Boing Boing 

Constituent silenced by spammer-turned-UK Tory party chairman was telling the truth

Grant Shapps, the spam kingpin who moonlighted as UK Tory party chairman and then an MP, sued a constituent who accused him of working for his "marketing" company after taking office.

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How Harper's "anti-terror" bill ends privacy in Canada


Michael Geist writes, "Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is fast-tracking a bill that eviscerates privacy protections within the public sector that represents the most significant reduction in public sector privacy protection in Canadian history -- he' blocking the Privacy Commissioner of Canada from appearing as a witness at the committee studying the bill."

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UK foreign secretary: stop talking about Snowden, let spies get on with it


Philip Hammond told an audience at the Royal United Services Institute that the debate about surveillance "cannot be allowed to run on forever."

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Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology tells Cameron Tor is good, unstoppable


David Cameron has vowed to ban crypto if he wins the UK election, but Parliament's lead technical experts have told him that he can't, and shouldn't, mess with Tor and other cryptographic tools.

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Trolls abuse Canadian copyright law with fraudulent mass-scale extortion notices


Michael Geist writes, "The launch of the Canadian copyright notice system earlier this year raised serious concerns as Rightscorp, a U.S.-based anti-piracy company, sent notices that misstated Canadian law and demanded that users pay to settle claims."

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UK Tory MP says astrology would improve NHS health outcomes

David Tredinnick, the Tory MP for Bosworth, Leicestershire, claims that astrology could improve health outcomes for the NHS, is bitter that he had to pay parliament back £755 for his expensed astrology software, says he helps other MPs with astrological advice, and says astrology skeptics are "racially prejudiced." (via /.)

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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Billboards tell the stories of professionals who can't afford London anymore


The London is Changing project collects the personal stories of professional people who are leaving the city because it has been remade as a playground for the global rich.

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The Tory war on science in Canada: a chronology

Nine years of cuts; muzzlings; bad science, retaliatory firings, burned libraries, layoffs, closed investigations, censorship, withdrawal from international accords;

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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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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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Snooper's Charter is dead: let's hammer a stake through its heart and fill its mouth with garlic

We killed the dreadful Snooper's Charter last week, again, for the third or fourth time, depending on how you count -- now how do we keep it from rising from the grave again and terrorizing Britain with the threat of total, ubiquitous, uncontrolled state spying?

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Great Firewall of Cameron blocks sex-abuse charities


UK Prime Minister David Cameron demanded that ISPs opt their customers into "adult content" filters (and now Sky is opting in everyone whose account predates this announcement), ignoring all the people who correctly predicted that these filters would block important sites.

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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

MP wants to ban email disclaimers


Tory International Development Minister Alan Duncan wants to get rid of long email disclaimers, but only secondarily because they're ridiculous: primarily, he's worried about the "forests' worth of paper" wasted by bizarre people from the past (e.g. lawyers) who print all their email.

Canadian politics 2014: the terrible Tory shenanigans leading to up to the election


Dave writes, "Could this be the last year that this is required? Canada will see an election in 2015. This year brought us temporary foreign workers, refugee abuse, unwanted changes to election laws, and much much more."

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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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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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CCC website censored in the UK

The Great Firewall of Cameron is supposed to block "extremist" websites, and somehow, the website of the respected, excellent Chaos Computer Club, one of Germany's foremost centers for technology research and political analysis, has been blocked.

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High court rules that English/Welsh prisoners should be allowed to read books


Tory justice secretary Chris Grayling enacted a ban on sending reading material for prisoners as a way of throwing red meat to his base, who bay for maximum cruelty to "bad people" -- but a high court judge agreed with English PEN and the John Howard society and struck down the ban.

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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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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

Canadian MPs improvised spears to fight off shooter while PM Harper hid in the closet

Thirteen of the fifteen flagpoles in the Conservative caucus room were snapped off and turned into spears by Members of Parliament who positioned themselves around the door to ambush the Parliament Hill shooter, while Prime Minister Harper was shoved in a closet.

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UK Tories propose life sentences for using a computer to "damage the economy"

Under a proposed "computer crime bill," if you use a computer in the commission of an offense that damages "national security, human welfare, the economy or the environment" you could face a life sentence.

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Canadian government threatens bird watchers for writing concerned letter about bee die-off


Dave writes, "A birdwatching group sent a letter to two federal cabinet ministers citing concerns over the effects of certain chemicals on the life of bees. Shortly thereafter, they received a threatening letter from Revenue Canada telling them to stop with the political actions."

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David Cameron raps the Tories' nasty party manifesto

Casetteboy's "Cameron's Conference Rap" is a spectacular piece of work -- virtuoso mashupry worthy of Cecil B DeVil.

(via Waxy)

Stephen Harper sells Canada: China can secretly sue to repeal Canadian laws


Under the terms of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, approved by PM Harper on Friday, China can sue Canada in secret tribunals to repeal national and provincial laws that interfere with Chinese investments, including laws limiting construction of the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline.

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Behind the scenes look at Canada's Harper government gagging scientists

Dave writes, "A request to interview a government scientist about his discoveries on 'Rock Snot' (algae) results in hundreds of e-mails, discussions of allowed talking points and, in the end, no approval for interview. Why? Perhaps because the source of the rock snot might be climate change?"

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Canadian PM steals site of memorial for political rival's father

Stephen Harper has snatched land long designated for a building to be named for Pierre Trudeau (father of Justin Trudeau, leader of the rival Liberal Party), and redesignated it to host a Stalinesque statue memorializing 'victims of Communism.'

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Canadian gov't economists insist that stats on collapsing middle class mean just the opposite


Dave sez, "Last year, Employment and Social Development Canada put together a report suggesting that the Canadian middle class has seen wage stagnation and is experiencing record levels of debt; Finance Canada felt that this 'appears to conflict with the general message in Budget 2014 and previous internal briefings' so they made a new report -- that says the opposite, while looking at the same data."

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