How a romance-scam victim laundered $1.1M worth of other victims' money


Audrey Elaine Elrod was divorced, depressed and broke when a romance-scammer targeted her on Facebook, posing as a widowed Scottish oil-rig worker who admired her photo and sympathized with her plight. Read the rest

Landmark patent case will determine whether you can ever truly own a device again


Former IBM division Lexmark (which, a decade ago, lost a key copyright case that tried to ban ink-toner refilling) is headed to court in a patent case called Lexmark v. Impression, where it argues that patent law gives it the right to restrict your use of your property after you buy it. Read the rest

Not just emissions: manufacturers' dirty tricks fake everything about cars


VW's diesel firmware detected when it was undergoing emissions testing and changed the engine tuning to produce 1/40 of its normal toxic output, fooling regulators. But though they're the only ones who've been caught using firmware to game emissions testing, they're not the only ones with something to hide. Read the rest

FTC clobbers Roca Labs, the terrible weight-loss company that banned negative reviews


If you follow my tweets of interesting stories from one year ago, you'll have seen the Roca Labs saga popping up again. Roca sold a "non-surgical gastric bypass" that was mostly made from industrial food-thickeners that were supposed to gunk up your stomach and fill you up. Read the rest

European court orders airlines to pay compensation for delays from mechanical failures


For years, airlines operating in Europe have had to pay compensation to delayed passengers, unless the delay was an "extraordinary circumstance." Airlines have characterized mechanical failures as extraordinary circumstances, and refused to pay out when their planes weren't working properly. Read the rest

Empty Epson "professional" inkjet cartridges are still 20% full

If you've wondered why it matters that the Internet of Things is being born with the inkjet printer business model, here's why. Read the rest

New pornoscanners are also useless, cost $160 million

The new generation of millimeter-wave body scanners from the convicted war-criminals at L-3 were supposed to replace the useless, expensive backscatter radiation machines from Rapiscan with a more robust, less privacy invasive alternative. Read the rest

2.5 million data points show: America's ISPs suck, and AT&T sucks worst

Josh from the Open Tech Institute writes, "Last week, researchers published the first results from the Internet Health Test, a public tool for consumers to measure their Internet speeds and gather data on broadband providers in the wake of the FCC’s Open Internet Order. Read the rest

FCC fines AT&T $100M for throttling "unlimited" customers

The company advertised an "unlimited data" plan on its 5-12Mbps LTE network, but customers who hit a cap were throttled to 1/60th of that. Read the rest

Insider view of the cash-for-gold ripoff

Cash-for-gold is a con so dodgy that it's visible from space, but Clancy Martin's inside account of working in his brother's rip-off high-class Texas pawnbroker is an especially compelling view of the internals of the ripoff. Read the rest

Chicago schools lost $100M by letting Wall Street engineer their finances

In 2007, the school raised $1B, and instead of issuing bonds, it let the bankers who'd been courting it talk it into issuing a floating-rate bond that it swapped into a fixed-rate issue. Read the rest

PSA: Escaping from Gogo's roach-motel business model

Last month, during my many-city book tour, I signed up for Gogo's in-flight wifi service. Today I discovered that it's much harder to get shut of it.

PSA: UK small businesses, don't get ripped off by BT's "PC Security" scam

I cancelled my small business BT account last year when they endorsed the Tory Internet censorship plan -- and to my surprise, they kept sending me bills, but that wasn't nearly so surprising as what I discovered next: a seven-year-long overbilling ripoff that took most of a year to untangle. Read the rest

If you don't agree to the new Wii U EULA, Nintendo will kill-switch it

When you bought your Wii U, it came with one set of terms-of-service; now they've changed, and if you don't accept the changes, your Wii seizes up and won't work. That's not exactly what we think of when we hear the word "agreement." Read the rest

Right to complain: fighting back against Roca Labs

Pissedconsumer, a website that's being sued by a supplements company called Roca Labs whose diet aids come with terms-of-service that prohibit complaining about them, has filed its opposition to Roca's request for an injunction -- it's quite a read. Read the rest

More posts