Back in 2014, a patent troll called Personal Audio LLC embarked on a campaign to shake down podcasters large and small for millions, but then they made the mistake of tangling with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Read the rest
Over the past 20 years, the world has become a lot more cognizant of the risks of unbalanced copyright, as what was once a way to help creators gain leverage over publishers, studios and labels became a rubric for mass surveillance, unaccountable censorship and monopolism. Read the rest
The proprietors of every Facebook page containing the word "Sarajevo" in its title reportedly received demand letters from the city government of Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia, threatening legal action unless the proprietors pay a royalty for permission to use the city's name in their pages. Read the rest
Luke O'Brien writes about The Making of an American Nazi, Andrew Anglin. Founder of The Daily Stormer, Anglin is a white supremacist whose trolling morphed into abuse, threats and harassment as Trump's political fortunes (and his own bitcoin donations) rose.
Now facing court action,
His panic was almost palpable as he tried to walk back the fearsome reputation he’d cultivated. “I am not actually a ‘Neo‑Nazi White Supremacist,’ nor do I know what that is,” he wrote in mid-September. He claimed that his violent rhetoric was never sincere but simply a way to mock those who slap a Nazi label on anyone who “stands up for white people’s rights” or “refuses to believe the stupid lies about Hitler” or rejects the “alleged Holocaust” narrative. Anglin now shared what he said had been his true editorial approach all along: “Ironic Nazism disguised as real Nazism disguised as ironic Nazism.” Five days later, he posted about “the world being ruled either by reptiles from another dimension or some other type of reptilian or insectoid race of aliens.”
I hope whoever's representing him already has the bitcoin, because the guy surely won't be able to keep this up for long.
House Democrats just released a trove of data, metadata, Facebook ads, and Twitter accounts run out of the Kremlin’s troll farm. A team of reporters at Daily Beast reports on how ads were created by people working for the Russian government's cyberwar arm, and literally paid for in rubles with no questions asked by Facebook.
Yep, even of those Dank Bernie Memes you shared were Russian.
Russian ads like the ones shown here came from...
Read the rest
...dozens of inflammatory Facebook and Twitter ads from Kremlin-backed fake social media accounts, including several The Daily Beast has already identified, with names like “Being Patriotic,” “Secured Borders,” and “United Muslims of America.” They were released on Wednesday, along with accompanying metadata showing their Russian provenance, not by the companies themselves, but by Democrats on the House intelligence community investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Taken together, the ads and the metadata provide a deeper picture than previously known of one aspect of Russia’s so-called “active measures” disinformation campaign. Hundreds of millions of Americans – nearly 150 million, Facebook acknowledged on Wednesday – didn’t realize online political material they were seeing and sharing came from a foreign adversary. But the Russians, capitalizing on social-media targeting tools made possible by accumulated data from billions of users, knew a tremendous amount about their unsuspecting American audience.
“Russia exploited real vulnerabilities that exist across online platforms and we must identify, expose, and defend ourselves against similar covert influence operations in the future,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said during a hearing on Wednesday with executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google.
Judge Rodney Gilstrap serves the Eastern District of Texas court, the venue from which patent trolls have extorted billions in useless menaces money from US industry; Gilstrap hears 25% of the patent cases brought in the USA, and has a track record for making epically terrible rulings. Read the rest
American businessman Martin Shkreli is locked up with the general population at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City. It will be his home for the next four months, until he's sentenced for securities fraud early next year. The 34-year-old pharma executive was out on $5 million bail while awaiting sentencing and was finding comfort in writing Facebook posts, but a judge put him behind bars last week for putting a bounty on a strand of Clinton's hair, including the follicle. He has no access to the Internet.
From The LA Times
Although far less notorious than city-run Rikers Island, the Brooklyn facility has a checkered history. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, dozens of mostly Arab or Muslim men “of high interest” were detained at MDC. Many said guards there regularly slammed them against walls until officials began videotaping them as a safeguard.
More recently, prosecutors have alleged that MDC was the scene of sexual assaults by guards on female inmates. A federal magistrate last year expressed reluctance to remand a woman there, citing a report saying there was an “absence of fresh, clean air, the complete absence of sunlight, and the absence of ANY outdoor time and activities.”
In a court filing, lawyers for Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, the convicted former chief executive of Converse Technology, complained about a lack of recreation time, saying he “spends large parts of his day walking in circles in his unit when he is permitted to do so.”
After two nights behind bars, his attorney said that Shkreli is “doing reasonably well under very difficult circumstances.” Read the rest
In the wake of CNN threatening to out a critic if he does not limit his speech in the future, former federal prosecutor and First Amendment champion Ken White has published an eminently sensible post about the incoherence of the present moment's views on free speech, and on the way that partisanship causes us to apply a double standard that excuses "our bunch" and damns the "other side." Read the rest
Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, can vouch for Donald Trump's claim that no significant intelligence information was leaked to his foreign minister. This is because he has his own transcript of their meeting, of course, which he's happy to provide to America.
"If the US administration finds it necessary, we are ready to provide the record of the conversation between Trump and Lavrov to the Senate and Congress," Putin said.
The intervention by Putin could turn up the pressure on the White House to provide its own transcript of the meeting. The Senate intelligence committee has already demanded a briefing on what was said at the meeting from members of the Trump administration who were present. The episode is the latest woe for Trump, whose administration is engulfed in a series of scandals linked to Russia. His meeting with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak came a day after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, the man leading an investigation into contentious links between members of the President's campaign team and Russia.
Ever since I read Laurie Penny's scathing, insider account of Milo Yiannopoulos and his schtick, I knew that she had his number like no one else -- and now that Yiannopoulos has been disbarred from his position as the useful idiot of the hard-right, I've been wondering what Penny made of the fall from grace. Read the rest
Milo as “Ivana Wall,” speaking at Louisiana State University on Sep. 21, 2016. Say the name out loud and you'll get the joke. “Right about now your dick is probably confused,” read one of the slides on stage during the performance. Image: Reddit.
Pro-Trump and extremist right wing/white supremacist personality Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to deliver a speech at U.C. Berkeley, but his appearance was canceled by university officials tonight after big protests on campus that got out of hand with some people setting some objects on fire. No arrests or injuries reported.
Amnesty International has published a damning report on the organized networks of Mexican Twitter trolls and botmasters for hire who orchestrate massive harassment campaigns against investigative journalists, including death threats and misinformation/slander; they also hawk products and fake out Twitter's trending topic algorithm, operating with relative impunity -- thanks, in part, to Twitter's underinvestment in Spanish-speaking anti-harassment staff. Read the rest
A thread on 4chan's trollish /pol/ board has organized trumpist white-supremacist/alt-right types to find unlicensed venues and spaces and narc them out to city authorities in a bid to shut them down, because they serve as "open hotbeds of liberal radicalism and degeneracy...These places hold Black Lives Matter meetings. These places plan protests that disrupt our cities. These places illegally house our enemies." Read the rest