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Meet the shady companies helping governments hack citizens’ phones

Fast Company: “Named for the winged horse of Greek mythology and often sent by text message, Pegasus can burrow into your phone without your knowledge or even your click, hiding for days or weeks inside, surreptitiously recording everything—messages, photos, encrypted chats, and video and audio—in real-time. Exactly where your data is going often remains a mystery, lost in a tangle of servers. But the deadly impacts of Pegasus and other cyberweapons—wielded by governments from Spain to Saudi Arabia against human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and others—is by now well documented. A wave of scrutiny and sanctions have helped expose the secretive, quasi-legal industry behind these tools, and put financial strain on firms like Israel’s NSO Group, which builds Pegasus.  And yet business is booming. New research published this month by Google and Meta suggest that despite new restrictions, the cyberattack market is growing, and growing more dangerous, aiding government violence and repression and eroding democracy around the globe…”

Judge Clerkship Database to Launch With Hundreds of Testimonials

Bloomberg: “A database for prospective law clerks to learn more about the judges they’re considering working for is set to launch in March, the nonprofit behind the project said Thursday. The Legal Accountability Project’s Centralized Clerkship Database, featuring hundreds of surveys from former state and federal law clerks, will be available to potential clerks who… Continue Reading

Air pollution linked to more signs of Alzheimer’s in brain

Grace M. Christensen, Zhenjiang Li, Donghai Liang, Stefanie Ebelt, Marla Gearing, Allan I. Levey, James J. Lah, Aliza Wingo, Thomas Wingo, Anke Hüls. Association of PM 2.5 Exposure and Alzheimer Disease Pathology in Brain Bank Donors—Effect Modification by APOE Genotype. Neurology, 2024; 102 (5) “People with higher exposure to traffic-related air pollution were more likely… Continue Reading

FTC Order Will Ban Avast from Selling Browsing Data for Advertising Purposes

“The Federal Trade Commission will require software provider Avast to pay $16.5 million and prohibit the company from selling or licensing any web browsing data for advertising purposes to settle charges that the company and its subsidiaries sold such information to third parties after promising that its products would protect consumers from online tracking. In… Continue Reading

Émigrés Are Creating an Alternative China, One Bookstore at a Time

The New York Times [no paywall]: “From Tokyo and Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Amsterdam and New York, members of the Chinese diaspora are building public lives that are forbidden in China and training themselves to be civic-minded citizens — the type of Chinese the Communist Party doesn’t want them to be. They are opening Chinese… Continue Reading

Instagram’s Uneasy Rise as a News Site

The New York Times [read free]: “In this year’s presidential election, more people are turning to Instagram for news, even as the platform tries de-emphasizing “political content.”…Mosheh Oinounou of Mo News is part of a crop of personalities who have figured out how to package information and deliver it on Instagram, increasingly turning the social… Continue Reading

Survey Finds Workers are Putting Businesses at Risk by Oversharing with GenAI Tools

InsideBigData: “Our friends over at Veritas just released a new survey revealing that workers are oversharing with generative AI tools, putting businesses at risk. Nearly a third (31%) of global office workers admitted to inputting potentially sensitive information into generative AI tools, such as customer details or employee financials. Other key findings include: 61% of global… Continue Reading

Tools for Thinking About Censorship

ReactorMag – “One price of free speech is eternal humility, recognizing that none of us is immune to becoming a tool of censorship if we fail to recognize its manipulative tactics. Was it a government action, or did they do it themselves because of pressure?” This is inevitably among our first questions when news breaks… Continue Reading

Why car insurance rates are so high

Vox: “If you pay for car insurance, you’ve probably noticed that rates are really high lately. You’re not alone. Last week’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report — the government’s method for tracking what people are paying for goods and services and how that’s changing over time — noted that the price of car insurance was… Continue Reading