Dissidents are getting destroyed by information attacks and tech isn't doing enough to help

A pair of researchers from Toronto's storied Citizen Lab (previously) have written an eye-opening editorial and call to action on the ways that repressive states have used the internet to attack dissidents, human rights advocates and political oppositions -- and how the information security community and tech companies have left these people vulnerable. Read the rest

Rod Serling: human rights activist as science fiction showrunner

Science fiction author Hugh Spencer (previously) has published an essay on how Rod Serling's activist views on human rights were embodied in The Twilight Zone, drawing on the practice of using fantastic fiction to evade social constraints, in the tradition of Gulliver's Travels (to say nothing of books like Pinocchio and Inferno). Read the rest

The in-depth tale of Bylock, the Turkish messenger app whose 1x1 tracking GIF was the basis for tens of thousands of treason accusations

A group of exiled Turkish human rights lawyers have published an in-depth history of how Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkish government has described Bylock, an encrypted messenging app, whose 1x1 analytics pixel was used as the basis for accusing tens -- if not hundreds -- of thousands of Turks of treason, with consequences ranging from loss of employment and ostracization to imprisonment, to torture, to suicide. Read the rest

A 1x1 tracking pixel was used as evidence of treason against 30,000 Turks, sent tens of thousands to jail

When Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkish government took reprisals against hundreds of thousands of people suspected to have been involved in the failed coup of 2016, one of the criteria they used for whom to round up for indefinite detention as well as myriad human rights abuses (including torture) was whether people had a cookie on their computers set by a 1x1 tracking pixel served by Bylock, which the Erdogan regime says is evidence of support of exiled opposition leader Fethullah Gülen. Read the rest

A detailed look at how US police forces collude with spy agencies to cover up the origin of evidence in criminal cases

Since the 1970s, spy agencies have been feeding police forces tips about who to arrest and where to look for evidence, despite the illegality of their practicing surveillance within the USA. Read the rest

China will collect the DNA of every adult in Xinjiang province, where Uyghur people are systematically oppressed

Xinjiang province is the site of intense surveillance and oppression, even by Chinese standards; it's home to the largely Muslim Uyghur minority, and a combination of racism and Islamaphobia drive a uniquely intrusive grade of policing and surveillance. Read the rest

Israeli firm Cyberbit illegally spied on behalf of Ethiopia's despots, then stored all their stolen data on an unencrypted, world-readable website

Researchers from the University of Toronto's amazing Citizen Lab (previously) have published a new report detailing the latest tactics from the autocratic government of Ethiopia, "the world's first turnkey surveillance state" whose human rights abuses have been entirely enabled with software and expertise purchased on the open market, largely from companies in western countries like Finfisher and Hacking Team. Read the rest

Universal health care is "free stuff" as in "freedom"

Jeb Bush accused Democrats of winning black votes by promising "free stuff," and then Hillary Clinton accused Bernie Sanders of "promising free this and free that and free everything." But universal health care is free as in "freedom." Read the rest

Haribo: sweetened with forced labor and abused animals

In "The Haribo Check," aired on German public broadcast ARD, a documentary team audits Haribo's supply chain and finds "modern day slaves" in Brazil working to harvest carnauba wax, a key ingredient in the sweets: the plantations pay $12/day, and workers (including children) sleep out of doors, drink unfiltered river water, and have no access to toilets, under conditions that a Brazilian Labor Ministry official called "modern-day slavery." Read the rest

200 Trump inauguration protesters face 70 years in prison each over 6 broken windows

Donald Trump is the least popular president to serve in US history, so it's no surprise that the call for mass, "J20 demonstrations" at his inauguration would be answered by massive crowds. Read the rest

Supreme Court will rule on whether immigrants have constitutional rights

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard the re-argument of Sessions v. Dimaya, a case that asks whether the administration can treat lawful immigrants to the USA (including Green Card holders like me) as though we have no Constitutional rights. Read the rest

Less than Human, More than Human

Mary Shelley had four children and buried three as infants. Her last son Percy survived her and died of old age. But Frankenstein, her ultimate creation, has lived on. Her literary science fictional monster child became a myth, an aspiration, an ambition and even somewhat a reality in the past 200 years.

No one wants to host the Olympics

The International Olympic Committee took the unprecedented step of announcing the 2024 and 2028 Olympic host cities (Paris and LA), because both cities were bidding unopposed, and LA had to be bribed with a $1.8B "grant" from the IOC to agree to host the games. Read the rest

Philippines legislature sets annual budget for the national Commission on Human Rights: $19.53

The Philippines is ruled by an admitted murderer, President Rodrigo Duterte (previously), whose death squads have operated with impunity since he took office last year (Trump loves him). Read the rest

Singaporean cops investigate participants in silent vigil for executed migrant worker

Attendees at a silent candlelight vigil in honor of Prabagaran Srivijayan -- a Mayasian migrant worker who was executed for drug trafficking on July 14 -- have been notified that they are the subjects of a police investigation. Read the rest

RIP, Bassel Khartabil, Syrian free culture activist executed by the Assad regime

Syrian Creative Commons lead Bassel Khartabil disappeared in 2012, snatched off the Damascus streets by Syrian authorities; in 2015, he was secretly executed by the Assad regime, a fact that has only just come to light. Read the rest

Investigators into mass murder of Mexican student teachers were attacked with NSO's government spyware

In 2014, 43 students from Mexico's Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College went missing in Iguala, in the state of Guerrero: they had been detained by police, who turned them over to a criminal militia, who are presumed to have murdered them. Read the rest

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