Boing Boing 

J. Edgar Hoover palled around with a suspected commie spy


Michael from Muckrock sez, "Few American officials could even come close to the legendary paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover, but that didn't stop the notorious FBI chief from striking up a close friendship with Samuel Dickstein, House Committee on Un-American Activities founder, Supreme Court Justice -- and suspected Russian spy."

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Constituent silenced by spammer-turned-UK Tory party chairman was telling the truth

Grant Shapps, the spam kingpin who moonlighted as UK Tory party chairman and then an MP, sued a constituent who accused him of working for his "marketing" company after taking office.

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Anti-vaxxer ordered to pay EUR100K to winner of "measles aren't real" bet


Stefan Lanka, a "vaccination skeptic" who claims that measles are a psychosomatic condition brought on by "traumatic separations," publicly challenged people to prove that measles was caused by a virus.

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UK foreign secretary: stop talking about Snowden, let spies get on with it


Philip Hammond told an audience at the Royal United Services Institute that the debate about surveillance "cannot be allowed to run on forever."

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Senator on Internet privacy committee has never sent an email

Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, and he's never sent an email.

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Judge who invented Ferguson's debtor's prisons owes $170K in tax


Judge Ronald J Brockmeyer -- who filled Ferguson's coffers by fining its poorest residents and sent them to inhumane, overcrowded prisons when they couldn't pay a few hundred dollars -- stands accused of fixing fines for his cronies, and owes $170K in unpaid taxes.

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VA boss caught lying about serving in the Special Forces

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald has apologized for lying to a veteran about serving in the Special Forces. (via Super Punch)

UK Tory MP says astrology would improve NHS health outcomes

David Tredinnick, the Tory MP for Bosworth, Leicestershire, claims that astrology could improve health outcomes for the NHS, is bitter that he had to pay parliament back £755 for his expensed astrology software, says he helps other MPs with astrological advice, and says astrology skeptics are "racially prejudiced." (via /.)

Yahoo's security boss faces down NSA director over crypto ban


During Monday's Cybersecurity for a New America conference in DC, Yahoo's Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos stood up and had an intense verbal showdown with NSA director Mike Rogers about the NSA's plan to ban working crypto, in which the nation's top spook fumfuhed and fumbled to explain how this idea isn't totally insane.

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HSBC boss used tax havens to keep underlings from discovering his outrageous pay


HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver admitted that he used two secretive banks -- one in Switzerland, the other in Panama -- not just to avoid taxes, but to hide his amazing compensation package from other HSBC bankers, lest they wax jealous.

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Revenge porn shitweasel pleads guilty, admits he hacked victims' accounts


Michael from Muckrock writes, "After months of legal wrangling, Hunter Moore, who ran 'revenge porn' website Isanyoneup, has agreed to a plea deal that will see him serve a minimum of two years and up to seven years in jail, as well as up to $500,000 in fines."

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Canada's new surveillance bill eliminates any pretense of privacy


Michael Geist writes, "Canada's proposed anti-terrorism legislation is currently being debated in the House of Commons, with the government already serving notice that it plans to limit debate. That decision has enormous privacy consequences, since the bill effectively creates a 'total information awareness' approach that represents a radical shift away from our traditional understanding of public sector privacy protection."

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SF Muni spends anti-terror money on fare evaders because it's a gateway to terrorism


Cmdr. Mikail Ali, the former top transit police officer in San Francisco, justified spending anti-terror funding on fare evaders because "Fare evasion is the nexus by which we make those initial contacts [with criminals]" and cracking down on it lets them find terrorists.

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GOP senator: abolish hand-washing regulations in restaurants

Instead of mandating that restaurant employees wash their hands between wiping their asses and making your food, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) says the state should only require them to advise the public of any handwashing policies in place.

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Philly TSA supervisor Charles Kieser sent a traveller to jail for asking to file a complaint

After sending Roger Vanderklok for jail for the audacity of asking to file a complaint, Philadelphia International Airport TSA supervisor Charles Kieser then lied about what happened on the stand in court. He fabricated an aggressive confrontation and a bomb threat, neither of which are in evidence on the CCTV footage or in the police report. His victim was help incommunicado in jail, panicking his wife who had no idea where he'd gone. Kieser gets to keep his job.

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Canada's spying bill is PATROIT Act fanfic

Madeline Ashby writes, "I wrote this column about Canada's Bill C-51, which would allow Canada's spy agency CSIS to detain people for simply 'promoting' terrorism, promises it can wipe terrorist content from the Internet, expands no-fly lists, and is basically a piece of Patriot Act fanfic. I thought you guys might like to know that years after Bush left office, his fans are trying to keep the tradition alive."

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Rand Paul: solve vaccination issues by making children into property

"The state doesn't own your children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom and public health."

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Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper's Charter back in AGAIN

Last Friday, four rogue Lords copy/pasted the repeatedly defeated "Snooper's Charter" spying bill into a pending bill as an amendment, only to withdraw it on Monday after the Lords were bombarded by an aghast public -- and now, incredibly, these Lords have reintroduced the same language as a new amendment.

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Great Firewall of Cameron blocks sex-abuse charities


UK Prime Minister David Cameron demanded that ISPs opt their customers into "adult content" filters (and now Sky is opting in everyone whose account predates this announcement), ignoring all the people who correctly predicted that these filters would block important sites.

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GOP senator who boasted about her family's self-reliance received $460K in federal subsidies


Iowa Republican senator Joni Ernst gave her party's official response to the State of the Union address by boasting self-righteously about her humble origins and how her self-reliant, heartland-state family pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, but conveniently failed to mention that her family's farm was the beneficiary of nearly half a million dollars in federal subsidies.

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What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry

David Cameron says there should be no "means of communication" which "we cannot read" -- and no doubt many in his party will agree with him, politically. But if they understood the technology, they would be shocked to their boots.Read the rest

The best deleted political tweets from 2014


Nicko sez, With 2014 coming to close, it's that time of year to curl up by the fire and enjoy the biggest Twitter regrets from US politicians. They're all saved in Politwoops and the midterm elections meant it was extra busy." -

Pfizer threatens pharmacists, doctors if they take its name in vain


Pfizer's patent on pregabalin -- an anti-epilepsy med -- expires this year, but there's another patent on using the public domain drug to treat neuropathic pain; in a shocking letter to UK doctors, the pharma giant warns of dire consequences should medical professionals dare to prescribe the generic for the patented use.

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Homophobic pastor arrested for squeezing man's genitals in park


The Praise Cathedral Church of God's Gaylard Williams, of Seymour, Indiana, was arrested this week when he allegedly massaged a stranger's genitals in a park and asked him for oral sex; police found pornography in his car (which he claimed was being delivered to someone else) -- Williams is a noted homophobic preacher whose sermons condemn homosexuals.

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Delware school district wants kids to get signed permission before checking out YA library books


The Appoquinimink, DE school board is contemplating requiring parental permission slips for students who want to check YA novels out of their school library; district secondary education curriculum director Ray Gravuer came up with this silly idea in response to a parental complaint.

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NY DA gives unlicensed driver who killed senior in crosswalk a $400 fine

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance brokered the $400 penalty for Kristin Rodriguez, an unlicensed driver who struck and killed 66 year old Keiko Ohnishi as she was crossing the street.

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Judge convicted of planting meth on woman who reported him for harassment

Bryant Cochran was chief judge of Murray County Magistrate Court when a woman reported him for hitting on her while she entered his chambers to take out assault warrants following an attack on her.

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We know you love privacy, Judge Posner. We just wish you'd share.


As I wrote yesterday, 7th circuit judge Richard Posner's views on privacy (basically: "nothing to fear, nothing to hide" and "it should be illegal to made a phone the government can't search") are dismal and unsophisticated -- but they're also deeply hypocritical.

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Judge Posner: it should be illegal to make phones the government can't search

Cory Doctorow on why privacy is about more than concealing crime—and why backdoors are inevitably available to everyone, not just people you trust.Read the rest

Senator Jay Rockefeller singlehandedly kills Freedom of Information Act reform


The House unanimously passed a bill that would bring much-needed improvements to the Freedom of Information Act; the Senate had bi-partisan support for it, too -- but outgoing Sen Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) singlehandedly killed the bill in a closed-door committee meeting.

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