Items tagged with law

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, and I agree -- I would have done the same thing. It's bad enough that our luggage has to be scanned... 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 are ours; it's personal information, and protected under a number of different laws, including the Fifth... 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 roadblock.That rule is called Federal Rule 41(b), and the change would result in law enforcement... 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 forget, this is the agency that "lost" nearly three-quarters of a million net neutrality comments... 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 decided to prohibit the company from operating within their borders. And, I'm sure it wouldn't surprise... 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, whereas the second conviction extends that to one year. Beyond that, we'd assume that even rougher... 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 the hundreds of speed cameras scattered around the city actually improved anything, and it found... 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 disagreement over what Google's role should be when it comes to piracy prevention and what powers... 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 physical key. Ultimately, this means that if you secure your phone with a fingerprint, and happen to... 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 thorny bill prohibits businesses from pricking customers with sometimes hefty fines for writing negative... 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. This is one of those situations when I feel compelled to fill in the blanks. After stumbling out... 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 be unable to provide law enforcement with historical GPS data, though it does admit that email logs,... Read more...
Thinking about punching in updated directions on your smartphone while cruising in California? Think again. Over the years, states have been marching towards a highway system that's devoid of any texting, phone holding, etc. And that's a good thing, given that distracted driving can (and does) lead to far too many accidents. But if you're a smartphone owners, chances are high that you've taken a risk a time or two by punching in new directions on a GPS app while still in motion, or perhaps at a stoplight if you're one of the dutiful citizens of the road. Now, however, a court ruling in California is making it illegal to use a mobile phone to check a GPS program. In other words, it may soon be... Read more...
From the "About Time" files comes a new bill that's aimed at protecting companies from one of their biggest fears: patent trolls. Called the "SHIELD Act of 2013" (no, not this SHIELD, but rather "Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes"), this bill would require those accusing of patent infringement to handle the legal fees of the defendants should they lose the court battle. Inside the bill is the definition of a "non-practicing entity", which could be applied to the accuser if they are A) not the original inventor of the patent and B) have not made any real contribution to make use of it. If a bill like this were to pass, it wouldn't bode well for those trolls who simply stockpile... Read more...
Listing likes and dislikes, favorite movies, and other similar traits is completely optional on Facebook. Disclaiming crimes of a sexual nature, however, is not for residents of Louisiana. A new law sponsored by Louisiana state rep. Jeff Thompson requires sex offenders and child predators to list their crimes on Facebook and other social networking sites. Thompson said he hopes the Louisiana law, which goes into effect August 1, 2012, will set a precedent that other states will follow, provided it stands up to what's expected to be a constitutional challenge. "I don't want to leave in the hands of social network or Facebook administrators, 'Gee, I hope someone is telling the truth," Thompson... Read more...
A few weeks ago, Amazon.com dropped associates in California due to a new sales tax law. Needless to say, this action made many loyal Amazon users and sellers unhappy. Many people blamed the state of California while others placed blame on Amazon. Regardless of which party you chose to blame, the fact is, the accounts for Amazon associates in California have been terminated. Now, Amazon.com is seeking a ballot initiative that could repeal the California law that requires online retailers such as Amazon to collect sales tax. The California attorney general's office received a petition on Friday. Next, the attorney general's office will prepare a title and summary for the initiative. The initiative... Read more...
Performing certain actions will get you sent to the 'Big House' no matter where you live. Taking another person's life, for example. Robbing a bank. Stampeding across town in a drunken stupor without your clothes on at three o'clock in the afternoon (trust us on this one). But in Tennessee, you could be locked up for logging into your buddy's Netflix account and watching an episode of The Twilight Zone. According to a report in The Tennessean, state lawmakers passed a new bill endorsed by Gov. Bill Haslam that, come July 1, will make it a crime to use someone's login information to watch movies or listen to music from streaming services like Netflix and Rhapsody. The bill, which was unsurprisingly... Read more...
San Francisco, home of the Giants and land of sometimes questionable mandates, like the one passed last year that would require cell phone retailers to slap a label on their devices indicating radiation levels. The measure created a bit of a firestorm on the Internet over whether such a label was really needed or simply ridiculous. For now, San Francisco is betting on the latter. According to a report in The San Francisco Chronicle, city officials have now decided to delay implementing what is known as the "Right to Know" ordinance, placing it on indefinite hold, likely until a different version takes its place. So why the change of heart? Image Credit: Flickr (Salim Virji) It's not just the... Read more...
Did you know that you can purchase a cell phone in the United States without actually handing over any personal information at all? It's true. For years, consumers have been able to purchase pre-paid cell phones from stores such as Wal-Mart, and since they can be purchased with cash, there's little to no trace left behind. For many, they don't actually stop to think about this, but for drug lords and other criminals who wish to maintain a low cover while communicating on the go, having a pre-paid cell phone is the ultimate luxury. In Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Thailand, users who purchase pre-paid mobiles must register so that... Read more...
You've heard all the arguments before: violent video games are corroding our youth, Grand Theft Auto makes kids want to beat up pedestrians, Doom and other first person shooters corrupt young minds into going on shooting sprees, and so forth and so on. The Supreme Court will hear these same arguments and decide whether a California ban on the sale of violent games to minors is unconstitutional. Why now? You can thank California's governator, otherwise known as Mr. Universe, Conan the Barbarian, and The Terminator, to name just a few of Arnold Schwarzenegger's more popular alter-egos. At heart of the issue is a 2005 ban in California on the sale and rental of violent video games to children under... Read more...
The Internet is abuzz this morning over Apple's "2010 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report." In it are some 24 pages detailing the results of Apple's self-imposed audit of all of its suppliers to ensure that each one meets the company's "Supplier Code of Conduct." What has the Internet swarming with activity is this little tidbit:"Apple discovered three facilities that had previously hired 15-year-old workers in countries where the minimum age for employment is 16. Across the three facilities, our auditors found records of 11 workers who had been hired prior to reaching the legal age, although the workers were no longer underage or no longer in active employment at the time of our audit."While... Read more...
You may recall "I Am Rich," the somewhat bogus $1,000 iPhone app that made it into the App Store in mid-2008, then was dropped when Apple realized how silly it was.  Despite that, six people actually purchased it before it was booted out.  Now we have another $1,000 app, and this one might be worth it. "I Am Rich" simply showed a screenshot of some bling. Anyone who would waste their money on that app had to be rich to justify it.  Meanwhile, the new $1,000 app, BarMax CA, so named because it currently only covers California, is an app designed to help law students study for and pass the bar exam. Bar exams are notoriously difficult, and the classes offered to help study for... Read more...
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