Apply now for the Central European University Summer Course on Drug Policy and Human Rights. Application deadline: 15 February, 2013
Have you have you found a way to break in? Have you suffered a break-in? Come hear a night of lively personal stories from ex-lawyers, sword swallowers, former kids, and more.
A panel reflects on the recent trial and conviction of former Guatemalan dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt—the first time in history that a domestic court has found a former head of state guilty of genocide.
Two panels reflect on the recent trial and conviction of former Guatemalan dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt—the first time in history that a domestic court has found a former head of state guilty of genocide.
Detroit native Charles Lindbergh became the first person to successfully complete a nonstop solo transatlantic flight when he landed the Spirit of St. Louis in Paris on May 21, 1927.
He left the Roosevelt Field airstrip on New York’s Long Island, 33.5 hours before. By the time he landed about 3,600 miles later (1,000 of it through snow and sleet), Lucky Lindy was a worldwide celebrity.
Tens of thousands of people greeted the 25-year-old when he touched down at the Le Bourget air field at 10:22 p.m.
Source : Zlati Meyer, "Lindbergh soars to aviation mark", Today In Michigan History, Detroit Free Press, May 19, 2013.
In 1887, Ransom Olds developed an experimental steam-powered car. An updated version of the car was featured in the May 21, 1892 issue of Scientific American. A company in London saw the article and bought the car, making it the first American-car sold for export! The two-passenger vehicle was good for 15-miles per hour. Olds would go on to form the Olds Motor Works and sell 4000 Oldsmobiles by 1903.
Source : Michigan Every Day.
The journalism world has been rightly outraged by the Justice Department dragging the Associated Press (and now a Fox News reporter) into one of its sprawling leak investigations. As we wrote last week, by obtaining the call records of twenty AP phone lines, “the Justice Department has struck a terrible blow against the freedom of the press and the ability of reporters to investigate and report the news."
But there are several other important lessons that this scandal can teach us besides how important free and uninhibited newsgathering is to the public’s right to know.
1. Weak Privacy Laws That Doomed AP Affect Everyone
The AP detailed in its letter to the Justice Department how its privacy was grossly invaded even though the government accessed only the call records of its reporters and not the content of their conversations. We completely agree. Unfortunately, this isn’t just a problem in the AP investigation. Law enforcement agencies routinely demand and receive this information about ordinary Americans over long periods of time without any court involvement whatsoever, much less a full warrant.
For example, according to information released by the phone companies to Rep. Ed Markey, Sprint alone received a staggering 500,000 subpoenas for call records data last year.
The DOJ's decision to dive into these call records shows the growing need to update our privacy laws to eliminate the outmoded Third Party Doctrine—which holds that anything you give to a service provider, or that a service provider collects as part of providing you a service—can retain no reasonable expectation of privacy. In an era where email is stored by our providers, cellphone companies keep records that track our location and cloud services hold our documents, it’s long past time to bring our interpretation of the Fourth Amendment and statutory electronic privacy laws in compliance with the 21st Century.
In response to the AP scandal, a bipartisan coalition in Congress just introduced a bill to partially fix this problem called The Telephone Records Protection Act. The bill would require the Justice Department to get a judge’s approval before seeking these records. At EFF, we think the government should have to go even further than a court order: a judicial warrant showing the kind of probable cause required by the Fourth Amendment should be the standard. But this bill is certainly an improvement over administrative subpoenas, which don’t need a sign-off from a judge at all and allow the Executive branch to seek information without any external check.
2. Phone Companies May Give Up Your Information Without Telling You
As the New York Times reported, the AP is still examining if and when any telephone companies tried to push back on the overbroad requests for its call records. “But at least two of the journalists’ personal cellphone records were provided to the government by Verizon Wireless without any attempt to obtain permission to tell them so the reporters could ask a court to quash the subpoena,” the Times said. And it also seems clear that the AP itself wasn’t given notice before their phone company turned over the records.
In EFF’s 2013 “Who Has Your Back” report, which tracks several ways in which communications companies can help protect user privacy, we give a star for promising to notify users about government demands for data whenever whenever the company is not legally prevented from doing so. Notably, Verizon does not have such a notification policy and did not receive a star. In fact, Verizon was the only company to receive zero stars.
This isn’t a small problem or just a problem for journalists. Verizon received 260,000 similar subpoenas for call records last year. The government requests this information with regularity, and given the phone companies control the data, communications company policies are all that stand between you and governmental overreach.
Users should demand that their communications companies notify them when the government comes seeking information, unless they are legally barred by a court order.
3. Government often Overstates National Security Claims, Overclassifies Information
We’ve written many times about the many ways “national security” has been invoked—and exaggerated—in order to cover up government embarrassment or wrongdoing, or to assert powers that would normally not be granted under the Constitution. The government routinely overclassifies information that should never be secret, according to reports commissioned by the White House itself.
The most glaring example for EFF is our lawsuit over the NSA warrantless wiretapping program, where the government won’t admit or deny that the program even exists, citing the danger to national security, despite thousands of pages of public evidence. The government has argued the same thing in cases about torture and the CIA drone program where, many times, the same information that they claim is secret is on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers.
In the AP’s case, while Attorney General Holder says this leak put “lives at risk,” John Brennan said the opposite around the time of the story (“Brennan said the plot was never a threat to the U.S. public or air safety,” reported Reuters). The AP also held its story for six days until the CIA told them it was safe to publish and the White House had a news conference planned the day after the story to announce the successful counterterrorism operation.
As the late Supreme Court Justice Huge Black once said, “The word ‘security’ is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment.”
4. There’s Not Much Recourse For Prosecutorial Misconduct
In this case, just like the case of Aaron Swartz, there has been widespread criticism that the Justice Department has abused its authority and aggressively pursued parties in an unprofessional manner. As we detailed last week, it seems the Justice Department didn’t follow its own guidelines when issuing subpoenas about[?] the reporters, or at least went to the very edge of its own guidelines.
Just like in the Swartz case, the specific prosecutor has a history of over-aggressive prosecutions (even being accused of overzealous prosecution by Eric Holder himself when he was in private practice). Yet when Congress asked Holder at a hearing about the allegations, just like in the Swartz case, he did not admit to any wrongdoing, and was able to deflect questions about his department’s handling of the case. Unfortunately, there is not much recourse for meaningful remedy for the public in these situations, and this case is just the latest example.
5. Journalists Need to be Pro-Active in Protecting Their Digital Security
In an age where warrantless surveillance is skyrocketing and governments potentially have access to an astonishing amount of information, journalists must learn to proactively protect both themselves and their sources.
The Committee to Protect Journalists Journalist Security Guide is an excellent place to start. It addresses concerns faced by journalists working inside the United States and internationally.
Wired published an op-ed last week about the care one needs to take from the source’s end if one wishes to send information to the press undetected. Much of the advice is applicable to reporters talking to sources as well. Additionally, the New Yorker has just released a promising—but un-tested—anonymous leak submission system, coded by Aaron Swartz before he tragically died in January. In certain circumstances physical mail remains the safest option.
Overall, the final lesson is that journalists, and sources, need to take security seriously. Trusting that the government won’t come after you because you’re engaged in journalism, serving the public interest, or helping reveal wrongdoing is plainly not sufficient.
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The Legislature's Republican majority has redoubled its efforts to squeeze welfare spending by imposing new conditions on aid recipients.
Lawmakers want to field-test a drug screening program next year for welfare recipients, cut off cash aid to families whose children miss too much school and require recipients who won more than $600 in the Michigan Lottery during the past decade to reimburse the state up to half of their winnings.
A new Senate bill would deny public payments to cover child care for families whose assets are worth more than a yet-unspecified amount. A 2012 law prevents aid once known as food stamps for families with assets exceeding $5,000. One vehicle is excluded from the asset test; a second, if it's worth less than $15,000.
The initiatives have stirred debate about whether the current and proposed requirements are a war on poverty or a war on the impoverished.
For the full article, see Gary Heinlein, "Michigan Republicans seek new limits on welfare aid; Rules could tighten on drug screening, children's school attendance, lottery prizes", Detroit News, May 20, 2013.
The OCR that Google Patents originates has been edited to make this patent full-text-searchable and easy to read. There are 3 formats available: .pdf (original), .txt (clean text), and .brf (braille file)....
This item belongs to: texts/uspatentssingledocuments.
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This week we have two exciting announcements about our Global Summit, the bi-annual gathering of our community which will be held in Buenos Aires in August 2013.
First – we are pleased to confirm that Professor Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and one of Creative Commons’ founders and current Board members, will be presenting a keynote at this year’s Summit. Anyone familiar with Creative Commons is likely to be familiar with Professor Lessig, who for the last decade has been one of the leading advocates for a more open copyright system worldwide and a popular public face of CC. If you are one of the few people who are unfamiliar with Professor Lessig’s work, you can see an example of his inspirational speaking style in his TED talk from 2007, Laws that choke creativity (he also spoke on reform of US political funding in 2013). Details of the time and subject of Professor Lessig’s talk will be distributed closer to the event.
Second – registration for the Global Summit is officially open. You can find the registration form here. The event is free, but places are limited, so early registration is essential if you want to ensure your place at this meeting of CC commmunity, board, staff, and key stakeholders interested in the present and future of the commons.
Finally, while we have you, we’d also like to remind you that the call for papers for the Summit closes this week. Have you papers in by 24 May if you want to be on the main program (lightning talks and unconference sessions can be submitted later).
See you all in Buenos Aires in August!
Michigan To Participate In Pilot Program To Provide Soon-To-Be-Parolees With Postsecondary Education
After years without funding for prisoners to access higher education, the Michigan Department of Corrections is immersed in several efforts to teach community college courses and vocational training in-house to a small number of inmates who are near parole.
The grant comes nearly two decades after the federal government cut Pell grant funding to inmates and essentially ended postsecondary education in prisons.
Michigan will join a pilot project that hopes to gather enough evidence to possibly resurrect publicly supported postsecondary education in prisons nationally.
For the full article, see Kim Kozlowski, "Michigan aims to expand education for inmates; Goal is to boost employability, earnings of those to be released soon", Detroit News, May 20, 2013.
EFF has been on the ground in Lima, Peru for the 17th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The TPP is a secretive, multinational trade agreement, and one chapter carries overreaching copyright enforcement provisions that pose a huge threat to the Internet and users' access to devices and digital content.
This is a video from a protest outside the J.W. Marriott where TPP talks are taking place. Katitza Rodriguez, EFF's International Rights Director, talks about how U.S. negotiators of the TPP aim to create a global norm of copyright enforcement by mirroring terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in this treaty. This impacts the U.S. and other countries' ability to maintain or enact their own balanced innovation policies. Besides a few leaks of previous drafts, the text of the agreement is completely secret and civil society continues to be shut out of the process.Privacy info. This embed will serve content from youtube-nocookie.com
If you’re in the U.S., please also send a message to your representative to demand an end to these secret backdoor negotiations:
Sign our petition to Michael Froman, the next head of the U.S. trade office leading negotiations in the TPP. We demand that he usher in a new age of transparency as the next US Trade Representative:
And if you're in Peru, join Hiperderecho and tell the Peruvian president that our rights over the Internet are non-negotiable:Intellectual PropertyDMCAInternationalTrans Pacific Partnership Agreement
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How critical is it for the Michigan Republican Party to get a U.S. Senate candidate campaign off the ground? MIRS debates the subject before discussing the subject with AT&T President Jim Murray, who is considering a bid. What does he feel a winning Republican candidate needs to avoid?