America's growing gangs of armed, arrest-making, untrained rent-a-cops

With just a (very) little training and some paperwork, you can become a "special conservator of the peace," empowered to carry a gun, wear a badge and arrest your fellow citizens, all while wearing a POLICE vest, even though you're not a cop. Read the rest

ACT NOW! Congress wants to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Congress is about to introduce a bill that will let the US Trade Representative lock America into the provisions of the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership, without substantial debate or scrutiny -- including criminal sanctions -- jail! -- for downloading TV shows. Read the rest

Big Content publishes a love-letter to TPP

The secretive, corrupt, illegitimate Trans-Pacific Partnership would bind its members -- including the USA and Canada -- to criminalize file-sharing, putting people in jail for watching TV the wrong way, and that's just fine with the copyright lobbyist group Global Intellectual Property Center. Read the rest

EMI claims it owns copyright to videos of cats purring

Hugh writes, "YouTube's automated takedown tool is known for its flaws, but this week it crossed a line by attacking a purring cat. According to YouTube's Content-ID system both EMI Publishing and PRS own the rights to a 12 second purring loop. The cat in question, Phantom, has filed a dispute and hopes to reclaim his rights." (Thanks, Hugh!) Read the rest

Happy Public Domain Day: here are the works that copyright extension stole from you in 2015

Jennifer Jenkins writes, "What could have been entering the public domain in the US on January 1, 2015? Under the law that existed until 1978 -- Works from 1958. The films 'Attack of the 50 Foot Woman,' 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,' and 'Gigi,' the books 'Our Man in Havana,' 'The Once and Future King,' and 'Things Fall Apart,' the songs 'All I Have to Do Is Dream' and 'Yakety Yak,' and more -- What is entering the public domain this January 1? Not a single published work." Read the rest

Corporate sovereignty: already costing the EU billions

"Corporate sovereignty" -- in which foreign companies get to sue the government to penalize it for passing environmental and labor laws that undercut profits -- is the one of the most controversial elements of the TAFTA/TTIP trade agreement the EU is negotiating with the US. Read the rest

Angela Merkel calls for end to net neutrality

The German Chancellor -- whose party is closely aligned with the telcoms sector -- says she wants a two-tier Internet; on the "fast" Internet, carriers will be allowed to slow down access to services that haven't paid bribes for "premium" carriage; on the "regular" Internet, ISPs will just give you the data you ask for. Read the rest

Uberdystopian: the surge-priced nightmare future

Paul Ford's short story "One Day, I Will Die on Mars," depicts a chilling, all-too-believable dystopian world where Uber becomes a massive transhuman immortal colony-organism that treats its labor force as its gut-flora, to be continuously measured and perfected or discarded. Read the rest

Leaked docs detail Big Oil and Big PR's plans for a opinion-manipulation platform

The leaked slides were prepared by Edelman, the largest PR company in the world, at the behest of Transcanada, and they constitute a blueprint for tracking and influencing platform that spies on its participants in order to psychologically profile them and nudge them into becoming advocates for the oil industry. Read the rest

Smart Pipe: a design fiction from the Internet of Things dystopia

11 minutes seems like a long ask for a gag video about an Internet-of-Things toilet-analyzer, but man, is it worth it. Read the rest

Secret recording of corporate lobbyist is a dirty-tricks playbook

Richard Berman -- called "Dr Evil" by both friends and enemies -- laid out the dirty tricks (PDF) needed to defeat environmental groups and labor activists to a Western Energy Alliance summit, and was so grossly offensive that one exec recorded him and leaked a transcript. Read the rest

NZ Trade Minister: we keep TPP a secret to prevent "public debate"

The Trans Pacific Partnership is the latest in a series of secretly negotiated sweeping "trade deals" that allow companies to sue governments to repeal environmental and labor laws, expand Internet censorship and surveillance, and a host of other nasties. Read the rest

Verizon's new big budget tech-news site prohibits reporting on NSA spying or net neutrality

They're positioning the new site "Sugar String" as a well-funded competitor to Wired, but reporters are not allowed to mention NSA spying (in which Verizon was an enthusiastic partner) or net neutrality (which Verizon has devoted itself to killing, with campaigns of overt lobbying and covert dirty tricks). Read the rest

Hungary's Internet tax arouses mass opposition

The economically precarious country has a remarkably low rate of corporate tax, and makes up the difference with high, regressive consumption taxes, including the one of the highest rates of VAT in Europe. Read the rest

What's financialism, and how is it destroying your life?

As businesses start retaining and investing larger cash-reserves, they're turning into banks. Banks, meanwhile, need to find another line of work: they become asset traders. Meanwhile, your wages have been stagnant for decades, which means that in order to survive, you must become a debtor. Read the rest

Anti-corporatist protesters seize town hall, citing Magna Carta

Joly sez, "On October 10 2014 UK activists, concerned about EU-US TTIP and EU-Canada CETA agreements that could make it possible for corporations to sue governments for banning fracking, invoked Article 61 of the Magna Carta to temporarily seize control of Glastonbury Town Hall. They claim that the 1215 Magna Carta's Article 61 - the Lawful Rebellion clause, which some say was later was later revoked in 1297, was validated by 25 Barons in 2001. A full video, including negotiations with the police, is posted on Youtube." Read the rest

Consumer groups tell DoJ to block Comcast/Time Warner merger

If it goes through, Comcast will control an unimaginable swath of American Internet access -- that's a hell of a lot of power to give the Worst Company in America. Read the rest

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