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AT&T Tricked Its Customers Into Opposing Net Neutrality

As most of you probably noticed, last week saw a massive, online protest against FCC boss Ajit Pai‘s plan to completely ignore consumer welfare and gut popular net neutrality protections. Giant ISPs like ATT, Comcast and Verizon responded to the protest in the way they‘ve always done: by comically insisting that the press somehow got it wrong, and these companies actually really love net neutrality -- despite a decade of documented

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Researchers Say Chinese Government Now Censoring Images In One-To-One Chat

It looks like China is continuing to set the gold standard for internet censorship. For a long time, the Great Firewall has been actively censoring content based on keywords. Activists and dissidents have worked around this filtering by placing text in images, but that doesn‘t appear to be working nearly as well as it used to. Toronto‘s Citizen Lab noticed some unusual things happening in days surrounding the death of China‘s

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BrewDog‘s Trademark Application For ‘Elvis Juice‘ Brew Blocked By The Elvis Presley Estate

One point I fear doesn‘t get made enough when it comes to trademark law is that trademarks ought to be both unique and specific in order to fulfill the law‘s purpose of keeping the public from being confused as to the origins of goods and services. There‘s a level of nuance severely lacking in the way trademarks are both granted and enforced such that the law is used far less for the benefit of the public than it is a revenue g

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From Sans Serif To Sans Sharif: #Fontgate Leads To Calls For Pakistan‘s Prime Minister To Resign

Some people get really worked up about fonts. Here, for example, is a thread on Reddit, spotted by Leigh Beadon, about the appearance of the serif font Cambria on the show "Better Call Saul". The problem is that the show is set in the years 2002 and 2003, while Cambria was designed in 2004. The (mock?) outrage about this slip-up is all good fun, but obviously nothing too serious. Unlike in Pakistan, where another apparent font faux pas is leadin

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Techdirt Podcast Episode 130: Is It Bad If Facebook Copies Everything Snapchat Does?

You may have heard the joke: the best way to do product design for Facebook is to get a job at Snapchat. We‘ve all seen how, after failing to buy the company, Facebook has wasted little time in building its own versions of most of Snapchat‘s key features. So... is this a problem? That‘s the subject on this week‘s episode, were we discuss the ins and outs of this kind of copying and what it might mean for the future of

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Appeals Court Agrees Government Can Tell NSL Recipients To STFU Indefinitely

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just handed down a terrible decision in a fight against National Security Letter gag orders. The EFF has been working with plaintiffs Cloudflare and Credo Mobile to have these indefinite gag orders found unconstitutional. Unfortunately, there‘s still nothing hopeful on the horizon in terms of government transparency. The Appeals Court has upheld the lower court‘s decision, finding this form of

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George Romero, Zombies... And The Public Domain

As you probably heard, over the weekend, famed filmmaker George Romero passed away. Romero‘s influence on film making is legendary -- and people today still seem amazed to find out that basically everything you think you know today about the concept of "zombies" exists almost entirely because of Romero and Night of the Living Dead. He really invented the entire genre, and the use of zombies as social commentary. But, perhaps just as import

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Daily Deal: 2017 Zero to Hero Game Developer Bundle

Get the 49 2017 Zero to Hero Game Developer Bundle and dive into 83 hours of training in industry-standard tools and tech. Whether your goal is to build games for fun, start your own studio, or become a professional, this training contains everything you need to get started. The courses cover Unity, C+, Python, Swift3, Blender and more concepts. You‘ll be designing fun and addictive games in no time. Note: The Techdirt Deals Store is

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DOJ Tells Court There No Need To Establish A Warrant Requirement For Stingray Devices

The DOJ is in court arguing the use of Stingray devices by the FBI and local cops shouldn‘t require a warrant. The government‘s lawyers are fighting a suppression motion by Purvis Ellis, charged with racketeering and the attempted murder of a police officer. The events of the case happened in 2013, two years before the DOJ instructed federal agents to seek warrants when deploying Stingrays. For this investigation, the Oakland PD us

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Senator Wyden To FCC Chair Pai: Hey, Stop Lying About What I Said To Undermine Net Neutrality

Yesterday we posted our comments to the FCC on net neutrality. Tons of others did as well, but I wanted to call out the comment submitted by Senator Ron Wyden. For two decades, Wyden has been a leading advocate of keeping the internet free from burdensome regulations, thus allowing tremendous innovation to occur. This echoes our position as well. However, both of us have advocated strongly for keeping the net neutrality rules in place. As we&lsq

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EU Looks To Prevent Employers From Viewing An Applicant‘s Publicly Available Social Media Information

Ever since social media sites like Facebook and Twitter became household names here in America, we‘ve occasionally had really stupid debates about just what type of access to those accounts employers should get from their employees. Some states have even passed laws that would allow employers to demand social media passwords from employees and applicants, presumably so that company reps can comb through private messages and posts shared on

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When The ‘Sharing Economy‘ Turns Into The ‘Missing Or Stolen Economy‘

The sharing economy -- actually better-described as a rental economy -- is very much in vogue, inspired by the high-profile examples of Airbnb and Uber. But Western enthusiasm pales in comparison to that of Chinese entrepreneurs, who seem to have taken the view that the model will work for anything. For example, alongside the companies that rent out homes and cars, there are now some that will let you pick up an umbrella in a public spot, use it

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Capcom Manually DMCAs English Translation Of Ace Attorney Game Not Available In English

In gaming circles, Capcom is often seen as the company that brought you the Street Fighter and Resident Evil series of games. More recently, Capcom has become notable for its Ace Attorney series of games as well. But in intellectual property circles, Capcom will always be the game studio that pimped SOPA to the public, foisted broken DRM on its customers, and treated Resident Evil customers both to a secondary-market killing DRM that allowed onl

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De-Escalation Works, But US Law Enforcement Hasn‘t Show Much Interest In Trying It

Deescalation isn‘t something most police officers want to talk about -- especially those who allow their unions to do all their talking for them. But shootings by police have achieved critical mass, forcing the issue to be confronted by law enforcement officials. There are no national guidelines for force deployment. Local law enforcement agencies don‘t have much in the way of best practices or standards, pretty much allowing officer

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Our Net Neutrality Comments To The FCC: We Changed Our Mind, You Can Too

Earlier today, we published Mike Godwin‘s excellent post about why why everyone should file a comment with the FCC about their views on net neutrality (and, again, we highly recommend reading Gigi Sohn‘s excellent advice on what to include in your comment if you do). I see a lot of comments on that post with the defeatist and cynical response of "it doesn‘t matter, Pai‘s already decided what he‘s going to do." Thi

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Daily Deal: SunFounder Raspberry Pi Robot Kits

The PiCar-V is an open source robot learning kit on Raspberry Pi, and this deal even includes your own Raspberry Pi 3 board. Equipped with a wide-angle USB webcam, this car is powerful with three new circuit boards, but less complicated than other cars thanks to its simpler wiring and provided Python code. Go for a drive through your PC, mobile phone, or tablet - this car works with anything. Get it for 150 with a Raspberry Pi 3 board or for 110

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Latest EU Parliament Votes On Copyright: Fuck The Public, Give Big Corporations More Copyright

The weird and persistently silly copyright reform process in the EU Parliament continues to get more and more bizarre and stupid. Last month, we told you about the first committee vote, which we feared would be terrible, but turned out to be only marginally stupid, as the worst parts of the proposal were rejected. Now, two more committees -- the Culture and Education (CULT) and Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committees -- have voted on the

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Indian ISPs Continue Futile Effort To Prevent Subscribers From Using Decent Encryption

The global war against privacy tools, VPNs and encryption continues utterly-unhinged from common sense, and the assault on consumer privacy remains a notably global affair. Reddit users recently noticed that India‘s fifth largest ISP, YOU Broadband, is among several of the country‘s ISPs that have been trying to prevent customers from using meaningful encryption. According to the company‘s updated terms of service, as a custome

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New Zealand Airports Customs Officials Performing ‘Digital Strip Searches‘ Of Travelers‘ Electronics

Despite DHS hints that foreign airports were falling down on the "security theater" job, it appears a few customs officials are more than happy to engage in local versions of "extreme vetting." New Zealand customs officials are way ahead of the DHS in this department, having turned airports into rights-free zones where nearly anything can happen... to travelers. According to an investigative report by New Zealand‘s 1 news, airport custo

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The FCC Needs Your Quality Comments About Net Neutrality Today

Today is the deadline for the first round of the FCC‘s comment period on its attempt to roll back the 2015 open internet "net neutrality" rules. The deadline is partly meaningless, because there‘s a second comment period that is technically to respond to earlier comments -- but allows you to just file more comments. However, it is still important to make your voice heard no matter which side you‘re on. We‘ll be posting ou

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