Boing Boing 

On Big Data's shrinking returns


In my new Guardian column, I point out that the big-data-driven surveillance business model is on the rocks.

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Not just Germany: the NSA has been spying on France's leaders since at least 1995

A new release of top secret NSA docs by Wikileaks shows the US spy-agency has intercepted the phone conversations of the past three French presidents, the French ambassador to the USA, and others.

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New York nears settlement with local Muslim leaders over spying lawsuit

Muslim-Americans protesting NYPD surveillance. Image: Reuters


Muslim-Americans protesting NYPD surveillance. Image: Reuters

The NYC government has come to initial settlement terms with Muslims, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, who challenged police surveillance as an unconstitutional and stigmatizing intrusion on their religious rights.

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Chrome update turns browsers into covert listening tools


The default behavior of hotword, a new, black-box module in Chrome (and its free/open cousin, Chromium) causes it to silently switch on your computer's microphone and send whatever it hears to Google.

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The snitch in your pocket: making sense of Stingrays


If you've been struggling to make sense of the stories about Stingrays (super-secretive cellular surveillance tech used by cops and governments) (previously) this week's Note to Self podcast does the best job I've yet seen (heard) of explaining them.

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Privacy activists mass-quit U.S. government committee on facial recognition privacy

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is trying to work out the rules for facial recognition -- whether and when cameras can be put in public places that programatically identify you as you walk past and then save a record of where you've been and who you were with.

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CNN interview with author of discredited Sunday Times story on Snowden is painful to watch

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 11.57.09 AM

If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch this video. It's CNN's George Howell interviewing Sunday Times buffoon Tom Harper about his now-discredited report that said the governments of Russia and China have decrypted files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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"Reporter" who wrote ridiculous story about Snowden leaks in China admits he was just acting as a government stenographer

Tom Harper wrote the ridiculous cover story in the Sunday Times in which anonymous government sources claimed that the Russians and Chinese had somehow gained the power to decrypt copies of the files Edward Snowden took from the NSA, depite the fact that these files were never in Russia and despite the fact that the UK government claims that when criminals use crypto on their communications, the state is powerless to decrypt them.

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The Internet may not be the question, but it's the answer


My latest Guardian column looks at the fiction and reality of "Internet Utopianism," and the effect that a belief in the transformative power of the Internet has had on movements, companies, and norms.

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Anti-surveillance steamroller still rolling through Congress

The USA Freedom Act set the first legal limits on spying in a generation, and were immediately followed by 3 more surveillance-blocking amendments from the House, and now, a week later, there's 2 more bipartisan curbs on surveillance.

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UK Stingray surveillance: you can't know why we're spying on you


The UK has at least 20 operating Stingrays -- fake mobile phone towers that record the movements of whole populations -- used without any paper-trail, and configured to listen in on conversations.

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UK schools using spyware to monitor students' ideology

The software monitors students' communications looking for "extremist" language like "jihobbyist," "YODO" (you only die once), and "jihadi bride."

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Internet users care about their privacy but have given up on safeguarding it

It's not a fair trade, and everyone knows it.Read the rest

Divining the capabilities of the FBI's ubiquitous spy aircraft


The FBI has filled the skies of America's cities with covert aircraft, crisscrossing overhead, bristling with sensors and cloaked in mystery, from the shell companies that own them to the obfuscated tail-numbers they sport.

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Edward Snowden, two years later: the world rejects surveillance

Writing in the NYT, Snowden celebrates the second anniversary of his disclosures by celebrating the "profound difference" in the surveillance debate since then.

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House easily passes further anti-surveillance amendments


The USA Freedom Act was a very timid curb on surveillance powers, but it was also the first time since the 1970s that Congress limited spies' powers -- and it won't be the last.

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