Britain's unbelievably stupid, dangerous porn "age verification" scheme is totally dead

For years, Her Majesty's Government has been pursuing a plan to use the Great Firewall of Britain to block all porn sites unless they collect and retain personally identifying information on every porn user attesting to their age, thus fashioning the world's largest kompromat database, which -- thanks to the use of credit-cards as part of the verification scheme -- could be conveniently sorted by its members' net worth by would-be blackmailers. Read the rest

Bruce Sterling on Boris Johnson's bizarre, cyberpunk dystopia address to the UN

This week's bizarre speech to the UN by the UK's clownish, authoritarian Prime Minister pro tem Boris Johnson has sparked a lot of talk, especially among science fiction readers who recognise the difference between cautionary tales about hi-tech dystopias and suggestions for public technology policy (unlike PM Johnson). Read the rest

Trial begins for the "cum/ex" bankers accused of stealing €447m and trying for €60b

You know that late-stage capitalism is upon us when a financial scandal targeting €60 billion in fraud against public treasuries is lost in the noise of other scandals. Read the rest

Banksy celebrates the erasure of his Brexit mural: "I guess a big white flag says it just as well"

In 2017, Banksy painted a giant mural on a wall in Dover, England depicting a worker chiseling a star off the EU flag, by way of a comment on the Brexit vote; now, parties unknown have painted over that mural, whitewashing it. Banksy is philosophical about this development: "Oh. I had planned that on the day of Brexit I was going to change the piece in Dover to this. But seems they've painted over it. Nevermind. I guess a big white flag says it just as well." (via Naked Capitalism) (Image: Dunk, CC BY) Read the rest

46% of Scots want to separate from the UK; 43% want to remain

An Lord Ashcroft Poll for Holyrood found that the largest group of Scots with a preference favour independence from the UK: 46% leave vs 43% remain; after removing undecided voters, the figures are 52%-48%. Read the rest

A modest proposal to solve no-deal Brexit: insure all losses with the pensions of Brexit supporters

David Hayward's proposal to "solve no-deal Brexit" is pretty delicious: Her Majesty's Government need only insure all UK businesses and individuals against No Deal Brexit losses, and pay for it by issuing special "Great British Brexit Bonds" that No Deal supporters can voluntarily sink their entire pensions into. Read the rest

Rockstar Games made £4b between 2013-19, paid no corporate tax in the UK, claimed £42m in tax relief

Multinationals are excellent players of the global financial tax system, using "profit shifting" (through which operating profits are remitted to phony sister companies in tax havens as "licensing fees" or "management fees") to make it look like wildly profitable companies are losing money, making them eligible for tax relief and rebates -- thus it is that companies can rake in billions and then receive millions more in corporate welfare. Read the rest

#29leaks: someone leaked 15 years' worth of data from London's most notorious shell-company factory

Formations House is a London "financial services" firm that has been implicated in some of the world's most notorious money-laundering and fraud schemes, a company that has formed more than 400,000 companies, trusts and partnerships for its customers, many of them prefabricated, anonymous "shelf companies" that have been used to disguise the parties behind breathtaking frauds, some perpetrated by corrupt heads of state. Read the rest

After the Oliver Twist poorhouse became luxury housing with a segregated playground, London bans segregated play-areas

The world is full of corrupt oligarchs looking to smuggle their money out of their countries and put it somewhere where the rule of law that they have helped to dismantle at home still reigns; a favourite safe asset class is luxury housing in major cities, which is viewed as easy to sell on short notice due to the large supply of other money-laundering oligarchs. Read the rest

London police official warns journalists not to publish leaks on pain of imprisonment

After a leak revealed that the British Ambassador to the USA had called Trump "inept, insecure and incompetent" (leading to the ambassador's resignation and a round of Twitter insults between Trump and senior Tory officials), London's Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu publicly warned journalists not to publish government leaks, threatening to imprison them if they do: "The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause may also be a criminal matter. I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty's Government." Read the rest

Britain's US ambassador: Trump is "insecure, incompetent, inept"

A leaked cable from the British ambassador to the US, sent home to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has the ambassador calling Trump "insecure," "incompetent" and "inept." In the ambassador's defense, it's completely true. Trump has not yet commented on the news. Read the rest

UK ISP Association, spies, censorship organsation jointly condemn Mozilla for supporting secure DNS because it breaks UK internet censorship rules

ISPs in the UK are required to censor a wide swathe of content: what began as a strictly limited, opt-in ban on depictions of the sexual abuse of children has been steadily expanded to a mandatory ban on "extreme" pornography, "terrorist content," copyright and trademark infringement, and then there's the on-again/off-again ban on all porn sites unless they keep a record of the identity of each user and the porn they request.. Read the rest

How Boris Johnson's "model bus hobby" non sequitur manipulated the public discourse and his search results

Boris Johnson is a racist, sexist, homophobic lying buffoon who has been repeatedly caught out using lies to sway public opinion, and that's why he's likely to lead the UK Conservative party and become the country's Prime Minister. Read the rest

"PM for a day": dissident Tories plan to bring down the government the day after Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister

Boris Johnson -- a racist, sexist, homophobic lying buffoon who has been repeatedly caught out using lies to sway public opinion -- is now, incredibly, tipped to become the leader of the Conservative Party and thus the Prime Minister of the UK (this is because outgoing PM Theresa May totally bungled Brexit, and the UK's form of parliamentary democracy lets the ruling party fill the PM's seat with a vote of party members, and the British Tories have become the swivel-eyed racist loony party, and Boris is the perfect nominee for King of the Racist Swivel-Eyed Loons). Read the rest

UK government quietly cancels "age verification" system that would have compiled a database of every Briton's sexual fantasies

Since the days of David Cameron, the UK has been pressing ahead on a plan to force every British person who wants to see pornography to register as an adult through a private-public partnership (administered by a Canadian porn monopolist that pretends to be a Luxembourg company) before they could see sexy times on the internet. Read the rest

Independent tribunal concludes that Falun Gong prisoners in China are targeted for organ harvesting

The UK China Tribunal has concluded that China is indeed harvesting organs from prisoners, especially imprisoned members of the banned Falun Gong religion; Falun Gong members have long claimed this to be the case, though the Chinese state denied it and said that it had halted the transplantation of organs from executed prisoners in 2014. Read the rest

The UK government gave away cheap money for property purchase deposits, which the wealthy abused, driving up property prices and leaving UK taxpayers exposed

In 2013, the UK coalition government of David Cameron's Tories and the Libdems' Nick Clegg launched a "Help to Buy" scheme that gave incredibly cheap, taxpayer subsidised loans to first-time homebuyers, who got their money interest free for five years and thereafter had to repay it at 1.75% interest. Read the rest

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