DFW shut out from hundreds of millions of dollars as state agencies favor Austin staffing vendors

The Dallas Business Journal analyzed every IT staffing record in Texas dating back to 2010 and found that the vast majority of the work goes to Austin and the surrounding areas. Austin staffing firms made nearly $600 million over the time span compared to just $1.4 million by Dallas vendors. The discrepancy starts with the…

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Congolese cobalt mines that supply batteries to major tech companies are dangerous and poorly regulated

The western world’s increasing reliance on mobile technology comes with an increasing reliance on lithium-ion batteries. Cobalt, an essential ingredient in these batteries, is mostly mined in the African country of Congo. For thousands of people, including children, who work in Congo’s poorly regulated mines, it’s a difficult and dangerous job. The Washington Post traced…

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A look inside the shady industry that profits on mugshot photos

A team of journalists at Fusion’s The Naked Truth found that people have long taken an interest in looking at mugshots, but that the gawking has taken a more commercialized, troubling turn since the late 1800s. That fascination then morphed into printed magazines of mugshots, usually only with a citywide or regional reach. Now, however,…

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Police say encryption technology makes it difficult for law enforcement to complete investigations

An investigation by Scripps News Washington Bureau and the Toronto Star explores how American and Canadian law enforcement are being locked out of digital information due to encryption on phones. Companies like Apple and Google have built encryption into their products, making it impossible for anyone to get in without a password, even with a…

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After police shootings, departments withheld body camera footage

Despite a vow of transparency, police and other officials routinely block the release of body camera videos, while giving officers accused of wrongdoing special access to the footage. The Washington Post took an in-depth look at how this is happening in Burlington, Iowa, and elsewhere around the country. Nationwide, police have shot and killed more than…

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Data breach mystery leads from Arizona counterterrorism site to China

Lizhong Fang, a Chinese national and computer programmer, had access to a variety of sensitive information during his short time at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center in Phoenix. His work on facial recognition software allowed him to view the Arizona driver’s license database as well as law enforcement records. Fang disappeared in 2007, and…

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Extra Extra Monday: Accident reports, deportations and school finances

Jail Crunch | Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project OCCRP reporters filed freedom of information requests to prison authorities across Eastern Europe. The interactive visualization is a compilation of the data received from each prison authority, organized to demonstrate similarities and differences between prison demographics and crime categories across the region. OCCRP journalists conducted dozens of…

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US secretly built ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Agency for International Development was behind the creation of a “Cuban Twitter,” a social network designed to undermine the communist government and push Cubans toward dissent. The project – called ZunZuneo – drew tens of thousands of subscribers in the more than two years in operated. American contractors…

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