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NSA Appears To Be Seducing Sen. John Cornyn With Personal Tours And One-On-One Meetings

One of the surveillance state‘s biggest cheerleaders is seeing his years of support pay off. Two congressional sources confirmed a May meeting, where Sen. John Cornyn, (R-Tex.), a vocal supporter of the intelligence community, got a private audience with the NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers. Cornyn also got a private tour of the signals intelligence facility at Fort Meade, Maryland at the same time as the May meeting. Officials "fa

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Thankfully, Marketing Industry Plan For ‘Ringless Voicemail‘ Dies a Quiet Death...For Now

So we‘ve been talking the past month about a push by the marketing industry (a company by the name of "All About The Message," specifically) to exempt "ringless voicemail" from existing robocalling and privacy rules. Ringless voicemail lets a company leave a marketing or political message in your inbox without your phone ringing. But such technology is currently prohibited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) , which prohibits s

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As Predicted, Cox‘s Latest Appeal Points To SCOTUS‘ Refusal To Disconnect Sex Offenders From Social Media

Last week the Supreme Court managed to hold its nose long enough to properly assert that banning convicted sex offenders from social media was plainly an infringement on their First Amendment rights. While much of the media coverage focused on the question of sex offenders having access to these well-trafficked websites, the real implications of the ruling were always likely to be far more reaching. We specifically pointed to the reasonable ques

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Canadian Supreme Court Says It‘s Fine To Censor The Global Internet; Authoritarians & Hollywood Cheer...

For the past few years, we‘ve been covering the worrisome Google v. Equustek Solutions case in Canada. The case started out as a trademark case, in which Equustek claimed that another company was infringing on its trademarks online. That‘s fine. The problem was that the lower court issued an injunction against Google (a non-party in the case) that said it had to block entire sites worldwide. Blocking sites already raises some concern

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Daily Deal: The Android O & Java Developer Mastery Course

The newest Android OS release, Android Oreo, is available for developers, so there‘s no time like the present to learn the powerful new capabilities to this operating system as you learn how to build apps for Android. Even if you know absolutely nothing about coding, the 15 Android O and Java Developer Mastery Course will introduce you to Java, the Android Studio, IntellJ IDEA, and other key concepts of creating apps for Android. Beyond th

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Three Thoughts On EU‘s 2.7 Billion Antitrust Google Fine

By now, of course, you‘ve probably heard that the EU Commission has fined Google 2.4 billion for antitrust violations, specifically regarding shopping search (there are at least two other investigations going on around antitrust questions involving Android and Adsense). The specific issue leading to this fine is that Google, for years, has been pushing its own comparison shopping results in response to searches on products, and other compa

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Zillow Still Doesn‘t Get It: Second Letter About McMansion Hell Is Still Just Wrong

One of the big stories of the week so far was Zillow‘s mind-numbingly bizarre decision to have a recent-hire lawyer send out a completely bullshit threat letter to the website McMansion Hell. Things have not gone well for Zillow in the wake of this. Multiple news articles have been mocking Zillow‘s decision, and my own Twitter feed has been filled with people saying unkind things directed at the company. And then there‘s whatev

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AT&T Promises A Cornucopia Of Broadband Investment...But Only If Trump Gives It A Giant Tax Cut & A Shiny New Merger

For decades now, ATT has promised that an incredible boon in broadband investment is waiting just around the corner -- but only if ATT gets what it wants from the government. Whether it‘s gunning for tax cuts and subsidies, or looking for approval of its latest megamerger, ATT‘s an absolute master of the regulatory carrot and a stick game. Even if the carrot is entirely hallucinated, as we saw when ATT threatened to curtail already m

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Court Orders Man Who Sued News Orgs For Clipping His Facebook Video To Pay Everyone‘s Attorney‘s Fees

Earlier this year, we brought to you the story of one man‘s quest to sue all of the news organizations for using a clip of his Facebook video in which his partner is giving birth to his child. Kali Kanongataa sued ABC, NBC, Yahoo, CBS, Microsoft, Rodale and COED Media Group for reporting on the video and showing a clip of it, claiming copyright infringement. It was an odd claim for many reasons, not the least of which being that Kanongataa

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To Avoid Being Cut Out Of The Market, US Tech Companies Are Allowing Russian Vetting Of Source Code

Nobody trusts anybody, and it‘s probably going to end up affecting end users the most. The Snowden leaks showed the NSA‘s Tailored Access Operations routinely intercepted network hardware to insert backdoors. The exploits leaked by the Shadow Brokers indicated the NSA was very active on the software exploit front as well. In response to the Snowden leaks, it appears the Russian hardware/software purchasers are stepping up their due

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Court Says Gov‘t Has To Give Back 167,000 It Seized During A String Of 4th Amendment Violations

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has no good news for the lying law enforcement officers who were hoping to walk off with 167,000 of someone else‘s money. Two years ago, the district court ruled in favor of Straughn Gorman, who was subjected to two lengthy traffic stops in less than an hour by officers hoping to help themselves to cash he was carrying in his RV. After stopping Gorman for a non-violation (driving too slow in the left la

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Techdirt Podcast Episode 128: Patent Trolls, With Cloudflare‘s General Counsel

As we reported last month, CDN provider Cloudflare has decided to hit back against patent troll Blackbird Technologies with an aggressive strategy. Leading this charge is Doug Kramer, Cloudflare‘s General Counsel, who joins us this week to discuss the current situation with Blackbird and the broader patent landscape. Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSSfeed. You can also keep

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How The ACLU‘s Fight To Protect ‘Indecent‘ Speech Saved The Internet From Being Treated Like Broadcast TV

The ACLU is celebrating twenty years of making the internet better. On June 26th, 1997, the ACLU prevailed in Reno v. ACLU, with the Supreme Court striking down the anti-indecency portions of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA). As can be gathered by the law‘s name, it was written from a position of morality and panic -- the fear that the internet‘s connectivity would drown the nation‘s youth in easily-accessible porn.

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Keep your skills sharp and stay up to date on new developments with the 79 Virtual Training Company Unlimited Single User Subscription. With courses covering everything from MCSE certification training to animation, graphic design and page layout, you‘ll have unlimited access to the entire catalog. They have over 1,000 courses, add more each week, and each course comes with a certificate of completion. Note: The Techdirt Deals Store i

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Copyright Office Admits That DMCA Is More About Giving Hollywood ‘Control‘ Than Stopping Infringement

We already wrote about the new Copyright Office report on DMCA 1201 -- the section of the law that deals with the "anti-circumvention" provisions of the DMCA. That post focused on the realization by the Copyright Office that the current setup of 1201 does significant harm to security research, as researchers are often frightened to actually investigate certain technologies out of a fear that they may accidentally violate copyright law in getting

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Game Music Composer Goes On DMCA Blitz Against Innocent YouTubers Over Contract Dispute With Game Publisher

Stories about both the abuse of the DMCA process and the peril YouTubers regularly find themselves subject to by way of intellectual property laws are both legion, but to see the truely egregious nature of the abuse of this sort of thing, it takes a story about them intersecting. We appear to have such a story on our hands in the form of a music composer hired to work on a video game that then began sending DMCA notices to YouTubers over a contr

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Cable Industry Quietly Shelves Its Bogus Plan To Make Cable Boxes Cheaper, More Competitive

Last year, the cable industry quietly launched one of the most misleading and successful lobbying efforts in the industry‘s history. The target? A plan concocted by the former FCC that would have let customers watch cable programming without having to rent a cable box or use a CableCARD. Given the industry makes 21 million annually in rental fees off of this entrenched hardware monopoly, the industry got right to work with an absolute wave

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Appeals Court Upholds Matthew Keys‘ Two-Year Sentence For A 40-Minute Web Defacement

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Matthew Keys‘ conviction and sentence of two years for a 40-minute web defacement he didn‘t actually perform himself. That works out to basically 18 days for every minute of mild disruption the LA Times suffered, as it (very briefly) suffered through a headline changed to read "Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337." Prosecutors actually wanted five years for this momentary mild

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NJ Mayor Can‘t Stop Streisanding Himself After Being On The Receiving End Of The Crying Jordan Meme

Of all the wonderful gifts the internet has bestowed upon humanity, there is perhaps none more precious to me than the now famous Crying Jordan meme. After Michael Jordan‘s tearful Hall of Fame induction speech, an image of him in tears took on the secondary purpose of being photoshopped onto anyone the internet wanted to portray as being sad or upset about pretty much anything. The creativity of some of the memes is nearly unmatched, lead

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Zillow Sends Totally Bullshit Legal Threat To McMansion Hell

There are few things I hate more than when tech platforms -- which have benefited from key rights provided to internet platforms and the public -- turn around and abuse the law to try to silence or kill off others. And the latest company to dive headfirst into this unfortunate pool of shame is Zillow, which is threatening to sue the person behind McMansionHell.com based on a number of different awful interpretations of the law that can be summed

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Copyright Office Realizes The DMCA Fucks With Security Research While The W3C Still Doesn‘t See It

Last week, the Copyright Office finally released a report that it had been working on for some time, looking specifically at Section 1201 of the DMCA. In case you‘re new around here, or have somehow missed all the times we‘ve spoken about DMCA 1201 before, that‘s the "anti-circumvention" part of the DMCA. It‘s the part that says it‘s against copyright law to circumvent (or provide tools to circumvent) any kind of "t

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AT&T May Soon Return To Charging Broadband Subscribers More For Privacy

Last year, you might recall that ATT came up with an ingenious idea: to charge broadband customers significantly more if they actually wanted to protect their own privacy. It basically worked like this: users ordering ATT‘s broadband service could get the service for, say, 70 a month. But if that user wanted to opt out of ATT‘s Internet Preferences snoopvertising program (which used deep packet inspection to study your movement aroun

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Appeals Court Sticks Trolling ‘Stupid Patent‘ Winner With 43,000 In Legal Fees

Winning the never-coveted "Stupid Patent of the Month" award is no honor. In fact, it sometimes enrages recipients to the point of sueball-throwing. But there is definitely a large amount of schadenfreude to be enjoyed by onlookers -- perhaps no more so than in the case of 2015 "SPotM" winner, conspiratorially-monikered Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations, LLC (whose limited liability fails to save it). Rothschild "invented" a method of h

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Daily Deal: Microsoft Excel Specialist Certification Bundle

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