Showing posts from March 11, 2016

Thanks, America! How China’s Newest Software Could Predict, Track, and Crush Dissent

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[Meet Big Brother, courtesy of the US and China. Armed with data from spying on its citizens, Beijing could turn 'predictive policing’ into an AI tool of repression. *RON*]
By Patrick Tucker, Defense One, 7 March 2016
What if the Communist Party could have predicted Tiananmen Square? The Chinese government is deploying a new tool to keep the population from uprising. Beijing is building software to predict instability before it arises, based on volumes of data mined from Chinese citizens about their jobs, pastimes, and habits. It’s the latest advancement of what goes by the name “predictive policing,” where data is used to deploy law enforcement or even military units to places where crime (or, say, an anti-government political protest) is likely to occur. Don’t cringe: Predictive policing was born in the United States. But China is poised to emerge as a leader in the field.

Here’s what that means.

First, some background. What is predictive pol…

Canada Revenue targeted progressive non-profits while wealthy tax dodgers get free pass

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[Social justice? "The CRA investigation bore some fruit, and the culprits have to cough up the years of back taxes they owe. But they caught a juicy break: no penalties, no criminal charges, and modest interest. This top-level decision, which appears to be a violation of the CRA's own rules, has caused consternation within the agency itself. KPMG, meanwhile, seems to have walked away unscathed." See also: Critics want public hearings into Canada Revenue amnesty for KPMG offshore tax dodgers. *RON*]
By J. Baglow,, 9 March 2016

This is a story about two rules of law: one for the rich and one for the rest of us. It's about a corrupt, politicized agency that is morally little better than the scammers who phone you around tax time and demand money with menaces.

Prime Minister Trudeau clipped the vulture's wings a bit almost as soon as he won office. Bill Morneau, the Minister of Finance, was given his marching orders u…

Mr. Fart’s Favorite Colors: Why your phone’s security is unlike any other

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[A funny-serious piece on how issues of security are viewed by programmers versus government and the intelligence community. *RON*]
Blake Ross, Medium, 4 Mar 2016

For a country fighting over security, we seem to know very little about it. I’m reminded of this every time I fly out of LAX, since they’ve got a security hole big enough for Timothy McVeigh to drive a truck through.

LAX has two security lines. The “9/10” line gives you the classic metal detector of days gone by. The “9/12” line gives you the billion-dollar body scans we bought after 9/11. Only passengers in the “precheck” program can go through 9/10 security. At the apex of the lines sits a TSA magician who ensures everyone’s in their proper place.

But here’s what actually happens when I arrive at the seventh largest airport in the world:
My TSA magician, whom I call The Great Tagliatelle (I’m usually starving by the time I reach him), meticulously runs through a series of checks.If I pass…

Top Pakistani religious body rules women's protection law 'un-Islamic'

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[Astounding. From my friend Harry. On a brighter note: Islamic State defector brings 'goldmine' of details on 22,000 supporters. *RON*]
By Mehreen Zahra-Malik, Reuters, 3 March 2016

A powerful Pakistani religious body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam on Thursday declared a new law that criminalizes violence against women to be "un-Islamic."

The Women's Protection Act, passed by Pakistan's largest province of Punjab last week, gives unprecedented legal protection to women from domestic, psychological and sexual violence. It also calls for the creation of a toll-free abuse reporting hot line and the establishment of women's shelters.

But since its passage in the Punjab assembly, many conservative clerics and religious leaders have denounced the new law as being in conflict with the Muslim holy book, the Koran, as well as Pakistan's constitution.

"The whole law is wrong," Mu…

Could This Lawsuit Be the Straw That Breaks the TPP’s Back?

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[Let's hope this uproar spreads and has the desired effect. Canadians, however, cannot help but be chagrined that their newly indignant American neighbours are clearly oblivious to the fact that US corporations sue Canada in droves under the same 'free trade' agreement. *RON*]
Posted by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism, 10 March 10, 2016

By Robin Broad, a Professor of International Development at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, D.C. Her most recent book, co-authored with John Cavanagh, is Development Redefined: How the Market Met Its Match. Originally published at Triple Crisis

In November 2015, just after President Obama finally stood up to the fossil fuel industry and rejected the TransCanada Corporation’s application for its tar sands pipeline through the United States, I issued a warning: In The Hill, I applauded the Obama decision and laid out the reasons why, under current trade and investmen…

Cross Lake First Nation Calls State Of Emergency Over Suicide Epidemic

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[The health and mental health problems of Aboriginal people in Canada are largely political and economic problems. Cross Lake First Nation, a Manitoba community of 8300 with an 80% unemployment rate and served by 2 nurses, declares a state of emergency following 6 suicides in last 2 months and 140 suicide attempts in the last 2 weeks. See also: Canada First Nations Water Issues Need To Be Fixed: UN. *RON*]
By Chinta Puxley, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 10 March 2016

CROSS LAKE, Man. — A remote Manitoba First Nation declared a state of emergency Wednesday after six suicides in the last two months and 140 attempts in the last two weeks alone.

Officials from the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, known as Cross Lake, say health workers on the northern reserve can no longer cope. Band councillor Donnie McKay said the nursing station is only staffed by two nurses overnight.

"They're going 24 hours and they're ready to drop."

The communit…