News & Opinion

Free speech rights of registered sex offenders trumps resrictions on internet activity

A federal appeals court scuttled a popular state initiative that would have required registered sex offenders to report their internet activity. The initiative would have required offenders to notify law enforcement whenever they got a new internet service account or internet identifier. (Bloomberg Businessweek, November 19, 2014, by Josh Eidelson) The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court […]

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Los Angeles: California Supreme Court allows redactions of teacher names in reporting test scores

The California Supreme Court left standing a lower court ruling in favor of the Los Angeles Unified School District, allowing them to continue to redact teachers’ names in releasing statistics on job performance. State courts had found that the public interest in keeping names redacted outweighed the interest in disclosing scores with teachers’ names. The […]

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Brown Act roundup: Judge finds Monterey County was within the law in performance reviews

A Superior Court judge ruled that Monterey County supervisors did not violate the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, by holding closed sessions to review the performance of the water resources general manager. Officials can conduct job performance evaluations during closed sessions but not set policies or goals. (Monterey Herald, November 18, 2014, by Jim […]

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Google wins First Amendment case over right to arrange search results

A California Superior Court judge ruled that Google had a First Amendment right to arrange its search results without outside direction. A website CoastNews had argued that Google had unfairly put it in the lower echelon of search results hurting its business. CoastNews and such companies as Yelp and Travelocity are fearful that Google can […]

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Reporters Committee finds First Amendment issues in warrantless search for cell phone location data

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is arguing that warrantless searches for cell phone location data can reveal a reporter’s pattern of investigation and confidential sources. The Fourth Amendment was written with journalists in mind since journalists were subject to warrants for seditious libel. The amendment required searches to be limited to probable […]

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ACLU calls for police restraint in handling possible protests this week in Ferguson

The ACLU of Missouri sent a letter to law enforcement agencies asking for restraint in case of protests over the pending grand jury decision of whether to bring charges against the police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson in August. The ACLU wants the police to respect lawful protest and the right of the […]

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Free speech: LinkedIn loses round in federal court over spam promotional messages

LinkedIn lost a round in federal court when a district judge refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit that claims the company gathered e-mail addresses, contact lists and e-mail history from users of their service without permission. Users were upset that LinkedIn sent scads of promotional messages to their contacts using the users’ names and […]

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University of California balking at full disclosure as they propose tuition hike

The University of California is dragging its feet in complying with a new state law mandating the release of budget information as it prepares to increase tuition. Governor Jerry Brown wanted the law passed after UC administrators passed substantial raises for themselves.   San Francisco Chronicle reporter Nanette Asimov, November 15, 2014, writes, “The law, AB94, requires […]

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Justice Department lied about confidentiality of national security letters

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a letter in federal court holding that the Justice Department lawyer lied in oral arguments about gag orders on national security letters (NSLs) for customer data. The lawyer claimed telecom companies were allowed to discuss the national security requests. The EFF is arguing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals […]

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California: Gun dealers claim ban on storefront ads violates First Amendment

Four gun dealers are suing to strike down California’s ban on handgun ads that are visible from the outside of their businesses. They claim that the law violates the First Amendment by denying them the ability to bring true commercial information about handguns to the public. (Courthouse News Service, November 13, 2014, by Mike Heuer) […]

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