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  • Geebo 10:05 am on October 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , lawsuit, Mozilla,   

    California to hold back on net neutrality, for now 

    California to hold back on net neutrality, for now

    California Gov. Jerry Brown

    Always being the trendsetter, the state of California recently passed the most stringent net neutrality laws in the country, defying the edict handed down by the FCC stating that states could not enforce their own net neutrality laws. When the FCC repealed net neutrality protections for consumers they also issued an edict that the individual states could not make their own laws regarding net neutrality which many see as an abuse of power by the FCC. After California Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s net neutrality into law, not only was the Golden State sued by the Trump Administration and a consortium of broadband providers. But now, a third lawsuit has arisen which has caused California to take pause.

    California’s net neutrality was supposed to go into effect on January 1, 2019, however, this past Friday the state of California announced they would be holding off on enforcing net neutrality until a certain lawsuit is settled. Mozilla, the non-profit behind the Firefox browser, is suing the FCC stating that their repeal of net neutrality protections “violates both federal law as well as harms internet users and innovators.” To put it in simpler terms, Mozilla is claiming that it’s beyond the FCC’s scope of powers to interfere with a state’s rights to pass their own legislation on net neutrality.

    So, this isn’t a defeat for net neutrality in California. The state is merely awaiting the outcome of Mozilla’s lawsuit before determining how to move forward with net neutrality as the Mozilla lawsuit could have national ramifications on the states’ rights to enforce net neutrality. Once again, I find it ironic that an administration that supposedly champions states rights is so quick to try to quash those rights when it goes against financial backers who helped get them to the office, to begin with.

     
  • Geebo 9:21 am on October 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , lawsuit,   

    Lawsuits over net neutrality fall along party lines 

    Lawsuits over net neutrality fall along party lines

    Ever since the FCC repealed the net neutrality regulations put in place by the Obama administration, a number of states have either enacted their own net neutrality legislation or have sued the FCC to restore the previous federal legislation. If you’ll recall, when the FCC, backed by Chairman Ajit Pai, repealed the protections the FCC claimed that the states could make no laws in regard to net neutrality which many see as the FCC overstepping their legal authority. With states enacting their own legislation in defiance of the FCC this has led to a coalition of internet providers to file their own lawsuits against some states such as California and more recently Vermont.

    22 State Attorneys General and the Attorney General of the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit against the FCC arguing that the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality was arbitrary and capricious and that the FCC can not preempt state laws. Now, the Attorneys General of three other states, Texas, Arkansas, and Nebraska respectively, have filed a brief in support of the FCC’s decision claiming that the states “have an interest in protecting both consumers and purveyors of Internet services.” Somehow, I doubt the esteemed Attorneys General from these three states have the consumers best interest at heart.

    So what’s the difference between the 23 Attorneys General who are suing the FCC and the three that support them? Well, the 23 who are suing are all Democrats while the three in support of the repeal are Republican. While I would never tout one political party over the other if you care about a free an open internet I think it’s obvious where your votes should go next month if this is an issue that matters to you. Even if you’re a Republican party loyalist you have to take notice of the fact that only three red states have weighed in on this matter as the rest have decided to remain on the sidelines.

     
  • Geebo 9:05 am on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Boston, Kurt Stokinger, lawsuit,   

    Armslist sued by Boston cop shot by illegal gun 

    Armslist sued by Boston cop shot by illegal gun

    Armslist, the so-called ‘craigslist of guns, is back in the news once again. Previously, Armslist has been tied to a domestic violence-related murder and the murder of a Chicago police commander. In both cases, the guns used to commit these crimes were purchased through Armslist by people who were forbidden by law from owning a gun. Much like Backpage did before it was seized by federal investigators, Armslist hides behind the Communications Decency Act of 1996 claiming that they’re not responsible for their users’ actions. A new lawsuit is looking to change Armslist’s tired tune.

    In 2016, Boston Police Officer Kurt Stokinger was shot in the leg by a known drug dealer. The incident left Officer Stokinger with considerable medical issues. The gun used to shoot Officer Stokinger was not only bought through Armslist but the seller had sold over 60 guns with the serial numbers removed. Officer Stokinger is suing Armslist, the shooter, and the seller. The lawsuit claims…

    “Armlist chose to establish an online firearms marketplace which facilitated sales to illegal purchasers and did not include reasonable safeguards to minimize the risks of illegal and dangerous conduct.”

    As has been mentioned before, Armslist falls under the gun show loophole where firearm sales from private sellers do not require a background check. In my opinion, there’s no way Armslist could have gotten into this business without realizing that their platform would be used for a plethora of illegal sales. Much like how Backpage was well aware that they were dealing in the human trafficking trade. And much like how the time eventually came for Backpage, the time will come for Armslist as well if they don’t change their policy of allowing anonymous firearm sales with no regard for human life.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , lawsuit,   

    Internet providers file their own suit against California Net Neutrality 

    Internet providers file their own suit against California Net Neutrality

    If you were looking for a sign that the state of California was trying to protect consumers with its new net neutrality legislation, look no further. Four broadband industry groups that represent companies like AT&T, Verizon, Charter, Comcast, and T-Mobile, have joined with the DOJ in suing California. Much like the DOJ, the internet providers are arguing that California is violating federal mandates by imposing their own regulations against providers that perform interstate services.

    Once again, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tries to spin the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality as pro-consumer. Pai issued a statement that read in part

    “The Internet is inherently an interstate information service. As such, only the federal government can set policy in this area,” Pai said. “Not only is California’s Internet regulation law illegal, it also hurts consumers.”

    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra fired back by referring to the industry groups as ‘power brokers’ who have an ‘interest in maintaining their stronghold’. AG Becerra also released a statement of his own regarding the latest suit.

    “California, the country’s economic engine, has the right to exercise its sovereign powers under the Constitution,” he said in a statement, “and we will do everything we can to protect the right of our 40 million consumers to access information by defending a free and open Internet.”

    It has been shown in the past that the FCC has given little input to the American people who were opposed to the repeal of net neutrality protections ever since they announced their intention to do so, going as far as forbidding the states from make their own net neutrality legislation. This has not stopped the states from defying this edict with California being at the forefront of that movement. With the federal government siding with the major internet providers over the protection of consumers doesn’t it fall to the individual states to do what they can to protect their citizens? This is what ‘states’ rights’ is really about.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , lawsuit,   

    Texas woman sues Backpage and Facebook over human trafficking 

    Texas woman sues Backpage and Facebook over human trafficking

    A woman from the Houston, Texas, area, only identified as Jane Doe, has filed a lawsuit against Backpage where she was allegedly trafficked while she was underage. This should come as no surprise as former Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer had admitted to the fact that Backpage knowingly made money off of the sex trafficking of girls and women. Jane Doe is also suing two area Houston hotels which is also not unheard of as many trafficking victims believe that the hotels should do more to be aware of trafficking victims. What is really making headlines about this suit is that the victim has also filed a suit against Facebook for allegedly failing to prevent her from being approached by a pimp.

    The victim claims that she was 15 in 2012 when a pimp first approached her through Facebook. As online traffickers tend to do, the pimp consoled her after a fight with her parents. The pimp was said to be Facebook friends with a number of her real friends and promised the victim a job as a model. When the victim met the pimp she was beaten and sexually assaulted before being advertised on Backpage. The suit claims Facebook allows traffickers to “stalk, exploit, recruit, groom … and extort children into the sex trade.” Even though I’ve been a very vocal critic of Facebook, at first glance I thought the suit against Facebook may have no merit, however, the victim makes a very valid point when it comes to the social media kingpin.

    The victim claims that Facebook allowed her abuser to use a false identity that allowed him to approach the girl. For some time, Facebook has prided itself on having its users use their real names, even going as far as to ban accounts that use pseudonyms. As has been demonstrated in the past, Facebook seems to enforce their own policies rather arbitrarily and haphazardly. While I’m far from being a legal expert it seems that since banning false accounts is a well established and practiced Facebook policy, this policy may allow the suit against Facebook to proceed.

    What’s your opinion? Do you feel that Facebook should be doing more to prevent human trafficking on its platform or is this lawsuit without merit? Please leave your comment and let us know.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Jeff Sessions, lawsuit,   

    California sued by the Trump administration over new net neutrality laws 

    California sued over new net neutrality laws by the Trump administration

    California Gov. Jerry Brown

    This past Sunday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed what’s being called the strictest net neutrality laws in the country for his state. Not surprisingly, the Trump Administration has a problem with this because when the FCC repealed net neutrality regulations earlier this year, they unilaterally proclaimed that states could not enact their own net neutrality legislation. Almost immediately after Governor Brown signed the legislation into law, the DOJ filed a lawsuit against the state of California.

    FCC Chairman, and former Verizon employee, Ajit Pai told reporters that the repeal of net neutrality will lead to “better, faster, cheaper Internet access and more competition.” Right, because there was so much competition in the internet service market prior to net neutrality being enacted. How many internet service providers are available in any given market? While many larger cities may have a choice between the phone company or the cable company when it comes to getting their internet. Many smaller towns only have one provider and that’s it. That’s because many of the big ISPs have entered into agreements with municipalities making them a virtual regional monopoly. Rates haven’t gotten any cheaper either as the big providers like Comcast, Cox, and Verizon continue to raise their rates.

    Commenting on the lawsuit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: “the Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order.” He’s right but not in the way he thinks he is. The DOJ should not be wasting time and resources in this suit because the majority of Americans are in favor of net neutrality. Not that I think the Federal Government will spend too much money on this suit as it appears like a big portion of the Trump Administration has been bought and paid for by the internet service conglomerates, and they’re not even trying to hide it very well.

     
  • Geebo 11:10 am on August 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , lawsuit,   

    Indicted Backpage heads start suing each other 

    Indicted Backpage heads start suing each other

    Speaking of Backpage and Delaware, the top brass at the former Backpage are now suing each other in Delaware’s Chancery Court over access to funds allocated for their criminal defense. Through their respective holdings companies, Backapge founders Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are suing former Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer and 19 others for alleged actions that prevented Lacey and Larkin from accessing legal funds they believe belong to them. For a heavy legalese take on the suit, you can check this article from Law 360.

    If you’ll recall, when Backpage was seized by the Federal Government back in April, Ferrer almost immediately pleaded guilty to various charges of facilitating prostitution through Backpage. Shortly after that, the government froze most if not all of Backpage’s assets. Now, Lacey and Larkin seem to be accusing Ferrer of sitting on retainers to various law firms that could possibly aid Larkin and Lacey in their various legal defenses.

    I’ll be honest, corporate and financial law has never been my strong suit so I can’t give an opinion on if any of these suits have merit. However, in my opinion, it feels like Larkin and Lacey are starting to experience a slight degree of Karma. Many of Backpage’s victims could not take legal action against Backpage for facilitation human trafficking because of either cost or the pre-FOSTA protections that Backpage was undeserving of. Although, I’m pretty sure Lacey and Larkin are far from destitute. Since they have been charged with allegedly laundering money, it wouldn’t surprise me if they had an emergency legal defense fund squirreled away in some offshore holding the government hasn’t found yet.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lawsuit   

    Facebook sued by shareholders over after stock plunge 

    Facebook sued by shareholders over after stock plunge

    As if losing $150 billion in last week’s stock drop wasn’t enough, Facebook is now facing another threat to its bottom line. A number of class action lawsuits have been filed against the social media industry leader by major shareholders of the company. The lawsuits allege that Facebook misled shareholders in the time leading up to last week’s biggest ever stock drop in US history.

    Three lawsuits have been filed in New York while one has been filed in California. These suits allege that Facebook understated the cost of complying with the EU’s GDPR privacy laws, and the lack of disclosure over the monetization of Instagram Stories which the lawsuits claim Facebook allegedly overstated its success.

    It also doesn’t help Facebook that many of its top executives sold off large amounts of their stock during the second quarter of the year, the same quarter where Facebook earnings fell causing the historical stock drop. Some of those executives include Mark Zuckerberg himself and COO Sheryl Sandberg. While these sales were not considered to be insider trading, the timing of the stock sale couldn’t be more inconvenient for Facebook.

    Whether or not these lawsuits will have any major financial impact on Facebook remains to be seen. After the stock dropped last week, many financial analysts were urging new investors to jump on the stock after the drastic price decrease. Before we know it, it could be business as usual again at Facebook in little to no time.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , lawsuit,   

    Backpage ordered to pay trafficking victims, may have to pay more 

    Backpage ordered to pay trafficking victims, may have to pay more

    The now-defunct Backpage is no stranger to lawsuits. The controversial classifieds site has been taken to court by sex trafficking victims for many years now. For the longest time, Backpage would largely escape having to pay any settlements by hiding behind section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. However, even before FOSTA was passed Backpage was starting to lose whatever goodwill they had in the courts when Congress began revealing evidence they were knowingly facilitating prostitution and profiting from it. When this evidence was made public, it started a multi-state set of lawsuits in early 2017.

    Now, in one of those states, a judge has sanctioned Backpage and ordered them to pay $200,000 each to two underage trafficking victims in Washington State. The ruling in Pierce County came earlier this week when attorneys for the victims argued that Carl Ferrer’s admission of guilt contradicts Backpage’s earlier stance of having done nothing wrong. The judge also gave Backpage 60 days to produce 1.2 million documents sought in the lawsuit or pay a fine of $1.2 million.

    Hopefully, more financial penalties will be levied against Backpage and its string-pullers as that may be the only justice they’ll truly understand. Let’s be reasonable, Carl Ferrer, Jim Larkin, and Michael Lacey will probably not see the prison time they deserve. They can afford high-priced lawyers that could potentially keep them out of jail. The only true way to exact justice on them is to take away the money they greedily made off the blood of their victims.

     
  • Geebo 9:15 am on June 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , lawsuit,   

    Backpage lawsuit against Cook County Sheriff dismissed 

    Backpage lawsuit against Cook County Sheriff dismissed

    Cook County (Ill.) Sheriff Tom Dart oversees law enforcement in the second most populous county in the country. He has long been an outspoken opponent of the website formerly known as Backpage. Not only did he dedicate a large part of his career to help rescue victims of Backpage’s trafficking, he also often took to the media to try to inform the public about how much of a menace Backpage actually was. Sheriff Dart was obviously relieved when Backpage was finally shuttered.

    One of Sheriff Dart’s more controversial acts against Backpage happened in 2015 when Sheriff Dart wrote to both MasterCard and VISA requesting they stop letting Backpage use their cards as forms of payment for Backpage’s adult ads. The problem with this is Sheriff Dart did not write to these companies as a private citizen but instead as the Cook County Sheriff by using official county letterhead. Backpage saw this as a violation of their right to free speech and a government intrusion. A lawsuit was then filed against Dart by Backpage and an injunction was placed on Sheriff Dart stating he could no longer contact the credit card companies. However, the damage had already been done as the two companies ceased doing business with Backpage. Many consider this decision by VISA and MasterCard as the beginning of the end for Backpage.

    Now, with Backpage being seized by the Federal Government and former CEO Carl Ferrer admitting that Backpage was well aware of its role in human trafficking, the lawsuit against Sheriff Dart has been dismissed. This past Thursday, a federal judge dismissed the suit with Sheriff Dart claiming that the dismissal contained a “certain level of vindication”. While we may not have always agreed with Sheriff Dart’s way of doing things, we’re happy to see that Backpage won’t be able to claim a victory over this tireless defender of the people.

     
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