On August 1st, Defense Distributed was set to upload designs of 3D-printed guns for the public to buy and download. But the day before, a Seattle judge temporarily blocked their release after seven states and Washington, DC sued the company and State Department. Today, eleven more states have joined the legal battle to stop the firearm plans from being sold online. According to the filing, amended complaint added California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia to the list of states Attorneys General opposing the release of the files. Per the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the preliminary injunction hearing has been scheduled for August 21st and the temporary restraining order has been extended until August 28th.
The minute after I watched the first episode of The Wire, I found myself asking: Is this the best show ever to be on television? So of course I've followed David Simon's work through his post–Hurricane Katrina New Orleans series Treme and later his '70s-porn-era New York City drama The Deuce. Like me, Simon once paid his rent primarily as a journalist, but he leveraged his newspaper years into creating TV drama that, if anything, was as good as (or maybe better than) the best journalism I'd seen until then--capturing crime and social problems with a consistent recognition that our real-life heroes, like our real-life villains, have a gift for being their own worst enemies. On Twitter, Simon has won a unique reputation as a prolific hurler of baroque insults targeting those he believes are poisoning the social media platform. After the 2016 election, people in my feed would tag me regarding Simon's tweets comparing both Twitter trolls and genuinely monstrous people like Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to Hitler, Nazis, fascists, and the like. Some clearly hoped that, as the creator of Godwin's law, I might render a verdict against him as a Godwin's lawbreaker, but I had already written that informed, knowledgeable Nazi comparisons won't earn my criticism. At its best, I saw Simon's frequently colorful exercise of his First Amendment rights as high-quality performance art.
Uber could be facing a criminal probe by the Department of Justice into its use of a ghost-app program called Greyball, according to a Reuters report late Thursday. The controversial program allowed Uber engineers to take over a user's app and send them a map that did not accurately reflect which drivers were in the area. Uber admitted that Greyball was used in part to track and avoid regulators who might be hailing rides to scrutinize the company's business practices, and discontinued the practice five days after a March 3 New York Times report exposed the program. If true, a criminal investigation would represent a significant ratcheting up of problems for the world's most valuable startup, which already is dealing with an internal probe about a sexist work environment and a lawsuit from Waymo over allegedly stolen self-driving car technology. Uber declined to comment, but provided a letter the company sent to Portland, Ore., officials in March that describes the program.
The Trump administration wants to use indictments, along with export controls and other policy tools, as part of an arsenal to counter Chinese theft of trade and technology secrets, which U.S. officials increasingly view as part of national security, The Wall Street Journal has reported. That has meant a more aggressive effort to convert corporate squabbles into criminal charges. The federal investigation, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, into whether Huawei stole trade secrets from U.S. business partners arose from civil lawsuits, including one in which the Shenzhen-based company was accused of misappropriating robotic technology from wireless-network operator T-Mobile US Inc. In November, the U.S. said it indicted two companies in China and Taiwan on charges of stealing semiconductor-design secrets from Idaho-based chip maker Micron Technology Inc., based almost entirely on litigation that Micron had filed in California courts a year earlier. In both cases, the entry of federal prosecutors ratcheted up global attention and the stakes in what had until then been less noticed civil filings.