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We Can Work It Out

Are you fighting over child custody or visitation? Don’t do it if at all possible, we say. It compounds the pain of separation for kids and likely causes more lasting harm. Far better to decide for yourselves on your own terms than to have a court do it for you after you’ve torn each other Read More

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Drinking From a Fire Hose

Effective December 1, federal prosecutors and defense lawyers must follow a new rule of procedure that aims to ease the burden of modern discovery. It’s a simple rule with two parts. First, no later than fourteen days after arraignment, the two sides must talk about the evidence in the case and try to agree on how Read More

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Healthcare Investigations at Warp Speed

We covered one of the U.S. Justice Department’s major healthcare sweeps last month. But we didn’t know the feds had shut things down with such blinding speed. Reportedly, it took them six to eight months from first alert to coordinated raids. The investigation is said to have begun earlier this year when analysts detected a surge in Read More

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FTC Sues Over Phony Business Practices Online

Speaking of online reviews, the Federal Trade Commission just moved to settle two cases against businesses it alleged engaged in deceptive acts or practices online. In the first, the agency alleged the defendants sold fake likes, views, followers, and subscribers on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and other platforms. And they did not discriminate. They sold to everyone: Read More

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New California Criminal Laws: Part Deux

Here are three more new laws for this week. The public has greater access to police personnel files. This is Senate Bill 1421. It declares that the public has an important interest in law-enforcement transparency because it is essential to having a just and democratic society. It then amends the Penal Code to confer more access Read More

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Police Need a Warrant for Your Cell-Phone Location Records

You can thank the Supreme Court for that. Last week, the nation’s high court ruled that police need a warrant to get your phone’s location records and map out your every move over time. The case reflects a growing consensus to protect these records, and it builds on a prior decision that said police can’t rummage through your phone just because Read More

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The Truth About Facebook

Ask this expert on data science what Congress should have asked Mark Zuckerberg last week, and she’ll say, nothing. If that surprises you, please understand that these hearings are not designed to deliver the truth. They’re designed to tell the public that, if there’s a problem, the government is doing something about it. So you’re not gonna Read More

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The Microsoft-Ireland Case is Moot

We covered this before here and here. But the high-profile case of United States v. Microsoft Corporation is now over. The question was whether the government could force Microsoft to turn over data that it stored on servers in other countries. The problem was that federal law didn’t allow the government to do that, or at least Read More

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SEC Chair Offers Advice on Bitcoin and Its Ilk

This week, the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission weighed in on crypto-currencies as well as ICOs or initial coin offerings. With the price of bitcoin nearing $20,000, it probably comes at the right time. You may have been wondering yourself: What are the rules for this stuff? Are they being followed? And what are the risks Read More

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They May Be Intelligent, But Are They Wise?

Speaking of fair shakes, here is a wise word of caution about the emerging, expanding use of computer programs to evaluate people in the justice system, whether at bail hearings, sentencings, or elsewhere. The author is a former software engineer at Facebook who’s now studying law at Harvard. Her point isn’t that we shouldn’t use or consult these programs, but Read More

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