US cops seized more through asset forfeiture in 2014 than US criminals stole through burglary


US police seized $4.5 billion through civil asset forfeiture (through which police can take money and valuables away from citizens without charging anyone with any crimes) in 2014; in the same period, the FBI estimates that burglars accounted for $3.9B in property losses.

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Upskirt peeper arrested under grate, wants to be "pavement in the next life"


Yasuomi Hirai, 28, allegedly hid in a drain under a Kobe, Japan sidewalk grate to peep up the skirts of women as they stepped over.

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San Francisco Airport security screeners charged with complicity in drug-smuggling

SFO_international_terminal (1)

Three screeners working for Covenant Aviation Security -- the TSA contractor that provides government-funded genital massages at SFO -- have been arrested for alleged participation in a scheme to smuggle "real and simulated cocaine" onto planes. Read the rest

When identity thieves targeted beloved open course teachers, Facebook sided with the crooks

Your account has been disabled for pretending to be someone else.

Teachers don't go into education to get rich. It's a great job, the rewards are awesome and although they're not financial, they are of value. They are socially valuable. It's why teachers are one of the "professional" people allowed to verify your passport photograph, to qualify that it really is a picture of you. Society recognises that they're more likely to value the long rigorous process of acquiring that trust above jeopardising it to earn a quick kick-back. We even trust them with our children.

And then you get open teachers, who make their classes available online for free, for any learner regardless of their ability to pay or personal circumstance. Open teachers naturally earn this trust, this social capital, very publicly and because they're often teaching at scale they potentially earn this social capital at scale too. It means they and people like them are great people to impersonate in order to steal, from the people who trust them (all of us).

It isn't just teachers who are "Catfished" (the process of having your online identity hijacked). It can happen to anyone of us but what's worrying is when someone as trusted, high profile and digitally literate as an open teacher is Catfished, and try as they might, can just do nothing about it, then what are the rest of us meant to do when it happens to us (assuming we ever find out)?

Alan Levine made my open classes possible and anyone in open education knows Alan as the open teacher's teacher, the go-to-guy for teachers as well as students. Read the rest

Watch this gentleman cut a hole in a Porsche roof to try and steal it


London's Metropolitan Police released a video today showing a man trying to steal a convertible red Porsche.

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Pick-pocketed in Ho Chi Minh City: A cautionary tale


Although we hoped it wouldn't happen, we knew that being pick-pocketed on our Trip Around the World was a very real possibility. We tried to always be careful, especially in crowded places, but we just weren't careful enough in Ho Chi Minh City.

If you've ever visited Vietnam or even seen videos on YouTube, you know the streets are filled with an endless flow of motorbike traffic. There are plenty of cars on the road, too, but, as it was explained to us, Vietnam has an import tax of 200% on automobiles while motorbikes are bought and sold from flyers on the walls of cafes and restaurants for $200. And that means there are a lot more motorbikes than cars traversing the streets of Vietnam.

We'd been in Vietnam for more than a week, so we'd gotten used to the intensity of Vietnamese street traffic. We even got really good at crossing the street with (almost) no fear. Despite this familiarity, we were still a little surprised when we left The Secret Garden (a well-regarded, somewhat hidden rooftop restaurant located up four flights of stairs in an alley off Pasteur Street) to walk to Fanny's, an ice cream parlor where we had a reservation to enjoy a fancy 14-scoop ice cream fondue platter.

It was New Year's Eve, and a massive number of people and motorbikes were clogging the city's streets like nothing we'd seen before. HCMC has a population of almost eight million people, and it felt like every one of them was either driving through the heart of District 1 on a motorbike or walking toward Công viên 23 Tháng 9 (Park September 23) to get a good view of the upcoming New Year's concert and fireworks show. Read the rest

If the Kochs want criminal justice reform, why do they fund tough-on-crime GOP candidates?


The Koch brothers have done a lot to rehabilitate their reputation as Immortan Joe climate-destroyer/plutocrats by talking about criminal justice reform, a cause dear to the hearts of the libertarian right as well as the left. But when push comes to shove, the Brothers Koch would rather fund get-tough-on-crime politicians if it means attacking judges who give big awards to class action suits against giant corporations. Read the rest

Arizona tried to illegally import an execution drug not approved for use in U.S.

Outside Phoenix's "Tent City" jail REUTERS//Joshua Lott

Arizona tried to illegally import a lethal injection drug that is banned in the U.S., but the state never got the drug after federal agents halted the shipment at Phoenix airport. The Associated Press has the documents, and the resulting scoop.

Arizona paid nearly $27,000 for sodium thiopental, an anesthetic that has been used to carry out executions but is no longer manufactured by FDA-approved companies, the documents said. When the drugs arrived via British Airways at the Phoenix International Airport in July, they were seized by federal officials and have not been released, according to the documents.

"The department is contesting FDA's legal authority to continue to withhold the state's execution chemicals," state Department of Corrections spokesman Andrew Wilder said Thursday.

Arizona and other death penalty states have been struggling to obtain legal execution drugs for several years after European companies refused to sell the drugs, including sodium thiopental, that have been used to carry out executions. States have had to change drug combinations or, in some cases, put executions on hold temporarily as they look for other options.

The Arizona documents obtained by the AP were released as part of a lawsuit against the corrections department over transparency in executions. The AP is a party in the lawsuit.

"Documents: Arizona tried to illegally import execution drug" [AP] Read the rest

Son of Dieselgate: second line of VWs may have used "defeat devices"

Poster - Son of Frankenstein_16

It's not just the 11 million VW diesels that the company admits to having converted to secret mobile gas-chambers; VW is now probing whether earlier models also used the "defeat devices" that detected when they were being evaluated by regulators, lowering emissions temporarily, then ramping them up to forty times the legal limit later. Read the rest

Complexity of financial crimes makes crooks unconvictable


Following a mistrial in the Dewey & LeBoeuf case -- a complex financial fraud involving a tony white-shoe law firm -- Bloomberg tries to analyze what happened to the jury, who were unable to convict despite four months of hearings and 22 days' worth of deliberations. Read the rest

Terrorists torch five black Ferguson-area churches, nation yawns


St. Louis Fire Department captain Garon Mosby calls the fires "arson," but despite the shocking string of racist attacks, major media have hardly breathed a word about the fires. Read the rest

Solder a 0.3mm chip onto a credit card and Chip-and-PIN is yours to pwn


No one's exactly sure how fraudsters stole over $680,000 from hijacked chip-and-PIN credit cards in Belgium, because the cards are still evidence and can't be subjected to a full tear-down but based on the X-rays of the tampered cards, it's a good bet that the thieves glued a 0.3mm hobbyist FUN chip over the card's own chip, and programmed it to bypass all PIN entries. Read the rest

Give me blood, cash, or jail time, Alabama judge orders defendants

Photo: The Montgomery Advertiser

What's worse than courts demanding that poor people pay extortionate fines to the state for minor offense? Asking them to literally pay with their own blood.

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Eric Holder: I didn't prosecute bankers for reasons unrelated to my $3M/year law firm salary


The Intercept's Dan Froomkin played turd-in-the-punchbowl at outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder's victory lap party at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reception on Wednesday, asking why Holder had declined to put one single banker in jail for the monumental frauds that collapsed the world's economy in 2007-9. Read the rest

Ukrainian botmaster who tried to frame Brian Krebs extradited to US


When security-researcher/hornet-nest-kicker Brian Krebs outed Sergey "Flycracker" Vovnenko as administrator of a darknet crime site and botmaster of a 13,000-PC-strong botnet used to attack sites and launder stolen data, Vovnenko allegedly masterminded a plot to frame Krebs by mailing him heroin. Read the rest

Volkswagen CEO: Dieselgate caused by Lynndie England "rogue engineers"; execs blameless


Remember Lynndie England, the 21-year-old low-ranking Army Specialist who, along with ten other low-ranking Army personnel, was determined to be responsible for years of systematic torture in Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, thus letting the entire Army chain of command off the hook for any wrongdoing in one of the worst scandals of the unbelievably scandalous Iraq War? Read the rest

Boy, 11, asks girl, 8, to see her puppies. She declines. He shoots and kills her.

McKayla Dyer [family photo]

Authorities in Tennessee say an 11-year-old boy has been detained on first-degree murder charges after shooting and killing an 8-year-old neighbor with a shotgun because she would not show him her pet puppies.

The gun belonged to the boy's father. The two kids went to the same school.

Neighbors interviewed by local news reporters identified the victim as Maykayla Dyer.

"Wanting to see a puppy, the little girl laughed and told him no... and that was it," said neighbor Chasity Arwood.

"Watching the Tennessee football game, heard the bang," Arwood said. "And then everybody screaming that he shot her baby girl."

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