China's mass surveillance and pervasive social controls are based on a rocket scientist's advocacy for "systems thinking"

In 1955, MIT- and Caltech-educated Qian Xuesen was fired from his job teaching at JPL and deported from the USA under suspicion of being a communist sympathizer; on his return to China, he led the country's nuclear weapons program and became a folk hero who is still worshipped today.

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Nudging doesn't give poor people retirement savings, it just makes them poorer

Nudging -- the idea that a well-designed "choice architecture" can help people make free choices that are better than the ones they would make without the nudge -- has a few well-publicized success stories: the cafeteria where frontloading veggies and other healthful options gets kids to choose carrots over pizza; and the employer-side deduction for retirement savings that gets employees to put aside a little more to retire on (this insight rates a Nobel-adjacent prize*!). Read the rest

A cashless society as a tool for censorship and social control

The Atlantic had the excellent idea of commissioning Sarah Jeong, one of the most astute technology commentators on the Internet (previously), to write a series of articles about the social implications of technological change: first up is an excellent, thoughtful, thorough story on the ways that the "cashless society" is being designed to force all transactions through a small number of bottlenecks that states can use to control behavior and censor unpopular political views. Read the rest

Tell-all free-to-play-game dev's confessions

An anonymous developer for a free-to-play game explains how his company stalked its most prolific players, creating fake sexy-lady Facebook accounts to friend them in order to gain insight into their proclivities so that super-expensive, one-off virtual goods could be made and targeted to them. Read the rest

GCHQ psychological operations squad targeted Britons for manipulation

The agency used fake accounts to "deter," "promote distrust" and "discredit" in political discussions on social media, uploaded fake book/magazine articles with "incorrect information," hacked websites, and set up fraudulent ecommerce sites.

Leaked docs detail Big Oil and Big PR's plans for a opinion-manipulation platform

The leaked slides were prepared by Edelman, the largest PR company in the world, at the behest of Transcanada, and they constitute a blueprint for tracking and influencing platform that spies on its participants in order to psychologically profile them and nudge them into becoming advocates for the oil industry. Read the rest

Who's accountable for Britain's Internet censorwall?

Jim from the UK Open Rights Group sez, "It seems Cameron and Perry have ignored official government policy, invented their own policy and forced it onto UK ISPs. With no legislation, and no complaints from Lib Dem MPS or the ISPs, we have completely unaccountable "nudge censorship" being forced onto the UK population with no debate." Read the rest

UK censorwall will also block "terrorist content," "violence," "circumvention tools," "forums," and more

UK PM David Cameron and Claire Perry say that they plan on forcing Britain's ISPs to have a "default-on" censorship app for every connection in the UK. But the UK Open Rights Group have been talking with whistleblowers from the ISPs that have met with the government's censorship grandees, and they report that the censorware will come equipped to block an enormous swath of legal Internet content, and unless you untick the boxes, this will all be censored for your Internet connection:

Do you want to block

☑ pornography ☑ violent material ☑ extremist and terrorist related content ☑ anorexia and eating disorder websites ☑ suicide related websites ☑ alcohol ☑ smoking ☑ web forums ☑ esoteric material ☑ web blocking circumvention tools

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