Leaked recording: pollution lobbyists discuss exploiting Syrian refugee crisis


A leaked recording made of a conference call posted by the Edison Electric Institute, which lobbies for the power industry, reveals lobbyists for high pollution companies talking about how they can exploit the Syrian refugee crisis to get a rider inserted into a pending bill that would kill the EPA's Waters of the United States rule, which protects America's waterways from pollution. Read the rest

Dell apologizes for preinstalling bogus root-certificate on computers

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Yesterday, Dell was advising customers not to try to uninstall the bogus root certificate it had snuck onto their Windows machine, which would allow attackers to undetectably impersonate their work intranets, bank sites, or Google mail. Today, they apologized and offered an uninstaller -- even as we've learned that at least one SCADA controller was compromised by the bad cert, and that Dell has snuck even more bogus certs onto some of its machines. Read the rest

Shamrock shake: Pfizer's Irish "unpatriotic loophole" ducks US taxes


Pfizer's used a tax-dodge called a "reverse-inversion" to sell itself to a much smaller, Irish pharma company, moving its corporate nationality to Ireland at the stroke of a pen. Read the rest

US cops seized more through asset forfeiture in 2014 than US criminals stole through burglary


US police seized $4.5 billion through civil asset forfeiture (through which police can take money and valuables away from citizens without charging anyone with any crimes) in 2014; in the same period, the FBI estimates that burglars accounted for $3.9B in property losses.

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Not just Lenovo: Dell ships computers with self-signed root certificates


Last February, Lenovo shocked its security-conscious customers by pre-installing its own, self-signed root certificates on the machines it sold. These certificates, provided by a spyware advertising company called Superfish, made it possible for attackers create "secure" connections to undetectable fake versions of banking sites, corporate intranets, webmail providers, etc. Read the rest

Yahoo blocks some users from accessing email until they turn off ad-blocking


The company says it's not policy to do this -- yet -- but they're testing locking Yahoo Mail users out of their accounts unless they turn off ad-blocking. Read the rest

Caterpillar's heavy vehicles are killswitched subprime computers on wheels


In an earnings call in which Caterpillar execs explained their dismal takings to investors, Cat execs explained their plan to grow by leasing tractors to Chinese companies with crummy track-records for payment. Read the rest

Google steps up to defend fair use, will fund Youtubers' legal defenses


After years of missteps, blunders and disasters in which Youtube users have been censored through spurious copyright claims or had their accounts deleted altogether, Google has announced an amazing, user-friendly new initiative though which it will fund the legal defense of Youtube creators who are censored by bad-faith copyright infringement claims. Read the rest

CEOs are lucky, tall men


A new working paper [PDF] from three Harvard Business School researchers builds on the work of Texas A&M professor Markus Fitza, whose paper in last month's Strategic Management Journal showed that nearly everything about a CEO's performance can be attributed to chance. Read the rest

America's CEOs and hedge funds are starving the nation's corporations to death


Stock buybacks (previously) allow CEOs to drive up the company's share-price by using profits to buy shares back from investors, rather than investing the money in wages, R&D, capital or expansion. Read the rest

Crowdinvesting to expand cocktail startup Shaken


As previously mentioned, the nice folks at Shaken sell subscriptions to monthly cocktail kits, which comprise a selection of rare and delicious ingredients and simple instructions for mixing and varying new and delicious boozy concoctions. Read the rest

Startup uses ultrasound chirps to covertly link and track all your devices

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Silverpush, a startup that's just received $1.25M in venture capital, uses ultrasonic chirps that are emitted by apps, websites, and TV commercials to combine the identities associated with different devices (tablets, phones, computers, etc), so that your activity on all of them can be aggregated and sold to marketers. Read the rest

Britons' Internet access bills will soar to pay for Snoopers Charter


The UK government has budgeted £175m/year to bribe ISPs to magically divide their customers' "data" and "metadata" and store a year's worth of the latter. This isn't even close to the real cost of creating and maintaining the massive storehouses of highly sensitive data on every Briton, and so ISPs are warning government and the public to expect much higher broadband rates in the future in order to recoup the cost of mass surveillance. Read the rest

How big offshoring companies pwned the H-1B process, screwing workers and businesses


Giant multinational offshoring firms have figured out how to game the H1-B system, flooding the application queue with thousands of requests the instant the process opens each year. It's transformed the H1-B Visa category from a lifeline for companies who need to bring in critical foreign talent into a way to shut down whole departments in the USA and replace them with lower-cost overseas workers who are exploited far from home. Read the rest

Green tea doesn't promote weight loss

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A meta-analysis of green tea's impact on metabolism and weight-loss, undertaken by the Cochrane trust, finds no statistically significant correlation between drinking green tea and losing weight. Read the rest

Congressional hearings are bad news for gag orders banning online reviews


Last week's Senate Commerce Committee hearings invited testimony on the Consumer Review Freedom Act, which would ban the increasingly widespread practice of inserting "non-disparagement" clauses in consumer contracts that are used on products and services from apartment buildings to cellphones to dental care. Read the rest

All smart TVs are watching you back, but Vizio's spyware never blinks


Vizio made news last April when it pushed out a firmware update that turned on all its' sets spyware features out of the box. Since then, it's only gotten worse. Read the rest

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