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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.

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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.

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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Colbert names Trump’s siege on DC the ‘Tinyman Square’ incident

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It wasn't quite Tiananmen Square, where a still-unknown number of Chinese protesters were murdered by the government in 1989, but it was the closest thing President Donald Trump managed to score this week.

After watching the footage of the military tear gas, beat and shoot at protesters so Trump could march from the presidential bunker to St. John's Church for the cameras.

"It was like Tiananmen Square," Colbert deemed. "Except, in Trump's case, Tinyman Square."

Trump claimed on "The Fox & Friends" that no one was tear-gassed, so it's unclear what was stinging people's eyes and making them cough, choke and tear up. The Park Police released a statement saying it wasn't tear gas. While the moment was captured on video from dozens of different camera angles, one protester actually grabbed a canister of Oleoresins Capiscum, or "OC," the gas that was used.

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Vladimir Putin must love watching the US fall apart: columnist

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New Yorker columnist Susan Glasser made the astute observation that if Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to destabilize the United States with the election of President Donald Trump, he's clearly achieved his objective.

It was reported in March that Russian intelligence services are working to incite violence using white supremacist groups to try and sow racial chaos in the United States ahead of the November election.

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Conservative columnist links all Republicans to the attack on Lafayette Square

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Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump decided to walk across Lafayette Square for a photo-op. To get there, however, it took an outright battle with mounted park police, police covered in body armor and rattled Secret Service members who had just rushed the president to the bunker several nights before. Armed with semi-automatic weapons and military gear, they staged a siege on Lafayette Square against unarmed hippies, woke whites and people of color, again, forced to fight for justice.

Writing for the Washington Post Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot attacked Attorney General Bill Barr, who accepted responsibility for demanding that demonstrators be tear-gassed, beaten and shot with rubber bullets. Like Bull Conor ordering fire hoses on students marching in Birmingham, Alabama, Barr's attack on Lafayette Square for a photo-op proved he is willing to do what it takes to stroke the fractured ego of a president forced to cower in a bunker.

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