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Texas Supreme Court Rejects Second-Class Status for Online Speech, Finds Internet Speech Injunctions Violate the First Amendment

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The Texas Supreme Court today ruled that orders preventing people who have been found liable for defamation from publishing further statements about the plaintiff are “prior restraints,” a remedy that the First Amendment rarely permits. Adopting a position advocated by EFF in an amicus brief, the court also delightfully quoted The Big Lebowski's Walter Sobchak: "For your information, the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint." It further rejected the argument that the ability of Internet publication to reach millions of readers almost instantaneously somehow required a change in First Amendment law.

EFF filed the amicus brief on behalf of itself and First Amendment scholars Erwin Chemerinsky and Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky urging this position, and the brief appears to have been highly influential on the court, which cited Prof. Chemerinsky’s scholarly writings extensively.

The court, in a case called Kinney v. Barnes, not only rejected the Internet-is-different argument, it took the exact opposite position, emphasizing the role of the Internet “as an equalizer of speech and a gateway to amplified political discourse.”

In ruling that post-trial injunctions are prior restraints, the court acknowledged the fundamental free speech principle that a court can prevent someone from speaking only in the most unusual circumstances. The court explained, echoing an argument made in our amicus brief, that such orders were especially inappropriate in defamation cases because a statement that it is defamatory in one context may not be in another: “Given the inherently contextual nature of defamatory speech, even the most narrowly crafted of injunctions risks enjoining protected speech because the same statement made at a different time and in a different context may no longer be actionable. Untrue statements may later become true; unprivileged statements may later become privileged.”

“The Texas Supreme Court reiterates a principle that has long been at the core of the First Amendment—that the government cannot resort to judicial orders to muzzle its citizens from speaking in the future, even if it fears their speech may be disruptive or defamatory,” said Professor Lidsky. “This principle, which prevents the permanent chilling of speech, is arguably even more important today than it was at the founding of the republic, as more citizens than ever before are communicating information, thoughts, ideas, and images to mass audiences.” Prof. Lidsky’s article on defamation in cyberspace had been cited by the plaintiff in support of its extreme position. She appeared as an amicus in this case to emphasize that her article should not be read to suggest that Internet speech should receive diminished First Amendment protection.

Tom Leatherbury and Marc Fuller of the Dallas office of Vinson & Elkins were co-counsel with EFF on the brief.

Files:  Kinney opinionRelated Issues: Free SpeechBloggers' Rights
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IEEE Guides Software Architects Toward Secure Design

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msm1267 writes: The IEEE's Center for Secure Design debuted its first report this week, a guidance for software architects called "Avoiding the Top 10 Software Security Design Flaws." Developing guidance for architects rather than developers was a conscious effort the group made in order to steer the conversation around software security away from exclusively talking about finding bugs toward design-level failures that lead to exploitable security vulnerabilities. The document spells out the 10 common design flaws in a straightforward manner, each with a lengthy explainer of inherent weaknesses in each area and how software designers and architects should take these potential pitfalls into consideration.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Japanese Publishers Lash Out At Amazon's Policies

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Nate the greatest writes: Amazon is in a bitter contract fight with Hachette in the U.S. and Bonnier in Germany, and now it seems the retail giant is also in conflict with publishers in Japan. Amazon has launched a new rating system in Japan which gives preference to publishers with larger ebook catalogs (and publishers that pay higher fees), leading to complaints that Amazon is using its market power to blackmail publishers. Where have we heard that complaint before? The retailer is also being boycotted by a handful of Japanese publishers who disagree with Amazon offering a rewards program to students. The retailer gives students 10% of a book's price as points, which can be used to buy more books. This skirts Japanese fixed-price book laws, so several smaller publishers pulled their books from Amazon in protest. Businesses are out to make money and not friends, but Amazon sure is a lightning rod for conflicts, isn't it?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Chromebooks with Intel Broadwell chips are on the way

Liliputing -

Intel expects to ship its first processor based on 5th-gen Intel Core architecture (code-named “Broadwell’) this year. And it looks like that chip might not just be used for Windows notebooks and tablets: we could see Chromebooks or Chromebox devices with Broadwell chips as well. Google’s François Beaufort notes that code for a Broadwell-based device code-named Auron has been […]

Chromebooks with Intel Broadwell chips are on the way is a post from: Liliputing

Deals of the Day (8-29-2014)

Liliputing -

Update: Well that did’t last long. Looking for another deal on a Windows tablet with a full HD display? You can snag a refurbished 1st-gen Surface Pro with 64GB for $370 from A4C. The Sony Vaio Tap 11 is kind of Sony’s answer to the Microsoft Surface. It’s an 11.6 inch Windows tablet with a […]

Deals of the Day (8-29-2014) is a post from: Liliputing

How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

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Rick Zeman writes: The Center for Public Integrity has a comprehensive article showing how Big Telecom (aka, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Time Warner) use lobbyists, paid-for politicians, and lawsuits (both actual and the threat thereof) in their efforts to kill municipal broadband. From the article: "The companies have also used traditional campaign tactics such as newspaper ads, push polls, direct mail and door-to-door canvassing to block municipal networks. And they've tried to undermine the appetite for municipal broadband by paying for research from think tanks and front groups to portray the networks as unreliable and costly."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Magnetic Stimulation Boosts Memory In Humans

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sciencehabit writes: Our memories are annoyingly glitchy. Names, dates, birthdays, and the locations of car keys fall through the cracks, losses that accelerate at an alarming pace with age and in neurodegenerative diseases. Now, by applying electromagnetic pulses through the skull to carefully targeted brain regions, researchers have found a way to boost memory performance in healthy people. The new study (abstract) sheds light on the neural networks that support memories and may lead to therapies for people with memory deficits, researchers say. Similar studies have been performed using electric current.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Learn to solder with Carrie Anne

Raspberry Pi -

Carrie Anne Philbin, our Education Pioneer and author of the most excellent Adventures in Raspberry Pi, had a dark secret up until last week. She was a Raspberry Pi enthusiast who didn’t know how to solder.

Here’s a new video from her award-winning Geek Gurl Diaries YouTube channel, in which she addresses the issue.

Carrie says:

Everyone tells me that soldering is easy. For a long time I’ve seen it as a barrier to be able to do a lot of electronics or maker style crafts. I usually try and buy components that are pre-soldered or ask someone else to solder them for me. Since joining Raspberry Pi, this has been a bit of a joke for the engineers. They think I’m a bit silly. I’m certain I’m not alone in this.

Recently Wednesdays at Pi Towers have become ‘Gert Wednesdays’ when Gert comes into the office to visit us and teach some of us new skills. Gert Van Loo is an engineer, and one of the first volunteers working on Raspberry Pi. He has also created lots of add on boards for Raspberry Pi like the well titled ‘Gertboard’. He has also created the ‘Gertduino’. You can see where Gert Wednesdays come from cant you. Gert promised me he’d teach me how to solder and he didn’t disappoint. In one morning of simple tuition I was taught how to solder. THANKS GERT!

I decided that after I solder ALL THE THINGS in my office drawer that I’ve been dying to use with my Raspberry Pi, I would put my new found knowledge to good use by creating a tutorial video for GGD. It’s a short video but I hope it will help give other people the confidence to start or at least to attend a Maker Faire event where they can learn.

You can read much more from Carrie Anne on the Geek Gurl Diaries blog.

OnePlus is killing its smartphone invite system, hopes to launch pre-orders in October

Liliputing -

While the folks behind Chinese startup OnePlus have run some promotional stunts recently, the company has earned kudos for for offering a high-quality smartphone at a reasonably low price. Unfortunately it’s hard to actually buy one of the phones. There are limited quantities available, so OnePlus has implemented an invitation system and if you don’t have an […]

OnePlus is killing its smartphone invite system, hopes to launch pre-orders in October is a post from: Liliputing

Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

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An anonymous reader writes: Caffeine is a staple of most workplaces — it's rare to find an office without a coffee pot or a fridge full of soda. It's necessary (or at least feels like it's necessary) because many workers have a hard time staying awake while sitting at a desk for hours at a time, and the alternative — naps — aren't usually allowed. But new research shows it might be more efficient for employers to encourage brief "coffee naps," which are more effective at returning people to an alert state than either caffeine or naps alone. A "coffee nap" is when you drink a cup of coffee, and then take a sub-20-minute nap immediately afterward. This works because caffeine takes about 20 minutes to get into your bloodstream, and a 20-minute nap clears adenosine from your brain without putting you into deeper stages of sleep. In multiple studies, tired participants who took coffee naps made fewer mistakes in a driving simulator after they awoke than the people who drank coffee without a nap or slept without ingesting caffeine.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

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An anonymous reader writes: On August 6, U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga ordered the federal government to "explain why the government places U.S. citizens who haven't been convicted of any violent crimes on its no-fly database." Unsurprisingly, the federal government objected to the order, once more claiming that to divulge their no-fly list criteria would expose state secrets and thus pose a national security threat. When the judge said he would read the material privately, the government insisted that reading the material "would not assist the Court in deciding the pending Motion to Dismiss (PDF) because it is not an appropriate means to test the scope of the assertion of the State Secrets privilege." The federal government has until September 7 to comply with the judge's order unless the judge is swayed by the government's objection.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Toshiba Chromebook CB30-007 is a 13 inch Bay Trail laptop

Liliputing -

Toshiba is adding a new Chromebook to its lineup. At first glance the new Toshiba Chromebook CB30-007 looks just like the model the company launched earlier this year. But the first Toshiba Chromebook sports an Intel Celeron 2955 Haswell processor. The new model has a lower-power Celeron N2830 Bay Trail chip. The new Bay Trail model […]

Toshiba Chromebook CB30-007 is a 13 inch Bay Trail laptop is a post from: Liliputing

Nokia introduces HERE Maps for Samsung phones, smartwatches

Liliputing -

Nokia has been offering mapping applications for smartphone since way back when Google was just a company that ran a search engine and email service. Now Nokia is bringing the latest version of its mapping service to Android phones… or rather to Android phones made by Samsung. Nokia HERE Maps is coming to Samsung Galaxy […]

Nokia introduces HERE Maps for Samsung phones, smartwatches is a post from: Liliputing

Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing'

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rtoz writes: Google's research division, Google X, is developing a fleet of drones to deliver goods. This drone delivery system is called "Project Wing," and Google X has been developing it in secret for the past two years. During a recent test in Australia, drones successfully delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to a couple of Australian farmers. The self-flying vehicle uses four electrically-driven propellers to get around, and it has a wingspan of about five feet. It weighs just under 19 pounds and can take off and land without a runway. Google's long-term goal is to develop drones that could be used for disaster relief by delivering aid to isolated areas.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








We're All In It Together: Cosplay With Us Over Labor Day Weekend

EFF's Deeplinks -

Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation, io9, and a coalition of fan groups over Labor Day weekend for Project Secret Identity, a cosplay photo campaign to raise awareness of how online anonymity and privacy are key to free expression. Visit ProjectSecretIdentity.org during Dragon Con (Aug. 29 – Sept. 1) to participate online or visit us on the second floor of the Hilton Atlanta or the Southeastern Browncoats booth, #1000 at AmericasMart. 

For the first time in my life, I’m donning a costume at a convention.

At Dragon Con this weekend, I’ll put on a balaclava, a utility vest and a pair of flashlight glasses, shave my beard into a mustache, and draw a mole on my cheek. For a few days I’ll become Robert De Niro’s character, Archibald “Harry” Tuttle, in Terry Gilliam’s classic dystopian dark comedy, Brazil.  

There are three reasons for this.

First: Brazil has had a lasting impact on my life since I first saw it on VHS as a teenager.  It put me on a track that has found me defending civil liberties at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The film is one of the early imaginings of a society where an authoritarian government uses big data to manage and control a population.  The plot revolves around a simple clerical error, which results in government agents kidnapping, torturing, and eventually killing the wrong guy—Harry Buttle, who they’ve confused with Harry Tuttle.  Now, Harry Tuttle is a renegade heating engineer who’s been branded a terrorist for making unauthorized repairs.  He’s a handyman superhero who hates paperwork and throughout the film, he keeps dropping his catchphrase: “We’re all in it together.”

That brings me to reason #2. When it comes to mass surveillance, we are all indeed in it together, both as data points in the giant databases and as allies in the battle against them.

That’s why I’d like to invite you to participate in Project Secret Identity, a cosplay activism campaign by EFF, io9, and a cross-fandom coalition of wizards, space cowboys, and other creative organizations.

We’re asking you to put on your mask and pose for photo holding a sign that says “I Have a Right to a Secret Identity” or another fandom-specific message about the importance of Internet freedom.

As we explain at ProjectSecretIdentity.org:

From George Orwell's Big Brother to J.K. Rowling's Ministry of Magic, science fiction, fantasy, and other genre fiction have long explored and criticized the intrusion of government on our private lives.

Today, many of those fictions have become reality, whether it's NSA mass surveillance, local police use of spy technology, or big data brokers scraping personal information from social media networks. Some governments are even trying to ban online anonymity.

Project Secret Identity underlines the belief that we must protect and advocate for ourselves in order to shape the future.

In addition to EFF and io9, the campaign is supported by the Harry Potter Alliance, Southeastern Browncoats and the Baker Street Babes. Anonymity isn't just important for privacy; it’s deeply engrained in fan culture, which is why the coalition also includes Wattpad, a community of 30 million readers and writers, and the Organization for Transformative Works.

As OTW's Claudia Rebaza writes:

Fan pseudonyms range from ordinary names to fanciful titles and are a long standing practice. There are many reasons why some fans might choose pseudonymity.  Not only is it a standard identity and privacy-protection precaution, but it may follow fan practice within the spaces they're part of online and it may mirror the use of pseudonyms in publishing where different names are used when writing for different audiences.

You don’t have to be at Dragon Con to participate: Just upload your image at ProjectSecretIdentity.org and share it online.

But if you are attending Dragon Con, you can get your photo taken at either our table (second floor in the Hilton Atlanta) or the Southeastern Browncoats’ booth (#1000 in AmericasMart).

Dragon Con is renowned not only for its cosplay, but for the intellectual curiosity of its attendees.  They understand the possibilities of technology and also appreciate that writers, artists, and fans have been censored and oppressed for challenging governments on these issues.

Dragon Con hosts the Electronic Frontiers Forum, a panel track devoted to exploring the intersection of technology with civil liberties.  EFF Deputy General Counsel Kurt Opsahl and I will be participating in a number of discussions on issues ranging from cell-phone searches to the Freedom of Information Act.  Opsahl will also be presenting an updated version of his talk, “Through a PRISM, Darkly: Everything We Know About NSA Spying,” which went viral when it first debuted at the Chaos Communication Congress last winter. We will also help with screenings of the documentaries Terms and Conditions May Apply and The Internet’s Own Boy.

You can check out the forum schedule here

As for the third reason I’m cosplaying as Harry Tuttle: Terry Gilliam himself will be at Dragon Con. If we’re all in it together, surely that includes a selfie with me.

Related Issues: AnonymityPrivacy
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Microsoft Releases Replacement Patch With Two Known Bugs

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snydeq writes Microsoft has re-released its botched MS14-045/KB 2982791 'Blue Screen 0x50' patch, only to introduce more problems, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard reports. "Even by Microsoft standards, this month's botched Black Tuesday Windows 7/8/8.1 MS14-045 patch hit a new low. The original patch (KB 2982791) is now officially 'expired' and a completely different patch (KB 2993651) offered in its stead; there are barely documented revelations of new problems with old patches; patches that have disappeared; a 'strong' recommendation to manually uninstall a patch that went out via Automatic Update for several days; and an infuriating official explanation that raises serious doubts about Microsoft's ability to support Windows 9's expected rapid update pace."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








For $1.5M, DeepFlight Dragon Is an "Aircraft for the Water"

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Zothecula writes No one with red blood in their veins buys a sports car and hands the keys to a chauffeur, so one of the barriers to truly personal submarining has long been the need for a trained pilot, not to mention the massive logistics involved in transporting, garaging and launching the underwater craft ... until now. Pioneering underwater aviation company DeepFlight is set to show an entirely new type of personal submarine at the 2014 Monaco Yacht Show next week, launching the personal submarine era with a submersible that's reportedly so easy to pilot that it's likely to create a new niche in the tourism and rental market.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court

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angry tapir writes The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a government funded watchdog organization, is taking Valve to court. The court action relates to Valve's Steam distribution service. According to ACCC allegations, Valve misled Australian consumers about their rights under Australian law by saying that customers were not entitled to refunds for games under any circumstances.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








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