Leaked documents reveal Google's plan to create a censored search engine for the Chinese market

Project Dragonfly is a secret Google plan to create an Android-based search tool (early versions were called "Maotai" and "Longfei") for use in China (where Google is currently blocked), in collaboration with the Chinese government, where search results related to human rights, democracy, protest, religion and other "sensitive" topics will be censored. Read the rest

Quiet Skies: Air Marshals are following thousands of random Americans through airports and on planes, for no articulatable purpose

Federal Air Marshals are furious that they have been tasked to follow thousands of Americans who are not on any watch-list and not suspected of any crime; they shadow these people (who are selected for surveillance on the basis of flimsy criteria like once having visited Turkey) and send minute-by-minute updates to the TSA, noting whether their targets are sleeping, using more than one phone, waiting until the last minute to board their planes, observing boarding areas from a distance, and other innocuous behaviors. Read the rest

Nonprofit will coordinate 30 global investigative journalists to report leaked stories of big data abuse

The Signals Network is a nonprofit that supports independent investigative journalism; they're financially supporting a consortium of five international media groups Die Zeit (Germany), Mediapart (France), The Daily Telegraph (UK), The Intercept (US) and WikiTtribune (Global) as they investigate misuse of "big data." Read the rest

Mining the Panama Papers and other leaks to reveal the hidden looting of West Africa by its corrupt elite

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists teamed up with the Norbert Zongo Cell for Investigative Journalism (Cenozo) to delve deep into 27.5 million files from the Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks, Panama Papers and Paradise Papers to investigate how the super-rich in 15 West African countries have looted their countries' wealth and then smuggled it offshore through a network of tax-havens, even as their countries starve. Read the rest

Joshua Schulte named as suspect in 'Vault 7' leak of CIA tools to Wikileaks, but charged instead over child porn

Federal investigators believe a man who once worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is responsible for last year's massive leak of Top Secret CIA hacking tools, court documents reveal. Read the rest

Leaked docs reveal Koch/Walton/DeVos's anti-teacher talking points

The "State Policy Network" is a coalition of 66 far-right organizations who've been given $80M by a small number of billionaires, including the Walton family (heirs to the Walmart fortune), the Koch Brothers, and Betsy DeVos; they're terrified of the teachers' uprising, in which wildcat strikes have raced across America because teachers whose unions were neutralized have been put on starvation wages in underfunded facilities. Without any union bosses to keep them in check, the teachers have demanded the world -- and they're getting it. Read the rest

The idea behind Cambridge Analytica's Facebook data-harvesting app came from a Palantir employee, with support from Eric Schmidt's daughter

Palantir is the surveillance company founded by authoritarian "libertarian" Peter Thiel; their business-development employee Alfredas Chmieliauskas was part of a cohort of Palantir employees who worked closely -- if informally -- with Cambridge Analytica as they hatched their plan to harvest 50,000,000 Facebook profiles with a deceptive "personality quiz" app. Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica became a US powerhouse thanks Mercer's laundered money and a judas goat named John Bolton

After interviewing Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie and other CA sources and reviewing leaked documents, the Washington Post has pieced together the story of how the dirty-tricking electioneers worked their way Republican political circles, as billionaire founder Robert Mercer opened doors for them with other notorious GOP billionaire backers, with an able assist from newly minted national security adviser John Bolton, a notorious war-criminal with close ties to terrorist groups like MEK. Read the rest

White House Chief of Staff in a rage after leak reveals that Trump congratulated Putin against Cabinet advice

After Vladimir Putin stole another Russian election, Trump placed an official call to the Kremlin; his national security advisors' briefing notes for the call included the all-caps instruction "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" -- naturally, Trump congratulated Putin. Read the rest

The first-ever independent audit of whistleblower retaliation in US spy agencies was looking bad for the agencies, so it was shut down

For six months, the Intelligence Community Inspector General office investigated the cases of 190 whistleblowers who went through US spy agency channels to report corruption, waste, fraud, abuse and criminality, discovering that the overwhelming majority had faced some combination of indefinite delays and retaliation (being fired, facing paycuts and demotions, being passed over for promotions, etc) -- only one of the 190 whistleblowers had their case upheld, and that took 742 days. Read the rest

Apple iOS source code leaked to Github

Apple's been having a rough go of it this year. As if the uproar surrounding their throttling of iPhones in the name of power efficiency and damning reviews of their HomePod smart speaker weren't enough, the tech giant is now having to deal with the fact that a vital piece of their intellectual property has made it into the wild.

According to Motherboard, the code that underpins Apple's iOS operating system was posted to GitHub, leaving it exposed to jailbreakers and hackers to take a look at and, in a worse case scenario, exploit. While exploiting the code, known as iBoot, isn't a straight forward affair as a number of files in the code posted are missing, what's there could be enough for a knowledgeable programmer to probe for vulnerabilities. This is a big deal: iOS used to be easy for hackers and jailbreakers to meddle with, but recent versions of the operating system's security, combined with Apple's advances in chip design, have proven almost impossible to crack.

What this could mean for iPhone and iPad security is anyone's guess. The code has been removed from GitHub via a DMCA takedown order. But that doesn't mean it's gone: once something's been released into the wilds of the web, it's nearly impossible to wipe it out.

Image courtesy of Apple Read the rest

A pair of leaked powerpoints reveal the earliest-known evidence of the Republican gerrymandering plan that gave us Trump

David Daley's hugely important 2016 book Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy uses original documents to trace the Republican master gerrymandering plan -- which gave them disproportionate control in several states, allowing them to redraw federal districts to repeat the feat at the national level -- to meetings in 2009; but a pair of leaked Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) powerpoints show that GOP strategists were scheming and fundraising to ensure that their candidates would wield power regardless of popular support at least a year and a half earlier. Read the rest

Leaked presentation from AI snake-oil salesmen to AAA game company promises horrific, dystopian manipulation of players to drain their wallets

Techpowerup has published a redacted presentation from an unnamed AI company to an unnamed big-budget multiplayer video-game publisher, setting out a suite of surveillance capitalism tools combined with machine-learning to manipulate players to make them as addicted as possible and drain them of as much money as possible. Read the rest

Australian government's worst-ever state-secrets leak: accidentally selling filing cabinets full of classified docs in a surplus store

Australian national broadcaster ABC has gotten hold of a massive trove of state secrets that were inadvertently sold off in a pair of cheap, locked filing cabinets purchased from a Canberra junk-shop that specialises in government surplus furniture. Read the rest

Trump administration is contemplating nationalizing the 5g infrastructure, but Ajit Pai is staunchly opposed

A leaked White House Powerpoint deck published by Axios reveals that some elements in the Trump administration are trying to sell a plan for the US government to build the nation's "5g" wireless infrastructure, hardened against Chinese surveillance and attacks, and then lease access to the private telcoms sector; the network architecture could then be reproduced and given to US allies to help them defend themselves against Chinese attacks. Read the rest

New York Times profiles a sleazy Twitter follower-farm, the sleazy serial liar who made millions on it, and the celebs, politicians, sports figures and "influencers" who paid him

Devumi is a sleazy Twitter-bot farm founded by German Calas, a serial liar who buys wholesale Twitter bots from even scummier bottom-feeders than him, and pays a series of low-waged patsies to direct them to follow people who want to seem more popular and influential than their actual Twitter follower-count suggests. Read the rest

Thanks to "consent" buried deep in sales agreements, car manufacturers are tracking tens of millions of US cars

Millions of new cars sold in the US and Europe are "connected," having some mechanism for exchanging data with their manufacturers after the cars are sold; these cars stream or batch-upload location data and other telemetry to their manufacturers, who argue that they are allowed to do virtually anything they want with this data, thanks to the "explicit consent" of the car owners -- who signed a lengthy contract at purchase time that contained a vague and misleading clause deep in its fine-print. Read the rest

More posts