US Embassy Blamed State Dept Investigator For Upsetting Its Relationship With Blackwater After Investigator Complained About Death Threat

Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.

American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.

Link (Techdirt)

White House poised to name patent reform opponent as new head of Patent Office

The Obama Administration is set to appoint Phil Johnson, a pharmaceutical industry executive, as the next Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, according to sources. The move is likely to anger patent reform advocates given Johnson’s past efforts to block legislation aimed at reining in patent trolls, and in light of his positions that appear to contradict the White House’s professed goal of fixing the patent system.

Just another case of the US Gov and Whitehouse saying one thing and doing the opposite.

Link (Gigaom)

If Hollywood thinks your copyright rulings have gone too far… they might have gone too far

Techdirt quotes the Hollywood Reporter as writing

Innovators lose because the Aereo decision makes it harder for them to know where the lines are drawn. The court said Aereo – which allowed users to use RS-DVR technology to transmit programs, from a small antenna to a hard drive and thence via packet on the Internet to mobile devices and PCs – was “substantially similar” to a cable system that uses a single big antenna to transmit programs via cables buried in the streets to television sets. The fact that Aereo also resembled an RS-DVR was discarded. With that much elasticity, how does a technologist know whether her brilliant idea too closely resembles a phonograph or player piano roll and therefore runs afoul of some vastly pre-Internet analysis?

Even Hollywood Publications Are Concerned That Aereo Decision Kills Innovation And Harms Consumers (Techdirt)

Tipeka’s Photographer INC.

This guy wants us to give him $9000 for a new camera. Impressively enough, his kickstarter video consists entirely of a 10 second random clip of a random (sports?) event where someone claps. It doesn’t even show any of his photos.

My (Tipeka) goal of 7,000 is a modest amount considering our entire labor, but this money will be devoted only to the purchase of an Canon 5D Mark III camera set-up… basically everything I (Tipeka) can possibly get that may be of use with this equipment, I (Tipeka) am planning the following several project from Editorial, sports and glamour photographer. Decide if I (Tipeka) want to photograph kids, marriages, families, babies, architecture or some other topic. I (Tipeka) might even branch into being a photojournalist for a publication.

Link (Kickstarter)

Law enforcement cries foul after being forced to uphold the 4th amendment

another police spokesperson overreacts by suggesting warrants are somehow difficult to get:

Besides the delay, one problem is such a warrant might not be approved, said Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, which counts about 240,000 rank-and-file police officers as members.

“You have to make that jump: I bet he’s got a bunch of stuff on his phone. And that’s not good enough,” he said. “The officers are really going to have to point to something specific that ties that phone or that suspect’s use of phones to the commission of a crime.”

He makes that sound horrible, but that’s what the Constitution says. Just because there may be bad stuff in someone’s house the police don’t get to just search it. They have to point to something specific. That’s the 4th Amendment. Has Johnson never read it?

Law Enforcement, DOJ Already Plotting How To Get Around Supreme Court’s Warrant Requirement To Search Phones (Techdirt)

Looks like the internet isn’t the only one asking questions about Keith Alexander

Rep. Grayson Asks If Keith Alexander Is Selling Classified Information To Get $1 Million Per Month (Techdirt)

Security expert Bruce Schneier noted that this fee for Alexander’s services is on its face unreasonable. “Think of how much actual security they could buy with that $600k a month. Unless he’s giving them classified information.” Schneier also quoted Recode.net, which headlined this news as: “For another million, I’ll show you the back door we put in your router.”

This arrangement with Mr. Alexander may also include additional work with the shadow regulatory firm The Promontory Group, with whom Alexander apparently will partner “on cybersecurity matters.” According to Promontory spokesman Chris Winans, Mr. Alexander “and a firm he’s forming will work on the technical aspects of these issues, and we on the risk-management compliance and governance elements.”

Disclosing or misusing classified information for profit is, as Mr. Alexander well knows, a felony. I question how Mr. Alexander can provide any of the services he is offering unless he discloses or misuses classified information, including extremely sensitive sources and methods. Without the classified information that he acquired in his former position, he literally would have nothing to offer to you.

DOJ Says ‘Not Our Fault’ That Police Actually Believed FBI Report Calling Juggalos Gang Members

Justice Department attorney Amy Powell said the group and its fans have no standing to sue. She said the government is not responsible for how police agencies use information in the 2011 national gang report. Powell said a “subjective chill” as alleged by plaintiffs was not enough to be in court.

“There is no general right of protection to a social association,” she said, referring to First Amendment violations argued by Insane Clown Posse and its fans.

It’s an interesting theory to put forth, that the FBI, essentially the king of domestic police agencies, has no culpability for local police using its report, which included the demonizing of music fans. In other words, the FBI can simply label any group it likes a gang organization without recourse. Local police will, of course, simply point back to the report when questioned about their activities, and now we have a recursive loop of non-responsibility. I’m pretty sure that’s some kind of government agency golden egg.

Link (Techdirt)