Truck-driving is a modern form of indentured slavery

USA Today undertook a year-long investigation into southern California truckers, so-called "independent contractors" who form a critical link from America's busiest port to the rest of the country, and found that drivers are sunk into deep pits of debt due to predatory contracts they signed under duress, debts that are used to force them to work unsafe hours, falsify their work records, and sometimes bring home literal pennies a week after working 80+ hours (some drivers even finish the week in deeper debt, owing money to the companies they "contract" for).

Read the rest

Israeli company's spyware used to target corruption-fighting journalists and lawyers in Mexico

The NSO Group is an Israeli firm that describes itself as a "cyber warfare" company, dealing exclusively to governments, including the famously corrupt and dysfunctional government of Mexico. The NSO Group is presently for sale, with a $1 billion pricetag. Read the rest

New media noncompetes are destroying the careers of young journalists

When Stephanie Russell-Kraft signed up to work for Law360, she naively entered into a probably unenforceable noncompete "agreement" that asserted that by looking at court filings for interesting news stories, she'd be privy to "critical and sensitive proprietary information" -- but she didn't really think about it until Law360 used her signature on the agreement to get her fired from her second industry job, with Reuters, costing her a generous compensation package that included overtime and health insurance. Read the rest

China's billionaires are disappearing into police custody and/or early graves

Dozens of the richest executives in China have disappeared under mysterious circumstances and are assumed to be in police detention as the country pursues an aggressive anti-corruption agenda. Read the rest

Leaked tax-haven data shows that the super rich are way, way richer than suspected

When Thomas Piketty and his team undertook their landmark study of wealth inequality in the world, they had to rely on the self-reported income of the super rich to see just how income was distributed -- by definition, they couldn't directly measure the unreported income hidden in tax havens (though they did estimate it, with what was eventually shown to be pretty good precision). Read the rest

A Hong Kong parking space just sold for USD664K

The 188 square foot parking space went for HKD5.18m (USD664,300) -- HKD27,500/sqft. Read the rest

London fire: just last year, Tory landlord-MPs rejected Labour's tenant safety law

The death-toll on London's Grenfell Tower fire continues to mount, it's worth remembering that there are no "natural disasters," only human disasters, created by people who weigh different interests in the balance and create policies based on the way the scales come up. Read the rest

Shareholder revolt at Mylan over Epipen-gouging CEO's $98M bonus

The board of directors at Mylan have rewarded former CEO Robert Coury with a $98m bonus as he steps into the executive chairman's role, having overseen a price-gouging scandal over the Epipens used by people prone to life-threatening allergic reactions. Read the rest

Bad news: tech is making us more unequal. Good news: tech can make us more equal.

My latest Guardian column is Technology is making the world more unequal. Only technology can fix this; in it, I argue that surveillance and control technology allow ruling elites to hold onto power despite the destabilizing effects of their bad decisions -- but that technology also allows people to form dissident groups and protect them from intrusive states. Read the rest

What does Jeremy Corbyn stand for?

The 2017 UK Labour Manifesto has been hugely popular since it was leaked early last month, and young Britons registered to vote in droves after it got out. But what does it actually say? Read the rest

The electable Mr Corbyn

UK Theresa May called snap UK elections (after promising not to) in order to consolidate power in her own party, shutting up the MPs who didn't fall into line with her policies -- this was the same logic behind her predecessor David Cameron's decision to call a referendum on Brexit, and both banked on the idea that the UK electorate wasn't willing to vote for an "unthinkable" alternative in order to tell the establishment to go fuck itself. Read the rest

Theresa May wants the UK to die within its means

Theresa May won't use the term "austerity" to describe her government's policies, preferring the misleading phrase, "living within our means" -- a term used to describe cuts to survival basics for millions of Britons, from housing to health to food to social care. Read the rest

Across America, employers are using noncompetes to claim ownership of employees' skills

Noncompete agreements have historically been the provision of highly-placed execs and critical "knowledge workers" (and even then, fast-growing economies like California have banned them in the interests of encouraging competition and growth) but now employers are routinely making the "agreements" a condition of unskilled waged labor, from making sandwiches to digging holes for $10/hour. Read the rest

Guillotine watch: LAX's new one-percenter luxury terminal -- UPDATED with veiled legal threats!, AND MORE LEGAL THREATS!

Update again: We've had yet another legal threat regarding this. The lawyers for the terminal want us to include the notice below or face litigatation. I think it was all implied by my update yesterday, but I have no objection to adding this text too (they sent it to us as a bitmap, so I can't paste the text, but I'm including a screenshot of the relevant section of the letter). They require that this notice be posted without "more content that is sarcastic and malicious.":

Update: the proprietors of this dubious enterprise want everyone to know that the REDACTED that shows the REDACTED captioned with REDACTED is not on general display. It is REDACTED.

Trieste Pinzini, writing on behalf of ID PR, sent me a note advising me that "This matter has now fallen into legal matter," which is technically a sentence, though I'm not sure what, exactly, it means.

Ms Pinzini wrote to me initially at an email address I don't use for Boing Boing correspondence and don't pay close attention to. Now I've got her second email, which notes, (hilariously) that "The erroneous story you ran produced 100+ disparaging comments, specifically about the non-existent video supposedly shown to customers of The Private Suite."

Yeah. Because the thing that really stood out about this thing was REDACTED.

Pay $7,500/year and $2,700/flight and you can use can use the new "private terminal" at LAX where you are waited on hand-and-foot, including a personal sit-down with the TSA guard who "searches" you before you're put in a BMW and driven across the tarmac to your flight -- best of all, REDACTED. Read the rest

Coal execs' pay rises and rises, while miners' wages stagnate

The coal CEOs who are leading their companies to bankruptcy are pocketing multimillion-dollar bonuses, with average coal exec wages rising five times as fast as wages for miners since 2004: execs take home an average of $200K (up 60%!) while tractor/truck drivers average $43,770 (up 15%, a real-terms pay-cut) and mining construction workers average $31,470 (up 11%, another real-terms cut). Read the rest

Extreme wealth inequality will always devour the societies that produce it

My new novel Walkaway (US tour/UK tour) is set in a world that is being torn apart by out-of-control wealth inequality, but not everyone thinks that inequality is what destabilizes the world -- there's a kind of free-market belief that says the problem is really poverty, not inequality, and that the same forces that make the rich richer also lift poor people out of misery, delivering the sanitation, mass food production, communications tools and other innovations that rescues poor people from privation. Read the rest

"Golden Geese": the American 1%ers who arrange a second citizenship to escape taxation

David Lesperance is a Canadian-born lawyer who specializes in helping the super-rich secretly buy foreign citizenship so they can escape taxation at home. Read the rest

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