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The House That Spied on Me

Posted on February 8th, 2018 at 10:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Thanks to the Internet of Things, I could live in my very own tech-mediated Downton Abbey. That’s the appeal of smart homes for most people, and why they are supposed to be a $27 billion market by 2021. But that wasn’t my primary motivation. The reason I smartened up my house was to find out whether it would betray me.


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The Dash For Cash: Leaked Files Reveal RBS Systematically Crushed British Businesses For Profit

Posted on February 8th, 2018 at 9:42 by John Sinteur in category: News

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The Royal Bank of Scotland killed or crippled thousands of businesses during the recession as a result of a deliberate plan to add billions of pounds to its balance sheet, according to a leaked cache of thousands of secret documents.

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The documents – comprising internal emails, confidential memos, secret policy documents, minutes, and financial records leaked from inside the bank by an anonymous whistleblower – today show:

  • RBS managers encouraged employees to hunt for ways to boost their bonuses by forcing customers into loan restructuring in order to extract heavy fees as part of a profit drive nicknamed “Project Dash for Cash”.
  • Firms that had never missed a loan payment were pushed into GRG under the bank’s secret policies for reasons that had nothing to do with financial distress, including for telling RBS they wanted to leave the bank, falling out with managers, or threatening to sue over mistreatment.
  • Once in GRG, firms were hit with crippling fees, fines, and interest rate hikes that could run into seven figures, helping to net the restructuring unit a profit of more than a billion pounds in a single year.
  • Contrary to claims by the bank, there were no Chinese walls between GRG and West Register bosses, who sat together on both the controlling committee that held sway over which businesses were transferred into the restructuring unit and the property acquisition committee that signed off the bank’s bids for their distressed assets. Auditors repeatedly warned about perceived conflicts of interest in GRG.
  • The property division, which amassed assets worth £3.3 billion during the crisis, was passed information that was not available to other bidders when it wanted to acquire properties from businesses in GRG. In contrast to what RBS executives told parliament, properties could be sold to West Register without being advertised on the open market.
  • Staff were told to conceal conflicts of interest from customers when demanding cheap shares in their businesses or stakes in their properties.

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John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018

Posted on February 8th, 2018 at 9:22 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

 

With a broken heart I have to announce that EFF’s founder, visionary, and our ongoing inspiration, John Perry Barlow, passed away quietly in his sleep this morning. We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF.

It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow’s vision and leadership. He always saw the Internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance.


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