If Yahoo would have refused to comply with the NSA court order, Yahoo would have lost all of its assets, or $13.8 billion, in just over a year.

by Jon Fingas | @jonfingas | http://www.engadget.com

Yahoo's headquarters in Sunnyvale

The US government’s threat that it would fine Yahoo $250,000 per day back in 2008 was bad enough by itself, but declassified documents show that the penalties could easily have been much, much worse. Marc Zwillinger and Jacob Sommer (who were on Yahoo’s side in the case) note that $250,000 was merely the baseline, and that the requested fines would double for every week that Yahoo refused to hand over user data. There wasn’t a ceiling, either. At that rate, holding out for any significant amount of time would have been impossible — Yahoo would have lost all of its assets, or $13.8 billion, in just over a year. As such, the fine wasn’t so much a punishment as a weapon that forced the internet firm to comply with a surveillance order it was planning to contest in court.

N.Y. State Senator Looks to Legalize Marijuana for General Use

By MIKE VILENSKY http://blogs.wsj.com

Sen. Liz Krueger, D-New York, right, and Sen. John DeFranciso, R-Syracuse, debate a budget bill in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., in 2011.

Associated Press

New York Senator Liz Krueger will introduce a bill seeking to legalize marijuana for general use in New York state, she said on Sunday, hoping the recent passage of medical marijuana laws will help give the bill momentum.

Ms. Krueger, a Democrat representing Manhattan for more than a decade, said that in the legislative session beginning in January, she will fight for a bill modeled partly on cannabis legalization laws that recently went into effect in Washington and Colorado.

Stop Calling Tor ‘The Web Browser For Criminals’ Instead of being scared of the deep web, we should recognize how we can use it for good

Instead of being scared of the deep web, we should recognize how we can use it for good.

Ukrainian politician who proposed anti-free speech law thrown into dumpster (video)

CPS called on parent of a child caught playing outdoors.

Child Services to Mom Who Did Nothing Wrong: ‘Just Don’t Let Your Kids Play Outside’

Children’s book author Kari Anne Roy was recently visited by the Austin police and Child Protective Services for allowing her son Isaac, age 6, to do the unthinkable: Play outside, up her street, unsupervised.

He’d been out there for about 10 minutes when Roy’s doorbell rang. She opened it to find her son —and a woman she didn’t know. As Roy wrote on her blog HaikuMama last week, the mystery woman asked: “Is this your son?”

WikiLeaks posts the software governments use to spy on dissidents

by Jon Fingas | @jonfingas |http://www.engadget.com

WikiLeaks truck

WikiLeaks’ all-or-nothing approach to revealing shady government activity just took a new (if decidedly risky) turn. Julian Assange and crew have posted FinFisher and FinSpy PC, the intrusion software that Australia, Italy, Pakistan and other countries use to break into and spy on people’s devices, no matter what platform they’re running. The leak site hopes that privacy-minded developers will use the code to improve security and prevent governments from easily cracking down on dissidents; it also puts pressure on Germany to clamp down on FinFisher and live up to its anti-surveillance principles. The strategy may pay off, although there is a worry that unscrupulous downloaders may use the code for more sinister purposes, such as keylogging or webcam monitoring. Let’s hope the tools don’t fall into the wrong hands.

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