The coded gaze: biased and understudied facial recognition technology

Rod McCullom at Undark has a terrific overview of the perpetual "virtual lineup," where half of all American adults "are enrolled in unregulated facial recognition networks used by state and local law enforcement agencies." Read the rest

An IoT botnet is trying to nuke Wcry's killswitch

Whoever created the Wcry ransomware worm -- which uses a leaked NSA cyberweapon to spread like wildfire -- included a killswitch: newly infected systems check to see if a non-existent domain is active, and if it is, they fall dormant, ceasing their relentless propagation. Read the rest

Sweden drops Assange rape investigation

Sweden's top prosecutor announced Friday that it is dropping its rape investigation of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, because it was "impossible to serve him notice."

Assange has been hiding in Ecuador's embassy in London for five years to avoid extradition to Sweden, but he's still wanted by British cops for skipping court and they already warned him they'll arrest him if he leaves the building.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said Mr Assange still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine. But the UK has not commented on whether it has received an extradition request from the US, where Mr Assange could face trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.

Assange said he'd submit to extradition to the U.S. if Chelsea Manning, a key Wikileaks source, was released—an offer he later made contingent upon cutting his own deal with U.S. authorities. Manning was released this week. Read the rest

Murderer rants at execution: "You can kiss my white trash ass"

Death Row inmate JW Ledford, after enjoying a 5,000-calorie last meal, was killed with a lethal injection by the U.S. State of Georgia this morning. He quoted Cool Hand Luke, smiled and said "you can kiss my white trash ass," then had his mic cut as he began ranting.

For his final meal on Friday, Ledford requested filet mignon wrapped in bacon with pepper jack cheese, large french fries, 10 chicken tenders with sauce, fried pork chops and a blooming onion.

For dessert he had pecan pie, vanilla ice cream and sherbet, washed down with a Sprite, according to WGLC-TV, an Atlanta news station.

Ledford robbed and murdered his neighbour, Dr Harry Johnston, stabbing him in the neck at his home on 31 January 1992.

He then threatened the victim's wife before stealing money, four guns and vehicle from the house.

Read the rest

Louisiana's public defender's office is largely nonexistent so poor people just plead guilty

Louisiana has always been a backward place for criminal justice, the only state in the union that funds its public defenders' office with conviction fees, leaving a public defender's office that averages $238 spent on each accused. Read the rest

Watch person ridiculously fake injury for worker's comp claim

Sheyla Veronica White was working at her desk at Cinque Terre Energy Partners in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when a piece of a sprinkler fell from the ceiling and unfortunately just missed her. Why unfortunately? Because if it hit her, she could file a worker's compensation claim. So she promptly picked up the metal piece and bashed herself in the head with it. From Fox 13:

Her employer's insurance company got suspicious and referred the incident to Florida's Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. Detectives requested security cam footage and were able to prove she staged the whole thing.

The employee... was convicted for workers' compensation insurance fraud -- a third-degree felony -- and sentenced to 18 months of probation.

(via Neatorama) Read the rest

Jeff Sessions orders prosecutors to charge Americans "with the most serious offense you can prove"

Racist, perjuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions has issued guidance to federal prosecutors, ordering them to charge the people they will face in court with "the most serious offense you can prove," paving the way for a surge in America's already-shameful record of racially biased, family destroying, community-devastating, private-prison-enriching mass incarceration, which already outstrips the rates of incarceration in Apartheid-era South Africa, China and the USSR. Read the rest

Jeff Sessions wants to bring back long mandatory prison sentences for minor drug offenses

Donald Trump's racist, perjuring Attorney General, former senator Jefferson Sessions, was signaled that he will reverse Obama-era AG Eric Holder's memo that told federal prosecutors not to bring charges against petty drug offenders, because these crime carry absurd minimum sentences that resulted in America imprisoning a greater proportion of its population than any country in the history of the world, including the USSR and Apartheid-era South Africa. Read the rest

Pueblo, CO bust falls apart because cop staged his bodycam footage to frame his suspect

Colorado prosecutors have dismissed felony drug and weapons charges against a suspect because they learned that Pueblo Police Department offier Seth Jensen defrauded the court by faking his bodycam footage, "recreating" his bust after the suspect's car was in the impound lot. Read the rest

Business is booming for the surveillance state

Surveillance companies like Axon hope to turn every law enforcement officer into a data-gathering drone for a bodycam surveillance database they privately control. Now ShotSpotter, a listening technology that triangulates gunfire in "urban, high-crime areas," announced a planned IPO. Read the rest

How not to defraud Workers' Comp

The glitched shimmer of a Fort Lauderdale office CCTV feed. A woman long of bone at the machine. A sprinkler head fell on her desk and she gaped up at the pebbledash expanse of the droptile ceiling. The metal thing just sat there on the melamine under the cold flourescent light. Then she took it up and bashed her head with it. I can't tell you what she was thinking but I can tell you what come to pass.

"Her employer's insurance company got suspicious and brought in Florida's Division of Investigative and Forensic Services." At least that's how Fox 13 out of Tampa put it. God might not see nor care but they had a camera upon her the whole while. They fired her and charged her with insurance fraud. The judge put her on 18 months' probation.

They never gave her money so she don't have to repay none. Read the rest

India's controversial national ID scheme leaks fraud-friendly data for 130,000,000 people

Aadhaar kicked off in 2009, linking each Indian resident's biometric data and sensitive personally identifying information to a unique 12-digit number. Read the rest

When Theresa May called snap elections, she killed tax-haven reform

One of the consistently underreported elements of Brexit and all that's come after it is that leaving the EU will also let the UK -- the world's most prolific launderer of filthy criminal money -- escape the tightening noose of European anti-money-laundering measures. Read the rest

What happens legally if you shoot someone's drone out of the sky?

Probably not much, as Brad Jones learned over Easter when a neighbor allegedly blasted his DJI Phantom. Even if his prime suspect confessed, there's not much precedent for prosecutions. Read the rest

Mafia used the text-message ticker at the bottom of a sports broadcast to get messages to mob bosses

Quelli che il Calcio (That which is Football) is one of Italy's top sports broadcasts and it is played in the country's prisons; it has a ticker that you can send SMSes to that then show up on screen. Read the rest

In Paraguay, the "heist of the century" is blamed on a notorious Brazilian prison-gang

50 armed men in camou flak jackets driving armored cars cordoned off the roads leading to a transportation company's office in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay (a "smugglers' haven in the border region with Brazil and Argentina"), blew the entire face of the building up with demolition equipment, stole an estimated $40M and escaped by motorboat up the Parana River. Read the rest

Juvenile criminal defense attorneys forced to agree to Taser's terms of service to see the state's evidence

California criminal defense attorney Rick Horowitz had a juvenile client, he was shocked when the prosecutor in the case told him that to see the evidence against his client, he'd have to log in to evidence.com, run by Taser International (now rebranded as Axon). Read the rest

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