jm + us-politics   43

Drug Company Chairman to America: Go Fuck Yourself
'Mr. Coury [chairman of Mylan, makers of the EpiPen] replied that he was untroubled [by critics of 10x price-gouging price hikes]. He raised both his middle fingers and explained, using colorful language, that anyone criticizing Mylan, including its employees, ought to go copulate with themselves. Critics in Congress and on Wall Street, he said, should do the same. And regulators at the Food and Drug Administration? They, too, deserved a round of anatomically challenging self-fulfillment.'
mylan  gfy  fda  us-politics  healthcare  medicine  epipen  nytimes 
16 days ago by jm
Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election
RUSSIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE [GRU] executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept.

The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.
politics  russia  nsa  leaks  us-politics  cyberattacks  gru  hacking  elections  spear-phishing  phishing  e-voting 
16 days ago by jm
The Forgotten Story Of The Radium Girls
'The radium girls’ case was one of the first in which an employer was made responsible for the health of the company’s employees. It led to life-saving regulations and, ultimately, to the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which now operates nationally in the United States to protect workers. Before OSHA was set up, 14,000 people died on the job every year; today, it is just over 4,500. The women also left a legacy to science that has been termed “invaluable.”'
osha  health  safety  radium  poisoning  regulation  history  us-politics  free-market  cancer  radiation 
6 weeks ago by jm
Automated unemployment insurance fraud detection system had a staggering 93% error rate in production
Expect to see a lot more cases of automated discrimination like this in the future. There is no way an auto-adjudication system would be allowed to have this staggering level of brokenness if it was dealing with the well-off:

State officials have said that between Oct. 1, 2013, when the MiDAS [automated unemployment insurance fraud detection] system came on line, and Aug. 7, 2015, when the state halted the auto-adjudication of fraud determinations and began to require some human review of MiDAS findings, the system had a 93% error rate and made false fraud findings affecting more than 20,000 unemployment insurance claims. Those falsely accused of fraud were subjected to quadruple penalties and aggressive collection techniques, including wage garnishment and seizure of income tax refunds. Some were forced into bankruptcy.

The agency is now reviewing about 28,000 additional fraud determinations that were made during the relevant period, but which involved some human review. An unknown number of those fraud findings were also false.
fraud  broken  fail  michigan  detroit  social-welfare  us-politics  computer-says-no  automation  discrimination  fraud-detection 
12 weeks ago by jm
Intuit and H&R Block Are Spending Millions to Keep Us From Having Simpler Tax Forms
I noticed this when I was living there -- it was nearly impossible to file a 1040 without help, and this is why:
Intuit spent more than $2 million lobbying last year, much of it spent on legislation that would permanently bar the government from offering taxpayers pre-filled returns. H&R Block spent $3 million, also directing some of their efforts toward the bill.


On the upside, with H&R Block it's reasonably easy. Just pretty unpleasant that it's a requirement and effectively private-sector taxation as a result.
h-r-block  intuit  taxes  us-politics  lobbying  scams  usa 
12 weeks ago by jm
US immigration asking tech interview trivia questions now
what the absolute fuck. Celestine Omin on Twitter: "I was just asked to balance a Binary Search Tree by JFK's airport immigration. Welcome to America."
twitter  celestine-omin  us-politics  immigration  tests  interviews  bst  trees  data-structures  algorithms 
february 2017 by jm
Trump and Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles - The New York Times
This sounds more like a medieval court than a modern democracy. Also this incredible gem:
Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.
stephen-bannon  trump  us-politics  nsc 
february 2017 by jm
Supporting our Muslim sisters and brothers in tech - Inside Intercom
This is simply amazing:
Intercom is a dual-citizen company of a sort. We’ve had two offices from day zero. I moved to San Francisco from Ireland in 2011 and now hold a green card and live here. I set up our headquarters here, which contains all of our business functions. My cofounders set up our Dublin office, where our research and development teams are based. And we have over 150 people in each office now.

We’d like to use this special position we’re in to try help anyone in our industry feeling unsafe and hurt right now. If you’re in tech, and you’re from one of the newly unfavored countries, or even if you’re not, but you’re feeling persecuted for being Muslim, we’d like to help you consider Dublin as a place to live and work. [....]

– If you decide you want to look into moving seriously, we’ll retain our Dublin immigration attorneys for you, and pay your legal bills with them, up to €5k. We’ll do this for as many as we can afford. We should be able to do this for at least 50 people.
intercom  muslim  us-politics  immigration  dublin  ireland 
january 2017 by jm
The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S. - The New York Times
This is scary shit. It's amazing how Russia has weaponised transparency, but I guess it's not new to observers of "kompromat": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kompromat
kompromat  russia  cyberpower  cyberwar  security  trump  us-politics  dnc 
december 2016 by jm
Did the Russians “hack” the election? A look at the established facts | Ars Technica
solid roundup. There's a whole lot of evidence pointing Russia's way, basically
usa  russia  hacking  politics  security  us-politics  trump 
december 2016 by jm
A Yale history professor's 20-point guide to defending democracy under a Trump presidency — Quartz
Good advice -- let's hope it doesn't come to this. Example:

'17. Watch out for the paramilitaries: When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.'
trump  activism  government  politics  us-politics  right-wing  history  hitler  nazis  fascism 
december 2016 by jm
Facebook's Fight Against Fake News Was Undercut by Fear of Conservative Backlash
Well fuck this and fuck Facebook.
One source said high-ranking officials were briefed on a planned News Feed update that would have identified fake or hoax news stories, but disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people’s feeds. According to the source, the update was shelved and never released to the public. [....] “They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous citing fear of retribution from the company. The source added, “there was a lot of fear about upsetting conservatives after Trending Topics,” and that “a lot of product decisions got caught up in that.”
facebook  politics  us-politics  trump  fail  fake-news  hoaxes  news  newsfeed 
november 2016 by jm
The Fall of BIG DATA – arg min blog
Strongly agreed with this -- particularly the second of the three major failures, specifically:
Our community has developed remarkably effective tools to microtarget advertisements. But if you use ad models to deliver news, that’s propaganda. And just because we didn’t intend to spread rampant misinformation doesn’t mean we are not responsible.
big-data  analytics  data-science  statistics  us-politics  trump  data  science  propaganda  facebook  silicon-valley 
november 2016 by jm
How Macedonia Became A Global Hub For Pro-Trump Misinformation - BuzzFeed News
“I started the site for a easy way to make money,” said a 17-year-old who runs a site [from Veles] with four other people. “In Macedonia the economy is very weak and teenagers are not allowed to work, so we need to find creative ways to make some money. I’m a musician but I can’t afford music gear. Here in Macedonia the revenue from a small site is enough to afford many things.”
macedonia  veles  scams  facebook  misinformation  donald-trump  us-politics 
november 2016 by jm
How Trump’s troll army is cashing in on his campaign
Of the dozens of Trump pages seemingly run by click-farms, just one responded to our request for an interview, though the anonymous operators of the Trumpians fan page declined to provide the name of their company, citing the “volatility of Trump haters.” Trump’s Facebook page is the only one of over 100 the company runs that’s dedicated to an individual politician. “The other [candidates] don’t have any value from a merchandise perspective ,” the operator said by Facebook Messenger.
click-farms  spam  donald-trump  politics  us-politics  facebook  trolls 
may 2016 by jm
US government commits to publish publicly financed software under Free Software licenses
Wow, this is significant:
At the end of last week, the White House published a draft for a Source Code Policy. The policy requires every public agency to publish their custom-build software as Free Software for other public agencies as well as the general public to use, study, share and improve the software. At the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) we believe that the European Union, and European member states should implement similar policies. Therefore we are interested in your feedback to the US draft.
government  open-source  coding  licenses  fsf  free-software  source-code  us-politics  usa 
april 2016 by jm
Microsoft warns of risks to Irish operation in US search warrant case

“Our concern is that if we lose the case more countries across Europe or elsewhere are going to be concerned about having their data in Ireland, ” Mr Smith said, after testifying before the House judiciary committee.
Asked what would happen to its Irish unit if the company loses the case or doesn’t convince Congress to pass updated legislation governing cross-border data held by American companies, the Microsoft executive said: “We’ll certainly face a new set of risks that we don’t face today.”
He added that the issue could be resolved by an executive order by the White House or through international negotiations between the Irish Government or the European Union and the US.
microsoft  data  privacy  us-politics  surveillance  usa 
february 2016 by jm
Why is Safe Harbour II such a challenge? - EDRi
The only possible deal that is immediately available is where the European Commission agrees a politically expeditious but legally untenable deal, creating a time bomb rather than a durable deal, to the benefit of no one. In absence of reforms before an agreement, individuals’ fundamental rights would remain under threat.
edri  law  eu  ec  ecj  surveillance  snooping  us-politics  safe-harbor 
february 2016 by jm
EPA opposed rules that would have exposed VW's cheating
[...] Two months ago, the EPA opposed some proposed measures that would help potentially expose subversive code like the so-called “defeat device” software VW allegedly used by allowing consumers and researchers to legally reverse-engineer the code used in vehicles. EPA opposed this, ironically, because the agency felt that allowing people to examine the software code in vehicles would potentially allow car owners to alter the software in ways that would produce more emissions in violation of the Clean Air Act. The issue involves the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), which prohibits anyone from working around “technological protection measures” that limit access to copyrighted works. The Library of Congress, which oversees copyrights, can issue exemptions to those prohibitions that would make it legal, for example, for researchers to examine the code to uncover security vulnerabilities.
dmca  volkswagen  vw  law  code  open-source  air-quality  diesel  cheating  regulation  us-politics 
september 2015 by jm
EFF’s Game Plan for Ending Global Mass Surveillance
For years, we’ve been working on a strategy to end mass surveillance of digital communications of innocent people worldwide. Today we’re laying out the plan, so you can understand how all the pieces fit together—that is, how U.S. advocacy and policy efforts connect to the international fight and vice versa. Decide for yourself where you can get involved to make the biggest difference.

This plan isn’t for the next two weeks or three months. It’s a multi-year battle that may need to be revised many times as we better understand the tools and authorities of entities engaged in mass surveillance and as more disclosures by whistleblowers help shine light on surveillance abuses.
eff  privacy  nsa  surveillance  gchq  law  policy  us-politics 
january 2015 by jm
East of Palo Alto’s Eden
What if Silicon Valley had emerged from a racially integrated community?

Would the technology industry be different? 

Would we?

And what can the technology industry do now to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past?


Amazing article -- this is the best thing I've ever read on TechCrunch: the political history of race in Silicon Valley and East Palo Alto.
racism  politics  history  race  silicon-valley  palo-alto  technology  us-politics  via:burritojustice 
january 2015 by jm
"Looks like Chicago PD had a stingray out at the Eric Garner protest last night"
Your tax dollars at work: Spying on people just because they demand that the government's agents stop killing black people. [...] Anonymous has released a video featuring what appear to be Chicago police radio transmissions revealing police wiretapping of organizers' phones at the protests last night the day after Thanksgiving, perhaps using a stingray. The transmissions pointing to real-time wiretapping involve the local DHS-funded spy 'fusion' center.
imsi-catcher  stingray  surveillance  eric-garner  protests  privacy  us-politics  anonymous  chicago  police  wiretapping  dhs 
december 2014 by jm
Irish government in favour of ISDS court-evasion for multinationals
This has _already_ been used to trump national law. As Simon McGarr noted at https://twitter.com/Tupp_Ed/statuses/526103760041680898 :

'Philip Morris initiated a dispute under the Australia-Hong Kong Bilateral Investment Treaty to force #plainpacks repeal and compensation'.

"Plain packs" anti-smoking is being bitterly fought at the moment here in Ireland.

More from the US point of view: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harold-meyerson-allowing-foreign-firms-to-sue-nations-hurts-trade-deals/2014/10/01/4b3725b0-4964-11e4-891d-713f052086a0_story.html :

'The Obama administration’s insistence on ISDS may please Wall Street, but it threatens to undermine some of the president’s landmark achievements in curbing pollution and fighting global warming, not to mention his commitment to a single standard of justice. It’s not worthy of the president, and he should join Europe in scrapping it.'
isds  national-law  law  ireland  sovereignty  multinationals  philip-morris  us-politics  eu  free-trade 
october 2014 by jm
How Stewart "Whole Earth Catalog" Brand helped killed off the metric system in the US
In May of 1981, party people gathered for one of the nerdiest soirees ever to grace lower Manhattan. Billed as the “Foot Ball,” the event was an anti-metric shindig. Its revelers—including author Tom Wolfe and Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand—had joined to protest the encroachment of the metric system into modern American life. They threw shade on the meter and kilogram, and toasted the simple beauty of old classics like the yard and the pound.


Crazy. (via _stunned)
via:_stunned  us-politics  tom-wolfe  stewart-brand  luddism  metric  imperial  feet  path-dependence 
august 2014 by jm
Obama administration says the world’s servers are ours | Ars Technica
In its briefs filed last week, the US government said that content stored online doesn't enjoy the same type of Fourth Amendment protections as data stored in the physical world. The government cited (PDF) the Stored Communications Act (SCA), a President Ronald Reagan-era regulation.


Michael McDowell has filed a declaration in support of MS' position (attached to that article a couple of paras down) suggesting that the MLAT between the US and Ireland is the correct avenue.
privacy  eu  us-politics  microsoft  michael-mcdowell  law  surveillance  servers  sca  internet 
july 2014 by jm
How the patent trolls won in Congress: Ars Technica
"We felt really good the last couple of days," said the tech lobbyist. "It was a good deal—one we could live with. Then the trial lawyers and pharma went to Senator Reid late this morning and said that's it. Enough with the children playing in the playground—go kill it."
ars-technica  patents  swpats  patent-trolls  pharma  tech  us-politics  congress  lawyers 
may 2014 by jm
Observations of an Internet Middleman
That leaves the remaining six [consumer ISPs peering with Level3] with congestion on almost all of the interconnect ports between us. Congestion that is permanent, has been in place for well over a year and where our peer refuses to augment capacity. They are deliberately harming the service they deliver to their paying customers. They are not allowing us to fulfil the requests their customers make for content. Five of those congested peers are in the United States and one is in Europe. There are none in any other part of the world. All six are large Broadband consumer networks with a dominant or exclusive market share in their local market. In countries or markets where consumers have multiple Broadband choices (like the UK) there are no congested peers.


Amazing that L3 are happy to publish this -- that's where big monopoly ISPs have led their industry.
net-neutrality  networking  internet  level3  congestion  isps  us-politics 
may 2014 by jm
Netflix comes out strongly against Comcast
In sum, Comcast is not charging Netflix for transit service. It is charging Netflix for access to its subscribers. Comcast also charges its subscribers for access to Internet content providers like Netflix. In this way, Comcast is double dipping by getting both its subscribers and Internet content providers to pay for access to each other.


FIGHT!
netflix  comcast  network-neutrality  cartels  competition  us-politics  business  isps 
april 2014 by jm
Death by Metadata
The side-effects of algorithmic false-positives get worse and worse.
What’s more, he adds, the NSA often locates drone targets by analyzing the activity of a SIM card, rather than the actual content of the calls. Based on his experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata. “People get hung up that there’s a targeted list of people,” he says. “It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”
false-positives  glenn-greenwald  drones  nsa  death-by-metadata  us-politics  terrorism  sim-cards  phones  mobile-phones 
february 2014 by jm
Ryan Lizza: Why Won’t Obama Rein in the N.S.A.? : The New Yorker
Fantastic wrap-up of the story so far on the pervasive global surveillance story.
The history of the intelligence community, though, reveals a willingness to violate the spirit and the letter of the law, even with oversight. What’s more, the benefits of the domestic-surveillance programs remain unclear. Wyden contends that the N.S.A. could find other ways to get the information it says it needs. Even Olsen, when pressed, suggested that the N.S.A. could make do without the bulk-collection program. “In some cases, it’s a bit of an insurance policy,” he told me. “It’s a way to do what we otherwise could do, but do it a little bit more quickly.”

In recent years, Americans have become accustomed to the idea of advertisers gathering wide swaths of information about their private transactions. The N.S.A.’s collecting of data looks a lot like what Facebook does, but it is fundamentally different. It inverts the crucial legal principle of probable cause: the government may not seize or inspect private property or information without evidence of a crime. The N.S.A. contends that it needs haystacks in order to find the terrorist needle. Its definition of a haystack is expanding; there are indications that, under the auspices of the “business records” provision of the Patriot Act, the intelligence community is now trying to assemble databases of financial transactions and cell-phone location information. Feinstein maintains that data collection is not surveillance. But it is no longer clear if there is a distinction.
nsa  gchq  surveillance  spying  privacy  dianne-feinstein  new-yorker  journalism  long-reads  us-politics  probable-cause 
december 2013 by jm
Schneier on Security: Reforming the NSA
Regardless of how we got here, the NSA can't reform itself. Change cannot come from within; it has to come from above. It's the job of government: of Congress, of the courts, and of the president. These are the people who have the ability to investigate how things became so bad, rein in the rogue agency, and establish new systems of transparency, oversight, and accountability.
Any solution we devise will make the NSA less efficient at its eavesdropping job. That's a trade-off we should be willing to make, just as we accept reduced police efficiency caused by requiring warrants for searches and warning suspects that they have the right to an attorney before answering police questions. We do this because we realize that a too-powerful police force is itself a danger, and we need to balance our need for public safety with our aversion of a police state.
nsa  politics  us-politics  surveillance  snooping  society  government  police  public-safety  police-state 
september 2013 by jm
Groklaw - Forced Exposure ~pj
I loved doing Groklaw, and I believe we really made a significant contribution. But even that turns out to be less than we thought, or less than I hoped for, anyway. My hope was always to show you that there is beauty and safety in the rule of law, that civilization actually depends on it. How quaint.

If you have to stay on the Internet, my research indicates that the short term safety from surveillance, to the degree that is even possible, is to use a service like Kolab for email, which is located in Switzerland, and hence is under different laws than the US, laws which attempt to afford more privacy to citizens. I have now gotten for myself an email there, p.jones at mykolab.com in case anyone wishes to contact me over something really important and feels squeamish about writing to an email address on a server in the US. But both emails still work. It's your choice.

My personal decision is to get off of the Internet to the degree it's possible. I'm just an ordinary person. But I really know, after all my research and some serious thinking things through, that I can't stay online personally without losing my humanness, now that I know that ensuring privacy online is impossible. I find myself unable to write. I've always been a private person. That's why I never wanted to be a celebrity and why I fought hard to maintain both my privacy and yours.

Oddly, if everyone did that, leap off the Internet, the world's economy would collapse, I suppose. I can't really hope for that. But for me, the Internet is over. So this is the last Groklaw article. I won't turn on comments. Thank you for all you've done. I will never forget you and our work together. I hope you'll remember me too. I'm sorry I can't overcome these feelings, but I yam what I yam, and I tried, but I can't.
nsa  surveillance  privacy  groklaw  law  us-politics  data-protection  snooping  mail  kolab 
august 2013 by jm
Schneier on Security: Blowback from the NSA Surveillance
Unintended consequences on US-focused governance of the internet and cloud computing:
Writing about the new Internet nationalism, I talked about the ITU meeting in Dubai last fall, and the attempt of some countries to wrest control of the Internet from the US. That movement just got a huge PR boost. Now, when countries like Russia and Iran say the US is simply too untrustworthy to manage the Internet, no one will be able to argue. We can't fight for Internet freedom around the world, then turn around and destroy it back home. Even if we don't see the contradiction, the rest of the world does.
internet  freedom  cloud-computing  amazon  google  hosting  usa  us-politics  prism  nsa  surveillance 
june 2013 by jm
The Patent Protection Racket
Joel On Software weighs in (via Tony Finch):
The fastest growing industry in the US right now, even during this time of slow economic growth, is probably the patent troll protection racket industry.
joel-on-software  patents  swpats  shakedown  extortion  us-politics  patent-trolls  via:fanf 
april 2013 by jm
21 graphs that show America’s health-care prices are ludicrous
Excellent data, this. I'd heard a few of these prices, but these graphs really hit home. $26k for a caesarean section at the 95th percentile!? talk about out of control price gouging.
healthcare  costs  economics  us-politics  world  comparison  graphs  charts  data  via:hn  america 
march 2013 by jm
Antigua Government Set to Launch “Pirate” Website To Punish United States
oh the lulz.
The Government of Antigua is planning to launch a website selling movies, music and software, without paying U.S. copyright holders. The Caribbean island is taking the unprecedented step because the United States refuses to lift a trade “blockade” preventing the island from offering Internet gambling services, despite several WTO decisions in Antigua’s favor. The country now hopes to recoup some of the lost income through a WTO approved “warez” site.
us-politics  antigua  piracy  filesharing  pirate  gambling  wto  ip  blockades 
january 2013 by jm
Backdoor Allegations regarding OpenBSD IPSEC
'It is alleged that some ex-developers (and the company<br />
they worked for) accepted US government money to put backdoors into [the OpenBSD] network stack, in particular the IPSEC stack. Around 2000-2001'
openbsd  wow  ipsec  backdoors  fbi  nsa  us-politics  open-source  networking  security  from delicious
december 2010 by jm
Stephen Hawking Has Not Yet Been Murdered by the NHS
hilarious response to mind-boggling US healthcare talking-point derpitude: 'People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.' fantastic
politics  humour  healthcare  via:bwalsh  stephen-hawking  us-politics  derp  morons  funny  nhs  uk 
august 2009 by jm

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