China's online astroturf is mostly produced by government workers as "extra duty"

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For many years, China watchers have written about the 50 Cent Army, contractors who are paid RMB0.50 per post to sing the praises of the government in online discussions of corruption, oppression and wrongdoing; but a new report from the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Science paints a radically different picture of Chinese networked social control. Read the rest

Rio: your quadrennial reminder that the Olympics colonize host-states with Orwellian surveillance and human rights abuses

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Remember in 1988, when South Korea's military dictator created slave-labor camps and kidnapped thousands of homeless children to work in them? Read the rest

Young Journalist contest: win admission to the HOPE hacker conference

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This summer, NYC's Pennsylvania Hotel will once again fill with joyous hackers as 2600 Magazine celebrates the 11th Hackers on Planet Earth conference (HOPE): I'm giving a keynote, and if you're a student or young journalist, you can win admission to the conference by writing an article about subjects of interest to the event. Read the rest

Mounties used Stingrays to secretly surveil millions of Canadians for years

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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

UK Parliament votes in Snoopers Charter, now it goes to the House of Lords

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The Members of Parliament voted in favour of the far-ranging, massively invasive spying bill after the Tories agreed to minor improvements, like dropping the requirement for mandatory crypto backdoors if they would be infeasible or expensive to implement. Read the rest

Watch: Fascinating panel on legal and privacy concerns for Big Data and the Internet of Things

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In "It's a brave new world: Avoiding legal, privacy, and security snafus with big data and the IoT" -- a panel from last week's Strata+Hadoop World conference in San Jose, Alysa Z. Hutnik, a lawyer who specializes in consumer protection in privacy, data security, and advertising and Kristi Wolff, whose legal practice is on liability in food, dietary supplements, medical devices, and emerging health/wearable technology and privacy issues, present an extremely digestable and fascinating look into the lay of the regulatory land for data-collection and user privacy. Read the rest

"State of Surveillance" with Ed Snowden: Watch full episode of VICE on HBO free online

Edward Snowden shows VICE founder Shane Smith how to make a smartphone go black. Jake Burghart for VICE on HBO.

VICE on HBO's "State of Surveillance" with Edward Snowden is now available to stream for free on vicenews.com.

The episode is hosted by VICE founder Shane Smith and features an in-depth interview with Snowden.

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

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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

Britons! The Snoopers Charter is being debated today! Tweet your MP!

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Today, Parliament is debating the Snoopers Charter, a wide-ranging mass-scale domestic surveillance law that allows government agencies to peer into the most intimate details of your life, conscripting internet and technology companies as participants in surveillance, with only the thinnest veneer of checks and balances and accountability for the inevitable abuse. Read the rest

Defense lawyers: the FBI made us use a copy-shop that made secret copies for the government

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Attorneys for Dr Salo Schapiro, on trial in Miami for Medicare fraud, says that the FBI and the US Attorney have engaged in a decade-long conspiracy to improperly gain access to confidential defense documents, in a scheme that used a crooked Ft Lauderdale copy shop that slipped CDs containing scanned confidential defense documents that had been entrusted to it to the FBI and the DA. Read the rest

Elon Musk Says Humans Will Go To Mars by 2024

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In my weekly segment on KCRW's “Press Play” news program with host Madeleine Brand, we listen to Elon Musk wax poetic about artificial intelligence and whether life might be a dream--and his plans to send humans to Mars by 2025.

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No warrant is needed to get your phone's location data, U.S. appeals court rules

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In a major blow to security and privacy advocates, a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday ruled that police don't have to have a warrant to obtain your cellphone location data. The ruling means that in America, you have zero expectation of privacy over the historical location data generated by your cell phone.

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EFF: FBI & NIST's tattoo recognition program exploited prisoners, profiled based on religion, gave sensitive info to private contractors

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Dave Maass from EFF says, "Right now, NIST researchers are working with the FBI to develop tattoo recognition technology that police can use to learn as much as possible about people through their tattoos. But an EFF investigation has found that these experiments exploit inmates, with little regard for the research's implications for privacy, free expression, religious freedom, and the right to associate. And so far, researchers have avoided ethical oversight while doing it." Read the rest

Someone just snuck warrantless email access into the Senate's secret intelligence bill

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Every year, the Senate passes a secret bill (that is, a bill whose text is a secret during its debate) that re-authorizes intelligence agencies' surveillance powers; this year, someone (possibly chairman Richard Burr, R-NC and/or Tom Cotton, R-AR) has snuck in an amendment that would give the FBI the power to demand warrantless access to Americans' email and browsing history, using National Security Letters, a controversial, widely used secret police order. Read the rest

Study shows detailed, compromising inferences can be readily made with metadata

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In Evaluating the privacy properties of telephone metadata, a paper by researchers from Stanford's departments of Law and Computer Science published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors analyzed metadata from six months' worth of volunteers' phone logs to see what kind of compromising information they could extract from them. Read the rest

Tor Project is working on a web-wide random number generator

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Random number generators are the foundation of cryptography -- that's why the NSA secretly sabotaged the RNG standard that the National Institute for Standards and Technology developed. Read the rest

30 students debate mass surveillance on Capitol Hill

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Last week, 30 students used a House Judiciary Committee hearing room to hold a debate on mass surveillance in America.

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