Monthly Archives: July 2013

Third Amendment Litigation

Despite the complacency reported by America’s Finest News Source in Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year, the fact is that there a genuine — if perhaps somewhat unlikely to succeed — Real Live Third Amendment Case recently filed in Nevada.

The facts alleged are pretty shocking; whether they make out a Third Amendment claim (and indeed whether the Third is applicable against state governments) remains a problem to delight law professors.

Posted in Law: Constitutional Law | Leave a comment

A Grim Top 10 List

Juan Cole’s Top Ten American Steps toward a Police State.

The amazing thing is that the war on photography didn’t even make the list, and it’s hard to see which item it should have displaced.

Posted in Civil Liberties | Leave a comment

Good Work

If you want to see what an absolutely first-class appellate brief looks like, look no further than Petitioner’s Brief in U.S. v. Auernheimer, authored by Tor Ekeland and Mark Jaffe, Hanni Fakhoury of the EFF, Marcia Hofmann (ex-EFF, now in private practice) and Orin Kerr (GWU Law).

If I’m ever convicted of reading and copying stuff off an unprotected web page, I want these guys as my lawyers.

And, yes, that’s the essence of the felony conviction being appealed:

The government charged Auernheimer with felony computer hacking under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) for visiting an unprotected AT&T website and collecting e-mail addresses that AT&T had posted on the World Wide Web. The government also charged Auernheimer with identity theft for sharing those addresses with a reporter.

Auernheimer’s convictions must be overturned on multiple and independent grounds. First, Auernheimer’s conviction on Count 1 must be overturned because visiting a publicly available website is not unauthorized access under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(C). AT&T chose not to employ passwords or any other protective measures to control access to the e-mail addresses of its customers. It is irrelevant that AT&T subjectively wished that outsiders would not stumble across the data or that Auernheimer hyperbolically characterized the access as a “theft.” The company configured its servers to make the information available to everyone and thereby authorized the general public to view the information. Accessing the e – mail addresses through AT&T’s public website was authorized under the CFAA and therefore was not a crime.


Disclosure: I’m on the EFF Advisory Board, but have no connection to the case other than liking those of the lawyers I know.

Update (7/2/13): Here’s EFF’s official announcement, Appeal Filed to Free Andrew ‘Weev’ Auernheimer.

Posted in Law: Criminal Law, Law: Internet Law | Tagged | 1 Comment

Revolutions Occur In Periods of Rising Expectations

More evidence for Crane Brinton’s thesis that revolutions tend to occur in periods of rising (but frustrated) expectations.

Juan Cole: Biggest Demonstrations in Egyptian History: Millions Demand President Morsi Step Down.

Previously: Guy Fawkes Day Musings (November 5, 2007).

Posted in Politics: International | Leave a comment

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

In today’s email:

UM to Migrate Email to New Cloud-Based System
The University of Miami has entered into an agreement with Microsoft to migrate its email to a new cloud-based system that will better meet the needs of faculty, staff, and students. Over the next 12 to 18 months, all current UMail email users on all campuses will be migrated to Microsoft Office 365. Your email address will not change.

Actually, I’m still on ALPINE, on a unix box. So my email just works … when it actually gets to me past all the filters, attachment limits, spam filters I don’t fully control, and erratic forwarding out of the Microsoft maze it has to navigate on its way to me.

My refusal to join the Microsoft ecosystem creates some problems when people try to send me meeting invites via Outlook, which I don’t even have on my computer. (“Friends don’t let friends use Outlook.”) The calendar requests are invisible to me. Other than that, I’m much happier than my poor co-workers who struggle with bad search, mailbox limits and other discomforts.

Supposedly 365 will make things better. It will certainly make all our email even more accessible to the NSA.

Posted in U.Miami | 1 Comment