government

Appeals court rules NSA surveillance program illegal

Appeals court rules NSA surveillance program illegal

In March, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the NSA, claiming their surveillance program was overreaching and illegal. Today, a Federal Court of Appeals has agreed with that assertion, finding the NSA’s practice of data collection “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized”. This decision comes well after Edward Snowden began leaking documentation highlighting just how deep and intrusive the NSA’s domestic surveillance program is. In the ruling, Circuit Judge Gerald Lynch wrote “such an expansive concept of 'relevance' is unprecedented and unwarranted”.

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Uber’s China office raided by government authorities

Uber’s China office raided by government authorities

Police and other government officials in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou conducted a raid on the offices of Uber Technologies last week. The incident was initially reported by local newspaper Guangzhou Daily, who added that cellphones and other equipment were seized, and that transportation and business-licensing departments were taking part in the ongoing investigation. The office raid took place on Thursday, while on Friday the Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government's official broadcaster, reported that the operation was not targeting Uber specifically, but part of a general crackdown on illegal taxi services.

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Slack says they’ve had no government requests for data

Slack says they’ve had no government requests for data

News of government requests for data is oftentimes troubling to read. Companies who transmit data typically fall under the watchful gaze of officials who may want to know what some citizens are up to, where those companies get legal requests for all kinds of data, including who we may have spoken with. Slack, the enterprise-focussed chat service, says they’ve not had a single government request for data of any kind. For such a widely used conversation platform, that’s hard to believe.

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EU is making automatic emergency calling mandatory for cars

EU is making automatic emergency calling mandatory for cars

The European Parliment just voted to enact a measure to make Europe's highways a bit safer. Automatic emergency dialing service, eCall, will be installed in all new passenger cars and trucks within the EU. The service is designed to aid car accident victims by automatically calling 112 (the European equivalent to America's 911) in the case of a crash. Last year, over 25,700 people lost their lives from European road accidents. The eCall system is expected to cut the EU's annual death toll from car accidents by 10%.

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EU gearing up to formally accuse Google of antitrust violations

EU gearing up to formally accuse Google of antitrust violations

European regulators are ready to make a move and pounce on Google, formally accusing the search engine giant of violating European antitrust policies. E.U. regulators have been mulling over this case for a while now, and this new move will the the latest in a public threat to Googles business practices. At the heart of the antitrust case is Google's alleged use of its search engine to direct web users to its own products. Additionally, the E.U. investigation is looking into allegations that Google made it difficult for advertisers to move their ads to other platforms because Google was aggregating content from competitors in its search results.

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Kremlin cracks down on Internet memes

Kremlin cracks down on Internet memes

The Russian government has cracked down Internet memes, with a court in the nation ruling that ones featuring celebrities are unacceptable if the resulting image "has nothing to do with the celebrity's personality". This applies to any celebrity in the nation, but spawned as the result of one common Russian meme in particular featuring a saccharine sweet singer with obscene text overlaid -- the amusing part, of course, being that the saying is something unlikely to be said by the singer himself.

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People care about privacy when John Oliver sells it to them

People care about privacy when John Oliver sells it to them

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver just did a bang-up job showing off the newest in government surveillance law in the United States. Such a bang-up job, in fact, that the YouTube release of the 33-minute segment has garnered nearly 3-million views in less than two days. As Oliver explains, no one cared about the government surveillance program known as the Patriot Act for the first decade it was active, authorized, and re-authorized after it was enacted following September 11, 2001. Fast forward to June of 2013 and Edward Snowden infamously revealed the goings-on of the NSA - fast forward to 2015 and John Oliver is interviewing Edward Snowden.

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Department of Homeland Security seeking national license plate database

Department of Homeland Security seeking national license plate database

Early last year, it was revealed the Department of Homeland Security was seeking a Federal License Plate Reader Database, something that was later abandoned in light of privacy concerns. Now the DHS has changed its mind and is again pursuing such a national database, soliciting bids from those who could provide it with such a product. The reason for its return is the department's belief it can now mitigate those aforementioned privacy worries. To prove it, DHS has published a report detailing the info.

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All 650 MPs in House of Commons to receive iPad Air 2

All 650 MPs in House of Commons to receive iPad Air 2

Once the current elections are wrapped up, all 650 members of the House of Commons will receive a special tool to help them perform their tasks. With a funding boost of about $300,000 (£200,000) annually, the MPs will all get an iPad Air 2 and a laptop of unknown make. It’s the latest workaround for Apple, who has been diligently working to get the iPad into hands of enterprise, schools, and now government. Questions loom, though, as critics say MPs will be playing games, not passing laws.

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FTC launches new office for tech research and investigation

FTC launches new office for tech research and investigation

The FTC has formed a new research office called the Office of Technology Research and Investigation, and as you'd expect given its name, it focuses on technology and all of the issues that might arise surrounding it. The FTC is currently on the prowl for new hires that'll be joining the office, which it said will ultimately help it "protect consumers" in a world where technology is developing rapidly. This new office is a successor to the Mobile Technology Unit, which was formed a few years ago to tackle mobile-centric technological issues in particular.

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