Now that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is finalized, the real fight starts


For most of a decade, government negotiators from around the Pacific Rim have met in utmost secrecy to negotiate a "trade deal" that was kept secret from legislatures, though executives from the world's biggest corporations were allowed in the room and even got to draft parts of the treaty. Read the rest

Saudi PR machine goes bigtime, hires top US muscle for charm offensive


The Saudi royals -- you know, the charming people who exported intolerant, extremist Wahabiism and whose scions get to rape their US-based servants with impunity -- have hired the biggest, most ruthless PR firms in America to run their PR machine. Read the rest

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Wyoming's Ag-Gag law makes it a crime to gather evidence of crime


With this year's "ag-gag" law, Wyoming has made it a crime to gather evidence of agricultural wrongdoing, from illegal pollution to animal cruelty, even from public land -- and also prohibits regulators from acting on information gathered in violation of the law. Read the rest

Dieselgate for TVs: Samsung accused of programming TVs to cheat energy efficiency ratings


The European Commission is probing whether Samsung televisions' sensed when they were being tested for energy efficiency and changed their power consumption to get better ratings than they deserved. Read the rest

Arbitration: how America's corporations got their own private legal system


In 1925, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations of similar size and bargaining power could use arbitration, rather than courts, to settle their differences; today, corporations demand that customers and employees agree to use the arbitration system for redress of any grievances, while reserving the right to use the courts to attack humans who offend them. Read the rest

Fuerdai: Paris Hilton with Chinese characteristics


China's hereditary oligarchy is in its second generation, and the fuerdai -- rich kids born to rich kids -- are a national symbol for corruption and excess, splashing social media with evidence of their debauchery. Read the rest

France's plan to legalize mass surveillance will give it the power to spy on the world


After getting caught breaking its own laws with a mass surveillance program, the French government has introduced legislation that mirrors the NSA's rules, giving it the power to spy on all foreigners -- and any French people who happen to be swept up in the dragnet. Read the rest

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Righstcorp's terrifying extortion script is breathtaking in its sleaze


Rightscorp is the notorious publicly traded shakedown outfit that accuses people of online infringement and threatens them with titanic fines and jail time for allegedly listening to music or watching movies the wrong way, offering to make the whole thing go away for a few hundred dollars -- less than a lawyer would charge to advise you on whether to pay up. Read the rest

1 in 40 London cops have been arrested in the past five years


One UK police officer is arrested for criminal behaviour every day with the Metropolitan London Police accounting for the lion's share. Read the rest

KARMA POLICE: GCHQ's plan to track every Web user in the world


The KARMA POLICE program is detailed in newly released Snowden docs published on The Intercept; it began as a project to identify every listener to every Internet radio station (to find people listening to jihadi radio) and grew into an ambitious plan to identify every Web user and catalog their activities from porn habits to Skype contacts. Read the rest

The Snowden Treaty: protecting the world's whistleblowers in the age of privacy breaches


The Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers [PDF] (AKA "The Snowden Treaty") was created by David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's partner, who was detained by UK police under terrorism legislation while transiting through London's Heathrow airport with a encrypted thumbdrive containing some of the Snowden leaks. Read the rest

Not just emissions: manufacturers' dirty tricks fake everything about cars


VW's diesel firmware detected when it was undergoing emissions testing and changed the engine tuning to produce 1/40 of its normal toxic output, fooling regulators. But though they're the only ones who've been caught using firmware to game emissions testing, they're not the only ones with something to hide. Read the rest

FTC clobbers Roca Labs, the terrible weight-loss company that banned negative reviews


If you follow my tweets of interesting stories from one year ago, you'll have seen the Roca Labs saga popping up again. Roca sold a "non-surgical gastric bypass" that was mostly made from industrial food-thickeners that were supposed to gunk up your stomach and fill you up. Read the rest

Kentucky Republican state Senator: the First Amendment protects my right to receive bribes


Republican Kentucky state Sen. John Schickel is suing to overturn the state's ethics laws so that he can accept gifts worth more than $1,000 from lobbyists without reporting them, because he thinks the current ethics rules violate his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Read the rest

These tech giants just asked US government for more surveillance; call Congress now!


Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Salesforce / Heroku, and a handful of other tech companies just betrayed billions of people's trust. They signed a letter endorsing CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act." Read the rest

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