Category Archives: Civil Rights

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Germany is NOT a democracy!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under intense international scrutiny over authoritizing state attorneys to prosecute a TV comedian over a vulgar, satirical poem he performed lampooming Turkey’s brutal dictator Tayyip Recep Erdogan. But the issue goes far beyond Merkel’s cozying up to the tyrant in Ankara; Germany’s libel and anti-insult laws have long been a weapon of choice for those seeking to suppress the marketplace of ideas. Hitler himself, prior to assuming power, was also a vicious libel plaintiff.

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Only a total idiot would have filed a defamation case over the term “total idiot”

The Nebraska Supreme Court reminds us in Steinhausen v. Homeservices of Nebraska, 289 Neb. 927 (Neb. 2015) that rhetorical hyperbole is not actionable as defamation. I can assure you that total idiots nationwide will fail to get the memo. In this case, someone referred to a home inspector as a “total idiot.”     Nitz argues that in the context of the Hotsheets— which she refers to as a place for HomeServices agents to “express their opinions without pulling punches”38—the

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Cops use taser on woman while she recorded arrest of another man

“You a dumb bitch,” video captures cop saying after yanking victim from car.   A 36-year-old Baltimore woman claims she was tased by police and arrested while filming the arrest of a man with her mobile phone, according to a lawsuit to be served on the Baltimore City Police Department as early as Thursday. Video of the March 30 melee surfaced online this week. Police erased the 135-second recording from the woman’s phone, but it was recovered from her cloud account,

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Supreme Court Says Law Enforcement Can’t Search Mobile Phones Without A Warrant

The Supreme Court released its ruling in the Riley/Wurie cases that examine whether or not the police can search through your mobile phone without a warrant. Both the Riley and Wurie cases basically deal with the same issue, though one (Riley) involves a smartphone, while the other (Wurie) is about a more old-fashioned flip phone. I had significant problems with the government’s arguments in defending such warrantless searches and so did the Supreme Court, which has made it clear that police

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Why you should turn off your iPhone if the police stop you.

CAN THE POLICE COMPEL YOU TO UNLOCK YOUR PHONE? Why you should turn off your iPhone if the police stop you. Recent advances in cryptographic technology and the widespread use of free, open-source cryptography have made encrypted information pervasive in our everyday lives. Apple and Google have both announced that their latest mobile operating systems will be encrypted and the manufacturers will be unable to decrypt the phones even if ordered to do so. Additionally, all Apple iPhones since the iPhone

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Virginia judge: Police can demand a suspect unlock a phone with a fingerprint

But passcodes need not be divulged as per the Fifth Amendment, court says. A Virginia Circuit Court judge ruled on Thursday that a person does not need to provide a passcode to unlock their phone for the police. The court also ruled that demanding a suspect to provide a fingerprint to unlock a phone would be constitutional. The ruling calls into question the privacy of some iPhone 5S, 6, and 6 Plus users who have models equipped with TouchID, the fingerprint sensor

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Law Enforcement Freaks Out Over Apple & Google’s Decision To Encrypt Phone Info By Default

Last week, we noted that it was good news to see both Apple and Google highlight plans to encrypt certain phone information by default on new versions of their mobile operating systems, making that information no longer obtainable by those companies and, by extension, governments and law enforcement showing up with warrants and court orders. Having giant tech companies competing on how well they protect your privacy? That’s new… and awesome. Except, of course, if you’re law enforcement. In those

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U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks Gets Free Speech Very Wrong

Yesterday Chancellor Dirks sent an email about free speech to Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. In today’s competitive publishing environment it is astonishingly difficult to distinguish yourself as an academic by being wrong about free speech, but Chancellor Dirks is equal to the challenge. His email is so very bad on every level — legally, logically, rhetorically, and philosophically — that it deserves scrutiny.   Let’s take Chancellor Dirks’ email bit by bit. Dear Campus Community, This Fall marks the

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German Government Tries To Censor Publication Of Its List Of Censored Websites

For anybody living in the United States the story I am telling here must be strange. I am from Germany, born and grew up there. This story is not strange for me at all. I left Germany 20 years ago because of bullshit like that. Germany is not a democracy, it is an indirect democracy. This is a system where the government decides what the will of the people is. Often the Government does not ask at all the populous

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