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It Looks Like The FBI Thought About Prosecuting FOIA Requesters After Influx Of Automated Requests

Emma Best of MuckRock has unearthed some disturbing details in an FBI response to an FOIA request: apparently the agency considered -- however briefly -- the investigation and prosecution of people filing requests. The nature of the requests may shed some light on the FBI‘s thought process because the heavily-redacted email included in the response certainly doesn‘t. Each year, the FBI updates its Dead List -- the names of people t

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Suburban Express, Which Sued Over Online Reviews Claiming It Had Racist Drivers, Cheerfully Sends Out Racist Advertisement

Remember Suburban Express? It‘s been a few years since we‘ve had the pleasure of writing about the company that buses students between the University of Illinois and Chicago, or its lawsuit happy owner, Dennis Toeppen. Toeppen and his company have engaged in some fairly anti-consumer behaviors, most of which have to do with hefty three-figure fines unilaterally assessed to passengers for the most minor of infractions, like showing up

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NBA2K18 Is Removing User Made Content From The Game Over IP Infringement, Refuses Refunds To Anyone Who Bought It

One of the tensions in the digital world that I find fascinating is what a content or platform creator must feel when deciding just how much freedom it wants to give to its fans. The benefits of giving fans the freedom to tinker is especially noticeable in the video game space, where long traditions exist for modding and making custom user-created content. Most game publishers‘ embrace of this sort of thing ranges from a wink and a nod to

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Florida Public Officials Face Criminal Charges For Dodging Public Records Laws

Some surprising news out of Florida: actual public officials being held accountable for public records law violations. We‘re used to hearing about officials finding new and creative ways to dodge public records requests. We‘re also used to hearing about officials using tried-and-true methods to avoid turning over records, like demanding astronomical fees or abusing exemptions. In this case, several years of blowing off requests for

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Two Separate Studies Show That The Vast Majority Of People Who Said They Support Ajit Pai‘s Plan... Were Fake

The fact that the FCC comments for Ajit Pai‘s net neutrality repeal were stuffed with fake comments is nothing new at all. We first reported on it back in May, and reports of comments from totally fake people or long dead people continue to pop up. Even worse are multiple stories of people having their own identities used to file comments, often opposed to their own views. The FCC has consistently responded that it doesn‘t care. New

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Daily Deal: CrossOver 17

Run Windows software on Mac or Linux with with CrossOver! You can quickly and easily launch Windows apps right from your Mac dock or Linux system without buying a Windows license, rebooting, or using a virtual machine. Whether you‘re looking to use Windows games, productivity software or utility programs, CrossOver allows you to run them natively on your Mac or Linux systems like normal. There‘s no simpler way to bring your operating

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NY Attorney General Finds 2 Million Fake FCC Net Neutrality Comments

As Ajit Pai‘s attack on net neutrality rolls along, it‘s worth a steady reminder that the FCC‘s open commenting period for the public was marred by spam-bots inserting comments from some list somewhere, all in support of Pai‘s actions. In other words, the period during which the FCC is supposed to listen to the general public for feedback never actually existed, masked as it was by these fraudulent comments. Eric Schnei

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Why Must The FCC Insult Everyone‘s Intelligence By Misrepresenting Broadband Investment?

Last month, I wrote a post detailing Ajit Pai‘s big lie, concerning his totally false claim that the order the FCC voted on today simply brings the internet back to where it was in 2015. As we explained that‘s not even remotely close to accurate. That same post also mentioned a second, but still important, lie that Pai and Pai‘s supporters have been telling repeatedly: that the 2015 rules harmed broadband investment. There ar

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Leaked E-mail Shows Even The FCC‘s Own CTO Thinks Gutting Net Neutrality Harms The Public

So by now we‘ve pointed out how 200 engineers, internet legends, nearly 1000 startups, countless internet companies, 30 small ISPs, and millions of American consumers have told the FCC its plan to repeal net neutrality is extreme and will harm competition, innovation, and the health of the internet. But we‘ve also pointed out repeatedly how this makes absolutely no difference at Trump‘s FCC, which appears mindlessly dedicated t

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Australian Government Wants To Punish Whistleblowers And Journalists Who Leak Classified Documents With Up To 20 Years In Prison

Whistleblowing stories have become something of a commonplace, as a stream of Techdirt posts attests. Some leaks offer massive revelations, like the documents released by Chelsea Manning, or Edward Snowden. Others are smaller scale, but expose unsuspected activities that powerful people were trying to keep in the shadows. Here, for example, is a recent leak published in the Guardian about big companies spying on law-abiding organizations that da

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If You Are Going To Worry About Bitcoin‘s Energy Consumption, Worry About Server Farms Too -- For More Than One Reason

Bitcoin has been much in the public eye recently. Most of the attention has been focused on the extraordinary rise in its price as measured against traditional currencies. But another aspect that has been exercising people is its energy usage, as a post on the Digiconimist site explains: The continuous block mining cycle incentivizes people all over the world to mine Bitcoin. As mining can provide a solid stream of revenue, people are very wi

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Comic Con Verdict: Salt Lake Comic Con Loses The Battle, Now Seeks To Win The War

As you will all know, we‘ve been covering the trademark case between San Diego Comic-Con and Salt Lake Comic Con pretty much since this whole dispute began some three years ago. From the outset, this whole thing seemed wholly unreasonable. Whatever trademarks SDCC managed to get past the USPTO, there are roughly a zillion comic cons across the country, few of which have any licensing arrangement with SDCC, meaning the plaintiff in this cas

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FCC Boss Claims Net Neutrality Hurts Small ISPs, But The FCC‘s Own Data Proves Otherwise

By now we‘ve noted countless times how the claim that net neutrality hurt broadband investment is indisputably false. It‘s not a debate. Public SEC filings, earnings reports, and numerous CEO statements to investors (who, unlike you, they‘re legally not allowed to lie to) have disproven this canard. Data suggesting otherwise usually originates with ISP-paid economists more than willing to twist, distort, cherry pick and massage

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Deputies Involved In 62,000 Criminal Cases Shown To Be Liars, Frauds, Domestic Abusers, And Sexual Predators

If you had evidence an opposing witness in a criminal trial was untrustworthy, you‘d want to use it, right? Too bad says the local law enforcement union. And too bad says a California court. The issue at hand is the Los Angeles Sheriff‘s Department‘s "Brady" list. "Brady" is shorthand for exculpatory evidence and untrustworthy law enforcement officers called to provide testimony certainly falls under that heading. After Sheri

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Smart Handgun Safe Not Smart Enough Not To Let Basically Anyone Break Into It

When we discuss the problems around "the internet of things" and app-controlled everything, we typically have to get into the weeds a bit about privacy, whether you own what you purchased, and the ethical implications of opening up an internet-connected service or product to potential hacking. On the security and hacking side of things, it should be clear by now that far too many companies don‘t take this stuff seriously enough. Our pages

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Daily Deal: Storyist For Mac

Storyist is the only do-it-all writing platform designed specifically for fiction writers and optimized to be a powerful word processor on both desktop and mobile platforms. This fully-featured word processor gives you complete control over manuscripts and screenplays, giving you elite annotation power, high-level story viewing, and many more tools to make writing complex projects a breeze. It is on sale for 19. Note: The Techdirt Deals Sto

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Bogus Wiretap Charges Brought Against Man Who Recorded Cops Costs NH Taxpayers 275,000

One of those things I thought would have gone out of vogue is apparently still in style in New Hampshire. The number of bullshit wiretap prosecutions brought against people recording cops has dropped precipitously over the past half-decade as courts have found use of wiretap statutes in this fashion unconstitutional, but over in the Live Free or Die state, the statute lives freely and dies even harder. Back in 2015, prosecutors brought wiretap

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After Investigating Itself, CenturyLink Proclaims There‘s Just No Way It Committed Billing Fraud

Lawsuits have begun to pile up for broadband provider CenturyLink, after a whistleblower revealed earlier this year that the ISP had been routinely over-billing its broadband customers for years. The whistleblower, who claims she was fired after bringing the problem to company management, said the company had a multi-year habit of consistently signing customers up for services they never ordered and didn‘t want. Of course that‘s on t

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UK Drug Lab Misconduct Calls 10,000 Convictions And Prosecutions Into Question

UK prosecutors are looking at the possibility of having a whole bunch of convictions overturned, thanks to misconduct by a lab service contracted by the government. Malfeasance at Randox Testing Service, which handles toxicology tests for UK law enforcement, first came to light earlier this year when two of its employees were arrested. Hundreds of cases could be reviewed after two men who work at a laboratory used by police to test drug sampl

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Hospitality Industry Group Pushes Back On Portland‘s Attempt To Trademark Bully A Local Brewery

Just a quick update from Portland, Oregon, folks. After the city engaged in some truly impish behavior by trying to bully aside a local brewery that has a trademark on Portland‘s iconic jumping-deer sign, there have been no further negotiations on a resolution between the two sides. See, the city of Portland really wants to license the trademark for the image of the sign to national and international macrobrewers, whereas Old Town Brewing

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It Was Twenty(-odd) Years Ago Today When The Internet Looked Much Different Than It Does Now

Last week, Mike and I were at a conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Reno v. ACLU, a seminal case that declared that the First Amendment applied online. What makes the case so worth a conference celebrating it is not just what it meant as a legal matter it‘s a significant step forward in First Amendment jurisprudence but also what it meant as a practical matter. This decision was hugely important i

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Techdirt Podcast Episode 147: Games That Tell Stories

Gaming is changing the nature of storytelling. Video games of course - but also the modern rise of board games, tabletop RPGs and other forms of analog gaming. A good game does more than just arbitrarily pair play with a veneer of narrative, it marries the mechanics and the theme to enable interesting new ways of conveying and exploring complex ideas. This week, we‘re joined by game designer Randy Lubin to discuss how games can tell sto

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No, The FTC Won‘t Save You Once Net Neutrality Rules Are Killed

If you understand anything about the net neutrality fight, it should be this: repealing these popular rules is just one small part of a long-standing ISP plan to reduce meaningful oversight of one of the least-competitive industries in America. So far this year we‘ve already watched as the Trump administration gutted broadband privacy rules, defended price-gouging prison phone monopolies, made life easier on business broadband monopolies,

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Court Tosses Cop‘s Attempt To Sue Twitter And Facebook For Someone Killing Cops In Texas

Presumably prestigious law firm 1-800-LAW-FIRM is winning some cases somewhere. But it‘s not having any luck with its dubious legal theories related to social media companies and "material support for terrorism." The firm hasn‘t racked up any wins in these cases (as far as I‘m aware). The page touting its "anti-terrorism" lawsuits has a lot to say about the filings, but provides no details on the firm‘s lack of success. A

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