Motherboard files legal complaint against London police to force it to explain why an officer bought creepy, potential illegal stalkerware

Flexispy is the creepy stalkerware advertised to abusive spouses and exes that Motherboard's Joseph Cox has been relentlessly tracking; when he acquired a leaked trove of the company's files, he started to mine it to see who was buying the potentially illegal app. Read the rest

GOP candidate Rick Saccone hates government waste, bills the taxpayer like crazy on his own personal expenses, which totalled $435,172

Rick Saccone (@Saccone4PA18) is the Republican challenger for the seat vacated by Tim Murphy, the Pennsylvania anti-abortion Congressman who resigned after being outed for pressuring his pregnant mistress to get an abortion. Read the rest

Property of the People sues the FBI for details on "Gravestone," its reassuringly named secret mass-surveillance tool

In 2016, the watchdog group Property of the People discovered a secret FBI spying program called Gravestone, a mention of which slipped into the metadata of a document on the DoJ's website. Read the rest

EPA employees who spoke out about Trump are having their emails ransacked, and the EPA's new "monitoring" firm is linked to a GOP oppo research firm

America Rising, a GOP oppo research firm, has filed a slew of Freedom of Information requests seeking access to EPA employees' email, targeting employees who criticized Donald Trump, Scott Priutt, or EPA policies, or who participated in union rallies against cuts; the requests target communications that mention Trump officials or are addressed to Democrats in Congress. Read the rest

After a Freedom of Information lawsuit, the White House visitor logs are now available online as a free searchable database

The DC-based transparency group Property of the People successfully sued the White House to force it to disclose its visitor logs; now, in collaboration with Propublica, those logs are online as a free, searchable database. Read the rest

The FBI's Nikola Tesla files

The FBI published 160 pages of its files on inventor Nikola Tesla last year, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request. It's gone viral, perhaps due to the slavering anticipation of the forthcoming JFK Assassination files release.[via]

Yes to Peace Rays! Read the rest

Taser says its weapons don't kill people, so Reuters built a massive database of 1000+ Taser deaths

The official party line from Taser -- who make less-lethal electrical weapons as well as a range of police body-cameras and other forensic devices -- is that its weapons don't kill ("no one has died directly from the device’s shock"). Reuters reporters who heard this claim decided it was highly suspect and took action, mining America's court records to find "150 autopsy reports citing Tasers as a cause or contributor to deaths," and that those deaths were disproportionately inflicted on "society’s vulnerable – unarmed, in psychological distress and seeking help" -- all told, they found 1005 deaths in which Tasers were implicated. Read the rest

European Commission spent 360,000€ on a piracy study, then buried it because they didn't like what it said

Estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU is a 360,000€ study commissioned by the European Commission from the Dutch consulting firm Ecorys, whose mandate was to "research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content" -- the report was completed in 2015, but never made public. Read the rest

To avoid honoring FOIA requests, some governments are suing requesters

Freedom of information requests for public records are getting harder to complete, especially now that some governments are suing requesters. Read the rest

Four years later, we learn why Jamie Dimon's JP Morgan Chase settled US fraud allegations for $13B

In 2013, DOJ lawyers showed JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon a draft of a 92-page complaint against his bank. Dimon coughed up $13B to settle the case, and the complaint was sealed, leaving us all to wonder exactly what kind of red-handed fraud convinced Dimon to part with what was then the largest financial misconduct settlement in US history. Read the rest

Every meeting and trip the FCC's neutricidal chairman Ajit Pai took since Trump's inauguration

Russ writes, "Via a FOIA request I made, this is Ajit Pai's detailed schedule from January 20 to the end of June. Shows who he met with, where he traveled, etc." Read the rest

Office of the Director of National Intelligence admits its employee held down 15 other jobs and played games all day

Jason Leopold (previously -- Buzzfeed's public records activist, once branded a "FOIA terrorist" by the US government -- has secured records of an investigation into gross offenses by an unnamed employee of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, detailing the employee's incredible workplace conduct, from playing video games all day to moonlight for 15 separate employers while working for ODNI, to violating confidentiality rules to dig up dirt on Edward Snowden. Read the rest

America's leading Net Neutrality campaigner is suing NYC to fix its broken internet

More than a quarter of New York City lives without broadband, thanks to the sweetheart deals the city has cut with Verizon and the other big telcos, which chargessome of the highest rates in America for some of the country's worst service. Read the rest

The FBI's Gary Gygax file calls the original Dungeon Master "eccentric and frightening"

Reason Magazine's C.J. Ciaramella filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI for the Bureau's file on TSR, the company that E Gary Gygax founded when he created Dungeons and Dragons (now a division of Hasbro). Read the rest

Police now routinely crack and extract all phone data from arrestees

Muckrock filed Freedom of Information Requests with multiple US police forces to find out how they were using "mobile phone forensic extraction devices" -- commercial devices that suck all the data out of peoples' phones and make it available for offline browsing. Read the rest

The CIA's east-coast and west-coast bureaux had long-running rivalries over Champagne

Michael from Muckrock writes, "The 'friendly' rivalry between America's East and West Coasts extends from hip-hop feuds to pizza bagels, and recently unearthed memos regarding California champagne from the CIA's declassified archive shows that even the Agency isn't immune." Read the rest

DEA bought zero-day exploits from disgraced cyber-arms dealer Hacking Team

A Freedom of Information Act request reveals that the DEA spent $575,000 buying access to weaponized zero-day exploits sold by Hacking Team, the hacked and disgraced Italian cyber-arms dealer who outfitted despots, dictators, the FBI, and America's local police departments. Read the rest

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