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In Brief

Is liking something on Facebook a form of protected expression akin to putting a bumper sticker on your car? The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said, yes, it is. The ruling comes in response to a sheriff who sacked a deputy for liking the Facebook page of his political rival. A lower court last year agreed with the sheriff that the speech was “insignificant” and didn’t qualify for First Amendment protection. Facebook and the ACLU disagreed and weighed in on behalf of the deputy. (More background on the case and symbolic speech here.)



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In Brief

In response to a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, a secret spy court has ordered the federal government to declassify decisions (issued by the spy court) that authorized the NSA to collect meta-data on millions of US phone records. The court cited recent leaks by Edward Snowden as a factor in its order, which you can read here. The Guardian has a detailed account here. Earlier today, big technology firms renewed their efforts in the secret court to get permission to disclose how many surveillance requests they receive.

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Bruce Schneier offers an easy-to-follow account of how fingerprint authentication can be subverted and how the technology will be used on the new iPhone. Some highlights: “Your fingerprint isn’t a secret; you leave it everywhere you touch” and “Failures will be more common in cold weather, when your shriveled fingers just got out of the shower, and so on.”

In Brief

Google and Microsoft have been badgering the FISA court, a secret body that oversees spy requests, to release the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests they receive every year. The government has yet to respond, but instead has asked for six different extensions. Now, the tech firms have amended their complaint to ask for permission to disclose a specific number, not (as before) a broad range. Yahoo today filed its own lawsuit about the issue.

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