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NSA hack investigation, naked Trump statues, Lochte’s lies: ICYMI

Important news you may have missed on Thursday, Aug. 18.


Andrew Couts


Published Aug 18, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 5:45 am CDT

Here’s some news you may have missed today…

The NSA and the FBI will likely launch investigations into the leak of cyberweapons likely stolen from NSA-linked hacking team the Equation Group, reports Layer 8’s Patrick Howell O’Neill. Experts say the U.S. response to the hack will likely remain secret to give it a tactical advantage.

The suspected NSA hack isn’t all cloaks and daggers, however. A clever prankster used the Shadow Brokers’s Bitcoin auction for the release of more NSA cyberweapons to Rickroll the hackers in the nerdiest way possible, reports Layer 8 editor Andrew Couts.

In the wacky world of the 2016 election, the Democratic National Committee debuted on Thursday “Donald Ducks,” an actual human being in a duck costume who will stalk Donald Trump until he releases his tax returns. As Layer 8 reporter Aaron Sankin explains, there is little evidence to suggest Trump will bow to Mr. Ducks’s demands.

Speaking of Trump, the Republican presidential nominee tweeted on Thursday morning that everyone may soon start calling him Mr. Brexit, a reference to the United Kingdom’s shocking vote to exit the European Union. All anyone could do was laugh, reports Unclick’s Jay Hathaway, because the comparison of Trump to the Brexit vote literally makes no sense.

If that wasn’t enough, some anarchist artists placed nude Mr. Brexit statues in cities around the U.S., including San Francisco and New York. But the best part, as Unclick’s Gabe Bergado writes, may be the NYC Parks Department’s statement on the illegal art. 

Twitter made some news of its own on Thursday with the rollout of a new functionality in an attempt to cut down harassment on the social network. Debug’s Selena Larson reports that the option allows any user to limit what notifications she sees from the accounts she follows. The company also gave all users—not just verified accounts—a “quality filter” that will automatically filter content “based on an account’s origin, its actions, and whether it is spam.”

People who say horrible things isn’t limited to Twitter, of course. It also happens in Florida. A drunk mother from the Sunshine State caught the internet’s attention, reports IRL’s Lyz Lenz, thanks to a slurred racist rant captured on video and posted online for eternity.

There must be something in the water. Brazilian police said on Thursday that U.S. swim star Ryan Lochte and three of his teammates lied to authorities about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro. Video of the incident appears to drown the swimmers’ stories with facts. Upstream reporter Michelle Jaworski has all the crucial, cringe-worthy details.

T-Mobile’s new unlimited plan might sound great. But as AJ Dellinger reports for Debug, digital rights advocates believe the plan may violate the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

Never gonna .jpg you down

Never gonna .jpg you down


Perhaps the biggest news of the day was the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to no longer send federal inmates to private prisons. –via Matt Zapotosky and Chico Harlan, Washington Post

The DOJ’s move comes just months after a sweeping Mother Jones investigation into the private prison industry by reporter Shane Bauer. The publication revealed that it cost $350,000 to produce. –via Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones

Journalism is hard—just ask Gawker, which announced that will shut down following the company’s sale to Univision. All of it stems from a lawsuit, funded by billionaire Peter Thiel, over its publication of a Hulk Hogan sex tape. The remaining Gawker sites, including Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, and Lifehacker, will remain. –via J.K. Trotter, Gawker

The U.S. State Department said for the first time that a controversial $400 million payment to Iran was contingent upon the release of American prisoners, giving ammunition to critics who say it was a ransom payment. –via Bradley Klapper, AP

Finally, a linguistic study of language use by the Shadow Brokers found that whoever wrote the group’s statement is a native English speaker attempting to sound non-native. –via Taia Global

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*First Published: Aug 18, 2016, 8:45 pm CDT