Just as the Supreme Court is considering the legality of extraterritorial demands for communications held by US internet service providers in overseas data storage, Congress is doing all it can to short-circuit the debate. Tucked away towards the back of a 2,200-page spending bill is something called the “Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act” or (of course) “CLOUD Act.” (h/t Steve Vladeck)The CLOUD Act [PDF – starting at p. 2201] would make any decision by the Supreme Court extraneous. If it agrees with Microsoft — as lower courts have — that the US has no right to demand communications stored overseas with a normal warrant, the Act would immediately overturn the decision. If it decides against Microsoft, it will be aligned with the new law. As it stands now, the route most likely to be taken by the Supreme Court is a punt. Legislation on point is in play and the Court will probably be more than happy to let legislators make the final call.Beyond the obvious problem of giving US law enforcement permission to use regular warrants to bypass mutual assistance treaties, the law also allows for reciprocation. We can’t go around waving SCA (Stored Communications Act) warrants in foreign lands without expecting pushback from locals. So, we’ll have to give foreign countries the same privileges, even if the criminal charges being investigated wouldn’t be considered criminal acts in this country and the country enjoying this reciprocation doesn’t care much about its own citizens’ rights and privacy.The EFF is especially critical of the shoehorned-in CLOUD Act. As it points out, the law would result in backdoor searches of anyone’s communications via reciprocal communication demands. In the US, we’ve already seen the Fourth Amendment circumvented by US government agencies via their access to NSA collections. The same would happen in reverse when other countries start playing by the CLOUD Act’s new rules.
UNTIL HE WAS stripped of his top-secret security clearance in February, presidential adviser Jared Kushner was known around the White House as one of the most voracious readers of the President’s Daily Brief, a highly classified rundown of the latest intelligence intended only for the president and his closest advisers.Kushner, who had been tasked with bringing about a deal between Israel and Palestine, was particularly engaged by information about the Middle East, according to a former White House official and a former U.S. intelligence professional.
PUERTO RICO, IN the midst of the chaos and instability following Hurricane Maria, is moving quickly forward with plans to institute a wide swath of education reforms, with the help of the aggressively ideological federal education department, helmed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.Puerto Rico’s governor and education secretary have expressed openness to the concerns raised by parents, teachers and community members, and stress they are not looking to implement an extreme version of privatization. Yet at the same time, they have stoked fears by pushing forward a notably vague charter law that does little to address what people are most worried about. This “trust us” mentality has not been helped by the engagement of DeVos, nor by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s recent visit to a notorious charter chain in Philadelphia last week — a prime example of the kind of low-performing, fiscally reckless charter that school advocates warn about.At a time when the island is starved of investment and inching slowly through a storm recovery, many Puerto Ricans worry that the government is treating this more as an opportunity to disrupt education, rather than stabilize it — while also potentially opening the doors for supercharged corruption.
While some of 3M’s history will remain secret as a result of the settlement deal, documents already made public in the Minnesota case point to one critical tool the Minnesota-based company used to defend itself — a scientist named John Giesy, who helped 3M spin the science on PFCs chemicals in the company’s favor even as he presented himself as an independent scientist.Giesy and 3M did not respond to requests for comment.Giesy has worked as a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Michigan State, and at least 11 other universities, and received grants from 3M for “selective funding of outside research.” That funding was a key part of 3M’s strategy around PFCs, which according to one internal document was guided by the dictum “command the science.” The studies the company produced through this effort, as slides 3M prepared about its research program make clear, were intended partly as “defensive barriers to litigation.”
College sports is a business – a very lucrative business.That very obvious dynamic undergirds a lawsuit filed by former NCAA athlete Lawrence “Poppy” Livers asserting that scholarship students who play sports are employees and deserve pay. The Livers case argues that student-athletes who get scholarships should at least be paid as work-study students for the time they put in. What the NCAA did in response to the lawsuit is as vile as anything going on in sports right now. I had to see it for myself before I believed it. At the root of its legal argument, the NCAA is relying on one particular case for why NCAA athletes should not be paid. That case is Vanskike v. Peters.Only there’s an important detail: Daniel Vanskike was a prisoner at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, and Howard Peters was the Director of the state Department of Corrections. In 1992, Vanskike and his attorneys argued that as a prisoner he should be paid a federal minimum wage for his work. The court, in its decision, cited the 13th Amendment and rejected the claim.
DMCA 1201 allows the Copyright Office to grant “use” exemptions, but not “tools” exemptions. That means that if the Copyright Office likes your proposal, they can give you permission to jailbreak your gadgets to make some use (say, install third-party apps on your phone, or record clips from your DVDs to use in film studies classes), but they can’t give anyone the right to give you the tool needed to make that use (law professor and EFF board member Pam Samuelson argues that the Copyright Office can go farther than this, at least some of the time, but the Copyright Office disagrees).
The attorneys general of 35 US states on Wednesday signed an open letter calling for the quick passage of the Clarify Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act – with some qualifications.The proposed legislation, if passed by Congress, will allow the Feds to demand people’s emails and other personal communications from overseas computers with a simple subpoena issued by a US judge.In effect, it means the FBI can ask, say, a California court for a subpoena to obtain files from a San Francisco upstart’s servers hosted in France, sidestepping French privacy laws and legal system. The act’s wording also does not limit the Feds to serving orders for communications on US companies and entities – agents would be able to demand information from whomever they wished, if a US judge approved.
Flight sim company FlightSimLabs has found itself in trouble after installing malware onto users’ machines as an anti-piracy measure. Code embedded in its A320-X module contained a mechanism for detecting ‘pirate’ serial numbers distributed on The Pirate Bay, which then triggered a process through which the company stole usernames and passwords from users’ web browsers.
No matter what you think of BDS/Israel it does seem clear that Lorde should have the right to decide where her concerts will be — and where they will not be. But in response to this, some of the people who had purchased tickets for the show, along with a “legal rights” group named Shurat HaDin have decided to sue. They’re not suing Lorde. They’re suing two New Zealanders who wrote an open letter to Lorde, pleading with her not to perform in Israel. And they’re suing them in Jerusalem.