A rare class-action victory over Wells Fargo's fake accounts proves binding arbitration sucks

Wells Fargo got caught ripping off millions of customers by setting up fake accounts in their names, then billing them for "services" related to those accounts, sometimes tanking their credit-ratings, costing them jobs, even their houses -- but the company says you're not allowed to sue them because their employees fraudulently signed your name to a "binding arbitration" agreement that forces you to take your case to a fake judge whose salary they pay. Read the rest

The 265 Republican Congressjerks who just nuked your online privacy sold out for chump change

Yesterday, Congress voted to bar the FCC from ever making a rule that limits how your ISP can spy on you and sell your data, without your permission. Read the rest

20 years ago, Ted Cruz published a law paper proving companies could always beat customers with terms of service

You might think that when companies impose crappy, abusive terms of service on their customers that the market could sort it out, by creating competition to see who could offer the best terms and thus win the business of people fed up with bad actors. Read the rest

How the EU's imaginary "value gap" would kill user-generated content online

One of the music industry's dumbest, most pernicious talking-points is the "value gap" (AKA the "value recognition right") which is code for, "Online platforms should employ an army of copyright lawyers to assess everything that users share for copyright compliance." Read the rest

Companies that help build Trump's wall could lose pension fund investments and California state contracts

It's not just Mexican cement giant Cemex that's refusing to bid on the Great Wall of Trump; many of the firms in the super-concentrated large-scale construction sector are signalling their unwillingness to participate in the wall's construction. Read the rest

Google: Chrome will no longer trust Symantec certificates, 30% of the web will need to switch Certificate Authorities

In 2012, Google rolled out Certificate Transparency, a clever system to spot corrupt "Certificate Authorities," the entities who hand out the cryptographic certificates that secure the web. If Certificate Authorities fail to do their jobs, they put the entire electronic realm in danger -- bad certificates could allow anything from eavesdropping on financial transactions to spoofing industrial control systems into accepting malicious software updates. Read the rest

Rich-world agricultural subsidies ensure coca leaves are Colombia's only viable cash crop

With the shambolic FARC peace deal finally in place, the Colombian government is hoping to shift the country's farmers from Colombia's major cash crop: the coca leaves that are refined into the world's cocaine supply. Perhaps with the guerrillas no longer defending the crops they relied on for operating capital, Colombia can put coca behind it. Read the rest

The Carbon Bubble is about to pop

Despite Trump's denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble -- which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we'll be burning all of them with impunity -- is about to pop. Read the rest

Fair trade ebooks: how authors could double their royalties without costing their publishers a cent

My latest Publishers Weekly column announces the launch-date for my long-planned "Shut Up and Take My Money" ebook platform, which allows traditionally published authors to serve as retailers for their publishers, selling their ebooks direct to their fans and pocketing the 30% that Amazon would usually take, as well as the 25% the publisher gives back to them later in royalties. Read the rest

Just add Guinness: the strange world of prefab "Irish pubs"

The Irish Pub Company offers Irish pub interiors in six styles: "Modern," "Brewery," "Shop," "Country," "Celtic" and "Victorian." Choose your package and they'll ship you a bar, as well as "flooring, decorative glass, mirrors, ceiling tiles, light fixtures, furniture, signage, and bric-a-brac." Read the rest

Donald Trump, Jr is a patent-troll and his biggest client now does business with the US government

Oklahoma's Anyware Mobile Solutions was founded in 1997 to make PDA software, but after its sales collapsed, it changed its name to Macrosolve and devoted itself to suing people for violating a farcical patent that they said covered filling in questionnaires using an app. Read the rest

Privately run immigration detention is so violent that prisoners beg to be kept in solitary

With Obama's federal government reducing the role of private prisons in the incarceration of Americans, companies like Corrections Corporation of America (now known as Corecivic) and GAO aggressively moved into providing detention facilities for people awaiting deportation, like the 2,000,000+ people deported under the Obama administrations. Read the rest

Senate Republicans introduce resolution ensuring ISPs don't need your permission to sell your private data and SSN

Donald Trump's new FCC boss, Ajit Pai, has nuked an Obama-era rule that banned ISPs from selling off your browsing data, location, financial and health information, children's information, Social Security Number and contents of your messages, without your permission. The now-defunct rule also required ISPs to notify you when they got hacked and your sensitive personal information got out into the wild. Read the rest

If you cry at work, pretend it's because you're very passionate about your job

Research has shown that crying at work comes off as unprofessional and weakens your promotion prospects -- and surveys suggest that people cry at work a lot, anyway. So how can you balance your human emotional needs with the necessity of presenting yourself as a productive unit of gut-flora for the transhuman, immortal artificial life form that has absorbed you? Read the rest

How the GOP's simplified Border Adjustment Tax will be instantly riddled with loopholes

The GOP is advocating for a "Border Adjustment Tax," which is something like a complicated Value Added Tax that is meant to encourage companies to on-shore or re-shore their manufacturing, without raising prices for Americans (because the US dollar is supposed to rise by up to 25% (!) as a result), while removing the complexity that allows companies to dodge tax by finding loopholes. Read the rest

Radio Shack is bankrupt. Again.

It took barely a year for the rebooted Radio Shack -- now a front for Sprint, backed by the same hedge fund that lost its shirt investing in American Apparel -- to go bust again, despite a $50M line of credit and $25M in loans. (via /.) Read the rest

Bavarian intelligence agency says Scientologists secretly took over one of the world's top art galleries

Bavaria's Verfassungsschutz -- "Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution" -- says that the Haus der Kunst, one of the world's top contemporary art galleries, was infiltrated by Scientologists who rose through the ranks, illegally discriminated against non-Scientologists when hiring, and waged psychological warfare against staff who were not members of the cult. Read the rest

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