Boing Boing 

Justice Department issues "scorching" report on Ferguson's Police Department


The police department "routinely" blocks citizens from recording their activities under a bizarre rubric of "officer safety," according to the Justice Department's investigation.

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Trolls abuse Canadian copyright law with fraudulent mass-scale extortion notices


Michael Geist writes, "The launch of the Canadian copyright notice system earlier this year raised serious concerns as Rightscorp, a U.S.-based anti-piracy company, sent notices that misstated Canadian law and demanded that users pay to settle claims."

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First-hand reports of torture from Homan Square, Chicago PD's "black site"


In the wake of last week's revelations about Homan Square, the off-the-books "black site" where Chicago PD disappear prisoners for violent, aggressive interrogation, four of the site's victims have come forward to describe the highly racialized human rights abuses at the secret site.

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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.

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Mass surveillance hip-hop from the director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Shahid Buttar -- the rapper who created the amazing NSA vs USA track/video -- is also a constitutional lawyer who serves as executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

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Internet-fired elections and the politics of business as usual


I've got a new Guardian column, Internet-era politics means safe seats are a thing of the past, which analyzes the trajectory of Internet-fuelled election campaigning since Howard Dean, and takes hope in the launch of I'll Vote Green If You Do.

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Emma Thompson on tax-strike until HSBC tax evaders are jailed


The actor and her husband, Greg Wise, have vowed to withhold their tax until the UK tax authorities begin to imprison the tax-cheats who were revealed to be using HSBC's Swiss money-laundry, even if it means going to jail themselves.

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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.

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Chinese property developer has $160 million gambling debt

A Chinese property development executive, known as the "Red King of Gambling" owes $160 million in gambling debts to casinos in Macau.

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Chicago Police Department maintains "black site" for illegal detention and torture

Homan Square is the Chicago Police Department's "secure site" where people as young as 15 are detained without charge and without access to counsel, subject to beatings that result in head wounds, and, in one case, death.

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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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Huge trove of surveillance leaks coming

Al Jazeera and The Guardian are set to publish "the Spy Cables," a massive trove of South African intelligence cables detailing the over-classification of information and the corruption of post-Apartheid South Africa by US political interference.

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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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I'll Vote Green If You Do: electoral kickstarter for minority parties

The UK Green Party has built a version of the kickstarter for elections I proposed last year: they're signing up people who promise to vote Green if enough of their neighbours will do the same.

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Livestream: students occupy Newark school superintendent's office to protest forced privatization

Greg Costikyan writes, "Newark public school students have occupied the office of Cami Anderson, the state-appointed superintendent of Newark's public school system, in protest against plans to privatize the entire city school system over the protest of the city's mayor and virtually its entire population."

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Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution leaders haunted by dirty-trick harassment campaigns


From following their grandchildren around at kindergarten to hanging slanderous banners outside their homes to hacking their email to sending funeral wreaths to their doors, the leaders of Hong Kong's anticorruption Occupy Central movement face persistent, ongoing reprisals for their political activity.

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Telegraph's lead political writer resigns because of censorship of criticism of advertisers, especially HSBC

Peter Osborne was the head political writer at the Telegraph, a rock-ribbed conservative paper owned by the shadowy Barclay brothers; he quit after seeing the paper soft-pedal and downplay scandals involving its major advertisers, and broke his silence once he learned that the paper had squashed stories of illegal tax-avoidance schemes run by HSBC.

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Use Facebook while in South Carolina jail, go to solitary for 37 years


Prisons have a legitimate interest in controlling contraband, but in South Carolina, using social media from behind bars is a Class I offense, carrying stiffer penalties than murder, escape and hostage-taking.

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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!)

Nuanced view of corruption: money doesn't buy elections, it buys influence

Jonathan Soros, son of George Soros and heavy donor to campaigns to get money out of politics, writes a nuanced account of what huge, open campaign contributions do to electoral politics.

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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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Surveillance scandal blowing up Macedonian government

Macedonia's government -- which accused the opposition of planning a coup last week -- is reeling from a bombshell press-conference given by the opposition party, in which they were accused of mass, politically oriented surveillance.

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Police interrogation techniques generate false memories of committing crimes


Psychologists terminated a study that showed the ease of implanting false memories of committing terrible, violent crimes in the recent past in their subjects -- the experiment was terminated because some subjects couldn't be convinced that they hadn't committed the crime after they were told the truth.

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Modern farm equipment has no farmer-servicable parts inside


Ifixit's Kyle Wiens writes about the state of modern farm equipment, "black boxes outfitted with harvesting blades," whose diagnostic modes are jealously guarded, legally protected trade secrets, meaning that the baling-wire spirit of the American farm has been made subservient to the needs of multinational companies' greedy desire to control the repair and parts markets.

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Cop who switched off traffic cam in order to make illegal threats will keep his job


Niles, OH Patrolman Todd Mobley followed an acquaintance home in his cruiser and yanked him out of the car and threatened his life; when another cop arrived, Mobley had the cop turn off his dashcam and continued his illegal behavior; he has served a 30 day suspension and is back on the job.

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Anyone who makes you choose between privacy and security wants you to have neither

An excellent op-ed from the Open Rights Group: "When ORG defends privacy, we are fighting to protect people from abuses of power that leave them vulnerable."

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Gov Walker caught lying about his rewrite of the U Wisc mission


Since 1904, the State of Wisconsin and its university system have been governed by the public service mandate of the "Wisconsin Idea" -- until Governor Scott Walker's office leaned on the university to change the Idea to be all about providing workers for the state's businesses, and then lied about it.

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Ron Wyden to Eric Holder: before you go, how about all those requests for information?


Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has written a letter to outgoing Attorney General Eric "Too Big to Jail" Holder about all those other letters the senator has sent to the AG asking why, exactly, the DoJ thinks that mass spying is legal.

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Obama's empty surveillance promises


A year after the president's promise to rein in warrantless, illegal mass surveillance, he's revealed a plan that does nothing to fix the most egregious elements of American spying.

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Canada reportedly caves, will extend copyright and yank James Bond out of the public domain

Michael Geist sez, "Last month, there were several Canadian media reports on how the work of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had entered the public domain. While this was oddly described as a 'copyright quirk', it was no quirk. The term of copyright in Canada (alongside TPP countries such as Japan and New Zealand) is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years, a term that meets the international standard set by the Berne Convention. Those countries now appear to have caved to U.S. pressure as there are reports that they have agreed to extend to life plus 70 years as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership."

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