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Software bugs reportedly keep Arizona inmates jailed past release dates

Software bugs reportedly keep Arizona inmates jailed past release dates

A failure to update critical prison management software has kept hundreds of incarcerated people in Arizona behind bars longer than they should be, according to a whistleblower report.Employees for the Arizona Department of Corrections have known about the bug since 2019, . The flaw follows a change to state law that the software simply cannot handle and has not been updated to deal with.Arizona has , with drug possession convictions being one of the highest drivers behind the numbers. An amendment () to Arizona state law in June 2019 created a mechanism through which inmates convicted of...

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Kate Cox
5d ago
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Virginia is about to get a major California-style data privacy law

Virginia is about to get a major California-style data privacy law

Virginia is poised to follow in California's footsteps any minute now and become the second state in the country to adopt a comprehensive online data protection law for consumers.If adopted, the  would apply to entities of a certain size that do business in Virginia or have users based in Virginia. The bill enjoys broad popular support among state lawmakers; it passed 89-9 in the Virginia House and unanimously (39-0) in the state Senate, and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is widely expected to sign it into law without issue in the coming days.In the absence of a general-purpose federal...

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Kate Cox
Feb 11
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Google, Facebook tell SCOTUS it should be harder for you to sue them

Google, Facebook tell SCOTUS it should be harder for you to sue them

Suing technology firms when they mess up is already hard, especially when it's over privacy violations. Now, Facebook, Google, and the trade groups representing all the big tech firms are asking the Supreme Court to make it even harder for class actions to pursue cases against them.Facebook, Google, and all the others submitted a filing () to the Supreme Court this week essentially arguing that if you cannot prove the specific extent to which their screwup injured you, you should not have any grounds to be part of a lawsuit against them.Class-action suits start with a lead...

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Kate Cox
Feb 10
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Proposed Sec. 230 rewrite could have wide-ranging consequences

Proposed Sec. 230 rewrite could have wide-ranging consequences

A trio of Democratic Senators has taken this administration's first stab at Section 230 reform with a new bill that would make platforms, including giants such as Facebook and Twitter, liable for certain limited categories of dangerous content. Unfortunately, although the bill's authors try to thread a tricky needle carefully, critics warn that bad-faith actors could nonetheless easily weaponize the bill as written against both platforms and other users.The bill (), dubbed the SAFE TECH Act, seeks not to repeal Section 230 (as ) but instead to amend it with new definitions of speakers and...

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Kate Cox
Feb 8
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Klobuchar targets Big Tech with biggest antitrust overhaul in 45 years

Klobuchar targets Big Tech with biggest antitrust overhaul in 45 years

With a new session of Congress underway and a new administration in the White House, Big Tech is once again in lawmakers' crosshairs. Not only are major firms such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google under investigation for allegedly breaking existing antitrust law, but a newly proposed bill in the Senate would make it harder for these and other firms to become so troublingly large in the first place.The bill (), called the Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act (CALERA for short, which is still awkward) would become the largest overhaul to US antitrust regulation in at...

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Kate Cox
Feb 5
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Military intelligence buys location data instead of getting warrants, memo shows

Military intelligence buys location data instead of getting warrants, memo shows

The Defense Intelligence Agency, which provides military intelligence to the Department of Defense, confirmed in a memo that it purchases "commercially available" smartphone location data to gather information that would otherwise require use of a search warrant.The DIA "currently provides funding to another agency that purchases commercially available geolocation metadata aggregated from smartphones," the agency wrote in a memo () to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), first obtained by .The Supreme Court that the government needs an actual search warrant to collect an individual's cell-site location...

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Kate Cox
Jan 22
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Facebook knew about violent extremists before insurrection, reports find [Updated]

Facebook knew about violent extremists before insurrection, reports find [Updated]

Update, 1/14: A trio of new reports make clear that contrary to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's position, individuals were using Facebook to plan violence before last week's insurrection at the US Capitol—and that users are still doing so today.The New York Times today looking at individuals, including at least one who attended the January 6 rally at the Capitol, who were radicalized specifically on Facebook and Instagram. Simply put, many users whose earlier content tended toward the bland and anodyne saw massive spikes in engagement—way more likes and comments—from other users when they...

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Kate Cox
Jan 14
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Parler seems to be sliding back onto the Internet, but not onto mobile

Parler seems to be sliding back onto the Internet, but not onto mobile

Right-wing social media platform Parler, which has been offline since Amazon Web Services dropped it like a hot potato last week, has reappeared on the Web with a promise to return as a fully functional service "soon."Although the platform's Android and iOS apps are still defunct, this weekend its URL once again began to resolve to an actual website instead of an error notice. The site at the moment consists solely of the homepage, which has a message from company CEO John Matze."Now seems like the right time to remind you all—both lovers and haters—why we started this platform," the...

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Kate Cox
Jan 18
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Facebook will pay more than $300 each to 1.6M Illinois users in settlement

Facebook will pay more than $300 each to 1.6M Illinois users in settlement

Millions of Facebook users in Illinois will be receiving about $340 each as Facebook settles a case alleging it broke state law when it collected facial recognition data on users without their consent. The judge hearing the case in federal court in California approved the final settlement on Thursday, six years after legal proceedings began."This is money that's coming directly out of Facebook's own pocket," US District Judge James Donato said, according to the . "The violations here did not extract a penny from the pockets of the victims. But this is real money that Facebook is paying to...

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Kate Cox
Jan 15
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Filing: Amazon warned Parler for months about “more than 100” violent threats

Filing: Amazon warned Parler for months about “more than 100” violent threats

Amazon on Tuesday brought receipts in its response to seemingly defunct social networking platform Parler's lawsuit against it, detailing AWS' repeated efforts to get Parler to address explicit threats of violence posted to the service.In the wake of the violent insurrection at the US Capitol last Wednesday, AWS its Web-hosting platform at midnight Sunday evening. In response, Parler accusing Amazon of breaking a contract for political reasons and colluding with Twitter to drive a competitor offline.But the ban has nothing to do with "stifling viewpoints" or a "conspiracy" to restrain a...

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Kate Cox
Jan 13
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Amazon cuts off Parler’s web hosting following Apple, Google bans

Amazon cuts off Parler’s web hosting following Apple, Google bans

Amazon Web Services is suspending Parler's access to its hosting services at the end of the weekend, potentially driving the service offline unless it can find a new provider."Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST," Amazon wrote to Parler in an email .The email from AWS to Parler cites several examples of violent and threatening posts made in recent days, including threats to "systematically assassinate liberal leaders, liberal activists, BLM...

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Kate Cox
Jan 10
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House: Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google have “monopoly power,” should be split

House: Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google have “monopoly power,” should be split

Last June, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law began an in-depth investigation into four major firms—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. The subcommittee wanted to answer one key question: did Big Tech get big playing by the rules, or does it cheat to stay at the top? After 16 months of hearings, research, and analysis, the panel's findings are out... and the results look really bad for every company involved.The tech sector does indeed suffer from abuses of "monopoly power," the subcommittee concluded in the mammoth 450-page report ()...

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Kate Cox
Oct 7
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Google employees kick off union membership drive for 120,000 workers

Google employees kick off union membership drive for 120,000 workers

More than 225 workers at Google have formally launched a company-wide union membership drive, following an increasing drive toward organization inside the company over the past several years.All 120,000 people who work for Google parent company Alphabet, including temporary, contract, and part-time workers, will be eligible for membership in the Alphabet Workers Union, according to from the union and the Communications Workers of America, of which it is a part."Our company's motto used to be, 'don't be evil,'" the chair and vice chair of the new union wrote in a . "An organized workforce...

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Kate Cox
Jan 4
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Pandemic-boosted remote workforce may be in for a shock at tax time

Pandemic-boosted remote workforce may be in for a shock at tax time

The COVID-19 pandemic a trend that was well underway: employers letting their workers perform their jobs remotely, from home, most or all of the time. But even if you and your employer both know exactly where you live and work, you may be surprised to learn that state departments of taxation can have some very different ideas about where "here" is. As a result, Texans, Utahns, and Arkansawyers who work for New York- or Massachusetts-based companies will have income taxes withheld from their paychecks, even if they've never set foot in the home office.In the wake of the pandemic, are...

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Kate Cox
Dec 30
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Reddit clone Voat, home to hate speech and QAnon, has shut down

Reddit clone Voat, home to hate speech and QAnon, has shut down

Reddit alternative Voat shut down on Christmas Day, citing a lack of operational funding, and casting doubt on the abilities of other similar almost-anything-goes, "free speech" platforms to stay online in the long run."I just can't keep it up," Voat cofounder Justin Chastain in the shutdown announcement. Investment dried up in March 2020, he explained. "I personally decided to keep Voat up until after the U.S. election of 2020. I’ve been paying the costs out of pocket but now I’m out of money."Voat first launched in 2014 as dedicated to "free speech," including explicit hate speech,...

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Kate Cox
Dec 28
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Google, Facebook reportedly agreed to work together to fight antitrust probes

Google, Facebook reportedly agreed to work together to fight antitrust probes

More than three dozen state attorneys general last week , accusing the tech behemoth of a slew of anticompetitive behaviors. Among those behaviors, a new report finds, is an explicit agreement from Google to work with Facebook not only to divide the online advertising marketplace, but also to fend off antitrust investigations.Facebook and Google agreed in a contract to "cooperate and assist each other in responding to any Antitrust Action" and "promptly and fully inform the Other Party of any Governmental Communication Related to the Agreement," according to an unredacted draft copy of the...

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Kate Cox
Dec 22
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Pornhub squarely targeted in bipartisan bill to regulate sex work online

Pornhub squarely targeted in bipartisan bill to regulate sex work online

In the wake of recent allegations against Pornhub and its parent company Mindgeek, senators from both parties have introduced a new bill that would impose sweeping new regulations on online sites, platforms, and apps that host adult content. Though the bill is meant to prevent exploitation and trafficking, critics argue that the changes would create significant new risks and costs both sex workers and the fewer remaining sites that would then host them.Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Friday introduced the Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act (), which they described...

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Kate Cox
Dec 21
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FTC kicks off sweeping privacy probe of nine major social media firms

FTC kicks off sweeping privacy probe of nine major social media firms

The Federal Trade Commission is stepping up its digital privacy work and has asked just about every major social media platform you can think of to explain what personal data it collects from users and why.The requests for information went out today to nine platforms (or their parent companies, where applicable), including Discord, Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube, according to . The companies that receive the orders have 45 days to explain to the FTC:A sample order () shows the depth and specificity of the information the FTC is requesting from...

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Kate Cox
Dec 14
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GitHub agrees RIAA claim is bunk, restores popular YouTube download tool

GitHub agrees RIAA claim is bunk, restores popular YouTube download tool

GitHub has reversed its decision to boot YouTube-dl, a popular tool for archiving YouTube videos, from its platform. The company restored repositories this week after "additional information" convinced it that an archiving tool is not in and of itself a copyright violation—no matter what the music industry says.The repositories in question in late October before coming back yesterday. "We share developers' frustration with this takedown—especially since this project has many legitimate purposes," GitHub explained in . "Our actions were driven by processes required to comply with laws like...

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Kate Cox
Nov 17
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Apple settles with states for $113M over iPhone battery throttling

Apple settles with states for $113M over iPhone battery throttling

The attorneys general for 33 states and the District of Columbia have reached a $113 million settlement with Apple over allegations that the iPhone maker throttled performance in several generations of the device to conceal a design defect in the battery.The states alleged that Apple in aging iPhones without telling consumers it was doing it or why. That concealment violated states' consumer protection laws, the attorneys general argued."Apple withheld information about their batteries that slowed down iPhone performance, all while passing it off as an update," California Attorney General...

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Kate Cox
Nov 18
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Trump admin puts a hold on TikTok ban it seems to have forgotten about

Trump admin puts a hold on TikTok ban it seems to have forgotten about

The Department of Commerce has put a stay on enforcing an executive order that would have forced popular short-form video app TikTok to suspend all US operations as of midnight tonight. This is a tacit admission that the proposed ban isn't actually particularly important to the administration any longer.Commerce said the orders against TikTok are on hold "pending further legal developments" in multiple lawsuits, reports.President Donald Trump earlier this year signed two executive orders relating to TikTok. The , on August 7, declared the app to be a national emergency. A second (), issued...

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Kate Cox
Nov 12
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GitHub boots popular YouTube download tool after RIAA claim

GitHub boots popular YouTube download tool after RIAA claim

A popular tool used for archiving YouTube videos, YouTube-dl, is gone from GitHub after the Recording Industry Association of America filed a claim arguing that the code is inherently illegal under copyright law.GitHub, which is owned by Microsoft, removed 18 projects on Friday that previously hosted versions of YouTube-dl, a Python library that allows for the downloading of YouTube video and audio files. Those repositories now display a message, reading, "This repository is currently disabled due to a DMCA takedown notice. We have disabled public access to the repository."Although the...

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Kate Cox
Oct 26
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Senator wants Google, Facebook to pony up for local news

Senator wants Google, Facebook to pony up for local news

The decimation of local media is by now a sad, familiar tale experienced by tens of millions of Americans all over the country. In a report released today, the Senate Commerce Committee's top Democrat is laying blame for the bloodbath squarely at the feet of Google and Facebook, claiming the companies have participated in destroying local news in the pursuit of monopolizing monetization.Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) released the scathing new report () today, ahead of a Wednesday in which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be...

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Kate Cox
Oct 27
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Bot orders $18,752 of McSundaes every 30 min. to find if machines are working

Bot orders $18,752 of McSundaes every 30 min. to find if machines are working

Burgers, fries, and McNuggets are the staples of McDonald's fare. But the chain also offers soft-serve ice cream in most of its 38,000+ locations. Or at least, theoretically it does. In reality, the ice cream machines are , routinely disappointing anyone trying to satisfy their midnight McFlurry craving.One enterprising software engineer, Rashiq Zahid, decided it's better to know if the ice cream machine is broken before you go. The solution? A bot to check ahead. Thus was born , which maps out all the McDonald's near you with a simple color-coded dot system: green if the ice cream machine...

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Kate Cox
Oct 23
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Twitch blasts streamers with vague, unhelpful DMCA takedown emails

Twitch blasts streamers with vague, unhelpful DMCA takedown emails

Streaming platform Twitch this week surprised many of its users when it sent out a huge batch of copyright takedown emails. These messages not only didn't tell streamers what supposedly infringing content they posted, but it also said that Twitch had simply deleted content outright without giving users a chance to appeal.Many Twitch "partners"—the folks who from their Twitch participation—received emails on Tuesday warning that some of their archival content was about to be deleted for violating copyright law."We are writing to inform you that your channel was subject to one or more of...

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Kate Cox
Oct 21
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