Friday Five for June 23rd, 2017

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 at 14:13

The Supreme Court Phone Location Case Will Decide the Future of Privacy

Later this year, the Supreme Court will decide if police can track a person's cell phone location without a warrant. It's the most important privacy case in a generation.
For all of the attention paid to former FBI Director Jim Comey's highly anticipated testimony before the Senate intelligence committee last Thursday, the most important constitutional law development from last week took place across the street (and three days earlier). The Supreme Court agreed to hear argument in Carpenter v. United States later this year - though exactly when, we're not sure.
Carpenter raises a specific question about whether Americans have an expectation of privacy in historical "cell-site location information" ("CSLI"). The petitioner, Timothy Carpenter, was one of two defendants convicted for his role in a series of armed robberies in Michigan and Ohio, based in part of 127 days of CSLI data that placed him between 1/2 and 2 miles from the robberies around the time they were committed.
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Old people trying a case about technology? What could go wrong?

Supreme Court Says You Can't Ban People From the Internet, No Matter What They've Done

Going all the way back to 2002 (and many times after that), we've talked about courts struggling with whether or not it's okay to ban people from the internet after they've committed a crime. The question comes up in many different cases, but most prevalently in cases involving child predators. While courts have struggled with this issue for so long, it's only now that the Supreme Court has weighed in and said you cannot ban someone from the Internet, even if they're convicted of horrific crimes -- in this case, sex crimes against a minor.
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More proof that the Internet is a utility.

Scientists Just Took a Major Step Towards Achieving Nuclear Fusion

With the potential to provide almost limitless energy, free of any radioactive by-product or greenhouse gases, nuclear fusion is the goal many are aiming to achieve.
Creating a system to harness the power of nuclear fusion is proving difficult, however. Now, researchers think they have taken a step closer to that goal.
It takes immense pressure and temperatures of about 150 million degrees to get atoms to combine in a fusion reactor. Runaway electrons can wreak havoc in the fusion reactors currently under development and could destroy a reactor without warning. The new technique works by decelerating these runaway electrons.
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A change of pace, for electrons.

GOP Data Firm Accidentally Leaks Personal Details of Nearly 200 Million American Voters

Political data gathered on more than 198 million US citizens was exposed this month after a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server.
The data leak contains a weath of personal information on roughly 61 percent of the US population. Along with home addresses, birthdates, and phone numbers, the records include advanced sentiment analyses used by political groups to predict where individual voters fall on hot-button issues such as gun ownership, stem cell research, and the right to abortion, as well as suspected religious affiliation and ethnicity. The data was amassed from a variety of sources - from the banned subreddit /r/fatpeoplehate to American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by former White House strategist Karl Rove.
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Robots Are Eating Money Managers' Lunch

Rishi Ganti used to help manage the personal fortunes of hedge fund founders David Siegel and John Overdeck, whose quantitatively driven strategies turned them into billionaires. Ganti, 45, says he's glimpsed the future of his industry. A wave of coders writing self-teaching algorithms has descended on the financial world, and it doesn't look good for most of the money managers who've long been envied for their multimillion-dollar bonuses.
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But how will those poor money managers make ends meet?!?!