You might be a terrorist

… according to the statistics.

You may recall the Feds’ contending with straight faces in 2004 that if “a little old lady in Switzerland gave money to a charity for an Afghan orphanage, and the money was passed to al Qaeda,” she met the definition of “enemy combatant.” Five years later, a federal Fusion Center decreed that “if you’re an anti-abortion activist, or if you display political paraphernalia supporting a third-party candidate or [Ron Paul], if you possess subversive literature, you very well might be a member of a domestic paramilitary group.”

Link (Techdirt)

Europe just banished free speech on the internet

(…) an absolutely insane ruling that came out of the European Court of Human Rights last fall, in the case of Delfi AS v. Estonia, which basically said that any website that allows comments can be liable for those comments. In fact, it found that even when sites took down comments (automatically!) following complaints, they can still be liable, because they should have blocked those comments from going up in the first place. Bizarrely, the court basically says the site should have known that the article in question might lead to negative reactions, and therefor should have blocked comments:

Link (Techdirt)

The US doesn’t do economic spying…

… but not because it doesn’t want to

Former CIA Director And Defense Secretary Says CIA Tried, But Failed, To Do Economic Espionage

But despite his attempt to work with, in his words, five or six commerce secretaries, “I never could get one of them interested in being the facilitator of getting that kind of CIA information to American companies. So this is something we don’t do.”

Link (Techdirt)

Do you want a government dicatorship?

… because this is how you get a government dictatorship

“The question is who decides [what to publish]. It seems clear, at least to me, that the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences. In a democracy (which, pace Greenwald, we still are), that decision must ultimately be made by the government.”

Link (Techdirt)

I smell a patent lawsuit

DPS recently published a tutorial on how to do portraits on a white background. How to do this isn’t anything new or innovative, and should be something most pro photographers know how to do.

The sad part is, Amazon has recently been granted a patent on how to do just this, so DPS could in theory be sued by Amazon for patent infringement. For something photographers have been doing for 50 years or more.

You Can Thank The CIA For The Return Of Polio

The return of polio is also due to an ill-informed anti-vaccine campaign — not one driven by people confused by a fraudulent study, but rather by the Taliban. Many of the new cases are in Pakistan and a variety of nearby countries. The Taliban has been arguing for a while that vaccinations and vaccination drives are really efforts by western intelligence and/or imperialism.

The problem is: the CIA basically confirmed that for them by using a fake vaccination campaign to find Osama bin Laden a few years ago. Suddenly, crazy rumors about vaccination programs simply being fronts for the US intelligence community weren’t just more reasonable, they were flat out confirmed. And, soon after that was all revealed, suddenly the rates of polio shot up? Right around the same time that polio vaccination workers started getting killed in Pakistan?

Link (Techdirt)

DOJ’s Tone Deaf Criminal Charges Against Chinese Hackers Helps No One, Opens US Officials Up To Similar Charges

(…)  people are already pointing out that by firing the opening shot with criminal charges, the DOJ may be opening the floodgates against the NSA, FBI and others for similar charges in other countries. Obviously, China will almost certainly hit back with charges — possibly even trying to arrest some folks in that country. But the ridiculousness of the situation may also lead other countries to levy charges against specific individuals within US intelligence — thereby making life a lot more difficult for US intelligence officials in the near future.

Link (Techdirt)

Flag burning on the Norwegian Constitution Day

Burning the national flag is not illegal in Norway (since 2008), however, the police say they will refer this case to the police attorney who will decide on charges.

To quote the police: “We have spoken to the people involved and told them this action is very inappropriate, and people find it offensive. (…) Our [police] lawyer will be looking into the case to see what we can do”

So, it seems the police now have the authority to prosecute purely based on morals.


It seems that the police have discovered that you cannot charge people with a non-crime, so they’ve decided to wait until a citizen reports them.

Original link (Dagbladet, Norwegian)
Translated link (Dagbladet, via Google Translate)

Stop this planet, I want to get off

We’re still digesting today’s lengthy decision in the Oracle v. Google appeal, but we’re disappointed—and worried. The heart of the appeal was whether Oracle can claim a copyright on Java APIs and, if so, whether Google infringed that copyright. According to the Federal Circuit today, the answer to both questions was a qualified yes—with the qualification being that Google may have a fair use defense.

Link (EFF)