LiveJournal Users Deleting their Accounts in Droves Now that LiveJournal is Fully Under Russian Control – Here’s Why

LiveJournal has come fully under Russian control since January of this year, and as of last week LiveJournal and its users are now completely subject to Russian law. In reality, LiveJournal (also known as LJ), a place to, well, live journal your thoughts, etc., has been owned by Russian interests since 2007, but many users either didn’t know that, or didn’t care because LJ was still being managed out of California, and the LiveJournal servers were located in California. But all that has changed. (Note: We have provided the full text of both the LiveJournal TOS and the controlling Russian law at the end of this article.)

It is Now Illegal to Hold a Cellphone to Your Ear While Driving in California

A law that was passed in California last year, and that went into effect on January 1, 2017, makes it illegal for anyone operating a motor vehicle to hold a cellphone in their hand while driving. Assembly Bill 1785 (“AB 1785”) criminalizes “driving a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or a wireless electronic communication device.”

Federal Court Holds “No Expectation of Privacy on Personal Computer”

In a stunning decision, a Federal court has held that a user has no expectation of privacy for their personal computer if they have connected that computer to the Internet. While the case and holding is fairly complex, this part of the holding boils down to this: in this day and age we know that computers that are connected to the Internet can be hacked, and knowing this, we are not entitled to an expectation of privacy on our personal computers.

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Email Privacy Act

For more than four years we have been telling you that law enforcement can get to any electronic communications you have stored for more than 180 days in the cloud (and that ‘cloud’ is just a fancy word for “somebody else’s computer”). This is because the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) only requires a subpoena in order for a governmental agency to get at those communications records that you have stored on that third-party server – they do not need a warrant.

Microsoft Fights Federal Warrant to Access Email Data in Ireland

Yesterday we told you about how Microsoft is one of several companies who are encrypting their services and hardening their systems against the prying of nosy agencies like the NSA. Now Microsoft is fighting a Federal court order that they turn over the data for a user’s email account whose email data resides on a server outside of the U.S. (in Ireland, to be specific).

Obama Says “Unlock a Cell Phone, Go to Jail” Law Should Be Abolished

Back in February we told you that it had just become illegal, on a Federal (i.e national) level, to unlock a cell phone – yours or anyone else’s. This was owing to the Library of Congress’ inaction, specifically their failing to renew an exemption to the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). The exemption is what made it legal to unlock a cell phone despite that otherwise the DMCA would prohibit it. Not only that, but starting next year, you could go to prison for five years for unlocking a cell phone without the carrier’s permission. Now President Obama is leaning on the FCC to make unlocking your cell phone legal.

California Law AB 242 Would Require Privacy Policies to be Written at an 8th Grade Reading Level and be No Longer Than 100 Words

Proposed California law AB 242, introduced by Assemblyman Ed Chau, is creating quite a buzz due to its wording, or rather, proposed lack of wording. AB 242 would require that all commercial websites and services offered through the Internet which collect personal information about California consumers make its privacy policy be written at a level of 8th grade reading, and be no longer 100 words.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Initiates Internet Grassroots Efforts, Has Baristas Write ‘Come Together’ On Cups to Encourage Lawmakers to Fix Fiscal Cliff Issue

Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz took to the Internet to announce an online grassroots campaign by having his DC Starbucks employees write “Come Together” on the cups of all of their customers to send a message to lawmakers about the fiscal cliff. While Internet grassroots efforts are not typically led by wealthy corporate CEOs, Schultz has instructed the baristas to write the message on the cup of each customer all this week, through December 28th.

FTC Gears Up to File Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

Google is yet again finding themselves in hot water as the Federal Trade Commission is poised to slap them with an antitrust lawsuit. The FTC staff recommendation for the antitrust lawsuit is not unexpected given the swift investigations of Google by California, New York, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. On top of the U.S. investigation, there is also an antitrust investigation of Google taking place in Europe.

California Says “No Warrant Needed to Get Location-Based Data”, Can Other States be Far Behind?

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Sunday that would have required a search warrant in order to obtain location-based personal information obtained through cell towers from mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets, and also GPS systems. The veto came with the message that Brown felt that information based on a user’s location is important to the processes needed by law enforcement.