America's airlines send planes to El Salvador, China for service by undertrained technicians


If you have your plane fixed in the USA, the FAA requires that your maintenance crew be proficient in English (the language of aviation manuals), and that you admit FAA spot-inspectors at any time. But shift your maintenance to brand new facilities that were hastily spun up El Salvador, China and Mexico, FAA inspectors can only visit after applying for a visa and giving you lots of advance notice. Read the rest

Google releases critical AI program under a free/open license


Tensorflow, a sophisticated machine learning program that underpins Google Translate, speech recognition, image recognition and many other critical Google services, is now available under an Apache license, one of the least restrictive free/open licenses. Read the rest

The Economist's anti-ad-blocking tool was hacked and infected readers' computers


Pagefair is an ad-blocking circumvention tool that publishers can use to track readers who've taken technological countermeasures to protect their privacy. The company has sold its service to many publishers -- including the Economist -- by deploying moral arguments about the evils of ad-blocking. Read the rest

Spy at will! FCC won't force companies to honor Do Not Track


The FCC has rejected Consumer Watchdog's petition to force Internet companies like "Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, and LinkedIn") to honor the "Do Not Track" flag that browsers can send to web-servers, informing them that users do not want their Internet activity to be tracked and shared with third parties. Read the rest

Shortly after Murdoch buys National Geographic, he fires its award-winning journalists


When the climate-change denier/evil billionaire bought National Geographic, National Geographic Society CEO Greg Knell promised that "there won’t be an [editorial] turn in a direction that is different form the National Geographic heritage." This week, the company fired some of its most senior, decorated staff. Read the rest

RFID-shielded, ultra-strong duffels for carrying cash through dangerous territory


SDR Traveller caters to people who, for one reason or another, need to haul huge amounts of cash money through dangerous territory. The bags are made from a super strong, super light synthetic material designed for yacht sails, are RFID-shielded, and are rated by how much cash in US$100 bills each can carry, from the $1M Hauly Heist to the Money Pouch in denominations from $10K to $400K. Read the rest

Fighting Uber's Death Star with a Rebel Alliance of co-op platforms


As Mark Andreessen noted, software is eating the world because once it's developed, it scales to infinity. That means that once a worker's co-op of drivers clones Uber's platform in free/open code, drivers in every city in the world can disrupt the company, throw off its rent-seeking, and fill their pockets with the money the company siphons off for providing very little at the margins. Read the rest

EPA finds more toxic VW emissions fraud in Audis and Porsches


The EPA, the California Air Resources Board and Environment Canada have detected more fraudulent firmware in VW products; this time in 2014-2016 cars from the super-profitable Audii and Porsche lines. Read the rest

EPA finds more Dieselgate emissions fraud in VW's Audis and Porsches

The EPA, the California Air Resources Board and Environment Canada have detected more fraudulent firmware in VW products; this time in 2014-2016 cars from the super-profitable Audii and Porsche lines. Read the rest

Ranking Internet companies' data-handling: a test they all fail


Rebecca MacKinnon, the journalist/activist who wrote the seminal Consent of the Network, has launched a new project called Ranking Digital Rights, part of the New America Foundation's Open Tech Institute. RDR issues report-cards that evaluate how Internet giants and other companies handle your data: what do they promise, do they encrypt, and who do they share it with? Virtually every company gets a failing grade in virtually every category. Read the rest

As America's middle class collapses, no one is buying stuff anymore

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From Walmart to Hershey to Campbell's Soup, America's biggest retailers and manufacturers are warning their shareholders that flat growth is a fact of life because of "consumer bifurcation," which is plutocrat-speak for "everyone is broke except the one percent." The companies' plan for rescuing themselves is to turn themselves into luxury brands targeted at the wealthy. Read the rest

Mobile carriers make $24B/year selling your secrets


The largest carriers in the world partner with companies like SAP to package up data on your movements, social graph and wake/sleep patterns and sell it to marketing firms. Read the rest

Youtube's pay TV service makes video-creators a deal they literally can't refuse


As part of the launch of Youtube Red, the company's new porny-sounding ad-free pay TV service, top creators are being told that they must allow their work into the paywalled/ad free zone, or be excluded from Youtube altogether. Noncommercial Youtube creators get a choice (for now). Apparently, the punishment for making Youtube into a success is losing the right to choose how to make money off your stuff. Read the rest

Sony licensed stock footage, then branded its creator a pirate for using it himself


Mitch Martinez licensed a stock footage clip to a Sony music label to use in a video; when the company proceeded to file a Youtube copyright complaint against him and refused to take his calls, he filed a copyright claim against them, told them he was cancelling their license to his footage, and threatened to make them re-edit the music video, removing his footage from it. Read the rest

Pharma company offers $1/dose version of hedge-fund douchenozzle's drug


Former hedge-fund manager Martin Shkreli became a poster child for greed and sleaze when he bought the only company that was tooled up to make an off-patent drug called Daraprim that people with HIV used to control parasitic toxoplasmosis infections and jacked the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet. Read the rest

IMF: Cheap oil will bankrupt the Saudis in five years

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If oil stays below $50 a barrel for five years, the Saudis' cash reserve will be exhausted, and with it will also go the social stability that lavish spending for the Saudi elites brings. Read the rest

Sixth grader sells artisanal Diceware passwords


11 year old Mira Modi, daughter of privacy journalist Julia Angwin, has a startup through which she hand-generates secure Diceware passwords for $2, which she mails in sealed letters through the USPS, "which cannot be opened by the government without a search warrant." Read the rest

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