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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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."

Read the rest

Essential reading: the irreconcilable tension between cybersecurity and national security


Citizenlab's Ron Diebert lays out the terrible contradiction of putting spy agencies -- who rely on vulnerabilities in the networks used by their adversaries -- in change of cybersecurity, which is securing those same networks for their own citizens.

Read the rest

Wrongly convicted man released from US prison after 39 years

Jose writes, "A 12 year old child was forced by the police to give false testimony against three black teens in 1975; the last two men have just been released from prison. I was moved to tears by both the terrible injustice and the way one of these men, Ricky Jackson, spoke out without any sign of hatred."

Read the rest

Leaked docs detail Big Oil and Big PR's plans for a opinion-manipulation platform


The leaked slides were prepared by Edelman, the largest PR company in the world, at the behest of Transcanada, and they constitute a blueprint for tracking and influencing platform that spies on its participants in order to psychologically profile them and nudge them into becoming advocates for the oil industry.

Read the rest

Blackpool's Broadway Hotel fines guests £100 for negative review


The hotel had no running water, miswired electrical outlets, and a contract with fine-print that said that they'd charge your credit card £100 if you posted a negative review on the Web.

Read the rest

Smart Pipe: a design fiction from the Internet of Things dystopia

11 minutes seems like a long ask for a gag video about an Internet-of-Things toilet-analyzer, but man, is it worth it.

Read the rest

London council threatens freedom of information site for "leaking" info they say doesn't exist

A reader writes sez, "Can you leak a decision that has not yet been made? The local council at the London Borough of Enfield seem to think so, and sent a takedown notice to British Freedom of Information website WhatDoTheyKnow.com run by the non-profit mySociety."

Read the rest

GOP set up Twitter "numbers stations" to get around Super PAC rules

Super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited funds to support election campaigns, but can't coordinate with those campaigns; this especially means that campaigns can't share expensive private poll data with PACs to help fine tune their campaigns -- which is exactly what Republicans did with their cryptic, unlabelled Twitter accounts that acted as dead-drops with messages like "CA-40/43-44/49-44/44-50/36-44/49-10/16/14-52-->49/476-10s" to let affiliated PACs know what the polls had shown.

Read the rest

1,000-room palace for Turkey's President Erdogan will cost twice initial $615M pricetag


The White Palace in Ankara has 1.6m square feet of floorspace, and features thousands of trees imported from Italy at a cost of up to $10,000 each; the taxpayer-footed electricity bill from the palace will run $313K/month.

Read the rest

Rightscorp is running out of money


Rightscorp is a business based on the extortion business-model, founded on the idea that your ISP would lock you out of the Web unless you paid Rightscorp the arbitrary sums they decided you owed to them (but who was too scared to defend their business in court) -- but it looks like sleaze isn't as lucrative as they hoped.

Read the rest