Elon Musk is trying to wriggle out of the Twitter deal

When U.S. marshals shot and killed a 32-year-old black man named Winston Boogie Smith Jr. in a Minneapolis parking lot on June 3, 2021, the city was already in a full-blown police crisis. George Floyd had been killed by a member of the police the previous May. As protests erupted throughout the city, police were unable to keep up.

Private security groups entered the vacuum, hired primarily to prevent property damage. But organizations often ended up managing the protest activity, a task normally reserved for the police and for which most private security guards are not trained.

According to documents obtained by MIT Technology Review, during the protests following Smith’s death, several private organizations were providing security services in the parking lot where the murder took place and in the vicinity. One company, Conflict Resolution Group (CRG), regularly provided Minneapolis police with information about activists that was sometimes false and deeply politicized. Read the whole story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley and Sam Richards

Cross-border digital repression is on the rise

Around the world, activists have fled authoritarian states for their safety. But in their new homes, bullying continues, albeit in the digital realm, through phishing attacks, click-free spyware hackers, social media page snippets, SIM card hackers, and fake conference invitations.

Although physical threats against activists tend to be headlines, digital harassment, which can be carried out at the click of a mouse button, occurs frequently behind the scenes and appears to be on the rise. Read the whole story.

—David Silverberg

Mandatory readings

I combed the internet to find you the funniest / most important / scary and fascinating stories about technology.

1 Elon Musk desperately tries to withdraw from the Twitter purchase
But the terms of the agreement mean it will not be easy for him to leave. (WP $)
+ According to reports, Twitter is “willing to go to war” to make the deal possible. (FT $)
+ Musk himself seems pretty dead against his closure, at this stage. (Blackboard)
+ Tomorrow he has to speak at the Silicon Valley Elite Sun Valley Retreat. (Bloomberg $)
+ Twitter, meanwhile, says it deletes a million spam accounts every day. (Reuters)

2 License plate readers make it difficult to travel for an unsupervised abortion
Even if you take an Uber, rent a car or take the bus. (cable $)
+ Abortion data citations could be extremely messy, very quickly. (Bloomberg $)
+ Anti-abortion activists are gathering the data they will need for post-Roe prosecutions. (MIT Technology Review)

3 The James Webb Space Telescope is about to send its first images next week
Get ready to be dazzled. (IEEE spectrum)
+ NASA has criticized Russian cosmonauts for putting up anti-Ukraine flags. (The edge)

4 Charging the electric car at home is a luxury
And not everyone can afford it. (Reverse)
+ The United States has only 6,000 fast charging stations for electric vehicles. (MIT Technology Review)

5 How Chinese Influencers Make Millions with Racist Videos in Africa
Reflection of the scale of demand for this type of sick content. (Rest of the world)

6 Complaints from Netflix tech workers fall on deaf ears
The real-time broadcast giant was famously receptive to staff comments. Not anymore. (The edge)
+ Showrunners are also kept in the dark about the future of their shows. (Volt $)

7 A way to get a new job: sound like dismissal on social media
Create the perfect post and then wait for the recruiters to come. (WSJ $)

8 NFT startups are hiring managers to promote positive vibes
Crisis? What a crisis ?! (The Guardian)
+ Cryptographic banks have no cash. (NY May $)
+ A former manager has accused crypto lender Celsius of running a Ponzi scheme. (Reuters)

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