Combating Sexism in Tech With Honesty: The Impact of Upload’s Silence

from Medium I was the Creative Producer at Upload until most of the Upload San Francisco staff and I quit after a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against its founders. We used to love Upload for its reach and ambition, but our trust in the company has faltered since our departure. These are my thoughts on bro culture in tech and the impact of Upload’s silence. Upload jump-started my career and made me feel welcome when I moved to San Francisco by myself. Will and Taylor treated me extremely well, and I once viewed them as both my mentors and […]

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Gender Inequality And The Supreme Court

from kottke Tonja Jacobi and Dylan Schweers have published the results of a study they’ve done related to the role of gender in the workings of the Supreme Court. They found that female justices are interrupted much more often by male justices and advocates than male justices are. Our empirical study examines interruptions among justices, and between the justices and the advocates, during Supreme Court oral arguments. It shows that women still do not have an equal opportunity to be heard on the highest court in the land. In fact, as more women join the court, the reaction of the […]

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The Government Gorsuch Wants to Undo

from NYTs At recent Senate hearings to fill the Supreme Court’s open seat, Judge Neil Gorsuch came across as a thoroughly bland and nonthreatening nominee. The idea was to give as little ammunition as possible to opponents when his nomination comes up this week for a vote, one that Senate Democrats may try to upend with a filibuster. But the reality is that Judge Gorsuch embraces a judicial philosophy that would do nothing less than undermine the structure of modern government — including the rules that keep our water clean, regulate the financial markets and protect workers and consumers. In […]

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Police Falsely Told A Man He Couldn’t Film Them. ‘I’m An Attorney,’ He Said. ‘I Know What The Law Is.’

from WaPo One of the first things Jesse Bright did after being pulled over by police on a recent Sunday afternoon was turn on his phone and begin filming. Bright was driving for Uber to make some extra cash, but he works full-time as criminal defense attorney in North Carolina. As a lawyer, he said, he believes strongly that when people record their interactions with police, it helps reduce confusion if their cases end up in court. As he aimed his phone in the direction of officers and recorded, Bright was surprised to hear Wilmington police Sgt. Kenneth Becker tell […]

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Amazon Says Your Alexa Recordings Are Protected By The First Amendment

from BuzzFeed News Amazon is turning to the First Amendment to support its refusal to give law enforcement recordings and responses captured by the Alexa voice assistant on an Amazon Echo speaker that may help police solve a murder case. After James Bates was charged with murdering his colleague Victor Collins in Walmart’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas in November 2015, police issued a search warrant for the contents of Bates’ Echo speaker. But Amazon has fired back with a 90-page brief contending that the records Alexa collected are protected free speech. Forbes has reproduced the document in full. Bates also owned an LG […]

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Want to Keep Hackers Out of Gadgets? Try International Law

from Wired IMAGINE THIS SCENARIO: You’re on vacation in the beautiful Austrian Alps, heading out for breakfast, but your room’s door won’t open. The hotel uses electronic locks that are connected to a network, making it easier to manage the hotel, while also getting rid of the obsolete analog locks. Only this time, the convenience provided by these electronic locks is a double-edged sword: The technology also enables cyber criminals to hack the locks and demand ransom, usually in the form of cryptocurrency, in return for unlocking the door. While this scenario sounds hypothetical, last month a fully booked four-star hotel […]

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How Free Is Our Freedom Of The Press?

from TED In the US, the press has a right to publish secret information the public needs to know, protected by the First Amendment. Government surveillance has made it increasingly more dangerous for whistleblowers, the source of virtually every important story about national security since 9/11, to share information. In this concise, informative talk, Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder and TED Fellow Trevor Timm traces the recent history of government action against individuals who expose crime and injustice and advocates for technology that can help them do it safely and anonymously. More here.

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Court Ruling Stands: US Has No Right To Seize Data From World’s Servers

from ars technica An evenly split federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that it won’t revisit its July decision that allowed Microsoft to squash a US court warrant for e-mail stored on its servers in Dublin, Ireland. The 4-4 vote by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals sets the stage for a potential Supreme Court showdown over the US government’s demands that it be able to reach into the world’s servers with the assistance of the tech sector. A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit had ruled that federal law, notably the Stored Communications Act, allows US authorities to seize content on US-based […]

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Your Smartphone Is A Civil Rights Issue

from TED The smartphone you use reflects more than just personal taste … it could determine how closely you can be tracked, too. Privacy expert and TED Fellow Christopher Soghoian details a glaring difference between the encryption used on Apple and Android devices and urges us to pay attention to a growing digital security divide. “If the only people who can protect themselves from the gaze of the government are the rich and powerful, that’s a problem,” he says. “It’s not just a cybersecurity problem — it’s a civil rights problem.” More here.

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Marijuana’s $2.4 Billion Impact In Colorado Is A Lesson For 5 States Considering Legalization

from ThinkProgress It turns out pot is a stronger economic driver than 90 percent of the industries active in Colorado. Legal weed created 18,005 full-time jobs and added about $2.4 billion to the state’s economy last year, an analysis from the Marijuana Policy Group (MPG) shows. Between the dollars that customers spend and the money businesspeople invest in their crops and shops, pot is generating more wealth and activity than almost anything else on a pound-for-pound basis. Every dollar spent in the industry generates between $2.13 and $2.40 in economic activity. Only federal government spending has a higher multiplier. The numbers land […]

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Supreme Court Presses Apple And Samsung On The Value Of Design

from BuzzFeed Several Supreme Court justices challenged Samsung’s argument on Tuesday that the company should owe Apple less than $399 million for infringing on the design of the iPhone. Other justices, though, pressed Apple to show why its damages in the case should be connected to Samsung’s profits made from the entire phone — rather than just the part of its exterior that Samsung was found to have copied. The dispute between the warring phone companies revolves around the $399 million penalty Samsung was ordered to pay Apple, stemming from a lawsuit that began in 2011. A lower court found […]

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Supreme Court Faces Volatile, Even if Not Blockbuster, Docket

from NYTs The Supreme Court, awaiting the outcome of a presidential election that will determine its future, returns to the bench this week to face a volatile docket studded with timely cases on race, religion and immigration. The justices have been shorthanded since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, and say they are determined to avoid deadlocks. That will require resolve and creativity. “This term promises to be the most unpredictable one in many, many years,” said Neal K. Katyal, a former acting United States solicitor general in the Obama administration now with Hogan Lovells. There is no case yet on the […]

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Patent Troll Virnetx Beats Apple Again, Awarded $302M In Facetime Damages

from ars technica An East Texas jury concluded late Friday that Apple must pay a patent troll $302.4 million in damages for infringing two patents connected to Apple’s FaceTime communication application. The verdict is the third in the long-running case in which two earlier verdicts were overturned—one on appeal and the other by the Tyler, Texas federal judge presiding over the 6-year-long litigation. The latest outcome is certain to renew the same legal arguments that were made in the earlier cases: Apple, for one, has maintained all along that the evidence doesn’t support infringement. VirnetX, as it did in the […]

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Microsoft’s Top Lawyer Becomes a Civil Rights Crusader

from MIT Technology Review When Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to help the FBI get into a mass murderer’s iPhone last winter, he was hailed for his boldness in fighting the government on a matter of principle. In fact, Cook was borrowing from the playbook of a top executive at Apple’s dowdier rival Microsoft—a genial, sandy-haired man named Brad Smith. Smith has taken the government to court four times in the past three years, each time accusing it of breaching the Constitution in its efforts to get its hands on Microsoft customers’ data. He believes computers and the Internet have weakened […]

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Obama Supports Cable Box Competition And—Surprise—Cable Lobby Is Angry

from ars technica President Obama today pledged support for the Federal Communications Commission effort to give cable TV customers a greater choice of set-top boxes. Shortly after, the top cable lobby group expressed its displeasure, saying the White House’s statement “may be good politics, but it’s bad government.” The White House published a blog post this morning saying that cable TV subscribers shouldn’t have to spend “nearly $1,000 over four years to lease a set of behind-the-times boxes.” Americans should “have options to own a device for much less money that will integrate everything they want—including their cable or satellite content, as well as […]

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Apple’s Security Debate is Everyone’s Problem (Including Yours)

from Note to Self The debate over whether the government can access your phone is here. Hello! You’ve probably been following along, but in case you need the tl;dr: The debate revved up last month when the FBI asked Apple to hack into a locked iPhone associated with one of the gunmen from the San Bernardino massacre last December. Since then, the conversation has evolved into a national debate over what the government should (and shouldn’t) be allowed to access. The conversation has officially moved outside the realm of tech and the government. With 90 percent of American adults owning a cell phone, the issue is hitting a […]

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Stop Telling Good Arguers to Become Lawyers

from Medium I’ve met a lot of bright young people planning on law school or in law school. I’ve also met a lot of unhappy lawyers. I suspect lots of these young people will end up unhappy lawyers too, and I’ve got a theory as to why. Lawyers are often “successful” in terms of external indicators and cultural prestige. They tend to make good money and are held in esteem (lawyer jokes notwithstanding). And, of course, lawyering is a perfect fit for some people. I know some very happy lawyers. But it seems a large percentage of the profession consists of […]

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John Oliver Explains Why iPhone Encryption Debate Is No Joking Matter

from ars technica The FBI’s legal showdown with Apple over iPhone security has spilled into just about every facet of popular culture, from endless news coverage to Congressional hearings and even to comments from President Obama. On Sunday, it got treatment from comedian John Oliver, whose weekly HBO series Last Week Tonight does a better job than most news shows covering the important news stories of the day. In an 18-minute segment, Oliver brought the stakes of the fight front and center and explained in some of the most concrete terms yet why—contrary to the repeated claims of the Obama […]

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Why Are We Fighting the Crypto Wars Again?

from Backchannel Last week I arrived in San Francisco to hear good news: Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman had won the ACM A.M. Turing Award. This is the Nobel Prize of computer science, with a million-dollar check and priceless prestige. The choice of these 2016 honorees is both long overdue and appropriately timely. Overdue because their contribution to the field (and to the world) was public key cryptography, which they created in 1976. And timely because the consequences of their invention?—?which would lead to the development of online privacy tools, whether the government liked it or not?—?are once again a flash point of […]

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