1,000 Googlers sign petition opposing Google's plan to launch a censored Chinese search engine

Over 1,000 Google employees have signed a petition urging senior management to reconsider the company's plan to launch a censored Chinese search product (codename: Dragonfly), a revolt that's been in the works since the news broke; the employees demand transparency about the project and point out that it violates the Association of Computing Machinery's code of ethics. Read the rest

Chicago police data reveals how dirty cops spread corruption like a disease

In 2009, after a successful public records lawsuit, the Invisible Institute received data on complaints against Chicago Police Department officers since 1988 -- the complaints often list multiple officers, and by tracing the social graph of dirty cops over time, The Intercept's Rob Arthur was able to show how corruption spread like a contagion, from senior officers to junior ones, teaching bad practices ranging from brutality to falsifying evidence to torture to racism to plotting to murder whistleblowing cops. Read the rest

Billionaire making a bid for Democratic Florida Governor nomination invested millions in Puerto Rican debt

Jeff Greene is a billionaire who made his fortune shorting subprime real-estate while Floridians were facing mass evictions; now he's hoping to be the Democratic candidate for Governor of Florida and his financial disclosures reveal a raft of extremely toxic investments, including millions in Puerto Rican debt (Florida is full of Puerto Rican refugees who had to flee their homes after debt-holders starved the state of infrastructure money so it could neither defend itself against hurricanes, nor rebuild in their wake), Argentinian debt (another go-to for vulture capitalists), and "oil and gas stocks Exxon, Hess, Kinder Morgan, and Apache." Read the rest

Targeting vulnerable GOP Senator: don't confirm Kavanaugh or we'll give tons of money to your opponent

Ady Barkan's Be a Hero campaign has made an offer to vulnerable Republican Senator Susan Collins [Maine]: confirm Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court and we'll give all of our fundraised dollars to your Democratic opponent in the 2020 election; block Kavanaugh and we'll give the money back to our donors. They're looking for $20.20 pledges (I gave). (Image: Joe Ravi, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

Excellent advice for new law students

Ken "Popehat" White (previously), a former Federal prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney, has some excellent advice for all you newbie law-students who are just starting your law school career. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren wants to save capitalism from itself

President Elizabeth Warren (2020-2028) has proposed the Accountable Capitalism Act, which will subject US corporations with $1B/year or more in revenue to the "German model" of corporate governance, in which workers get board-seats and financial decisionmaking must take into consideration the impact that decisions will have on "stakeholders" including workers, investors, suppliers, retailers, and residents near plants or facilities. Read the rest

Laser cutters and 3D printers revive century-old a magic lantern show of Erewhon at the Edinburgh Fringe

James Coutts writes, "Indiana University Victorian Studies PhD candidate Mary Borgo Ton assembled an international group of artists/makers, a media archaeologist, laser cutters and 3D printers to create magic lantern slides that have not been made in 100 years for a show running in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe called Erewhon: "An antique magic lantern projector, an iPhone and a live musical score shine a new light on Samuel Butler’s classic sci-fi novel. A Victorian explorer discovers a colony of refugees; time travellers from the 21st century escaping their dependence on its technology. This delightful neo-historical head-scratcher playfully welds future, past and present into a glittering bracelet of time." Read the rest

Award-winning security research reveals a host of never-seen, currently unblockable web-tracking techniques

Who Left Open the Cookie Jar? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Third-Party Cookie Policies won the Distinguished Paper prize at this year's Usenix Security Conference; its authors, researchers at Belgium's Catholic University in Leuven, revealed a host of devastating, never-seen tracking techniques for identifying web-users who were using privacy tools supplied by browser-vendors and third-party tracking-blocking tools. Read the rest

That time Phyllis Diller roasted the Haunted Mansion

Back in 1972-3, Disney ran a short-lived variety show called The Mouse Factory that intercut classic animation with live action, framed by celebrity hosts that kind of threaded it all together into a mashed-up, loose storyline. Read the rest

How a civic hacker used open data to halve tickets at Chicago's most confusing parking spot

Matt Chapman used the Freedom of Information Act to get the City of Chicago's very mess parking ticket data; after enormous and heroic data normalization, Chapman was able to pinpoint one of the city's most confusing parking spots, between 1100-1166 N State St, which cycled between duty as a taxi-stand and a parking spot with a confusingly placed and semi-busted parking meter. Read the rest

Truthful security disclosures should always be legal. Period.

After a week of blockbuster security revelations from Defcon it's important to take a step back and address the ongoing battle by companies to seize a veto over who can reveal defects in their products. Read the rest

Talking surveillance, elections, monopolies, and Facebook on the Bots and Ballots podcast

Grant Burningham interviewed me for his Bots and Ballots podcast (MP3), covering a bunch of extremely timely tech-politics issues: Facebook and the impact of commercial surveillance on democratic elections; Alex Jones, censorship and market concentration; and monopolism and the future of the internet. Read the rest

Trou: a soft, CCTV-bugged interactive sculpture that you ram your hand and arm into

Trou is an interactive sculpture from Valencia, Spain's Mireia Donat Melús: the nylon and silicon fiber blob invites viewers to don a surgical glove and insert their hands and arms into an elastic orifice in the sculpture's surface -- and watching their probing appendage from within via a live video-feed. Read the rest

Insecure medical equipment protocols let attackers spoof diagnostic information

Douglas McKee of McAffee presented his research into the security of medical diagnostic equipment at last week's Defcon conference in Las Vegas. Read the rest

Majority of young Americans distrust capitalism, embrace socialism

Who likes socialism and mistrust capitalism? Democrats and young people, who are mostly the same people. Read the rest

New Zealand bans most offshore residential real-estate ownership

With today's passage of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, the Parliament of New Zealand has banned nonresidents from buying most residential property in the country, in an effort to end the skyrocketing housing expenses (Auckland is one of the world's least-affordable cities) by freezing out overseas speculators, though these account for less than 3% of total real-estate transactions, with the majority coming from China. Read the rest

Disney (yes, Disney) declares war on "overzealous copyright holders"

Disney is being sued by the Michael Jackson estate for using fair-use clips in a biopic called "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" -- in its brief, the company decries "overzealous copyright holders" whose unwillingness to consider fair use harms "the right of free speech under the First Amendment." Read the rest

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