Newsletter #78: Prisoners Used as Guinea Pigs for Biometric Surveillance

Hello Recompilers,

All of Issue 9 is online! This issue focuses on Hard Problems. Articles cover mesh networks, floating point algorithms, leveling up as a developer, and more.


Prison companies are forcing prisoners to either give up their phone privileges or submit their voice biometrics to build surveillance databases. This publicly-funded project is for private gain, of course, and it sweeps up the voiceprint of the non-incarcerated people on the other end of the line as well.
(George Joseph and Debbie Nathan for The Intercept)

United Arab Emirates used hacking tools to spy on the iPhones of their political foes. With the help of former US intelligence operatives, the UAE broke into iPhones to gather information.
(Joel Schectman and Christopher Bing for Reuters)

ICE has begun force-feeding asylum seekers on hunger strike. Six detainees so far, on hunger strike to draw attention to conditions in detainment facilities, are being force-fed through nasal tubes.
(Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza for AP News)


Cyber: An Interview with Jek, a Physical Pen-tester
On this week’s Cyber, host Ben Makuch talks to Jek about how she makes a living physically breaking into buildings to steal information.

Conference Talk of the Week:

This talk is part of our “Favorite Talks” YouTube Playlist. Check it out and subscribe! 

Portable Deep Object Detection

Leigh Johnson at Hackaday Supercon 2018 talks about how to build Raspberry Pi machine-learning devices that can look at and identify objects.

Upcoming Events:

All conferences have been screened and abide by clear and strict Codes of Conduct.

CopyleftConf 2019
February 4, Brussels, Belgium

February 7-9, 2019, Miami, Florida

RubyConf Australia 2019
February 7-9, 2019, Melbourne, Australia

PyTenneesee 2019
February 9-10, 2019, Nashville, Tennessee

February 16-17, 2019, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Ruby on Ice 2019
February 22-24, 2019, Tegernsee, Germany

February 23-24, 2019, Seattle, WA

ConFoo Montreal
March 13-15, 2019, Montreal, Canada

DevOpsDays Seattle
April 23-24, 2019, Seattle, WA

April 26, 2019, Omaha, Nebraska

Pycon 2019
May 1-9, 2019, Cleveland, OH

Do you know an upcoming conference or CFP that should be included? Email leads to

This newsletter compiled by Margaret Killjoy (@magpiekilljoy). Margaret is an author, activist, and musician based in Appalachia. Her most recent book series is the Danielle Cain novella series, which starts with The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion.

Image credit: Margaret Killjoy (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)