Since last Hallowe'en, a woman in Oregon has been circulating a letter she found in a box of decorative tombstones she bought at Kmart. The letter was written by a prisoner in a forced labor camp in China's Masanjia camp; he was imprisoned for practicing Falun Gong, a banned religion whose members have long been targetted for brutal suppression by the Chinese state. CNN located the ex-prisoner and interviewed him as he narrated a story of "inhumane torture" at the camp.
Their staff in Beijing spent months searching for the man. Finally, they found him and confirmed his identity, but didn’t reveal it to the public. He is a follower of Falun Gong, which most of the world calls a Buddhist-Taoist spiritual movement but the Chinese government considers a dangerous cult. He was sentenced to two and a half years in the Masanjia labor camp.
He reports sleep deprivation, beatings, and other misery in the labor camp. Making Halloween decorations for no pay was actually a reprieve for the inmates. Still, he decided to send a total of six letters, somehow procuring two items that inmates weren’t supposed to have: paper (taken from a re-education workbook) and a pen. He wrote the letter in bed, in the dark, avoiding the gaze of the guard who watched everyone while they slept. You know, to make sure they weren’t doing anything subversive like sending letters to the West in the products they were packaging.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, the French National Assembly has declared a state of emergency with sweeping powers, without any substantial debate. Included in the bill are the power to order the nation’s ISPs to block websites without any judicial review or court order, and for authorities to seize and search electronic devices […]
The $825,000 Z Backscatter Vans the NYPD drives around the city look like regular police vans, but are equipped with powerful X-rays that can see through walls and vehicles. US Customs uses these things to scan cars and freight-containers, but only after they’re sure there are no people around.
“The End of the Internet Dream,” cyberlawyer Jennifer Granick’s keynote at Black Hat, was all anyone could talk about at this year’s Defcon — Black Hat being the grown-up, buttoned-down, military-industrial cousin to Defcon’s wild and exuberant anarchy.
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