William Hook

The End Is Just The Beginning In The Apple Vs. DOJ Legal Battle Over Encryption

As you may have heard, on Friday afternoon the U.S. Department of Justice backed off its efforts to compel Apple to aid in unlocking a criminal suspect’s iPhone — for the second time in only a few weeks. While some have heralded this as a significant victory for Apple (or at least as a loss for the government), it’s really just a tiny, unresolved spat in what looks to become a protracted legal battle for both sides. [More]


Did U.S. Use Secret Court To Force Tech Companies To Weaken Encryption?

Legislators in D.C. are currently considering a law that would compel tech companies to have weak device and software encryption so that law enforcement can snoop when necessary, while federal prosecutors have repeatedly used a 227-year-old law to try to force Apple and Google to work around existing security on their products. A new lawsuit seeks to find out if the government has also been using a highly secretive court to force tech companies to assist in breaking their own encryption. [More]

Prime Number

Apple: Why Should We Help Unlock iPhone Of Someone Who Has Already Pled Guilty?

With the U.S. Department of Justice still attempting to compel Apple to unlock the iPhone of a drug suspect, the tech giant is asking the court why this is so important when the former owner of that iPhone has already pled guilty. [More]


Microsoft Sues Justice Dept.; Wants To Be Able To Tell Users When Govt. Reads Their Files

Before the advent of cloud computing, law enforcement would often have to physically go into an office or home and seize computers and servers of criminal suspects and their cohorts — an obvious tip-off that an investigation is taking place. But now, with so much data living far from the devices used to access it, the government can seize that information without having to load up a van full of hardware, leaving the target of the investigation none the wiser. What’s more, the government can try to block cloud-computing companies from telling affected customers about these seizures, which Microsoft believes is a violation of the Constitution. [More]


DOJ Still Pushing Apple To Unlock Drug Suspect’s iPhone, In Spite Of Judge’s Ruling

In February, while a federal court in California was pondering whether or not to compel Apple’s assistance in unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone, a federal magistrate judge in New York ruled — in a drug-related case — that the government couldn’t force Apple to defeat its own encryption. In spite of that ruling, the Justice Department now tells the court that it is going ahead with its effort to require Apple’s help. [More]

Great Beyond

Government Has Used 1789 Law To Compel Apple & Google To Unlock More Than 63 Smartphones

The high-profile legal standoff between Apple and the FBI recently came to an end when the government unlocked a terrorist’s iPhone without Apple’s assistance, but new data confirms that this single showdown is just one of dozens of cases where the federal government has successfully used a more than 225-year-old law to compel Apple or Google to aid authorities in bypassing smartphone security measures. [More]

After Unlocking iPhone On Its Own, Government Drops Effort To Compel Apple’s Help

Last week, it was reported that the FBI had figured out how to unlock the iPhone belonging to one of the shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, CA, on Dec. 2, 2015. Now, it’s official, as the government has dropped its attempt to compel Apple to aid the FBI in bypassing the device’s security — but this is just the first of likely many fights over this issue. [More]

Rick Drew

Justice Department Advises Against Throwing Poor People In Jail For Not Paying Fines

While debtor prisons have long been outlawed, failure to pay a court-ordered fine or fee can get you locked up. But in a letter sent yesterday to state court administrators, the Department of Justice advises against using the penal system as a way to collect debts. [More]

Facebook’s WhatsApp May Be Next In Law Enforcement’s Privacy Battle

Facebook’s WhatsApp May Be Next In Law Enforcement’s Privacy Battle

The federal government’s courtroom war with Apple over iPhone encryption may be grabbing all the headlines, but a number of tech companies offer devices, apps, and messaging services with privacy settings that frustrate police investigations. And according to a new report, the Facebook-owned WhatsApp instant messaging app could be the next to face a legal challenge from the feds. [More]

John Oliver Rewrites Apple Ads To Make Them More Honest About Encryption

John Oliver Rewrites Apple Ads To Make Them More Honest About Encryption

On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver looked at length at the ongoing, complicated legal battle between Apple and the FBI, which has asked a court to compel the tech company to rewrite its software to allow authorities to search crime suspects’ locked iPhones. And while Oliver ultimately came down in defense of Apple’s position in the matter, he also believes the company could be more direct about presenting the reality of the situation. [More]

Adam Fagen

Apple Accuses DOJ Of “Smear” Campaign In Fight Over Unlocking Shooter’s iPhone

The legal tug-of-war over whether or not Apple can be forced to unlock a secure iPhone continued last night, with the U.S. Justice Department filing a sharp rebuke to Apple’s claims that it can’t legally be compelled to rewrite its software, and with Apple responding by accusing federal prosecutors of operating a “smear” campaign through the court system. [More]

(Jeff Kubina)

Supreme Court Leaves Apple On The Hook For $450 Million In E-Book Refunds

Nearly three years after Apple was found liable for conspiring with book publishers to fix prices on the e-book market — and nine months after losing again at the appeals court level — the electronics giant has failed to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case one final time, meaning Apple is now on the hook for $450 million to e-book buyers. [More]

Mike Park

DOJ Sues To Shut Down Liberty Tax Franchisee For Giving People Fake Jobs Based On Their Hobbies

Federal prosecutors are asking the court to shut down a Liberty Tax Service franchise in South Carolina, alleging that these locations have deliberately prepared false and inflated federal tax refunds by giving them income from fictional jobs and claiming children that don’t exist. [More]

Wells Fargo To Pay $1.2 Billion To Settle Govt. Lawsuit Over “Reckless” Mortgages

Wells Fargo To Pay $1.2 Billion To Settle Govt. Lawsuit Over “Reckless” Mortgages

In Oct. 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Wells Fargo, alleging that the mega-bank had defrauded taxpayers by issuing “reckless” mortgages then misleading the Federal Housing Administration about the quality of those loans. Today, Wells revealed that has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to close the book on this issue. [More]

Chicken Of The Sea, Bumble Bee Abandon Plan To Unite As One Giant Can Of Tuna After DOJ Objects

Chicken Of The Sea, Bumble Bee Abandon Plan To Unite As One Giant Can Of Tuna After DOJ Objects

Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee will be leaving their underwater wedding separately despite going steady since 2014: the two tuna companies won’t be merging into one giant can of fish after the U.S. Justice Department put the kibosh on their planned union.


Comcast-owned Comcast Spotlight partners offers ad sales services to smaller pay-TV providers.

Justice Department Investigating Comcast’s Influence On Cable TV Ads

You know when you’re watching national prime-time TV and, after a bunch of ads for big-name brands you’ll suddenly be treated with a commercial for some local car dealer? Those are called “spot” ads and Comcast is being investigated for possibly having too much control over their sales. [More]

Criminal charges have been filed against USP Labs -- the maker of Jack3d -- and several of its principals by federal prosecutors.

Feds File Criminal, Civil Cases Against More Than 100 Supplement Companies

A sweeping multi-agency federal investigation has resulted in a slew of criminal and civil charges being brought against more than 100 companies that either make or market supposed dietary supplements for selling products that allegedly contain ingredients other than those listed on the label, or products that make unsubstantiated health or disease-treatment claims. [More]

A screen grab of the MMS product as sold on the Project GreenLife website (via the Internet Archive)

Man Who Sold Industrial Chemical As “Miracle Mineral Solution” Sentenced To 51 Months In Jail

There are plenty of people out there peddling “miracle” cleanses, juices, and elixirs that don’t really do anything, but that will usually just get them a slap on the wrist and some fines for false advertising. But if the “Miracle Mineral Solution” is really nothing more than an industrial chemical that can’t be sold for human consumption, then you’ll probably end up in jail for a few years. [More]