Boing Boing 

Guide to recording the police


Recording the police is legal, and it can mean the difference between accountability for peace officers and the gross injustice of abuse with impunity.

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FBI replies to Stingray Freedom of Information request with 5,000 blank pages


The Stingray -- a fake cellphone tower that gathers identity/location information on everyone who passes it -- is the worst-kept secret in law enforcement, but that doesn't stop feds from going to absurd lengths to pretend they don't use them.

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Court says DEA is allowed to secretly fill your truck with weed, get into firefights with Zetas


Craig Patty asked his employee Lawrence Chapa to help take one of his two trucks to the garage, not realizing that Chapa was a DEA undercover planning to fill the truck with weed, which ended in a firefight with a Los Zetas hit squad that killed the driver, who was a DEA informant.

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Algorithmic guilt: using secret algorithms to kick people off welfare

A wrenching and beautifully argued essay by Virginia Eubanks describes the inevitable consequences of letting secret, unaccountable algorithms decide who is eligible for welfare.

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Stupid patent for the ages: "Changing order quantities"

The USPTO granted a notorious patent troll a patent on allowing customers to change quantities after they place their initial order.

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Encryption backdoors are like TSA luggage-locks for the Internet

In my new Guardian column, I look at UK Prime Minister David Cameron's election pledge to eliminate strong crypto and point out that we already have a forerunner of this in the "TSA-safe" luggage locks -- and it's a disaster.

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Telescreen watch: Vizio adds spyware to its TVs


If you own a Vizio TV that's updated recently, beware: its firmware adds "Smart Interactivity," a cute name for spyware that records your viewing choices and inserts additional "bonus features" (ads) into your viewing.

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British austerity: a failed experiment abandoned by the rest of the world


Writing in the Guardian, Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman analyses the last five years of British austerity, using other developed nations in the EU and elsewhere as a benchmark for the growth we could have had -- it's not a pretty picture.

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UK Tories forged letter of support in the Telegraph from "5,000 small businesses"

David Cameron tweeted it and the Telegraph published the letter on the front page, listing 5,000 businesses who endorsed the Conservative Party in the General Election, many of which weren't businesses, weren't supporting the Tories, were repeat entries, or were individual employees of businesses who were incorrectly presumed to speak for their employers.

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Lifting the lid on Scientology's fatally woo version of rehab


Michael from Muckrock sez, "Scientology-linked Narcanon (not to be confused with Narcotics Anonymous) has a murky history of putting vitamins and exercise over science and medical detox practices."

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Town will cut off power to families of kids who commit vandalism


If your child commits vandalism, the Farmer City, IL council want to cut off electrical power to your house.

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Portraits of e-waste pickers in Ghana


German photographer Kevin McElvaney shot portraits of the itinerant pickers who work on Agbogbloshie, the toxic e-waste dump outside of Accra, Ghana.

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In the 21st century, only corporations get to own property and we're their tenants


In the wake of John Deere's claims that the software in its engines means that its farm equipment is "licensed," not "sold," I talked to the Globe and Mail about what digital locks mean for the idea of property in the 21st century.

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Kansas kid corrects anti-drug teacher, cops raid his house

The 11-year-old son of medical marijuana advocate Shona Banda spoke out in his Kansas classroom to correct his teacher's misinformation about pot; then the state of Kansas raided his house and took him away from his mother.

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Ransomware decryptor


If you or someone you love has been hijacked by Coinvault ransomware -- malware that encrypts your data and won't decrypt it unless you transfer Bitcoin to criminals -- Kaspersky may be able to help you (via Hacker News)

Senators announce "Aaron Swartz Should Have Faced More Jail Time" bill

Senators Mark Kirk [R-IL] and Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] announced a bill that increases the maximum jail time for "obtaining information from a protected computer without authorization" -- which covers anything you do that violates the BS Terms of Service we all break all day long.

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San Franciscans: help free the records of the US court system

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez, "On May 1 (Friday) at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, I'm going to be running a 'PACER Polling Place' from 8am-5pm. I hope you'll stop by and give me a hand."

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