Three California Nazis sentenced to prison for their participation in the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally

Benjamin Daley, Michael Miselis, and Thomas Gillen, members of the California Nazi group "Rise Above Movement (RAM)" have been given prison sentences by a Virginia court for their participation in the 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally; United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said, "They were not interested in peaceful protest or lawful First Amendment expression; instead, they intended to provoke and engage in street battles with those that they perceived as their enemies." All pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to riot. (Thanks, Kathy Padilla!) Read the rest

A free, accessible, hyperlinked version of the Mueller Report

The Internet Archive, the Digital Public Library of America and Muckrock have released a version of the Mueller Report as an Epub with 747 live footnotes, fully compliant with both Web and EPUB accessibility requirements. Read the rest

Eminent psychologists condemn "emotion detection" systems as being grounded in junk science

One of the more extravagant claims made by tech companies is that they can detect emotions by analyzing photos of our faces with machine learning systems. The premise is sometimes dressed up in claims about "micro-expressions" that are below the threshold of human detection, though some vendors have made billions getting security agencies to let them train officers in "behavior detection" grounded in this premise. Read the rest

Equifax settles with FTC, CFPB, states, and consumer class actions for $700m

Equifax doxed virtually every adult in America as well as millions of people in other countries like the UK and Canada. The breach was caused by an acquisition spree in which the company bought smaller competitors faster than it could absorb them, followed by negligence in both monitoring and responses to early warnings. Execs who learned of the breach used it as an opportunity to engage in insider trading, while failing to take action to alert the public. Equifax nonconsensually gathers dossiers on everyone it can, seeking the most sensitive and potentially damaging information to record. The company was founded as part of a corporate spy-ring employed to root out and identify political dissidents and sexual minorities. Read the rest

Chrome is patching a bug that lets sites detect and block private browsing mode, declares war on incognito-blocking

The next version of Chrome will patch a bug that lets websites detect users who are in incognito mode by by probing the Filesystem API; they've also pledged to seek out and block any other vulnerabilities that will let servers detect users in incognito mode. Read the rest

Where to catch me this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con! Panel today at 5PM!

I'm headed back to San Diego for Comic-Con this weekend, and you can catch me on Saturday and Sunday:

Saturday, 5PM: Panel: Writing: Craft, Community, and Crossover (with James Killen, Seanan McGuire, Charlie Jane Anders, Annalee Newitz, and Sarah Gailey), Room 23ABC

Sunday, 10AM: Signing and giveaway for Radicalized, Tor Booth, #2701.

I hope to see you there! Read the rest

Howto: design a cocktail for a Lunar civilization

Ian McDonald's Luna trilogy is filled with fantastically detailed grace-notes that give his lunar society an uncanny veneer of reality; one of the most fascinating and thoughtful of these details is the cocktails that McDonald's clannish lunarians consume, each great house with its own signature tipple. Read the rest

Having burnished their reputations with extravagant promises, the billionaires who pledged €600m. to rebuild Notre Dame are missing in action

Philanthropy is theoretically an expression of generosity and fellow-feeling, but in an increasingly unequal world, charitable giving is a form of reputation laundering for super-rich oligarchs who build their massive fortunes on savage programs of exploitation and immiseration. The idea is that you can paper over the fact that deliberately starting the opioid crisis made you richer than the Rockefellers by having your name plastered all over the world's leading art galleries and museums. Read the rest

After the Oliver Twist poorhouse became luxury housing with a segregated playground, London bans segregated play-areas

The world is full of corrupt oligarchs looking to smuggle their money out of their countries and put it somewhere where the rule of law that they have helped to dismantle at home still reigns; a favourite safe asset class is luxury housing in major cities, which is viewed as easy to sell on short notice due to the large supply of other money-laundering oligarchs. Read the rest

Using university syllabi to map the connections between every scholarly and scientific discipline

Joe Karganis writes, "This is the 'Co-Assignment Galaxy' created by David McClure. It maps the top 160K titles in the new Open Syllabus 2.0 dataset, based on the frequency with which those texts are assigned (reflected in the size of the dot) and assigned together (reflected in the location and clustering of the dots). It's US centric given the composition of the syllabus collection, but also a unique representation of human knowledge as a collective, connected project. Read the rest

Small town, independent and municipally owned ISPs offer America's best connectivity

An article of faith among neoliberals is that monopolies are efficient because they are so profitable that they can offer better prices to their customers as well as better services. Read the rest

Vast majority of porn sites use Google Analytics and Facebook embeds that track you, even in incognito mode

If you only look at porn with your browser in incognito mode, your browser will not record your porn-viewing history; but the porn sites themselves overwhelmingly embed tracking scripts from Google and Facebook in every page: 93% of 22,484 porn sites analyzed in a New Media & Society paper had some kind of third-party tracker, with Google in the lead, but also including trackers from some of the worst privacy offenders in Silicon Valley, like Oracle. Read the rest

Stephen Fry explains the vast superiority of UK healthcare to America's omnishambles, which Brexiteers hope to import

After Brexit, Tory leaders are hoping to strike a bilateral trade agreement with the USA that will begin the dismantling of the NHS, starting with a ban on price-controls for pharma and open doors for America's wasteful, cruel, useless health-care insurance mega-corporations. In this video, national treasure Stephen Fry explains how the UK and US systems compare, and how American media lies about the state of the NHS to credulous, mouth-breathing Fox News zombies. If you want to keep the NHS out of any UK-US trade deal, sign the petition here. Learn more about Brexit here. Read the rest

SAMBA versus SMB: Adversarial interoperability is judo for network effects

Before there was Big Tech, there was "adversarial interoperability": when someone decides to compete with a dominant company by creating a product or service that "interoperates" (works with) its offerings. Read the rest

DoNotPay's latest service will auto-cancel your free trials before the billing period starts

DoNotPay (previously) is a collection of consumer-advocacy tools automated the process of fighting traffic tickets, help homeless people claim benefits, sue Equifax for leaking all your financial data, navigating the airlines' deliberately confusing process for getting refunds on plane tickets whose prices drop after you buy them, and filing small-claims suits against crooked corporations. Read the rest

An Indian research university has assembled 73 million journal articles (without permission) and is offering the archive for unfettered scientific text-mining

The JNU Data Depot is a joint project between rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously), bioinformatician Andrew Lynn, and a research team from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University: together, they have assembled 73 million journal articles from 1847 to the present day and put them into an airgapped respository that they're offering to noncommercial third parties who want to perform textual analysis on them to "pull out insights without actually reading the text." Read the rest

How deceptive browser extensions snaffled up 4m users' browsing history, including Nest videos, medical history and tax returns

Nacho Analytics sells browsing data from more than 4m users (they advertise "See Anyone’s Analytics Account"), a service it calls "God mode for the internet." The data is harvested by embedding Nacho's spyware (dubbed "Dataspii") in a variety of browser extensions, mostly for Chrome, but also some for Firefox. Read the rest

More posts