The paradox of good government: the best stuff works well and is thus unnoticeable (and therefore easy to sell off)

Susan Crawford (previously) identifies one of the great and deadly paradoxes of late-stage capitalism, where predatory oligarchs prowl for state assets that can be sold off to them on the cheap, and target vulnerable regulators that can be dismantled so that industry can run amok: the best-functioning, most vital, best-run state systems are invisible, because they do their jobs so well we never hear about them. Read the rest

Hackers say they stole tens of thousands of health records of Ontario home-care patients and they want to get paid

CBC reporters have verified health record files provided by hackers who say they acquired them by breaking into the computers of CarePartners, a company that contracts with the Ontario government. Read the rest

ICE uses Facebook's backend to hunt their prey, with help from Palantir

Public records requests have shown that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- who have continued and intensified Obama's program of mass deportations and separation of families under Trump -- uses Facebook's logs, merged with logs from cellular carriers and analyzed by software from Palantir (Peter Thiel's police-state arms-dealer) to track immigrants people they're investigating. Read the rest

Owner of a private school bus contractor fires low-waged drivers and shuts company without notice: "Fuck it"

Nippybus bills itself as "one of Somerset’s leading independent bus companies" and operates a schoolbus contract for a local council in Somerset, England, where it struggles to recruit drivers thanks to the low wages it offers. Read the rest

Chinese internet censors really enjoy the work

Chinese social media platforms allow state internet censors to directly suppress individual posts as well as keywords, and an army of young, cool internet censors labor in a swanky office in the Wisdom Mountain Twin Towers in the eastern city of Tianjin to prevent discussions of Tiananmen Square, the missteps of party members, or gaps between the doctrines of the Communist Party and the day-to-day life in China. Read the rest

Juvenile criminal defense attorneys forced to agree to Taser's terms of service to see the state's evidence

California criminal defense attorney Rick Horowitz had a juvenile client, he was shocked when the prosecutor in the case told him that to see the evidence against his client, he'd have to log in to evidence.com, run by Taser International (now rebranded as Axon). Read the rest

China's "citizen scores" used to blacklist 6.7m people from using high-speed rail or flying

China's nightmarish "citizen scores" system uses your online activity, purchases, messages, and social graph to rate your creditworthiness and entitlement to services. One way your score can be plunged into negative territory is for a judge to declare you to be a bad person (mostly this happens to people said to have refused to pay their debts, but it's also used to punish people who lie to courts, hide their assets, and commit other offenses). Read the rest

Notes from Jeremy Corbyn's barn-burning speech at the Labour Party conference

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn -- re-elected in an unprecedented landslide despite back-stabbing from party grandees and MPs -- inaugurated his new term with a hell of a conference speech. Read the rest

Australian educational contractor warns of wifi, vaccination danger to "gifted" kids' "extra neurological connections"

Wise Ones, an Australian "gifted" education programme offers students who test into it vaccination exemption forms, and advises them to avoid wifi, because they say that "gifted children" have "extra neurological connections" that make them vulnerable to "extra sensitivities to food or chemicals." Read the rest

BBC fires UK government's Meterological Office, opens up weather prediction to global firms

It's a complex story -- partly about the Beeb facing privatisation and being required to bid out its work; partly about the Met having made some spectacular recent blunders in providing the weather. Read the rest