Since Superfish intercepted ALL communications that the computers users thought were safely encrypted via SSL (as indicated by the green lock on the browser as users were taught to watch), Superfish could be intercepting Personally Protected Information (PII) that is protected by HIPPA and that protection can't be overridden by a EULA. All they need to do is show that someone was accessing health information or Medicaid information on their computer that was being surreptitiously intercepted and looked at by Superfish to show that they were actively violating HIPPA.
Many of these laws are the result of the "must do something" mentality of a nanny state that doesn't feel like dealing with the big issues like the budget problem. It's just too easy to spend a lot of money to "save the victims" and "protect the little guy" (you know, from the big faceless corporations that we created).
For example, Pai co-wrote an editorial in the Chicago Tribune last week that tries to use Obamacare fears to insist Americans will lose the right to choose their own wireless plans if Title II based rules come to pass:
Everybody repeat after me: "Conflation is our enemy's best friend".
will be nothing, absolutely nothing. The sad state of affairs is that the organizations that were put in place to catch law-breakers, commonly known as criminals, are now so far above the law that anything they do is retroactively OK. As long as they can "claim" it was not deliberate. It's OK for them to be law-breaking criminals, just not anyone they target. That target may not have broken the law (fill in your favorite investigative journalist or their significant other who is traveling through an airport) but they can be hassled into the poor house or even thrown in jail for a while, but since they are not the ones who are supposed to uphold the law, it is bad. If you are supposed to uphold the law, it seems to be OK to break the law, as long as you can issue a press release that basically says "oops", didn't mean it. This is a sad sad time.
A big part of the situation that doesn't really seem to come up in these types of "conversations" is that Google, Apple, and etc. are just preventing the massive scooping up of private citizens emails by encrypting it by default. Since the "terrorists" out there know that this is happening, or at least if I were worried about someone listening in on my conversation, I would encrypt the message before it ever got into an email. Then the provider would encrypt it again "across the wires". The encryption key I used would never be available to anyone else to "provide" to the government. The US Government already tried to make encryption software illegal by declaring it a munition. With open source encryption like OpenSSL and PGP or GPG, the "magic Golden Key" would be discovered and removed. This conversation is just about spying on everybody who doesn't care or doesn't know any better. It is not going to stop the determined terrorist who doesn't want their communications read.
Keep your Friends close, keep your Enemies Closer (paraphrased from Machiavelli's The Prince see http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?t=873681 at the bottom) would be in order here. Talk is just Talk. However; when the talkers are suddenly forbidden to talk about a topic, they can get themselves worked up into action. Not ever having looked at Yik-Yak, I have never really been offended by it. If someone is really that offended then WHY are they spending so much time reading a website that offends them? Do they also hide in their bedroom and flog themselves. It seems like they are going out of their way to read something that offends them. Free Speech is one of the cornerstone of the USA. Please, could they either intelligently respond to the anonymous nonsense, or just avoid it. For all that we know, Winkfield could be posting that nonsense and then pointing it out. After all, it is a totally anonymous site.
I am an independent contractor (in computer consulting where there has been a lot of legal wrangling). I have had to convince client's that I am an actual independent by incorporating my own company so that I can prove that I am receiving a W-2 as well as various other criteria. I did spend a lot of time reading the rules and prior cases. The actual deciding factor seems to be which way the IRS can get more money. In all the cases that have been decided that I was able to read about, after an independent contractor had been in place for a while (sometimes years), the IRS ruled that they were not actually an independent contractor and that the client company owed back employment, FICA and Medicare taxes. The "rules" have many grey areas. If a court hands down a ruling and includes "Bright Line Rules" it means that they have laid out the rules that everyone (not just lawyers) can look at and know how to determine which way the court would rule. One example is that in order to search your house a warrant is required that specifies what the suspected crime is and what evidence the search should find. The police are not allowed to just drive up and walk into your home uninvited and dig around for anything they can find that might indicate illegal activity. A "Bright Line" ruling should eliminate most if not all of the gray areas whether someone is an employee or independent contractor. It could include things like is the person paying all of the correct Federal, State, FICO and Medicare taxes. Is the client company filing a proper 1099 for the contractor (which is a report to the IRS of the contractor's payments, is the contractor working for more than one client, and so on. That way, everyone would know that if it swims like a duck, walks like a duck, has a short neck like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is really a duck and not a swan. The rules as they stand are "subject to interpretation" and the government (and especially the IRS) can make whatever interpretation they want in each case.
The problem with all of these cases where someone takes a position as an independent contractor and then wants retroactive employee benefits is that it is a short term money grab. They didn't like the deal they took and now they want to go back and change the deal (with them getting more money of course). The result of one of these cases should be a "bright line" ruling which declares in advance what are the properties of being a contractor and what are the properties of being an employee. As a real life independent contractor, I don't want the court to suddenly tell me I'm actually an employee. If I hire an independent contractor I don't want to be suddenly responsible for a boat load of retro-active benefits. I sure hope that these court cases with set a precedent and define what a contractor actually is.
Since the FBI seems to send in their own "provokers" to protests to incite breaking in to stores and they "groom" their own terrorists (see all of the stories on both topics in Techdirt), now NYPD just needs to show up with their rifles and machine guns and open fire to get rid of all of those pesky citizens and their lousy rights with just the release of a few clips into the crowds. That will certainly look good on the evening news......
Let's take the Bond character and flatten it. Make the movie from the point of view of say "Q" or better yet, one of the bad guys/girls. Then, Bond is just a flat secret agent stuffed into a suit and not all that important to the new movie.
This is another case where the government wants it both ways. It wants to hide the use of the stingray cell site simulator under the pretense that they have a contractual non-disclosure agreement with the provider. However; citizens are not allowed to keep their agreement with the provider or the "business records" mandated to be kept by the government kept private. We need AT&T and Verizon to step up and update the shrink wrapped totally incomprehensible to a non-lawyer EULA to say that users actually expect privacy and the records can not be turned over without consent because of this-here non disclosure agreement.
No, they did not steal a certificate, they issued their own certificate that tries to impersonate the identity of Google. They pretended to be Google. Along the lines of would you mind if I issued myself an ID that says I'm you and take it to the bank and take out your money? They issued themselves a certificate that says they are Google. Now, they can decrypt your ID and Password for your internet traffic. Who knows what else they will see and take while they are looking at your internet browsing? Identity theft is representing yourself (their business) as someone else (in this case, Google, another business). Why are you saying that it is OK?
So, he will never, ever face any repercussions of lying to the court. Only low court people would have to face repercussions of lying to the court. Holder and his DOJ cronies will retire rich and privileged and life will go on as this is quickly swept under the rug and forgotten. For the rest of us underprivileged sort, lying to the court would result in a trial and fine and/or jail time, just not for the head of the Department of Justice, he's allowed to lie to the court and get away with it.
One other point Comey seems to keep skipping is that a phone, encrypted or not, will NEVER help catch the alleged criminal. The FBI doesn't have the phone until after the criminal is caught. The lack of encryption just provides easier access to proof "after the fact" once the alleged criminal and said phone are in the possession of law enforcement personnel.
Now, if we could get the phone companies to stop allowing them to spy on us, and/or somebody implements an effective method of encrypting the call while the conversation is on the wire, then they would start having a real problem to complain about.
Can you imagine the outcry that is going to happen when the equivalent of HTTPS is available on phones. Each phone will have its own certificate for encrypting the conversation and the entire conversation will be transmitted in an encrypted form to be decrypted by the phone on the other end. They will still be able to track who called whom, but will not be able to listen in on the conversation unless they manage to acquire the decryption keys. Won't that be a hoot.