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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Thad, responding to the tired line from apologists for Trump‘s immigration atrocities that there would be no problem if immigrants followed the law: The families the Trump Administration has separated have included asylum-seekers. Trump‘s Muslim ban targeted refugees. Trump scuttled the bipartisan DACA deal partially on the grounds that it didn‘t do enough to

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This Week In Techdirt History: June 17th - 23rd

Five Years Ago This week in 2013, the NSA was seeking blanket immunity for companies that aided its surveillance programs, congressional staffers were being told to pretend leaked documents don‘t exist, and more than half the Senate skipped a briefing on the NSA‘s programs. The agency was claiming its surveillance prevented lots of attacks, but these claims tended to fall apart under scrutiny. New leaks revealed how the NSA uses da

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Microsoft And Nintendo Team Up To Troll Playstation In Ads For Not Giving Gamers What They Want

Buckle up, because this seemingly mildly interesting story has a ton of intersections on topics we typically talk about here at Techdirt. As a preface, you should recall that we firmly believe that content is advertising and advertising is content. By this we mean that every bit of content a producer makes serves to advertise that producer‘s wider content library and that advertisements, in order to be engaging, must be useful and/or enter

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Supreme Court Says Warrants Are Needed For Cell Site Location Info

The Supreme Court -- in a narrow decision (both in scope and votes) -- has restored a little more of the Fourth Amendment. The long-awaited decision [PDF] in the Carpenter case has been released and the Supreme Court finds, in a 5-4 decision, that cell site location info (CSLI) is technically a third-party record but worthy of the Fourth Amendment‘s protection. The defendant challenged the government‘s warrantless acquisition of 12

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Supposed ‘Free Speech‘ Warrior Jordan Peterson Sues University Because Silly Professor Said Some Mean Things About Him

I have to admit that until earlier this year, I‘d never heard of Jordan Peterson. I first heard about him when he was on Russ Robert‘s Econtalk podcast, and it was sort of a weird discussion to go into blind, without any knowledge of Peterson. That‘s because throughout the podcast I found him to be extremely defensive, as if he was constantly under attack and had to parry away an onslaught of criticism. Other than that, I thoug

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Daily Deal: The Essential Salesforce Certification Training Bundle

The 39 Essential Salesforce Certification Training Bundle is three courses designed to take you from beginner to pro. You‘ll learn to manage users and data, customize and maintain basic applications, and prepare custom reports, workflows, and report dashboards. You also get 4 practice exams for the Salesforce Certified Administrator Certification exam, and 2 practice exams for the Salesforce App Builder Certification exam. Note: The T

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Silos, Centralization And Censorship: Losing The Promise Of The Internet

The somewhat apocryphal purpose of the early internet was to have a system that could survive a nuclear war, by building it in nodes, such that it couldn‘t be knocked out easily. That distributed and decentralized concept had many other benefits as well. Somewhat famously, 25 years ago, John Gillmore declared"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." And there remains some truth to that... in part. But the internet has

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Artist Files Completely Frivolous Copyright Lawsuit Against The NRA For Briefly Showing Public Sculpture In Stupid Video

I apologize in advance, but this story is full of frivolous annoying things. Unfortunately, they are frivolous annoying things that hit at the very core intersection of stuff we talk about here on Techdirt: copyright and free expression. Last year, the NRA pushed out a truly ridiculous advertising video, referred to as "The Clenched Fist of Truth" or "The Violence of Lies." It was a stupid video from a stupid organization which served no purpose

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Ajit Pai Rushes To Weaken Media Ownership Cap To Aid Sinclair... While Under Investigation For Being Too Cozy With Sinclair

We‘ve discussed for a while now how FCC boss Ajit Pai is busy gutting decades old media consolidation rules simply to help Sinclair Broadcast Group complete its 4 billion acquisition of Tribune. Many of these rules traditionally enjoy bipartisan support, since they protect local news organizations and free speech from being crushed by any one, major broadcaster. And Sinclair‘s merger, which would allow it to reach nearly 72% of the c

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Studios Remove ‘Spyware‘ From Several Games As Gaming Public Revolts

If this is becoming a trend, it‘s a really, really stupid one on the part of the video game industry. You may recall several recent posts about software, mobile apps, and video games that have sneakily installed what many call spyware onto users‘ machines, or otherwise inject software without the knowledge of the user. From soccer apps to flight simulator mods, users and gamers sure as hell don‘t like it when they have to find

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Lawsuit Argues Honking Your Car Horn Is Protected By The First Amendment

The First Amendment covers a whole lot of area. Since it covers "expression," it doesn‘t necessarily have to be anything commonly thought of as "speech." It doesn‘t have to be printed. It doesn‘t have to be said. Lighting a flag on fire requires no statement of intent. The act itself is expressive enough. Passively gathering information (like recordings or public records) is protected by the First Amendment. Taking photos is a

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Broadcasters Hope To Counter Ad Skipping By Replacing Ads With Short ‘Inspirational Videos‘

The cable broadcast industry has gone to some pretty absurd lengths to avoid having to adapt to the cord cutting era. As ad-skipping DVRs started to become popular, the industry‘s response wasn‘t to embrace natural evolution, it was to file a bunch of lawsuits and creatively harass companies that were trying to give consumers what they wanted. Similarly, as cord cutting has grown thanks to sky-high prices and ad break fatigue, the i

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In A Surprising Decision, European Court Of Human Rights Says Sweden‘s Mass Surveillance Is Fine

In the wake of Snowden‘s revelations of the scale of mass surveillance around the world, various cases have been brought before the courts in an attempt to stop or at least limit this activity. One involved Sweden‘s use of bulk interception for gathering foreign intelligence. A public interest law firm filed a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It alleged that governmental spying breached its privacy rights unde

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Daily Deal: Audio Cassette to MP3 Music Converter

Still holding on to that old cassette collection? Yeah, they‘re cool. Sure. But at some point you‘re going to need to digitize them or risk losing them entirely to time. This 21 Audio Cassette to MP3 Music Converter hooks up to your laptop and allows you to convert tapes to MP3 files for easy digital access. Once converted, you can then transfer to your phone or tablet for sharing any time. Don‘t let that collection go to waste

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Activism & Doxing: Stephen Miller, ICE And How Internet Platforms Have No Good Options

Last month, at the COMO Content Moderation Summit in Washington DC, I co-ran a "You Make the Call" session with Emma Llanso from CDT. The idea was to turn the audience into a content moderation/trust safety team of a fictionalized social media platform. We showed numerous examples of content or accounts that were "flagged" and then showed the associated terms of service, and had the entire audience vote on what to do. One of the fictional examp

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Alleged Vault 7 Leaker Charged With Stealing Gov‘t Secrets, Child Porn Possession, And Copyright Infringement?

The US government has taken down another alleged leaker. Joshua Schulte, a former NSA and CIA operative, had his apartment raided by the feds last March. The raid targeted documents showing Schulte had leaked CIA hacking tools to Wikileaks (the "Vault 7" collection). But it uncovered a whole lot of child porn -- 10,000 images on Schulte‘s personal computer and his file-sharing server that held another 5 terabytes of data. The first crimi

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AT&T Successfully Derails California‘s Tough New Net Neutrality Law

This truly is, as they say, why we can‘t have nice things. In the wake of the FCC‘s ham-fisted net neutrality repeal, more than half the states in the country are now exploring their own, state-level net neutrality protections. California‘s proposal, Senator Scott Weiner‘s SB 822, was seen as particularly promising in that it went even farther on some important issues than the 2015 FCC rules it was intended to replace.

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Court Says Probation Violations By Teen Don‘t Justify On-Demand Warrantless Searches Of His Electronics

It‘s assumed (wrongly) that minors have few, if any, Constitutional rights. The error is easy to make because they‘re just kids. They can‘t drink, smoke, vote, or even serve their country/secure these own valuable freedoms by [checks sources] aiding in the increase of opium production in foreign countries. "Hundreds of government officials can‘t be wrong!" someone is sure to exclaim, being just as wrong as the hundreds ha

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China‘s Latest Censorship Crackdown Target: Videos Of Women Rubbing, Kissing And Licking Binaural Microphones

A few weeks back, we wrote about some unpublished censorship guidelines that provided insights into what the Chinese government is trying to stamp out online. However, one of the more curious activities whose depiction was forbidden was "vulgar use of a microphone controller". That seemed both surprisingly specific, and yet tantalizingly vague. A new post on Abacus News may explain what was meant by that phrase. It reports on yet another censors

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Minnesota‘s Vague Ban On ‘Political‘ Wear At Polling Places Shut Down By The Supreme Court

Eight years after Minnesota‘s vague ban on "political" apparel at polling places was first challenged, the Supreme Court has finally struck the ordinance down as unconstitutional. The law allowed election judges to decide whether or not someone‘s t-shirt or button or whatever sent a "political" message that might somehow sway the vote. The law covered far more than overt messages about political parties or specific candidates. Acco

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Warner Bros. Turns Harry Potter Fan Events Into Events For The Franchise That Must Not Be Named

It‘s always a weird look for companies and IP owners to go after clear expressions of fandom from their customers. And, yet, this sort of thing is done often, with fan get-togethers or festivals regularly being threatened by the IP owners they‘re fans of. Often times we hear the usual nonsense trademark law excuse that fans must be served with cease and desist letters, or sued, or else the trademark owner will lose its rights. That,

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Sprint, T-Mobile to FCC: Our Job Killing, Competition Eroding Megamerger Will Create Jobs & Competition

Americans tend to be oddly gullible when it comes to megamerger promises. Especially over in the telecom sector. Time after time we‘re told that the latest major deal will provide all manner of amazing synergies, jobs and added competition. And time after time we subsequently realize that the only people that usually benefit from these deals are investors and executives. Shortly after that, we realize that the slow consolidation and steady

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Daily Deal: The Ultimate Backend Developer Bundle

The Ultimate Backend Developer Bundle contains 14 courses covering all aspects of backend code. Learn how to build SQL databases, how to code in JavaScript, how to program in Python, and much more. This bundle is on sale for 49. Note: The Techdirt Deals Store is powered and curated by StackCommerce. A portion of all sales from Techdirt Deals helps support Techdirt. The products featured do not reflect endorsements by our editorial team. Per

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EU Parliamentary Committee Votes To Put American Internet Giants In Charge Of What Speech Is Allowed Online

As we‘ve been writing over the past few weeks, the EU Parliament‘s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) voted earlier today on the EU‘s new Copyright Directive. Within that directive were two absolutely horrible ideas that are dangerous to an open internet -- a link tax and a mandatory copyright filtering requrement (i.e., the "censorship machines" proposal). While there was a big fight about it, and we heard that some in the EU Parl

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