Boing Boing 

Australia outlaws warrant canaries


The exceptionally broad new surveillance bill lets the government do nearly unlimited warrantless mass surveillance, even of lawyer-client privileged communications, and bans warrant canaries, making it an offense to "disclose information about the existence or non-existence" of a warrant to spy on journalists.

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ACLU sues TSA to make it explain junk science "behavioral detection" program


The TSA refuses to explain how it spent $1B on a discredited "behavioral detection" program that led airport authoritarians to believe that when they racially profiled fliers, it was because they'd acquired the superpower of spotting guilty people through their "microexpressions."

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Suspicious people, American Airlines edition


Covertly snapped last night at the AA baggage office in Memphis, after they lost my luggage:

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Bruce Schneier's Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

No one explains security, privacy, crypto and safety better.Read the rest

Grim meathook future, Singapore style


Charlie Stross's "Different Cluetrain" is a set of theses describing the future we live in, where capitalism not only doesn't need democracy -- it actually works better where democracy is set aside in favor of a kind of authoritarian, investor-friendly state.

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Canada's new surveillance bill eliminates any pretense of privacy


Michael Geist writes, "Canada's proposed anti-terrorism legislation is currently being debated in the House of Commons, with the government already serving notice that it plans to limit debate. That decision has enormous privacy consequences, since the bill effectively creates a 'total information awareness' approach that represents a radical shift away from our traditional understanding of public sector privacy protection."

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SF Muni spends anti-terror money on fare evaders because it's a gateway to terrorism


Cmdr. Mikail Ali, the former top transit police officer in San Francisco, justified spending anti-terror funding on fare evaders because "Fare evasion is the nexus by which we make those initial contacts [with criminals]" and cracking down on it lets them find terrorists.

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If privacy was really dead, would everyone be trying so hard to kill it?


A reader writes, "SF author Peter Watts writes about the ever-encroaching assault on our privacy and how relocating their arguments from the Internet to meatspace illustrates how ridiculous they are, and reasons to be cheerful because of the governments of the 'free world''s determination to eliminate the last shreds of our privacy."

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Canada's spying bill is PATROIT Act fanfic

Madeline Ashby writes, "I wrote this column about Canada's Bill C-51, which would allow Canada's spy agency CSIS to detain people for simply 'promoting' terrorism, promises it can wipe terrorist content from the Internet, expands no-fly lists, and is basically a piece of Patriot Act fanfic. I thought you guys might like to know that years after Bush left office, his fans are trying to keep the tradition alive."

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Canarywatch: fine-grained, high-alert system to detect and reveal secret government snooping


In the age of secret government snooping warrants -- which come with gag orders prohibiting their recipients from revealing their existence -- "warrant canaries" have emerged as the best way to keep an eye on out-of-control, unaccountable spying, and now they've gotten better.

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Vox received no threats for supporting Hedbo, many threats for covering Islamophobia

"The most common states a desire that jihadist militants will murder the offending writer: a recent email hoped that Muslims will 'behead you one day' so that 'we will never have to read your trash again.' Some directly threaten violence themselves, or imply it with statements such as 'May you rot in hell.'"

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What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry

David Cameron says there should be no "means of communication" which "we cannot read" -- and no doubt many in his party will agree with him, politically. But if they understood the technology, they would be shocked to their boots.Read the rest

DHS's weird, creepy social media search-terms


Michael from Muckrock sez, "Through FOIA requests, MuckRock users have been helping keep watch on the watchers, and recently Todd Feathers's FOIA request to the DHS resulted 91 pages worth of the agency's social media searches, from the occult (seeking the "devil" in August) and creepy ("happy camp") to downright terrifying ("black market ebola")."

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UK government tells nursery workers to turn in potential terrorist toddlers


They'll have to report 3-year-olds who are "at risk of radicalisation," according to a consultation document that the Home Office is pushing to turn into legislation.

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Kenya's Parliament erupts into chaos as government rams through brutal "anti-terrorism" law

MPs shredded their papers and threw them, and got into fistfights with one another over the new law, which allows the government to imprison suspects for 360 days without charge, and to fine press outlets millions for publishing articles "likely to cause fear or alarm" (this term is not defined in the statute).

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Why it matters whether or not torture works


Part of the debate about the CIA Torture Report is whether torture works as a means of gathering useful intelligence; scholarly work has long held that it doesn't.

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US Christian terrorism: the other white meat

It's not just in the UK where planning mass-murder to achieve political aims doesn't count as terrorism (if you're a white supremacist and/or Christian fundamentalist) -- in the USA, groups like the Phineas Priesthood can inspire acts of wanton gunplay in populated cities without inspiring the zomgwereallgonnadiedrunhide 24-hour-news-cycle lunacy.

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Calling out the doctors who abetted CIA torture


Dr Atul Gawande (whose Reith lecture on systems thinking I featured last week) took to Twitter to express his shock and disgust at the medical professionals who participated in the crimes documented in the CIA torture report.

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Furry convention evacuated after chlorine-gas attack


The 15th Midwest Furfest was evacuated last week after 19 attendees were hospitalized by chlorine gas at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel; hazmat technicians cleared out an "intentional gas attack" apparatus in the 9th floor stairwell.

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Stats-based response to UK Tories' call for social media terrorism policing


David Cameron wants social media companies to invent a terrorism-detection algorithm and send all the "bad guys" it detects to the police -- but this will fall prey to the well-known (to statisticians) "paradox of the false positive," producing tens of thousands of false leads that will drown the cops.

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National Response Center: now THAT's a logo


via Bruce Sterling

UK police arrest man built anti-immigrant nail-bomb, decline to press terrorism charges

Ryan McGee came from a multi-generational white supremacist dynasty and told police he built his nail-bomb because he didn't like immigrants, the Crown Prosecution Service said that "it was never McGee’s intention to use the device for any terrorist or violent purpose."

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The clown-prince of DHS checkpoint refusal videos

We've covered Checkpoint Refusal videos before (1, 2, 3) -- these are videos recorded by people who object to the DHS's internal checkpoints, where you are asked (but can refuse) to state your citizenship and allow your car to be searched -- but I missed the most prolific, funniest, and weirdest checkpointer of them all: Robert Trudell.

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Song for Shaker: free the last UK Gitmo prisoner!

Andy writes, "This is the promotional video for a new campaign, We Stand with Shaker, aimed at securing the release from Guantanamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, who is still held despite being approved for release in 2007 and 2009."

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TRAITORS

Alexander (R-TN), Ayotte (R-NH), Barrasso (R-WY), Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coats (R-IN), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Collins (R-ME), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), Enzi (R-WY), Fischer (R-NE), Flake (R-AZ), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Hatch (R-UT), Hoeven (R-ND), Inhofe (R-OK),

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UK Tories demand a "ban this terrorist filth" button for the Web, ISPs comply

David Cameron says that the reason Britons are fighting with IS is that they were hypnotised by unstoppable sorcerous "extremist" words on the net and that the best way to fight this is to get the big UK ISPs to agree to block any "extremist" content that's reported by the eagle-eyed public and added to (yet another) secret, unaccountable, extrajudicial list of websites that can't be reached from behind the Great Firewall of Cameron -- and the big ISPs agree with him!

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Vladimir Putin takes the gloves off

In a virulently anti-Western and uncharacteristically blunt speech, Russian spy-turned-president Vladimir Putin set out his agenda for Russia and its relationship to "western elites." The speech wasn't widely reported in the west, but Dmitry Orlov has helpfully translated, transcribed and summarized it.

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UK military slang from Afghanistan


"ALLY Term for a battlefield fashionista - desirables include having a beard, using a different rifle, carrying vast amounts of ammunition, being dusty and having obscene amounts of tattoos and hair. Special forces are automatically Ally."

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LAX delays flight because someone's wifi network had scary terrorist name

Someone in the waiting area for AA's LAX-London flight created a network called "Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork," so "out of an abundance of caution," everyone ran around like headless chickens for a while trying to figure out where the network name was coming from (cue horror music: "He's broadcasting from INSIDE THE TERMINAL!" Dun dun DUUUUN!).

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On Parliament Hill, an attack on Canada itself

This much we know: Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was a soldier who took a solemn vow to uphold Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to uphold the values that make Canada Canada. We don't know what values Michael Zehaf-Bibeau espoused, why he took his gun to Parliament Hill. And it does not matter.Read the rest