Oakland to decriminalize pinball

Pinball Flippers Demolition Man

Yes, pinball is illegal in Oakland, California. But this week, the 80-year-old law, tied to anti-gambling ordinances, will be reversed.

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Gangs run mass-scale romance cons with phished dating-site logins


Netcraft reports on a rising tide of automated phishing deployed against online dating sites; crooks steal accounts, strike up romantic relationships with their victims, then run 419-style cons on them. Using dating sites as part of a con isn't new, but using stolen accounts to do it is, especially at scale. The phishing kits are easy to deploy and are used to capture credentials for dating sites including match.com, Christian Mingle, POF (PlentyOfFish), eHarmony, Chemistry.com, SeniorPeopleMeet, Zoosk and Lavalife. Interestingly, the phishing kits found in the wild now disproportionately seek logins for dating sites, as compared to banking sites and other traditional fraud targets.

Criminals launch mass phishing attacks against online dating sites [Paul Mutton/Netcraft]

(via /.)

(Image: ...And Then Sometimes Valentine's Day Sucks!, Jackie, CC-BY)

Thai shrimp industry runs on brutal slavery and murder


A blockbuster investigative report in The Guardian reveals that the Thai shrimp/prawn fishing industry is powered by a brutal system of slavery through which trafficked workers are bought and sold by captains who starve, beat and murder them in sadistic displays intended to inspire fear in the remaining workforce. The major companies who import Thai prawns, like CP Foods, and their customers, which includes most major grocery stores, admit that there is a problem, but they do not conduct audits that go "all the way to the end of the supply chain." An anonymous Thai government spokesman claims that the problem could be easily dealt with, but there is no political will to do so.

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Criminal website selling thousands of credit cards hijacked from PF Chang's diners


In an echo of the massive breach of credit-card numbers from Target, credit-card numbers from thousands of PF Chang's customers who used their cards at the restaurant between March and May 2014 are being sold on the criminal underground. Rescator, the criminal selling the PF Chang's customers' card, has branded his product "Ronald Reagan", and offers cards at different prices based on whether they're regular, gold or platinum cards.

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Phoenix Jones conducts fitness-based Seattle superhero purge


Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones (previously) has purged the membership of Rain City Superheroes, dissolving and reforming the superhero group with new, stringent membership requirements, including the ability to do five pull-ups and 25 sit-ups in two minutes.

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Matt Taibbi's The Divide: incandescent indictment of the American justice-gap

Matt Taibbi’s
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
is a scorching, brilliant, incandescent indictment of the widening gap in how American justice treats the rich and the poor. Taibbi’s spectacular financial reporting for Rolling Stone set him out as the best running commentator on the financial crisis and its crimes, and The Divide — beautifully illustrated by Molly Crabapple — shows that at full length, he’s even better. Cory Doctorow reviews The Divide.

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Appeals court nukes the copyright troll business-model

Yesterday, a federal judge in the DC circuit court of appeals handed Prenda law -- the most loathed and evil porno copyright trolls in the business -- its own ass on a plate, and struck a blow against copyright trolling everywhere. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Mitch Stoltz has a deep dive into the case, which EFF participated in.

Prenda (previously) is one of the leaders in the shady practice of accusing people of downloading pornographic films with embarrassing titles and then demanding money in exchange for not filing a lawsuit against them, using the threat of having your name associated with "Anal Invaders XII" in public records forever as a lever to get you to settle even if you've done nothing wrong. In AF Holdings v. Does 1-1058, Judge Tatel struck an important blow against this practice by ruling that trolls have to file cases in the same jurisdiction as their victims in order to get court orders to reveal the victims' names and addresses, without which the cases cannot proceed. But filing cases in the correct jurisdiction will likely cost more than the average blackmail payment that Prenda extorts from its victims, making the whole thing into a losing business.

The court also held that merely being accused of having, at some point, participated in a Bittorrent swarm does not join you with everyone else who ever joins that swarm, and that there is only joint liability for people who download from one another, as part of the same swarm at the same time. This is the first-ever federal ruling on copyright trolling's most evil practices, and it represents a major victory for the good guys.

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Profile of a courtroom sketch artist

Gary Myrick has been a courtroom sketch artist for 40 years and his profession is dying; above, a New York Times video profile of Myrick.

More than 100 cars sunk in Houston bayous

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A non-profit search and rescue firm claims sonar data shows more than 127 automobiles at the bottom of the bayous in Houston, Texas, and that police told them to shut their traps about them, even if they may have bodies inside, because it's too costly to deal with them.

From the Houston Chronicle:

(Texas Equusearch's) Tim Miller believes the cars could hold clues to the dozens of unsolved missing persons cases in the area.

"How many could be an alzheimers victim or a guy that was drunk-driving off the road or how many could be homicide? I guarantee there's going to be bodies in some of these cars," Miller said, pointing to recent cases where bodies have been found sometimes years after missing persons reports were filed.

"Three weeks ago a vehicle was found (in North Dakota) after 43 years that had two teenagers in it. In North Texas, a vehicle was found after 31 years that had two bodies in it," Miller said.

Houston police said they do not believe any of the cars contain bodies because of the length of time most have been underwater. (Police spokesperson Victor) Senties said most would fall apart if they tried to remove them and claimed others are too remote or are in locations where it's impractical to make any recovery attempt.

"Sonar pictures reveal more than 100 vehicles sunk in Houston's bayous"

Brandalists replace 365 outdoor ads in 10 UK cities with hand-printed works of art

Last week, in a coordinated attack by guerrilla artists across the UK, 365 outdoor ads were replaced by hand-printed works of art. It was a project of Brandalism, and they hit 10 cities, using hi-viz vests and steely nerves as camouflage while they did their work.

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100 creeps busted in massive voyeurware sweep


More than 100 people around the world have been arrested in a coordinated sweep of RATers (people who deploy "remote access trojans" that let them spy on people through their computers cameras and mics, as well as capturing their keystrokes and files). The accused are said to have used the Blackshades trojan, which sold for $40 from bshades.eu, mostly for sexual exploitation of victims (though some were also accused of committing financial fraud).

A US District Court in Manhattan handed down indictments for Alex Yücel and Brendan Johnston, who are said to have operated bshades.eu. Yücel, a Swedish national, was arrested in Moldova and is awaiting extradition to the USA. Johnstone is alleged to have been employed by Yücel to market and support Blackshades.

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Author: My dad was the Zodiac Killer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXe6qbSfRZg

Gary Stewart, author of a new memoir The Most Dangerous Animal Of All, is the latest person to claim he has proof of the real, true identity of the infamous Zodiac Killer of 1960s northern California; he says the killer was his late father, Earl Van Best, Jr.

Mom kindly brings heroin to just-out-of-jail son

When William E. Hoadley, 24, stepped out of a Butler County, Ohio jail, his mom Robin C. Kelley, 54, was waiting with a bag of heroin and syringe. Now both of them are locked up.

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16 year old Canadian arrested for over 30 "swattings"


A 16-year-old Canadian male has been arrested for calling in over 30 "swattings," bomb threats and other hoax calls to emergency services in North America. The young man is alleged to be the operator of @ProbablyOnion on Twitter, which had previously advertised swattings (sending SWAT teams to your enemies' homes by reporting phony hostage-takings there, advising police that someone matching your victim's description is on the scene, armed and out of control) as a service, and had bragged of swatting computer crime journalism Brian Krebs twice. Krebs had previously caught a kid who swatted him, and outed him to his father -- this may have made him a target for other swatters.

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