Shortened Links to Live On, New Supreme Court Case Database, and More

The reguar Friday happy hour at the the $employer tried to break my daily posting streak. I’m not having that.

  • Archiving of url shortened links
    If you wondered about the long term viability of shortened URLS, especially with the third party indexing of Twitter and other social messaging services, this is good news. The shuttering of initially raise some question though their decision to open source the data dodged the bullet eventually. The Archives cooperation eith is a more sustainable solution that points the way, potentially, for other shortening services.
  • New Supreme Court database
    My good friend Kevin from the Life after Law School podcast sent me this link. This builds on some earlier work make the SCOTUS cases easier to search and more accessible for law geeks, well, like me. Further good news, though, in the general vein of access to the information that is critical to our open democracy.
  • New cookie consent law in the EU
    According to the WSJ, the law won’t ban cookies, rather requiring that there is an opt-out mechanism and clear notification. I have to agree with Felten whose view on this in the past is that browser cookies are the devil we know. If this law is indeed specific to cookies, it may encourage the use of less manageable ways of achieving the same end, like Flash cookies.
  • More to consider with Google’s SPDY protocol
    At Ars Iljitsch van Beijnum points out something I had largely overlooked with Google’s new protocol, that fact that it will require SSL. If that’s true, if this is not optional, he’s right. Encryption will interfere with content caching, definitely, and he’s definitely right in terms of less powerful devices like smart phones.
  • Call to restore a key oversight board
    This EFF post explains about a body that in the past has exercised critical oversight and could have headed off perhaps some of the worst abuses. Their petition here makes sense to rollback the re-organization that remove the effect of this board.
  • Verizon to test sending infringement letters to customers
    I am not sure I agree with Cecilia Kang’s extrapolation in this WaPo piece from Verizon’s pilot of what merely sounds like notices to the impending three strikes that may be forced via treaty with ACTA. Still that the carrier is considering cooperating with big content is itself a concern in terms of traction in their companion to deputize third parties.
  • EFF participating in global copyright database
    This is not a project originated with the EFF but clearly in keeping with their focus. I think this may be the first such effort so sweeping in its scope. It makes sense to not only leverage the participating of NGOs and academics, but also libraries which have a strong stake in the public access side of the copyright debate.

FOIA Win for the EFF Finally, An Open Protocol for a Faster Web, and More

  • Is Google building out a phone service?
    This Wired piece builds on some earlier reporting about a rumored acquisition of Gizmo5 by the search giant. The article clarifies identifies the challenge to this notion coming to pass, namely that AT&T is already chumming the regulatory waters for Google over Voice.
  • Grinning EFF lawyers surrounded by secret government documents
    Cory posted this picture of Nate and Marcia from EFF which graphically demonstrates the size of their win in finally getting documents relevant to their wire tap case from the federal government. You can’t blame them for being jubilant given the effort it took just to get these documents, let alone the long hours ahead to read and analyze them.
  • Details on the documents the EFF received
    Straight from the source, here is a quick post from the EFF on the documents pictured in the previous link.
  • How the reputation economy is affecting security
    Some interesting thoughts from Schneier on the subject. It goes a long way to explaining the resistance to data breach laws, though he gives some counter examples as well. The risk of reputation cuts both ways and encourages some providers to increase security regardless of customer demand.
  • Complaints over the name of Google’s new programming language
    I am saving my thoughts on the apparent technical merits or demerits of the language for this weekend’s podcast. In the interim, it appears there is already a bit of a kerfuffle fomenting over the name. Despite clearly having precedent, McCabe and Clark apparently didn’t have a trademark for the language they designed which will complicate defending their position. Hopefully Google does the right thing and changes their name before it gets too much traction to be practical.
  • More from Felten on effective copyright enforcement
    This is shaping up into a fairly compelling series of posts. Infringement happens and rights holders are within their rights to act in the face of it. What Felten is laying out is just how wasteful and foolish big content’s efforts have been along these lines. The implication is following Felten’s reasoning will help steer clear of the issues clumsy enforcement has run into with fair use. I think there is also a subtle challenge, here that if infringement was the top priority, this is the model they’d follow. Since it isn’t, I think it lends weight to the view that big content is acting more to suppress innovation.
  • New open protocol for faster web browsing
    From the details in this RWW piece, there is a lot to like about what seems to me to be an effort by Google to modernize the creaky HTTP protocol without requiring a huge shift away from existing servers, browsers and content. The real test whether this is the case will be in how Apache and Mozilla react in terms of considering the protocol for their own roadmaps.

New JUSTICE Act Would Reform PATRIOT, FISA Amendments

I was thrilled to see Cory’s post on Boing Boing about the JUSTICE Act linking to and abstracting from Kevin Bangston’s write up at EFF.

On December 31, three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that broadly expanded government surveillance authority in the wake of 9/11 are set to expire.1 The Obama Administration made clear in a letter this week to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy that although the Justice Department supports reauthorization of those provisions, it is also open to discussing modifications to the law β€œto provide additional protection for the privacy of law abiding Americans.”

Senators Feingold and Durbin introduced the bill to capitalize on that opening for discussing amendment to these provisions. As a compromise the bill would renew two of the three provisions but with critical checks that would help restore protections against unjustified surveillance. It looks like it will go a long way towards reining back in the National Security Letters and even more critically would repeal immunity for the telcos that participated in the illegal but still contested wiretaps that the FISA Amendment Act protected.

It is too soon to make any predictions but I am optimistic about the chances for this bill. The concession of some powers to law enforcers may make the bill much more passable than past attempts at reform. The EFF in particular will be following the bill’s progress closely. If passed with the immunity repeal intact, it would allow their cases on the warrantless wiretaps to proceed.