AT&T developed a "product" for spying on all its customers and made millions selling it to warrantless cops

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AT&T's secret "Hemisphere" product is a database of calls and call-records on all its customers, tracking their location, movements, and interactions -- this data was then sold in secret to American police forces for investigating crimes big and small (even Medicare fraud), on the condition that they never reveal the program's existence. Read the rest

Twitter to cut hundreds of jobs

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I still love Twitter and hope it finds a way forward. But it looks like all the potential suitors have passed on buying it, and job cuts are in the offing.

Twitter Inc., having failed to sell itself, is planning to fire about 8 percent of its workforce as the struggling social-media company prepares to go it alone for the time being. Twitter may eliminate about 300 people, the same percentage it did last year when co-founder Jack Dorsey took over as chief executive officer, according to people familiar with the matter. Planning for the cuts is still fluid and the number could change, they added. The people asked not to be identified talking about private company plans.

The other day, "George Zimmerman" was trending again. It was right there in the little box on the homepage. When you clicked on this hashtag, the second result was (and still is) an exhortation to follow a fake/ironic George Zimmerman account, with this bio:

Perhaps I get unique results for some algorithmic or settings-based reason that escapes me; it shows up irrespective of whether I have the "sensitive media" content filters checked. It looks like anyone from Salesforce or Disney who fired up Twitter last week and clicked on this promoted topical hashtag got this in their face. Maybe it's naive to think they would have been influenced by this, or that it's an easy thing to exclude at Twitter's scale. But I can't escape the nagging feeling that it being there represents a decision. Read the rest

Girl Scouts of America have licensed Girl Scout Cookie cereal rights to General Mills

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The company says it will start selling Caramel Crunch and Thin Mints breakfast cereals in January. It's not clear how the deal is structured and whether the cereals will be promoted as a way to make a charitable contribution to the Girl Scouts. Read the rest

Wirecutter and Sweethome purchased by New York Times in "more than $30 million" deal

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In a deal reportedly worth "more than $30 million," The New York Times announced today that it has purchased The Wirecutter and The Sweethome, consumer product review sites created by our friend Brian Lam. Congratulations, Brian and team! You built something amazing and we can't wait to see what you do next.

Read the rest

Tax-funded NZ company sold mass surveillance tech to torturers and GCHQ

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A whistleblower has provided The Intercept with leaked documents about Endace, an obscure New Zealand company based in Auckland, revealing that the company -- which received millions in government funding -- developed the mass surveillance equipment used by the UK spy agency to engage in illegal mass surveillance on fiber-optic lines that traverse the UK, and that Endace's customer list also includes a who's-who of telcoms companies, spy agencies, and the Moroccan secret police, who make a practice of spying on people, then kidnapping and torturing them. Read the rest

Trump hotels, faced with massive declines in bookings, rebrand as "Scion Hotels"

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When estimating his net worth, Pepe the Cheeto is apt to include a multibillion dollar valuation for the "Trump" brand-name; but new Trump Hotels will be called "Scion" hotels, "a nod to the Trump family and to the tremendous success it has had with its businesses, including Trump Hotels, while allowing for a clear distinction between our luxury and lifestyle brands." Read the rest

Facebook's crackdown on publishers feeds has sites paying celebs to repost

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Facebook -- which accounts for as much as 75% of the traffic to popular websites -- tweaked its algorithm to downrank those same publishers, who had been engaged in an arms-race to dominate Facebook users' feeds through techniques intended to gain high rank in Facebook's secret scoring system. Read the rest

VERIFIED Mark Zuckerberg defends Facebook's association with Peter Thiel

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Update: According to The Verge, Facebook has verified the authenticity of the screenshot below.

In what appears to be an internal Facebook post, Zuckerberg defends his company's ongoing association with Peter Thiel -- Facebook investor/board member and major donor to white-supremacist/pro-rape presidential candidate Donald Trump. Read the rest

UK government proposes issuing Britons with unique porn-viewing ID numbers

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The UK government says it wants to stop people under 18 from looking at pornography, and so it's going to make all the porn sites operating in Britain collect some kind of age-verification in order to make this happen, on pain of being blocked by the UK's Great Firewall. Read the rest

The pathogens of Wells Fargo's corruption fester in every large corporation

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Despite the denials of its new CEO, Wells Fargo had a serious, widespread cultural problem that led it to commit at least 2,000,000 financial crimes. But the crimes and the culture are widespread across America's banks, and they spread further than that, because the system is rigged to reward financial crime. Read the rest

Game developers say no to DRM: "hurts our customers"

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The developers behind the hotly anticipated Shadow Warrior 2 have gone on record explaining why they didn't add DRM to their new title: they themselves hate DRM, and understand that DRM disproportionately inconveniences legit customers, not pirates who play cracked versions without DRM. Read the rest

After being outed for massive hack and installing an NSA "rootkit," Yahoo cancels earnings call

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What do you do if your ailing internet giant has been outed for losing, and then keeping silent about, 500 million user accounts, then letting American spy agencies install a rootkit on its mail service, possibly scuttling its impending, hail-mary acquisition by a risk-averse, old economy phone company? Just cancel your investor call and with it, any chance of awkward, on-the-record questions. (via /.) Read the rest

Wells Fargo's new CEO previously denied that the bank's sales culture had any problems

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Yesterday, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf announced his "early retirement" from the scandal-haunted company, with the CEO seat being filled by former COO Tim Sloan. Read the rest

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf resigns

First he was flayed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, then Congress had a go, then everyone got to gnaw on the fact that he'd done some seriously criminal stuff, then it emerged that he'd been a party to the bank's frauds since at least 2008, then we learned that his $200B bonus would be subsidized by taxpayers, then we learned that he walked through one of the bank's notorious boiler rooms every day, then his board of directors clawed back a couple million. Read the rest

Despite Brexit, the UK is going to end up sending billions to the EU

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If the UK wants access to the EU markets, it's going to have to pay billions of pounds, something that the Brexit Leave campaign conveniently neglected to mention (they also conveniently neglected to mention that even if this wasn't true, the money the UK used to pay to the EU wasn't going to be spent on the NHS). Read the rest

Wells Fargo whistleblower: once I complained, they started denying me bathroom breaks

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Yesterday, I predicted that a lot of Wells Fargo whistleblowers were going to come forward, given how terribly Read the rest

If you bail on Yahoo Mail, forget about having your email forwarded

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A week after the revelations that Yahoo illegally allowed American spies to access all Yahoo users' email (possibly via a dangerous rootkit), and two weeks after admitting that 500,000,000 Yahoo Mail users' passwords were leaked years previously, possibly to a "state actor," the company has disabled email forwarding for Yahoo Mail users. Read the rest

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