Podcast: Zuck's Empire of Oily Rags

Here's my reading (MP3) of Zuck's Empire of Oily Rags, a Locus Magazine column about the corruption implicit in surveillance capitalism, which creates giant risks to users by collecting sensitive information about them in order to eke out tiny gains in the efficacy of targeted advertising. The commercial surveillance industry may not be very good at selling us fridges, but they're very good at locating racists and thugs and getting them to support violent political movements.

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Trump's tariffs will kill making, especially STEM education, while encouraging US manufacturers to go offshore

With Trump poised to exact high tariffs on goods from China, it's tempting to declare the gadget party over: everyone is going to pay through the nose for electronics, from makers to Apple, and that's the end of the story, right? Read the rest

Podcast: Let's get better at demanding better from tech

Here's my reading (MP3) of Let's get better at demanding better from tech, a Locus Magazine column about the need to enlist moral, ethical technologists in the fight for a better technological future. It was written before the death of EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow, whose life's work was devoted to this proposition, and before the Google uprising over Project Maven, in which technologists killed millions in military contracts by refusing to build AI systems for the Pentagon's drones.

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Former Tory chancellor takes over newspaper, sells "money-can't buy" coverage to Uber, Google and others

George Osborne was David Cameron's Chancellor of the Exchequer, the architect of UK austerity; he was fired by Theresa May when she became Prime Minister and he did not run for re-election in the disastrous election of 2017, instead taking a job as editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard. Read the rest

The £7 billion Carillion collapse has the UK government talking about breaking up the Big Four accounting firms

Carrillion was the UK government's go-to outsourcing partner, a company with a long and disgraceful history of putting profits before people -- perhaps that's why HM Government was so ready to believe in the company's robust financial health as it amassed £7B in debts and then collapsed, spectacularly, leaving the UK in financial and infrastructural disarray. Read the rest

Ajit Pai: portrait of a Vichy nerd who transformed from debating-society darling to thin-skinned, brooding manbaby

Andrew Rice's long profile of neutracidal FCC chairman Ajit Pai paints a portrait of a genuine nerd who really loves the ways the internet let him escape his small-town life, who really dotes on memes and Star Wars, and who threw fun parties when he was a young man -- and who is a textbook bootlicker, convinced that corporations will save America from the tyranny of government overreach, and who decided that if Trump was the way to get there, he would carry water for Trump. Read the rest

The most hated company in America is about to get much, much bigger

Comcast is a perennial winner of national polls for the most hated company in America, and the bigger it gets, the worse it gets: back in 2011, the Obama administration let the company swallow NBC Universal, teeing it up to powerfully benefit from the destruction of Net Neutrality under Trump; now Trump is poised to let the company buy Fox and Sky, making the company bigger and more powerful. Read the rest

AT&T to the Supreme Court: "Fuck the FTC"

Back when the anti-Net-Neutrality was pretending to have anything like an argument (apart from, "NETWORK NEUTRALITY INTERFERES WITH MY ABILITY TO BECOME LIMITLESSLY RICH, GO FUCK YOURSELF), one of the stupid pieces of spaghetti they threw at the wall was, "The FCC shouldn't regulate telcos, that's the FTC's job." Read the rest

Watch Adam Pally go way off his Shorty Awards script

While presenting the award for Best Instagram Brand at the Shorty Awards, a dishevelled Adam Pally seemed to have an epiphany about the banality of evil that is the Shorty Awards, which he called the "waiting at the DMV of award shows." Read the rest

Lobbyist for AT&T and Verizon publishes a threat to "aggressively" sue any states that pass net neutrality laws

Jonathan Spalter is the CEO of Ustelecom, a telcoms lobby group funded by AT&T and Verizon; in an op-ed on the lobbyists' site, he threatened to "aggressively" sue any state that passes net neutrality rules. Read the rest

Chinese surveillance/tech giant Alibaba joins ALEC, will start co-authoring US legislation

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a big-business think-tank that authors "model legislation" at the local, state and national level that benefits corporations at the expense of everyday people; their greatest hits make for scary reading -- you can thank ALEC for ag-gag laws, stand-your-ground laws, private prisons, bans on municipal ISPs, killing Obamacare and jailing pipeline protesters. Read the rest

FCC chairman Ajit Pai receives heaps of insults after tweeting about his love for The Big Lebowski

Ajit Pai used his power as FCC Chairman to kill net neutrality. Read the rest

Taking one cent, ever, from the NRA should disqualify you from ever running for office as a Democrat

New Jersey State Senator Jeff Van Drew wants to run for Congress as a Democrat; he visited 17-year-old Emily McGrath's school, Egg Harbor Township High, where McGrath questioned him about whether he'd taken money from the NRA; Van Drew said he hadn't, and he was lying. Read the rest

Before standing for the Democratic nomination in a NY congressional race, Patrick Ryan was in business spying on union organizers and left-wing activists

Patrick Ryan wants to be the Democratic nominee for New York's 19th district in the Hudson Valley, a Republican seat that Dems hope to flip; he's gone on record stating that he can do the job because of his entrepreneurial success -- but he didn't mention that he built his career at Berico Technologies by pitching a product to help businesses spy on union organizers and left-wing activists, a plan that included spying on left-wing Democrats and planting fake documents in order to discredit labor unions. Read the rest

FCC opens corruption investigation into Ajit Pai, who likes to joke about being a corporate puppet

Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's tenure has been marked by a disregard for the rules under which his agency is legally bound to operate: his Net Neutrality killing order was made without satisfying the evidentiary burden required by law, on the basis of laughable lies (including more than a million fake anti-Neutrality comments from bots pretending to be dead people, nonexsitent people and people who support Net Neutrality) that even his own agency knew to be false, then stonewalling law enforcement attempts to identify the botmasters -- no surprise that Pai's Neutracide is going to be tied up in court for years. Read the rest

The GOP tax plan means millions in extra profits for private prison corporations

The new GOP tax plan slashes the taxes on real estate investment trusts (REITS) by a quarter, dropping the rate from 39.6% down to 29.6% -- a move that will put tens of millions of dollars in the pockets of investors in America's notorious private prisons. Read the rest

UK Tory MP unclear on the concept of dystopia

The Getting to the Future First: How Britain can lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution report was created by Alan Mak, Conservative Member of Parliament for Havant, and it's a laughable compendium of trickle-down nonsense proposing that if all dividends from automation flow to capital, somehow everyone in the world will share in the benefits. Read the rest

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