Police can access everything from “pokes” to private Messenger data — and increasingly do

In mid-September of 2019, Violet, a friend of mine, was jolted awake by a sound every activist dreads: the police door knock. She hoped they would just go away, but the pounding spread across the house. “One of the officers started whacking my roommates’ air conditioning unit with a broom handle,” she recalled.

When she opened the door, Rhode Island State Police officers told her she was under arrest and transported her to the police barracks in Lincoln, Rhode Island for interrogation. …


Cash-strapped governments are turning to tech that converts cameras into automated license plate readers to penalize uninsured drivers

Photo: marcoventuriniautieri/Getty Images

In March, the president of Rekor Systems Inc., Robert Berman, told investors that 2020 was a “transformative year.” The surveillance tech company’s platform, Rekor One, which converts regular cameras into automated license plate readers (ALPR), had proven alluring to cash-strapped state governments during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oklahoma, which has seen its tax revenue plummet alongside falling oil prices, announced a statewide rollout of Rekor One in November to track uninsured motorists. …


Residents fear the gadgets will enable snooping — and much worse

Pamela Thessen, a homeowner in Cotswold HOA in Birmingham, Alabama, says her concerns about the neighborhood’s new license-plate reader were met with dismissiveness . Photography: Peyton Fulford

About a year ago, Brian Davidson spotted a crew installing a 14-foot pole in the middle of his neighbor’s well-manicured lawn. When he walked next door to ask what was happening, he learned that his homeowner association’s board of directors near Dallas, Texas, was installing automated license plate readers (ALPRs) in order to prevent crime. “[My neighbor] had no idea it was even done,” Davidson tells OneZero. “No one was given permission … they just stuffed it in there.”

Davidson’s neighbor asked the homeowner association, called Bedford Stonecourt, to remove the pole from his yard, and the crew did. The…


https://towndock.net/on-the-cover/everybody-sucks-2020

Of the 328 million people in the United States, we’ve selected just two as contenders for one of the most powerful positions in the world. Most of us can agree that these man-children didn’t achieve such a feat based on some mythical meritocracy. A mixture of familial connections, personal wealth, luck and (most importantly)an allegiance to the ruling capitalist class propelled their careers forward.

Such an illusion of choice is tacitly understood, but it’s not usually blurted out loud. This year, as an increasing number of people aren’t voting for anyone, just against someone, the electoral process is nakedly exposed…


This story was originally written for Stranger Stories, RI’s ‘flight’ theme. Then the pandemic happened.

Photo by Nikola Johnny Mirkovic on Unsplash

I felt some apprehension as we lifted off in the two-seater. But, as I have obnoxiously told others wary of flight, it is more statistically probable to die in a car crash than hurtle into oblivion on a plane. So up we went.

The pilot was my best friend’s new partner, and he had already exhibited abusive tendencies. He knew I was wary of him. And, in his eyes, I was a threat to their relationship. My friend, who I will call B, wanted us…


Viruses ‘cooperate.’ To keep up, scientists are, too.

Photo: Pedro Vilela/Stringer/Getty Images

Viruses are constantly evolving through interactions inside “clouds.” Inside these swarms, they pick up traits from their neighbors, forming novel strains that more efficiently hijack cells or are harder for the immune system to neutralize. Essentially, they cooperate.

To fight the novel coronavirus sweeping the globe, scientists are also cooperating, and on an unprecedented level.

Ditching the normal publication process for research — which moves slowly and oftentimes offers access only to those who pay — more than 50 journals and publishers signed a statement in January pledging to share findings rapidly and openly and to make all of their…


In the first half of 2018, advocates filed 112 FOIA requests for body cam footage. None were granted.

The atmosphere was commemorative, yet solemn outside of Culture House DC (formerly Blind Whino) on June 12, 2019, one year after the Metropolitan Police Department shot and killed 22-year-old Marqueese “Queese” Alston. Candles lit readily on the windless evening in Southwest DC, while about 60 friends and family members wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts formed a circle in remembrance of the man taken so young. Occasionally, white people walked through or around the gathering on their way to view an exhibit inside the Culture House, Shelter for the Next Cold War.

Kenithia Alston, Marqueese’s mother, radiated strength, hope, and love…


Artist: Daniel Hjalmarsson @articstudios

At the end of each year, we are momentarily encouraged to reflect on our lives. While the majority of us don’t stick with our resolutions, the deliberate disruption allows for an honest assessment of who we are and how we can be better.

Reflection, the practice of evaluating the self and the meaning of things, can help us attempt to gain control over our lives.

But what does it mean to “gain control” over our lives? In part, we are in control, when we are able to prioritize our time wisely by reflecting on what is and is not important…

Ella Fassler

Writer, Researcher, Sleuth|Armenian American| @thenation @truthout @slate | She/They | Questioning Everything| Tech, Science, Power,

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