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

Stiglitz quits Panama's official money-laundering panel over internal sabotage

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has resigned from the Panamanian committee set up to probe the country's money-laundering industry in the wake of the Panama Papers leak, because the Panamanian government has reneged on its promise to publish the committee's findings and now says it will keep them secret. Read the rest

EFF and partners reveal Kazakh government phished journalists, opposition politicians

At Defcon, researchers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, First Look Media and Amnesty International, revealed their findings on a major phishing attack through which the government of Kazakhstan was able to hack opposition journalists and arrange for an opposition politician's extradition from exile in Italy to Kazakhstan. Read the rest

Jacksonville police pension fund blows $1.8M worth of tax-dollars fighting open records requests

When Times-Union Editor Frank Denton sued the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund over breaking the law by meeting secretly to negotiate pension benefits, the fund and the city blew nearly half a million dollars fighting the case before finally losing. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning faces new charges, indefinite solitary confinement, related to suicide attempt

An update on the health status and prisoner status of Wikileaks source and U.S. whistleblower Chelsea Manning, from her supporters at Fight for the Future.

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Congress: TSA is worst place to work in USG, nearly half of employees cited for misconduct; it's getting worse

The House Homeland Security Committee Majority Staff Report has just published its investigation on aviation security, and the title really tells you everything you need to know: MISCONDUCT AT TSA THREATENS THE SECURITY OF THE FLYING PUBLIC. Read the rest

UPDATED: Wikileaks dumps years' worth of email from Turkey's ruling party

Update: This dump turned out to primarily consist of public mailing list traffic; Wikileaks promotions of the dump included links to spreadsheets containing thousands of Turkish women's sensitive personal information, and the organization has largely ducked responsibility for its mistakes, attacking those who point out its mistakes.

Wikileaks have just published the Erdo─čan Emails, which is claimed to represent years' worth of email from the APK, the Turkish ruling party, with messages dating from 2010 to as recent as July 6. Read the rest

GOP platform: repeal campaign finance laws, allow unlimited dark/offshore money in US politics

The newly adopted campaign finance reform section of the GOP platform for the 2016 election calls for "raising or repealing contribution limits" for private individuals and demands an end to "requiring private organizations to publicly disclose their donors to the government," which means that the identity of PAC financiers will be completely secret, opening up offshore financing of US political candidates; finally, the platform condemns "forced funding of political candidates," meaning public election financing. Read the rest

North Carolina adopts the nation's worst police bodycam law

House Bill 972, signed into law by NC governor Pat McCrory [R] on Tuesday, makes police dashcam and bodycam footage off-limits to public records requests, off-limits to anyone who isn't personally pictured in the footage, and then only by request, which can be turned down, forcing subjects to appeal to the state Supreme Court. Read the rest

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