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.
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[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
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.
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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).
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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
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."
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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.
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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
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
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.
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
Privacy International interviewed 57 sources for their report on the link between surveillance and torture and murder in Kenya, including 32 law enforcement, military or intelligence officers with direct firsthand knowledge of the programs. Read the rest
NSO is an Israel cyberarms dealer, which buys or researches vulnerabilities in software and then weaponizes them; claiming that these cyberweapons will only be used by democratic governments and their police forces to attacks serious criminals and terrorists -- a claim repeated by its competitors, such as Italy's Hacking Team and Gamma Group. Read the rest
Last month, a hacker took 900GB of data from Cellebrite, an Israeli cyber-arms dealer that was revealed to be selling surveillance and hacking tools to Russia, the UAE, and Turkey. Read the rest
Yesterday, the Israeli government announced major steps toward legalizing marijuana. Medical cannabis is already a big thing in Israel and permitted by traditional Jewish law. According to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the new policy is part of a "shift to decriminalization with responsibility." Progress! Yet, the focus on "treatment" for offending minors seems a bit ridiculous. From CNN:
The new policy would apply to users carrying up to 15 grams, roughly a half-ounce. If passed, first-time offenders would face a fine of 1000 shekels (about $265), with the offense not appearing on their criminal record. Those caught for a second time would see the fine double. If caught a third time, the punishment would be at the discretion of the police. On the fourth offense, the suspect could face criminal prosecution.
Minors caught for the first time with marijuana would be criminally prosecuted only if they refused to take part in a treatment program. The second offense would be closed with a special settlement. The third time could trigger criminal proceedings.
"Israel takes steps to decriminalize marijuana use" (CNN) Read the rest
According to a federal indictment, Platinum Partners founder Mark Nordlicht and four others faked the hedge fund's books for years to allow them to siphon off one billion dollars to their personal accounts, swindling 600 investors. Read the rest
Rest in peace. Read the rest