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And now for the Justice Beat
Twitter and the Constitution
1. A judge in New York has ruled that it is unconstitutional for Trump to block followers on Twitter, reports the New York Times. Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald found that the president’s Twitter feed is a public forum. So when Mr. Trump or an aide blocked seven plaintiffs from viewing and replying to his posts, he violated the First Amendment. It remains to be seen whether this judgment will be upheld.
2. We’ve all heard about Mueller’s Russia investigation, but what could it actually mean for Trump’s presidency? Could it take him down? The New York Times has spoken to defense lawyers, legal experts and former Justice Dept officials and put together some handy flowcharts about what could happen to Trump’s presidency - spoiler: indictment is very unlikely.
Looking after the little man
3. Life in 2018 is starting to look like a Black Mirror episode, according to Owen Jones who went to speak to some Deliveroo couriers. The author reports in the Guardian that branding workers as cycling micro-businesses sets a dangerous precedent for employment rights in other industries. Their union, the IWGB, is crowdfunding to secure basic worker rights like holiday pay and sick pay.
4. Spotify is to pay out $112m to songwriters who claimed they hadn’t been paid enough in royalties for their work being streamed, reports the Guardian. While Spotify and the claimants are happy with the agreement, music publishing company Wixen described the deal as ‘a practical free pass on wilful infringement’.
5. You’ve probably had it up to here with talk about Data Protection (or your inbox certainly has). At least you don’t have it as bad as these two internet giants. Google is being sued for £3.2bn for allegedly collecting personal data from 4.4 million iPhone users in the UK back in 2011, reports the Week. At a court hearing in London, lawyers for the campaign group Google You Owe Us said that Google collected personal data including race, political leanings, sexuality, social class, financial, and physical and mental health by bypassing Safari privacy settings.
6. Meanwhile Mark Zuckerberg has been accused of setting up a ‘fraudulent and malicious’ scheme to ‘weaponise’ and exploit vast amounts of data, reports the Guardian. The case – being taken by a California-based startup – will draw out the tension between Facebook’s claims on the one hand that it is an editor (for the purposes of the first amendment), and so free to censor and alter content, and on the other hand its recent claims to Congress and the public that it is a neutral platform, says a social media legal scholar from Columbia University.
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This week on CrowdJustice, a whistleblowing barrister crowdfunds to take her case to the Court of Appeal, residents in Leamington Spa fight against luxury developments, and the #JR4NHS judicial review, supported by the late Professor Stephen Hawking, was heard in the High Court.