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Supreme Court rejects Google’s bid to exempt itself from federal wiretap law

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By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Google Inc’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of violating federal wiretap law when it accidentally collected emails and other personal data while building its popular Street View program.

The justices left intact a September 2013 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which refused to exempt Google from liability under the federal Wiretap Act for having inadvertently intercepted emails, user names, passwords and other data from private Wi-Fi networks to create Street View, which provides panoramic views of city streets.

The lawsuit arose soon after the Mountain View, California-based company publicly apologized in May 2010 for having collected fragments of “payload data” from unsecured wireless networks in more than 30 countries.

Google was accused of having collected the data while driving its vehicles through neighborhoods from 2008 to 2010 to collect photos for Street View.

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In June 2011, U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Francisco allowed plaintiffs in several consolidated private lawsuits to pursue federal Wiretap Act claims against Google, while dismissing California state law claims.

Google already has agreed to pay $7 million to settle a probe into the matter involving 38 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. As part of that settlement, Google agreed to destroy data collected in the United States.

The case is Google Inc v. Joffe et al, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-1181.

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(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller)


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Republican freaks out after Democrat quotes Trump’s racist statement on the floor of Congress

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Chaos continued on the floor of the House of Representatives during the debate on a resolution condemning President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four young women of color.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) rose to support the resolution, listing multiple instances of racism from the commander-in-chief.

As part of the list, Swalwell noted Trump's attacks on "sh*thole countries."

After he swore on the floor by quoting the president, Republicans freaked out.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) complained and got in a back-and-forth with Swalwell.

Collins sought to have Swalwell's words stricken from the Congressional Record, which would have banned him from speaking for the rest of the day.

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‘He’s ignorant — not stupid’: NYT columnist says Trump is trying to ‘bait’ Democrats because he wants to run against AOC

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President Donald Trump is not going to get the 2020 opponent he wants, so he's going to pretend that his actual opposition is being led by the four young women in Congress known as The Squad, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wrote on Tuesday.

Trump has spent the last few days with racist attacks on the four first-term members, who are Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

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Red Alert: record temperatures in world’s northernmost settlement

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Temperatures hit a record 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit in Alert, the northernmost permanently inhabited spot on the planet less than 600 miles from the North Pole, the Canadian meteorology service said Tuesday.

"It's quite phenomenal as a statistic, it's just one example among hundreds and hundreds of other records established by global warming," Armel Castellan, a meteorologist at the Canadian environment ministry told AFP.

The temperature -- 21 degrees on the Celsius scale -- was recorded on Sunday at Alert, a permanent military base on the 82nd parallel which intercepts Russian communications and which has been home to a weather station since 1950.

The temperature was marked at 69.8 F on Sunday and 68 F the following day. "It's an absolute record, we've never seen that before," said Castellan.

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