Anti-corruption candidate challenges opponent's billionaire backer to a debate


Zephyr Teachout (previously) is the anti-corruption candidate in New York's Hudson Valley who raised more than $500K from small-money, Bernie-Sanders-style donors (I was one of them); then vulture fund billionaire Paul Singer gave $500K to the PAC for John Faso, her Republican opponent, catapulting him into contendership. Read the rest

John Oliver on subprime auto-lending and its killswitches

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We've been following the trade in remote kill-switches for cars sold to subprime borrowers since 2009, and watched in dismay as they got worse and worse: though John Oliver's report on the billions inflating the subprime auto-lending bubble touches on these, he focuses on the economic factors -- sleaze, corruption, moral hazard -- driving the tech. Read the rest

After New Zealand spooks misidentified pro-democracy activist, NSA spied on him for them

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Tony Fullman is one of the only people that we know to have been targeted by Prism, the NSA's signature mass-surveillance tool: he's a Fijian-born expatriate with New Zealand citizenship, and had his passport seized and his name added to terrorism watchlists after the NSA helped their New Zealand counterparts spy on him, intercepting his bank statements, Facebook posts, Gmail messages, recorded phone conversations, and more. Read the rest

Private prison contractor's $1B no-bid deal to run immigration jails guarantees 100% occupancy payouts

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Private prison titan Corrections Corporation of America has extensively diversified its holdings into the entire carceral-industrial sector: halfway houses, electronic monitoring, mental health -- and family immigration detention, a growth industry where the human rights standards are rock-bottom and the payouts are guaranteed to jackpot. Read the rest

If the 2016 election is hacked, it's because no one listened to these people

Ever since the Supreme Court ordered the nation's voting authorities to get their act together in 2002 in the wake of Bush v Gore, tech companies have been flogging touchscreen voting machines to willing buyers across the country, while a cadre computer scientists trained in Ed Felten's labs at Princeton have shown again and again and again and again that these machines are absolutely unfit for purpose, are trivial to hack, and endanger the US election system. Read the rest

DEA bribes rail/airline employees for tipoffs that lead to warrantless cash seizures


A USA Today investigation has discovered a network of paid informants working for Amtrak and nearly every US airline who illegally delve into passengers' travel records to find people who might be traveling with a lot of cash: these tip-offs are used by the DEA to effect civil forfeiture -- seizing money without laying any charges against its owner, under the rubric that the cash may be proceeds from drug sales. One Amtrak secretary was secretly paid $854,460 to raid her employer's databases for the DEA. Read the rest

Court rules that FCC can't force states to repeal laws banning municipal ISPs


Tea Party-dominated states across America passed laws banning cities from providing high-speed internet access to their residents, even in places where the cable/telco duopoly had decided not to sell broadband; last year, the FCC issued an order stating that these laws were null and void. Read the rest

NRA is spending $3m on pro-Trump ad that says Clinton "will leave you defenseless"


The Citizens United ruling says that organizations like the NRA can spend as much as they want to support political candidates, provided that they don't coordinate with the campaign, which means that it's just a happy coincidence that the day after Donald Trump called on gun enthusiasts to assassinate Hillary Clinton and federal judges, the NRA announced that it would spend $3M on the most-expensive-to-date pro-Trump ad, which would focus on Hillary Clinton's alleged plan to "leave you defenseless" by taking away your guns. Read the rest

American Bar Association votes to DRM the law, put it behind a EULA


Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "I just got back from the big debate on is free law like free beer that has been brewing for months at the American Bar Association over the question of who gets to read public safety codes and on what terms." Read the rest

Mysterious medical research consortium: we should own volunteers' clinical trial data for 5 years


The "International Consortium of Investigators for Fairness in Trial Data Sharing" -- a group that appears to have just been formed, backed by 282 researcher in 33 countries -- has objected to a plan to limit exclusivity over clinical trial data derived from medical volunteers, insisting instead that the fair thing to do is to lock up this uncopyrightable, factual data for up to five years. Read the rest

Illegal "Warranty Void If Removed" still ubiquitous: they're on the Xbox One S


The tamper-evident "Warrant Void If Removed" stickers violate the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, which allows device owners to take their gadgets for service at independent depots without voiding their warranties. Read the rest

Return of Dieselgate: 3 more hidden programs found in VW Audi/Porsche firmware


The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag says that US investigators have discovered three more hidden cheat apps in a Volkswagen product line: these ones were discovered in 3-liter Audi diesels. Read the rest

McNichol is the UK's Wasserman Shultz: Corbyn supporters will be able to vote in Labour leadership race


The parallels between the Bernie Sanders insurgency and the vicious UK Labour Party fight over its left-leaning, incredibly popular leader Jeremy Corbyn keep on coming: now there's a Labour analogue to Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the corrupt, hawkish, disgraced former chair of the DNC, who was forced to resign after the DNC email leak revealed her extensive dirty-tricks campaign against Bernie Sanders. Read the rest

Chicago cops switched off bodycams and high-fived after shooting unarmed black teen


The Chicago Independent Police Review Authority has released a video showing the aftermath of the July 28 police shooting of an unarmed black man, in which the officers checked to ensure that their body-cameras were switched off and then gave each other high fives. Read the rest

Foreign influence: how a Chinese businessman funneled $1.3M to Jeb Bush's campaign


Gordon Tang and Huaidan Chen -- Chinese nationals who live in Singapore -- own a global property speculation and development empire whose US branch is called American Pacific International Capital Inc. They followed a recipe set out in a memo by Charlie Spies, a top Republican lawyer, in order to funnel $1.3M to Jeb Bush's PAC, then Tang offered a reporter for the Intercept $200,000 not to mention that he had been investigated for smuggling, tax evasion and bribery by the Chinese government. Read the rest

Texas mom uncovers massive culture of corruption and sex scandals at US Secret Service

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Malia Litman of Dallas TX describes herself as a stay-at-home mom. Unlike most moms (or dads, or anyone for that matter) she has spent $100,000 suing the U.S. government to turn over 3,900 pages of secret records about widespread sexual abuse and misbehavior by the U.S. Secret Service.

From Dallas News:

When the first Secret Service sex scandals broke a few years ago, she grew curious. A former senior partner at Thompson & Knight law firm in Dallas, she knew that federal law allows us to see government documents.

She began filing requests with the U.S. Department Homeland Security to learn of any incidents of agent misbehavior in the Secret Service, any investigations and disciplinary action.

I'll skip ahead to the end of her multi-year legal battle that ensued. She won. In the end, she received 3,914 pages, some of them so hot they almost burn the fingers. A culture of "wheels up; rings off" meant even married agents could party on foreign trips. Secret Service K-9 units brought their dogs into their hotel room, which the dogs trashed. The agents made payoffs so the incident wouldn't be reported. A agent who missed his flight later showed up drunk with two prostitutes. He was not disciplined. Agents "engaged" with prostitutes in Amsterdam's red-light district during an advance team trip. A supervisor choked a female subordinate because she rejected his sexual advances. A supervisor offered a subordinate a larger office in return for sex. A supervisor took a subordinate to a sex show while on duty.

Read the rest

Web companies can track you -- and price-gouge you -- based on your battery life


In Online tracking: A 1-million-site measurement and analysis, eminent Princeton security researchers Steven Englehardt and Arvind Narayanan document the use of device battery levels -- accessible both through mobile platform APIs and HTML5 calls -- to track and identify users who are blocking cookies and other methods of tracking. Read the rest

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