legal

IRS updates Free File agreement, putting TurboTax on notice

IRS updates Free File agreement, putting TurboTax on notice

It's almost tax season again which, especially for those in the US, is one of the most grueling tasks of their lives. It doesn't help that the process can also be an expensive one since the software that promises to ease the burden actually puts a load on your wallet. That, however, should not have been the case and the IRS is announcing an addendum to its Free File program that promises to make filing tax returns online easier and cheaper, despite TurboTax's attempt to make it otherwise.

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US Army joins Navy in banning TikTok on government-issued phones

US Army joins Navy in banning TikTok on government-issued phones

Only weeks after the US Navy passed a similar rule, the United States Army has banned its members from using China-owned TikTok on their government-issued smartphones. The reason, according to an Army spokesperson, is that officials consider TikTok a 'cyber threat,' mirroring concerns expressed by government officials who called for a national security review of the app.

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FAA proposes new rule to easily ID rogue drones – and track the rest

FAA proposes new rule to easily ID rogue drones – and track the rest

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published its Remote ID rule proposal, detailing the system it envisions for identifying and locating the vast majority of drones operated in the United States. Under the proposed rule, drones that weigh more than 0.55lbs, including ones used exclusively for recreation, would be required to broadcast identifying information using one or two different acceptable methods.

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iPhone exemption in San Francisco face recognition ban opens can of worms

iPhone exemption in San Francisco face recognition ban opens can of worms

Governments and legal systems are often criticized for being slow to adapt to the times especially when fast-changing technology is concerned. Some do try to catch up, sometimes in haste and often with rather disastrous results. One example is the battle to protect privacy and security against face recognition. A new San Francisco law that banned such technologies from government use amusingly included even the use of Apple iPhones. Now a silent amendment that undoes that error may have also created a precedent for surveillance equipment to be exempted as well.

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US raises minimum smoking age to 21 over teen vaping concerns

US raises minimum smoking age to 21 over teen vaping concerns

Though the legal age to purchase alcohol in the United States is 21, the nation's second most popular vice -- tobacco smoking -- is lower with a minimum purchasing age of 18. That will change sometime next year due to a law recently passed by Congress. Under this new legislation, the federal minimum smoking (and vaping) age has been increased to 21, a decision largely spurred by electronic cigarette concerns.

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Two pirates plead guilty in running the US’ largest illegal streaming services

Two pirates plead guilty in running the US’ largest illegal streaming services

Piracy may be a debated topic in some contexts and regions but there's no escaping the fact that it is illegal in many countries. You may argue all you want against capitalism, fair use, ownership, and other factors but when you're running a large streaming service for pirated content and earning millions from it, it's not really a matter of fighting for the little folk anymore. Perhaps knowing that the gig is up, two men from Las Vegas have pleaded guilty to being part of the country's biggest pirated streaming operation, trying to make a deal for a lesser sentence than they would have been given if convicted.

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Apple, Google could be forced to ask apps to disclose foreign ties

Apple, Google could be forced to ask apps to disclose foreign ties

Mobile apps have helped changed our modern lives, often for the better but sometimes also for the worse. That's especially true for those apps that, in exchange for entertainment or free services, gather unknowing users' data for less conscientious purposes. The US government has taken a particular interest in that phenomenon, especially when it's the data of US citizens that is in question. Lawmakers are now asking if Apple and Google, the two largest mobile platform makers, require app developers to disclose their ties to foreign countries, in particular to China.

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Facebook Cambridge Analytica FTC ruling, 4 years late and woefully inadequate

Facebook Cambridge Analytica FTC ruling, 4 years late and woefully inadequate

Here in late 2019, the FTC released a ruling and public order on their findings on Cambridge Analytica's dealings on Facebook. That's Cambridge Analytica, one of the many major reasons Facebook faced major scrutiny for their role in the spread of disinformation during the 2016 US Presidential Election season. This is not the first time Cambridge Analytica was found guilty of deception and criminal activity - it is, however, the latest clear sign that the FTC is not equipped to protect the privacy of citizens of the United States.

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Episodes of The Office, Parks and Rec, Seinfeld licensed through 2025

Episodes of The Office, Parks and Rec, Seinfeld licensed through 2025

What in the world is going on here, you might be saying - aren't The Office and Parks and Recreation already over? Yes, both of these mocumentary-style television shows are done, and there will be no new episodes (for now). But the rights, the precious rights, like the spice melange, they must flow! The rights have been renewed for cable - exclusively*!

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China cracks down on fake news and deepfakes with new laws

China cracks down on fake news and deepfakes with new laws

China is cracking down on the creation of fake news and 'deepfakes' with new laws that will make publishing this content without an advisory a criminal offense. The move comes amid growing concerns over the effects AI-generated fake content can have on spreading false information and propaganda across social platforms. The move follows a similar bill recently passed in California.

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Federal court slaps device search limits on US border security

Federal court slaps device search limits on US border security

The US government must have "reasonable suspicion of digital contraband" before it can search travelers' phones, laptops, and other electronics, according to a new ruling by a federal court. The decision marks a significant step in data privacy for international travelers, and comes after widespread criticism of CBP and ICE actions at the border.

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AT&T unlimited data throttling lawsuit ends in $60 million settlement

AT&T unlimited data throttling lawsuit ends in $60 million settlement

Network operators have redefined what the word "unlimited" means, or at least as it applies to data. What they really meant was limited unlimited data that incurred consequences once you hit certain conditions. That may be common practice but AT&T may have tried to get away with it until the FTC slapped it with a lawsuit. Now five years later, the major US carrier has decided to just pay the fine, long after the case could have any significant effect in the industry.

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