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Seeking To Root Out Leakers, The Intelligence Community Is Destroying Official Routes For Whistleblowers

The Trump Administration is continuing its war on leakers. It‘s probably meant to keep whistleblowers at bay as well. This isn‘t necessarily a trait unique to Trump‘s White House. There really hasn‘t been a whistleblower-friendly administration in pretty much ever, but this particular administration has been awash in leaked documents, each one prompting more severe crackdowns. But it‘s going to come to a head at t

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A Tale of Two Transparencies: Why The EU And Activists Will Always Disagree Over Trade Deal Negotiations

Although the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has dropped off the radar completely since Donald Trump‘s election, for some years it was a key concern of both the US and European governments, and a major theme of Techdirt‘s posts. One of the key issues was transparency -- or the lack of it. Eventually, the European Commission realized that its refusal to release information about the negotiations was seriously und

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Author Who Lost Copyright Case Over The Da Vinci Code In The US In 2007 Looks To Revive It In The UK In 2017

Author Dan Brown is certainly not a stranger to copyright claims and lawsuits over his bestseller The Da Vinci Code. Not long after publishing the book in 2003 to wide acclaim, several legal actions took place against Brown and his publisher, as well as some action initiated by the publisher to stave off claims of copyright infringement and plagiarism. One such case that we did not cover here was brought by Jack Dunn of Massachusetts, who author

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New Whistleblowers Highlight How Russia‘s Information War On U.S. Was Larger Than Initially Reported

A few years ago, Russian whistleblowers like Lyudmila Savchuk began to reveal that Vladimir Putin had built a massive new internet propaganda machine. At the heart of this machine sat the "Internet Research Agency," a Russian government front company tasked with operating warehouses filled with employees paid 40,000 to 50,000 rubles (800 to 1,000) a month to create proxied, viable fake personas -- specifically tasked with pumping the internet fu

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Government Drops Its Demand For Data On 6,000 Facebook Users

It‘s amazing what effect a little public scrutiny has on government overreach. In the wake of inauguration day protests, the DOJ started fishing for information from internet service providers. First, it wanted info on all 1.2 million visitors of a protest website hosted by DreamHost. After a few months of bad publicity and legal wrangling, the DOJ was finally forced to severely restrict its demands for site visitor data. Things went no

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Daily Deal: BlankPage

Prone to distractions? Slip into writer‘s block easily? Remove the distractions and do your writing in a safe, controlled, quiet environment with BlankPage. This app offers everything you need to start writing and keep writing, eliminating your desktop‘s distractions so you can focus on the task at hand. It helps you write your stories in pieces and organize them as you like, and it can help you set and keep your writing goals. The l

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Beyond ICE In Oakland: How SESTA Threatens To Chill Any Online Discussion About Immigration

First, if you are someone who likes stepped-up ICE immigration enforcement and does not like "sanctuary cities," you might cheer the implications of this post, but it isn‘t otherwise directed at you. It is directed at the center of the political ven diagram of people who both feel the opposite about these immigration policies, and yet who are also championing SESTA. Because this news from Oakland raises the specter of a horrific implicatio

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The Cable Industry‘s Ingenious ‘Solution‘ To TV Cord Cutting? Raise Broadband Rates

In a healthy, competitive market, cable providers would respond to the growing threat of streaming video competition by lowering prices, improving their historically awful customer service, and giving consumers more flexible cable bundles. But because these same cable operators enjoy a growing monopoly over the uncompetitive broadband market -- they don‘t have to do that. Instead, they‘ve found that the easiest response to added co

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The Cable Industry‘s Ingenious ‘Solution‘ To Cord Cutting? Raise Broadband Rates

In a healthy, competitive market, cable providers would respond to the growing threat of streaming video competition by lowering prices, improving their historically awful customer service, and giving consumers more flexible cable bundles. But because these same cable operators enjoy a growing monopoly over the uncompetitive broadband market -- they don‘t have to do that. Instead, they‘ve found that the easiest response to added co

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UK Gov‘t Considering Redefining Social Media Services As Publishers To Make It Easier To Control Them

Like seemingly every other government on the planet, the UK government wants internet companies like Google and Facebook to do more. Everyone has an axe to grind, whether it‘s not enough censorship, or the wrong kind of censorship, or the innate desire to hold companies accountable for the actions of their users. The voluntary moderation efforts made by these platforms always fall short of politicians‘ ideals. These legislators belie

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Wireless Carriers Again Busted Collecting, Selling User Data Without Consent Or Opt Out Tools

A few years ago, Verizon and ATT were busted for covertly modifying wireless user data packets in order to track users around the internet. Verizon used the technology to track browsing behavior for two years before the practice was even discovered by security researchers. It took another six months of public shaming before Verizon was even willing to offer opt out tools. And while the FCC ultimately gave Verizon a 1.3 million wrist slap, it hig

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Adidas Opposes Turner Broadcasting‘s ELEAGUE Logo Trademark Because Of Lines

eSports, the once fledgling video game competition industry, has undergone several milestones in rapid succession as it grows into a true entertainment player. Once relegated to online streaming broadcasts, mostly run out of a few Asian and Pacific Island countries, eSports is now regularly broadcast on American television, including by ESPN. From there, it was a fairly natural progression for universities to take notice and begin organizing sch

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Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case Involving US Demands For Emails Stored Overseas

The Supreme Court has granted the government‘s request for review of Second Circuit Appeals Court‘s decision finding Microsoft did not have to turn over communications stored overseas in response to US-issued warrants. This is a pretty quick turnaround as far as tech issues go. The Supreme Court is finally willing to take a look at the privacy expectation of third party phone records (specifically: historical cell site location inf

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Incentivizing Better Speech, Rather Than Censoring ‘Bad‘ Speech

This has gone on for a while, but in the last year especially, the complaints about "bad" speech online have gotten louder and louder. While we have serious concerns with the idea so-called "hate speech" should be illegal -- in large part because any such laws are almost inevitably used against those the government wishes to silence -- that doesn‘t mean that we condone and support speech designed to intimidate, harass or abuse people. We r

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Disney: The Only Fun Allowed At Children‘s Birthday Parties Is Properly Licensed Fun

Readers of this site will hear the name Disney and immediately begin rolling their eyes. By virtue of its insanely aggressive and expansionist views on intellectual property matters, Disney manages to find itself on the wrong side of nearly every issue. Disney is in the business of making money and it often looks to do so in the most draconian of manners, but the company also bills itself as being dedicated to children‘s entertainment, gro

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Daily Deal: Cisco CCNA Training Suite

Train along the certification track for working with Cisco network systems with the 39 Cisco CCNA Training Suite. The three courses contain over 37 hours of instruction that will help prepare you for the CCENT certification exam and for the the Cisco 200-125 certification exam. You will learn about the IPv4 protocol, the fundamentals of ethernet LANs as well as the fundamentals of WAN, and the basic management of Cisco networks and devices. The

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Big ISPs Lobby To Kill Attempts At More Accurate Broadband Mapping

For years, the FCC‘s "Form 477" data collection program has required that ISPs provide data on where they provide broadband service. Said data then helps determine the pace of broadband deployment and level of competition in key markets, informing FCC policy and broadband subsidy application. Unfortunately, this data collection process relies heavily on census block data, which doesn‘t always clarify which specific addresses in these

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Use A Landline To Talk About Criminal Activity? The Government Can Seize The House Around It

The Intercept has obtained a leaked asset forfeiture guide for seizures performed by ICE. (It has, unfortunately, chosen not to share the original document. Then again, the last non-Snowden leak it published appears to have helped out the document‘s source.) For those familiar with the process of civil asset forfeiture, the contents of the guide are mostly unsurprising. Despite the document dating back to 2010, ICE did confirm the versio

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AT&T Spent Hundreds Of Billions On Mergers And All It Got Was A Big Pile Of Cord Cutters

Over the last few years ATT and Verizon have been desperately trying to pivot from stodgy, protectionist old telcos -- to sexy new Millennial media juggernauts. And while this pivot attempt has been notably expensive, the net result has been somewhat underwhelming. Verizon, for example, spent billions to gobble up AOL and Yahoo, but its lack of savvy in the space has so far culminated in a privacy scandal, a major hacking scandal, a quickly shut

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Details Emerge Of World‘s Biggest Facial Recognition Surveillance System, Aiming To Identify Any Chinese Citizen In Three Seconds

Back in July, Techdirt wrote about China‘s plan to build a massive surveillance system based on 600 million CCTV cameras around the country. Key to the system would be facial recognition technology that would allow Chinese citizens to be identified using a pre-existing centralized image database plus billions more photos found on social networks. Lingering doubts about whether China is going ahead with such an unprecedented surveillance sy

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New Copyright Trolling Operation Lowers The Settlement Demands And Calls Them Fines To Improve Conversion Rate

As much more attention has been brought to copyright trolls and the unethical manner in which they operate, it was inevitable that the tactics of the trolls would begin to shift. For some of us, it was immediately obvious what a PR problem these trolling operations faced. It all comes down to the "settlements" offered in a copyright troll‘s letters. The amounts, while designed to look small compared with the threat of a lawsuit, still tend

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Fired Cop‘s Attorney Argues His Client Is Being Punished Unfairly Because The Public Got To See His Misconduct

A little over a month ago, body cam footage of a police officer trying to bully a nurse into breaking the law went viral. Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne wrapped up his failed intimidation attempt by arresting nurse Alex Wubbels for following her hospital‘s policy on blood draws. If there are no exigent circumstances and the person not suspected of criminal activity, police need a warrant to draw blood. None of those factors w

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Techdirt Podcast Episode 141: Donald Trump, Howard Stern... And Copyright

This episode was supposed to come two weeks ago when the news was a little fresher, so by now you almost certainly know all about the copyright claims on Donald Trump‘s appearances on the Howard Stern show. Though delayed by an outage at our cloud recording provider, the episode is still an interesting listen, with frequent Techdirt contributor Cathy Gellis joining the podcast to discuss the deeper question of whether copyright truly ev

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Sorry, You Can‘t Abuse Copyright Law To Make A Negative Review Disappear

Over four years ago, we first wrote about the bizarre and convoluted attempt by a lawyer named Richard Goren to remove a negative review on Ripoff Report. As we noted, he may very well have a totally legitimate defamation claim against the guy who wrote the review, but it‘s the events that happened later that were questionable. Goren did sue the author of the post -- "Christian Dupont" -- for defamation and won a default judgment when Dupo

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