Boing Boing 

Bankrupt Radio Shack will sell the customer data they promised to keep private


They were the first company to dabble in a laughably crude version of the surveillance business-model, aggressively collecting your address every time you bought batteries so they could get into the direct-mail racket.

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ACLU sues TSA to make it explain junk science "behavioral detection" program


The TSA refuses to explain how it spent $1B on a discredited "behavioral detection" program that led airport authoritarians to believe that when they racially profiled fliers, it was because they'd acquired the superpower of spotting guilty people through their "microexpressions."

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Taxonomy of theme park narrative gimmicks


Foxxfur has published "The Theme Park Trope List," a first approximation attempt to summarize the narrative gimmicks used in theme park attractions to move the action along, for example, "the book report ride," which "shows exactly the same events which occurred in the source film in the same order."

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Windows 10 announcement: certified hardware can lock out competing OSes


Microsoft has announced a relaxation of its "Secure Boot" guidelines for OEMs, allowing companies to sell computers pre-loaded with Windows 10 that will refuse to boot any non-Microsoft OS.

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The 1982 JC Penney Christmas Catalog


631 lovingly scanned pages for your perusal; may I draw your attention to the electronic toys, including Little Professor at $15, Speak and Spell digital at $62, Coleco Frogger at $60, Merlin at $31.50, Simon at $32, Pocket Dungeons and Dragons at $20 and Electronic Battleship at $40 (multiply by 2.42 to adjust for inflation).

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Terry Pratchett's advice to booksellers


From A Slip of the Keyboard, Pratchett's very sensible advice to booksellers on care and feeding of touring authors.

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DRM for woo: "light therapy" mask's LED only works 30 times


The Illumask LEDs only fire for 30 15-minute sessions, despite being rated for 30,000 hours, thanks to a patented system.

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Canadian court hands a gimme to copyright trolls


Michael Geist writes, "Canada's Federal Court has issued its ruling on the costs in the Voltage-TekSavvy case, a case involving the demand for the names and address of thousands of TekSavvy subscribers by Voltage on copyright infringement grounds. Last year, the court opened the door to TekSavvy disclosing the names and addresses, but also established new safeguards against copyright trolling in Canada. The decision required Voltage to pay TekSavvy's costs and builds in court oversight over any demand letters sent by Voltage."

The issue of costs required another hearing with very different views of the costs associated with the case. TekSavvy claimed costs of $346,480.68 (mainly legal fees and technical costs associated with complying with the order), while Voltage argued the actual costs should be $884. The court disagreed with both sides, settling on costs of $21,557.50 or roughly $11 per subscriber name and address. The decision unpacks all the cost claims, but the key finding was that costs related to the initial motion over whether there should be disclosure of subscriber information was separate from the costs of abiding by the order the court ultimately issued. The motion judge did not address costs at the time and the court now says it is too late to address them.

With TekSavvy now bearing all of those motion costs (in addition to costs associated with informing customers), the decision sends a warning signal to ISPs that getting involved in these cases can lead to significant costs that won't be recouped. That is a bad message for privacy. So is the likely outcome for future cases (should they arise) with subscribers left with fewer notices and information from their ISP given the costs involved and the court's decision to not compensate for those costs.

Defending Privacy Doesn’t Pay: Federal Court Issues Ruling in Voltage – TekSavvy Costs [Michael Geist]

Beauty tips for male Lego execs


Hugh writes, "Lego published annoying 'beauty tips' for young girls; Elbe Spurling has a nice response: beauty tips for male Lego executives."

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Rightscorp loses big on extortion racket

Rightcorp, the notorious, publicly traded copyright trolls, have warned investors that they're losing money despite a successful claim of mass extortion against alleged copyright infringers.

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IT feudalism: the surveillance state and wealth gaps


My latest Guardian column examines the relationship between technology, surveillance and wealth disparity -- specifically the way that cheap mass surveillance makes it possible to sustain more unequal societies because it makes it cheaper to find and catch the dissidents who foment rebellion over the creation of hereditary elites.

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McDonald's sues to block Seattle's minimum wage


They're basing their case on the 14th Amendment, which addressed slavery by guaranteeing all persons equal protection under the law, and since corporations are people, well...

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What's up with these incredibly prolific twitterbots?


Old, highly-retweeted tweets in which I was @'ed keep getting RT'ed by fake twitterbots whose profile photos, bios and names are randomly composited from other Twitter users; they follow each other and spawn at an alarming rate.

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The book thieves of 1990s London


In the 1990s, London was home to notorious book-thieves who stole to order for the shops of Charing Cross road, who paid a fraction of cover-price for them -- meaning that each thief would have to steal £50,000/year worth of books (and often stole more).

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VPNs: which ones value your privacy?

Torrentfreak has published its annual survey of privacy-oriented VPN services, digging into each one's technical, legal and business practices to see how seriously they take the business of protecting your privacy.

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