Jeremy Corbyn overpays his taxes

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The Sun, a Murdoch-owned UK tabloid, accused the socialist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (previously) of dodging his fair share of taxes, claiming he understated his income from speeches by £450. After closer examination, it transpired that Corbyn overstated his earnings by £270 and paid tax on the full amount. Read the rest

Switzerland of Bits: crowdfunding a haven for freedom of information & free expression

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Since the International Modern Media Institute was founded in 2011 it has been an independent watchdog and advocacy group working to promote and protect freedom of expression and freedom of information.

The Icelandic Parliament resolved unanimously to make Iceland a Safe Haven for freedom of expression and freedom of information. These intended legal protections promote whistleblowing, journalism and online rights. It is local in scope but global in impact.

Over the last week the world has witnessed the revelations of the Panama Papers making public the offshore dealings of politicians and business leaders. Offshore tax havens serve two functions; to avoid tax and to hide ownership. Already, in Iceland, the Prime Minister has been forced to resign as a consequence of these reports which unveiled his offshore dealings.

The Panama Papers were the result of a whistleblower coming forth with information and a huge team of investigative journalists working to verify data and coordinating its reporting. The safe haven initiative aims to encourage and promote governmental transparency, holding power to account, empowering citizens and thereby democracy.

IMMI conducts legal research, advocates for legislative reform and is an active participant in working groups established to implement a legislative framework in Iceland where journalism and online rights are protected and supported. This includes drafting and implementing an act on whistleblower protection, fighting to remove data retention from Icelandic law, drafting and promoting legislation on the limited liability of intermediaries and a host of other measures.

In order to protect democracy, real and meaningful democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of information must to be protected, ensuring access to information and freedom of the media. Read the rest

Tax investigators and bill collectors use Rich Kids of Instagram to uncover oligarchs' hidden millions

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One of the perks of being insanely wealthy is you can hide your money, so when you rip people off or hide your taxes or divorce your spouse, your victims can't figure out how to get their due. Read the rest

The international art market is a money laundry whose details are in the Panama Papers

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If you've got $50M you need to hide, and want to be able to move around invisibly, what better way than to buy a painting through a secret, numbered offshore account, stick it in a vault in Basel, whence you can liquidate it, retrieve it, and move it on a moment's notice. Read the rest

Iceland's Prime Minister says he won't resign, mass demonstrations gain momentum

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After storming out of an interview where he was questioned about his ownership of an offshore company implicated in the Icelandic banking scandal, Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, has said he will not resign (he did apologize for doing a bad job on the interview). Read the rest

Panama Papers reveal the tax-avoidance strategies of David Cameron's father

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The fact that Ian Cameron -- father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron -- ran a firm called "Blairmore Holdings" that rich Britons used to move their assets offshore and out of reach of UK taxation is no secret. Read the rest

Reddit's Warrant Canary just died

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In early 2015, Reddit published a transparency report that contained heading for National Security Requests, noting, "As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information." Read the rest

Up to half of the Americans killed by police have a disability

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Police violence is America is a statistical black hole, where data collection on shootings and killings are kept in haphazard or nonexistent form across local, state and federal levels, leaving scholars to piece together statistical pictures using techniques developed to reconstruct genocides from survivors' accounts. Read the rest

Gallery of all (?) 7 undercover NYPD cars disguised as yellow cabs

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Herman Yung is an enthusiastic photographer/taxi-spotter and over the years, he's managed to spot seven NYPD police cars disguised as yellow cabs (cab numbers 2W97, 6Y19, 6Y17, 2W95, 2W68, 6Y13, and 6Y21). Inspired by today's post about a Freedom of Information Act request about the cars, he's made his collection public for the first time, along with a spotter's guide for people who want to find their own. Read the rest

Cop Cabs: The NYPD has at least three fake taxis on NYC's streets

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "Watch what you say: That next taxi you hail could be driven by New York's Finest. A MuckRock FOIA request has found that the NYPD has at least three undercover cop cars posing as taxis ... and quite possibly many more." Read the rest

Meet the Commercial Energy Working Group, a lobby group that won't say who it lobbies for

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Though they are legally required to disclose the names of any members or donore who give them more than $5K, the Commercial Energy Working Group -- which lobbies against energy sector regulations -- refuses to name any of its backers. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning gets the US Army to cough up its "insider threat" training docs

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Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning writes, "I filed my Freedom of Information Act request in 2014 for Training Material related to the Insider Threat Program. I had almost forgoten about it, when the package arrived in the mail. In it was this slideshow." Read the rest

50 reasons the TPP is terrible beyond belief

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Michael Geist sez, "For the past two and a half months, I have been writing a daily series on the trouble with the Trans Pacific Partnership. The 50 part series wrapped up today with the case against ratifying the TPP. While the focus is on Canadian issues, the series hits on problems that all 12 countries face: unbalanced intellectual property rules, privacy risks, dangers to the Internet and technology, cultural and health regulation, and investor-state settlement rules that could cost countries billions of dollars." Read the rest

Petition: tell Obama to stand by commitment to "most transparent administration in history"

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Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "President Obama has said he's running the 'most transparent administration in history.' But new documents reveal that his administration secretly lobbied to kill transparency reform legislation that had broad bipartisan support and would have made it easier for journalists and citizens to file FOIA requests that help keep the government open and accountable." Read the rest

Web security company breached, client list (including KKK) dumped, hackers mock inept security

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Newport Beach based Staminus Communications offered DDoS protection and other security services to its clients; early this morning, their systems went down and a dump of their internal files were dumped to the Internet. Read the rest

Lawsuit reveals Obama's DoJ sabotaged Freedom of Information Act transparency

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The Obama administration declared itself to be the "most transparent administration in history," but a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that Obama's Justice Department worked tirelessly behind the scenes to kill any chance of increased Freedom of Information Act access to governments at all levels, from lobbying Congress to kill FOIA reform to urging other administrative agencies to obstruct FOIA requests. Read the rest

Using distributed code-signatures to make it much harder to order secret backdoors

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Cothority is a new software project that uses "multi-party cryptographic signatures" to make it infinitely harder for governments to order companies to ship secret, targeted backdoors to their products as innocuous-looking software updates. Read the rest

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