After running Daniel Miller's long, excellent features about the many ways in which Disney has manipulated the local politics of Anaheim (home of Disneyland) to extract huge subsidies from the cash-strapped city, the company retaliated by barring its film critic from future press screenings of its films, a move that the company confirmed, calling the coverage "unfair."
Read the rest “LA Times barred from press-screenings of Disney movies after reporting on corporate welfare in Anaheim”
Leah Rothman was a segment director on the Dr Phil show for 12 years, until (she says) she and her co-workers were locked in a room by Dr Phil and screamed at and threatened by the show's host, who was upset by leaks from the show's staff. Read the rest “America's crappiest patent judge hands down epically terrible copyright ruling”
The good people at Fight for the Future established OPERATION
COMCASTROTURF to help you figure out if your stolen identity was used to file fake anti-net-neutrality comments with the FCC, but Comcast wants them shut down, and it's prepared to commit barratry to get its way. Read the rest “Desperate Comcast commits copyfraud in bid to silence its critics”
Thailand's insane lese majeste laws make it radioactively illegal to criticize the royal family, reflecting a profound insecurity about the legitimacy of the ruling elites there that can only be satisfied through blanket censorship orders whenever one of the royals does something ridiculous, cruel or both (this happens a lot). Read the rest “Thailand is losing the war on dissent, thanks to user notifications and HTTPS”
[Update 5/9/2017: the head of communications at Purple posted a lengthy comment on Reddit about the powder and the lawsuit. In short, she says that "This powder is safe and there are lots of studies that support this," and that "we believe Ryan Monahan, owner of Honest Mattress Reviews, is not 'independent' as he claims, but is working with a competitor to disparage our brand." A vigorous thread of replies follows her comment.]
Ryan Monahan, who reviews mattresses (and used to work for a mattress company called GhostBed), is being sued by a company called Purple Mattress. Here's a video Monahan made about the lawsuit. Monahan says he's being sued because he publicly asked why Purple mattresses have white powder, what the powder is, and whether or not it is safe to inhale.
Read the rest “Purple Mattress sues reviewer for making "false and misleading statements"”
Living treasure and outspoken atheist Stephen Fry has a classic bit from a two-year-old episode of RTE's "The Meaning of Life" in which he answers the question, "What would you say to God if you died and found yourself at the gates of heaven?" Read the rest “Irish police open blasphemy investigation into Stephen Fry for calling God an "utter maniac"”
Real Alternatives organizes and funds the notorious, deceptive anti-abortion centers ("crisis pregnancy centers") that pretend to be abortion clinics, luring in women who wish to terminate their pregnancies with deceptive advertising and then lying to them about abortion procedures in an effort to coerce them into carrying their fetuses to term; they got $30,000,000 from the state of Pennsylvania and are now suing the state over an audit that was triggered by nearly $1M worth of unaccounted-for state funding. Read the rest “Forced-pregnancy scam that masqueraded as abortion clinics won't account for $1M in Pennsylvania tax-dollars”
Mormonleaks is a whistleblower site dedicated to revealing corruption and hypocrisy in the Church of Latter Day Saints; over four months, it has published many documents that did just that, but when it published a leaked Powerpoint revealing the Church's view on "the roots of apostasy, such as pornography, campaigns to ordain women, challenges to church history and general 'lack of righteousness,'" the Church turned to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and a bogus claim of copyright infringement to get the document taken down. Read the rest “Mormon church uses bogus copyright claims in attempt to censor Mormonleaks”
The Arkansas legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit "any books or other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn" in its schools, on the grounds that Howard Zinn says means things about America, like, "It has the kinds of censoring, undemocratic state governments that ban all books by and discussions of critics of America and its actions." Read the rest “Arkansas wants to ban all classroom mentions of Howard Zinn (teachers, get your free books!)”
Joseph Talbot, a bank executive, was arrested by New York State Police on Dec 29 for DUI, and, as its custom, the Times of Wayne County published his name and mugshot -- something it's done for every local arrest for 28 years. Read the rest “Wayne County, NY man tries to corner market on local newspaper when it prints his DUI mugshot”
ESNC, a German security research firm, discovered a critical flaw in PWC's enterprise software, which would allow attackers to hack into PWC customers' systems; when ESNC gave PWC notice of its intent to publish an advisory in 90 days, PWC promptly threatened to sue them if they did. Read the rest “PWC threatens to sue security firm for disclosing embarrassing, dangerous defects in its software”
Juno is a "driver-friendly" rideshare service that competes with Uber by paying its drivers more and giving drivers the ability to pick up a fare, get them to install the Juno app, and give them a discount. Read the rest “Uber is running scared of Juno, a NYC competitor that's kicking its ass”
Banned Books Week has come and gone but we can be sure of one thing: the coming year will be marked by challenges to the same kinds of books that were controversial this year, and in years past.
Samsung's got problems: its Galaxy Note devices are bursting into flames, and have been banned from the skies. Read the rest “Samsung abuses copyright to censor satirical exploding phone Grand Theft Auto mod”
The Ecuadoran Embassy in London has confirmed Wikileaks' accusation that it terminated Julian Assange's access to its wifi network because it disapproved of Assange and Wikileaks' "intervention in the affairs of other states" by publishing material pertaining to the impending US election. Read the rest “Ecuadoran Embassy confirms it changed its wifi password to lock out Assange”
Sitelock is a major player in online security; a rival, White Fir, thinks its products are subpar, and has published extensive articles explaining why White Fir's products are superior -- articles that Sitelock has targeted with fraudulent copyright claims. Read the rest “Sitelock abuses DMCA to censor rival's criticisms”