America's surveillance court rubber-stamped every single surveillance warrant in 2015

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The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) is a secret court that hears warrant requests from America's spy agencies when they want to wiretap people in the USA. Read the rest

Edward Snowden on the accelerating pace of whistleblowing, and what it means for state secrecy

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After Daniel Ellsberg's astonishingly courageous release of the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, he waited 40 years to meet someone like Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, someone else inside who risked everything to expose the wrongdoing they had sworn to oppose. Read the rest

UK spy agencies store sensitive data on millions of innocent people, with no safeguards from abuse

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Privacy International won a lawsuit forcing the UK government to publish thousands of pages of records on the use of "Bulk Personal Datasets" by the spy agencies GCHQ, MI5 and MI6. Read the rest

Zombie company Atari wants exclusive right to make haunted house games

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Atari was once a giant of video game innovation, but now it's a troll -- a company that produces nothing except legal threats -- and its latest project is to get the US Patent and Trademark Office to give it the right to decide who can make haunted house games, and charge the lucky few for the privilege. Read the rest

VW offers to buy back 500K demon-haunted diesels

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Reuters reports that VW is about to tell the federal judge in San Francisco in charge of its case that it will offer to buy back nearly half a million of its diesel vehicles from owners who were deceived about the cars' emission standards and performance when the company engineered its cars so that they would act daemonically, performing differently based on whether they were being tested or not. Read the rest

Watch: nomination hearings for the next Librarian of Congress, 11:15AM PT

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Carla Hayden is President Obama's pick for the next Librarian of Congress, and she's an extraordinarily good choice: an open-access advocate who opposes mass surveillance and comes out of the library world, Hayden is ideally poised to lead the Library, which, in turn, supervises the Copyright Office and sets the nation's de facto IT policy, for example through things like the Triennial DMCA 1201 hearings). Read the rest

UK Chancellor exempts families of "Politically Exposed Persons" from money laundering scrutiny

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George Osborne, the Tory chancellor of David Cameron's UK government, has amended the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill to exempt the families of "Politically Exposed Persons" -- Members of Parliament and other elites -- from money laundering investigations. Read the rest

Podcast explains the corrosive effects of tax havens

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Nicholas Shaxon, author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens (previously) appeared on The Foreign Desk podcast (MP3) this week to discuss the nature of tax havens, how they hollow out both their host countries and the countries whence their hidden riches comes. Read the rest

Ben and Jerry arrested at Democracy Spring demonstration in DC

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Thousand of people have pledged to face arrest at the Democracy Spring demonstrations in DC, whose mission is to eliminate the corrupting influence of big money on politics. Read the rest

Hacking Team supplied cyber-weapons to corrupt Latin American governments for human rights abuses

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In Hacking Team Malware Para La Vigilancia en América Latina, a new report from Derechos Digitales, we learn how Hacking Team, the hacked-and-disgraced cyber-arms dealer (previously) supplied weapons to corrupt state actors in latinamerica who used them to spy on political opposition, journalists and academics. Read the rest

Petition to reassign head of Canada Post to deliver letters at $500k/year

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Derryl Murphy writes, "Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra (I know) a new contract a month before the election when he still had time on his contract, and Chopra's working hard to pillage the postal system in Canada. So I did this up for a little fun, but the word needs to get out there." Read the rest

Barack Obama: Taking money from 1 percenters compromised my politics

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In last night's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton defended her enormous super PAC fundraising machine by saying, "President Obama had a Super PAC when he ran. President Obama took tens of millions of dollars from contributors. And President Obama was not at all influenced when he made the decision to pass and sign Dodd-Frank, the toughest regulations on Wall Street in many a year."

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Panama's public prosecutor says he can't find any evidence of Mossack-Fonseca's lawbreaking

Police officers stand guard next to a company list showing the Mossack Fonseca law firm outside their office in Panama City April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Following Tuesday's raid on disgraced offshore incorporation lawfirm Mossack-Fonseca, Panama's public prosecutor has announced that he can't find any evidence of wrongdoing in the firm's files. Read the rest

Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca law offices raided by Panama authorities

Police officers stand guard next to a company list showing the Mossack Fonseca law firm outside their office in Panama City April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Officers acting on behalf of the attorney general of Panama raided Mossack Fonseca's office on Tuesday. Ramon Fonseca, the company's co-founder, insists that the firm had "broken no laws, destroyed no documents, and all its operations were legal." Read the rest

Panama Papers reveal offshore companies were bagmen for the world's spies

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What do you do if you're a spy and you want to make untraceable transfers of dirty money without having your funding of your country's nominal enemies exposed to the voters whose money you're spending? You hire Mossack Fonseca to open a numbered account in an offshore tax-haven, naturally. Read the rest

How corporate America's lobbying budget surpassed the combined Senate and Congress budget

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For more than a decade, corporate America's lobbying budget has exceeded the entire budget for the operation of both houses of Congress, and this year's lobbying spend ($2.6B) is the largest in history, with no end in sight. Read the rest

Lady Liberty arrested at US Capitol with 400 others protesting money in politics

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Journalist Alejandro Alvarez took this striking photo of a campaign finance reform activist being arrested at a Democracy Spring demonstration at the US Capitol yesterday.

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