From dingo babysitter to net neutrality hero: Tom Wheeler's legacy

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When Obama appointed Tom Wheeler, formerly the top lobbyist for both the cable industry and the mobile phone industry to run the FCC, many people (including me) were outraged at the idea of putting such an insider in charge of keeping his own former employers honest (it didn't help that AT&T and Comcast both issued triumphant press releases at the news). Read the rest

Barnes & Noble wipes out Nook ebook, replaces it with off-brand "study guide"

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Chris writes, "I bought my first e-book in 1998, before my e-reading hardware had even arrived yet. Yesterday I discovered that Barnes & Noble has effectively stolen that book from me, mistakenly replacing it it in my Nook library with another title I never bought." Read the rest

These 27 profitable S&P 500 companies paid no tax last year

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Two things are inevitable: death and taxes. Unless, of course, you are a transhuman, immortal artificial life form that uses humans as gut-flora (that is, a major corporation). Then they're both optional. hit thanks mostly to a tax break connected with General Motors Europe.

27 giant profitable companies paid no taxes [Matt Krantz/USA Today]

(via Barry Ritholtz) Read the rest

Shortly after her death, Harper Lee's heirs kill cheap paperback edition of To Kill a Mockingbird

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A court upheld the sealing away of Lee's will from public view, so it's impossible to say for sure what prompted the move, but this much is clear: schools that assign "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- one of the most commonly assigned books in US classrooms -- will have to pay a lot more for their books, and that money will not, and cannot, benefit the author. Read the rest

Web security company breached, client list (including KKK) dumped, hackers mock inept security

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Newport Beach based Staminus Communications offered DDoS protection and other security services to its clients; early this morning, their systems went down and a dump of their internal files were dumped to the Internet. Read the rest

Microsoft spams corporate users with messages denigrating their IT departments

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If your company hasn't "upgraded" your computer to Windows 10 -- a tendril of surveillance capitalism masquerading as a "free OS" -- you may start receiving messages from Microsoft telling you that your IT department is holding you back: "Your system administrator has blocked upgrades on this PC. Check with your system administrator about upgrading this PC to Windows 10." Read the rest

Spacefaring and contractual obligations: who's with me?

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I keep having to sign contracts where I waive all rights "throughout the universe." Lately, I've been crossing out "universe" and writing in "solar system." Read the rest

Home Depot might pay up to $0.34 in compensation for each of the 53 million credit cards it leaked

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In 2014, Home Depot disclosed a security breach of 53 million customer credit cards and 56 million email addresses. This week the company settled a class action lawsuit and agreed to pay as much as $19.5 million in damages and compensation. Read the rest

"Water Bar" celebrates the wonder and fragility of tap water

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Arts group Works Progress Studio have opened Water Bar, which bills itself as the first-ever bar devoted to nothing but public sources of water. Read the rest

Group chat: "an all-day meeting with random participants and no agenda"

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37 Signals' Jason Fried was there when the company launched Campfire, a pioneering group chat for business that made it easier for whole companies to follow each others' work; 10 years later, he's ready to talk about the ways that group chat gets in everyone's way. Read the rest

Verizon pays $1.35M FCC settlement for using "supercookies"

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In 2014, Verizon was caught sneaking "supercookies" onto its customers' computers -- these are tracking cookies that bypassed the normal cookie system to surveil Verizon users and target ads to them. Read the rest

Crimefighting for fun and profit: data-mining Medicare fraud and likely whistleblowers

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John Mininno is an ex-malpractice lawyer who raised money from a Wall Street angel and founded the National Healthcare Analysis Group, which uses public data sources to uncover Medicare fraud, then does further data-mining to predict which current or ex-employees will turn whistleblower, cold calls them, and splits the bounty the government offers for whistleblowing with them. Read the rest

Phishers make off with W2 tax forms for several thousand Seagate employees

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Seagate has emailed its employees and ex-employees to warn them that someone in the company sent their W2 tax data to a criminal who pulled off a successful phishing fraud. Read the rest

Human traffickers implant their slaves with RFID chips

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An anonymous ER doctor treated a woman who claimed she had a tracking chip embedded in her body. At first he disbelieved her -- lots of people suffer from delusions that they have implanted microchips -- but then she showed him the suture.

Read the rest

Pirates hacked shipping company, cherry-picking targets based on cargo

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An unnamed shipping company had its unpatched content management system hacked by sea-pirates, who then sorted the ships at sea by the value of their cargo to help prioritize attacks to maximize the take. Read the rest

Trailer for The Internet Wants, when the big hotels use psychopaths to disrupt Airbnb

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Indie sf movie kingpin Jim Munroe writes, "Ever wonder how the Hilton and the Marriott families feel about Airbnb? What would happen if the heir to a hotel chain empire gets fed up and decides to rebrand the sharing economy... as the scaring economy? A concept trailer for a new tech-horror webseries called THE INTERNET WANTS by Postopian Pictures, the guys behind HAPHEAD and GHOSTS WITH SHIT JOBS." Read the rest

Some ad-blockers are tracking you, shaking down publishers, and showing you ads

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The ad-subsidized Web is at a crossroads: faced with pressure from social media platform, publishers are accepting ever-more-intrusive ads, which combine with the mounting public concern over privacy and tracking to encourage ad-blocking, which, in turn, makes publishers more desperate and more biddable to the darkest surveillance and pop-up desires of advertisers. Read the rest

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