Day: October 19, 2019

TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

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’Virtually every rich country on Earth provides pre-completed tax-returns that you can either ignore (and pay an a
ccountant or do your own taxes), or just sign and return: after all, the government already knows what you’re earning and how much tax you paid, so they can do all the heavy lifting for your annual return.

 

But when Congress tried to create a similar program in the USA, it faced a blizzard of lobbying from the tax-prep industry, led by Intuit, a tax-prep monopolist that grew to scale by buying or merging with its competitors — growth tactics that are illegal under US antitrust law…’

Via ProPublica

You’re in a police lineup right now

Unknown.jpegPolice databases now contain the faces of nearly half of Americans:

’“Right now, most Americans are in a perpetual police lineup because they got a driver’s license,” says Clare Garvie, a Washington DC privacy expert. In this New York Times video, Garvie says that driver license photos are scanned and translated into a “face print” that face recognition software can use to compare photos and find matches. “Now any police officer can run searches against your face for any reason.”…’

Via Boing Boing

Mysterious rash of cattle mutilations in Oregon

screenshot-39.jpg’This summer on remote U.S. Forest Service land in eastern Oregon, cowboys discovered five, young purebred bulls dead, drained of blood, and their tongues and genitals removed with almost surgical precision. Who or what did this and why remains a mystery. (Insert “I’m not saying it’s aliens…” joke here.) Silvies Valley Ranch has offered a $25,000 reward for information that could lead to answers.…’

Via Boing Boing