Friday, August 18, 2006

This was inevitable. It remains to be seen if it did its job and pushed the legal envelope in the desired direction. I suspect not. One issue remains. How best can we do this when it is truly required? Could we have a “hot pursuit” exception? If Osama starts calling his people in the middle east, giving them a “go” for the next 9/11, and them calls a US number, could we agree that is likely to be of interest? Might make an interesting article...

August 17, 2006

Federal Judge Rules NSA Domestic Surveillance Program Unconstitutional

  • Via U.S. District Court, ED of Michigan, ACLU v National Security Agency, 44 pages, PDF.

  • "Description: In the first federal challenge ever argued against the Bush administration's NSA spying program, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor rules that the program to monitor the phone calls and e-mails of millions of Americans without warrants is unconstitutional. Calling for a halt to this abuse of presidential power, Judge Taylor states that "[t]here are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution," so all the president's "inherent powers" must derive from the Constitution."

  • The First Amendment as Criminal Procedure, by Daniel J. Solove, George Washington University Law School, August 17, 2006, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 217: "This article explores the relationship between the First Amendment and criminal procedure. These two domains of constitutional law have long existed as separate worlds, rarely interacting with each other. But many instances of government information gathering can implicate First Amendment interests such as freedom of speech, association, and religion. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments used to provide considerable protection for First Amendment interests, as in the famous 1886 case, Boyd v. United States, where the Supreme Court held that the government was prohibited from seizing a person's private papers. Over time, however, Fourth and Fifth Amendment protection shifted, and now countless searches and seizures involving people's private papers, the books they read, the websites they surf, the pen names they use when writing anonymously, and so on fall completely outside of the protection of constitutional criminal procedure. Professor Solove argues that the First Amendment provides protection against government information gathering implicating First Amendment interests. He contends that there are doctrinal, historical, and normative justifications to develop what he calls “First Amendment criminal procedure.” Solove sets forth an approach to determine when certain instances of government information gathering fall within the regulatory domain of the First Amendment and what level of protection the First Amendment should provide."

Is this so different from life in small town America? “Look, that's Betty Lou's son. He got drunk last week and drove through Thelma's rose garden...” Only differences I see is the culture in Korea and the “size” of the virtual small town.

Korea's Online Aggression a Taste of the Future?

Posted by timothy on Thursday August 17, @12:41PM from the smart-mobs-redefined dept. The Internet

DerGeist writes "Imagine your life ruined by an organized mob that convicts with scant, unreliable evidence. Fueled only by hearsay and rumors, an invisible horde of your fellow citizens begins bombarding your snailbox, email, phone, work, school and family with threats, insults and general harassment. You are forced to drop out of school and quit your job as a result of constant attacks. You are shunned and ridiculed in public as anywhere you go, you are instantly recognized. Although it may seem to be just a second-rate Hollywood nightmare scenario reminiscent of "The Net," this sort of "organized mob" justice is being dealt out freely in South Korea where net usage is booming. So freely, in fact, that almost 1 in 10 of 13-65 year-olds has felt its sting. Could this trend hit the U.S.? Will policing net behavior eventually become necessary?" [Virtual Law Bob]

This is an example of a trivial (almost a hobby) database. But it could be designed to allow the schools to update their record, and if you could charge them $10 a year for the privilege...

August 18, 2006

Database of Public and Private Schools, Google-Mapped

Filed under: Reference-Education

I didn’t even know there WERE 130,000 public and private K-12 schools in the US. Well, apparently there are, and now you can search them, get some demographic information, and even a Google map at

Wow! Someone got it very wrong. Perhaps a license would have been cheaper?

TiVo Wins Permanent Injunction Against EchoStar

Posted by CowboyNeal on Friday August 18, @03:23AM from the tuning-out dept. Television The Courts Media The Almighty Buck

ZenFodderBoy writes "It's official! Judge Folsom entered his ruling today granting TiVo nearly $90 million in damages, plus granting a permanent injunction calling for the disabling of nearly all of EchoStar's DVRs within the next 30 days. EchoStar's motion to stay the injunction pending appeal was denied. Additionally, the judge reserves the right to grant additional damages in the future, so treble damages may still be coming. Excellent news for TiVo!"

If you no longer charge subscription fees, you gotta make a buck somehow!

AOL security tools raise adware questions

Active Virus Shield's license agreement would allow AOL to send spam or serve up adware

By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service August 18, 2006

Just days after posting details of searches made by hundreds of thousands of subscribers, AOL is in hot water again with consumer advocates. This time the issue is with the company's Active Virus Shield anti-virus software, released last week.

At issue is the software's licensing agreement, which authorizes AOL to gather and share data on how the software is being used and permits AOL and its affiliates to send e-mail to users. "If you go through the installation, just as any normal user would, there is not the slightest hint of any advertising functionality or data gathering of any kind," said Eric Howes, director of malware research at anti-spyware vendor Sunbelt Software.

Active Virus Shield uses Kaspersky Lab's well-regarded anti-virus software, and comes with an optional security toolbar that blocks pop-up ads and manages passwords. The software is available for free to anyone who wishes to download it and can be found here.

Although security experts, including Howes, say that Active Virus Shield does not behave in a malicious fashion or serve up unwanted ads, some are concerned that the product's end user license agreement (EULA) would allow AOL to send spam or serve up adware at some point in the future. "If it actually does any of the things stated in the EULA, we would actually flag it as spyware," said Christina Olson, a project manager with

... "The problem is similar to the Sony rootkit issue," Raff said referring to Sony BMG Music Entertainment's notorious copy protection software, which was found to be the source of security issues late last year. "A big company chose an external company's software and rebranded it as their own, later to discover it might be bad after all," he said. [Due diligence? Bob]

They're not being rude, they're being Japanese. (Wasn't Sony a Japanese company once?),1759,2004629,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594

Japan PC Makers Say No Sony Battery Recall Needed

By Reuters August 17, 2006

TOKYO (Reuters)—Fujitsu Ltd. and other Japanese computer makers said on Thursday that no recall of batteries made by Sony Corp. was necessary as their computers were designed to avoid overheating.

Think of the old economic truism about debasing currency... This is inevitable!,1759,2004864,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594

VD Giveaways Signal Woes of Once-Booming Format

August 17, 2006 By Jeffrey Goldfarb, Reuters

LONDON (Reuters)—British newspapers are now giving away free as many DVDs as are being purchased in stores, revealing a stealth contributing factor to the decline of Hollywood's cash cow format.

The cover-mounted DVD giveaways, which have included "Prizzi's Honor" and "Donnie Darko," devalue the format in the eyes of consumers, one-quarter of whom said they would have bought the same title if they had seen it in shops for a reasonable price, [The concept is called “willing and able” and since they weren't willing at that price, there was no demand. Bob] according to a report released on Thursday.

They have a pre-existing relationship. The information is public (free for the asking, in fact). What's the big deal? Isn't this actually a free version of the yellow pages?

China site offers name cards without consent: Xinhua

Thu Aug 17, 2006 4:41 AM ET

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese Web site has sparked controversy by posting information from 2 million people's business cards without their consent and winning 5 million visits a month, Xinhua news agency said on Thursday., named after the Chinese word for business card, offers people's mobile phone and office numbers and email and company addresses for free, Xinhua said.

"Many of the name cards were contributed by our staff through their personal connections," [Okay, there goes the pre-existing relationship argument... Bob] it quoted the Web site's press officer as saying.

Viewers can accumulate points by contributing names or inviting friends to log on to the site, the Web site said.

"I never revealed my information to this Web site and it violates my privacy," it quoted Mao Qinglin, marketing manager for the personal computer giant Lenovo, whose name was the most clicked IT contact on the site, as saying. [“I just can't deal with all these business offers!” Bob]

In an ongoing effort to prove they NEVER arrest people for no reason...

Phone Resellers Avoid Trumped-Up Terrorism Charges, Now Face Trumped-Up Fraud Charges Instead

from the saving-face dept

Some good news came for the three Palestinian-American men arrested in Michigan, basically for having 1,000 prepaid cell phones: they won't be charged with any terrorism-related offenses. The bad news: they've been hit with federal fraud charges instead. The guys' business plan was pretty straightforward: buy subsidized prepaid phones, then get them unlocked so they could work with any compatible provider, then sell them for a higher price. Prosecutors allege the men's actions represent an attempt to defraud prepaid provider Tracfone, phone manufacturer Nokia and the public by trafficking in counterfeit goods. While unlocking phones, particularly for resale, annoys mobile operators, it's not abundantly clear how doing so represents fraud, nor how unlocking the phones makes them counterfeit, and it's not clear at all why doing so is illegal, though Tracfone and other providers apparently make the bizarre claim that it's copyright infringement. In any case, it seems like any potential legal problems here would be of a civil nature, and not worthy of federal fraud and money-laundering charges. Somehow, you get the feeling somebody doesn't want to admit the arrest and subsequent treatment of these guys was nothing other than a big mistake.

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