FCC lets “billion-dollar” ISPs hide fees and data caps, Democrat says

Who needs fee disclosures?

ISPs with 250,000 or fewer subscribers won’t have to follow rules that require greater disclosures about fees and data caps after a vote today by the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC’s Republican majority approved the change to help small providers avoid “onerous reporting obligations” included in the 2015 net neutrality order, they said. But by setting the threshold at 250,000 subscribers and exempting small ISPs owned by larger companies, the FCC is effectively “exempt[ing] billion-dollar public companies” from rules that can be complied with in mere hours each year, said Mignon Clyburn, the FCC’s only Democrat.

The commission’s 2015 order temporarily exempted ISPs with 100,000 or fewer subscribers from the so-called enhanced transparency requirements, but that exemption expired in December 2016. Clyburn said she would support reinstating the exemption for ISPs with 100,000 or fewer subscribers, but she dissented from today’s order.

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Shkreli dubbed a “serial fraudster” by his ex-lawyer in court

In court documents, Evan Greebel, Martin Shkreli’s former lawyer, alleges that the notorious ex-pharmaceutical executive is a “serial fraudster” that duped him into alleged wrong-doing.

That argument counters Shrkeli’s, which is that if he did anything wrong it’s because Greebel gave him bum legal advice.

Shkreli was arrested in December of 2015 and charged by the FBI with several counts of securities fraud related to three interwoven, Ponzi-like schemes that defrauded investors and swindled $11 million from his former pharmaceutical company Retrophin, Inc. At the same time, Greebel was arrested and charged with wire fraud conspiracy in connection with the alleged schemes.

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Amazon refusing to hand over data on whether Alexa overheard a murder

Amazon is balking at a search warrant seeking cloud-stored data from its Alexa Voice Service. Arkansas authorities want to examine the recorded voice and transcription data as part of a murder investigation. Among other things, the Seattle company claims that the recorded data from an Amazon Echo near a murder scene is protected by the First Amendment, as are the responses from the voice assistant itself.

Amazon said that the Bentonville Police Department is essentially going on a fishing expedition with a warrant that could chill speech and even the market for Echo devices and competing products. In a motion to quash the subpoena, the company said that because of the constitutional concerns at issue, the authorities need to demonstrate a “compelling need” for the information and must exhaust other avenues to acquire that data.

The motion says:

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Judge: No, feds can’t nab all Apple devices and try everyone’s fingerprints

A federal magistrate judge in Chicago recently denied the government’s attempt to force people in a particular building to depress their fingerprints in an attempt to open any seized Apple devices as part of a child pornography investigation.

This prosecution, nearly all of which remains sealed, is one of a small but growing number of criminal cases that pit modern smartphone encryption against both the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and also the Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. According to the judge’s opinion, quoting from a still-sealed government filing, “forced fingerprinting” is part of a broader government strategy, likely to combat the prevalence of encrypted devices.

Last year, federal investigators sought a similar permission to force residents of two houses in Southern California to fingerprint-unlock a seized phone in a case that also remains sealed. In those cases, and likely in the Illinois case as well, the prosecutors’ legal analysis states that there is no Fifth Amendment implication at play. Under the Constitution, defendants cannot be compelled to provide self-incriminating testimony (“what you know”). However, traditionally, giving a fingerprint (“what you are”) for the purposes of identification or matching to an unknown fingerprint found at a crime scene has been allowed. It wasn’t until relatively recently, however, that fingerprints could be used to unlock a smartphone.

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Threat via Whisper prompts FBI to show up: “holy f**k I’m… going to get raided”

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times: these so-called “anonymous” messaging apps simply aren’t anonymous. To put it another way, if you’re dumb enough to make violent threats on them, you’ll get caught.

According to a newly released federal criminal complaint, Garrett Grimsley of Cary, North Carolina, allegedly used the Whisper app to make such remarks on February 19. Hours later, local police and the FBI arrived at his door to search his apartment.

As per an FBI affidavit, Grimsley (under the name “Spark_Pure”) wrote in a public post: “Salam, some of you are alright, don’t go to Cary tomorrow.” Another Whisper user, who was not named in the affidavit but is referred to as an unnamed “cooperating witness (CW),” responded: “Why—what’s happening in Cary tomorrow?”

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Divided federal appeals court rules you have the right to film the police

The “First Amendment audit” of Fort Worth, Texas, police in 2015 by activist Phillip Turner.

A divided federal appeals court is ruling for the First Amendment, saying the public has a right to film the police. But the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in upholding the bulk of a lower court’s decision against an activist who was conducting what he called a “First Amendment audit” outside a Texas police station, noted that this right is not absolute and is not applicable everywhere.

The facts of the dispute are simple. Phillip Turner was 25 in September 2015 when he decided to go outside the Fort Worth police department to test officers’ knowledge of the right to film the police. While filming, he was arrested for failing to identify himself to the police. Officers handcuffed and briefly held Turner before releasing him without charges. Turner sued, alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment right against unlawful arrest and detention and his First Amendment right of speech.

The 2-1 decision Thursday by Judge Jacques Wiener is among a slew of rulings on the topic, and it provides fresh legal backing for the so-called YouTube society where people are constantly using their mobile phones to film themselves and the police. The American Civil Liberties Union says, “there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs or video in public places and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply.”

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It took less than a minute of satellite time to catch these thieves red-handed

The heart of the Pacific Ocean is a vast, barely explored region outside national boundaries, teeming with undiscovered species and dramatic undersea terrain. A few organizations monitor activity here, mostly international fisheries management groups, but it’s easy for a vessel to get lost in the enormous distances. That’s exactly what many pirate fishing fleets depend on.

Though normally we associate the term piracy with rogues who commandeer other people’s ships, it’s also used as shorthand to describe illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing. The Pacific is crawling with fishing pirates. Often their ships are crewed by malnourished slaves who don’t see land for months at a time, a practice that has been documented by rights groups and exposed in a 2015 Associated Press investigation. They make their money by fishing illegally or in poorly regulated areas and then offloading their goods to the crews of large refrigerated cargo vessels called reefers in a process called transshipping. The reefer crews mix their legal catch with the pirate catch and then sell it all in port.

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Uber driver: company isn’t paying the full 80% of a fare that I’m owed

An Uber driver in North Carolina has sued Uber in a proposed class-action lawsuit. He alleges that he and other drivers like him are consistently underpaid based on the company’s own formula.

Since nearly the beginning, Uber has paid its drivers 80 percent of a given fare. However, in the lawsuit, lawyers representing the driver, Martin Dulberg, claim that the company has now changed the way it calculates what that fare is. The result is that the company consistently pays between 70 and 80 percent—but not the full 80 percent—of what the fare should be.

In the new lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco, Dulberg’s lawyers allege:

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