, Ryan Hampton had a secret meeting with David Sackler, whose family’s company, Purdue Pharma, stood accused of helping to precipitate the opioid crisis. Hampton was the co-chair of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (U.C.C.), a powerful group that represented thousands of people and entities with claims against Purdue in what was then an ongoing bankruptcy proceeding. His job was to act as a sort of watchdog, and he had access to a trove of sensitive material that Purdue and the Sacklers were compelled to turn over in discovery. Hampton was also […]

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Initial Reaction to Eastman Memo

from The Election Law Blog My first thought on reading the Eastman memo revealed yesterday was that it could wait until I do the relevant work for a planned second edition of Ballot Battles before I reflect on it in earnest. But in light of some discussion that I’ve seen on Twitter, it might be helpful to share these preliminary thoughts: Setting aside the fundamental fact that the memo outlines a strategy to overturn enough valid electoral votes to keep Trump in power for a second term that he did not lawfully win (and therefore appropriately can be considered as […]

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Google Is Getting Caught In The Antitrust Net

from ars technica Being a global company has its perks. There’s a lot of money to be made overseas. But the biggest US tech companies are finding out that there’s also a downside: every country where you make money is a country that could try to regulate you. It’s hard to keep track of all the tech-related antitrust action happening around the world, in part because it doesn’t always seem to be worth paying close attention to. In Europe, which has long been home to the world’s most aggressive regulators, Google alone was hit with a $2.7 billion fine in 2017, […]

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Beware State Surveillance Of Your Lives – Governments Can Change For The Worse

from The Guardian In the summer of 2013, shortly after Edward Snowden’s revelations about the surveillance capabilities of the American National Security Agency (NSA) began to appear, I had a private conversation with a former cabinet minister about the implications of the leaks. At one stage, I mentioned to him a remark attributed to a prime architect of some of the NSA systems – that they had taken the US to “a keystroke away from totalitarianism”. The MP scoffed at the idea. What I needed to remember, he told me, in that superior tone that toffs adopt when speaking to […]

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What the EU Gets Right—and the US Gets Wrong—About Antitrust

from Wired THERE’S A GROWING bipartisan consensus in the US to rein in the massive power accumulated by dominant tech firms. From state capitals to Congress, officials have launched multiple investigations of whether the big four of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are now forces more for harm than good and whether their size and scale demand government action to curtail them or potentially break them up. US regulators have not yet shown all their cards, but they should pause before arguing that too big equals anticompetitive, or seeking to break up or substantially restructure the tech giants. Instead, they […]

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