Flossing is bullshit

animation (4)

The Associated Press filed Freedom of Information requests with the US government to find the evidence behind the Surgeon General's admonition to floss regularly for dental health and found that there was no good evidentiary basis for flossing. Read the rest

Jacksonville police pension fund blows $1.8M worth of tax-dollars fighting open records requests

When Times-Union Editor Frank Denton sued the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund over breaking the law by meeting secretly to negotiate pension benefits, the fund and the city blew nearly half a million dollars fighting the case before finally losing. Read the rest

Congress: TSA is worst place to work in USG, nearly half of employees cited for misconduct; it's getting worse

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1143

The House Homeland Security Committee Majority Staff Report has just published its investigation on aviation security, and the title really tells you everything you need to know: MISCONDUCT AT TSA THREATENS THE SECURITY OF THE FLYING PUBLIC. Read the rest

UK cops routinely raided police databases to satisfy personal interest or make money on the side

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1138

Between 2011-2015, there were more than 800 individual UK police personnel who raided official databases to amuse themselves, out of idle curiosity, or for personal financial gain; and over 800 incidents in which information was inappropriately leaked outside of the police channels. Read the rest

Leaked FBI documents reveal secret rules for spying on journalists with National Security Letters

nsls
Today, The Intercept published leaked documents that contain the FBI’s secret rules for targeting journalists and sources with National Security Letters (NSLs)—the controversial and unconstitutional warrantless tool the FBI uses to conduct surveillance without any court supervision whatsoever.

Read the rest

Mounties used Stingrays to secretly surveil millions of Canadians for years

Mountie_in_Banff,_Alberta

Motherboard used public records requests to extract 3,000+ pages of court docs from a massive 2010 RCMP mafia/drug bust in Montreal, codenamed "Project Clemenza," which revealed the full extent of the Mounties' secret use of Stingrays -- AKA "IMSI Catchers," the fake cellular towers that let cops covertly track whole populations by tricking their phones into revealing information about them. Read the rest

NSA dumps docs about its Snowden response, reveals that Snowden repeatedly raised alarms about spying

edward-snowden-leaks-tried-to-tell-nsa-about-surveillance-concerns-body-image-1465060915

Since the earliest days of the Snowden revelations, apologists for the NSA's criminal spying program have said that Snowden should have gone "through channels" to report his concerns, rather than giving evidence to journalists and going public. Read the rest

In 1977, the CIA's top lawyer said Espionage Act shouldn't be applied to press leaks

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1090

Yesterday, the State Department declassified and released Organization and Management of Foreign Policy: 1977-80, volume 28, a Carter-era document that includes startling statements by CIA General Counsel Anthony Lapham on the role of the WWI-era Espionage Act in prosecuting leaks of classified material to the press. Read the rest

Untangling the Web: the NSA's supremely weird, florid guide to the Internet

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1071

Michael from Muckrock found a reference to "Untangling the Web," an internal NSA guide to the Internet, on Google Books, so he requisitioned a copy from the NSA under the Freedom of Information Act. Read the rest

EFF fights order to remove public records documents detailing Seattle's smart-meters

animation (3)

Earlier this week, I wrote about the legal threats from Landis and Gyr against the Freedom of Information service Muckrock, which had received documents from the City of Seattle detailing the workings of Landis and Gyr's smart-meter system, which Seattle has purchased from them at public expense. Read the rest

Students: court orders government agencies to offer educational discount on FOIA requests

16014042902_4f8dbe6526_b

The Freedom of Information Act specifies that government agencies must give a discount to "educational institutions" when they file requests, but for years, agencies led by the Department of Defense have argued that this discount only applies to faculty, not students, who would have to pay full rate even though they generally have less money to begin with. Read the rest

Smart-meter vendor says that if we know how their system works, the terrorists will win

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1073

Phil Mocek filed a public records request to find out how Seattle's new smart meters -- supplied by Landis and Gyr -- will work. As Mocek writes, these meters are based on "unspecified and unverifiable sensors that monitor activity inside of private property and can communicate collected information in real-time to unspecified machines in remote locations, the workings of which are obscured from ratepayers, with interfaces used by [the city] that require specialized equipment and are thus completely unavailable to ratepayers for personal use or monitoring and verification of information communicated, is already shrouded in secrecy and seemingly proceeding despite repeated voicing of public concern and complete lack of public justification of expense." Read the rest

UK spy agencies store sensitive data on millions of innocent people, with no safeguards from abuse

stacked-paper-sheets

Privacy International won a lawsuit forcing the UK government to publish thousands of pages of records on the use of "Bulk Personal Datasets" by the spy agencies GCHQ, MI5 and MI6. Read the rest

Heads of UK's tax havens to Her Majesty's Government: go fuck yourself

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1036

When the premiers of the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands (British Overseas Territories that are notorious tax-havens) visited the UK last year, Tory government ministers sent formal letters asking for meetings with them to discuss tax evasion. The premiers never answered the letters. Read the rest

The US Government's domestic spy-planes take weekends and holidays off

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1029

If you spend enough time looking at Flightradar24's data about fly-overs of American cities, you can figure out where and when the feds are flying domestic spy-aircraft, watching for the tell-tale circling patterns and mapping the planes' owners to companies that investigative journalists have revealed to be fake cut-outs for the FBI. Read the rest

The TSA spent $1.4M on an app to tell it who gets a random search

4021669114_d9e12f2a1d_b

"TSA Randomizer" is an Ipad app that tells TSA official swhich search-lane to send fliers down, randomly directing some of them to secondary screening. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning gets the US Army to cough up its "insider threat" training docs

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x992

Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning writes, "I filed my Freedom of Information Act request in 2014 for Training Material related to the Insider Threat Program. I had almost forgoten about it, when the package arrived in the mail. In it was this slideshow." Read the rest

More posts