Kim Davis isn't doing her job. Again.

Rowan County, KY Clerk Kim Davis [Reuters]

Kim Davis isn't doing her job again. Michael from Muckrock writes, "This time, she's falling short on responding to public records requests, particularly one relating to her controversial visit with Pope Francis." Read the rest

Algorithmic guilt: defendants must be able to inspect source code in forensic devices


Some day, you may be the defendant in a criminal trial that turns on whether the software in a forensic device reached a reliable conclusion about a DNA test or other piece of evidence. Wouldn't you like to have your own experts check the source code on that device? Read the rest

NZ government leaks on TPP: copyright terms will go to life plus 70 years


An official New Zealand government bulletin on yesterday's conclusion of the still-secret Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations accidentally confirmed something we all believed was in there all along: an extension of copyright terms to match the USA's bizarre, evidence-free, century-plus terms. Read the rest

Primer explains the spying tech your local cops are using


The Electronic Frontier Foundation's new Law Enforcement Technology Primer for Civilian Oversight Bodies is a short, easy-to-understand guide for non-technical people that explains the new surveillance technology that local law-enforcement agencies are increasingly relying upon, often in secret, and without any civilian oversight. Read the rest

Now that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is finalized, the real fight starts


For most of a decade, government negotiators from around the Pacific Rim have met in utmost secrecy to negotiate a "trade deal" that was kept secret from legislatures, though executives from the world's biggest corporations were allowed in the room and even got to draft parts of the treaty. Read the rest

Dieselgate for TVs: Samsung accused of programming TVs to cheat energy efficiency ratings


The European Commission is probing whether Samsung televisions' sensed when they were being tested for energy efficiency and changed their power consumption to get better ratings than they deserved. Read the rest

KARMA POLICE: GCHQ's plan to track every Web user in the world


The KARMA POLICE program is detailed in newly released Snowden docs published on The Intercept; it began as a project to identify every listener to every Internet radio station (to find people listening to jihadi radio) and grew into an ambitious plan to identify every Web user and catalog their activities from porn habits to Skype contacts. Read the rest

The Snowden Treaty: protecting the world's whistleblowers in the age of privacy breaches


The Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers [PDF] (AKA "The Snowden Treaty") was created by David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's partner, who was detained by UK police under terrorism legislation while transiting through London's Heathrow airport with a encrypted thumbdrive containing some of the Snowden leaks. 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

Yet another pre-installed spyware app discovered on Lenovo computers


A factory refurbished Thinkpad shipped with Windows 7 and a scheduler app that ran once a day, collecting usage data about what you do with your computer and exfiltrating it to an analytics company. Read the rest

Neil DeGrasse Tyson talks with Edward Snowden


This week on the Startalk podcast, America's best-loved astronomer talks with my favorite whistleblower (MP3). Read the rest

How to send email like a non-metaphorical boss


When Enron collapsed and got hit with a lawsuit requesting discovery on its internal email, its top bosses decided that they'd skip spending money on pricey lawyers to go through the archive and remove immaterial messages -- instead, the dumped the entire corpus of internal mail, including their employees' personal messages. Read the rest

UC Berkeley issues first-ever university transparency report


April writes, "The University of California-Berkeley has become the first university in the United States to publish a set of transparency reports that detail government requests for student, faculty, and staff data." Read the rest

Campus cops: all the powers of real cops, none of the accountability


Michael from Muckrock writes, "Want some transparency from your local police? Then public records law is probably on your side if you're in the US -- unless you happen to be a college student. MuckRock's Shawn Musgrave looks at the broad exemptions that give campus police almost all the rights and powers of regular cops, without any of the public accountability."

Read the rest

For the first time ever, a judge has invalidated a secret Patriot Act warrant


Calyx is a privacy-oriented ISP. In 2004, the FBI brought its owner, Nicholas Merrill, a National Security Letter -- one of the USA Patriot Act's secret search warrants, which comes with a gag order prohibiting the recipient from ever disclosing its existence.

Merrill has fought the gag order for 11 years, refusing to give up despite government attempts to get the case booted and to run up the court costs beyond Merrill's ability to pay.

He had a partial victory in 2010, when he and the ACLU won a court victory that allowed him to disclose some elements of the NSL, but left important details -- including the categories of information the FBI believes it can request under an NSL -- still secret. This latest victory overturns that restriction.

The judge in this case, Judge Victor Marrero, also presided over a 2007 case that overturned part of the Patriot Act, requiring investigators to go through the courts in order to get NSLs. In his Calyx decision, he condemned the government's secrecy as "extreme and overly broad."

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero’s decision invalidated the gag order in full, finding no “good reason” to prevent Merrill from speaking about any aspect of the NSL, particularly an attachment to the NSL that lists the specific types of “electronic communication transactional records” (“ECTR”) that the FBI believed it was authorized to demand. The FBI has long refused to clarify what kinds of information it sweeps up under the rubric of ECTR, a phrase that appears in the NSL statute but is not publicly defined anywhere.

Read the rest

Interactive map of the swathes of England owned by offshore tax-dodgers

Whole regions of England are now owned by holding companies in tax-havens "from Panama to Luxembourg, and from Liechtenstein to the South Pacific island of Niue." Read the rest

NSA whistleblower James Bamford profiles Edward Snowden

Bamford was the first-ever NSA whistleblower, whose bravery led to the Church Commission and the unprecedented curbs on the agency's spying powers -- his long, sympathetic Wired profile of Snowden is full of insight and wisdom. Read the rest

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