Supreme Court Rules Georgia Can’t Put The Law Behind A Paywall

from ars technica A narrowly divided US Supreme Court on Monday upheld the right to freely share the official law code of Georgia. The state claimed to own the copyright for the Official Code of Georgia Annotated and sued a nonprofit called Public.Resource.Org for publishing it online. Monday’s ruling is not only a victory for the open-government group, it’s an important precedent that will help secure the right to publish other legally significant public documents. “Officials empowered to speak with the force of law cannot be the authors of—and therefore cannot copyright—the works they create in the course of their official […]

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Justices To Consider Constitutionality Of CFPB Structure

from SCOTUSblog The congressional commission that investigated the 2008 financial crisis concluded that the United States’ consumer-protection system was “too fragmented to be effective.” In response to that finding, in 2010 Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFPB – whose website describes the bureau as a “U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly” – is led by one director appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate to serve a five-year term; once the director has been confirmed, the president can only remove […]

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Recent Decision: D.C. Circuit Rules That OPM Breach Victims Have Standing to Sue

from Lawfare With data breach incidents on the rise, federal courts are grappling with the issue of standing in class action lawsuits arising from data breaches. As Lawfare has covered previously, there is arguably a circuit split over whether plaintiffs can establish an “injury in fact,” one of three constitutional standing requirements, on the grounds that a breach has put them at a heightened risk of identity theft. In a 2-1 decision this past summer titled In re: U.S. Office of Personnel Management Data Security Breach Litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit weighed in on that […]

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Google Antitrust Investigation Outlined by State Attorneys General

from NYTs The state attorneys general from four dozen states officially declared on Monday that they were beginning investigations into the market power and corporate behavior of big tech companies. The formal declaration, delivered from the steps of the United States Supreme Court by a bipartisan group of state officials, adds investigative muscle and political momentum to the intensifying scrutiny of the tech giants by federal watchdog agencies and Congress. The states are focusing on two targets: Facebook and Google. More here.

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How the U.K. Supreme Court’s Rebuke to Boris Johnson Remakes British Law

from NYTs Britain’s all-consuming debate over Brexit has dragged another of its respected institutions into uncharted territory, as the Supreme Court struck down Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament, an extraordinary intervention by the judiciary into a political dispute. The unanimous decision, handed down on Tuesday, is an unalloyed defeat for Mr. Johnson and will propel Britain into a fresh round of political turmoil. But it is even more significant for what it says about the role of the country’s highest court, which has historically steered clear of politics. By ruling that Mr. Johnson acted unlawfully — and doing […]

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An Artificial-Intelligence First: Voice-Mimicking Software Reportedly Used In A Major Theft

from WaPo Thieves used voice-mimicking software to imitate a company executive’s speech and dupe his subordinate into sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a secret account, the company’s insurer said, in a remarkable case that some researchers are calling one of the world’s first publicly reported artificial-intelligence heists. The managing director of a British energy company, believing his boss was on the phone, followed orders one Friday afternoon in March to wire more than $240,000 to an account in Hungary, said representatives from the French insurance giant Euler Hermes, which declined to name the company. The request was “rather […]

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Who’s at Fault? Read the Fine Print to Make Sure You’re Not at Risk

from NYTs If the old printer at his golf club had not been replaced, Ray Mantle probably would not have realized that he and his friends had been signing a liability waiver that could expose them to expensive litigation and damages. Mr. Mantle, a retired New York lawyer whose specialty was intellectual property, said he had noticed something on the back of the receipt for a golf cart rental at his club, Queen’s Harbour Yacht and Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla., that alarmed him. Appearing clearly in black ink on white paper, thanks to the new printer, was an agreement […]

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‘Blurred Lines’ on Their Minds, Songwriters Create Nervously

from NYTs It’s not easy to be a songwriter in the pop world these days. Listeners rarely see your name. For anything but a giant hit, royalties from streaming are infinitesimal — and big tech companies seem to want to keep it that way. And then there’s the shadow of “Blurred Lines.” Four years after the copyright trial over that No. 1 song — in which Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, its primary writers, were ordered to pay more than $5 million for copying Marvin Gaye’s disco-era hit “Got to Give It Up” — the case still looms over the […]

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Why R.B.G. Matters

from NYTs For the judicial icon otherwise known as R.B.G., Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s past few roller-coaster months have included being lionized by Hollywood, laid low by cancer surgery, and most recently issuing one of the Supreme Court term’s more important decisions, placing limits on civil forfeiture, within a day of returning to the bench. People who know almost nothing about the court and can’t name another justice know her name. In a celebrity-saturated age, she is one of the culture’s most unlikely rock stars. Yet for all the accolades that have come her way, I’m willing to bet that […]

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The Alarming Scope of the President’s Emergency Powers

from The Atlantic In the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump reached deep into his arsenal to try to deliver votes to Republicans. Most of his weapons were rhetorical, featuring a mix of lies and false inducements—claims that every congressional Democrat had signed on to an “open borders” bill (none had), that liberals were fomenting violent “mobs” (they weren’t), that a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class would somehow pass while Congress was out of session (it didn’t). But a few involved the aggressive use—and threatened misuse—of presidential authority: He sent thousands of […]

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This Is What Happens When You Try to Sue Your Boss

from Bloomberg The proof that the fight between Alex Beigelman and UBS had descended into absurdity was the dispute over the granola bar. It was the fifth day of arbitration hearings, and a lawyer for UBS, the financial conglomerate where Beigelman had worked, seemed to be having some windpipe trouble. “I tried to eat a Kind bar really quickly,” the bank lawyer said. “And I have all of that granola crunchy stuff stuck in my throat.” “TMI,” answered Linda Friedman, the civil rights attorney who was representing Beigelman. “I’m sorry, Linda, if you think that’s too much information,” the bank […]

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Majority Appears Ready To Uphold “Separate Sovereigns” Doctrine

from SCOTUSblog When Terance Gamble was pulled over by police in Alabama three years ago for having a faulty headlight, he probably didn’t think that prosecutors would make a federal case out of it. And he certainly wouldn’t have imagined that his case would make national headlines – not so much for its own sake, but because of what a win for Gamble might mean for prosecutions arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. Both of these things did happen, but after nearly 80 minutes of oral argument this morning, Gamble seemed […]

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‘Big Brother’ in India Requires Fingerprint Scans for Food, Phones and Finances

from NYTs Seeking to build an identification system of unprecedented scope, India is scanning the fingerprints, eyes and faces of its 1.3 billion residents and connecting the data to everything from welfare benefits to mobile phones. Civil libertarians are horrified, viewing the program, called Aadhaar, as Orwell’s Big Brother brought to life. To the government, it’s more like “big brother,” a term of endearment used by many Indians to address a stranger when asking for help. For other countries, the technology could provide a model for how to track their residents. And for India’s top court, the ID system presents […]

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Mark Zuckerberg Has Been Talking About Privacy For 15 Years — Here’s A Rundown

from Yahoo News Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke out on Wednesday after days of silence amid a firestorm of privacy concerns and government probes following reports of massive data mishandling. Research firm Cambridge Analytica is accused of improperly gaining access to the personal data of 50 million Facebook users, and the social media network is dealing with the fallout. This is not a new issue. Zuckerberg has been thinking and talking about privacy ever since he built the predecessor to Facebook, called Facemash, at Harvard back in 2003. When users of the service complained that their pictures were being used […]

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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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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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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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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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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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