Boing Boing 

Why it matters whether or not torture works


Part of the debate about the CIA Torture Report is whether torture works as a means of gathering useful intelligence; scholarly work has long held that it doesn't.

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House of Lords demands its own caterer because Parliament's Champagne isn't good enough


A move to save money by merging the Lords' and Parliament's catering has come under fire because some Lords fear that the quality of the free Champagne will decline as a result.

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Senate IP address vandalizes Wikipedia to scrub "torture" from CIA torture report

An anonymous editor at 156.33.241.11 -- registered to the US Senate -- has repeatedly attempted to scrub the word "torture" from the Wikipedia entry from Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.

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Mashup artist challenges Sony to stop gaming Youtube's censorship system

Hugh Atkin (of Romney Raps Eminem fame) writes, "This is a new video I've made in response to repeated, identical claims of copyright infringement by Sony Music Entertainment in respect of my 2008 video 'Barackroll.' Every time I've challenged a complaint, they've let it lapse and then subsequently filed identical complaints."

UN wants to give broadcasters rights over public-domain and CC-licensed shows


Under the revived WIPO Broadcast Treaty, broadcasters would have the right to stop you from using public domain and CC-licensed video footage as you choose, effectively giving them a new copyright over material simply by sending it out over the air.

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Police, technology and bodycams

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's got a nuanced view on the proposal to give cops body-cams, noting the ACLU's view that these cameras need to be carefully designed so that they don't violate the privacy of citizens or make it easy to cover up official corruption.

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NYC theater overrules MPAA rating for Snowden documentary


Citizenfour, the acclaimed Laura Poitras documentary about Edward Snowden, has been given an R rating by the notoriously corrupt and opaque MPAA ratings board (see This Film Is Not Yet Rated).

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Modern slavery: the Mexican megafarms that supply America's top grocers


A four-part series in the LA Times explores the corrupt labor conditions in Mexico's biggest farms, where the produce, destined for American grocers like Walmart and Whole Foods, is treated with infinitely more care than the workers, who are subject to illegal, inhumane treatment, including indentured servitude.

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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.

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Taxpayers pick up the tab for violent, abusive, murdering cops 99.8% of the time


99.8% of the $735 million paid out by in 9,225 large-city police misconduct settlements came from tax revenues; 0.2% was paid by the officers who committed the infractions. In more than 80 small/mid-sized cities studied, police officers contributed nothing to settlements for their misconduct.

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Spies can't make cyberspace secure AND vulnerable to their own attacks


In his Sunday Observer column, John Naughton makes an important point that's hammered home by the escape of the NSA/GCHQ Regin cyberweapon into the wild: spies who make war on the Internet can't be trusted with its security.

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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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Irish government retroactively legalizes GCHQ surveillance revealed in Snowden docs

As reported by The Irish Times on Saturday, 6th December; "Foreign law enforcement agencies will be allowed to tap Irish phone calls and intercept emails under a statutory instrument signed into law by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald."

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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.

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What military gear did the Pentagon give to America's cops?


Michael from Muckrock says, "After months of legal wrangling, MuckRock has finally received the complete list of military gear given to local police departments under the Pentagon's 1033 program, including bomb disposal robots, infrared gun sights, small aircraft and rocket launchers."

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AT&T hates telcoms regulations, except when it insists on them

The company that says that the gubmint should stay out of its business and let it destroy Net Neutrality also says the government should clobber Kansas towns with no broadband who have the audacity to run their own networks.

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NSA leak reveal plans to subvert mobile network security around the world


The NSA's AURORAGOLD program -- revealed in newly released Snowden docs -- used plundered internal emails to compromise nearly every mobile carrier in the world, and show that the agency had planned to introduce vulnerabilities into future improvements into mobile security.

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Obama Calls For Turret-Mounted Video Cameras On All Police Tanks


As always, the Onion's headline nails it.

FBI seizes LA school district's Ipad purchasing docs


It's not clear what they're investigating, but the DoJ subpoenaed everything related to the $70M program to give Ipads to all 650K kids in the district.

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UK police arrest man built anti-immigrant nail-bomb, decline to press terrorism charges

Ryan McGee came from a multi-generational white supremacist dynasty and told police he built his nail-bomb because he didn't like immigrants, the Crown Prosecution Service said that "it was never McGee’s intention to use the device for any terrorist or violent purpose."

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In Chicago, it's impossible to get dirty cops investigated


Matthew Clark and Gregory Malandrucco were out for tacos at an all-night place when they gave offense to two Chicago off-duty cops who followed them into the parking lot and beat them so badly that they were hospitalized -- the uniformed officers who attended let their colleagues simply walk away.

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FBI investigating Denver cops who erased citizen video of beatdown


Denver police were videoed savagely beating David Flores and his pregnant girlfriend by Levi Frasier, who had his tablet confiscated and the video deleted after one of the cops shouted "camera" -- but the video had already backed up to the cloud.

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Walmart holds food drive...for Walmart employees (again!)


Once again, a Walmart store has set out a collection box for food donations to support its own employees, who are paid so little that they depend upon social assistance (and public generosity) to survive.

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John Oliver on Civil Forfeiture

As always, John Oliver's take on something newsworthy, corrupt, and jaw-droppingly absurd manages to nail it straight through the beating heart.

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WATCH Jay Smooth: Ferguson, riots and human limits

As you'd expect, Jay Smooth has just about the smartest, best, most empathic take on the civil unrest in Ferguson following the failure of the prosecutor to secure an indictment. He quotes Martin Luther King: "riots are the language of the unheard." (via Waxy)

Second career of choice for disgraced cops: cop


When cops are fired or forced to resign for malfeasance, chances are they walk straight into another law enforcement job -- in LA, the Sheriff's Department operates a revolving door between its police force and its notoriously corrupt jails, transferring its worst police offers into its custodial service.

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DC cops budget their asset forfeiture income years in advance


The DC force plans out how much stuff they'll steal from the public through the corrupt "asset forfeiture" program years in advance, almost as though they don't rely on crime to seize assets, but rather just arbitrarily grab stuff from people and sell it to pay their bills.

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Analysis of leaked logs from Syria's censoring national firewall


Syria's brutal Assad government uses censorware from California's Blue Coat System as part of its systematic suppression of dissent and to help it spy on dissidents; 600GB of 2011 logs from Syria's seven SG-9000 internet proxies were leaked by hacktivist group Telecomix and then analyzed by University College London's Emiliano De Cristofaro.

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Vodafone made millions helping GCHQ spy on the world


A newly released Snowden doc, published in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, shows how Cable and Wireless (now a Vodafone subsidiary) made millions of pounds illegally installing fiber-taps to help GCHQ conduct its programme of mass surveillance.

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Song for Shaker: free the last UK Gitmo prisoner!

Andy writes, "This is the promotional video for a new campaign, We Stand with Shaker, aimed at securing the release from Guantanamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, who is still held despite being approved for release in 2007 and 2009."

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