Shadow Regulation: the secret laws that giant corporations cook up in back rooms

The winner-take-all economy has turned virtually every industry into a cartel (four record labels, two cable companies, two phone operating systems, etc) who operate without fear of competition regulation, allowing representatives of a few companies to gather in closed-door meetings to cook up operating agreements that end up having the force of law. Read the rest

2600 Magazine offers $10K for Trump's tax return

2600: The Hacker Quarterly -- a venerable and storied source of hacker mischief and wonder -- has publicly offered a bounty of $10,000 (payable in "dollars, bitcoin... or rubles") for the first look at Donald Trump's tax return. Read the rest

Ex-Wells employees who were fired for NOT committing fraud launch $2.6B lawsuit

When four named whistleblowers came forward to reveal that they'd been illegally fired from Wells Fargo for reporting that the company was experiencing widespread fraud, it was deja vu all over again: Wells also punished whistleblowers who sounded the alarm during the subprime crisis, and was thus so totally compromised that they needed a $36B taxpayer bailout. Read the rest

California will collect public records for all police use of force, using open source software

There are a handful of states that keep records of police force, but they are incomplete records, and they're maintained on paper; contrast that with URSUS, California's new tool that collects every single use of force, storing it in open, transparent free software maintained by Bayes Impact, a nonprofit. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren to FBI director: now that investigations are fair game, what about banksters?

When FBI Director James Comey released detailed notes on the Bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server, they broke with precedent, specifically, their refusal to release documents explaining why they totally failed to prosecute any of the bankers responsible for tanking the US economy in 2008 and destroying the lives of millions of Americans. Read the rest

Leaked: damning Scott Walker dark money docs that judge ordered destroyed

Again and again, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker flouted election laws to raise millions from some of the richest executives and biggest corporations in America, illegally laundering the money through the nominally independent, nonprofit Wisconsin Club for Growth -- and now we have all the details, thanks to an enormous leak of documents that a Wisconsin judge ordered destroyed. Read the rest

The DoJ is using a boring procedure to secure the right to unleash malware on the internet

The upcoming Rule 41 modifications to US Criminal Justice procedure underway at the Department of Justice will let the FBI hack computers in secret, with impunity, using dangerous tools that are off-limits to independent scrutiny -- all without Congressional approval and all at a moment at which America needs its law-enforcement community to be strengthening the nation's computers, not hoarding and weaponizing defects that put us all at risk. Read the rest

Leaked Stingray manual shows how easy warrantless mass surveillance can be!

The Intercept has got hold of a set of Harris's super-secretive manuals for their even-more-secret Stingray devices: fake cellular towers used to spy indiscriminately on whole populations by hacking their cellphones into giving up identifying information and more. Read the rest

California's "gang" database is a sick joke; today, you can do something about it

Dave Maass from Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "A coalition of social justice and digital rights groups are tweeting at Gov. Jerry Brown today to demand he sign A.B. 2298, a bill that would bring new accountability measures to CalGang, the state's troubled gang database. Read the rest

If DRM is so great, why won't anyone warn you when you're buying it?

Last month, I filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of Electronic Frontier Foundation, 22 of EFF's supporters, and a diverse coalition of rightsholders, public interest groups, and retailers, documenting the ways that ordinary Americans come to harm when they buy products without realizing that these goods have been encumbered with DRM, and asking the FTC to investigate fair labeling for products that come with sneaky technological shackles. Read the rest

Watch: leaked demo of malware offered to spying governments

Someone captured and leaked a live presentation by an RCS sales tech, demonstrating his company's cyber-weapon for spying on dissidents, criminals, and whomever else the customer wanted to infect. Read the rest

Blackballed by machine learning: how algorithms can destroy your chances of getting a job

The Guardian's published a long excerpt from Cathy O'Neil's essential new book, Weapons of Math Destruction, in which O'Neil describes the way that shoddy machine-learning companies have come to dominate waged employment hiring, selling their dubious products to giant companies that use them to decide who can and can't work. Read the rest

Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives

I've been writing about the work of Cathy "Mathbabe" O'Neil for years: she's a radical data-scientist with a Harvard PhD in mathematics, who coined the term "Weapons of Math Destruction" to describe the ways that sloppy statistical modeling is punishing millions of people every day, and in more and more cases, destroying lives. Today, O'Neil brings her argument to print, with a fantastic, plainspoken, call to arms called (what else?) Weapons of Math Destruction.

UC Davis Chancellor spent $400K+ to scrub her online reputation after pepper-spray incident

Back in April, we learned that UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi had hired a sleazy "reputation-management" company to scrub her reputation and that of the university after the 2011 incident in which university police lieutenant John Pike hosed down peaceful protesters with pepper spray, jetting chemical irritant directly into their open mouths and eyes. Read the rest

DEA bribes rail/airline employees for tipoffs that lead to warrantless cash seizures

A USA Today investigation has discovered a network of paid informants working for Amtrak and nearly every US airline who illegally delve into passengers' travel records to find people who might be traveling with a lot of cash: these tip-offs are used by the DEA to effect civil forfeiture -- seizing money without laying any charges against its owner, under the rubric that the cash may be proceeds from drug sales. One Amtrak secretary was secretly paid $854,460 to raid her employer's databases for the DEA. Read the rest

America will finally gather statistics on which and how many people are killed by law enforcement

As the highly controversial deaths of black people at the hands of American law enforcement officers has crept into our public discourse this decade, so too has the revelation that no federal agency maintains statistics on killings by police officers, prompting The Guardian -- a UK-based newspaper -- to launch The Counted, a project to piece together a national picture of death-by-cop from the fragmentary evidence of press reports and open records requests. Read the rest

Mysterious medical research consortium: we should own volunteers' clinical trial data for 5 years

The "International Consortium of Investigators for Fairness in Trial Data Sharing" -- a group that appears to have just been formed, backed by 282 researcher in 33 countries -- has objected to a plan to limit exclusivity over clinical trial data derived from medical volunteers, insisting instead that the fair thing to do is to lock up this uncopyrightable, factual data for up to five years. Read the rest

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