Wells Fargo whistleblower describes bank's culture of blackballing threats and coerced corruption

On the latest Planet Money podcast (MP3), a former San Francisco Wells Fargo banker describes the bullying and coercion she faced from senior management while working at the bank's head office, and how the bank forced her out when she blew the whistle on fraud and then blacklisted her with other banks, forcing her out of the sector altogether. Read the rest

Yahoo didn't install an NSA email scanner, it was a "buggy" NSA "rootkit"

Ex-Yahoo employees have spoken anonymously to Motherboard about the news that Yahoo had built an "email scanner" for a US security agency, likely the FBI or the NSA. These sources -- at least one of whom worked on the security team -- say that in actuality, the NSA or FBI had secretly installed a "rootkit" on Yahoo's mail servers and that this was discovered by the Yahoo security team (who had not been apprised of it), who, believing the company had been hacked, sounded the alarm, only to have the company executives tell them that the US government had installed the tool. Read the rest

Merciless reporting on the Chicago Police Department's extortion racket, & the senior officials who covered it up

The more we learn about the Chicago Police Department, the worse it gets -- there's the sabotage of dashcams, the widespread corruption, the investigators fired for refusing to cover up police crimes, off-the-books "black site" where the CPD kidnaps and tortures suspects, the Accountability Task Force Report that called the force racist, corrupt and broken. Read the rest

Polish women go on strike over insane abortion law

Poland's ultra-right government has passed an insane, incoherent ban on abortion that is so badly drafted that it potentially criminalizes miscarriage and surgeries to save the lives of fetuses. Read the rest

Petition: make the FBI explain why they didn't bring criminal charges against bank execs

Last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren published an open letter to FBI director James Comey observing that, in revealing details of its investigation into the Clinton email scandal, the Bureau had seemingly abandoned its longstanding policy of not sharing its deliberations, meaning that there was no longer any reason to keep secret its reasoning for not bringing criminal charges against the bankers who did trillions of dollars' worth of damage to the world economy, sparking wars, starvation, and personal ruin for millions of people. Read the rest

Company suspected of blame in Office of Personnel Management breach will help run new clearance agency

In 2014, the US Office of Personnel Management was hacked (presumably by Chinese spies), and leaked 22,000,000+ records of Americans who'd applied for security clearance, handing over the most intimate, compromising details of their lives (the clearance process involves disclosing anything that could be used to blackmail you in the future). This didn't come to light until 2015. Read the rest

Shadow Regulation: the secret laws that giant corporations cook up in back rooms

The winner-take-all economy has turned virtually every industry into a cartel (four record labels, two cable companies, two phone operating systems, etc) who operate without fear of competition regulation, allowing representatives of a few companies to gather in closed-door meetings to cook up operating agreements that end up having the force of law. Read the rest

State of California imposes 12-months' worth of sanctions on Wells Fargo

Following from Wells Fargo's 2,000,000-account fraud against its own customers -- part of a decade-old pattern -- the state of California has imposed sanctions on the bank, freezing it out of bond issues, brokerage business, and suspending all investment in Wells Fargo-issued securities. Read the rest

Wells Fargo execs will lose a few millions out of the hundreds of millions they got for abetting massive fraud

Wells Fargo's Board of Directors have finally exercised their right to claw back part of the hundreds of millions of dollars taken home by two senior executives who were compensated on the basis of the fraudulent earnings the bank took in while opening 2,000,000 secret accounts in their customers' names, taking money out of those customers' real accounts to pay for the fees and penalties accrued by the fake accounts, and trashing their customers' credit in the process. Read the rest

Ex-Wells employees who were fired for NOT committing fraud launch $2.6B lawsuit

When four named whistleblowers came forward to reveal that they'd been illegally fired from Wells Fargo for reporting that the company was experiencing widespread fraud, it was deja vu all over again: Wells also punished whistleblowers who sounded the alarm during the subprime crisis, and was thus so totally compromised that they needed a $36B taxpayer bailout. Read the rest

Republican election officials block restrictions on foreign spending in US elections

Once I got my green card this year, I was allowed to make the same campaign contributions as any US citizen: $2700 per candidate. But thanks to the three Republican members of the Federal Election Commission, who refused to even allow an agenda item to begin discussions to commence planning for limits on wholly-foreign-owned corporations making unlimited donations to super PACs, offshore oligarchs living abroad can go on spending tens of millions to influence the outcome of US elections. Read the rest

UNH will spend $1M of librarian's bequest on a football scoreboard

Robert Morin worked for 50 years as a cataloger at the University of New Hampshire library (he was also a UNH alum); he was thrifty, ate microwave dinners and drove a 1992 Plymouth, and saved $4M, which he gave to the university as an unrestricted gift, and so the university is giving $100K to the library he worked in and $1M to the football team to pay for a new scoreboard. Read the rest

In a leaked "weaponized information" catalog, Indian cyberarms dealer offers blackest-ever SEO

In 2014, an Indian company called Aglaya brought a 20-page brochure to ISS World (AKA the Wiretappers' Ball -- the annual trade fair where governments shop for surveillance technology): the brochure laid out the company's offerings, which ranged from mobile malware for Ios and Android to a unique "Weaponized Information" selection that combined denial-of-service with disinformation to "discredit a target" online. Read the rest

The EU tried to craft a sane 21st century copyright and failed miserably

The European Commission's "Copyright Modernisation" effort has wrapped up, and it's terrible. Read the rest

Leaked: damning Scott Walker dark money docs that judge ordered destroyed

Again and again, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker flouted election laws to raise millions from some of the richest executives and biggest corporations in America, illegally laundering the money through the nominally independent, nonprofit Wisconsin Club for Growth -- and now we have all the details, thanks to an enormous leak of documents that a Wisconsin judge ordered destroyed. Read the rest

The DoJ is using a boring procedure to secure the right to unleash malware on the internet

The upcoming Rule 41 modifications to US Criminal Justice procedure underway at the Department of Justice will let the FBI hack computers in secret, with impunity, using dangerous tools that are off-limits to independent scrutiny -- all without Congressional approval and all at a moment at which America needs its law-enforcement community to be strengthening the nation's computers, not hoarding and weaponizing defects that put us all at risk. Read the rest

Five government contractors account for 80% of America's surveillance workforce

When Edward Snowden came in from the cold, it catapulted his employer, Booz Allen Hamilton -- a giant military/intelligence contractor -- into the public eye, but Booz is small potatoes, one of the Big Five in the intelligence contractor industry, but it's dwarfed by Leidos Holdings, which recently merged with Lockheed's  Information Systems & Global Solutions to become the largest business in the $50B industry. Read the rest

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