Security researcher discovers glaring problem with patient data system, FBI stages armed dawn raid

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Justin Shafer was roused from his bed this week by thunderous knocking at his North Richland Hills, Texas home, and when he opened the door, found himself staring down the barrel of a 'big green' assault weapon, wielded by one of the 12-15 armed FBI agents on his lawn. Read the rest

Straddling buses would only work if they were made out of rubber

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Chinese engineer Song Youzhou has been trying to get traction for his straddling bus, a huge elevated bus that goes over, rather than through, traffic, since 2010. Read the rest

Rich people don't move when their taxes go up

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In Millionaire Migration and the Taxation of the Elite: Evidence from Administrative Data, Stanford sociologist Cristobal Young builds on his substantial research on "millionaire migration," to show that only a small minority of millionaires move when local taxes go up -- far too few to represent a net loss to the tax coffers. Read the rest

Wealthy families are most responsible for American wealth segregation

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Inequality in Children’s Contexts, USC Sociologist Ann Owens's paper in American Sociological Review (Scihub mirror), investigates the factors that contribute most to the unequal lives of wealthy and poor American children, and concludes that the single most significant factor is the neighborhood that the children's parents live in. Read the rest

Someone just snuck warrantless email access into the Senate's secret intelligence bill

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Every year, the Senate passes a secret bill (that is, a bill whose text is a secret during its debate) that re-authorizes intelligence agencies' surveillance powers; this year, someone (possibly chairman Richard Burr, R-NC and/or Tom Cotton, R-AR) has snuck in an amendment that would give the FBI the power to demand warrantless access to Americans' email and browsing history, using National Security Letters, a controversial, widely used secret police order. Read the rest

Wells Fargo, who preyed on black borrowers, sponsors Black Lives Matter luncheon

Wells Fargo has been widely criticized for its predatory, deceptive practice of targeting black mortgage borrowers with subprime mortgages (whose teaser rates ballooned into unsustainable long-term rates after a few years), rather than offering those borrowers much cheaper and better mortgages that would not have led to widespread bankruptcy, foreclosure, and the destruction of hardworking families' live savings. Read the rest

DDoSers sell attacks for $5 on Fivver

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Many years ago, EFF co-founder John Gilmore and I were discussing the prevalence of botnets, which are commonly used to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overwhelm websites with floods of traffic; John said that if the botnets were really on the rise at the reported rate, we should expect to see a massive crash in the price of DDoS services, following simple supply/demand logic. Read the rest

Anonymous Analytics: self-proclaimed Anon "faction" that tanks companies through stock reports

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Anonymous Analytics describes itself as "a faction of Anonymous" that uses its "unique skills to expose fraud and corruption among public companies." Read the rest

Scott Walker, saddled with $1.2m debt from failed presidential bid, pawns his own donors

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Wisconsin Governor and balanced-budget hawk Scott Walker's failed bid for the GOP presidential candidacy left him with $1.2 million in debt. Read the rest

Study shows detailed, compromising inferences can be readily made with metadata

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In Evaluating the privacy properties of telephone metadata, a paper by researchers from Stanford's departments of Law and Computer Science published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors analyzed metadata from six months' worth of volunteers' phone logs to see what kind of compromising information they could extract from them. Read the rest

EFF fights order to remove public records documents detailing Seattle's smart-meters

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Earlier this week, I wrote about the legal threats from Landis and Gyr against the Freedom of Information service Muckrock, which had received documents from the City of Seattle detailing the workings of Landis and Gyr's smart-meter system, which Seattle has purchased from them at public expense. Read the rest

Trump & Clinton masks ship in equal volume from Chinese factory

Masks of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lie in a box at Jinhua Partytime Latex Art and Crafts Factory in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, China, May 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Aly Song

But Jacky Chen, who manages the Jinhua Partytime Latex Art and Crafts Factory, believes that Trump will win and his mask will sell out. Read the rest

Jury hands Oracle its ass, says Google doesn't owe it a penny for Java

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When Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, they acquired Java, Sun's popular programming language, pitched from its inception as an open standard for the networked computer. Read the rest

Arcade cabinet enthusiasts discover trove of 50+ games in ship, derelict for 30 years

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In 1979, the Duke of Lancaster -- a cruise liner turned car ferry -- was retired from service and moored at Llanerch-y-Mor, North Wales, where it was made over as a "Fun Ship," whose car-deck was refitted as a coin-op arcade. Read the rest

Fold-flat furniture looks like isomorphic illustrations when it's collapsed

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Jongha Choi's Master's thesis for Design Academy Eindhoven involved the creation of "De-dimension" furniture, which collapses into a flat, easily stored form when it's not in use -- but when it's in its flat form, it looks like a perspective drawing of its expanded shape. Read the rest

Edward Snowden performs radical surgery on a phone to make it "go black"

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If you think that your phone may have been hacked so that your adversaries can watch you through the cameras and listen through the mics, one way to solve the problem is to remove the cameras and microphones, and only use the phone with a headset that you unplug when it's not in use. Read the rest

FBI is investigating copyright trolls Prenda Law for fraud

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For more than four years, we've been writing about Prenda Law, a prolific copyright troll (that is, a company that sends dire legal threats and demands for money to people they accuse of copyright infringement, based on the flimsiest of evidence), whose conduct is so breathtakingly illegal that it feels like satire or performance art (but it's not). Read the rest

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