Civil liberties groups are up in arms today with the news that California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have forced police to obtain a search warrant before searching the mobile phones of suspects upon their arrest. The veto means that for the time being, anyone arrested in California can be forced to submit to a search of their phone. These days, that essentially means handing over your entire life to officers.
Enemies yesterday, friends today. That about sums up the relationship between online eCommerce giant Amazon and the state of California, two sides that have been bickering over sales tax. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Amazon and California legislatures took off the boxing gloves long enough to shake hands and sign a deal where Amazon would be off the hook for sales tax for one more year.
Rapid breathing, sweaty palms, and a tightening of the chest; those physical effects used to be associated with prom night or horror movies, but thanks to all the high-profile hacking antics hitting the headlines these days, you might experience the same jitters whenever a website asks you for some personal information. Even worse, companies don’t always own up to when they’ve been pwned and put your data in danger. It’s getting better, though. California just passed a law that requires companies that have been OMG h@x3d to directly inform their customers of the breach.
According to the Supreme Court, videogames qualify for First Amendment protection, and California's attempt to enact a law restricting the sale of violent videogames to minors was ruled unconstitutional. The 7-2 decision came in the case of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, and to rub salt in the wound, the ESA is now seeking $1.1 million in attorney's fees from the state of California, Arstechnica reports.
Every time a state draws up a new bill to force Amazon's hand at ponying up sales tax for products sold and shipped to its residents, the online retailer responds by killing off its associate program in that state and ending any business deals. It's akin to Amazon taking it's ball and going home, or at least going elsewhere, the only problem with that approach is Amazon is running out of places to, well, run. California is the most recent casualty to Amazon's associates program, but the e-tailer is also trying a different tactic this go-round.
Remember yesterday when we told you of the horrible dystopian future California faced as they considered forcing online retailers to collect state sales tax? Well, they’re going ahead with it, causing an outcry from Internet retail giants including Amazon and Overstock. The change goes into effect Friday.
It’s getting to be a highly predictable pattern. A state starts working on a bill that would force Amazon to pay sales tax up front on its sales in said state. Amazon then starts playing hardball by cancelling business deals and ending associate programs, and that’s what’s happening in California today.
Gamers and free speech advocates alike scored a major victory today as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a controversial California law that restricts the sale or rental of violent videogames to minors. Following a majority vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the law violates the First Amendment, noting that California sought to "create a wholly new category of content-based regulation that is permissible only for speech directed at children. That is unprecedented and mistaken."
Those yellow and orange 'Get Out of Jail Free' cards from Monopoly don't actually exist in real life, but for more than 450 inmates at a California prison with "a high risk of violence," they didn't need one. A computer error allowed them to walk free on "non-revocable parole," meaning they're not required to check in with parole officers and will only be put back behind bars if they're caught committing a crime.
California is trying to push through legislation that would require social networks to make changes to their privacy policies, and Facebook wants nothing to do with it. Called the Social Networking Privacy Act (SB 242), this new bill would require Facebook and other social networking sites make users set up their privacy settings as part of the registration process rather than after they become members. So what has Facebook all in a tizzy?