British army targeted "stressed" 16-year-olds on exam-results day with Facebook recruitment ads

Every August, British 16-year-olds get their marks from the GCSE exams, a high-stakes test that has an enormous impact on their future educational and earnings prospects; on results day 2015, the British Army used Facebook targeting to reach these 16-year-olds with messages like "No matter what your results will be, you can still improve yourself in the army." Read the rest

The BBC warns that new EU copyright rule will break the internet

The BBC has weighed in on the debate over Article 13, a controversial last-minute addition to the EU's new Copyright Directive that will be voted on in 12 days; under Article 13, European sites will have to spy on every word, sound, picture, and video their users post and use a black-box copyright algorithm to decide whether or not to censor it. Read the rest

Anti-piracy group's study reveals that pirates are mostly people who couldn't afford, find, or use a commercial version

Muso is a London-based anti-piracy contractor, helping big entertainment companies conduct surveillance and legal threats against online infringers; in a new CitizenMe study they commissioned, 1,000 British internet users were surveyed; the headline finding: 83% of infringing downloads are triggered by an unsuccessful search for a commercially available version of the same work. Read the rest

UK consumer review magazine Which?: your smart home is spying on you, from your TV to your toothbrush

The UK consumer review magazine Which? (equivalent to America's Consumer Reports) has published a special investigation into the ways that Internet of Things smart devices are spying on Britons at farcical levels, with the recommendation that people avoid smart devices where possible, to feed false data to smart devices you do own, and to turn off data-collection settings in devices' confusing, deeply hidden control panels. Read the rest

Former Tory chancellor takes over newspaper, sells "money-can't buy" coverage to Uber, Google and others

George Osborne was David Cameron's Chancellor of the Exchequer, the architect of UK austerity; he was fired by Theresa May when she became Prime Minister and he did not run for re-election in the disastrous election of 2017, instead taking a job as editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard. Read the rest

The company that made Grenfell Tower's flammable, poisonous insulation used dangerous lies to make hundreds of sales

Celotex convinced the owners of Grenfell Tower and hundreds of other buildings in the UK to insulate with their RS5000 insulation product -- a product that had never passed safety tests. The company claimed it was safe for use because a different version of RS5000 (one that used much more flame-retardant) had been through the tests. Read the rest

London's Variety Club for Kids: Cabaret for all ages, May 29/30

Showman Mat Ricardo (previously) writes, "I've always thought it was a shame that the resurgence in cabaret and variety shows has tended to be adult-centric. Late night sexy circus shenanigans are all well and good, but variety shows should be for everyone - so I did something about it!" Read the rest

Britain's hardline prohibitionist drugs minister is married to a weed grower

When Theresa May became the British Prime Minister, her pick for Home Office Undersecretary of State was Victoria Atkins, a former prosecutor who specialised in jailing drug users, and who was on record for her uncompromising, evidence-ignoring stance on any form of drugs legalisation. Read the rest

Zuck tells Parliament they'll have to arrest him if they want him to testify

Earlier this month, Parliament sternly warned Mark Zuckerberg that if they continued to ignore their polite requests for him to testify, they'd issue a "summons" that could result in his being dragged to Westminster in chains the next time he set foot in the UK. Read the rest

Profiles of flat earthers: report from the front lines of weaponized media literacy

Tom Usher went to a flat earth conference in Birmingham, England; he met an array of people who believe that the Earth is flat, because they believe that powerful people have conspired to control the information they receive in order to secure benefits for the elite, and this belief (which has a wealth of evidence to support it!) has been weaponized by crackpots and cynical manipulators to convince them the world is flat (despite the wealth of evidence against this!). Read the rest

London cops are using an unregulated, 98% inaccurate facial recognition tech

The London Metropolitan Police use a facial recognition system whose alerts have a 98% false positive rate; people falsely identified by the system are stopped, questioned and treated with suspicion. Read the rest

75% of Theresa May's £50m gift to grammar schools will go to Tory districts

The UK Conservative Party has "made Britain great again" by restoring systems that use tax money to subsidise the wealthy; for example, they have revived the "grammar school" system of publicly funded schools that get to turn away students based on their test scores. Since you can improve your test scores by paying expensive tutors, grammar schools are primarily a way of letting wealthy people enjoy a parallel, publicly funded educational system. Read the rest

Leaked Grenfell Towers papers: Tory politicians rejected fireproof cladding proposal for a 5.7% savings

The Grenfell Towers fire was one of the most deadly fires in modern British history, killing at least 72 people, with no way to know how many more may have died. Read the rest

The UK's Data Protection Bill doesn't protect immigrants; help the Open Rights Group raise £30,000 for a court challenge

The UK's Data Protection Bill is far-reaching and long overdue, extending vital privacy protection to Britons -- unless they're immigrants. Read the rest

Welsh police deployed facial recognition tech with a 92% false positive rate, but they're sure it's fine

The South Wales Police deployed a facial recognition technology at the June 2017 Champions League soccer final in Cardiff, and 92% of the people identified by the system as matches for suspiciousness were false positives. Read the rest

The BBC on Afrofuturism

The BBC has published a long and welcome feature on Afrofuturism, the term coined by former Boing Boing guestblogger Mark Dery to describe (in the words of Steve Barnes) "science fiction, fantasy and horror created by or featuring the children of the African diaspora (people of African origin living outside of the continent)." Read the rest

Britain's Great Firewall blocks access to official Disney sites, internet safety guides, VPNs, and coding sites for kids

In the decade since the UK rolled out its Great Firewall, the project of somehow dividing the entire internet into "good" and "bad" (or even "all-ages" and "adult") has run into a series of embarrassing gaffes, blocking rape crisis sites while letting through all sorts of ghastly porn -- and at every turn, the Conservative government's response has been to double down on internet censorship, expanding it from a parental filter to an opt-out porn filter, whose biggest backers have repeatedly demonstrated their technical incompetence. Read the rest

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