Ethiopia shuts down national internet "to prevent exam cheating"

The entire nation of Ethiopia -- a corrupt, oligarchic state with the distinction of being "the world's first turnkey surveillance state" where spy technology from the "free world" is used to spy on the whole country -- just dropped off the internet. Read the rest

ACT NOW! In 9 days, the European Parliament could pass a truly terrible copyright expansion

When MEP Julia Reda conducted a wide-ranging and open consultation on updating EU copyright, she came up with some great, sensible reforms: making it legal to take pictures of buildings, making it legal to link to newspapers, creating a Europe-wide set of fair dealing exceptions to copyright, capping copyright terms at life-plus-50 years, and making sure that the rights you get to analog media (like the right to give your books and music to your kids when you die) carries over to digital media. Read the rest

The Malta Files: a European version of the Panama Papers, revealing a global web of corruption

On Friday, a variety of news outlets around the world published the Malta Files, a cache of 150,000 documents leaked "from a Malta-based provider of legal, financial and corporate services," revealing, among other things, that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was secretly given a $25M oil tanker (!) by Azeri billionaire Mübariz Mansimov, a "friend" of Trump's who was present at the inauguration. Read the rest

Trump Organization to Congress: Upholding the Constitution "diminishes the experience of our brand"

Remember the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, the one that says that presidents aren't supposed to get gifts or payments from foreign governments without Congressional approval? Read the rest

Colombian biologist won't go to jail for 8 years for sharing a scientific paper (probably)

Timothy writes, "Diego Gómez is a Colombian conservation biologist. When he was a college student, he shared a single research paper online so that others could read and learn from it, just as he did. Diego was criminally prosecuted for copyright infringement, and faced up to 8 years in prison." Read the rest

The FCC will not disregard anti-Net Neutrality comments left by identity-stealing bots

Before the FCC stopped taking comments on its plans to destroy Net Neutrality (but after so many people rallied to tell it not to that its site crashed and the agency manufactured a fake denial of service attack to avoid admitting how much America hated its plans), the FCC's comment form was flooded with 128,000 identical comments sent by bots that used an alphabetical series of stolen names and addresses, possibly taken from an old voter registration data breach. Read the rest

Feds admit they used secret anti-terror mass surveillance tool to catch an undocumented waiter

Rudy Carcamo-Carranza was an undocumented restaurant worker in Michigan wanted for a DUI and a hit-and-run; the FBI and ICE used IMSI catchers -- powerful, secretive cellphone tracking tools that the agencies bill as a kind of superweapon in the war on terror -- to catch him and put him up for deportation. Read the rest

Louisiana's public defender's office is largely nonexistent so poor people just plead guilty

Louisiana has always been a backward place for criminal justice, the only state in the union that funds its public defenders' office with conviction fees, leaving a public defender's office that averages $238 spent on each accused. Read the rest

Insider whistleblower says London police hired Indian hackers to surveil journalists, politicians and activists

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating a tip-off from a current or ex-London police officer that the London Metropolitan Police's National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit asked Indian police to use their hacker contacts to break into the private communications of hundreds of British people and groups, from journalists to Greenpeace. Read the rest

For today's college kids, the Rodney King beating seems mild and unremarkable

In 1991, George Holliday's video of Rodney King being kicked and nightsticked by LAPD officers shocked the nation and sparked an uprising that galvanized the discussion about police brutality. Read the rest

Jeff Sessions wants to bring back long mandatory prison sentences for minor drug offenses

Donald Trump's racist, perjuring Attorney General, former senator Jefferson Sessions, was signaled that he will reverse Obama-era AG Eric Holder's memo that told federal prosecutors not to bring charges against petty drug offenders, because these crime carry absurd minimum sentences that resulted in America imprisoning a greater proportion of its population than any country in the history of the world, including the USSR and Apartheid-era South Africa. Read the rest

Pueblo, CO bust falls apart because cop staged his bodycam footage to frame his suspect

Colorado prosecutors have dismissed felony drug and weapons charges against a suspect because they learned that Pueblo Police Department offier Seth Jensen defrauded the court by faking his bodycam footage, "recreating" his bust after the suspect's car was in the impound lot. Read the rest

Panama Papers' journalists school the daughter of Pakistan's PM Sharif on Twitter

The 2016 Panama Papers story confirmed that many world leaders were availing themselves of money-laundries to secretly funnel their wealth offshore, with results ranging from severe embarrassment to radical changes in governments. Read the rest

The NSA no longer claims the right to read your email in case you're talking about foreigners

For more than a decade, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been suing the NSA over its extraordinarily broad interpretation of its powers under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act -- a law that the NSA says gives it the power to spy on Americans any time they mention a foreigner. Read the rest

When Theresa May called snap elections, she killed tax-haven reform

One of the consistently underreported elements of Brexit and all that's come after it is that leaving the EU will also let the UK -- the world's most prolific launderer of filthy criminal money -- escape the tightening noose of European anti-money-laundering measures. Read the rest

The Chicago airport cops who beat David Dao unconscious totally lied about it on their report

Chicago's Department of Aviation finally replied to the LA Times's Freedom of Information request for the police report on the public beating Chicago airport cops dealt to Dr David Dao when United Airlines decided to give his confirmed, paid seat to a crewmember and ordered him to vacate it. Read the rest

Japan secretly funneled hundreds of millions to the NSA, breaking its own laws

The Intercept publishes a previously-unseen set of Snowden docs detailing more than $500,000,000 worth of secret payments by the Japanese government to the NSA, in exchange for access to the NSA's specialized surveillance capabilities, in likely contravention of Japanese privacy law (the secrecy of the program means that the legality was never debated, so no one is sure whether it broke the law). Read the rest

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