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Original author: 
Cory Doctorow

Journeyman Pictures' short documentary "Naked Citizens" is an absolutely terrifying and amazing must-see glimpse of the modern security state, and the ways in which it automatically ascribes guilt to people based on algorithmic inferences, and, having done so, conducts such far-reaching surveillance into its victims' lives that the lack of anything incriminating is treated of proof of being a criminal mastermind:

"I woke up to pounding on my door", says Andrej Holm, a sociologist from the Humboldt University. In what felt like a scene from a movie, he was taken from his Berlin home by armed men after a systematic monitoring of his academic research deemed him the probable leader of a militant group. After 30 days in solitary confinement, he was released without charges. Across Western Europe and the USA, surveillance of civilians has become a major business. With one camera for every 14 people in London and drones being used by police to track individuals, the threat of living in a Big Brother state is becoming a reality. At an annual conference of hackers, keynote speaker Jacob Appelbaum asserts, "to be free of suspicion is the most important right to be truly free". But with most people having a limited understanding of this world of cyber surveillance and how to protect ourselves, are our basic freedoms already being lost?

World - Naked Citizens (Thanks, Dan!)     

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Original author: 
Aryn Baker

With its vast oil wealth, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest concentrations of super rich households in the world. But an estimated 20 percent of the population, if not more, lives in crippling poverty. Beggars panhandle in the shadows of Riyadh’s luxury shopping malls, and just a few kilometers away families struggle to get by in the capital’s southern slums. While the government has finally acknowledged that poverty is a problem in the kingdom, the world of the Saudi poor is largely hidden from sight (to read more, see the new article on Saudi Arabia in the international edition of TIME, available to subscribers here).

Accessing this world is a difficult undertaking for foreign journalists, granted only with the assistance of a few dedicated social workers who risk government opprobrium to expose the realities of life lived on the margins. The Saudi state offers free health care and education, but little in the way of income assistance or food stamps. Many poor Saudi families rely on handouts from private citizens instead. Muslims are expected to give a portion of their annual income to charity, and many go beyond the bare minimum. Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia’s richest investor, estimates that he has given several billions of dollars in charity over the past 30 years, much of it wired directly to the accounts of petitioners who apply to his office for assistance with paying back loans, buying a car or getting married. It’s not necessary, but most of those supplicants visit the prince in person as part of a weekly ritual dating back to the early days of the al Saud dynasty. They line up to deliver their requests. Several pause to recite poems in praise of his generosity. The government has pledged to eradicate poverty, but it is a difficult and long-term undertaking made all the more complex by a rapidly growing population and a paucity of jobs.

Lynsey Addario is a photographer based in London and a frequent contributor to TIME.

Aryn Baker is the Middle East bureau chief for TIME. Follow her on Twitter @arynebaker.

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mega millions lottery

*UPDATE: The statistic above, which has been cited repeatedly including by PBS, may be wrong. Or at least it does not appear to be in the academic study that PBS referred to. Our readers and others have said that the correct percentage is ~2%-3%, not 9%.

ORIGINAL: It has often been said that lotteries are a tax on the poor.

And that's a fair description.

Joe Weisenthal pointed out yesterday that poor people regularly buy lottery tickets, while rich people only buy them when the jackpots have gotten huge.

What's less commonly realized is just how much money poor people spend on lottery tickets.

According to a 2008 study, reported by PBS, households that earn less than $13,000 a year spend a staggering 9% of their income on lottery tickets. (via Scott Heiferman).

That's 9% of an income that is presumably extraordinarily hard to live on to begin with.

Rich, educated people tend to ridicule lottery players because the odds against winning are so astronomical.

As PBS points out, you are 17-times more likely to get hit by falling airplane parts than you are to win the lottery.

And you're 50-times more likely to get hit by lightning.

But poor people keep on buying lottery tickets.


Because they're stupid?

That's the popular explanation, at least among rich non-lottery players.

But the more accurate explanation is probably that having any chance at radically improving their circumstances is probably better than having no chance.

In any event, the fact that households that earn $13,000 or less spend 9% of their incomes on lottery tickets raises a few questions.

First, are those households receiving money from the government in the form of food stamps, tax breaks, or welfare?

If so, is it really fair to spend taxpayer money on lottery tickets? Is that what the folks who support assistance to poor households expect the money to be spent on?

Second, given that lotteries are primarily used to generate revenue for states, might it not be fairer to just collect the revenue directly, as taxes?

Or have lotteries discovered a magical way to tax people--one in which even anti-tax crusaders voluntarily choose to pay huge taxes in exchange for a minuscule chance of making a killing?

Should the United States government raise ALL its tax revenue that way?

Anyway, the finding that households earning $13,000 spend 9% of their precious dollars on lottery tickets is startling. And depressing. And it's worth thinking more about whether the government should really be sponsoring lotteries.

SEE ALSO: 14 Lottery Winners Who Blew It All

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Sir Mal Fet writes "In line with previous rulings discussed here, a judge in Spain has ruled that P2P technologies are "completely neutral" (original in Spanish ; Google translation ), thus dismissing a lawsuit originated in 2008 from the Spanish Association of Musical Producers (Promusicae), Warner, EMI, and Sony suing Pablo Soto, a Spanish man who created the Blubster, MP2P y Piolet programs to share files. The labels demanded 13 million euros in damages arguing that the mere existence and distribution of P2P technologies violated copyright, but the ruling stated the technology itself was neutral, so the creator could not be held responsible for how the software was used, and demanded that they pay for legal expenses. Promusicae said it was going to appeal the ruling."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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