FTC takes action against stalkerware company Retina-X

[We've been covering the grimy, sleazy stalkerware industry for years, and so it's nice to see that the FTC is finally taking action against the worst of the worst actors -- pity that they're still getting it wrong, as EFF's Gennie Gephart and Eva Galperin explain in this Deeplinks post that I've mirrored below. -Cory]

The FTC recently took action against stalkerware developer Retina-X, the company behind apps Flexispy, PhoneSheriff, and Teenspy. The FTC settlement bars Retina-X from distributing its mobile apps until it can adequately secure user information and ensure its apps will only be used for “legitimate purposes.” But here’s the problem: there are simply no legitimate purposes for secret stalking apps. Read the rest

Gender reveal pipe bomb kills grandma

A woman was killed at a "gender reveal" party after being struck by shrapnel from an explosive contraption: "a metal stand, gunpowder and colored powder were involved," report police.

At about 4:03 p.m., police responded to a report that a woman, later identified as 56-year-old Pamela Kreimeyer, had been severely injured in an explosion, according to a news release from the Marion County Sheriff's Office. When officials arrived at the scene in Knoxville, the woman was pronounced dead. Knoxville is about 40 miles southeast of Des Moines.

Kreimeyer was 45 feet from the device when it exploded. It created a 200-yard wide debris field.

They put a piece of wood on top of the gunpowder and some powder of an unspecified color on top of that. The stand had a hole drilled in the side for a fuse. Finally, tape was wrapped over the top of the assembly. The idea was for the gunpowder to blast the powder indicating a boy or girl out the top of the stand. But the explosion instead sent metal shrapnel flying

Police are "warning people to not add to or make your own gender reveal kits." Read the rest

Teen Vogue exec editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay: "proud to be 'the most insidious form of teen communist propaganda'"

Teen Vogue has emerged as one of the most progressive mass-media forums in an age of Trumpism and its official misogyny and racism -- it's a Conde Naste magazine aimed at teen girls with a labor reporter who regularly dissects capitalism's failings and writes explainers on the need for a general strike. Read the rest

Ernst and Young subjected women employees to "training" about keeping the company's men happy

At the height of the #MeToo movement, giant management consulting firm Ersnt and Young (AKA "EY") sent a group of women to Power-Presence-Purpose, a "leadership and empowerment" workshop led by Marsha Clark, who advised them that "Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus" and "Men’s brains are more like waffles. They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square." Read the rest

Margaret Atwood's "The Testaments": a long-awaited Handmaid's Tale sequel fulfills its promise

When Margaret Atwood published "The Handmaid's Tale" back in 1985, it was at the dawn of the Reagan era, when the gains made by feminism and other liberation movements trembled before an all-out assault mounted by a bizarre coalition of the super-rich and the (historically apolitical) evangelical movement; 35 years later, even more ground has been lost and in many ways it's hard to imagine a more apt moment for Atwood to have published a sequel: The Testaments.

AOC to endorse Bernie Sanders today

Following on Ilhan Omar's endorsement of Bernie Sanders earlier this week, Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to make her own endorsement for Sanders's candidacy today. Read the rest

Kickstarting a new feminist bicycle science fiction: this one's about dragons!

Elly Blue has kickstarted a series of successful feminist bicycle science fiction anthologies; her latest is Dragon Bike: Fantastical feminist bicycle stories, for which she is seeking $6,000 ($10 gets you an ebook, $13 gets you a printed book, $15 gets you a book and a poster). Read the rest

Mattel launches line of "gender inclusive" dolls

Mattel, makers of Barbie and many other toys, has launched "Creatable World," a line of $30 customizable dolls with "extensive wardrobe options, accessories and wigs allow kids to style the doll with short or long hair, or in a skirt, pants, or both."

“Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels,” Kim Culmone, Senior Vice President of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, said in a statement. “Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms. This line allows all kids to express themselves freely which is why it resonates so strongly with them. We’re hopeful Creatable World will encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play.”

Creatable World dolls (Amazon)

Read the rest

45 Google whistleblowers tell tales of workplace retaliation after reporting abuse

A leaked document co-written by 45 googlers and reported on by Motherboard details how each was subjected to illegal workplace retaliation after reporting abuse by co-workers or superiors. Read the rest

Tolkien’s Lobelia Sackville-Baggins is probably a misogynist satire of women's rights campaigner Victoria Sackville-West

Lobelia Sackville-Baggins is a Lord of the Rings Hobbit, one of the few, rare female characters in that series, and she's a nasty piece of work: a bitter enemy of Frodo and Bilbo, she is mostly depicted trying to either steal their stuff or buy it at deep discounts from them: she ends her days first imprisoned and starved, and then dead shortly after she's sprung. Read the rest

This is your smartphone on feminism

Maria Farrell admits that comparing smartphones to abusive men (they try to keep you from friends and family, they make it hard to study or go to work, they constantly follow you and check up on you) might seem to trivialize domestic partner violence, but, as she points out, feminists have long been pointing out both the literal and metaphorical ways in which tech replicates misogyny. Read the rest

Majority of period-tracking app share incredibly sensitive data with Facebook and bottom-feeding analytics companies

It has been 0 days since Facebook's last privacy scandal. Read the rest

Should they rename the Tiptree Award, too?

Mitch Wagner writes, "Alice Sheldon, who wrote brilliant science fiction under the pseudonym James Tiptree Jr., killed her husband and herself in 1987. The volunteers who administer the Tiptree Award literary prize now face pressure to change its name."

Read the rest

Gaming's #MeToo moment: male fragility versus women's fundamental rights

The latest turn in the Gamergate sage: Zoe Quinn (previously) outed their former partner, game dev Alec Holowka as a sexual and emotional abuser, which prompted others to come forward with their own stories of abuse at Holowka's hands, which led to Holowka being kicked out of his Night in the Woods game project -- and shortly thereafter, Holowka committed suicide. Read the rest

Survey: Self-identified "pro lifers" are generally contemptuous of women

Supermajority's Gender Equality, the Status of Women and the 2020 Elections surveys likely 2020 voters (N=1912), finds a strong correlation between opposition and broad misogynistic beliefs, such as opposition to the idea that women and men should hold an equal number of positions of power; opposition to the #MeToo movement; a disbelief in the idea that access to birth control affects women's power in society (likewise, skepticism that the lack of woman role models in powerful positions is significant). Read the rest

Survey finds high levels of harassment in multiplayer games, as well as white supremacist recruiting attempts

The ADL surveyed 1,045 US adult gamers (oversampling Jewish, Muslim, African American and Hispanic/Latinx individuals) and asked them about their experiences in multiplayer games: on the one hand, they found that playing these social games brought many benefits: friendship, support, fun, connection and romance; on the other hand, they found that a very high proportion of gamers experienced harassment of varying kinds, that many players had quit games because of harassment, and that some games were home to much more harassment than others. Read the rest

Women are much more likely to be injured in car crashes, probably because crash-test dummies are mostly male-shaped

Women wearing seatbelts are 73% more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a car crash than men in seatbelts, and while it's not entirely certain why this is, it's a pretty good bet that sampling bias in crash-testing is to blame. Read the rest

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