Porno copyright troll sentenced to 14 years: "a wrecking ball to trust in the administration of justice"

For years, Paul Hansmeier terrorized internet users through his copyright trolling racket Prenda Law, evading the law through shell companies and fraud, until, finally, he was brought to justice and pleaded guilty last August. Read the rest

Ukrainian oligarchs accused of laundering $470b, buying up much of Cleveland

Billionaires Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogolyubov used to own Privatbank -- the largest bank in Ukraine -- and now they are being sued for using it for a decade to launder more than $470b (through its Cyprus subsidiary) ($470b is more than double the GDP of Cyprus over the same period). Read the rest

Empirical review of privacy policies reveals that they are "incomprehensible" drivel

Writer and data journalist Kevin Litman-Navarro subjected 150 privacy policies from leading online services to programmatic analysis for complexity (the Lexile test), and found them to be an incomprehensible mess second only to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in their lack of clarity. Read the rest

Beyond lockpicking: learn about the class-breaks for doors, locks, hinges and other physical security measures

Deviant Ollam runs a physical security penetration testing company called The Core Group; in a flat-out amazing, riveting presentation from the 2017 Wild West Hackin' Fest, Ollam -- a master lockpicker -- describes how lockpicking is a last resort for the desperate, while the wily and knowledgeable gain access by attacking doors and locks with tools that quickly and undetectably open them. Read the rest

Hong Kong's #612strike uprising is alive to surveillance threats, but its countermeasures are woefully inadequate

The millions of Hong Kong people participating in the #612strike uprising are justifiably worried about state retaliation, given the violent crackdowns on earlier uprisings like the Umbrella Revolution and Occupy Central; they're also justifiably worried that they will be punished after the fact. Read the rest

Reverse mortgages: subprime's "stealth aftershock" that is costing elderly African-Americans their family homes

Reverse mortgages -- complex home loans -- are aggressively marketed to elderly people, especially in African-American neighborhoods, using deceptive tactics that offer false promised to "eliminate monthly payments permanently" with "a risk-free way of being able to access home equity." Read the rest

Maine's new ISP privacy law has both California and New York beat

The Great State of Maine, having jettisoned its far-right lunatic "government" and replaced it with a responsive, progressive, evidence-based one, is now set to pass the nation's most stringent ISP privacy law, going further than both New York and California. Read the rest

McMansion Hell versus the dubious monster homes of Waukesha County, Wisconsin

McMansion Hell (previously) rounds up the ten stupidest megahomes of Waukesha County, Wisconsin ("perhaps one of the most underrated McMansion counties in the country"), which is such a target-rich environment that proprietor Kate Wagner couldn't "choose just one to do a takedown of." Read the rest

Couture fashion company Vetements is selling an unauthorized €800 Pirate Bay hoodie

Vetements claims its clothes -- like this £291 unauthorized DHL tee -- cost so much because they use special factories and really good materials. Read the rest

Audio GIFs: encoding sound in GIFs because why not

.a.gif is a new file format from Rancid Bacon, which encodes audio files within standards-compliant GIFs, allow you to play audio during an animated GIF's playback; it is inefficient and weird, and therefore pretty terrific. Read the rest

In Alabama, it's traditional for sheriffs who lose their elections to steal and waste money, destroy public property

Alabama has 67 sheriffs -- elected law-enforcement officers who police unincorporated townships where they answer only to voters, not city governments -- and 9 out of ten of the sheriffs who lost their 2018 elections have been accused by their successors of engaging in fraud, waste and destruction of public property before leaving office. Read the rest

After American juvenile offenders are released, they can be re-imprisoned for failing to make restitution payments

Many states require criminals to make financial restitution to the victims of their crimes -- paying to replace the things the damaged or stole -- and this applies to juvenile offenders as well as adults. Read the rest

Majority of American millionaires support a wealth tax on American millionaires

When Elizabeth Warren proposed a Thomas Piketty-style wealth tax (2% annually on family fortunes over $50m, 1% more on fortunes over $1b), she ballparked the returns at $1.9-2.75t over the first ten years. Read the rest

Facebook execs are worried that Zuck's emails show he never took his FTC privacy obligations seriously

In 2012, Facebook settled an FTC privacy investigation by promising a host of privacy protections (that they never delivered on); now, the FTC is probing Facebook's noncompliance and they've demanded that the company let them look at Zuck's email, which prompted the company's legal team to have a look therein, and they really didn't like what they saw. Read the rest

Hong Kong's #612strike protest movement: a million strong, leaderless, wireless and smart as hell

Hong Kong's previous mass-protest uprisings -- 2014's Occupy Central, 2016's Umbrella Revolution -- were ultimately smashed by the state through a combination of violent suppression and electronic surveillance, greatly aided by the hierarchical structure of the protest movements (which made it possible to decapitate them by arresting their leaders) and their internal divisions and infighting. Read the rest

It Feels Good to Be Yourself: a sweet, simple picture book about gender identity

Theresa Thorn (co-host of the excellent parenting podcast One Bad Mother and Jesse Thorn (proprietor of the excellent Maximum Fun podcasting network) have a transgender daughter; Theresa has written a beautiful, sweet picture book about gender identity based on her experiences with her trans kid: It Feels Good to Be Yourself. Read the rest

Machine learning classifiers are up to 20% less accurate when labeling photos from homes in poor countries

A new study from Facebook AI Research evaluates common machine-learning classifiers' ability to label photos of objects found in households in rich countries versus household objects from poor countries and finds that the models' performance lags significantly when being asked to classify the possessions of poor people. Read the rest

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