Aug 312013
 August 31, 2013  Posted by  Business, Online

Steve Henn reports:

Writing a post about Facebook changing its privacy policies can feel like a fool’s errand.

Nearly everyone who has a pulse — and lives part of his life online — most likely knows how Facebook makes its money and understands why this service, which connects 1.1 billion people, is free.

But here we go again.

Facebook is updating its privacy policies — one more time.

These changes — driven in part by a recent class-action settlement — are designed to allow Facebook to continue using images and information about its members, including minors, in so-called sponsored stories (ads) that appear on the site.

Read more on NPR.

Aug 312013
 August 31, 2013  Posted by  Business, Featured News, Online

Somini Sengupta reports:

Alex MacGillivray, Twitter’s chief lawyer and the Internet industry’s most prominent champion of free speech rights, announced on Friday that he would step down from his post, as the company expands its global footprint and prepares for a widely anticipated public offering sometime next year.

The company announced the appointment of a new general counsel, Vijaya Gadde, who had managed the company’s corporate affairs for the last two years. Mr. MacGillivray, who is better known as AMac, said he would continue in an advisory role.

Read more on the New York Times. Alex blogged about his decision on his personal blog.

Not surprisingly, privacy and free speech advocates on Twitter were shocked by the news and the tributes to @amac’s leadership and staunch defense of users’ rights started pouring in. His shoes will tough ones to fill. wishes his successor, @vijaya, the best of luck and equal determination in protecting users’ rights.  And I wish @amac the best of everything in whatever he decides to pursue next.  When the history of free speech on the Internet is written decades from now, Twitter will play a large part, thanks to Alex.

Aug 312013
 August 31, 2013  Posted by  Court, Govt

Nusrat Choudhury of the ACLU trumpets the great news:

A federal court took a critically important step late yesterday towards placing a check on the government’s secretive No-Fly List. In a 38-page ruling in Latif v. Holder, the ACLU’s challenge to the No-Fly List, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown recognized that the Constitution applies when the government bans Americans from the skies. She also asked for more information about the current process for getting off the list, to inform her decision on whether that procedure violates the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process.

Read more on ACLU, and congratulations to the ACLU on their win for civil liberties.

Aug 312013
 August 31, 2013  Posted by  Court, Surveillance

Hanni Fakhoury writes:

Are police allowed to rummage through the contents of a cell phone when a person is arrested? The U.S. Supreme Court is currently deciding whether to grant review in two cases involving the thorny issue. Together with the Center for Democracy and Technology, we’ve filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court asking it to grant review in Riley v. California, a case involving the warrantless search of a smartphone incident to arrest.

Read more on EFF.