Apple Told All Writs Act Can’t Force Them To Unlock iPhone

Recently Apple has been involved in court battle after court battle, with the largest battle being the San Bernardino case against the FBI. In the case, the FBI are looking to use an 18th-century law, the All Writs Act, to get Apple to create some software  that would let them get passed the passcode. In a similar case, a judge has just made a ruling, something that makes it look like Apple may win their legal battle against the FBI.

In the case, the Drug Enforcement Agency had seized an iPhone and were looking to use the All Writs Act to unlock the iPhone, an iPhone 5. Just like in the San Bernardino case, Apple objected and argued that there are nine cases (now eleven) where the government are looking to gain access to iPhones.

Judge Orenstein looked at previous court decision and found that under the rule of three the All Writs Act couldn’t be applied. One of the rules for applying the All Writs Act was if the person/group had a connection to the case. In this instance, the judge decided that Apple, who are a private party with no connection the criminal activity, couldn’t be made to perform work against their will by the All Writs Act.

Judge Orenstein also warned against the use of the All Writs Act to create a precedent that would mean that companies like Apple would have to fulfill the government wishes, something the FBI are not looking for.

This could be the case Apple need to finally say to the FBI that their rights, and their company, can’t be forced to work for a cause that they have no link to. Given Apple’s response relied heavily on their amendment rights, it will be interesting to see how the FBI responds to this ruling.

Camera Attached To A Utility Poll Used To Spy On Suspects

While they work to enforce the law, recently they have come into conflicts with it when technology was used in new ways. From the use of mobile interception technologies, like the Stingray, to the watching people’s online activity. In a recent court appeal, a new tactic was revealed, a Webcam attached to a utility pole being used to spy on suspects.

Roane County Sheriff’s Office arrested Rocky Houston, a known felon, for possession of a firearm. ATF agents installed a remote-controlled camera to a utility pole around 200 yards away from Houstons farm, all without a warrant. Normally required to install surveillance technology such as cameras or phone taps, the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals has stated that Houstons conviction will remain in place as “no reasonable expectation of privacy” was present in the video footage. The reason for this ruling is that as the camera was placed on a public utility pole and only captured what could have seen by a passerby, the images it took would not be considered an invasion of privacy and wouldn’t require a warrant to be legally admissible.

The camera was located on the pole for a grand total of 10 weeks. With such as a short time frame, the observations were not considered unconstitutional.

Judge Thomas Rose, while believing that even if the surveillance was in breach, said that the video evidence would have been permitted, although due to the probable cause they could have gotten a warrant.

Facebook Tagging Violates Protective Orders

Remember when you kept getting tagged in all those status? How about when you were tagged in pictures which didn’t even contain you? Sometimes it can get a little annoying, and sometimes it can go beyond reasonable. A judge has now ruled though that if you are meant to stay away from people and you tag them, that tagging violates protective orders.

Acting Westchester Country Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci stated that tagging someone (which will send them a notification and normally an email as well) is enough to be considered a breach of any protective orders. A protective order is similar to a restraining order but is the highest level of protection permitted by the law.

The case features a sister-in-law (Maribel Calderon) being tagged by Maria Gonzalez ( Maribel’s sister-in-law)in status that included calling Maribel “stupid” while another alleged to have read “You and your family are sad…You guys have to come stronger than that!! I’m way over you guys but I guess not in ya agenda”.

Gonzalez has now been charged with second-degree criminal contempt, which her representatives argue she was explicitly banned from contacting Calderon via Facebook or similar services. The Judge ruled though that being ordered not to contact her via “electronic or any other means” meant she was in breach.

Capeci stated:

“The allegations that she contacted the victim by tagging her in a Facebook posting which the victim was notified of is thus sufficient for pleading purposes to establish a violation of the order of protection.”

While I believe this is a great step, I worry that you are required to be notified before it becomes a problem. How do you define a notification? Is it the email saying you’ve been tagged or is the symbol saying “you’ve been tagged” on Facebook enough? While a step forward in helping protect people, the law will need to catch up to technology in order to help protect them to the full extent of the law.

No Privacy For Posterior Pocket Diallers

Is this really a thing? Apparently so according to a ruling which states that anyone who Pocket dials someone with their leg or any other anatomy part does not have either an expected or legal right to privacy.

If you’re wondering where American tax dollars are being funnelled to, then it’s for the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to debate and rule over the legal ramifications for accidentally ringing someone whilst your phone is in your pocket. Does it become stupider? The answer is yes, considering a panel was created to analyse the effects which determine “the widespread knowledge of accidental calling and the availability of preventative measures of an individual on the receiving end, of such a call does not violate privacy laws by recording the conversation.”

And how did we arrive at the destination for debating this absurdity? According to documents, the former chairman by the name of James Huff of the Kenton County Airport Board sued an executive assistant after she recorded a conversation concerning company matters. What transpired is that both Huff and Vice Chairman Larry Savage had a conversation regarding replacing then CEO Candace McGraw; Huff attempted to contact his executive assistant Carol Spaw but dialled the wrong number.

He then placed his phone back into his pocket at which point he then dialled the assistant’s correct number without realizing, the executive assistant heard and recorded both Huff and Savage’s private conversation.

It strikes me that coining the phrase “does not have either an expected or legal right to privacy.” as slightly odd. If it’s by accident then how do you inadvertently but knowingly surrender privacy? This is certainly a grey area which did not seem a problem or issue until a court became involved.  Perhaps it’s for the NSA to exploit a bug which makes ending calls impossible under a cloak of legality.

Not sure what else to say, now you know not to pocket accidentally dial someone I would guess.

Thank You to courthousenews for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of michaelarntfield

 

German Court Says YouTube Is Responsible for User-Uploaded Content

There have been a lot of debate about copyright infringements on Google’s streaming service, YouTube. The streaming service has been in court with GEMA, the German organisations protecting authors’ rights, since 2006, but two German courts have now ruled their decision on the matter.

According to the Higher Regional Court in Hamburg, YouTube is responsible for what its users upload to the service. However, the streaming service is not liable for any copyright infringements. Therefore, nobody can sue the service for any infringements, though YouTube must act and take down any content that is marked and notified as infringing active copyrights.

However, GEMA did sue YouTube and expected some compensation. But the Munich district court’s decision ruled in YouTube’s favour and rejected GEMA’s bid. The copyright organisation demanded to be compensated with €0.375 per view of copyright material from artists it holds under its wing, leading to a sum of €1.6 million.

Truth be told, streaming services such as YouTube cannot be responsible for what its users upload, but it indeed can take down anything infringing copyright. The search media giant said it was open to discuss and take reasonable action alongside GEMA without having the need of taking everything to court. Despite the latter, GEMA is still thinking of making an appeal to the Munich Higher Regional Court.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

Small Victory for Kim Dotcom as Court Releases More Seized Funds

Kim Dotcom hasn’t had it easy the past years with the US authorities wanting him extradited and their seizure of his financial assets. But now he’s finally caught a little break as Justice Patricia Courtney ruled to free more of his money, allowing Dotcom to pay his past and current legal bills as well as being able to pay for his and his families normal monthly expenses; we’re not talking small money here.

Previously the authorities argued that Kim Dotcom had his trust from which he could pay his expenses, but the truth is that he can not access this money at the moment. The trusts major assets is its shareholding in Mega Ltd that is said to be worth more than $22 million USD, but these can not be sold as that is blocked by the scheduled listing of Mega.

So how much money is he getting? First he gets $3 million for legal expenses where half will go to pay the old bills and the other half for his future battle against extradition. His famous mansion costs around $60 thousand a month, but leaving it and moving to a more reasonable accommodation would result in even higher costs and as such the judge also freed $754,000 per year for these expenses. Dotcom will also get $18,850 per month for staff costs and $15,000 for food, clothing, and the general care of him and his family.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

EU Votes In Favor Of Breaking Up Google

The Euopean Parliament has voted in favour of ‘breaking up’ Google.

MEPs (Member of European Parliament) voted 384 to 174. The Parliament itself can’t break up Google directly, but the vote will place pressure on EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager to take action.

The motion, which was raised by Andreas Schwab, a German Christian Democrat, and Ramon Tremosa, a Spanish liberal, says that Google is operating unfairly, by using its estimated 90% share of the search engine market to promote its own products and services.

Select European countries, most notably Germany, have also shown displeasure with the way Google aggregates news content, without passing on revenues to the publisher.

While it’s believed the EU won’t exactly break up Google, they may receive a hefty fine. The BBC says that the previous EU competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, suggested that the only way to solve this problem, was to fine the company $5 Billion.

Source: The Telegraph, BBC News

Microsoft Ordered by Judge to Submit Customers Emails from Abroad

Microsoft Corp was ordered on Thursday by a U.S. government judge to turn over a customer’s email that is stored in a data center in Dublin, Ireland. The case has already drawn concern from privacy groups and major technology companies around the world.

Microsoft and other U.S. companies had challenged the original warrant, arguing it improperly extended the authority of federal prosecutors to seize customer information held in foreign countries.

District Judge Loretta Preska said after the 2 hour hearing in New York, that a search warrant approved by a federal magistrate judge required the company to hand over any data it controlled, regardless of where it was stored. “It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information,”

The case seem to be the first in which a corporation has challenged a U.S. search warrant seeking data held abroad and the judge said she would temporarily suspend her order from taking effect to allow Microsoft to appeal her decision to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A number of technology companies came to Microsoft’s assistance and filed court briefs in support, including AT&T Inc, Apple Inc, Cisco Systems Inc and Verizon Communications Inc.

The companies are worried that they could lose billions of dollars in revenue to foreign competitors if customers fear their data is subject to seizure by U.S. investigators anywhere in the world. It is unclear which agency issued the warrant because the warrant and all related documents are sealed.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Right to Be Forgotten Is a Waste of Time

The legal ruling in Europe that allows everyone to wipe their digital slate clean is a complete and utter waste of time. Simply removing your articles from Google is hardly going to cover your ass when you’ve done some thing wrong. In fact some members of the public have taken it upon themselves to expose those who are trying to hide, adding further levels of futility to those who are trying to remove content about themselves from search engines.

A recent House of Lord report declared the idea “wrong”, adding that it’s clear that “neither the 1995 Directive, nor the Court of Justice of the European Unions’s (CJEU) interpretation of it, reflects the incredible advancement in technology that we see today, over 20 years since the Directive was drafted”.

The right to be forgotten is an interpretation of Article 12 of the Data Protection Directive, laid down by European Parliament in 1995 and relating to the protection and processing of personal data. The right to be forgotten rule is a new interpretation of this directive.

“We do not believe that individuals should have a right to have links to accurate and lawfully available information about them removed, simply because they do not like what is said,” Baroness Prashar said.

I couldn’t agree more, if people are so ignorant that they feel they can remove data like this from the internet then fool on them, even worse is when convicted criminals, failed businessmen and more are using this ruling to have articles they don’t like removed from Google, if an article is based around the truth, why should we have to hide it? That’s like burning news papers and books from libraries because they contain stories that someone doesn’t want you to know and it looks like time for this law is about to pass.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wired.