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Transportation

Feds Target "Mongols" Biker Club's Intellectual Property 393

couchslug writes in with a Reuters account of a Federal raid on a California-based motorcycle club, the Mongols, on charges "ranging from murder and robbery to extortion, money laundering, gun trafficking and drug dealing." The interesting twist is that the authorities are asking the courts to seize the IP of the biker club — specifically, their trademarked name "Mongols." "Federal agents and police in seven states arrested more than 60 members of the Mongols motorcycle gang on Tuesday in a sweep that also targeted for the first time an outlaw group's 'intellectual property,' prosecutors said. The arrests cap a three-year undercover investigation in which US agents posed as gang members and their girlfriends to infiltrate the group, even submitting to polygraph tests administered by the bikers ... [T]he name 'Mongols,' which appears on the gang's arm patch insignia, was trademarked by the group. The indictment seeks a court order outlawing further use of the name, which would allow any police officer 'who sees a Mongol wearing this patch ... to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back' ..."
Censorship

Nation-Wide Internet Censorship Proposed For Australia 424

sparky1240 writes "While Americans are currently fighting the net-neutrality wars, spare a thought for the poor Australians — The Australian government wants to implement a nation-wide 'filtering' scheme to keep everyone safe from the nasties on the internet, with no way of opting out: 'Under the government's $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material. ... According to preliminary trials, the best Internet content filters would incorrectly block about 10,000 Web pages from one million."
Censorship

Senate Votes To Empower Parents As Censors 418

unlametheweak recommends an Ars Technica report that the US Senate has unanimously passed a bill requiring the FCC to explore what "advanced blocking technologies" are available to parents to help filter out "indecent or objectionable programming." "...the law does focus on empowering parents to take control of new media technologies to deal with undesired content, rather than handing the job over to the government. It asks the FCC to focus the inquiry on blocking systems for a 'wide variety of distribution platforms,' including wireless and Internet, and an array of devices, including DVD players, set top boxes, and wireless applications."
Censorship

W3C.org Briefly Censored In Finland 115

k33l0r writes "The web site of W3C, w3.org or w3c.org, was briefly censored (Google Translation) by at least some of the local ISPs. For an unknown reason the URL was mistakenly entered into the Federal Police's censor database. Some of the Finnish ISPs use the database to filter out questionable content such as child pornography." Finnish online activist Matti Nikki describes some of the problems with this database-based censorship.
Censorship

YouTube Bans Gun and Knife Videos In the UK 632

PatPending writes with a depressing excerpt from the UK's Metro: "The Google-owned video-sharing site YouTube has decided to introduce the ban [on weapons-related videos] for the UK only amid widespread unease about the increase in knife crime in the country. 'We recognise that there has been particular concern over videos in the UK that involve showing weapons with the aim of intimidation, and this is one of the areas we are addressing,' a YouTube spokesperson said. 'I would like to see other internet service providers follow suit to reinforce our message that violence will not be tolerated either on the internet or in the real world,' she said."
The Courts

Ray Beckerman Sued By the RIAA 725

An anonymous reader writes "Ray Beckerman, known for questioning the RIAAs legal tactics (also for frequent Slashdot contributions), was sued by the RIAA over his blog Recording Industry vs. People. In question is the 'vexatious' claims that the RIAAs legal tactics is a 'sham.' Beckerman is quoted as saying that the litigation against him is 'frivolous and irresponsible.'"
Government

In MN, Massive Police Raids On Suspected Protestors 961

X0563511 alerts us to events in Minneapolis and St. Paul in advance of the Republican convention (which has been put on hold because of Hurricane Gustav). Local police backed by the FBI raided a number of homes and public buildings and confiscated computers and other material. From Salon.com: "Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than 'fire code violations,' and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying. Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning — one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided." Here is local reporting from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Aided by informants planted in protest groups, authorities raided at least six buildings across St. Paul and Minneapolis to stop an 'anarchist' plan to disrupt this week's Republican National Convention. From Friday night through Saturday afternoon, officers surrounded houses, broke down doors, handcuffed scores of people and confiscated suspected tools of civil disobedience ... A St. Paul City Council member described it as excessive, while activists, many of whom were detained and then released without charges, called it intimidation designed to quash free speech."
Privacy

FBI ISP Letters May Have Violated Free Speech 117

Anti-Globalism sends in a Reuters account of an appeals court hearing in which an unnamed ISP is challenging the Patriot Act "National Security Letter" provision that allows the FBI to issue secret letters to ISPs and telecoms, demanding customer records. "A panel of federal appeals court judges pushed a US government lawyer on Wednesday to answer why FBI letters sent out to Internet service providers seeking information should remain secret. ... Between 2003 and 2006 nearly 200,000 national security letters were sent out. Of those about 97 percent received gag orders."
Hardware Hacking

CC Companies Scotch Mythbusters Show On RFID Security 466

mathfeel passes along a video in which Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage recounts how credit card companies lawyered up to make sure the Discovery channel never, ever airs a segment on the flaws in RFID security. "Texas Instruments comes on [a scheduled conference call] along with chief legal counsel for American Express, Visa, Discover, and everybody else... They [Mythbusters producers] were way, way outgunned and they [lawyers] absolutely made it really clear to Discovery that they were not going to air this episode talking about how hackable this stuff was, and Discovery backed way down being a large corporation that depends upon the revenue of the advertisers. Now it's on Discovery's radar and they won't let us go near it."
The Internet

Comcast Is Reading Your Blog 235

Paolo writes "A Washington student got a bit of a shock when he received an email from internet service provider Comcast about comments he had made on his blog. Brandon Dilbeck, a student at the University of Washington, writes a blog and used it to complain about the service he was getting from Comcast. Shortly afterwards he got an email message from Comcast apologizing for the problems and suggesting he might look at a guide it had posted on its web site. Lyza Gardner, a vice president at a Web development company in Portland used Twitter to complain about the company and was surprised to be contacted directly. Comcast is now monitoring blogs as a way of improving its image among customers. The company was ranked at the bottom of the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index."
The Internet

US ISPs Announce Anti-Child-Porn Agreement 613

An anonymous reader writes "It seems that ISPs have gathered together with 45 attorney generals and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to form an agreement to crush child pornography. What does that mean? Probably the same as it meant for RoadRunner, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon customers — the end of the newsgroups." Here's the back-patting press-release from the various parties who signed on (the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the National Association of Attorneys General), though the actual text of the agreement does not seem to have been made public.
Censorship

Nancy Pelosi vs. the Internet 561

selil writes "A story popped up on the ChicagoBoyz Blog. It says 'Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would like very much to reimpose the old, so-called, "Fairness Doctrine" that once censored conservative opinion on television and radio broadcasting, is scheming to impose rules barring any member of Congress from posting opinions on any internet site without first obtaining prior approval from the Democratic leadership of Congress. No blogs, twitter, online forums — nothing.'"
Censorship

Online "Public" Spaces Don't Guarantee Rights 347

mikesd81 recommends an AP piece covering a lot of examples of the ways free speech and other rights don't exist on the private Web. One case featured was that of Dutch photographer Maarten Dors, who had this picture deleted by flickr. Without prior notice, Yahoo deleted the photo on grounds it violated an unwritten ban on depicting children smoking. While Dors eventually got the photo restored, after the second time it was deleted, the case highlights the consequence of having online commons controlled by private corporations. "Rules aren't always clear, enforcement is inconsistent, and users can find content removed or accounts terminated without a hearing. Appeals are solely at the service provider's discretion. Users get caught in the crossfire as hundreds of individual service representatives apply their own interpretations of corporate policies, sometimes imposing personal agendas or misreading guidelines. First Amendment protections generally do not extend to private property in the physical world, allowing a shopping mall to legally kick out a customer wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a smoking child." Reason.com has some more analysis on the issues brought up by the AP story.
Censorship

Indefinite Imprisonment For Web Site Content 484

Suriken writes "In an unprecedented move, the New Zealand Solicitor General is seeking an indefinite prison sentence against American businessman Vince Siemer for alleged breach of an interim gag order now more than three years old. Siemer was jailed for six weeks last year for refusing to take down a Web site accusing the chairman of an energy company of suspect business practices. Because he still refuses to take down the site, NZ Solicitor-General David Collins QC wants to lock up Siemer indefinitely, merely for asserting his own free speech. From the article: 'Siemer's [defense] claims the Solicitor General's action is barred by double jeopardy. He also maintains he had long ago proven in Court that the injunction was incorrect in fact and law but that the judge simply ignored the law and evidence. He says the gag order violates his freedom of expression guarantees in these circumstances.' Here's more coverage from an NZ television station."
Censorship

AP Files 7 DMCA Takedowns Against Drudge Retort 177

mytrip points out a blog posting by Rogers Cadenhead, author of the Drudge Retort blog, who says: "I'm currently engaged in a legal disagreement with the Associated Press, which claims that Drudge Retort users linking to its stories are violating its copyright and committing 'hot news' misappropriation under New York state law." An AP attorney filed six Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests this week demanding the removal of blog entries and another for a user comment. The AP material they object to consists of snippets of from 33 to 79 words. Cadenhead claims his lawyer believes that all fall squarely within the province of fair use.

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