Scott Pruitt's EPA has opened secret backchannels to the climate denial industry to find "scientists" and other "experts"

The Environmental Defense Fund and the Southern Environmental Law Center sued the EPA to force it to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for access to emails to and from thinktanks associated with the climate denial industry like the Heartland Institute, Plants Need CO2, The Right Climate Stuff, and Junk Science. Read the rest

Two sitting Senators were among the people whose identities were stolen in FCC comments from anti-Net Neutrality bots

Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was so determined to ram through a Net Neutrality repeal that he ignored the fact that the FCC's public comment inbox was flooded with fake comments from anti-Net Neutrality bots -- at least a million of them -- who indiscriminately stole identities from the dead and alive alike (Pai said he'd treat these fake comments with the same weight that he gave to comments from humans, refusing to help law enforcement track down the botmasters, so that the Congressional Budget Office had to step in). Read the rest

It's laughably simple to buy thousands of cheap, plausible Facebook identities

Twitter draws a lot of fire for making it easy for anyone to set up an anonymous account or a bot; the argument against this says that making it easy to be anonymous also makes it easy to be shady. Read the rest

How Russian investigative journalists working for precarious free press outlets exposed the "troll factory"

St Petersburg's Internet Research Agency -- AKA "The Troll Factory" -- is in the news since Robert Mueller indicted 13 of its employees, but it first came to public attention in 2013, when investigative reporters working for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta revealed that the agency was working to manipulate Russian public opinion in favor of Putin and the Kremlin and against opposition politicians by flooding Russian online discussions with thousands of "patriotic" posts made under a welter of pseudonyms. Read the rest

Lobbyists release push-poll in an effort to tank Right to Repair bills and control independent security research

The Security Innovation Center is a lobbying group backed by CompTIA, CTIA, TechNet and the Consumer Technology Association for the express purpose of fighting laws that would legalize repairing your own property, or choosing to have it repaired by third parties. Read the rest

The independent experts who favorably evaluated Facebook's "Messenger Kids" were funded by Facebook

When Facebook rolled out "Messenger Kids," an IM product aimed at the 6-and-up set, it trumpeted that during the product's 18-month development cycle, it had been evaluated by child development experts in order to "safeguard" the young children it was targeting from harm. Read the rest

Exiled Cambodian opposition leader sues Facebook in California over allegations of collusion with Cambodia's dictator

Cambodian dictator Hun Sen has ruled since 1998, and when an opposition leader used Facebook to challenge his election in 2013, Hun Sen teamed up with a fake news outlet called Fresh News to deploy a Facebook-based strategy to consolidate his control and neutralize democratic opposition. Read the rest

Cable operator Fidelity Communications admits it that secretly created the fake-grassroots "Stop City-Funded Internet" campaign to kill Missouri municipal net

Isaac Protiva wanted to know who was behind the "Stop City-Funded Internet" campaign that was pouring a fortune into scuttling the plan to build a fast, efficient, low-cost city network in his hometown of West Plains, Missouri; after a lot of digging, he discovered that (naturally), the "collection of fiscally conservative Missourians" who were nominally behind the site was actually the local cable-monopoly, Fidelity Communications, who came clean (but never apologized). Read the rest

Wall Street and Trump are about to kill the CFPB, the only government agency that effectively polices bank scams, crimes and frauds

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (previously) is practically the only US regulator we can be proud of -- founded by Elizabeth Warren before she ran for the Senate, the CFRB is a consumer protection agency that has been at the forefront of reining in criminal activities like Wells Fargo's nationwide frauds and Equifax's dox attack on the USA, as well as being the best defense Americans have against predatory loan-sharks masquerading as "payday lenders," abusive debt-collectors, racial discrimination in lending, and the student loan racket. Read the rest

The secretive wealthy family behind the opioid epidemic are using the same tactics to kill public education

The Sackler Family are best known for philanthropy, but their real legacy is the opioid epidemic, which they engineered through their family firm, Purdue Pharmaceutical, which used a variety of front organizations that paved the way for massive overprescription of the company's painkillers, while covering up the flaws in the drug-testing for Purdue's products and the false claims about their safety and efficacy. Read the rest

The "mom and pop" business owner who loves Trump's tax plan is a lobbyist for Oracle who will save billions

"Tax Reform for America" is a US Chamber of Commerce-backed astroturf group that features testimonials from "mom and pop" business owners who back Trump's tax plan, which will overwhelmingly benefit the top 1% wealthiest in America at the expense of working people and the middle class. Read the rest

Analysis of 22 million FCC comments show that humans love Net Neutrality and bots really, really hate it

Data analysis company Gravwell ingested 22,000,000 comments sent to the FCC's docket on Net Neutrality and posted their preliminary findings, which are that the majority of comments came from bots, and these bots oppose Net Neutrality; of the comments that appear to originate with humans, the vast majority favor Net Neutrality. Read the rest

Leaked memo details Koch Bros' astroturf strategy to lower US corporate tax rate

A strategy memo circulated around the time of a Koch network retreat sets out a five-part plan to pressure the Trump regime to lower corporate taxes and pass other policies favorable to corporate elites and the investor class. Read the rest

Thai police arrest three Chinese nationals in raid on social media "like"-farm

Immigration police arrested three Chinese nationals in a raid on a rented room in Tambon Ban Mai Nongsai, charging them with work-permit violations and for "online trading of contraband goods." Read the rest

A vending machine in a Moscow shopping mall sells Instagram likes

Journalist Alexey Kovalev is in Moscow, whence tweeted this picture of "a vending machine in a mall for buying Likes for your Instagram pics." Read the rest

Ex-Fox News host: when I filed a sexual harassment claim against Ailes, the company hacked and stalked me

In a federal complaint against Fox News, former Outnumbered host Andrea Tantaros claims that after she filed a sexual harassment claim against the former CEO Roger Ailes, Fox News contracted with a psyops team to set up a "black room" to run a hate campaign that targeted her by cyberstalking her, implanting malware on her computer, and libeling her on "fake news" sites. Read the rest

Amnesty reveals gigantic Mexican Twitter troll-bot mob that threatens journalists, hawks products, and hoaxes trending topics

Amnesty International has published a damning report on the organized networks of Mexican Twitter trolls and botmasters for hire who orchestrate massive harassment campaigns against investigative journalists, including death threats and misinformation/slander; they also hawk products and fake out Twitter's trending topic algorithm, operating with relative impunity -- thanks, in part, to Twitter's underinvestment in Spanish-speaking anti-harassment staff. Read the rest

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