Source: The U.S. Needs to Crack Down on White-Collar Crime | Bloomberg Opinion, by Editorial Board
In 2015, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explained why prosecutors struggle to hold individuals accountable. “In modern corporations, where responsibility is often diffuse, it can be extremely difficult to identify the single person or group of people who possessed the knowledge or criminal intent necessary to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said. “This is particularly true of high-level executives, who are often insulated from the day-to-day activity in which the misconduct occurs.”
All of which is true, no doubt — but justice still demands that serious crimes earn serious punishments.
That would require more resources. According to Don Fort, the chief of IRS criminal enforcement, the agency has the same number of special agents — about 2,200 — as it did 50 years ago, despite huge increases in the number of tax filers and the complexity of financial crimes.
A skillful white-collar defense bar has arisen to defend executives and challenge prosecutors. Corporations have grown adept at shifting liability to shareholders. And the will to crack down has subsided. After the savings-and-loan scandal of the 1980s, more than 1,000 people were charged, and more than 100 company officers and directors served prison terms. A similar response is virtually inconceivable today.
This needs to change. White-collar crime is a menace, and the impunity of its ordinary perpetrators is intolerable.
Source: Free Speech Doesn’t Protect Nazis. It Protects Us From Nazis – Quillette, by Daniel Friedman
It is probably true that the value of some speech is less than the cost of the harm it imposes. But … Before you empower government to police speech that is hateful or offensive, or speech that is deemed violent or harmful, then you have to consider the possibility that it will not be your sensibilities that determine which speech is beyond the pale.
It may be true that strong individual rights prevent institutions from protecting marginalized people from the speech of other individuals, but strong individual rights also prevent the state from attacking marginalized people for exercising their own rights. … Free speech may have its drawbacks, but the alternative is much worse.
We must favor individual rights over institutional power, even when individuals do bad things with their rights, because institutional power is much more dangerous when it falls into the wrong hands.
Source: The Crisis of American Forensics | The Nation, by Meehan Crist and Tim Requarth
Jimmy Genrich, and thousands of others, have been imprisoned for decades because of untested “science.” … By adopting the trappings of science, the forensic disciplines co-opted science’s authority while abandoning its methods.
“The legal concept of newly discovered evidence including a change in science,” says Chris Fabricant of the Innocence Project, who is litigating Genrich’s case, “is in my view a no-brainer. It was presented to a jury as infallible, and today we know it’s not. There is an obligation—an ethical, a legal, and a moral obligation—to go back and correct the record where exaggerated claims may have led to a miscarriage of justice.”
“We were really focused on ‘this isn’t a science.’ I can tell you from doing triple-digit jury trials, the jurors really want concrete evidence. Because it’s a very hard decision to make. And that’s why scientific evidence is so dangerous when it’s not a real science, because it is persuasive.”
Source: DRM’s Dead Canary: How We Just Lost the Web, What We Learned from It, and What We Need to Do Next | Electronic Frontier Foundation, by Cory Doctorow
DRM has nothing to do with copyright. DRM law … affords corporations the power to control the use of their products after sale, the power to decide who can compete with them and under what circumstances, and even who gets to warn people about defective products
Web standards are about “permissionless interoperability.” … A web in which every publisher gets to pick and choose which browsers you can use to visit their sites is a very different one from the historical web.
Until EME, W3C standards were designed to give the users of the web (e.g. you) more control over what your computer did while you were accessing other peoples’ websites. With EME — and for the first time ever — the W3C is designing technology that takes away your control. EME is designed to allow Netflix — and other big companies — to decide what your browser does, even (especially) when you disagree about what that should be.
Since the earliest days of computing, there’s been a simmering debate about whether computers exist to control their users, or vice versa … Every W3C standard until 2017 was on the side of people controlling computers. EME breaks with that. It is a subtle, but profound shift.
There is no shortage of businesses that want to be able to control what their customers and competitors do with their products. … Companies have discovered that adding DRM to their products is the most robust way to control the marketplace, a cheap and reliable way to convert commercial preferences about who can repair, improve, and supply their products into legally enforceable rights.
Source: comment on Tumblr, by kontextmaschine
RE: Code of Silence | The Intercept
So that sets up a problem for today’s movement against police abuses, which is if you build political pressure to show results – as measured by police officers convicted or subjected to discipline, how do you prevent this from empowering police corruption to clean house of dissidents, to support and approval from the very media and nonprofit watchdogs who take it as their duty to fight corruption? (God knows pressuring the police to show numbers has yielded less than stellar outcomes before.)
Because honestly, that strikes me as the path of least resistance. Crackdowns can be and are co-opted. … So how do you prevent that?
As far as I can tell the cop answer to both these questions is “Unions.” Which, that’s a point! The things cop unions do that reformers don’t like – reflexively defend all officers in all situations, fund legal defenses and media campaigns more full-throated and perp-smearing than a body subject to official pressure and using public funds might? Appeal to notions of solidarity to get other officers to use their positions and expertise to support the defense even in the face of management directives? Negotiate contracts that include high baseline pay and benefits, and provisions that make it difficult to establish cases against officers? Those are all felt, by cops, as safeguards against police corruption, and as much as that’s used as a convenient stalking horse there is something there. So what do you do about that?
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