News Headlines from New Zealand and Around the World

WELLINGTON NZ: Prof Jane Kelsey on "The FIRE Economy"

Hear Professor Jane Kelsey speak about her new book "The Fire Economy"
WHEN: 5:30pm on Wednesday August 5th
WHERE: Lecture Theatre 1, Old Government Buildings, Stout Street, Wellington.

Professor Jane Kelsey is one of New Zealand’s best-known public intellectuals. She has taught at the University of Auckland since 1979. She was awarded a Marsden Grant in 2009 to review the neoliberal project in the wake of the global financial crisis, research that forms the basis of her new book The FIRE Economy.

Colin Craig is serious

Colin Craig is serious about suing Williams, Stringer and Slater. Formal legal advice has been sent. Not only that, but Craig’s pamphlet is appearing in letter boxes. I’ve seen a report via Twitter from (presumably) Wellington. Last night there was a copy in my box all the way down here in Sunny Dunedin, which means I guess that it may well have gone to most boxes in NZ, a pretty serious commitment.

Carlyle Group’s Latest Acquisition: the JFK Library (!)

Some things you truly cannot make up. Like this: the museum and archives celebrating and exploring the life (if not really wanting to investigate the death) of John F. Kennedy is getting a facelift—courtesy of….the Carlyle Group.

This development was noted, without much fanfare, in a variety of major media. If there was a smidgen of irony, I missed it.

Using Windows 10? Microsoft Is Watching

More than 14 million devices are already running Microsoft’s Windows 10 after its global launch on Wednesday, but it’s unclear how many of their users read the company’s Privacy Policy and Service Agreement before downloading. Tucked away in the 45 pages’ worth of terms and conditions (effective August 1) is a substantial power grab: The company is collecting data on much of what you do while using its new software.

From the moment an account is created, Microsoft begins watching. The company saves customers’ basic information—name, contact details, passwords, demographic data and credit card specifics —but it also digs a bit deeper.

Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files

In 40 years of reporting on mass surveillance, I have been raided three times, jailed once, had television programmes I made or assisted making banned from airing under government pressure five times, seen tapes seized, faced being shoved out of a helicopter, had my phone tapped for at least a decade, and — following my 1977 arrest — faced 30 years' imprisonment for alleged violations of secrecy laws.

And why do I keep going? Because from the beginning, my investigations revealed a once-unimaginable scope of governmental surveillance, collusion and concealment by the British and US governments – and practices that were always as much about domestic spying during times of peace as they were about keeping citizens safe from supposed foreign enemies, thus giving the British government the potential power to become, as our source that night had put it, a virtual “police state.”

NSA conducted commercial espionage against Japanese government and businesses

New leaked documents published by Wikileaks show that the US spy agency conducted surveillance operations against Japan's top government officials, prioritizing finance and trade ministers, as well as the Japanese central bank and two private-sector energy companies.

There's no conceivable connection between this long-term surveillance -- which included wiretaps -- and national security.

Wikileaks timed the release to coincide with last weekend's round of Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations; TPP is a top-secret trade deal being negotiated between the USA, Japan and ten other Pacific rim nations. The negotiations went badly.

The Red Herring of Digital Backdoors and Key Escrow Encryption

Conference season is here again and this year’s Aspen Security Forum hosted a session regarding the proverbial public-private partnership in cyberspace. During the hour-long meeting former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff commented that he thought digital back doors were a bad idea:
“I think that it’s a mistake to require companies that are making hardware and software to build a duplicate key or a back door even if you hedge it with the notion that there’s going to be a court order.”

Study: Painkiller Overdose Deaths Decrease Dramatically In Cannabis Friendly States

According to a report this year from the esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), fatal overdoses caused by prescription painkillers dropped dramatically in states where cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use.

Access to medical cannabis, according to the study, is responsible for an overall 25% drop in fatalities associated with prescription drugs taken for chronic pain. The study also expects such fatalities to continue to drop as cannabis reform across the country allows more people to legally access the drug for medical purposes.

Why Banning LSD and Magic Mushrooms is the Worst Censorship of Medicine in World History

Speaking at Breaking Convention, a three-day conference held in London that aimed to explore the benefits of psychedelic drugs as medicines, amongst other topics, Professor David Nutt talked to me about his concerns on how the law is interfering with medical research and why LSD is still a problem child.

Public Media and Utilities Could be Crushed by TPP: Wikileaks

Wikileaks has dropped another TPP bombshell with a leaked letter suggesting the deal could force mass privatizations of state-owned enterprises The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could force state enterprises such as public utilities to put profits before public welfare and lead to mass privatizations, according to documents published by Wikileaks Wednesday. Under the TPP, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) would be forced to act “on the basis of commercial considerations,” according to the leak.

The document also suggests multinational corporations could be empowered to sue SOEs for supposedly uncompetitive actions like favoring local businesses.

Syndicate content