transparency Archive

Shadow Regulation: the secret laws that giant corporations cook up in back rooms

The winner-take-all economy has turned virtually every industry into a cartel (four record labels, two cable companies, two phone operating systems, etc) who operate without fear of competition regulation, allowing representatives of a few companies to gather in closed-door meetings to cook up operating agreements that end up having the force of law. For example, the major US ISPs and the major US …

Wells Fargo started demanding fraud of its employees in 1998; Illinois cuts Wells off from state business

Wells Fargo made a habit of firing employees who didn’t make unrealistic sales targets, turning a blind eye to the fraud they had to commit in order to keep their jobs (and firing the whistleblowers who reported the fraud). The bank says that this business only dates back to 2011, or possibly 2009, despite the bank officers who started blowing the whistle in …

Leaked Stingray manual shows how easy warrantless mass surveillance can be!

The Intercept has got hold of a set of Harris’s super-secretive manuals for their even-more-secret Stingray devices: fake cellular towers used to spy indiscriminately on whole populations by hacking their cellphones into giving up identifying information and more. Harris has fought every attempt at transparency in the technical details of these widely deployed mass surveillance tools, arguing that crooks and terrorists would benefit …

Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives

I’ve been writing about the work of Cathy “Mathbabe” O’Neil for years: she’s a radical data-scientist with a Harvard PhD in mathematics, who coined the term “Weapons of Math Destruction” to describe the ways that sloppy statistical modeling is punishing millions of people every day, and in more and more cases, destroying lives. Today, O’Neil brings her argument to print, with a fantastic, plainspoken, call …

UC Davis Chancellor spent $400K+ to scrub her online reputation after pepper-spray incident

Back in April, we learned that UC David Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi had hired a sleazy “reputation-management” company to scrub her reputation and that of the university after the 2011 incident in which university police lieutenant John Pike hosed down peaceful protesters with pepper spray, jetting chemical irritant directly into their open mouths and eyes. The bill for that “scrubbing” was over $175,000. …

EFF and partners reveal Kazakh government phished journalists, opposition politicians

At Defcon, researchers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, First Look Media and Amnesty International, revealed their findings on a major phishing attack through which the government of Kazakhstan was able to hack opposition journalists and arrange for an opposition politician’s extradition from exile in Italy to Kazakhstan. Irina Petrushova and Alexander Petrushov, publishers of the independent newspaper Respublika, had exposed programs of kidnapping …

Stiglitz quits Panama's official money-laundering panel over internal sabotage

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has resigned from the Panamanian committee set up to probe the country’s money-laundering industry in the wake of the Panama Papers leak, because the Panamanian government has reneged on its promise to publish the committee’s findings and now says it will keep them secret. “We can only infer that the government is facing pressure from those who are …