Eleventh Circuit Judge Endorses Warrant for Border Device Searches

from EFF A recent federal appeals court decision shows that at least one judge thinks border agents should get a warrant before conducting forensic searches of travelers’ cell phones.  Although the majority of the three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in U.S. v. Vergara found that border agents did not need a warrant, EFF is encouraged by the dissent’s forceful conclusion that the significant privacy interests people have in their electronic devices require courts to rethink the border search exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. Vergara had returned to Florida after a vacation […]

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Students’ Rights: Speech, Walkouts, And Other Protests

from ACLU Students around the country are turning the heartbreaking school shooting in Parkland, Florida, into an inspiring push for change. Plans for coordinated student walkouts have been making national news and have already spurred disciplinary threats from some school administrators. That’s why it’s so important that everyone – especially students and allies – learns about students’ rights. ? More here.

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What The Second Amendment Really Meant To The Founders

from WaPo Love it or hate it, the Second Amendment provides the constitutional framework for American gun laws. As with all things constitutional, Americans are adapting 18th-century laws to fit 21st-century lives. But in reality, the concerns of the Founding Fathers had little to do with either side’s position in the modern gun-control debate. None of the issues animating that debate — from “stand your ground” laws to assault weapons bans — entered into the Founders’ thinking. Yet because both sides in debates about the Second Amendment invoke what the Founders would have thought, it’s important to look at what […]

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Waymo: “We’re Bringing This Case Because Uber Is Cheating”

from ars technica In a packed courtroom on the first day of the blockbuster Waymo v. Uber trade secrets trial, both sides presented their opening arguments. Charles Verhoeven, Waymo’s top lawyer, said that Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO from 2010 until mid-2017, was not playing fair in his company’s efforts to catch up with Waymo. “The evidence is going to show that Mr. Kalanick, the CEO at the time, made a decision that winning was more important than obeying the law,” he said. “He made a decision to cheat. Because for him, winning at all costs, no matter what, was his […]

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In Carpenter Case, Justice Sotomayor Tries to Picture the Smartphone Future

from The New Yorker “I am not beyond the belief that someday a provider could turn on my cell phone and listen to my conversations,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said on Wednesday, in the oral arguments in the case of Timothy Ivory Carpenter v. United States. She is correct; indeed, there have been indications that that day may have already arrived. And yet the government argued that when prosecutors—without a warrant—looked at some of the most intimate information that a cell-phone company can collect about its customers, they were not doing anything distinctly intrusive. The Carpenter case began with a string of […]

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Supreme Court Will Decide The Fate Of Your Digital Privacy

from Axios The future of digital privacy is up for grabs today at the Supreme Court, as the justices hear arguments in a landmark case about whether police can track the location of a cell phone without a warrant. Why it matters: The tech industry’s most powerful companies argue that if police can access this information without a warrant, hardly anything will ever be private again. The justices clearly share some of those concerns — but their personal understanding of modern technology is on a collision course with the court’s past rulings.  The big picture: The Supreme Court has ruled […]

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FCC Plans To Gut Net Neutrality, Allow Internet ‘Fast Lanes’

from Wired THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commission will publish on Wednesday its plan to reverse Obama-era net neutrality rules that banned internet service providers from blocking or slowing down content, or creating so-called “fast lanes” for companies willing to pay extra to deliver their content more quickly. The new FCC order will throw out almost all of the agency’s 2015 net-neutrality rules, including the prohibitions on blocking and throttling content, senior FCC staff said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. The order will also ban states from imposing their own net-neutrality rules to replace the federal regulations. The order also […]

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Data Breach At Equifax Prompts A National Class-Action Suit

from WaPo The scenario that personal finance and credit experts feared most about the heist of consumer data from Equifax may already be underway: Criminals are using the stolen information to apply for mortgages, credit cards and student loans, and tapping into bank debit accounts, filing insurance claims and racking up substantial debts, according to a major new class-action suit. The suit pulls together dozens of individual complaints from consumers in all 50 states plus the District and suggests that cybercriminals aren’t wasting time using the Social Security numbers, credit card accounts, driver’s license numbers and other sensitive personal information […]

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US Federal Court Rejects Global Search Order

from EFF After years of litigation in two countries, a federal court in the US has weighed in on a thorny question: Does Google US have to obey a Canadian court order requiring Google to take down information around the world, ignoring contrary rules in other jurisdictions? According to the Northern District of California, the answer is no. The case is Google v. Equustek, and it’s part of a growing trend in which courts around the world order companies to take actions far beyond the borders those courts usually respect. It started as a simple dispute in Canada between British […]

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China To Build Giant Facial Recognition Database To Identify Any Citizen Within Seconds

from SCMP The goal is for the system to able to match someone’s face to their ID photo with about 90 per cent accuracy. The project, launched by the Ministry of Public Security in 2015, is under development in conjunction with a security company based in Shanghai. The system can be connected to surveillance camera networks and will use cloud facilities to connect with data storage and processing centres distributed across the country, according to people familiar with the project. However, some researchers said it was unclear when the system would be completed, as the development was encountering many difficulties […]

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Huntsman and Clariant Halt Chemicals Merger, Citing Investor Revolt

from NYTs Two of the world’s leading chemical manufacturers, the Huntsman Corporation and Clariant of Switzerland, terminated a planned multibillion-dollar merger on Friday, bowing to pressure from activist investors who opposed the deal. The deal’s demise was the latest success for activist shareholders, who have put some of the world’s largest companies in their sights and are exerting greater influence over corporate strategy. The proposed all-stock transaction, called a “merger of equals” by Clariant and Huntsman in May, would have been the latest consolidation in the chemicals industry and created a business with a combined market value of about $15 […]

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Illinois Wields New Power to Challenge Noncompete Agreements

from NYTs The clerks at Check Into Cash, a national chain that offers check cashing and payday loans, are paid close to minimum wage to do tasks like enter customers’ information into a computer. The job does not require much training. Some employees lack a high school diploma. Nevertheless, many must sign a contract that prohibits them from working at competing companies. Legislation to restrict or ban these so-called noncompete agreements has been enacted in several states, but the contracts remain widespread even among low-wage workers. Attorneys general are also now getting involved, adding legal muscle to the political and […]

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The Supreme Court Is Allergic To Math

from FiveThirtyEight The Supreme Court does not compute. Or at least some of its members would rather not. The justices, the most powerful jurists in the land, seem to have a reluctance — even an allergy — to taking math and statistics seriously. For decades, the court has struggled with quantitative evidence of all kinds in a wide variety of cases. Sometimes justices ignore this evidence. Sometimes they misinterpret it. And sometimes they cast it aside in order to hold on to more traditional legal arguments. (And, yes, sometimes they also listen to the numbers.) Yet the world itself is […]

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Justices Weigh Immunity for Corporations in Human Rights Cases Abroad

from NYTs The Supreme Court, which has already placed strict limits on lawsuits brought in federal court based on human rights abuses abroad, seemed open on Wednesday to barring such suits entirely when the defendants are corporations. The case concerned Arab Bank, which is based in Jordan and operates in about 30 countries. It has been accused of processing financial transactions through a branch in New York for groups linked to terrorism. The plaintiffs in the case seek to hold the bank liable for attacks by Hamas and other groups in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. Jeffrey L. Fisher, […]

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How Computers Turned Gerrymandering Into a Science

from NYTs About as many Democrats live in Wisconsin as Republicans do. But you wouldn’t know it from the Wisconsin State Assembly, where Republicans hold 65 percent of the seats, a bigger majority than Republican legislators enjoy in conservative states like Texas and Kentucky. The United States Supreme Court is trying to understand how that happened. On Tuesday, the justices heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, reviewing a three-judge panel’s determination that Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn district map is so flagrantly gerrymandered that it denies Wisconsinites their full right to vote. A long list of elected officials, representing both parties, have […]

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Waymo vs. Uber: Unsealed Court Documents Reveal Damning Evidence

from The Verge The due diligence report that Uber fought so hard to keep from being used in its legal battle with Waymo and Alphabet was made public on Monday — and it’s easy to see why Uber resisted as hard as it did. The document, prepared by cybersecurity firm Stroz Friedberg as part of Uber’s acquisition of self-driving trucking startup Otto, describes a thorough forensic review of personal devices belonging to five people at Otto, including the much-embattled Anthony Levandowski, who earlier this year attempted to invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid turning over documents in the case. The […]

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America Might See A New Constitutional Convention In A Few Years

from The Economist THE I’s had been dotted; the T’s were crossed. The 55 delegates to America’s first and so-far-only constitutional convention had hammered out compromises on the separation of powers, apportionment of seats in the legislature and the future of the slave trade. But on September 15th 1787 George Mason, a plantation owner from Virginia, rose to his feet to object. Article V of the draft text laid out two paths by which future amendments could be proposed. Congress could either propose them itself, or it could summon a convention of representatives from the states to propose them. Mason […]

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The Supreme Court’s New Term

from The Economist A YEAR ago the Supreme Court returned to work one judge down, as Senate Republicans refused to consider Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia. On October 2nd, when all nine seats are once again filled for opening day with Neil Gorsuch, Mr Trump’s choice, perched in the right-most chair, the court will begin a term promising bigger cases, sharper splits and higher hopes for conservatives. How far those hopes are realised will turn on Anthony Kennedy, the longest-serving justice, who sits at the court’s ideological centre. Retirement rumours in June proved premature, but Justice […]

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Request Denied: States Try To Block Access To Public Records

from AP In February, Arkansas lawmakers marked the 50-year anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act with a resolution calling it “a shining example of open government” that had ensured access to vital public records for generations. They spent the following weeks debating and, in many cases approving, new exemptions to the law in what critics called an unprecedented attack on the public’s right to know. When they were finished, universities could keep secret all information related to their police forces, including their size and the names and salaries of officers. Public schools could shield a host of facts related […]

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Gill v. Whitford: Gerrymandering at the Supreme Court

from Brennan Center With Gill v. Whitford, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken the most important case in decades dealing with how Americans are represented in Congress and state legislatures. The case focuses on a Wisconsin legislative map drawn in 2011 by the state’s Republican leadership to give their party a significant, enduring partisan advantage ? essentially, to keep their party in power regardless of the will of the voters. By striking down the state’s map, the Court could finally draw a clear line indicating that some partisan gerrymanders are so extreme and harmful to American democracy as to be unconstitutional. With […]

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