Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Is it time to hold police officers accountable for constitutional violations? (

schwit1 writes: Recently the Supreme Court issued a summary opinion in the White v. Pauly case.A police officer was sued for killing a man during an armed standoff during which the officers allegedly never identified themselves as police. The Supreme Court, however, concluded that the officer had “qualified immunity.” That is, he was immune from a suit for damages, because his conduct — while possibly unconstitutional — was not obviously unconstitutional.

The doctrine of qualified immunity operates as an unwritten defense to civil rights lawsuits brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983. It prevents plaintiffs from recovering damages for violations of their constitutional rights unless the government official violated “clearly established law,” usually requiring a specific precedent on point. This article argues that the doctrine is unlawful and inconsistent with conventional principles of statutory interpretation.

Members of the Supreme Court have offered three different justifications for imposing such an unwritten defense on the text of Section 1983. One is that it derives from a common law “good faith” defense; another is that it compensates for an earlier putative mistake in broadening the statute; the third is that it provides “fair warning” to government officials, akin to the rule of lenity.

But on closer examination, each of these justifications falls apart, for a mix of historical, conceptual, and doctrinal reasons. There was no such defense; there was no such mistake; lenity ought not apply. And even if these things were otherwise, the doctrine of qualified immunity would not be the best response.

The unlawfulness of qualified immunity is of particular importance now. Despite the shoddy foundations, the Supreme Court has been reinforcing the doctrine of immunity in both formal and informal ways. In particular, the Court has given qualified immunity a privileged place on its agenda reserved for few other legal doctrines besides habeas deference. Rather than doubling down, the Court ought to be beating a retreat.

Government officials, especially those with the power that Law Enforcement officers have, should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one.

Submission + - SPAM: Warrant for Wiener's Laptop Unsealed 2

Xenographic writes: The warrant used to seize Anthony Wiener's laptop has been unsealed in redacted form, which details their efforts to clean up any leaks of classified information from Hillary's private server, which the warrant tells us was filled with classified information. Specifically: "In February 2016, the State Department completed its review and determined that 2,115 of the 30,490 emails contained information that is presently classified. Out of these 2,115 emails, the State Department determined that 2,028 emails contain information classified at the Confidential level; 65 contain information classified at the Secret level; and 22 contain information classified at the Top Secret level." So as part of their investigation, they had to search out and destroy any information that might exist on Wiener's laptop. We already know from Podesta email #10587 that Hillary's staff believed that one of the items on Hillary's server was a Top Secret picture of North Korea. In that email, Brian Fallon wrote: "The rumor was not that ODNI had completed the review and determined only one was not TS and the other was, but rather that they had only reached a definitive conclusion on the one (we think the North Korea email that supposedly relied on satellite imagery) and were still deciding on the other."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Comapny disables software of buyer who posted "bad" review

Brymouse writes: Ham Radio Deluxe, a $99 radio control and logging program popular in the amateur radio community, disabled the software of a user after he posted a potentially bad review (was 3/5 stars, now 1/5). Further this user was directed to install the update which disabled the application by HRD's own support.

The original thread was then deleted from "news" site as HRD is a major advertiser and complained about copyright violations from the user posting a PDF of his support ticket. Reddit picked it up here and more research was done showing a pattern of blacklisting bad reviews.

This was picked up by Jason Scott, of the internet archive, on twitter and Ham Radio Deluxe threatened him with libel for posting it.

As of yesterday HRD says an offical statement will be "coming soon". The Strieisand Effect continues with undeleting the threads and HRD still trying to claim copyright on their customers support ticket.

Submission + - Vendor disables user's software for negative review, demands retraction

Submission + - Wikipedia exceeds fundraising target, but continues asking for more money

Andreas Kolbe writes: The fundraising banners on Wikipedia this year are so effective that halfway through its December fundraising campaign, the Wikimedia Foundation has already exceeded its $25 million donations target for the entire month, reports The Register. A few weeks ago, Jimmy Wales promised that the Wikimedia Foundation would "stop the fundraiser if enough money were raised in shorter than the planned time". But there’s no sign of the Foundation doing that. When asked about this more recently, a Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson remained non-committal on ending the campaign early. The most recent audited accounts of the Wikimedia Foundation showed net assets of $92 million and revenue of $82 million. None of this money, incidentally, pays for writing or checking Wikipedia content – that's the job of unpaid volunteers – and only $2 million are spent on internet hosting every year.

Comment Re:Something's not right here. (Score 1) 360

One can only hope its a load of bunk but its quite a persistent rumor thats been stirring around since we found out apple was removing the headphone jack on the iphone. Following in apple's footsteps is right up samsung's alley unfortunately. I have a feeling this rumor may be true. I have to start looking for a good replacement brand now. Fuck samsung and their idiocy.

Submission + - Are there Android devices that do not violate GPL? 1

guruevi writes: After purchasing (and subsequently returning) several "Chinese" manufacturer Android and Linux-based devices, I arrived at MINIX which was recommended for their support and 'industrial grade' quality.

However their Android builds had several broken features. While attempting to make a custom build, I noticed the stock Android Linux kernel requires drivers and kernel modifications that were statically compiled into the kernel. The drivers weren't to be found anywhere either open source or as binary blobs and since they are hard-coded into the kernel, they would be GPL.

So I found the manufacturers "OpenLinux" repositories and requested the source code to the Linux kernel modifications from MINIX, who sent me to Amlogic (the manufacturer) for access. Amlogic only releases it to "their customers" (the OEM) and thus sent me back to MINIX. MINIX then claimed to have an NDA with Amlogic and cannot release the modifications they make to the GPL kernel which both having an NDA regards the Linux kernel and refusing to release is in clear violation of the GPL.

Obviously I am no longer doing business with them, but I'm still looking for a (good, stable, industrial-grade) Android-based device from a vendor that does not violate the GPL. Eventually I'll be purchasing several dozens if not hundreds of these devices so I need a stable manufacturer.

Submission + - Ask Slashtot: How to determine if your IOT device is part of a botnet? 1

galgon writes: There has been a number of stories of IoT devices becoming part of
Botnets and being used in DDOS Attacks. If these devices are seemingly working correctly to the user how would they ever know the device was compromised? Is there anything the average user can do to detect when they have a misbehaving device on their network?

Submission + - Norwegian Oil Fund Asked to Consdier if Facebook is Unetical 2

polemistes writes: During the last few weeks there has been an uproar (this is in English) in Norwegian media about Facebook censorship. It started with writer Tom Egeland posting the iconic 1972 photo of Kim Phuc, running from a napalm bomb. Facebook decided that the nudity in the photo could be offensive, so they deleted it. When Egeland posted to criticise the censorship, the whole post was deleted. A major internet news site wrote about it, and the editor shared his article on Facebook, and was blocked for 24 hours. Now the Norwegian Press Association has asked the ethics committee of the Norwegain Oil Fund, who has invested about $1.6 billion in Facebook, to consider whether Facebook is acting unethically. If they are found to do so, the fund will have to withdraw their investments, because its strict ethical code. As a side-note:The google-translated article also censors the photo.

Comment Re:Defendable (Score 5, Interesting) 116

Hmm just did some testing on my own server and even with HSTS and HPKP I was able to MITM a secure connection using fiddler as long as the forged certificate's root CA was in my browsers trusted key store. I am a bit alarmed firefox v48.0.2 didn't seem to complain that the certificate passed wasn't the same as the certificates my site has pinned. I wonder if this is a configuration issue on my end or if I'm misunderstanding the way key-pinning should work.

Comment Defendable (Score 1) 116

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if a website uses both SSL and HSTS this attack becomes much more difficult, if not impossible (depending on how your browser handles HSTS) as long as its not your first time visiting the website. If you have visited the website before and HSTS is enabled on the site a forged certificate will not work and the victim will not be able to continue. Still scary but its just further reason that more sites, even those that don't transmit critical information, should use HTTPS and HSTS.

Submission + - Frontier Teams With AT&T To Block Google Fiber Access To Utility Poles (

An anonymous reader writes: Frontier submitted a court filing last week supporting ATT's efforts to sue local governments in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky to stop a new ordinance designed to give Google Fiber and similar companies access to utility poles. They're concerned the ordinances will spread to other states. Frontier's filing said, "the issues raised by the case may have important implications for Frontier's business and may impact the development of law in jurisdictions throughout the country where Frontier operates." The ordinance in Louisville lets companies like Google Fiber install wires even if ATT doesn't respond to requests or rejects requests to attach lines. Companies don't have to notify ATT when they want to move ATT's wires to make room for their own wires, assuming the work won't cause customer outages. ATT claims that the ordinance lets competitors "seize ATT's property." Frontier is urging the court to consider the nationwide implications of upholding Louisville's ordinance, saying Louisville's rule "is unprecedented" because "it drastically expands the rights of third parties to use privately owned utility poles, giving non-owners unfettered access to [a] utility's property without the [...] utility in some cases even having knowledge that such third-party intrusion on its facilities is occurring." Frontier said companies should be required to negotiation access with the owners if they didn't pay to install the utility poles. They urged the court to deny Louisville Metro's motion to dismiss ATT's complaint.

Submission + - Why Does The IRS Need So Many Guns? (

schwit1 writes: Special agents at the IRS equipped with AR-15 military-style rifles? Health and Human Services “Special Office of Inspector General Agents” being trained by the Army’s Special Forces contractors? The Department of Veterans Affairs arming 3,700 employees?

The number of non-Defense Department federal officers authorized to make arrests and carry firearms (200,000) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000).

Submission + - Comodo cancels "Lets Encrypt" trademark application (

An anonymous reader writes: Comodo who had attempted to register the trade mark "Lets Encrypt" in an effort to steal the identity of a non profit competitor, saw reason after receiving much attention on social media.

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