Legal Research Blog
The internet has become a gateway for innovation and communication but any new frontier has realizeable downsides. Lately these developments have been leading to less than positive outcomes with regard to invasions of privacy, the sale of counterfeit goods, defining public property and the most recent issue; cyber bullying. In the past, regulations for the internet have been somewhat less than concrete due mostly to the intimidation that comes from being the first to place restrictions on one of America’s favorite pastimes. This is not so anymore as the Missouri General Assembly took steps this year to crack down on the ever increasing amount of “cyber bullying” that is sweeping across computers nationally. Matt Blunt, governor of the Show-Me state, signed a bill earlier this week that includes all electronic forms of threatening communication in the definition for harassment. Previously, harassment included only threats that occurred face-to-face, over the phone or on paper leaving bullies enough room to continue tormenting others on the computer or other devices.
The state began its crusade a few years ago when a thirteen-year-old Missouri girl, Megan Meier, took her own life after a series of encounters with a cyber bully. The exchanges took place on the popular social network MySpace leaving no option for the young girl to report the grievances. MySpace is actively pursuing Lori Drew, the mother responsible for leading the actions against Meier, charging her with a violation of their terms of service through conspiracy and false identification, nothing for harassment. It is the intention of the Missouri legislature and the Meier family, with the full support of Governor Blunt, that no one will get away with this crime again.
This week Judge James Robertson of the Federal D.C. District Court denied a motion to dismiss a civil suit brought against CACI International, a military contractor working in the Abu Ghraib prison, alleging abuse and torture by its employees. A U.S. military investigation into the 2003 abuse scandal revealed the complicity of several CACI employees, found to have used attack dogs in interrogations and to have contorted detainees into “stress positions.” Four Iraqi men, detained in the prison from 2003-2004 and released without charges, have filed individual suits against CACI and another contractor in four separate U.S. courts.
CACI contends that it should be immune from prosecution, as its employees were following the orders of the U.S. military. However, Robertson found that the corporation did have its own command and a level of independence that trumps this traditional immunity.
CACI International maintains that its employees had no involvement with the abuse that took place in Abu Ghraib, stating:
“”CACI has unequivocally renounced any abuse of detainees in Iraq and has cooperated fully in all government inquiries relating to detainee abuse. The court’s ruling today only declined to end the lawsuit now.”
Source: The Washington Post
In honor of our country’s 232nd birthday and the beginning of our legal system, here are a few fun facts about July 4th from throughout the years. Some you know and some you may not…
The Declaration of Independence is adopted in 1776 but signed only by John Hancock. His infamous signature would not be joined by other delegates from the Continental Congress until August of that year.
Founding Fathers John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all spent their last day celebrating the anniversary of their country’s independence. Adams and Jefferson passed away in 1826 while Monroe joined them only 5 years later.
Sing Happy Birthday to President Calvin Coolidge! He would turn 136 today.
America makes room for the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French in 1884, although it was not dedicated until almost two years later.
Alaska and Hawaii are officially added to the flag of the United States in 1959 and 1960 respectively, creating the image seen everywhere today.
The US lands their second space craft and first rover on the surface of Mars in 1997 allowing for the first analysis of the mysterious planets composition.
The ID card would be a digital mimicry of a traditional driver’s license, which would also include information like a credit card number or billing address. Each internet user could control the information sent to specific sites, to keep from passing on unnecessary content.
The country of Bhutan has recently taken on a scourge familiar to us here in the U.S. (think last week’s BlackBerry post) : gaming on the job. Members of Bhutan’s National Assembly are no longer permitted to use laptops during sessions, banned by the speaker due to a noticeable lack of focus during debates. The speaker, Nima Tshering, has also placed other restrictions on MPs, banning smoking, eating, and other electronic devices in the building.
Some parliamentarians oppose the new rule, arguing that their laptops were essential for keeping track of detailed information and prevented paper waste. But, there may be some truth to Tshering’s suspicion about MP gaming. Computer games have become wildly popular in Bhutan, which has only had access to the internet for the last 9 years. With a restricted number of outlets for entertainment and the brutal mountain weather, many citizens find themselves confined to the boredom of life indoors, and computer games can help to relieve it.
Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan kingdom that is currently being featured in Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, has a reputation for traditional, egalitarian living and environmentalism. One of its most popular national projects is the goal of Gross National Happiness, Bhutan’s version of the Western concept of GNP, which focuses on quality of life rather than economic output. The country held its first democratic elections last winter, although the Bhutanese King still enjoys some ceremonial powers.
Source: The BBC