Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "computers" ...

  • Artificial Unintelligence

    A guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology and why we should never assume that computers always get it right.
  • How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell

    This series found people who have been affected by mistakes in digital cartography, or the mapping of internet-connected devices via their IP addresses to the physical world. The story's major finding was that a widely-used Boston-based company called MaxMind that maps IP addresses had chosen default locations around the country for devices it could not map precisely. Some of those locations were on the property of homeowners. It resulted in millions of IP addresses being inaccurately mapped to these people's homes, and when the IP address was used to do something bad online, legal authorities and internet vigilantes assumed the people who lived at the homes were the culprits. https://gimletmedia.com/episode/53-in-the-desert/
  • Rare Earth Elements

    The U.S. began the march toward the use of rare Earth metals - essential ingredients in everything from smart phones and computers to cars and missiles - but has left most of their mining and processing to others. China now dominates this crucial industry, which worries the U.S. government.
  • Two linked scandals: An embattled attorney general and a besieged Supreme Court

    In a series of investigative articles, The Philadelphia Inquirer raised major questions about the performance of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. At the same time, the paper probed a related scandal involving misconduct at the state Supreme Court, whose justices Kane accused of swapping offensive emails on state computers—messages laden with pornography and misogynistic, homophobic and racist jokes. Unlike most entries in this contest, the newspaper’s work on this investigation has played out over more than a year in a saga that has gathered more and more momentum.
  • Sony Hack

    Electronic infiltration has become the signature crime of the 21st century, and Fortune’s “Inside the Hack of the Century” tells the story of the most devastating attack to date: the cyberassault that brought Sony Pictures to its knees. Later attributed to the North Korean government, it spread terror not only throughout the movie industry, where theaters refused to show Sony’s The Interview for fear it would prompt reprisals from North Korea (which was furious that the movie depicted the assassination of its leader), but throughout corporate America.
  • Cyber Rattling: The Next Threat

    This series of exclusive examinations of weaknesses in personal commercial uses of computer networks helped shaped the discussion on protecting America's cyber infrastructure.
  • SERCO - ACA CONTRACTOR PAYING WORKERS TO DO NOTHING

    Employees at an Affordable Care Act processing center in Wentzville with a contract worth $1.2 billion are getting paid to do nothing but sit at their computers, a whistleblower tells News 4 The facility is operated by Serco, which is owned by a British company awarded $1.2 billion partially to hire workers to handle paper applications for coverage under the new healthcare law. A worker tells News 4 weeks can pass without employees receiving even a single application to process. Employees reportedly spend their days staring at their computers. News 4 requested the contract and information from CMS about just how many applications Serco processed, but it took months and legal action to get an answer.
  • Spies versus Congress: A Constitutional Crisis over Torture

    McClatchy’s reporting first exposed and then detailed multiple efforts by the CIA and White House to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the agency’s use of torture, including CIA intrusions into the committee’s computers, in the most serious clash over congressional oversight of intelligence operations in decades. Other McClatchy reporting revealed the startling, top-secret conclusions of the committee's five-year, $40 million investigation eight months before the public release of the report's declassified executive summary.
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the First Digital Weapon

    In 2010, computer security researchers discovered a mysterious virus/worm infecting computers in Iran. At first, they believed the malicious code was a simple, routine piece of malware. But as they and other experts around the world dug into the code, they found that it was a virus of unparalleled sophistication and complexity. They had, they soon learned, stumbled upon the world’s first digital weapon. Stuxnet, as it came to be known, was unlike other viruses and worms built before because rather than simply hijacking targeted computers or stealing information from them, it escaped the digital realm to physically destroy equipment the computers controlled. Stuxnet had been designed and launched to destroy centrifuges used in a uranium-enrichment plant in Iran in order to set back the Islamic Republic's nuclear program and prevent it from producing a nuclear weapon.
  • California's Deloitte Dilemma: The Politics of Programming and Public Contracts. A KCRA Investigation

    When payments for California's unemployed were delayed after a computer upgrade, KCRA began digging into the cause of the delay. What reporter Sharokina Shams and producer Dave Manoucheri found was a state agency that was downplaying the problems with their new computer system and grossly under-reporting the number of people affected. Utilizing California Public Records Act requests (similar to FOIA) and whistleblowers inside the department, KCRA exposed the fact that California had purchased a computer system plagued with problems. Within a week they had determined that multiple states had hired the same company, Deloitte, LLC, and those states were experiencing similar problems. With more digging Shams and Manoucheri found that Deloitte had also donated hundreds of thousands to political campaigns and lobbied heavily with the state. KCRA found hundreds of millions paid to the company for IT contracts, failed previous projects and a new contract due to be awarded that would costs half a billion dollars. Ultimately, KCRA's investigation led to legislative hearings, the creation of legislation to change how the state writes IT contracts, and revealed that more than 40 states are waiting in the wings to upgrade their computer systems and the federal Department of Labor anticipates similar problems in all those states.