Items tagged with law

Proving once again that some lawmakers are still living in the stone age, the UK government has just reintroduced a law that deems ripping CDs and DVDs illegal. Want to toss that new album onto your MP3 player? Convert that DVD movie for viewing on the plane? No, and no. Don't even think about it. What's most ridiculous about this law is that it was remedied last fall, with "Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014". That made it instantly legal for such personal ripping to occur, but as that has been effectively overturned, we're back at square one... Read more...
Lawmakers in New Zealand have officially made it illegal to harass others and engage in hate speech through digital means. Otherwise known as cyberbullying, offenders who run afoul of the law face stiff penalties -- up to two years imprisonment or a fine up to $50,000 for an individual, or up to $200,000 for a "body corporate," which is a legal entity like a business, government agency, and so forth. It's called the Harmful Digital Communications Bill and it's intended to "deter, prevent, and mitigate harm caused by individuals by digital communications, and provide victims of harmful... Read more...
There have been many stories to come out of the US over the past couple of years that have related to law enforcement requests of personal passwords, and now, it looks like Canada wants to get in on the action. This past week, traveler Alain Philippon was returning to the Great White North from the Dominican Republic, and upon his arrival, customs officers demanded that he give his smartphone's PIN code so that they could fish around. He refused, and now he faces a fine of $1,000 to $25,000 and one year in jail. Philippon states that he didn't give up his PIN because it's personal information,... Read more...
There's no arguing the fact that bullying is something that should be combated, but is that enough to go against the Fifth Amendment and require someone to hand over their password as part of an investigation? That's the reality Illinois schools could soon face, as their government has decided that if asked, a student must hand over access to their social media accounts -- in effect, requiring them to cough up their password. A requirement like this isn't new, and in fact it's been put into use many times before. Most often, cities or governments will end up banning the practice. Our passwords... Read more...
Hot on the heels of president Obama's insinuation that the government should never have an issue accessing a person's data comes an even scarier prospect -- being the victim of a search warrant just because you take steps to enhance your privacy.As it happens, that could become the reality, if the FBI gets its way. While it's no secret that government agencies spy on us as if we're all guilty of destabilizing national security, the Fourth Amendment has a number of protections in place that can prevent us from prosecution. So, the FBI has decided to go after a specific rule to help get rid of that... Read more...
After far-too-many years of waiting, it looks like the Federal Communications Commission is set to both propose and vote on net neutrality rules next month. According to a Washington Post source, FCC chief Tom Wheeler plans to circulate a draft internally sometime this month, hoping to iron out the last kinks to make sure that there are no issues with approval next month. At this point, I think it'd be safe to remain a little cautious about what's to come. One reason is FCC's Tom Wheeler, someone who's become infamous for going against the grain of public interest in this matter. Plus, let's not... Read more...
For consumers, a service like Uber offers a number of benefits, with a big one being convenience. But, with that convenience brings a large number of caveats, some of which we've seen exhibited over the past couple of months. Take, for example, an executive that encourages digging up dirt on journalists that are critical of the company, or the fact that the company will invoke surge pricing during emergencies. And we can’t forget that ridiculous "safe rides fee". For these and other reasons, many have issues with Uber -- especially some countries overseas that have... Read more...
This week, a new bill is set to be proposed in California that could impact those convicted of drunk driving, expanding a program that's already in place in some states and Californian counties. If passed, all convicted drunk drivers will have to install an ignition interlock device into their car, requiring them to blow into a tube in order to get the car to start. Over the limit? The car won't start, and vice versa. It's a simple mechanism. Like most legal punishments, this one wouldn't last forever. Those convicted once of drunk driving will be required to use the device for six months,... Read more...
Whenever speed cameras are deployed around a city, we're always given the same spiel: it's all about safety, and decreasing traffic accidents. Admittedly, it does stand to reason that if someone knows there's a speed camera up ahead, they'll probably be a little more cautious behind the wheel. If only it actually worked like that. If you've ever had to deal with a speed camera, you're probably well aware that its biggest benefit is padding your city's pocketbook. That's what many Chicagoans are finding out the hard way. A local newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, did some research into whether or not... Read more...
Ever since the Sony hack was unveiled, it's been clear that the movie studios haven't given up on SOPA, but an analysis of the MPAA's collective actions on the anti-piracy issue have unveiled plans that go far beyond simply sponsoring legislation or advocating for particular positions. Now, Google has announced it will fight to dismiss lawsuits filed by Mississippi's Attorney General Jim Hood, alleging that the AG in that state is acting as a paid, sponsored lackey of the movie industry.  Understanding Project Goliath The collision between the MPAA and Google arises from a fundamental... Read more...
After a recent judge ruling, the ultra-secure fingerprint login feature your smartphone may offer doesn't seem quite so secure after all. Virginia Beach Judge Steven Frucci has ruled that while a person does not have to hand over their phone's passcode so that law enforcement can gain entry, a fingerprint is fair game. Passcodes fall into the same category has passwords; both are considered 'knowledge'. Under the Fifth Amendment, you're not required to divulge personal information like that. Fingerprints are different story; they fall into the same category as DNA, a person's handwriting, or a... Read more...
Californians who want to complain on Yelp about a bad experience dealing with a business are free to do so without fear of being fined. That wasn't always the case -- businesses have gotten into the dubious habit of inserting non-disparagement clauses into contracts to prevent peeved customers from leaving a negative online review, but such practice is now outlawed thanks to what's known as the "Yelp Bill." The official name is Assembly Bill 2365, but that's a bit boring, don't you think? Whatever -- Shakespeare taught us that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and in this case, the... Read more...
By now, it's pretty obvious that companies like Uber and Lyft offer a compelling service, one that taxi companies all over seem to be kicking themselves for not having thought of first. But despite the fact that these services offer a nice benefit to customers, they're fighting an uphill battle legally. Many, like Californian Senator Ben Hueso, prefer to vote in favor of the taxi lobby, causing the futures for companies like Uber to be clouded in complication. It's ironic, then, that the aforementioned Senator, mere hours after voting in support of a taxi lobby bill, was arrested for drunk driving.... Read more...
By now, it's pretty much assumed that any unencrypted data on your phone could be accessible to someone with the right tools, and with its latest guideline updates, Apple's further confirmed that to be the case where iOS devices are concerned. Apple admits that if a warrant is issued, it would be able to extract certain data from a locked iOS device. Those running mostly third-party applications will have nothing to worry about, as the data Apple can snag has to be from its own applications. Further, emails will not be able to be extracted, nor can calendar entries. Due to iOS' design, Apple would... Read more...
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