On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that President Donald J. Trump engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, in violation of the First Amendment, by blocking certain users' access to his Twitter account based on those users' speech on Twitter. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued the President on behalf of seven Twitter users who were blocked from the President's Twitter account after said users tweeted replies to the President critical of his personality and policies. Judge Barrington D. Parker concluded "that the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees."
Congressman Devin Nunes has reportedly filed a defamation lawsuit in Virginia state court against Twitter, Republican political consultant Liz Mair, and two parodical Twitter accounts (@DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow) seeking at least $250 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that Twitter is intentionally refusing to enforce its Terms of Service and Twitter Rules against accounts that supposedly attempt to defame conservative individuals such as Nunes.
The NYPD has sent a letter to Google demanding that it remove a feature that allows users to post drunk-driving checkpoints on its Wave navigation app. In the letter, the NYPD argues that the feature is irresponsible because it allows impaired and intoxicated drivers to avoid checkpoints and therefore encourages reckless driving. Those users who post such checkpoints on the Waze app, the NYPD says, may be engaging in criminal conduct since such actions hinder the NYPD from enforcing DWI laws and other criminal and traffic laws.
The Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland released a report last week that discussed an investigation into a complaint against the social media network LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft. In the investigation, the Data Protection Commission found that LinkedIn U.S. had collected the email addresses of 18 million people who were not users of the network.…
Two Florida district courts have reached clashing conclusions on whether a suspect in a criminal case can invoke the Fifth Amendment to withhold their iPhone passcode from law enforcement. In the older case, State of Florida v. Stahl, the court ruled that a criminal suspect does not have this right under the Constitution. (This case involved…
October 24, 2018 -- The 4th District appellate court ruled in G.A.Q.L. v State of Florida that an intoxicated minor involved in a car crash that killed someone cannot be forced to reveal the passcode to his iPhone. The teen, known as G.A.Q.L., was allowed to plead the Fifth Amendment clause, shielding him from self-incrimination. He had been found with a blood alcohol level of 0.086, which is over the legal limit, at the hospital after the car crash had occurred.
California and the federal government have reached an agreement whereby the state will halt plans to implement its new net neutrality law on January 1, and the Department of Justice will withdraw its motions seeking to block implementation until the conclusion of ongoing litigation regarding state net neutrality rules.
In the wake of the FCC's efforts to undo net neutrality protections under the Trump administration, California recently passed a law implementing net neutrality rules that are even stronger than the Obama-era regulations that have been rolled back at the federal level. Governor Jerry Brown signed the new law on September 30, which represents the strongest set of net neutrality protections in the country. The Department of Justice immediately filed a lawsuit in federal court, stating that California's law constitutes an impermissible burden on the federal government's efforts to deregulate the internet.