Although the White House this weekend expressed “serious reservations” about elements of the pending anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA, and House leaders have said they will not conduct hearings on their bill any time soon, the legislation is far from dead. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said this weekend that he hopes to open debate on the Senate’s version later this month. And House sponsor Lamar Smith said he will continue work on that chamber’s version. Internet protests planned for tomorrow, in which some of the web’s largest sites will go offline for 24 hours, are expected to go ahead as scheduled. [More]
The Department of Transportation has updated its consumer guide to air travel, which provides a quick summary of what to look for when buying a ticket, and what protections you have during travel. It’s also a good starting point when you have an airline-related problem and need more information before deciding what to do next. [More]
A tipster in Louisville, Kentucky snapped this photo of a small warning sign taped to the window of his local Hobby Lobby. According to the sign, the store reserves the right to go through pretty much anything you happen to be carrying with you, plus your car. But shoppers shouldn’t feel too bad, because the sign says you can refuse and be escorted from the premises. [More]
The Supreme Court has decided 5-4 in favor of firearm owners, ruling that Chicago’s 28-year-old gun ban is unconstitutional. [More]
Yesterday we wrote about someone who downloaded a pirated copy of a game after he couldn’t gain access to the copy he’d already paid for. In that case, which most of our commenters supported, it was clear that the consumer was trying to resolve a problem created by the DRM. But what about if you own a printed copy of a book and you simply want to read the ebook version? Should you have to pay for a second copy? Randy Cohen, who writes the The Ethicist column for the New York Times, says downloading a copy you find online is ethical. [More]
Kerri (not her real name) says she was detained last week at a Walmart in Utah, after she declined to show the receipt checker her receipt on the way out. She says a police officer blocked her from leaving, told her to show the receipt checker more respect, and then had her go back inside and let Walmart examine her bags while he wrote down the info from her drivers license. [More]
Good news, people who are in the unfortunate position of having to do business with an airline in the near future: the TSA’s embarrassingly reactionary new “security rules” have been eased as of this afternoon. Now it is up to the captain whether they’re enforced on each flight, reports CBS News. [More]
A Florida McDonald’s has been sued for refusing to hire a transgender woman. The applicant, 17-year-old Zikerria Bellamy, says that after she didn’t check a gender box on the application, then reluctantly selected male, she was refused an interview by two managers, one of whom then left her an bigoted voicemail. [More]
Cory Doctorow is self-publishing a book and documenting the process for Publishers Weekly. His latest column is about selling audiobook versions of his past works, and how both Apple and Audible have refused to budge on their anti-consumer policies when it comes to digital rights management (DRM) and end user license agreements (EULAs). Even though both companies get paid the same either way, and even though both Doctorow and his publisher, Random House, want to sell the content without these restrictions, Apple and Audible have said no. [More]
An Indiana University grad student has made public an audio recording of a Sprint employee who describes how the company has given away customer GPS location data to cops over 8 million times in less than a year. Ars technica reports that “law enforcement [officers] could log into a special Sprint Web portal and, without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge, gain access to geolocation logs detailing where they’ve been and where they are.” Update: Sprint says the 8 million figure refers to individual pings of GPS data, and that the number of individuals involved is in the thousands. [More]
The Department of Transportation smacked Delta with a $375,000 fine for ignoring federal laws that require airlines to offer bumped passengers adequate compensation and an explanation of their rights. Inside, a listing of your options if an airline tries to bump you off their flight…
Back in March, Steve Bierfeldt was pulled aside while going through the security line at Lambert-St. Louis (Missouri) International Airport, taken to a room, and questioned for half an hour about the box of cash he was trying to check through. Bierfeldt, who works for a Ron Paul organization, recorded the conversation. Now with the help of the ACLU he’s suing the TSA.
It’s difficult enough to parse a lengthy TOS for one web-based service, let alone for dozens, or to keep track of when and how they update them. It would be nice if some public-service website out there would keep track of this stuff for all of us, wouldn’t it? Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) did just that with the launch of TOSBAck.org, “the terms-of-service tracker.” It tracks TOS agreements for 44 different services, including Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Twitter, and eBay.