Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicted on corruption charges

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Prime Minister, was today indicted on charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust. Haaretz reports that it ends a "dramatic political year" that has seen two indecisive general elections, after which both Netanyahu and his opposition failed to form governments.

Laying out the charges in a press conference, [Attorney General Avichai] Mendelblit said he made the decision to indict the prime minister "with a heavy heart, but wholeheartedly," stressing it was not an issue of left-wing or right-wing politics and that enforcing the law is not a matter of choice.

The attorney general lamented that "while conducting a professional hearing process, we've witnessed repeated attempts to delegitimize the people who were involved [in the investigations]. Those people acted out of proper motives.”

The delegitimization "was meant to create the impression that any decision taken would be wrong. The investigations are based on broad-based evidence and testimony, which were professionally reviewed. No stone was left unturned," the attorney general said.

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Microsoft hires former AG Eric Holder to audit facial recognition tech used on West Bank

Microsoft is hiring former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder to provide legal window dressing for their AnyVision technology, which the company says complies with the ethical principles stipulated during the facial recognition company's Series A. Read the rest

After suing NSO Group for hacking Whatsapp, Facebook kicks NSO employees off its services

This week, Facebook filed suit against the NSO Group, a cyber-arms dealer that supplies some of the world's most oppressive regimes with spying tools used to attack dissidents, journalists, human rights activists, and democratic opposition figures; Facebook alleges that NSO Group was behind more than 1,400 attacks on Whatsapp users. Read the rest

Triple Chaser: a short documentary that uses machine learning to document tear gas use against civilians, calling out "philanthropist" Warren Kanders for his company's war-crimes

Laura Poitras (previously) is the Academy Award-winning director of Citizenfour; she teamed up with the activist group Forensic Archicture (previously), whose incredible combination of data-visualization and documentary filmmaking have made them a potent force for holding war criminals and authoritarians to account: together, they created Triple Chaser, a short documentary that uses novel machine-learning techniques to document the ways in which tear gas and bullets made by companies belonging to "philanthropist" Warren Kanders have been used against civilians to suppress anti-authoritarian movements, and even to murder innocents, including children. Read the rest

The world's preeminent cryptographers can't get visas to speak at US conferences

Ross Anderson (previously) is one of the world's top cryptographers; the British academic and practitioner was honored by having his classic, Security Engineering, inducted into The Cybersecurity Canon; however, he was not able to attend the awards gala himself because the US government sat on his visa application for months, and ultimately did not grant it in time. Read the rest

Lawyer involved in suits against Israel's most notorious cyber-arms dealer targeted by its weapons, delivered through a terrifying Whatsapp vulnerability

NSO Group is a notorious Israeli cyber-arms dealer whose long trail of sleaze has been thoroughly documented by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab (which may or may not be related to an attempt to infiltrate Citizen Lab undertaken by a retired Israeli spy); NSO has been implicated in the murder and dismemberment of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (just one of the brutal dictatorships who've availed themselves of NSO tools), and there seems to be no cause too petty for their clients, which is why their malware has been used to target anti-soda activists in Mexico. Read the rest

Spies tried to infiltrate Citizen Lab and trick them into talking about their research on Israeli spytech company NSO Group

Citizen Lab (previously) is a world-renowned research group that specializes in deep, careful investigations into the nexus of state and private surveillance, outing everything from the Chinese spies who took over computers in Tibetan embassies around the world to the bizarre deployments of state-level cyberweapons against Mexicans who campaigned for limits on sugary sodas. Read the rest

Gates tells Mueller of Trump campaign deal with Israel's Psy-Group for 2016 "social media manipulation"

[PHOTO: Psy Group's headquarters in Israel, via]

Former Donald Trump presidential campaign aide Rick Gates is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, and has provided info on a firm in the Middle East that is reported to have worked with the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. election. Read the rest

Machine learning hucksters invent an AI racist uncle that predicts your personality from your facial bone structure

Phrenology (the fake science of predicting personality from the shape of your cranial bones) is like Freddy Kruger, an unkillable demon who rises from the grave every time some desperate huckster decides they need to make a few extra bucks. Read the rest

Sacha Baron Cohen confronts Roy Moore with a beeping "pedophile detector"

Archprankster Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G, Borat, etc) has a new show called Who Is America? where he disguises himself sits down with US politicians and tries to get them to do something absurd, with some pretty remarkable (and even career-ending) results (though not everybody falls for it). Read the rest

MyHeritage leaks data of 92 million who use the genealogy and family tree website

A security breach affected the MyHeritage website, and leaked the personal information of over 92 million users, the Israeli company said Tuesday. Read the rest

Governments all over the world buy spy products that let them track and eavesdrop on global cellphones, especially US phones

Senator Ron Wyden [D-OR] has sent a letter to the DHS with his view that "nefarious actors may have exploited" the cellular phone system "to target the communications of American citizens." 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

The US has quit UNESCO, the UN agency that protects world heritage sites and teaches poor children to read

UNESCO is about as good as it gets in the world of UN Specialized Agencies, responsible for designating and protecting world heritage sites, running literacy for the poorest people on Earth, supporting potable water programs, protecting fragile and endangered ecosystems, running disaster preparedness plans for all to use, protecting indigenous knowledge, protecting the free press, and digitizing the world's libraries. Read the rest

Israeli company's spyware used to target corruption-fighting journalists and lawyers in Mexico

The NSO Group is an Israeli firm that describes itself as a "cyber warfare" company, dealing exclusively to governments, including the famously corrupt and dysfunctional government of Mexico. The NSO Group is presently for sale, with a $1 billion pricetag. Read the rest

The Realist: trenchant, beautifully surreal Israeli comics about a sweet and complicated existence

Asaf Hanuka is a celebrated Israeli cartoonist whose astonishing, surreal illustrations serve as counterpoint to sweet (sometimes too-sweet) depictions of his family life, his complicated existence as a member of a visible minority in Israel, the fear he and his family live with, and his own pleasures and secret shames -- a heady, confessional, autobiographical brew that has just been collected into The Realist: Plug and Play, the second volume of Hanuka's comics.

Israel to Trump: no, you can't land a helicopter on our UNESCO World Heritage Site

Special snowflake Donald Trump has been thwarted in his plan to land a helicopter on Masada, an ancient fortress in Israel that Unesco has declared to be a World Heritage Site; he'll have to ride the cablecar up it just like every other world leader who's visited it since 1998. Read the rest

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