Tag Archives | Law

Board says FAA has power over drones, can impose $10K fine

FAA-Logovia Gigaom:

In a setback for consumer drone advocates, the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday supported the FAA’s authority to impose a $10,000 fine on Raphael Pirker, a photographer who had taken pictures from the air over the University of Virginia.

In its ruling, which reverses an administrative judge’s decision in March to throw out the fine, the Board said the FAA has authority over any “aircraft,” even model aircraft or unmanned devices, and can impose fines accordingly.

The board’s decision comes at a time of ongoing controversy over what many perceive as a heavy-handed approach to drones on the part of the FAA, which has declared no one may use the devices for business purposes — including for activities like news photography and search-and-rescue — without a special waiver. But the agency has been slow to grant such waivers, even as drone-based businesses are taking off in Canada and elsewhere.

Several media outlets, including the New York Times, had filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Pirker and challenging the FAA’s blanket ban as a violation of their First Amendment rights.

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WATCH: Police in riot gear arrest California Walmart workers during sit-in over wages, firings

Police in riot gear arresting Walmart workers (KTLA)

Police in riot gear arresting Walmart workers (KTLA)

via Raw Story:

Police decked out in riot gear arrested Walmart workers and supporters after they blocked an intersection in front of a Pico Rivera, California store Thursday evening.

KTLA reports dozens of protestors were taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies wearing riot helmets and holding batons, several hours after the sit-in began, drawing hundreds protesting working conditions at the retail giant.

The sit-in followed a work stoppage  earlier in the day at the company’s Crenshaw Boulevard store in Baldwin Hills.

Employees in Baldwin Hills store stopped work and sat on the floor with tape over the mouths reading ‘strike,’ while holding signs saying, “Walmart stop the illegal threats.”

Walmart is currently under investigation for firing and threatening  employee activists.

Activists have been setting up protests at Walmart stores across the country, posting pictures on twitter at #walmartstrikers.

In Pico Rivers, some workers sat in the middle of the busy intersection holding signs and lit candles as deputies pulled them to their feet and loaded them into buses.

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Over 56,000 Fewer Marijuana Arrests in 2013

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Torben Hansen (CC BY 2.0)

via High Times:

The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2013 is out and shows that fewer than 700,000 people were arrested nationwide for marijuana for the first time in a decade. An estimated 693,482 people were arrested for possessing, growing, or selling marijuana in 2013. This is the lowest arrest total since 1998, when 682,885 estimated arrests occurred.
This total marks a 7.5 percent decline in marijuana arrests from 2012’s total of 749,825, meaning 56,343 fewer arrests occurred in the first full year that Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana. In Washington, court filings for misdemeanor marijuana possession dropped from 5,531 in 2012 to just 120 in 2013, according to the ACLU of Washington. In Colorado, cases filed in state court with at least one marijuana offense plummeted from an average of over 700 per month to about 133 per month, according to the Denver Post.
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Never Get Busted Again

Hey Disinfonauts, thought you might like to know that we’ve uploaded Never Get Busted Again: Volume 1 Traffic Stops to YouTube. You can now watch it for free.

Watch Barry Cooper, a former police officer in Texas focusing on narcotics interdiction for eight years, teach you exactly what you need to know to stay out of jail. With over 800 felony and misdemeanor narcotics arrests, DEA training, and extensive experience with K-9s (drug dogs), Barry’s friendly, plain spoken and honest attitude makes it easy and entertaining for you to learn what you need to know.

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RoboLaw: Why and how to regulate robotics

smlp.co.uk (cc by 2.0)

smlp.co.uk (cc by 2.0)

via Robohub:

The issue is often raised whether robotics needs to be regulated. While some believe that there is no need to intervene because regulation may stifle innovation, others believe that indeed there is need to intervene since robotics may otherwise prove disruptive. However, both arguments are partial, and for this very reason wrong. Thanks to existing laws, a robot (like any other physical phenomenon) is already instantly regulated in the very moment materializes.

Contrary to popular belief, the law is faster than any technological development.

If a time machine was invented tomorrow and time travel became reality, every aspect of the machine would already be regulated before news of the device could be shared with the world. If the first time traveller did not come back from his or her trip to the past, that person’s spouse could, under existing legal frameworks, sue the inventors of the time machine and claim them liable for the accident.

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Medical pot dilemma: Where to get the first seeds?

By Hajime NAKANO via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Hajime NAKANO via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via El Paso Inc:

As more states legalize medical marijuana, there’s one stage in the process nobody wants to talk about: the part where people still have to break the law.

After growers obtain licenses, plan for security and build facilities, they then must obtain their first seeds or cuttings — while regulators turn a blind eye.

“It has to be hush-hush,” said Bradley Vallerius, an attorney focused on the emerging industry in Illinois. “I’ve seen the moment where the client realizes this is a problem” — and wonders how they’re supposed to get started.

The situation is known as the “immaculate conception” or the “first seed” problem. Those involved see it as an absurd consequence of the nation’s patchwork of laws, with 23 states allowing medical marijuana sales, Colorado and Washington state allowing recreational use and a federal prohibition in place.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation: Know Your Rights

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via EFF:

Your computer, phone, and other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. This sensitive data is worth protecting from prying eyes, including those of the government.

EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights if officers try to search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device, or seize it for further examination somewhere else. Keep in mind that the Fourth Amendment is the minimum standard, and your specific state may have stronger protections.

Read More.

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The Senate just rejected a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Poll 1.png

ABC-Washington Post poll results: Public views of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

Remember the Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC? You know, the one allowing corporations to spend whatever it takes to have their candidate win elections for public office. Well many, many people thought that was bad law and Congress should act to override it, but the Senate just rejected the opportunity to adopt a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, reports Vox:

On Thursday afternoon, a proposal to amend the US Constitution to allow tougher campaign finance and election spending restrictions was blocked in the Senate, in a party-line vote. 54 Democrats voted to advance the measure — another, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would have done so but wasn’t present. However, every single Republican voted against it, and it fell to a filibuster.

Unlike with other bills that have majority support, a filibuster wasn’t the primary obstacle here. A proposed constitutional amendment has to win 67 votes to be passed by the Senate — so, assuming all Democrats were present, the amendment would still have been 12 votes short overall.

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Finally, Wall Street gets put on trial: We can still hold the 0.1 percent responsible for tanking the economy

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan ChaseA recent fraud trial in Califirnia could finally pave the way for culpable Wall Street banksters to be criminally prosecuted, reports Thomas Frank at Salon:

The Tea Party regards Barack Obama as a kind of devil figure, but when it comes to hunting down the fraudsters responsible for the economic disaster of the last six years, his administration has stuck pretty close to the Tea Party script. The initial conservative reaction to the disaster, you will recall, was to blame the crisis on the people at the bottom, on minorities and proletarians lost in an orgy of financial misbehavior. Sure enough, when taking on ordinary people who got loans during the real-estate bubble, the president’s Department of Justice has shown admirable devotion to duty, filing hundreds of mortgage-fraud cases against small-timers.

But high-ranking financiers? Obama’s Department of Justice has thus far shown virtually no interest in holding leading bankers criminally accountable for what went on in the last decade.

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