Posts Tagged ‘Facebook

Deputy sheriff takes firing over a Facebook “like” to court

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A Virginia sheriff’s deputy has been fired for liking his boss’s political opponent — on Facebook.

Now Daniel Ray Carter Jr. is fighting back in court, arguing that a “like” should be protected by his First Amendment right to free speech. It’s a case that could settle a significant question at a time when hundreds of millions of people express themselves on Facebook, sometimes merging their personal, professional and political lives in the process.

According to court documents, the case began when Sheriff B.J. Roberts of Hampton, Virginia, fired Carter and five other employees for supporting his rival in a 2009 election.

Carter’s offense? Clicking the omnipresent Facebook thumbs-up to follow the page “Jim Adams For Hampton Sheriff.” Roberts, of course, won re-election, leading to the firings…

“Liking a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection,” Judge Judge Raymond A. Jackson wrote in his May ruling, because it doesn’t “involve actual statements.”

Carter is appealing that ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals…Carter’s advocates argue the judge’s definition of free speech doesn’t match existing law.

“The judge is wrong in the sense that the Facebook button actually says the word ‘like,’ so there are actually words being used,” said Aden Fine, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed a brief supporting Carter’s appeal. “And there’s a thumbs-up symbol, which most people understand means they, literally, like something.”

Facebook itself also has weighed in with a brief to the court, saying that a “like” for a political candidate is “the 21st-century equivalent of a front-yard campaign sign.”

Blogging daily at a few sites, I admit to sometimes being frustrated by a slow news day. However, there are a couple of qualities of life among our species I can always count on to show up somewhere, somehow. One is the dumb crook of the day, another is the picture of the day – we are a delightfully creative species and that has been enhanced by the Web and digital imaging.

This post fits into the category of pea-brained, egregious bureaucrat who thinks the world revolves around him and his pitiful little career.

I hope Daniel Ray Carter Jr wins his appeal. I hope he then sues his former boss for everything but his house, his wife and his dog.

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Written by Ed Campbell

August 11, 2012 at 10:00 am

Web giants join to form powerful lobby

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Web giants Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook will form a lobbying organisation with other online companies to shape political and regulatory issues in Washington DC…

The organisation, to be called the Internet Association, will open its doors in September and will act as a unified voice for major Internet companies, Michael Beckerman, the association’s president, said on Wednesday…

Internet companies have been lobbying recently on issues as disparate as easing visa restrictions to hire overseas engineers, revenue repatriation, privacy, cybersecurity and sales taxes for Internet companies.

“We want to educate [legislators] about the impact of the Internet in their congressional districts,” said Beckerman. “In September, we’ll do a full rollout and announce companies and announce policy positions…”

RTFA for a taste of opinion about each of the major companies already lined up. I have to wonder how much of a commitment to the needs of Internet users will be considered as part and parcel of the needs of these firms.

It might be nice – one of these days – if we had a group of lobbyists that represented the needs of ordinary American citizens before the demands of the economy and politics, ideology and other distractions.

Oh! That’s right. That’s what Congress is supposed to be isn’t it?

Written by Ed Campbell

July 27, 2012 at 6:00 am

Twitter finds the dog that took the commuter train to Dublin

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Deidre Anglin and Patch

Irish Rail sent a “Lost dog!” tweet with a photo attachment after the Jack Russell terrier arrived with Wednesday morning commuters on a train from rural Kilcock, County Kildare, an hour’s ride away.

After more than 500 retweets in just 32 minutes, the photo found Patch’s owner, Deirdre Anglin, who tweeted the state railway: “That’s my dog!”

The episode underscored the ubiquitous use of mobile-friendly social media sites in Ireland, a tech-savvy corner of Europe where cell phones were the norm long before they were in the United States.

…After Patch waltzed on to the 6:49 a.m. commuter train in Kilcock the alarm was sounded…Rail workers on board dubbed the dog Checker, joking he might be trained to inspect people’s tickets, as commuters took turns petting the friendly dog. They turned him over to Pearse Street station staff on the train’s final stop in the heart of the capital, when it became clear the dog had no owner on board…

Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny described Twitter as offering the ideal platform for launching a nationwide appeal for the lost dog. And he said some staff at Pearse Station wished it hadn’t worked so well…”It was good she showed up so quickly, because the staff in the office were getting quite attached to him,” Kenny said.

Anglin said she was particularly pleased that Irish Rail posted Patch’s photo on Twitter and noted that the rapid retweets by other users to their own followers ensured that, soon, the alert reached her.

A happy ending to the sort of human/dog story that might have taken weeks and months to resolve before the Web.

Written by Ed Campbell

July 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Dumb crooks of the day!

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NOT the way to bring up your kids!

Police in North Port, Fla., say a man was arrested for robbery after uploading pictures of himself on Facebook posing with the loot and a gun linking him to the crime, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Jovan Cummings, 24, and his girlfriend, Nicole Catherine Eaton, 22, were arrested for allegedly robbing a Dollar General in March of $3,000 after assaulting one store employee and binding him with duct tape.

The newspaper says a detective looking at surveillance video thought the robbers looked like Cummings and Eaton, who had previously had run-ins with the law.

A check of photos on Cumming’s Facebook page showed him holding a wad of cash and also wearing what police said was “the exact same hat” as the store robber.

There was also a video of him brandishing a handgun like the one used in the robbery, the newspaper says, quoting police.

Same as it ever was. You don’t spend time committing armed robbery because you have the highest IQ on the block.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 14, 2012 at 2:00 am

Facebook ‘friend’ turns out to be hubby’s other wife

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A corrections officer is facing bigamy charges after authorities said a Washington woman using Facebook discovered that she and a potential “friend” were married to him at the same time.

According to charging documents filed Thursday, Alan L. O’Neill married a woman in 2001, moved out in 2009, changed his name and remarried without divorcing her. The first wife first noticed O’Neill had moved on to another woman when Facebook suggested the friendship connection to wife No. 2 under the “People You May Know” feature.

“Wife No. 1 went to wife No. 2’s page and saw a picture of her and her husband with a wedding cake,” Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist told The Associated Press.

Wife No. 1 then called the defendant’s mother.

“An hour later the defendant arrived at (Wife No. 1’s) apartment, and she asked him several times if they were divorced,” court records show. “The defendant said, ’No, we are still married.’”

Neither O’Neill nor his first wife had filed for divorce, according to charging documents. The name change came in December, and later that month he married his second wife.

O’Neill allegedly told wife No. 1 not to tell anybody about his dual marriages, that he would fix it, the documents state…

Facebook is now a place where people discover things about each other they end up reporting to law enforcement,” Lindquist said.

Har. What goes around, comes around. Just 100 times faster in cyberspace.

Written by Ed Campbell

March 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Social networks becoming less social — or people getting smarter?

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Users of online social network sites such as Facebook are editing their pages and tightening their privacy settings to protect their reputations in the age of digital sharing, according to a new survey.

About two-thirds, or 63 percent, of social networking site users questioned in the Pew Research Center poll said they had deleted people from their “friends” lists, up from 56 percent in 2009. Another 44 percent said they had deleted comments that others have made on their profiles, up from 36 percent two years before.

Users also have become more likely to remove their names from photos that were tagged to identify them. Thirty-seven percent of profile owners have done that, up from 30 percent in 2009, the survey showed.

“Over time, as social networking sites have become a mainstream communications channel in everyday life, profile owners have become more active managers of their profiles and the content that is posted by others in their networks,” the report said.

The Pew report also touches on the privacy settings people use for their profiles. The issue of online privacy has drawn increasing concerns from consumers, and the Obama administration has called for a “privacy bill of rights” that would give users more control over their data.

Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said their main profile was set to be private so only friends can see it.

Another 19 percent said they had set their profile to partially private so that friends of friends can see it. Only 20 percent have made their profile completely public.

The headlines in many articles on this topic describe folks was becoming “less social”. I’d say they’re just getting more sensible. Especially as reaction from members of the various networks react negatively to tales of broad swathes of info having been boosted by greedy marketers – positively as networks respond to criticism by offering more choices to limit distribution of personal demographics.

Written by Ed Campbell

February 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Choose 60 days in jail or 30 days of apologizing on Facebook?

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Photographer Mark Byron was so bothered by his pending divorce and child visitation issues that he blasted his soon-to-be ex-wife on his personal Facebook page…That touched off a battle that resulted in a Hamilton County judge ordering Byron jailed for his Facebook rant — or, to avoid the jail sentence, to post on his page an apology to his wife and all of his Facebook friends, something free-speech experts found troubling…

Hanni Fakhoury, a staff lawyer with the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the rulings are unique and “raise quite a few” free-speech issues…”There haven’t been a lot of cases that have dealt with this particular issue,” he said.

Mark and Elizabeth Byron had a son in July 2010, but their marriage soon became troubled. She accused him of verbally abusing her, threatening her with his fist and threatening to “end” her life. While Mark Byron, who has done freelance photography for The Enquirer, was exonerated of criminal allegations, a civil protective order was issued instructing him to stay away from his wife…

“… if you are an evil, vindictive woman who wants to ruin your husband’s life and take your son’s father away from him completely — all you need to do is say that you’re scared of your husband or domestic partner… , ” he wrote on Facebook.

Elizabeth Byron learned of the post — even though her husband had blocked her from viewing his page — and thought it violated a previous protective order that prevented Mark Byron from doing anything to cause his wife “to suffer physical and/or mental abuse, harassment, annoyance, or bodily injury…”

Domestic Relations Magistrate Paul Meyers found Mark Byron in contempt and ordered him jailed for 60 days beginning March 19 — or to post for 30 days on his Facebook page an apology to his wife, written by Meyers, if he wanted to avoid jail. He also had to pay her $1,156 in back child support and her lawyers’ fees…

I didn’t think I had an option,” said Mark Byron, who has been posting the apology on Facebook for a week.

Har. The free speech question is an important one. Having a husband who’s an ego-smitten fool – and possibly dangerous – is another.

You can RTFA for the content of his new posting.

Written by Ed Campbell

February 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Another green data center for Oregon — this one for Apple

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Facebook’s data center in Prineville, OR

Last December, people familiar with the matter indicated that Apple was “nearing a decision” to build a server farm in Oregon. After a filing with the Crook County clerk’s office emerged last week with Apple’s name on it, the Cupertino, Calif., company has publicly confirmed the development, which is known as “Project Maverick…”

“We purchased the land and it’s for a data center,” said Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet, adding that the facility will be “green.” Earlier this week, the company revealed in a Facilities Environmental Report that its massive server farm in North Carolina will utilize the largest end-user-owned onsite solar array and the largest non utility fuel cell installation in the U.S., making it the only facility in its class to earn LEED Platinum certification.

According to the report, county commissioners signed the deed for the purchase on Feb. 15, the same day that the state senate voted in legislation that removed an earlier threat of property taxes for data centers in the area.

Officials said they were bound by non-disclosure agreements and offered few details on the project, though one judge did say that he’s confident it will be “good for Prineville and Crook County.”

These folks have been wonderful to work with,” said Judge Mike McCabe. “We will look forward to a long-term relationship with them.”

Apple’s facility will be just minutes from a Facebook server farm that opened last year. McCabe revealed that the social networking site “kind of helped recruit” Apple to come to Prineville. Facebook reportedly allowed Apple representatives to tour its facility last summer.

Keep on rocking in the Geek World. Oregon is one of those places where anyone who is hip should consider living – unless you prefer being as dry as I am in New Mexico.

Written by Ed Campbell

February 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Priest off to a retreat to pray – was one of the survivors of the Costa Concordia wreck

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An Italian priest has a lot of explaining to do after telling his parishioners he was going on a spiritual retreat, only for it to be revealed that he was on the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship.

Father Massimo Donghi told his parishioners that he was heading off for a week of contemplation and prayer, but instead boarded the luxury liner at Civitavecchia, north of Rome, for a luxury cruise of Mediterranean ports.

He was found out when his nephew, who was also on the cruise, posted assurances on Facebook that the priest had survived the disaster.

The nephew told worried friends and relatives that he, his uncle and the priest’s elderly mother had managed to get into lifeboats when the 1,000ft liner ran aground off the Tuscan island of Giglio. They were among the 4,200 passengers and crew who were forced to evacuate the ship after it smashed into a rocky shoal on the night of Jan 13…

Father Donghi…will now have to explain himself to his parishioners in Besana Brianza, near Monza in northern Italy.

Church-goers had imagined he had signed up for a week of simple living and religious devotion, rather than a cruise on board a ship which boasts spas, saunas, jacuzzis, four swimming pools, five restaurants, 13 bars, a casino and a discotheque.

“What do you want me to say?” the priest told an Italian news magazine, Panorama. “I have nothing to add. I’m OK although I’m still a bit in shock. I will talk to my parishioners in church. The judgment of others is not important to me.”

Thoughtful dude. And a few more days to come up with a story will probably help.

I wonder if he was strolling the ship in his civvies or in uniform?

Written by Ed Campbell

January 28, 2012 at 10:00 am

FBI wants an app to monitor what you say at Facebook and Twitter

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The FBI plans to step up the monitoring of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and has asked for help building an app to constantly monitor the sites.

Earlier this month the FBI quietly published a request for information looking for companies that might help it build a new social network monitoring system looking at “publicly available” information. Contractors have until 10 February to suggest solutions.

US enforcement agencies have increasingly been using social networks to track crime. Recently over 40 members of two feuding New York gangs were indicted in connection with a series of shootings and killings in Brooklyn after they boasted about their crimes on Twitter…

But the increasing monitoring of social networks has also alarmed privacy advocates. Last year, Twitter disclosed that the justice department had subpoenaed it to get personal records of Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a former WikiLeaks aide.

Lillie Coney, associate director of EPIC, a Washington-based privacy group, called the FBI request “ridiculous.”

“Get a warrant,” she said. “You don’t know half the people you communicate with on Twitter. They are going to launch investigations and start looking at all sorts of people that they have no right to be investigating. There is no accountability, no transparency and no oversight.”

The RFI calls on companies to develop a “secure, light weight web application” for the FBI’s strategic information and operations center. “The application must have the ability to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence that will allow SIOC to quickly vet, identify, and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats.”

The product must allow the FBI to keep hold of cached information as well as real time data, and allow that information to be linked to specific locations and easily shared…

The FBI did not return calls for comment.

I haven’t any beef with the premise of government recording, analyzing public data. In and of itself, that can be productive and useful. The concern is as old as the FBI. That is, what will they do with the information?

Guidance, oversight, standards of decency reflecting our Constitutional freedoms have little to do with day to day practices in the FBI – or in practice all the way down to local law enforcement. I witnessed a friend’s guitar smashed by a copper because he showed up on the NCIC computer in the state trooper’s car as someone who opposed the VietNam War, worked for civil rights in Boston. Our justice system did nothing about that. Petty assaults on individual rights are a disgusting part of how law enforcement is practiced in the United States at ground level.

Why should I trust those who set the standards at the top – when they do little or nothing to enforce those standards down through the agencies they guide? We’re as likely to be harassed at work or home by info delivered to the FBI as being protected from gangbanger assaults.

Geeks continue to admonish newbies to realize that everything they say online is out there for the world to see. There is no privacy on public parts of the Web. I would add another reminder to my fellow Americans. Since the first time I stood up publicly and opposed racist law and practice — in a demonstration 50 miles from the White House in 1960 — I have had a file on my activities in the FBI. That’s a fact of life for anyone in this land who dissents. It’s a badge of honor.

Written by Ed Campbell

January 27, 2012 at 10:00 am


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