For the past five years, every FBI secret spy court request to snoop on Americans has sucked, says watchdog

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Feeling secure? Sucker

Analysis  The FBI has not followed internal rules when applying to spy on US citizens for at least five years, according to an extraordinary report [PDF] by the Department of Justice’s inspector general.…


At the Supreme Court, Morrisons pops data breach liability win into its trolley – but it's not a get-out-of-compo free card for businesses

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Vicarious liability now applies to intentional leaks, top court says

Morrisons supermarket is not liable for the actions of a disgruntled employee who deliberately leaked nearly 100,000 employees' payroll data online, the Supreme Court has ruled.…


London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison

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Flight risk remains, says judge as she refuses bail attempt

Julian Assange has failed to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to get out of prison – after a judge ruled that his previous antics made him a flight risk.…


Your Agile-built IT platform was 'terrible', Co-Op Insurance chief complained to High Court

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Mark Summerfield didn't hold back in written evidence

A £175m IT platform for Co-Op Insurance that was subcontracted out by IBM to a third party was a "disaster" despite assurances it was an "out of the box" product, the insurer's CEO told London's High Court.…


The Reg produces exhibit A1: A UK court IT system running Windows XP

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Plus thousands of laptops on unloved Windows OS used by Ministry of Justice, it admits

Exclusive  A critical crown court IT system and thousands of laptops used by the UK's Ministry of Justice run on Microsoft's obsolete and unsupported Windows XP operating system, The Register can reveal.…


NSO Group fires back at Facebook: You lied to the court claims spyware slinger, and we've got the proof

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Israeli firm says Social Network didn't properly serve legal docs

Facebook has been accused of lying to a US court in its ongoing legal battle against government malware maker NSO Group.…


Spyware maker NSO runs scared from Facebook over WhatsApp hacking charges, fails to show up in court

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Meanwhile, Broadcom and Symantec have merger woes

Roundup  It's that time again – the week's security news in digestible chunks beyond what we've already covered. Let's get into it.…


Surveillance Court Bans FBI and DOJ Officials Who Erred in Carter Page Wiretap Applications

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Surveillance Court Bans FBI and DOJ Officials Who Erred in Carter Page Wiretap Applications

Authored by Ivan Pentchoukov via The Epoch Times,

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on March 5 effectively barred FBI and Justice Department officials involved in the infamous application to surveil former Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

Carter Page

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The chief justice of the secret court, James Boasberg, ordered the ban in a 19-page opinion, the latest in a series of developments triggered by the release of the condemning report by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), which examined the four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications the FBI used to spy on Page.

Boasberg wrote, “No DOJ or FBI personnel under disciplinary or criminal review relating to their work on FISA applications shall participate in drafting, verifying, reviewing, or submitting such applications to the court.”

Boasberg also accepted a detailed plan put forth by the FBI to prevent the kinds of significant omissions and misstatements that made their way into the Page FISA applications despite significant vetting by top officials at the bureau and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The court is encouraged by the government’s responses to the OIG report and its orders, as the FBI and DOJ have each indicated that the flaws identified in the OIG Report require significant and systemic remedial action,” Boasberg wrote.

The DOJ inspector general released a report in December that found a number of serious omissions and misstatements in the FISA applications on Page. For example, the FBI failed to disclose that Page had a relationship with the CIA, that the agency had approved Page as an operational contact from 2008 to 2013, that Page notified the agency about his contacts with Russians, and that the CIA had assessed that Page was truthful about describing his contacts.

Exacerbating the omission, an FBI attorney altered an email to say that Page was “not a source.”

Boasberg ordered the FBI and DOJ to include in future applications to the court a statement saying that they contain “all information that might reasonably call into question the accuracy of the information or the reasonableness of any F.B.I. assessment in the application, or otherwise raise doubts about the requested findings.”

On the heels of the release of the OIG report, the FISC issued a scathing order, calling on the FBI to explain what is being done to rectify the malpractice flagged by the inspector general. Boasberg also appointed an independent monitor to assess the FBI’s response. The bureau responded with a menu of procedural, training, and oversight reforms, some of which are already being implemented. Boasberg’s order calls for information and status updates on several of the items.

Boasberg filed his order as lawmakers are considering reforming the FISA act. President Donald Trump told Republican lawmakers in a private meeting on March 3 that he would not sign an extension of the surveillance law without reforms, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told reporters.

In addition to the issues identified in the wiretap applications, some of the key officials involved in the investigation of the Trump campaign were found to have expressed intense bias against Trump and in favor of his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. The inspector general found no evidence to suggest that the bias motivated the malpractice.

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov

Tyler Durden

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 19:05

IBM exec told that High Court evidence in Co-Op Insurance case wasn't 'truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth'

logicfish Business exec told that high court evidence co-op insurance case wasnt truth whole nothing All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Plus: Big Blue wanted to 'turn the screw in a controlled manner' on client

An IBM exec was accused of contradicting himself at the High Court in London as he testified over the failure of a £175m Agile platform contract with Co-Operative Insurance.…


Campaigners cry foul play as Oracle funds conservative lobby group supporting its court case against Google

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Google-funded think tanks need to sit back and, er, have a think

Campaigners have reacted angrily to Oracle's decision to fund the Internet Accountability Project (IAP), a lobby group which has – surprisingly enough – supported Oracle's claim against Google in the US Supreme Court.…


Aria Technology loses Court of Appeal bid over £750k VAT dispute

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Firm must pay HMRC's legal costs, rules judge

The Court of Appeal has thrown out Aria Technology's efforts to squeeze out of a £300k tax bill after HMRC found £750k of the firm's input tax was not creditable*. Top judges have ordered the company to pay the UK tax collector's legal bills in the case.…


US Plotted To Assassinate Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Attorney Tells London Court

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US Plotted To Assassinate Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Attorney Tells London Court

On Monday Julian Assange's defense team told a London court that the United States plotted to assassinate the WikiLeaks founder

After describing US intelligence attempts to plant “intrusive and sophisticated” secret surveillance devices in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where Assange had been living under asylum for seven years, Assange's attorne

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y Edward Fitzgerald told the court according to an explosive Daily Mail report published Tuesday:

“There were conversations about whether there should be more extreme measures contemplated, such as kidnapping or poisoning Julian Assange in the embassy.”

Via Getty Images

The plot is alleged to have involved a private Spanish security company named UC Global, reportedly acting on behalf of the US authorities, which was engaged in eavesdropping on Assange and his visitors who entered the Ecuadorian embassy to meet privately with him. Officially the firm was in charge of protecting the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Prior reports say live-stream audio and video devices were secretly hidden inside the embassy, and supplemented what could be picked up by laser microphones from outside. Court documents detailing UC Global SL's illegal operation were previously presented to Spain’s High Court.

The new disturbing allegations which came out during the first day of the WikiLeaks' founder extradition hearing involved scenarios wherein a "kidnapping" or killing could be made to look like an "accident"

Fitzgerald made reference to a “Witness Two” who revealed UC Global owner David Morales — a former Spanish military officer — discussed the "extreme measures". The witness was among a group of whistleblowers who previously came forward to testify against illegal and shady practices of the Spanish security firm.

Witness Two detailed that Morales “said the Americans were desperate and had even suggested more extreme measures could be applied against the guest to put an end to the situation,” Fitzgerald told the court.

Fitzgerald read the witness statement in court, which according to The Daily Mail also included the following:

He said there was a suggestion the embassy door could be left open to make a kidnapping look like it could have been 'an accident', adding 'even the possibility of poisoning had been discussed'

Giving credence to the newly revealed alleged plot, it must be remembered that in 2017 while Assange was still holed up in the embassy, then CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in a speech before a Washington think tank audience that he deems WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service".

David Morales, left, owner of Spanish security firm Undercover Global SL. Image source: UC Global/Reuters

"It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia," Pompeo said.

This was widely interpreted as a sign the CIA considered Assange and WikiLeaks members as fair game for assassination or kidnapping, given Pompeo essentially declared them "enemy agents" of the US.

Two years following these remarks, the Spanish-language daily newspaper El País revealed the major surveillance plot targeting Assange while in the embassy:

Documents and videos revealed by EL PAÍS in July, months before Assange took legal action against Morales, show that UC Global SL spied on the cyber-activist’s conversations with his lawyers, at meetings where they were designing his defense strategy to avoid extradition to the US. Morales allegedly delivered these and other conversations to US intelligence services, this newspaper revealed. Morales was arrested and released pending trial to face charges of violation of client-attorney privilege and illegal arms possession.

ABC News Australia also days ago published spy footage it obtained from inside the embassy showing:

"Julian Assange's conversations, including legally privileged meetings with Australian lawyers Geoffrey Robertson, Jennifer Robinson and Melinda Taylor, [which] were secretly recorded inside his London embassy home."

During his last months and years in the embassy, Assange was said to be deeply worried he was being recorded by WikiLeaks' enemies, at times going so far as to sleep in a tent in his room so his every movement couldn't be captured. 

He was rightly paranoid in part because the US and UK have long charged that Assange "put lives at risk" in previously releasing hundreds of thousands of government top secret files related to wars and covert operations especially across the Middle East, which gained international attention. He's now awaiting potential extradition to the US while under horrible conditions at London's notorious Belmarsh prison.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 21:05

UK Court: Sharia Marriages Not Valid Under English Law

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UK Court: Sharia Marriages Not Valid Under English Law

Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute,

The Court of Appeal, the second-highest court in England and Wales after the Supreme Court, has ruled that the Islamic marriage contract, known as nikah in Arabic, is not valid under English law.

The landmark ruling has far-reaching implications. On th

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e one hand, the decision strikes a blow against efforts to enshrine this aspect of Sharia law into the British legal system. On the other hand, it leaves potentially thousands of Muslim women in Britain without legal recourse in the case of divorce.

The case involves an estranged couple, Nasreen Akhter and Mohammed Shabaz Khan, both of Pakistani heritage, who took part in a nikah ceremony officiated by an imam in front of 150 guests at a restaurant in London in December 1998.

In November 2016, Akhter, a 48-year-old attorney, filed for a divorce, allegedly because Khan wanted to take a second wife. Khan, a 48-year-old property developer, tried to block Akhter's divorce application on the basis that they were not legally married under English law. Khan said that they were married "under Sharia law only" and sued to prevent Akhtar from claiming money or property from him in the same way a legally married spouse could.

Akhter said that the couple, who have four children, intended to follow the nikah with a civil marriage ceremony that would be compliant with English law. No civil ceremony ever took place, however, because, according to Akhter, Khan refused.

On July 31, 2018, the London-based Family Division of the High Court ruled that the nikah fell within the scope of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which establishes three categories of marriage: valid, void and non-marriage. Valid marriages may be ended by a decree of divorce; void marriages may be ended by a decree of nullity; non-marriages cannot be legally ended because legally the marriage never existed.

The high court determined that the Akhter-Khan marriage was a "void marriage" because it had been "entered into in disregard of certain requirements as to the formation of marriage." It ruled that Akhtar was therefore entitled to a "decree of nullity of marriage."

The Attorney General, on behalf of the British government, filed an appeal on the basis that it was wrong to recognize the marriage as being "void" rather than a "non-marriage."

On February 14, 2020, the London-based Court of Appeals overturned the High Court's decision and ruled that nikah marriages are "non-marriages" within the scope of English law. In its ruling, the court explained:

"The Court of Appeal finds that the December 1998 nikah ceremony did not create a void marriage because it was a non-qualifying ceremony. The parties were not marrying 'under the provisions' of English law (Part II of the Marriage Act 1949). The ceremony was not performed in a registered building. Moreover, no notice had been given to the superintendent registrar, no certificates had been issued, and no registrar or authorized person was present at the ceremony. Further, the parties knew that the ceremony had no legal effect and that they would need to undertake another ceremony that did comply with the relevant requirements in order to be validly married. The determination of whether a marriage is void or not cannot, in the Court's view, be dependent on future events, such as the intention to undertake another ceremony or whether there are children.

"There is no justification for treating the civil ceremony, which the parties intended to undertake, as having in fact taken place, when it never did. This might result in a party being married even if they change their mind part way through the process of formalizing the marriage. That would be inconsistent with the abolition of the right to sue for breach of an agreement to marry by Section 1 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970. The parties' intentions cannot change what would otherwise be a non-qualifying ceremony into one which is within the scope of the Marriage Act 1949."

The Court of Appeals added: "It is not difficult for parties who want to be legally married to achieve that status."

The ruling, which Akhter presumably will appeal at the Supreme Court, has been greeted with outrage by activists who argue that thousands of Muslim women in Britain now have no legal rights when it comes to divorce.

In a press release, Southall Black Sisters, an advocacy group for South Asian women, said:

"We sought to inform the Court of Appeal that many minority women, especially Muslim women, are deceived or coerced by abusive husbands into only having a religious marriage, which deprives them of their financial rights when the marriage breaks down....

"The Court found that 'it is not difficult for parties who want to be legally married to achieve that status.' But this disregards the accounts of many minority women, who have great difficulty in obtaining that status in the context of domestic abuse, patriarchal family dynamics and considerable power imbalances....

"Today's judgment will force Muslim and other women to turn to Sharia 'courts' that already cause significant harm to women and children for remedies because they are now locked out of the civil justice system."

In November 2017, a survey carried out for a Channel 4 documentary — The Truth About Muslim Marriage — found that nearly all married Muslim women in Britain have had a nikah, but more than 60% had not gone through a separate civil ceremony which would make the marriage legal under British law.

In February 2018, an independent review of the application of Sharia law in England and Wales, commissioned by Theresa May in May 2016 when she was home secretary, recommended changes to the Marriage Act 1949 and the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 that would require Muslims to conduct civil marriages before or at the same time as the nikah ceremony. This would bring Islamic marriage in line with Christian and Jewish marriage in the eyes of British law. The report stated:

"By linking Islamic marriage to civil marriage, it ensures that a greater number of women will have the full protection afforded to them in family law and the right to a civil divorce, lessening the need to attend and simplifying the decision process of Sharia councils."

The review added:

"The panel's opinion is that the evidence shows that cultural change is required within Muslim communities so that communities acknowledge women's rights in civil law, especially in areas of marriage and divorce. Awareness campaigns, educational programs and other similar measures should be put in place to educate and inform women of their rights and responsibilities, including the need to highlight the legal protection civilly registered marriages provide."

Finally, the panel recommended that the government create a new agency to regulate Sharia courts and thus legitimize them:

"That body would design a code of practice for Sharia councils to accept and implement. There would, of course, be a one-off cost to the government of establishing this body but subsequently the system would be self-regulatory."

In March 2018, then Secretary of State Sajid Javid, in a Green Paper titled, "Integrated Communities Strategy," responded:

"We welcome the independent review into the application of Sharia law in England and Wales. Couples from faith communities have long been able to enter a legally recognized marriage through a religious ceremony if the requirements of the law are met.

"However, we share the concern raised in the review that some couples may marry in a way that does not give them the legal protections available to others in a civilly registered marriage. We are also concerned by reports of women being discriminated against and treated unfairly by some religious councils.

"The government is supportive in principle of the requirement that civil marriages are conducted before or at the same time as religious ceremonies. Therefore, the government will explore the legal and practical challenges of limited reform relating to the law on marriage and religious weddings.

"The government considers that the review's proposal to create a state-facilitated or endorsed regulation scheme for Sharia councils would confer upon them legitimacy as alternative forms of dispute resolution. The government does not consider there to be a role for the state to act in this way."

In January 2019, the Council of Europe (COE), the continent's leading human rights organization, raised concerns about the role of Sharia courts in family, inheritance and commercial law in Britain. It called for the government to remove obstacles that stop Muslim women from accessing justice:

"Although they are not considered part of the British legal system, Sharia councils attempt to provide a form of alternative dispute resolution, whereby members of the Muslim community, sometimes voluntarily, often under considerable social pressure, accept their religious jurisdiction mainly in marital issues and Islamic divorce proceedings but also in matters relating to inheritance and Islamic commercial contracts. The Assembly is concerned that the rulings of the Sharia councils clearly discriminate against women in divorce and inheritance cases."

The COE also set a deadline of June 2020 for the UK to report back on reviewing the Marriage Act, which would make it a legal requirement for Muslim couples to undergo civil marriages — which is currently required for Christian and Jewish marriages.

A Home Office spokesperson responded to the COE resolution:

"Sharia law does not form any part of the law in England and Wales. Regardless of religious belief, we are all equal before the law. Where Sharia councils exist, they must abide by the law.

"Laws are in place to protect the rights of women and prevent discrimination, and we will work with the appropriate authorities to ensure these laws are being enforced fully and effectively."

As of now, neither the British government, nor the British Parliament has introduced legislation that would require Muslims to conduct civil marriages before or at the same time as the nikah ceremony.

The Court of Appeal's ruling does, however, put a brake on the further encroachment of Sharia law into the British legal system. The court's decision effectively reaffirms the principle that immigrants who settle in Britain must conform to British law, rather than the other way around.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 02:00

US court responds to Chinese comms giant sueball: There's no Huawei we're lifting ban on federal agencies using your kit

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Firm told: Contracting with Uncle Sam is a privilege, not a right

An American court has rejected Huawei's constitutional challenge to a US law that bans federal agencies and contractors from buying and using the Chinese firm's telecoms equipment.…


German Court Rules Tesla Must Stop Cutting Down Local Forest To Make Room For Its Gigafactory

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German Court Rules Tesla Must Stop Cutting Down Local Forest To Make Room For Its Gigafactory

A German court ruled this week that Elon Musk must halt his plan to clear a forest near Berlin in order to build Tesla's German Gigafactory. The court put the stay on Tesla while it considers challenges from environmentalists, according to Bloomberg. 

That's right - Tesla was cutting down a forest to put up an EV factory

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> - this is environmentalism in 2020. 

The court issued an injunction against further construction after it overturned a lower court's ruling against environmental group Gruene Liga Brandenburg, who is looking to prevent Tesla from clearing the forest. The court is expected to render a final decision on the complaint in several days. 

Joerg Steinbach, spokesman for the regional government said: "Tesla and the local government have already filed their response to the complaint and are now relying on the prompt decision of the court."

The court order obviously could hinder Tesla's proposed data to open the factory, which is mid 2020. When open, Musk says the factory would be able to produce 500,000 cars per year and employ 12,000 people. The factory is located right in the backyard of major German auto players like Volkswagen and BMW. 

Tesla has already cleared about "150 soccer fields" worth of forest and has been forced to relocate several species of animals, while also considering the breeding periods of local wildlife.

Recall it was about one month ago that we first reported Tesla was cutting down "thousands of trees" in order to make space to erect its German Gigafactory. 

The company was tasked with clearing so much forest space to put up its factory that dozens of protesters recently organized a gathering known as a "Forest Walk" to protect against Tesla's tree removal activities at the site, according to Teslarati. 

The protesters were dressed in yellow vests, replicating the "Yellow Vest Movement" in France and are also concerned about what the deforestation may do to the drinking water in the area. 

Tyler Durden

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 04:15

'Nevermind All That FBI Misconduct': Mueller Attack-Dog Asks Court To Ignore Flynn Bid To Toss Case

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'Nevermind All That FBI Misconduct': Mueller Attack-Dog Asks Court To Ignore Flynn Bid To Toss Case

One of special counsel Robert Mueller's former prosecutors, Brandon Van Grack, argued in a Wednesday filing that the case against Michael Flynn should not be dismissed in light of "egregious government misconduct," because the FBI's extensive FISA abuse uncovered by the DOJ's Inspector General "have no relevance to his false statements to the FBI o

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n January 24, 2017."

"Beyond failing to identify misconduct that satisfies the legal test cited in his own brief — that the misconduct be ‘so grossly shocking and so outrageous as to violate the universal sense of justice’ — the defendant fails to identify any government misconduct in this case," Van Grack continues.

Except - Flynn attorney Sidney Powell says the FBI excluded  crucial information from his '302' form - the original draft of which stated that Flynn was honest with the FBI agents who interviewed him (one of whom was Peter Strzok).

The prosecution filing also argues that a slew of failures that the Justice Department’s inspector general found in the FBI’s handling of surveillance applications merit serious attention but that the faults involved Carter Page, a Trump 2016 foreign policy adviser, and not Flynn.

“The government does not dispute the seriousness of the ‘significant errors and omissions’ described in the Report,” Van Grack wrote. “But the compliance and diligence failures and ‘significant errors’ as they relate to the Page FISA applications do not warrant or necessitate the dismissal of the charge against the defendant.” -Politico

In short - failings by the the same cabal within the FBI that handled the Clinton email investigation, the Trump investigation, and the offshoot investigations (Flynn, Stone, etc.) - don't matter.

Flynn pleaded guilty in late 2017 to one felony charge of making false statements to the FBI during an impromptu interview held four days after Trump's inauguration - which Flynn had no idea was an interview. He admitted misleading agents over contacts with the then-Russian ambassador regarding the Trump administration's efforts to oppose a UN resolution related to Israel - as well as false statements to the DOJ about a lobbying project related to Turkey.

In 2019, however, Flynn switched lawyers - which was followed by allegations that his former lawyers had mishandled the case.

Flynn’s new lawyers, led by Sidney Powell, a frequent Mueller critic, urged senior officials like Attorney General William Barr to review the case against Flynn and abandon it. It’s unclear what action, if any, was taken on that request.

Powell also asked the judge overseeing Flynn’s case, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, to grant access to almost 50 categories of information that the defense said could illuminate the unfairness of Flynn’s prosecution. Sullivan rejected that demand in December in a blistering opinion.

“The Court summarily disposes of Mr. Flynn’s arguments that the FBI conducted an ambush interview for the purpose of trapping him into making false statements and that the government pressured him to enter a guilty plea,” Sullivan wrote then. “The record proves otherwise.” -Politico

Last month, Flynn asked the court to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing that he was tricked into filing it under pressure from prosecutors.

Federal prosecutors have not fully responded to that motion.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 18:05


Law Crime


Lynch lied about Autonomy's accounts, rages HPE to the High Court

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Brit software biz blocked access to detailed audit info, says US firm as $5bn trial nears its end

Autonomy Trial  HPE is holding fast to its claims that Autonomy executives lied during due diligence calls before the ill-fated $11bn buyout of the British software company by the American megalith in 2011.…


Autonomy did count some hardware sales as marketing costs, ex-finance bod tells High Court

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HP bad, Deloitte and Lynch and Hussain good, says current Invoke Capital bod

Autonomy trial  A witness who worked on the Autonomy finance team told London's High Court during the long-running Autonomy trial that the firm had indeed been accounting for some hardware sales as marketing expenses in its annual accounts.…


'Buyer's remorse' drove HP's legal crusade to go after Lynch, High Court told

logicfish Business buyers remorse drove legal crusade after lynch high court told All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Plus: Top QC deplores courtroom use of 'Americanisms'

Autonomy Trial  Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch's barrister has branded HPE's $5bn fraud trial against his client "a case study in buyer's remorse" as the legal battle being heard at London's High Court begins drawing to a close.…


Azure consultant's Google image search results hotlinking sueball booted off the pitch by High Court

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British copyright law probably wasn't right way to do this one

An Azure consultant has lost his bid to sue Google for copyright infringement over search results that sent web users to a website run by a hotlinker who was displaying one of his photos.…


Hunter Biden Ordered To Appear In Court Next Week For Contempt Hearing

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Hunter Biden Ordered To Appear In Court Next Week For Contempt Hearing

Hunter Biden has been ordered to stand in front of an Arkansas judge next Tuedsay to explain why he shouldn't be held in contempt of court for failing to produce a laundry list of financial and personal information in his ongoing child support dispute with stripper Lunden Alexis Roberts.

Roberts asked the court on Tuesday to hold Bi

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den in contempt for failing to disclose financial information, contact information, and "a list of all companies he currently owns or in which he has an ownership interest," as well as "all companies in which he has had an ownership interest in the past five years."

Also sought are a copy of Biden's 2017 and 2018 tax returns, deeds to properties he owns, and an executed copy of a financial records release Biden has been avoiding filing unless the court allows him to do so under seal.

"The defendant continues to act as though he has no respect for this Court, its orders, the legal process in this state, or the needs of his child for support," reads the filing, which adds "This is but another example of the defendant's unnecessary actions to frustrate prompt adjudication of this matter and increase the plaintiff's litigation costs."

Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer agreed, ordering Biden to appear in person to explain his failure to produce the requested information which was due in August, 2019.

In November, a DNA test revealed Hunter to be the father of the unnamed child with Roberts. In order to determine what Biden can cough up, Roberts has sought extensive financial records for periods which include his time on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was the Obama administration's point-man on Ukraine.

Hunter served on Burisma's board from 2014 through 2018, while his father openly bragged about getting a prosecutor fired who was investigating the company's founder for a variety of white-collar crimes.

Hunter Biden did not receive any direct compensation from Burisma — rather, the Ukrainian company wired funds to Rosemont Seneca Bohai (RSB), an American firm controlled by Hunter Biden’s longtime business partner Devon Archer. Between June 2014 and October 2015, RSB wired a total of $708,302 to Hunter Biden for undisclosed purposes while RSB was receiving funds from Burisma.

The IRS placed a tax lien on Hunter Biden for $112,805 in unpaid taxes from 2015, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported. -Daily Caller

While Congressional Democrats insist the entire affair was above board, and "debunked," it is apparently too radioactive for lawmakers to delve into, despite the fact that it's at the center of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump - who withheld almost $400 million in US military aid to Ukraine while he was pushing for an investigation into the Bidens.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 20:45

How The Supreme Court Could Be Pulled Into The Trump Impeachment

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How The Supreme Court Could Be Pulled Into The Trump Impeachment

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

After its 2000 decision in Bush v. Gore, Justice David Souter reportedly “wept” when the role of the Supreme Court was raised in determining the outcome of the presidential election.

The court continues to grapple with the legacy – and controversy – of that decision. With the still developing Senate trial in P

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resident Trump’s impeachment, the court could soon be pulled into the flip side of Bush v. Gore, not who could be declared but who should be removed as president.

Despite what Trump counsel Rudolph W. Giuliani has declared in calling for the court to nullify the impeachment, the Constitution does not state any function of the court in impeachments other than the limited role of the chief justice as the presiding judge. That suits most justices just fine. Most justices would prefer to drink molten lead than get pulled into another presidential legitimacy case.

Yet, the Trump impeachment trial may force that cup to the lips of the justices. With a trial starting in the Senate on Thursday, the looming question over the Senate will be whether to allow witnesses. While I strongly disagreed with the House in rushing this impeachment forward rather than waiting a couple of months to complete its record, I still support a trial with witnesses in the Senate. If witnesses are called, however, the court could be forced to finally face a question more than 50 years in the making.

In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon and ordered the release of the Watergate tapes to special prosecutor Leon Jaworski – and ultimately to Congress. Nixon resigned roughly two weeks later. That case has spawned a variety of interpretations of its rejection of executive privilege, including one interpretation I call the “Nixon fallacy.” The fallacy goes something like this:

Impeachment so exceeds in importance executive-privilege claims that the Supreme Court has already declared that criminal or impeachment investigations take precedence over privilege so any withholding of testimony or documents is per se obstruction.

In reality, the Supreme Court never said anything like that.

Yes, the court rejected what it described as the claim of an “absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity” to withhold relevant evidence in a criminal investigation. But it did not say that a president could not invoke privilege over the testimony in an impeachment proceeding or that such privilege assertions could not ever prevail. Indeed, it did not even categorically reject such claims in a criminal investigation but simply said that “without more” of a justification from Nixon, the tapes would have to be turned over to the Watergate special prosecutor.

A national security adviser speaking to a president about the delivery of military aid to a foreign country is the very definition of a core protected area of executive privilege. That does not mean the White House would win in a fight over John Bolton’s testimony. However, it does mean Trump has a viable and recognized basis for withholding information in this area – creating an issue capable of judicial review and resolution.

So, here is one scenario. The Senate crosses the Rubicon and both sides call witnesses from Bolton to Hunter Biden to give depositions. While Biden would not be able to refuse to testify absent a Fifth Amendment plea (which could be overcome by a grant of immunity), the White House would try to halt Bolton’s participation under a claim of privilege. The White House would presumably push the case into the federal district court, which would have to review each area of questioning to determine if executive privileges or congressional prerogatives should prevail. Appeals would follow. And all that assumes the Senate is willing to wait for those courts to rule.

The problem is time. It took only three months to litigate the Nixon tapes controversy from the district court to a final decision of the Supreme Court. By refusing to delay the impeachment vote, the House effectively gave up control of its own case. The Senate may have little time or patience to allow the House to correct that blunder.

In my view, Bolton should testify. Indeed, he should have been subpoenaed in the House. There are valid privilege claims to be raised, but he can clearly answer questions narrowly tailored to the issue of a quid pro quo.

The only body less eager to grapple with those claims than the Senate is the Supreme Court. The aversion is only enhanced by the possibility of recusal of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in any appeal, leaving the court with a risk of a tie vote on a critical impeachment question. Over a decade after she ruled in Bush v. Gore, Sandra Day O’Connor was still expressing regrets and wondered aloud, “Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.'”

But that may be difficult when the Senate is waiting roughly 1,500 feet away for an answer on what Bolton might say. Three branches of government would literally be locked in a constitutional hold with the curious figure of Bolton sitting in the center. Before he speaks, the court may have no alternative but to be heard.

Tyler Durden

Sun, 01/19/2020 - 14:35

It Was Rod: DOJ Court Filing Reveals Rosenstein Behind Strzok-Page Text Dumps

zerohedge News court filing reveals rosenstein behind strzok-page text dumps All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
It Was Rod: DOJ Court Filing Reveals Rosenstein Behind Strzok-Page Text Dumps

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authorized the release to the media of text messages between 'FBI lovebirds' Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, many of which revealed deep animus towards then-candidate Donald Trump while they were investigating him during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to Politico.

In a Friday night court

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filing submitted shortly before midnight, Rosenstein says he made the decision to protect Strzok and Page from the damaging effects of lawmakers and others releasing the texts for use as political ammunition.

In the messages, Strzok and Page regularly disparaged Trump and appeared to seek to reassure each other he could not be elected. Both called Trump an “idiot” and said Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton deserved to win.

The texts also included murky discussions of an “insurance policy” to guard against Trump’s election. Trump backers have interpreted the reference as a plan to use the then-ongoing investigation into ties between Trump advisers and Russia as way to prevent him from taking office or undermine his presidency, but Strzok and Page have denied any such intent. -Politico

Lisa Page - who sued the DOJ and FBI in December over the release, appears to be pissed.

Strzok has separately sued the agencies as well - for which Rosenstein's admission was submitted as part of the government's defense. The former DAG says that public disclosure of the texts was inevitable in connection with testimony he was set to give the next day in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

"With the express understanding that it would not violate the Privacy Act and that the text messages would become public by the next day in any event, I authorized [Justice’s Office of Public Affairs] to disclose to the news media the text messages that were being disclosed to Congressional committees," wrote Rosenstein.

In November, the Justice Department asked U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to throw out Strzok’s suit, which challenges both his firing from the FBI and the release of the texts. However, Strzok’s attorneys countered in a court filing last month that one reason to allow the suit to proceed was that Justice Department was being vague about just who made the final call to give the messages.

Arguing that an air of mystery continued to surround the disclosure, Strzok lawyer Aitan Goelman called “revealing” Justice’s decision to seek dismissal of the suit without identifying the responsible official.

“An agency cannot avoid Privacy Act liability for a disclosure actually made for an improper purpose by eliciting a sanitized after-the-fact rationale from an official who does not have all of the facts,” Goelman wrote. -Politico

According to Rosenstein, his aides originally suggested that he should delay sending the texts to Congress until after his testimony in front of the House, however he thought it would be "inappropriate" to do so for that reason. He also said he decided to give them to the media prior to his testimony over concerns that they would be cherrypicked and weaponized.

"The Department’s Office of Public Affairs … recommended providing the text messages to the media because otherwise, some congressional members and staff were expected to release them intermittently before, during and after the hearing, exacerbating the adverse publicity for Mr. Strzok, Ms. Page and the Department," wrote Rosenstein. "Providing the most egregious messages in one package would avoid the additional harm of prolonged selective disclosures and minimize the appearance of the Department concealing information that was embarrassing to the FBI."

See the filing below:

Tyler Durden

Sat, 01/18/2020 - 20:50

Top Euro court advised: Cops, spies yelling 'national security' isn’t enough to force ISPs to hand over massive piles of people's private data

logicfish Security euro court advised cops spies yelling national security isnt enough force isps hand over massive piles peoples private data All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Opinion is preliminary, though a good start

Analysis  In a massive win for privacy rights, the advocate general advising the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said that national security concerns should not override citizens’ data privacy. Thus, ISPs should not be forced to hand over personal information without clear justification.…


"Past Due": Court Declares Hunter Biden The Father Of Child In Arkansas

zerohedge News past court declares hunter biden father child arkansas All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
"Past Due": Court Declares Hunter Biden The Father Of Child In Arkansas

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

In a long expected order, Arkansas Circuit Judge Holly Meyer has declared Hunter Biden, son of presidential candidate Joe Biden, to be the “biological and legal father” of a child he fathered with former GW student, 29-year-old Lunden Alexis Roberts.

Biden has long denied being the father and has refuse

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d to support the child. He has also refused to turn over information on his assets, part of discovery that Meyer referred to as “past due.” It was obviously not the only element past due for Biden with regard to this child.

Roberts, reportedly was a stripper at a Washington, D.C., club that Biden liked to party at while in Washington.

In the order, Meyer ordered the Arkansas Department of Health to issue a birth certificate listing Biden as the father.

Biden has children by at least three different women. Roberts filed papers that portrayed him as a deadbeat father, stating that Biden “had no involvement in the child’s life since the child’s birth, never interacted with the child, never parented the child,” and “could not identify the child out of a photo lineup.”

The next hearing is set for January 29th on child support. That could create some fireworks as Biden has resisted disclosures of his wealth — information that could reveal how much he received from dubious Ukrainian and Chinese contracts.

Ironically, Joe Biden has been attacked for a 1981 op-ed entitled “Congress is Subsidizing Deterioration of Family.”

In the column, Biden suggested that families with more income should not receive tax credits for child care because one parent should stay at home while the other works. Biden bemoaned the loss of “individual responsibility and said that day-care centers were “monuments to our growing unwillingness to accept personal responsibility.” Of course, that is particularly difficult when one of the parents not only does not support his child but denies that he ever had an intimate relationship with the mother.

When asked about the court previously ordering DNA tests confirming Biden’s status as the father, Joe Biden snapped at a reporter and said “No, that’s a private matter and I have no comment.”

He then told the Fox reporter “Only you would ask that. You’re a good man. You’re a good man. Classy.”

Joe Biden, like many presidential candidates, has long identified deadbeat dads as a major national problem.

He even used the issue to defend a controversial bankruptcy bill in 2001 when he was a senator. In a 2001 Senate floor speech, Biden defended the law by arguing that the bankruptcy bill would actually improve the situation for women and children.

By including a requirement that “deadbeat dads” who file for bankruptcy must make child support payments above nearly all other creditors, Biden insisted “this bill empowers women. It gives them a say in the bankruptcy proceedings relating to her absent spouse.”

Hunter Biden is also reportedly expecting a child with his new wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, whom he married this past May.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 18:05

"If He'd Take It, Yes" - Biden Considers Obama For Supreme Court Nomination 

zerohedge News take biden considers obama supreme court nomination All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
"If He'd Take It, Yes" - Biden Considers Obama For Supreme Court Nomination 

Joe Biden's campaign trip through eastern Iowa on Saturday was met with a rather unusual conversation with reporters. 

The Wall Street Journal's Ken Thomas said that reporters asked Biden in Washington, Iowa, if he would ever consider nominating former President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court if he was elected president in 2020.

Biden responded by s

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aying: "If he'd take it, yes." 

The New York Times' Thomas Kaplan confirmed Biden's comment shortly after Thomas tweeted the headlines in the late afternoon.

The Daily Caller noted that on "National Best Friends Day" over the summer, Biden tweeted a picture of a friendship bracelet that read "Joe and Barack." 

And with the 2020 elections quickly approaching during one of the most polarized moments in recent American politics, if for whatever so reason that President Trump is impeached, and Biden becomes president, the installment of Obama on the Supreme Court would undoubtedly lead to angry with many Americans. 

Tyler Durden

Sun, 12/29/2019 - 12:00




In "Historic" Ruling, Dutch Supreme Court Says Government Must Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 25%

zerohedge News historic ruling dutch supreme court says government must reduce greenhouse emissions All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
In "Historic" Ruling, Dutch Supreme Court Says Government Must Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 25%

In a move that has "put the rest of the world on notice," the Dutch Supreme Court has upheld a landmark climate change ruling that requires the Dutch government to accelerate cuts of carbon emissions. 

It was called an “immense victory for climate justice,” according to AP. 

The Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings that the

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severity of the climate change crisis demanded greenhouse gas reductions of at least 25% by 2020, according to the Guardian. This is higher than the 17% drop in emissions that was planned by Mark Rutte's liberal administration. 

The ruling was greeted with cheers in the courtroom an will act as a tailwind for similar cases worldwide. Similar cases are being planned in places like Norway, New Zealand, Uganda and the UK. 

Marjan Minnesma of the Dutch Urgenda Foundation said: “I am extremely happy that the highest court in the Netherlands has confirmed that climate change is a real, severe problem and that government should do what they themselves have declared for more than 10 years is necessary, namely between 25% and 40% reduction of CO2.”

Jesse Klaver, the leader of the Dutch Greens, said of the original ruling that it was "historic news" and said  “Governments can no longer make promises they don’t fulfil. Countries have an obligation to protect their citizens against climate change. That makes this trial relevant for all other countries.”

To comply with the ruling, one new coal plan would have to be shut down. The state had argued that the judges were "sidelining democracy" by trying to force the policy change. 

But Judge Tan de Sonnaville was unconvinced, ruling: “Climate change is a grave danger. Any postponement of emissions reductions exacerbates the risks of climate change. The Dutch government cannot hide behind other countries’ emissions. It has an independent duty to reduce emissions from its own territory.”

It has now been more than four years since a lower court first ruled on the emissions cut. The Dutch government then appealed the verdict, saying the courts shouldn't be able to order the government to take action. The government lost the appeal in October 2018 and then appealed a second time. 

Damian Rau, one of the plaintiffs that filed the case with Urgenda, said the decision “will set the action we so urgently need into motion and will force governments into taking their responsibility. The judgment is an example to the world that no one is powerless and everybody can make a difference.”

Rutte's administration had already pledged to cut emissions by 49% by 2030. However, in 3 decades, the country has only cut emissions by 13%. 

There was no word on whether or not Greta Thunberg showed up to the ruling to lecture and ridicule and the judges, had the ruling not gone her way.

Tyler Durden

Mon, 12/23/2019 - 02:45




FISA Court Refuses Review Of FBI Deception

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FISA Court Refuses Review Of FBI Deception

Submitted by anonymous attorney and journalist Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog), emphasis ours

This week, Presiding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Judge Rosemary Collyer, released two stern Orders taking the FBI to task for its repeated failures, omissions, and misrepresentations in its application and subsequent renewals to surveil Carter Page.

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And while one FBI employee has received a criminal referral for doctoring evidence in the scheme to defraud the court, key players with oversight responsibilities - under penalty of perjury - have been given a pass.

Judge Collyer’s December 17, 2019 Order, written after the publication of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s long-awaited report on FISA abuse, emphasized the role the FBI plays when it makes its assessment on whether probable cause exists to a warrant. In particular, FISC requires the FBI agent swearing to the application fully and accurately provide “information in its possession that is material to whether probable cause exists.”


She noted that the IG Report revealed “troubling instances in which FBI personnel provided information to NSD which was unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession.” Judge Collyer also expressed concerns about the FBI Office of General Counsel attorney, reported to have been Kevin Clinesmith, who altered evidence to mislead about Carter Page acting as a source for the CIA.

That Order required:


(1)   The government to inform the Court in a sworn written submission of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application. (A January 10, 2020 deadline was given for this submission and left the government with room to maneuver if it needed more time.)

On December 20, FISC released Judge Collyer’s mostly unredacted December 5, 2019 Order to the United States. This was apparently prepared in response to letters filed with FISC by the government relating to the issues found with the Carter Page application and renewals during the course of the Inspector General’s investigation. She ordered the United States inform FISC by writing of the following:


(1)   Identify all other matters currently or previously before this Court that involved the participation of the FBI OGC [Clinesmith] attorney whose conduct was described in the Preliminary Letter and Supplemental Letter;


(2)   Describe any steps taken or to be taken by the Department of Justice or FBI to verify that the United States’ submissions in those matters completely and fully described the material facts and circumstances; and


(3)   Advise whether the conduct of the FBI OGC [Clinesmith] attorney who has been referred to the appropriate bar association(s) for investigation or possible disciplinary action.

This is a serious Court that deals with serious matters of national security and counterintelligence. The secret nature of FISC requires the United States to be in strict compliance with all certification and verification requirements. It’s a matter of trust. As Judge Collyer observed: “FISC expects the government to comply with its heightened duty of candor in ex parte proceedings at all times. Candor is fundamental to the Court’s effective operation.”


This trust was broken by the FBI agents and officials whose factual assertions to FISC were inaccurate, incomplete, misleading, and unsupported by the evidence. The duty of candor was breached in the continued reliance on Christopher Steele via DOJ official Bruce Ohr (after they represented to FISC that he had been terminated as a source)  and the omission of material facts and exculpatory evidence that undercut their now-debunked representation that Carter Page was operating as a Russian agent.

While it’s laudable that Judge Collyer has ordered the government to double-check their submissions in the prior FISA applications that involved Clinesmith, what about the previous FISA applications verified by the FBI agents who lied – under penalty of perjury, we might add – in the Carter Page applications and renewals?

In other words, whether an FBI lawyer changes an e-mail about a target’s history of cooperation with the CIA or an FBI agent lies about the underlying intelligence, the goal is the same: secure the warrant through deception. Both these acts are criminal. Why is only one deserving of review?


The abuses are apparent. The FISC needs to determine whether they’re pervasive. That starts with reviewing all applications verified by the FBI agents involved in the Carter Page hoax.


Related: A Techno_Fog thread on Joe Pientka, and the FBI's efforts to keep him out of the spotlight (click a tweet to read the rest):

Tyler Durden

Sun, 12/22/2019 - 11:30


Law Crime


It's cool for Brit snoops to break the law, says secretive spy court. Just hold on while we pull off some legal jujitsu to let MI5 off the hook...

logicfish Security cool brit snoops break says secretive court just hold while pull some legal jujitsu hook All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
They're not 'immune', they just have the 'power' to not be punished

It’s perfectly legal for British spies to break the law, Britain’s secretive spy court has ruled – making a mockery of other laws intended to keep eavesdropping agencies and others under effective control.…


Email blackmail brouhaha tears UKIP apart as High Court refuses computer seizure attempt

logicfish Security email blackmail brouhaha tears ukip apart high court refuses computer seizure attempt All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
And you thought politics was winding down for Christmas

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has suffered a data breach after allegedly having 143 party email accounts accessed amid demands made by blackmailers, the High Court in London has been told (PDF).…


FYI: FBI raiding NSA's global wiretap database to probe US peeps is probably illegal, unconstitutional, court says

logicfish Security raiding nsas global wiretap database probe peeps probably illegal unconstitutional court says All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
A data silo we didn't know existed until a certain IT admin went rogue

Analysis  The FBI is likely breaking the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches, when it investigates domestic crimes using an NSA database created from international wiretaps, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.…


BlackBerry tells UK High Court that security outfit SentinelOne is its direct rival

logicfish Security blackberry tells high court that security outfit sentinelone direct rival All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Non-compete legal brouhaha reveals how once-mighty handset biz now sees itself

BlackBerry, the former phone handset company, has accused rival security business SentinelOne of systematically poaching its top talent during a court hearing in central London where the Canadian company tried to block a salesman from jumping ship.…

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