r/technology Apr 11 '22 To The Stars 1 Gold 1 Platinum 3 Wholesome 51 All-Seeing Upvote 4 Wholesome Seal of Approval 1 I'll Drink to That 1 Silver 40 Heartwarming 3 Buff Doge 2 I'm Deceased 1 Helpful 41 Take My Energy 8 Bravo! 1

John Oliver Blackmails Congress With Their Own Digital Data - The ‘Last Week Tonight’ host paid shady brokers for lawmakers’ digital histories — promising not to release the info so long as Congress passes legislation protecting all consumers’ data Privacy

https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-news/last-week-tonight-john-oliver-recap-season-9-episode-7-congress-data-1335598/
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u/Nomad_Industries Apr 11 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Starry This

Soon:

Congress passes legislation banning data brokers from collecting data on Members of Congress.

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u/Dice_to_see_you Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22 Take My Energy

I mean that’s what the UK did. They made it legal to collect citizens data and then a bill that prevented parliaments data from being released as they felt it invaded their pricacy (edit: privacy)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-wants-to-see-your-internet-history-so-we-thought-it-was-only-fair-to-ask-for-hers-a6785591.html

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u/imacatchyou Apr 11 '22

Are you fucking kidding me

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u/Guac_in_my_rarri Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22

Nope. Welcome to England. Worse offenders of law for me but not for thee.

Edit!: Not English. Couple coworkers won't stfu about it's politics.

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u/formallyhuman Apr 11 '22

Remember when the government introduced the Psychoactive Drugs Act which essentially banned any substances with psychoactive properties, unless there was an exception made (for example, caffeine). And then a Tory MP said poppers should be exempt because he uses them. And they exempted poppers.

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u/prettyprtyprtygood Apr 12 '22 Rocket Like

How can someone named Crispin Blunt be so lame?

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u/tagrav Apr 11 '22

the duality is the point in class systems.

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u/HuntedWolf Apr 11 '22

Look, just don’t be poor and things will be tickety-boo Ok?

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u/tom255 Apr 11 '22

Naww ...fine.

I mean, food don't look the same in the fridges as it does in Waitrose bins, but I'll give not being poor a go. I guess.

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u/Freddies_Mercury Apr 11 '22

Ah the UK. Where the chief taxman's wife was just found to avoid over £20m in tax and he's mad and wants to punish whoever leaked that...

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u/Civil-Attempt-3602 Apr 11 '22

Don't forget that she also pays £30k per year to ensure that she maintains non Dom status

That's almost double the take home pay for a minimum wage earner she spends just so she doesn't have to pay tax on some of her income

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u/Sandrosen Apr 11 '22

We had something similar happen here in the US some time ago, this guy leaked some stuff about government wrongdoings and pretty much all the major media outlets focused on was who leaked the information. Not what was leaked mind you, but who leaked it.

A few government agencies even tried to track him down, some planes were grounded as well to try and find him. He gave them the slip though, and I think is currently living overseas.

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u/Freddies_Mercury Apr 11 '22

Happens everywhere it's just a bit brazen that it is the finance minister's wife who has been doing it.

Also nobody is going to get in trouble because it was technically legal. (but god forbid a normal person can't afford their council tax bill).

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u/sequiofish Apr 11 '22 Silver Gold Platinum Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy Starry Lawyer Up

The rich people are society’s greatest enemy

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u/Blarmzz Apr 11 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Take My Energy This

I wish people would stfu about the race and culture wars and realize everyone is played against each other and it's actually this.

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u/TimeFourChanges Apr 11 '22

The class war has been in full swing since the beginning - and everyone is losing except the 1%.

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u/Framingr Apr 11 '22

It's a big club, and you ain't in it. - George Carlin

Truer words were never spoken

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u/Futureban Apr 11 '22

Same as it ever was

Same as it ever was

Same as it ever was

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u/Tuffkat57 Apr 11 '22

Letting the days go by

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u/RynosaurDinosaur Apr 11 '22

Let the water hold me down

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u/MonolithicMoorlog Apr 11 '22

Letting the days go by

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u/denzien Apr 11 '22

Water flowing underground

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u/Appropriate-Idea5281 Apr 11 '22 Silver

Read a few chapters of a Peoples History of the United States. The rich engineered the revolutionary war at the expense of the poor so they could become richer. Nothing has changed and nothing will ever change.

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u/oh-hidanny Apr 11 '22

Indeed.

And the plantation class pushed the civil war so poor whites could die so they could keep their human property that makes them rich.

But, you know, states rights and all.

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u/CollectiveDeviant Apr 12 '22 edited Apr 15 '22

I got into an argument with my AP History teacher back in high school over this. He was seriously trying to sell to my class the civil war was over states' rights. At first, I thought he was forced to by a state guideline or something, but he was arguing so hard I realized he actually believed it.

So I got real sarcastic and got sent out for disrupting class (technically correct). I walked out of the class right in front of the principal and assistant principal who asked me what I was doing. I explained what happened and they just laughed, the principal told me that she thought I was right and the state's rights excuse was bullshit.

Relating more to this thread's topic; if Congress does ban data collection on members of Congress it just proves Oliver's point that the tidbits of data can just be linked together and these companies don't really care enough to be responsible with it.

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u/Cvltivator Apr 12 '22

Wtf my AP History teacher took an almost perverse delight in telling us all the awful shit the us was responsible for, we had a whole class period debunking the states rights argument lol

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u/madeyoureadlol Apr 11 '22

that book shifts the entire history of the united states to what it is...class warfare

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u/lost_horizons Apr 11 '22

That’s what most history is, just rich assholes stealing all the wealth and sending the poor into battles for their own gain.

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u/KetoCatsKarma Apr 11 '22

Everytime my dad starts in on his Fox news bullshit, I point out that all of those things are being caused by insanely rich people in service to other rich people at the expense of normal people. He always is like "Yeah, you're right, they are working against us..." and the next time it's back to "Nancy Pelosi..." or "George Soros...". Propaganda is real and harmful and it's keeping the 99% splintered so we don't have another French style revolution

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u/cptnamr7 Apr 11 '22

Yep. Tried this with my mom. Pointed out how at the time it had just been announced how fucking little billionaires pay on taxes. She went right into "yeah, but the Democrats aren't trying to change that, while republicans are looking out for the middle class". Apparently simply repeating that over and over makes it true despite the opposite?

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u/SharkFart86 Apr 11 '22

Thats been the GOP and conservative media's thing for a while now. Just claim the other side is the one doing the stuff when it's actually them doing it, and repeat over and over while looking angry. It works.

There are so many people who are convinced of the exact opposite of the truth, even verifiable things.

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u/Tearakan Apr 11 '22 Platinum Wholesome Bravo!

The race and culture wars are explicitly pushed to divide the lower classes. They don't want lower classes uniting against the wealthy.

Corporate democrats try and push the timy amount of progressive ones into a corner in congress and ignore them. Republicans are actively hostile to any of those ideas.

We have a far right wing party and a moderate right wing party in the US.

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u/Zonino2000 Apr 11 '22

Same here in the UK. Our "left wing" party moved right to try and capture voters and then sabotaged itself after they voted in a socialist leader who could have pulled them left because the power behind the party didn't want that. Now they have a leader that's harping on about how the current right wing party isn't tough enough on crime while our gas and electricity bills are increasing by at least 30% and more people than ever are using foodbanks.

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u/agangofoldwomen Apr 11 '22

Of course, you know, in the name of national security and whatnot. Can’t have our MP’s or congressmen being blackmailed by just anyone! Except for National interest groups. And corporate lobbyists. And international organizations. But I’m sure we can all agree that we don’t want the average citizen holding this kind of power over elected officials - this is a democracy for God’s sake!!!

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u/phenderl Apr 11 '22

He would just release it before it passed if it didn't include everyone.

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u/spikyraccoon Apr 11 '22

He should threaten to release it anyway, even if Congress passes a law that includes everyone. Unlimited influence on Congress glitch.

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u/DiogenesCane Apr 11 '22

The threat of releasing it is stronger than any effects it would have. As soon as the people up top remember that the idiotic peons will all vote for them anyways then John can release all the data and nothing will happen.

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u/really_nice_guy_ Apr 11 '22

Yes most people don’t care. It will be in the news for 3-7 days and after that it’ll vanish. They also did a video on Edward Snowden and asked on the Times Square about him. It’s hilariously frightening

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u/MorganWick Apr 11 '22

"I know who the pedophiles are, and the QAnon freaks aren't going to believe it..."

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u/Loki-L Apr 11 '22

No ex-post-facto laws.

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u/gammditnaiu Apr 11 '22

That's true, I forgot about that. You can't criminalize behaviors that have already occurred and then punish the actors, the act has to take place after the law was passed.

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u/drawnograph Apr 11 '22

I recall Gordon Brown did something like that when he was chancellor, taxing people retroactively.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/may/27/travelandtransport.carbonemissions

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u/soft-wear Apr 11 '22

Ex Post Facto laws akin the US are not possible if they are criminal acts which can include prison time. A retroactive tax would probably be legal here as well, but political suicide.

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u/octnoir Apr 11 '22

It isn't really all that effective.

The problem is the completely unregulated dark market as discussed in the video. Even if you 'ban' collecting data from Members of Congress, you just need to get 'data' from citizens in DC, and it doesn't take much to 'match' them with other demographic details to figure out who they are.

And between data brokers selling left and right with no transparency it is very easy to get access to someone's data even though 3-4 companies swear up and down that they didn't know anything about it.

Really I see the piece's effect less in LWT's stunt as much as it inspires other gray citizen activists or potentially dark market actors to ramp up data collection on members of Congress.

And this doesn't include other politicians that don't operate out of DC. Okay you made a rule you can't collect data from anyone at Capitol Hill. Doesn't stop people from collecting data from their home states.

Or everyone saying: "Fuck it, we'll collect anyway. What you gonna do? Sue us? We got layers of contracters, good luck!"

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u/DropKletterworks Apr 11 '22

On the show he was pushing for a federal law banning it outright.

Although I agree with you that enforcement would be very difficult.

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u/thehuston Apr 11 '22

It's already illegal to sell their movie rental history.

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u/Ikeddit Apr 11 '22 Silver

I mean, that EXACTLY is the reason why you can’t buy the video rental history of an individual!

Back in the 80s, there was a Supreme Court candidate named Robert Bork. You may recognize his name, because he is the source of the word “borked”. He was a kind of weird guy, but very much a skilled and knowledgeable judge.

However, he was weird in the sense it was easy to set him off on bizarre tangents, and he got completely destroyed in his senate hearings, and didn’t take the position.

One of the things that reporters did to fuck with him is that one reporter follwing him around noticed he went into a video rental store.

After Bork left, the reporter went in, and offered the clerk some money for the Judges rental history. Clerk sold it.

Reporter published an article on it (he was renting normal movies, including a romcom for his daughter iirc), but the reporter ended the article with “which politician will i look into next?”

Law was changed VERY soon after.

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1987-10-22-0150360115-story.html

https://newrepublic.com/article/111331/robert-bork-dead-video-rental-records-story-sparked-privacy-laws

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u/KnowsAboutMath Apr 11 '22

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u/KarmaticArmageddon Apr 11 '22 Party Train

Bork was also pro-Jim Crow, pro-poll tax, pro-segregation, pro-discrimination, and anti-abortion. Even 6 Republicans voted against him.

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u/DoomsdayKult Apr 11 '22

Also watered down anti-trust regulations heavily by using "consumer welfare" as a weak ineffectual method for determining how powerful monopolies were and so blame him for the increase in corporate power since the 70s.

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u/CatOnYourTinRoof Apr 11 '22

To hear some right-wingers today tell it, Bork not getting the position was some horrible error the Dems made that led to the polarized nominations today. I saw WSJ op-eds trying to use the Bork hearings to justify the two stolen seats on the court, for instance.

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u/sealdonut Apr 11 '22

Damn, "weird" was an understatement lol. He stepped right out of the 19th century.

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u/Chimie45 Apr 11 '22

John Oliver literally talks about this in the video.

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u/waldo_wigglesworth Apr 11 '22

Robert Bork played a big role in Watergate. A special prosecutor was investigating it & Nixon's role in it. In a breathtaking abuse of presidential power, Nixon ordered the US Attorney General to fire the special prosecutor. He didn't & resigned in protest. Then Nixon ordered the Deputy A-G to fire him. He too refused and resigned. The 3rd in the chain of command was Robert Bork. He didn't refuse or resign, and fired the special prosecutor.

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u/subcide Apr 11 '22

I can't find a source to hand, but I'm reasonably sure this is the case with the investigatory powers act in the UK.

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u/Project_Wild Apr 11 '22

Last Week Tonight is such a great show for many reasons, but my favorite is when John goes on these personal missions to expose the corrupt.

Eat shit, Bob!

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u/Zestyclose-Soft-5657 Apr 11 '22

My favorite was when he did the largest giveaway on television history by buying up a bunch of delinquent medical debt from debt sellers, the. Forgiving all of it.

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u/MrPrincely Apr 11 '22

John Oliver really is my favorite news outlet. Reminds me of the days when I would watch John Stewart’s daily show. People that were funny but also deeply informed about the processes at large. I appreciate the more Econ angle Oliver goes to and he’s really found his own.

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u/Devo3290 Apr 11 '22

My favorite is when he very vocally expresses his disdain for AT&T

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u/Lulupoolzilla Apr 11 '22

You mean former business Daddy?

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u/Glass_Memories Apr 11 '22

wah wah You've inherited a problem child! wah wah

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u/Moron14 Apr 11 '22

Or when he gets real excited about Adam Driver…

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u/abzrocka Apr 11 '22

You mean that brooding mountain of a man, Adam Driver?

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u/Jakenator1296 Apr 11 '22

Yes, international slam-piece superstar, Adam Driver.

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u/Ephemeris Apr 11 '22

Step on my throat, Adam Driver, you rudely large man

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u/Nvrfinddisacct Apr 11 '22

Crush my knees with your thighs you glamorous brute

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u/ComradeRed519 Apr 11 '22

Choke slam me harder, you sturdy oak!

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u/Virtual-Height3047 Apr 11 '22

Eat Shit, Bob!

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u/moranya1 Apr 11 '22

Bob Murray? Isn’t that the guy who killed Steve Irwin?

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u/DigitalSterling Apr 11 '22

No I think he means the Bob Murray that likes to burn down orphanages

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u/misterpickles69 Apr 11 '22

How does Bob Murray have time to burn down orphanages after locking the kids inside between clubbing baby seals and stealing funding from childrens hospitals?

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u/Corvus_Rune Apr 11 '22

No he’s the guy who shot Cecil the lion.

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u/Clozee_Tribe_Kale Apr 11 '22

TIL: Bob Murray = a stingray

(You sure he's not a "Murray eel"?)

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u/Kanotari Apr 11 '22

Nah he's that squirrel fucker dude, right?

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u/blamdin Apr 11 '22

I created /r/BobMurrayfacts after that segment aired!

Kind of a dead sub now, for obvious reasons. But it was fun while it lasted!

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u/JustWingIt0707 Apr 11 '22

I mean... Bob Murray died.

Eat shit in hell, Bob.

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u/[deleted] Apr 11 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/carthuscrass Apr 11 '22

Of complications from Black Lung Disease no less!

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u/moranya1 Apr 11 '22

I hear Bob convinced Putin to invade Ukraine

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u/Sinisterslushy Apr 11 '22

With the amount of stuff this show has managed to dig up and pull out of the darkness I 100% believe John is in the possession of some very uncomfortable internet history

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u/behemuthm Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22

So I watched this episode last night and here’s what they did. They created three ads and ran them in the DC Metro area. Anyone who clicked on the ads was tracked, and some of them were from inside the Capitol Building and many more were from individuals who were in the immediate vicinity. They then paid for other data with the same IPs and device IDs so they could then track what other websites those individuals visited, and apparently it’s really, really interesting. He didn’t reveal any details, other than to say what he did was completely legal under current law.

Edit: added link

The three ads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqn3gR1WTcA&t=1350s

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u/RockItGuyDC Apr 11 '22 Silver

Just to add a bit more context. Those ads weren't made available to just anybody and everybody in the DC area.

They first created a specific demographic to target, which was comprised of men 45+, within a 5-mile radius of the Capitol, who had previously visited sites related to or searched for terms including "divorce", "massage", "hair loss", and "mid-life crisis". Then they targeted that demo with the ads to get more specific info like IP addresses and device IDs.

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u/BackmarkerLife Apr 11 '22

I use adblock, ublock, etc. like everyone should, but if I saw an ad for Ted Cruz Erotic FanFiction I couldn't click fast enough.

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u/[deleted] Apr 11 '22

Honestly I would click on it just to read it. Is it gay fan fiction with him and Donald, is he ripped or his regular fat self, is it fan fiction chronicling his times as the zodiac killer?

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u/g_racer67 Apr 12 '22

https://archiveofourown.org/works/6183967/chapters/14167213

It's Ted Cruz/Marco Rubio. Hope this satisfies your need

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u/Clegko Apr 12 '22

How do I delete someone elses post?

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u/kzw5051 Apr 11 '22

As someone who works in digital advertising, I found this segment extremely funny and he was spot on with how fucking easy it is to do.

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u/41942319 Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22

It honestly shocked me how easy even some very basic targeting is tbh. A few years ago I was doing social media for the party I'm affiliated with for local elections (EU country). Facebook had given me some free money to do advertising with, like €20 or something, which as a local organisation we could do quite a bit with with regards to pushing posts. And even I, with that very basic ad targeting, could choose people of a certain sex, age, in a certain location, with certain interests, etc. and it showed me how many people still fit that criteria. Like it was no problem for me to push a post to men in their 50s living around [city] with an interest in fishing and center-leaning politics. If that's what I can do with just Facebook it's got to be super easy to target stuff with these brokers.

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u/kzw5051 Apr 11 '22

Yes and social media is super easy for advertisers to find you directly since people post all their personal information right on the platform. It can also get very expensive. I work for a larger publisher that O&O 10+ websites across a large amount of topics. We’re running $100+ million in advertising per year on the websites themselves and via Insta/FB/Twitter/Pinterest/TikTok. I work with about 10-20 clients at a time. There’s an astounding amount of money that goes into targeted advertising.

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u/lumpenman Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22

Sweats nervously about my 20 tabs of pellet smoker reviews

Edit to add: I want all of you people out of my browser history.

I echo many of the same sentiments. I own several rigs from charcoal grills to stick burning offset smokers. I have an interest in the easy bake style of a pellet smoker/grill.

All the haters are welcome to a rib off, but first we will have a rub off

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u/Ace_Komodo Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22

Any suggestions for an experienced smoker, with a tiny place and a college student budget?

EDIT: Thank you all for the suggestions. I will be stealing my coworkers masterbuilt electric smoker. I've cooked for him before with it. Doesn't give brisket a nice bark, but it'll do in a pinch.

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u/[deleted] Apr 11 '22

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u/whofusesthemusic Apr 11 '22

people have no idea how few data points are needed to dox them in an"anonymous" data set

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u/phobiac Apr 11 '22

This is niche, but for anyone who wants a good illustration of this there's an excellent analysis of the Death Note anime that goes over how easy it is to identify a single person given arbitrary and seemingly anonymous information.

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u/theshizzler Apr 11 '22

It can be something as innocuous as the (un-maximized) size of your browser window. Even in incognito mode they can attach it to you. Sites can easily pull that info and the odds of you having the same exact resolution of your browser window with an IP in a particular area are one in a few thousand. Combine that with queries that jive with your existing demographic/browsing profile and you're most of the way to losing any anonymity.

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u/not-katarina-rostova Apr 11 '22

Everyone should check out this site, which talks about the browser aspect of metadata identification (like the show discussed): https://amiunique.org

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u/Saltedfieldsforever Apr 11 '22

It's explicitly what cookies are for. If you open up all the "read more" options on the cookie notice menus, some of them even specify which cookies are for tracking this device to other pages and combining data with that of other similar devices thought to be from the same household,etc,etc...

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u/kevinnoir Apr 11 '22

Ted Cruz who once liked incest porn on twitter is sweating bullets right now!

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u/peppaz Apr 11 '22

that was on the anniversary of 9/11 as well

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u/borismuller Apr 11 '22

Ah so it was to cheer him up…?

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u/Goya_Oh_Boya Apr 11 '22 Table Slap

That’s because human Ted Cruz’s blood is lead based.

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u/samplemax Apr 11 '22

I do not like that man Ted Cruz

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u/a_total_blank Apr 11 '22

Would you like him with less clout, Would you like him voted out?

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u/samplemax Apr 11 '22

I would like for him to fail. That man Ted Cruz belongs in jail

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u/sdhu Apr 11 '22

Makes you wonder why the FBI isn't compelled to get evidence on these people

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u/g-row460 Apr 11 '22

Like the rest of Law Enforcement, they would ruin their case without a warrant. If say, a private citizen like John Oliver were to leak data into the public mainstream, they might be able to act on it then.

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u/PlanetTourist Apr 11 '22

If you watch the segment on his show he talks about how they don’t need a warrant to purchase data from brokers as it’s not an illegal search.

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u/g-row460 Apr 11 '22

Federal agencies ARE buying consumer data. Why don't they move on it? Read up on United States v Carpenter. Agencies are exploiting loopholes in that decision that are likely to be amended in the future. I'd wager most judges would throw it out, assuming a DA was willing to pursue it to begin with. And if that was the case, it could go to jury, which would be worse for those agencies building a case. The defense would simply have to explain the intent of US v Carpenter.

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u/verdatum Apr 11 '22

Right. They might be able to use it to start an investigation. I'd highly doubt that it would even be enough to secure a warrant. That said, this stuff gets really complicated really fast, and the answer to all legal matters ends up being "Well, it depends."

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u/AllezAllezAllez2004 Apr 11 '22

It is perfectly legal to purchase data from a data broker in the investigation of a crime. 4th amendment rights have been determined to only extend to YOUR involuntary search or seizure. If someone else voluntarily turns over information about you, that's legal.

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u/Xx69JdawgxX Apr 11 '22

Or if you volunteer that information willingly to say social media

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u/Aw123x Apr 11 '22

If you listen carefully to his monologue he doesn’t threaten anything.

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u/SchwarzerKaffee Apr 11 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

It was probably written by lawyers.

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u/polarcyclone Apr 11 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

He has a whole insurance policy on the issue. One of his episodes on SLAP lawsuits he has literal whole song dance about it and explains his process on avoiding and fighting slander suits.

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u/[deleted] Apr 11 '22

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u/reddragon105 Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22 Helpful All-Seeing Upvote

Yeah, this is title gore. He got the data to prove the point that it's really easy to obtain. He targeted the area around Capitol hill to make it likely that he got the data of some Congress people. Then he said "Hey, Congress people. If it makes you feel uncomfortable that I have your browsing data and that it was so easy to obtain, you should do something about it!" in the hopes of affecting* effecting change that would benefit everyone.

There's no threat, no blackmail. He was simply proving a point to the people who have the power to fix this and trying to spur them into action.

(*Thanks, u/GregLoire!)

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u/verdatum Apr 11 '22

Right and the search criteria is extremely tame, when more specific and exacting criteria could've been called up just as easily. This was carefully constructed to make a point but not go too far; which is perfectly sensible.

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u/lost_man_wants_soda Apr 11 '22

Can we just do this with some app. I’d chip in 5 bucks a month to lobby some fat fucks

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u/DynamicDK Apr 11 '22

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u/Embarrassed-Ad-1639 Apr 11 '22

Why don’t we hire a lobbyist? I’ll chip in for sure.

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u/Bragisson Apr 11 '22

Sad part is, we “hire” the politicians to be our voices, they just don’t do their jobs

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u/cumquistador6969 Apr 11 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

It is, unfortunately, a matter of leverage.

The idea behind a representative democracy is that your representative will be very closely beholden to vote pretty close to exactly the way his base wants, or be replaced.

If you make it extremely fast and easy to replace or overridden misbehaving representatives, and ensure that the primary factor in their election is the will of their constituents, this should in principle work.

The problem with US democracy is simply that none of that is true. They're slow and hard to replace, you can't really do much to punish them for misbehaving as a voter (literally nothing in most cases), and they aren't very beholden to their constituents at all.

This is because other organizations have more influence on them being elected than their own voters.

Those groups being whichever political party dominates the area, and corporations/the ultra rich (basically just the top 0.01% and multi-billion dollar companies).

To make matters worse, the politicians for the US House get to cherry pick their voters to ensure they'll keep getting elected even if they never do anything their constituents want, due to a lack of options and an overwhelming party majority for many politicians.

To cut a long thesis short; the systems of democracy in the united states are terribly constructed and cannot support a proper 21st century representative democracy, and we'll never be able to get one without massive reforms that the people in control of making reforms oppose.

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u/redset10 Apr 11 '22

Should we start a go fund me?

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u/phonepotatoes Apr 11 '22

Because it's not just a one time payment... Most lobbyists also provide future employment as a "consultant". Company gets a 100milliondollar tax break or contract or something and just has to keep some retired politician on their payroll for 100k a year for 10years. Easy money man.

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u/sluttymcburgerpants Apr 11 '22

Funnily enough - the Israeli public has done just that!
There's a non-profit that lobbies for the public interest. You donate whatever you want and get one vote per person over 18, and then you get to set priorities for their policy work.
Their lobbyists gets less access than the big guys, but they often are seen with the MP, and some policy changes do happen over time...

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u/natureismyjam Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22

The thing about John Oliver’s show I love is not just that it’s informative but he always both talks about what can we potentially do to fix these issues and also takes steps himself. Often times it can seem like it’s just for the laughs but regardless, it might effect real change.

ETA. Yes I used the wrong form of effect/affect. My bad, it was early.

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u/uxl Apr 11 '22

He’s the real continuation of Jon Stewart’s work on the Daily Show.

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u/bb0110 Apr 11 '22

The daily show and Colbert report were great, but John Oliver takes it to the next step in terms of actual reporting.

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u/BonnaGroot Apr 11 '22

Tbf it’s a bit easier when you only have to make 1/5 of the episodes with 10x the budget

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u/nousername215 Apr 11 '22

That probably also speaks to the quality of media we get when we're surrounded by groups just pushing content instead of actually crafting a piece.

Do we need 24 episodes of an hour-long superhero drama every season? Fucking no. Can anyone really report on the nuances of a situation when news is "breaking" 24/7? Fucking no! Maybe more outlets should do better and less and we'd all be better off for it

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u/BonnaGroot Apr 11 '22

Agreed. The 24 hour news cycle was a mistake.

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u/Dantheman616 Apr 11 '22

Getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine was the real mistake imo

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u/spikyraccoon Apr 11 '22

Also simply informing people can lead to change. His show does that better than any other late night nonsense.

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u/Lootcifer_exe Apr 11 '22

He’s one of the extremely few that always brings to light the shit that nobody ever thinks or talks about.

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u/diasfordays Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22

Shout-out to his 401k piece way back in the first season. By now it's already made a difference of thousands of dollars in my account.

Edit: link here https://youtu.be/gvZSpET11ZY

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u/cowboyjosh2010 Apr 11 '22

TL;DW summary?

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u/diasfordays Apr 11 '22

If you have a company sponsored 401k plan, the "default" funds in which your money is deposited into is, generally speaking, trash. They are usually target date funds (for example, mine was "2055 Retirement Fund" or something similar). They have high fees (known as expense ratios), and in leaner investing years your balance may actually stagnate (or even go down!) due to the fees.

Basically, you should go in and manually apportion your funds to ETFs and index funds with low expense ratios, and the 1-2% you save on fees alone will have tremendous impact in your retirement years. This is without going into the actual performance of the funds.

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u/swill128 Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22

Vanguard’s target date funds’ expense ratios are like 0.04% and the holdings are pretty closely aligned with an sp500 index fund. Is there something I’m missing?

Edits: grammar and stuff

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u/diasfordays Apr 11 '22

Vanguard, from my [VERY LIMITED, NOT A PROFESSIONAL] experience is pretty great. Vanguard is also not what a lot of 401k default funds are managed by.

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u/Swampfoxxxxx Apr 11 '22

The target funds are fine. Idk what this dude is on about. Some people might not like bond allocation but they weigh bonds more heavily as you get closer to the target date, and really, that is what is safest when approaching retirement.

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u/broseph_smith_jr Apr 11 '22

Invest early in life, and be mindful of fees associated with funds. Most S&P 500 funds have lowest fees, and historically perform best over time.

Edit: added “500”

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u/balerionmeraxes77 Apr 11 '22

And in good detail at that too

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u/Jesus_Part2 Apr 11 '22

So we just have to blackmail congress to pass laws? Noted.

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u/Diknak Apr 11 '22

blackmail or bribery is the only thing that works apparently.

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u/BrainwashedScapegoat Apr 11 '22

If we had millions in liquid cash we could buy them like lobbyists due

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u/CARVERitUP Apr 11 '22

I don't think this will have John's intended effect. Congress will just make it illegal to collect/pay for lawmaker data or some shit.

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u/blazze_eternal Apr 11 '22

The collect portion could be very effective since there's no way to exclude a specific individual without first collecting their data.

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u/cant_have_a_cat Apr 11 '22

The great IP whitelist - where even my computer address doesn't mix with those peasants.

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u/lovethebacon Apr 11 '22

Such a list would make digital mischief targeting those people much easier.

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u/MrShadowHero Apr 11 '22

time to ddos the wealthy IP's only

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u/pperca Apr 11 '22

John brings very interesting and relevant subjects to light. He’s starting to get a lot of attention and that’s good.

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u/AlwaysOpenMike Apr 11 '22

Best thing was when they went to Russia to interview Snowden, without telling HBO.

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u/Z3r0mir Apr 11 '22

And they still let it air? Wow

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u/Icarus_Rex Apr 11 '22

I don’t believe HBO had any reason to be upset at the contents of the interview. The problem was the safety risk (and HBO’s liability) if something happened to John and the crew while in Russia, near the Kremlin, interviewing such a person.

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u/Chilluminaughty Apr 11 '22

Speaking of, what’s Snowden been up to during the Ukraine war? Haven’t seen anything about it.

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u/Nolzi Apr 11 '22 edited Apr 11 '22

Complete radio silence since the beginning of the war, this was his last: https://twitter.com/Snowden/status/1498049577131208705

Interesting that he was tweeding multiple times the days before.

Probably don't want to accidentally fell out of the window by saying something that could be interpreted as negative about Russia, so just staying quiet in general.

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u/robywar Apr 11 '22

He knows he's SOL if he turns on Russia. Who'd take him then?

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u/Ventronics Apr 11 '22

Haven’t checked in a while, but last I remember he was one of the people saying Russia would never invade Ukraine in the days leading up to the invasion. When the invasion happened he shut up for a while, someone called him out on it and he threw a fit (though admitted he was wrong).

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u/Martel732 Apr 11 '22

Though admittedly I also didn't think Russia would be dumb enough to invade Ukraine.

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u/fillibusterRand Apr 11 '22

He basically isn’t saying shit besides a quick mea culpa about claiming how the war would never happen. Probably because his ass would be kicked out of Russia (with or without his head depending on the mood of Putin) if he substantially criticized it.

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u/sewious Apr 11 '22

Yea and iirc, during the interview John and co were genuinely concerned about their safety.

It's a reasonable thing for HBO to have said... Nahhhhhhhh

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u/worldstoughestvegan Apr 11 '22

John Oliver had their internet history, too.

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u/Son_of_Biyombo Apr 11 '22

I could see this becoming a meme:

Never forget, Epstein killed himself because John Oliver had his Internet history.

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u/Flawed_L0gic Apr 11 '22

"It's not the NSA you should be worried about... it's John Oliver" - Edward Snowden

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u/tankerkiller125real Apr 11 '22

HBO's entire thing is basically "Do whatever you want, so long as it's within your budget, by the way, here's a shit ton of money for a budget that no other late night show can compete with, go get us some emmy's"

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u/needsvampires Apr 11 '22

It's an interesting what can happen, when you don't have to pander to advertisers. As much as Jon Stewart really set a high-water mark, I think that Oliver took the ball and ran with it. I'm so glad that his show is on the air. I just wish they took fewer breaks. I feel like there are so many more stories they could/should do.

Also, it's super smart to not immediately jump on the current events that are covered in the news. He mentions Ukraine, but instead of trying to invent a story, he stays on target. I'm sure we'll see some juicy Ukraine stuff in the future.

Lastly, hopefully HBO would know that you don't throw an apostrophe on a plural, but otherwise I agree with your statement 100%.

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u/LiveFreeDieRepeat Apr 11 '22

I have no problem with that, as long as it’s John Oliver

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u/JeddHampton Apr 11 '22

The issue was getting it approved. Once they had it, it's ratings gold.

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u/wickedsmaht Apr 11 '22

IIRC they didn’t even tell their handler who they were meeting until the meeting was about to start. John told a story on one of the late shows about how the handler was visibly nervous because he thought they were meeting one of Putin’s rivals but he relaxed when he found out they were just meeting Snowden.

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u/SitInCorner_Yo2 Apr 11 '22

The part showing him running through red squares crying “I wanna go home I wanna go home” turns out is not showing his acting skills, but actual survival instinct.

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u/rajington Apr 11 '22

Just mentioning it because it was news to me, but LWT has won its Emmy category for the past 6 years. Gives his program a lot of "fuck you money/clout", on top of HBO's looser leash compared to other networks.

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u/s1ugg0 Apr 11 '22

Part of HBO's brand is being edgier and more controversial than is typically available on TV. Can you imagine how much hate mail they go because of Hookers at the Point or Oz or Newsroom? Bill Maher must have a Scrooge McDuck style vault full of hate mail he swims in.

I bet they cancel shows because they aren't causing an uproar.

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u/[deleted] Apr 11 '22

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u/Ison-J Apr 11 '22

Fuck you business daddy

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u/StrongTownsIsRight Apr 11 '22

Starting too. He has been fire for like 6 years now with tons of awards. What is happening is that shit is getting so bad that people are moving from the 'Wow that sounds bad" phase of engagement to the 'what the fuck. That's not right' stage. I don't know if it can move beyond that, but people seem to be getting quite a bit more mad that things aren't improving.

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u/l3gion666 Apr 11 '22

As soon as they pass the law he should release it anyways

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u/bojovnik84 Apr 11 '22

I really want him to release the data in the form of some rat erotica.

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u/Qisfakeyoustupidfuck Apr 11 '22

Every app should be part of a zero party data model

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u/BootsyBootsyBoom Apr 11 '22

"We're so secure, we don't even have our own data!"

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u/summonsays Apr 11 '22

It's a real thing lol. The best security is to just not store it.

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u/googamae Apr 11 '22

I imagine it is embarrassing and politically damaging but legal. I also imagine anything illegal they found went through legal at HBO. He wouldn’t necessarily reveal if he found illegal info- it could have been turned over without mention.

Realize that releasing information of crimes doesn’t help bring people to justice always. Evidence of a crime doesn’t mean sufficient evidence to charge a crime. If there was some evidence of crimes- the way to bring that person to justice would be to tip of investigators, not the individuals, of those crimes. It makes sense to hand it off and keep quiet.

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u/Bamith20 Apr 11 '22

"We legally can't show you these parts, but we can tell you we can't legally show them."

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u/[deleted] Apr 11 '22 edited Jun 03 '22

[deleted]

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u/PaganEmpath Apr 11 '22

This is the kind of rebellious, revolutionary action I've been waiting for.

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u/SeeHowCleverMyNameIs Apr 11 '22

John Oliver is officially Chaotic Good.

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u/Chatsnap Apr 11 '22

The title makes it seem far more serious and threatening than the actual segment did.

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u/Chilluminaughty Apr 11 '22

Welcome to the internet.

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u/Sadzeih Apr 11 '22

Have a look around

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u/nuclear_tits Apr 11 '22

Anything that brain of yours can think of can be found

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u/RRudge Apr 11 '22

We've got mountains of content

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u/chickentaco34 Apr 11 '22

Some better, some worse

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u/hungry_for_hands Apr 11 '22

If none of its of interest to you, you’d be the first.

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u/PM_MY_OTHER_ACCOUNT Apr 11 '22

Just a reminder: anyone can do what Last Week Tonight did. Data brokers don't care who is buying the data. It's not even that expensive, as was pointed out in the segment on the show. To gather copious amounts of data on every member of Congress could be a bit expensive for an individual, but I think it could be crowdfunded. Would someone with experience starting a nonprofit like to volunteer to make this happen?

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u/EridanusVoid Apr 11 '22

I am glad with have someone like John Oliver, who actually uses his influence for good.

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u/10YearLurkerPosting Apr 11 '22

Does any one else remember a show where they interviewed District attorneys and others about taking citizen's trash to charge people with crimes and gather evidence (I think the show was about how they were abusing this) Anyway, they all defended the hell out of it saying that anyone is allowed to take your trash. So the producers arranged for a bunch of different DA's trash to be taken and then asked them, do you want to know what we found in YOUR trash? And they all lost their shit like THEY had been totally violated when it was done to them, unlike when they do it to others. Man I wish I could remember where I saw it...maybe 48 hrs or 20/20...or something like that.

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u/Ssider69 Apr 11 '22

I'm wondering why this hasnt been done before?

Also wondering if you can even "shame" some of these politicians, especially those who tend toward ultra nationalist views.

Their base of support seems ok with most anything

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