Elon Musk tries to squeeze his way out of the Twitter deal

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When U.S. marshals identified a 32-year-old black man named Winston Boogie Smith Jr. on June 3, 2021. shot and killed in a parking garage in Minneapolis, the city was already in a full-blown police crisis. George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in May last year. When protests flared up again across the city, the police couldn’t keep up.

Into the void stepped private security groups, mainly hired to prevent damage to property. But the organizations often ended up directing the protest activities — a job usually reserved for the police and for which most private security guards are not trained.

According to documents obtained by MIT Technology Review, several private organizations provided security services at and around the parking garage where the murder took place during the protests following Smith’s death. One company, Conflict Resolution Group (CRG), regularly provided the Minneapolis Police Department with information about activists that was at times untrue and highly politicized. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley & Sam Richards

Digital repression across borders is increasing

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

While physical threats against activists make headlines, digital harassment, which can be carried out at the click of a mouse, often takes place behind the scenes — and appears to be on the rise. Read the full story.

—David Silverberg

The must reads

I’ve scoured the internet to find today’s funniest/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Elon Musk Is Desperately Trying To Refrain From Buying Twitter
But the terms of the deal mean it won’t be easy for him to walk away. †WP
+ Twitter is reportedly “willing to go to war” to make the deal work. †FT
Musk himself seems to be quite opposed to shutting it down at this stage. †Slate
He is due to speak tomorrow at the elite Sun Valley Retreat in Silicon Valley. †Bloomberg
For its part, Twitter says it deletes a million spam accounts every day. †Reuters

2 License Plate Readers Make It Hard To Travel For An Unsupervised Abortion
Even if you take an Uber, rent a car or take the bus. †wired
+ Summons for abortion data can get extremely messy, extremely fast. †Bloomberg
+ Anti-abortion activists collect the data they need for prosecutions after Roe. (MIT Technology Review)

3 The James Webb Space Telescope is poised to send its first images next week
Prepare to be dazzled. †Spectrum IEEE
+ NASA has criticized Russian cosmonauts for posing with anti-Ukraine flags. †The edge

4 Charging your electric car at home is a luxury
And not everyone can afford that. †inverse
+ The US only has 6,000 fast charging stations for EVs. (MIT Technology Review)

5 How Chinese influencers make millions from racist videos in Africa
Reflected the magnitude of demand for this kind of sickening content. †Rest of the world

6 complaints from Netflix techs have fallen on deaf ears
The streaming giant was once famously receptive to staff feedback. Not anymore. †The edge
+ Showrunners are also in the dark about the future of their shows. †Vulture

7 One Way To Get A New Job: Get Out About Getting Fired On Social Media
Create the perfect vacancy and wait for the recruiters to come. †WSJ

8 NFT Startups Hire Managers to Promote Positive Vibes
Crisis? Which crisis?! †the guard
+ The crypto banks are all out of money. †NY Mag
A former executive has accused cryptocurrency lender Celsius of running a Ponzi scheme. †Reuters