When U.S. Marshals shot and killed a 32-year-old black man named Winston Boogie Smith Jr. in a parking garage in Minneapolis on June 3, 2021, the city was already in the midst of a full-scale police crisis. George Floyd was killed by a police officer last May. When protests broke out again across the city, the police could not keep up.
Into the void stepped private security groups hired primarily to prevent property damage. But the organizations often ended up directing protest activity, a task usually reserved for the police and for which most private security guards are not trained.
During the protests following Smith’s death, several private organizations provided security in and around the garage where the killing took place, according to documents obtained by MIT Technology Review. One company, Conflict Resolution Group (CRG), routinely provided Minneapolis police with information about activists that was sometimes false and deeply politicized. Read the story in its entirety.
— Tate Ryan-Mosley and Sam Richards
Digital repression across borders is on the rise
All over the world, activists have fled authoritarian states for their safety. But in their new homes, the intimidation continues, albeit in the digital realm, through phishing attacks, click-free spyware hacks, social media page deletions, SIM card hacks and fake conference invites.
While physical threats against activists tend to make headlines, digital harassment, which can be carried out at the click of a mouse, often happens behind the scenes and appears to be on the rise. Read the story in its entirety.
— David Silverberg
A must read
I’ve combed the web to find the funniest/important/scary/interesting tech stories for you today.
1 Elon Musk is desperately trying to back out of buying Twitter
But the terms of the deal mean it won’t be easy for him to leave. (WP$)
+ Twitter is reportedly “willing to go to war” to make the deal happen. (FT$)
+ At this stage, Musk himself seems completely against its closure. (slate)
+ Tomorrow he is scheduled to speak at the elite Sun Valley retreat in Silicon Valley. (Bloomberg $)
+ Twitter, for its part, says it removes a million spam accounts every day. (Reuters)
2 License plate readers make it more difficult to get an unobserved abortion
Even if you take an Uber, hire a car or bus. (Wired $)
+ Abortion lawsuits can get extremely messy, and very quickly. (Bloomberg $)
+ Anti-abortion activists gather data they’ll need to prosecute after Roe. (MIT Technology Review)
3 The James Webb Space Telescope is ready to send its first pictures next week
Prepare to be dazzled. (IEEE Spectrum)
+ NASA criticized Russian cosmonauts for posing with anti-Ukrainian flags. (The Verge)
4 Charging an electric car at home is a luxury
And not everyone can afford it. (Reverse)
+ There are only 6,000 fast charging stations for electric vehicles in the US. (MIT Technology Review)
5 How Chinese influencers make millions from racist videos in Africa
Reflecting the scale of the demand for such abhorrent content. (rest of the world)
The complaints of 6 Netflix technicians fall on deaf ears
The streaming giant was once good at staff feedback. Not anymore. (The Verge)
+ The showrunners are also clueless about the future of their shows. (Vulture $)
7 One way to get a new job is to talk about your layoff on social media
Create the perfect position, then wait for the recruiters to come. (WSJ$)
8 NFT startups hiring managers to promote positive vibes
A crisis? What crisis?! (The Guardian)
+ All crypto banks have run out of money. (NY Mag$)
+ A former executive accused crypto lender Celsius of running a Ponzi scheme. (Reuters)