Amazon's secret deals with local cops give them access to realtime 911 data for use in scary alerts sent to Ring owners

Mining the results of public records requests relating to Amazon's secret deals with local law enforcement to promote its Ring surveillance doorbells (more than 200 agencies!) continue to bear fruit. Read the rest

London police official warns journalists not to publish leaks on pain of imprisonment

After a leak revealed that the British Ambassador to the USA had called Trump "inept, insecure and incompetent" (leading to the ambassador's resignation and a round of Twitter insults between Trump and senior Tory officials), London's Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu publicly warned journalists not to publish government leaks, threatening to imprison them if they do: "The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause may also be a criminal matter. I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty's Government." Read the rest

Detroit's police commissioner arrested at commissioners' meeting for demanding answers about secret meetings where facial recognition was planned

Alan Wendt writes, "Detroit commissioners arrested the police commissioner Willie Burton during a public meeting because he wouldn't stop talking about the secret meetings where the commission decided to install facial recognition systems." Read the rest

For years, the chief of the Border Patrol was a member of the secret CBP Facebook group for racist and threatening chatter

Last week, Propublica revealed the existence of "I'm 10-15", a secret Facebook group for current and former Customs and Border Protection employees -- a group with 9,500 members, while CBP's total workforce numbers 58,000 -- where it was commons for members to share violent, racist, sexist, misogynist, rape-y memes, including some that threatened and disparaged members of Congress. Read the rest

Hong Kong's beleaguered chief exec says the extradition bill is "dead" but won't make it official

When the Chinese politburo gave itself the right to veto nominees for Hong Kong elections in 2016, it ensured that any future legislature on the supposedly independent island would be a puppet regime, its electors literally beholden to Beijing for their office; and by 2019, the puppet regime of Carrie Lam began to deconstruct Hong Kong's independence by introducing the "extradition bill," which would allow Beijing to demand that political dissidents be rendered to the Chinese mainland for show-trials and arbitrary detention. Read the rest

Hong Kong protests continue to mount, and popular sentiment is with the protesters

In early June, protesters surged into Hong Kong's streets to protest a change to the country's extradition rules that would allow the Chinese state to demand the extradition of political dissidents to the mainland; as the protests grew, Hong Kong's puppet government had no choice but to withdraw its proposal -- but that wasn't enough, and millions of people poured into the streets, demanding the resignation of administrator Connie Lam and the release of imprisoned demonstrators. Read the rest

"I'm 10-15": the secret CBP Facebook group full of racism, sexism, and jokes about migrant deaths

10-15 is Customs and Border Protection's code for "aliens in custody"; "I'm 10-15" is a secret Facebook group for current and former CBP officers whose participants create and share a torrent of racist and sexist memes, as well as jokes about the deaths of migrants in their care. Read the rest

Police cameras to be augmented with junk-science "microexpression" AI lie-detectors

The idea that you can detect lies by analyzing "microexpressions" has absorbed billions in spending by police forces and security services, despite the fact that it's junk science that performs worse than a coin-toss. Read the rest

The internet has become a "low-trust society"

Writing in Wired, Zeynep Tufekci (previously) discusses how the internet has become a "low-trust society," where fake reviews, fraud, conspiracies and disinformation campaigns have burdened us all with the need to investigate every claim and doubt every promise, at enormous costs to time and opportunity. Read the rest

The latest popular uprising in Hong Kong is fighting to keep Beijing from dragging dissidents to mainland China

Hong Kong's 2016 Umbrella Revolution saw weeks of mass protests over a change to nomination rules for the city's ruling council, in which the central government in Beijing arrogated to itself the right to decide who could be on the ballot (Boss Tweed: "I don't care who gets to do the voting, so long as I get to do the nominating"). Read the rest

Europe's surging, far-right, "anti-establishment" parties: funded by billionaires, voting for billionaire-friendly policies, lining their own pockets

On May 26th, Europeans will vote for the next EU Parliament, and the region's far-right, "nationalist/anti-establishment" parties (AfD Germany, UKIP/Brexit UK, PiS/Poland, etc) are expected make large gains, possibly prompting a realignment of power in the EU; the far-right parties have campaigned as "anti-establishment," tapping into frustration with elites and their corruption. Read the rest

Ahead of California's criminal justice reforms to reduce mass incarceration, prosecutors are locking in plea deals forcing defendants to give up the rights they're about to get

If you enter into a plea deal in California today, your prosecutor will likely make you promise not to use any future legal reforms to get out of jail earlier than is stipulated in your plea -- that way, you won't be able to take advantage of the slate of criminal justice and sentencing reforms passed by the California legislature and voted in by Californians through ballot initiatives. Read the rest

UK cops are secretly harvesting all data from the phones and cloud accounts of suspects, victims and witnesses and insecurely storing it forever

Privacy International's blockbuster Digital Stop and Search report details how British police forces have quietly procured phone-searching tools (including mobile "kiosks" that let them probe devices in the field), often from companies with a track-record of abetting some of the world's worst human rights abusers, and they use these in secret to capture all the data they can from phones taken from suspects, victims and witnesses. Read the rest

London cops switch off wifi in the tube to make it harder for climate protesters to organise

This morning, the British Transport Police has ordered Virgin Media to switch off the wifi to some undisclosed London Underground stations in a bid to make it harder for climate protesters to organise their activities. Read the rest

EFF to Facebook: enforce your rules banning cops from creating sockpuppet accounts and be transparent when you catch cops doing it

Dave Maass from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "Facebook’s practice of taking down these individual accounts when they learn about them from the press (or from EFF) is insufficient to deter what we believe is a much larger iceberg beneath the surface. We often only discover the existence of law enforcement fake profiles months, if not years, after an investigation has concluded. These four changes are relatively light lifts that would enhance transparency and establish real consequences for agencies that deliberately violate the rules." Read the rest

London cops are subjecting people in the centre of town to facial recognition today and tomorrow

People in Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square are being told by the London Metropolitan Police to submit to a trial of the force's notoriously inaccurate, racially biased facial recognition system, which clocks in an impressive error-rate of 98% (the system has been decried by Professor Paul Wiles, the British biometrics commissioner, as an unregulated mess). Read the rest

St Louis cops indicted for beating up a "protester" who turned out to be an undercover cop

After St Louis police officer Jason Stockley, killed an unarmed black man named Anthony Lamar Smith with an unauthorized AK-47, planted a pistol on his body, and was then acquitted on murder charges in 2017, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Dustin Boone sent several texts in which he relished the prospect of beating up the protesters he anticipated following the verdict: phrases like "It’s still a blast beating people" and It’s gonna get IGNORANT tonight!!” and “It’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these s---heads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!!” Read the rest

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