Phone scammer tried to con William Webster, the only person ever to serve as director of both the CIA and FBI: it did not go well

Keniel A Thomas is part of the wave of violent phone scam gangs that have led to chaos in cities across the island; he made the mistake of trying to con the 90-year-old William Webster out of $50,000 with a hamfisted advance-fee fraud scam, not realizing that Webster is a top US spook, the only person ever to have served as chief of both the CIA and FBI. Read the rest

Oakland's tech startups are reportedly being gentrified out of their spaces by deep-pocketed marijuana growers

Former Wired editor-in-chief and drone entrepreneur Chris Anderson tweets: "Hearing from tech startups getting priced out of Oakland warehouse space because of soaring demand for indoor hydroponic pot farms. Yes, because it's 2019 and everything is nuts *techies are being gentrified out of neighborhoods by drug dealers.*" Read the rest

Father of Parkland victim responds to Louis CK's jokes with a "standup set" of his own

Louis CK is in disgrace in so many ways, and while comedians have often found humor in shocking and sorrowful current events, the combination of CK's lack of credibility and the extraordinary tastelessness of his jokes about the activism of the survivors of the Parkland high school shooting are a bridge too far. Read the rest

Failed white supremacist "law-and-order" Toronto mayoral candidate is now breaking the law by selling Canadian coat-of-arms merch

Faith Goldy is the white supremacist who failed in her bid for mayor of Toronto (despite an endorsement from US white supremacist Congressman Steve King); during her campaign, she unsuccessfully sued Canadian media monopolist Bell Media for refusing to run her ads, saddling her with an order to pay $43,117.90 in Bell's legal fees. Read the rest

ISP that protested being ordered to block Sci-Hub by blocking Elsevier and government agencies now under threat for "Net Neutrality" violations

Bahnhof is the Swedish free-speech-oriented ISP that was finally forced to block access to Sci-Hub (a site providing principled access to paywalled scientific literature) retaliated against science publishing giant Elsevier and the Swedish Patent and Market Court by blocking access to their sites for Bahnhof customers, redirecting requests to a page explaining why the block was in place. Read the rest

Developer who tore down historic San Francisco house ordered to build an exact replica

In San Francisco, property speculators have made a game out of tearing down historically protected homes, then retroactively applying for demolition permits, and using the now-empty lots to build massive mansions that sell for millions. Read the rest

The Girlfriend Zone: the inverse of "the friend zone"

The Girlfriend Zone is the place that women find themselves repeatedly and insufferably placed into by their male platonic friends, who can't or won't understand that the relationship is and will remain platonic: Ann: "So are you hanging out with Ben after class today?" Leslie: "No, he girlfriend zoned me hard. Hes a cool guy, but I can't hang out with him for more than 10 minutes without him making a pass at me." (via Seanan McGuire) Read the rest

Man arrested for rape after his Playstation mic allegedly broadcast audio from the crime to other players

Last June, 18-year-old Daniel Fabian of Pasco County, Florida was playing Grand Theft Auto Online, when he informed the other players in his team chat that he was going to take a break to "smash" (have sex with) a 15-year-old girl. Read the rest

Freedom of Information Access ninjas force Gavin McInnis out of the Proud Boys

After Property of the People (previously) used clever Freedom of Information Act requests to learn that the FBI classed the Proud Boys as 'an Extremist Group with Ties to White Nationalism', the organization's founder, Gavin McInnis (the Canadian who co-founded Vice Magazine) resigned from the organization he founded. Read the rest

Italian prosecutors have given up on catching the person who hacked and destroyed Hacking Team

Hacking Team (previously) was an Italian company that developed cyberweapons that it sold to oppressive government around the world, to be used against their own citizens to monitor and suppress political oppositions; in 2015, a hacker calling themselves "Phineas Fisher" hacked and dumped hundreds of gigabytes' worth of internal Hacking Team data, effectively killing the company. Read the rest

Swedish ISP punishes Elsevier for forcing it to block Sci-Hub by also blocking Elsevier

The Swedish ISP Bahnhof has a strong historic commitment to free speech, so when the notoriously corrupt science publishing giant Elsevier (previously) sought to force the ISP to censor connections to the open access site Sci-Hub (previously), the ISP went to court to resist the order. Read the rest

Chinese students, made to study Communism, are rising up for workers' rights

In 1989, the Chinese government slaughtered pro-democracy student activists whose commitment to justice swept the nation; now they're facing a new student uprising, one comprised of ardent Communist youth whose state-mandated education in the works of Marx, Lenin and Mao have prompted them to stand up for oppressed workers who labor in the for-profit factories that have flourished since the Deng reforms. Read the rest

Security researchers can access and modify security footage from Nuuo surveillance systems

Nuuo is a leading vendor of "trusted video management" tools used in conjunction with CCTVs deployed in sensitive applications like surveillance of "transport, banking, government, and residential areas." Read the rest

Father of the catastrophic Copyright Directive reveals he didn't know what he was voting for

In the years during which the new EU Copyright Directive was being drafted, a variety of proposals were considered and rejected by the EU's own experts, and purged from the draft text, but two of these proposals were reintroduced, slipped back into the Directive on the day the GDPR came into effect, while everyone's attention was elsewhere. Read the rest

"Free market" conservatives, aghast at Big Tech's hostility, become overnight Roosevelt-style trustbusters

They say "a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged" -- whether or not that's true, it's becoming abundantly clear that "a trustbuster is a neoliberal who's been on the wrong side of the online platforms' monopoly power" -- Big Tech was the first beneficiary of Reagan's assault on anti-trust law and has perfected a number of next-generation, bleeding-edge tactics for suppressing competition during 40 years' worth of free rein. Read the rest

European lawmaker writes post warning about dangers of automatic copyright filters, which is taken down by an automatic copyright filter

Julia Reda is the Member of the European Parliament who has led the fight against Article 13, a proposal to force all online services to create automatic filters that block anything claimed as a copyrighted work. Read the rest

Disney (yes, Disney) declares war on "overzealous copyright holders"

Disney is being sued by the Michael Jackson estate for using fair-use clips in a biopic called "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" -- in its brief, the company decries "overzealous copyright holders" whose unwillingness to consider fair use harms "the right of free speech under the First Amendment." Read the rest

More posts