Cover for No Agenda Show 1024: Poop Particle
April 12th, 2018 • 3h 13m

1024: Poop Particle


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Royal Visit
Secret handshake and throw the Illuminati triangle
FaceBag Analytica
Cookie warnings and google data protection act
Julia Reda '' Green light for upload filters: EU Parliament's copyright rapporteur has learned nothing from year-long debate
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:42
Ever since the European Commission presented its hugely controversial proposal to force internet platforms to employ censorship machines, the copyright world has been eagerly awaiting the position of the European Parliament. Today, the person tasked with steering the copyright reform through Parliament, rapporteur Axel Voss, has finally issued the text he wants the Parliament to go forward with.
It's a green light for censorship machines: Mr. Voss has kept the proposal originally penned by his German party colleague, former Digital Commissioner G¼nther Oettinger, almost completely intact.
In doing so, he is dismissing calls from across the political spectrum to stop the censorship machines. He is ignoring one and a half years of intense academic and political debate pointing out the proposal's many glaring flaws. He is discarding the work of several committees of the Parliament which came out against upload filters, and of his predecessor and party colleague MEP Comodini, who had correctly identified the problems almost a year ago. He is brushing off the concerns about the proposal's legality several national governments have voiced in Council. And he is going against the recently published coalition agreement of the new German government '' which is going to include Voss' own Christian Democratic Party '' where filtering obligations are rejected as disproportionate.
Photo (C) European Union (used with permission) [Read Axel Voss' compromise proposal PDF]
This is a ''compromise'' in name only. Mr. Voss' proposal contains all the problematic elements of the original censorship machines idea, and adds several new ones. Here's the proposal in detail:
1. obligatory impossible-to-get licenses The proposal says: All apps and websites where users can upload and publish media are required to get copyright licenses for all content. These platforms are considered to ''communicate to the public'' all those user uploads, which means that the platforms would be directly responsible for copyright infringements committed by their users, as if it were the platform's employees themselves uploading these works.
This is a bizarre addition to the Commission proposal, which would be impossible to implement in practice: Who exactly are the platforms supposed to get those license agreements from? While there may be collecting societies representing professional authors in a few areas such as music or film, which may be able to issue a license covering the works of many individual authors, other sectors do not have collecting societies at all.
Imagine a platform dedicated to hosting software, such as GitHub. There is no collecting society for software developers and nobody has so far seen the need to found one. So where will GitHub, which undoubtedly hosts and gives access to (copyright-protected) software uploaded by users, get their copyright license from? They can't enter into license negotiations with every single software developer out there, just because somebody might someday upload their software to GitHub without permission. And without that impossible-to-get license, this law says they will be directly liable as soon as somebody does upload copyrighted works. That's a sure-fire way to kill the platforms economy in Europe.
And these impossible-to-get licenses cover only non-commercial use: If the platform acquires a license as prescribed, then non-commercial uploaders won't be liable. Uploaders acting for commercial purposes however, such as companies with social media accounts, can still be sued by rightsholders.
2. The censorship machine is here to stay The proposal says: All platforms hosting and providing public access to ''significant amounts'' of user-uploaded content have to prevent copyrighted content that rightsholders have identified from being uploaded in the first place.
There are only two ways to do this: (a) hire an army of trained monkeys to look at every individual user upload and compare it manually to the rightsholder information or (b) install upload filters. The article that creates this obligation no longer mentions content recognition technologies explicitly, but they are still mentioned in other parts of the text, making it clear that filters are what Voss has in mind.
There is no definition what ''significant amounts'' are supposed to be. The Commission was widely criticised for requiring censorship machines on platforms with ''large amounts'' of content, following the misguided idea that only large companies with significant resources available to dedicate to the development of upload filters host large amounts of content, completely ignoring the wide diversity of popular specialised platforms out there: Community-run platforms like Wikipedia, niche platforms like MuseScore (for sheet music) and many startups host millions of uploads, but would struggle to implement or license expensive filtering technology.
Why Voss believes replacing the word ''large'' with the potentially even broader ''significant'' is supposed to improve anything remains completely unclear.
3. A tiny problem with fundamental rights The proposal says: The filtering measures must not entail any processing of personal data, in order to protect users' privacy
The only indication that Mr. Voss has paid attention to any of the public criticism at all is that he acknowledges there may a tiny problem with fundamental rights. Indeed, the European Court of Justice has in the past ruled that an obligation to filter all user uploads violates the fundamental rights to privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of information and freedom to conduct a business. Voss picks one of those fundamental rights seemingly at random and adds a provision aimed at protecting it. Admirable as this may be, it is also in direct contradiction to what comes next:
Because filters will invariably delete content that is legal, for example under a copyright exception, users are supposed to have access to a redress mechanism to complain about overblocking. But how exactly is the platform supposed to offer the user that redress if it is not allowed to process any personal data? Simply recording which user's uploads have fallen victim to the filter already requires processing of personal data. How can a user complain about a wrongful takedown if the platform is not allowed to keep records of what the filter deleted in the first place?
It gets better: Guess who should decide about what happens with the users' complaints about wrongful takedowns? The rightsholders who asked for the content to be blocked in the first place. Surely they will turn out to be an impartial arbiter.
At least, users are supposed to be able to go to a court if the redress mechanism fails. However, this may end up being ineffective, because copyright exceptions do not constitute legal rights against the rightsholders, so a court may decide not to require a platform to reinstate previously deleted uploads, even if they were legal under a copyright exception.
What users need is a clear legal rule that the copyright exceptions constitute users' rights '' just like the previous copyright rapporteur Therese Comodini had suggested.
4. Very specific general monitoring The proposal says: Checking all user uploads for whether they are identical to a particular rightsholder's copyrighted work does not constitute forbidden ''general'' monitoring, but is ''specific''.
EU law forbids any laws that force hosting providers to do ''general monitoring'', such as checking every single file uploaded by every user all of the time. Voss simply postulates that upload filters would not break that rule and writes that only ''abstract monitoring'' should be forbidden, which presumably means randomly looking at uploaded files without looking for anything in particular.
This argument has already been dismissed by the European Court of Justice: The European Commission tried making it in defense of upload filters in the past '' and lost (Paragraph 58 of this French-language Commission contribution to the European Court of Justice case Scarlet vs. SABAM).
5. Few exceptions The proposal says: The filtering obligation should not apply to Internet access services, online marketplaces such as ebay, research repositories where rightsholders mainly upload their own works such as arXiv, or cloud service providers where the uploads cannot be accessed publicly, such as Dropbox.
In a last-ditch attempt to redeem himself, Voss provides a welcome clarification that the obligation to filter does not extend to certain businesses. But this exception, not legally binding since it is in a recital rather than an article, does not apply to the obligation to license.
The listed platforms would still have to get licenses from rightsholders provided that the user uploads are publicly accessible, because they would still be considered to be communicating to the public. But how are these platforms supposed to shield themselves from lawsuits by rightsholders if they can't get a license for all possible content that may be uploaded? They will have to resort to a filter anyway.
6. Critical parts remain unchanged Large parts of the most widely criticised elements of the Commission proposal were left completely unchanged by rapporteur Voss, such as the infamous Recital 38 (2), where the Commission misrepresents the limited liability regime of the e-commerce directive, essentially stating that any platform that so much as uses an algorithm to sort the uploaded works alphabetically or provides a search function should be considered as ''active'' and therefore liable for its users' actions. The only change that Mr. Voss has made to this section is cosmetic in nature.
* * *
It's not too late to stop the Censorship Machines! Fortunately, Axel Voss does not get to decide the Parliament position on his own. He will need to secure a majority in the Legal Affairs (JURI) committee, which will vote in late March or April. Two other committees have already come out strongly against filtering obligations, and several JURI members have tabled amendments to delete or significantly improve the Article.
Now it's time to call upon your MEPs to reject Mr. Voss' proposal! You can use tools such as by Digital Rights NGO Bits of Freedom or by Mozilla to call the Members of the Legal Affairs Committee free of charge. Or look for MEPs from your country and send them an email.
But most importantly, spread the word! Ask you local media to report on this law. The Internet as we know it is at stake.
To the extent possible under law, the creator has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.
My name is Julia, I'm the Pirate in the European Parliament. I'm fighting to
make copyright in the EU unified, progressive and fit for the future.
Will you join me? @Senficon JuliaRedaMEP
Do you trust this computer doc
Pentagon Kills LifeLog Project | WIRED
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 06:24
The Pentagon canceled its so-called LifeLog project, an ambitious effort to build a database tracking a person's entire existence.
Run by Darpa, the Defense Department's research arm,
LifeLog aimed to gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees or does: the phone calls made, the TV shows watched, the magazines read, the plane tickets bought, the e-mail sent and received. Out of this seemingly endless ocean of information, computer scientists would plot distinctive routes in the data, mapping relationships, memories, events and experiences.
LifeLog's backers said the all-encompassing diary could have turned into a near-perfect digital memory, giving its users computerized assistants with an almost flawless recall of what they had done in the past. But civil libertarians immediately pounced on the project when it debuted last spring, arguing that LifeLog could become the ultimate tool for profiling potential enemies of the state.
Researchers close to the project say they're not sure why it was dropped late last month. Darpa hasn't provided an explanation for LifeLog's quiet cancellation. "A change in priorities" is the only rationale agency spokeswoman Jan Walker gave to Wired News.
However, related Darpa efforts concerning software secretaries and mechanical brains are still moving ahead as planned.
LifeLog is the latest in a series of controversial programs that have been canceled by Darpa in recent months. The Terrorism Information Awareness, or TIA, data-mining initiative was eliminated by Congress '' although many analysts believe its research continues on the classified side of the Pentagon's ledger. The Policy Analysis Market (or FutureMap), which provided a stock market of sorts for people to bet on terror strikes, was almost immediately withdrawn after its details came to light in July.
"I've always thought (LifeLog) would be the third program (after TIA and FutureMap) that could raise eyebrows if they didn't make it clear how privacy concerns would be met," said Peter Harsha, director of government affairs for the
Computing Research Association .
"Darpa's pretty gun-shy now," added Lee Tien, with the
Electronic Frontier Foundation , which has been critical of many agency efforts. "After TIA, they discovered they weren't ready to deal with the firestorm of criticism."
That's too bad, artificial-intelligence researchers say. LifeLog would have addressed one of the key issues in developing computers that can think: how to take the unstructured mess of life, and recall it as discreet episodes '' a trip to Washington, a sushi dinner, construction of a house.
"Obviously we're quite disappointed," said Howard Shrobe, who led a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Laboratory which spent weeks preparing a bid for a LifeLog contract. "We were very interested in the research focus of the program ... how to help a person capture and organize his or her experience. This is a theme with great importance to both AI and cognitive science."
To Tien, the project's cancellation means "it's just not tenable for Darpa to say anymore, 'We're just doing the technology, we have no responsibility for how it's used.'"
Private-sector research in this area is proceeding. At Microsoft, for example, minicomputer pioneer Gordon Bell's program,
MyLifeBits , continues to develop ways to sort and store memories.
David Karger , Shrobe's colleague at MIT, thinks such efforts will still go on at Darpa, too.
"I am sure that such research will continue to be funded under some other title," wrote Karger in an e-mail. "I can't imagine Darpa 'dropping out' of such a key research area."
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he's left Facebook over data collection
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:04
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Steve Wozniak speaking at eMerge in Miami on June 12, 2017.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told USA TODAY he's leaving Facebook out of growing concern for the carelessness with which Facebook and other Internet companies treat the private information of users.
"Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook and ... Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this," he said in an email to USA TODAY. "The profits are all based on the user's info, but the users get none of the profits back."
Wozniak said he'd rather pay for Facebook than have his personal information exploited for advertising. And he heaped praise on Apple for respecting people's privacy.
"Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you," Wozniak said. "As they say, with Facebook, you are the product."
His surprise announcement marks the latest development in back-and-forth corporate sniping by tech leaders as Facebook copes with a scandal over the potential misuse of user data by political targeting firm Cambridge Analytica. In an update last week, Facebook estimated as many as 87 million people, mostly in the United States, may have had their data improperly shared.
More from USA Today: Tech billionaire Elon Musk plans hyperloop high-speed acceleration and braking testYouTube hit with complaint by child advocacy groups, which say it illegally targets kidsCan Facebook fix itself? Sen. John Kennedy has doubts ahead of Mark Zuckerberg testimony
Apple CEO Tim Cook started the unusual public criticism in late March. During a joint interview with Recode and MSNBC, he was asked what he would do about the crisis if he were in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's position.
"I wouldn't be in the situation," said Cook.
He added that Apple reviews apps to confirm that each one meets the privacy standards his company has required for users.
"We don't subscribe to the view that you have to let everybody in that wants to, or if you don't, you don't believe in free speech," said Cook. "We don't believe that."
Cook also questioned the practice of social media platforms monetizing the personal data of their users.
Zuckerberg hit back in a subsequent interview with Vox, calling Cook's comments "extremely glib."
"If you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford," said Zuckerberg."
Championing his own company's business model, Zuckerberg also said: "At Facebook, we are squarely in the camp of the companies that work hard to charge you less and provide a free service that everyone can use. I don't think at all that that means that we don't care about people."
Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before congressional committees in Washington this week about the Cambridge Analytica episode and Facebook's response.
Starting Monday, the 87 million users whose data might have been shared with Cambridge Analytica will get a message in their news feeds. Most of the affected users '-- more than 70 million '-- are in the U.S. In addition, all 2.2 billion Facebook users will get a link so they can review what apps they use and what information is shared with those apps.
The Cambridge Analytica affair hasn't dented user engagement, according to Jefferies analyst Brent Thill.
"We analyzed Facebook's traffic over the course of March and believe that recent headlines around Facebook's data policies have not meaningfully impacted engagement on the platform," Thill wrote in a research note.
According to a survey of 750 U.S. Internet users, Facebook and Instagram are still tops, Thill found, with 93% using Facebook and about 50% using Instagram.
Wozniak is one of the prominent users who have called it quits. On Sunday, he deactivated his Facebook account after posting the following message: "I am in the process of leaving Facebook. It's brought me more negatives than positives. Apple has more secure ways to share things about yourself. I can still deal with old school email and text messages."
In an email to USA TODAY, Wozniak said he was taken aback by the extent of Facebook's data collection when he changed and deleted some of his information before deactivating his account.
"I was surprised to see how many categories for ads and how many advertisers I had to get rid of, one at a time. I did not feel that this is what people want done to them," he said. "Ads and spam are bad things these days and there are no controls over them. Or transparency."
Still, breaking up with Facebook isn't easy. Wozniak chose not to delete his Facebook account. He didn't mind bidding farewell to his 5,000 Facebook friends, many of whom he says he doesn't know. But he didn't want to give up his "stevewoz" screen name.
"I don't want someone else grabbing it, even another Steve Wozniak," he said.
Wozniak's latest comments aren't the first time he's thrown shade at Internet giants. Speaking at an international business conference in Montreal last year, Wozniak said he tries to "avoid Google and Facebook."
He cited the companies' use of widescale data-collecting operations that are used to help sharpen ad targeting of the social media platform's users, online magazine The Drum reported.
WATCH: Here's how to download a copy of everything Facebook knows about you
Don't Give Away Historic Details About Yourself '-- Krebs on Security
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:25
Social media sites are littered with seemingly innocuous little quizzes, games and surveys urging people to reminisce about specific topics, such as ''What was your first job,'' or ''What was your first car?'' The problem with participating in these informal surveys is that in doing so you may be inadvertently giving away the answers to ''secret questions'' that can be used to unlock access to a host of your online identities and accounts.
I'm willing to bet that a good percentage of regular readers here would never respond '-- honestly or otherwise '-- to such questionnaires (except perhaps to chide others for responding). But I thought it was worth mentioning because certain social networks '-- particularly Facebook '-- seem positively overrun with these data-harvesting schemes. What's more, I'm constantly asking friends and family members to stop participating in these quizzes and to stop urging their contacts to do the same.
On the surface, these simple questions may be little more than an attempt at online engagement by otherwise well-meaning companies and individuals. Nevertheless, your answers to these questions may live in perpetuity online, giving identity thieves and scammers ample ammunition to start gaining backdoor access to your various online accounts.
Consider, for example, the following quiz posted to Facebook by San Benito Tire Pros, a tire and auto repair shop in California. It asks Facebook users, ''What car did you learn to drive stick shift on?''
I hope this is painfully obvious, but for many people the answer will be the same as to the question, ''What was the make and model of your first car?'', which is one of several ''secret questions'' most commonly used by banks and other companies to let customers reset their passwords or gain access to the account without knowing the password.
This simple one-question quiz has been shared more than 250 times on Facebook since it was posted a week ago. Thousands of Facebook users responded in earnest, and in so doing linked their profile to the answer.
Probably the most well-known and common secret question, ''what was the name of your first pet,'' comes up in a number of Facebook quizzes that, incredibly, thousands of people answer willingly and (apparently) truthfully. When I saw this one I was reminded of this hilarious 2007 Daily Show interview wherein Jon Stewart has Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on and tries to slyly ask him the name of his first pet.
Almost 5,000 Facebook users answered this common password reset secret question. asked a variation on this same question of their huge Facebook following and received an impressive number of responses:
Here's a great one from, an e-commerce site in the United Kingdom. It asks users to publicly state the answer to yet another common secret question: ''What street did you grow up on?''
More than 500 Facebook users have shared this quiz with their network, and hundreds more shared the answer using their real names and links to their profiles.
This question, from the Facebook account of '-- a site for owners of recreational vehicles '-- asks: ''What was your first job?'' How the answer to this question might possibly relate to RV camping is beyond me, but that didn't stop people from responding.
The question, ''What was your high school mascot'' is another common secret question, and yet you can find this one floating around lots of Facebook profiles:
Among the most common secret questions is, ''Where did you meet your spouse or partner?'' Loads of people like to share this information online as well, it seems:
This common secret question has been shared on Facebook almost 10,000 times and has garnered more than 2,300 responses.
Here's another gem from the Womenworking Facebook page. Who hasn't had to use the next secret question at some point? Answering this truthfully '-- in a Facebook quiz or on your profile somewhere '-- is a bad idea.
Incredibly, 6,800 Facebook users answered this question.
Do you remember your first grade teacher's name? Don't worry, if you forget it after answering this question, Facebook will remember it for you:
I've never seen a ''what was the first concert you ever saw'' secret question, but it is unique as secret questions go and I wouldn't be surprised if some companies use this one. ''What is your favorite band?'' is definitely a common secret question, however:
Giving away information about yourself, your likes and preferences, etc., can lead to all kinds of unexpected consequences. This practice may even help turn the tide of elections. Just take the ongoing scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, which reportedly collected data on more than 50 million Facebook users without their consent and then used this information to build behavioral models to target potential voters in various political campaigns.
I hope readers don't interpret this story as KrebsOnSecurity endorsing secret questions as a valid form of authentication. In fact, I have railed against this practice for years, precisely because the answers often are so easily found using online services and social media profiles.
But if you must patronize a company or service that forces you to select secret questions, I think it's a really good idea not to answer them truthfully. Just make sure you have a method for remembering your phony answer, in case you forget the lie somewhere down the road.
Many thanks to RonM for assistance with this post.
Tags: Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, secret questions
This entry was posted on Monday, April 9th, 2018 at 12:31 amand is filed under A Little Sunshine, Latest Warnings. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.
Vivaldi Removing Facebook as a Default Link in Browser's Speed Dial [I love the democratization going on in the browser space right now. You couldn't pay me to use Chrome.]
Tue, 10 Apr 2018 05:46
Vivaldi Speed Dial Page with Facebook link Vivaldi announced today that they will be removing Facebook as a default link in their browser's Speed Dial feature. Citing concerns about Facebook's mishandling of data and their lack of privacy protection, Vivaldi's CEO has decided that Facebook is not a platform they feel comfortable promoting.
In a blog post to Vivaldi's site, Co-Founder and CEO Jon von Tetzchner, announced that because of the mishandling of of data for the 87 million users affected by the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, Vivaldi can no longer support the Facebook platform.
"What is becoming more apparent is that Facebook's actions (or lack thereof) to protect their users' privacy and data leave a lot to be desired.
Facebook's continued lack of respect for their users' privacy and the just-plain-creepy level of targeting made available to advertisers is at direct odds with our vision at Vivaldi.
We want an internet where users come first. Where usage data is not unnecessarily collected and shared. As we've said before, protecting privacy should be the default.
Going forward, we will not include a link to Facebook in the Speed Dial by default in Vivaldi. It's no longer a platform we feel we can encourage users to access. This means that when a new user installs Vivaldi they will not see a link to Facebook in their Speed Dial. Existing users will not see this change reflected in their bookmarks." - Jon von Tetzchner
For those unfamiliar with Speed Dial, it is a start page displayed by the Vivaldi browser that contains a variety of default links to site's that are commonly used by its users. These links include Amazon, Ebay, Twitter, Ted, and others. Users can add or delete the various links on the Speed Dial page in order to customize it towards their own need.
The current version of Vivaldi will still contain the default Facebook link in the Speed Dial page. According to a Vivaldi spokesperson, version 1.15, which "is almost ready and should come out soon", will no longer have the Facebook link.
Update 4/9/18 12:46 EST: The article has been updated to include the version number that this change will appear.
Facebook privacy scandal: Two more data firms suspended over improper access to user information
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 15:46
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Facebook: If you want to buy a political ad, you now have to be ''authorized'' | Ars Technica
Wed, 11 Apr 2018 20:42
We approve this message '-- "We know we were slow to pick-up foreign interference in the 2016 US elections." Cyrus Farivar - Apr 6, 2018 7:13 pm UTC
As part of a slew of recent changes stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook announced Friday that it would require advertisers to be "authorized" before they could post political ads.
The new policy comes just a few months after Facebook announced related moves after it discovered sketchy ad buys that likely came from the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll factory.
"We are working with third parties to develop a list of key issues, which we will refine over time," Rob Goldman, vice president of Ads, and Alex Himel, vice president of Local & Pages, wrote in the Friday blog post.
"To get authorized by Facebook, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location. Advertisers will be prohibited from running political ads'--electoral or issue-based'--until they are authorized."
Under what criteria Facebook would "authorize" ad buyers, the company did not say directly in the post. However, Beth Gauthier, a Facebook spokeswoman, told Ars by email that there will be a three-step process for authorization.
"First, Page admins and ad account holders will have to submit their government-issued IDs and provide a physical mailing address for verification," she wrote. "Second, we'll confirm each address by mailing a letter with a unique access code that only their specific Facebook account can use, and, third, advertisers will also have to disclose what candidate, organization or business they represent."
Given that fake IDs, US mailing addresses, and the creation of an LLC are all quite easy to procure'--even from abroad'--it's not immediately apparent what meaningful effect, if any, this process will have against protecting the platform and its users from foreign malicious actors.
The executives further explained, however, that these ads will be "clearly labeled" as "Political Ad" with "paid for by" information. It's still unclear as to whether those ads will include the same meaningless disclosures often found in television ads (the "Paid for by Americans for a more Awesome America" style text often found in the lower third at the end of ads).
The company also said that people who manage Pages with "large numbers of followers" must now be "verified." How this verification would take place, Facebook did not say.
"We know we were slow to pick-up foreign interference in the 2016 US elections," the Facebook vice presidents wrote. "Today's updates are designed to prevent future abuse in elections'--and to help ensure you have the information that you need to assess political and issue ads, as well as content on Pages. By increasing transparency around ads and Pages on Facebook, we can increase accountability for advertisers'--improving our service for everyone."
UPDATE 3:56pm ET:
Beth Gauthier, the Facebook spokeswoman, added:
We are applying multiple checks and steps to make sure that the person creating the ad is who they say they are --- government issued ID, last four digits SSN, and mailing address verification. The letter is a piece of the authorization process and will help confirm the advertiser's US address. We chose to do this because helping to validate the physical location of people purchasing political ads is an important part of our efforts to reduce foreign interference. We require that the address be a US-based residential mailing address and reject commercial or PO Box addresses. And I'd you point you to Mark's post, where he said, "these steps by themselves won't stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did." The authorized political advertiser will tie the organization paying for the ad to its Facebook page.
Tech press must take a lot of blame for not investigating or expanding on the FAANG business model
Why no questions about "AI"?
pre-2015 apps still suck all the data + friend's details
Zuckerberg Senator=Podcaster
zuck on accounts, banning people. He's reading their messages!
Ted Cruz Gets Section 230 All Wrong, While Zuck Claims He's Not Familiar With It | Techdirt
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 06:22
There's plenty to say about Mark Zuckerberg's first congressional hearing this week (like Senator Thune's thinly-veiled threat of more SESTA-like laws, or Senator Cantwell's strange, unfocused tangent about Palantir and WhatsApp) but one exchange stands out as so utterly ridiculous that it bears special note.
Senator Cruz used his time in an attempt to shift the focus onto Republican fears that Facebook is a liberal propaganda machine, and specifically tried to box Zuckerberg into declaring whether Facebook was "a first amendment speaker expressing your views", or a "neutral public forum" '-- and then explicitly claimed that being the latter is a prerequisite of CDA Section 230 protections.
This is blatantly untrue, as that language appears nowhere in the law, and Section 230 is (as we've reiterated many times during the SESTA debate) designed to encourage moderation. But Zuckerberg's reply was, well, absurd:
"I'm not that familiar with the specific legal language of the law that you speak to, so I would need to follow up with you on that."
That's the CEO of Facebook '-- a service that not only relies on Section 230 to a staggering degree, but just played a major role in developing and supporting a law that drastically alters it '-- professing ignorance on the letter of the law, as though it were some obscure statute that only his legal department would be fully familiar with.
Now, to be fair, Cruz was trying to box him in with a loaded and ultimately meaningless question '-- and when you're being grilled by a panel of Senators, you've got to be pretty choosy about if and when you're actually going to say "you are incorrect, that's not true" in response to one of their questions. But... could anyone in that room possibly believe him? Or any of the rest of us? SESTA '-- which, again, Facebook played a major role in '-- had already been mentioned several times during the hearing, even alongside expressions of appreciation that Facebook helped refine and ultimately supported the bill. Even if we somehow contorted our brains to believe he is genuinely unfamiliar with the language (again: uh-huh...) that would just paint an equally terrible picture in which Zuck has been only vaguely aware of his company's policy positions all year.
So, that was weird. Senate hearings like this are, of course, mostly theatrical '-- but that clunky bit of dialogue certainly eviscerated any remaining suspension of disbelief.
RSS is undead | TechCrunch
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 15:38
RSS died. Whether you blame Feedburner, or Google Reader, or Digg Reader last month, or any number of other product failures over the years, the humble protocol has managed to keep on trudging along despite all evidence that it is dead, dead, dead.
Now, with Facebook's scandal over Cambridge Analytica, there is a whole new wave of commentators calling for RSS to be resuscitated. Brian Barrett at Wired said a week ago that '''... anyone weary of black-box algorithms controlling what you see online at least has a respite, one that's been there all along but has often gone ignored. Tired of Twitter? Facebook fatigued? It's time to head back to RSS.''
Let's be clear: RSS isn't coming back alive so much as it is officially entering its undead phase.
Don't get me wrong, I love RSS. At its core, it is a beautiful manifestation of some of the most visionary principles of the internet, namely transparency and openness. The protocol really is simple and human-readable. It feels like how the internet was originally designed with static, full-text articles in HTML. Perhaps most importantly, it is decentralized, with no power structure trying to stuff other content in front of your face.
It's wonderfully idealistic, but the reality of RSS is that it lacks the features required by nearly every actor in the modern content ecosystem, and I would strongly suspect that its return is not forthcoming.
Now, it is important before diving in here to separate out RSS the protocol from RSS readers, the software that interprets that protocol. While some of the challenges facing this technology are reader-centric and therefore fixable with better product design, many of these challenges are ultimately problems with the underlying protocol itself.
Let's start with users. I, as a journalist, love having hundreds of RSS feeds organized in chronological order allowing me to see every single news story published in my areas of interest. This use case though is a minuscule fraction of all users, who aren't paid to report on the news comprehensively. Instead, users want personalization and prioritization '-- they want a feed or stream that shows them the most important content first, since they are busy and lack the time to digest enormous sums of content.
To get a flavor of this, try subscribing to the published headlines RSS feed of a major newspaper like the Washington Post, which publishes roughly 1,200 stories a day. Seriously, try it. It's an exhausting experience wading through articles from the style and food sections just to run into the latest update on troop movements in the Middle East.
Some sites try to get around this by offering an array of RSS feeds built around keywords. Yet, stories are almost always assigned more than one keyword, and keyword selection can vary tremendously in quality across sites. Now, I see duplicate stories and still manage to miss other stories I wanted to see.
Ultimately, all of media is prioritization '-- every site, every newspaper, every broadcast has editors involved in determining what is the hierarchy of information to be presented to users. Somehow, RSS (at least in its current incarnation) never understood that. This is both a failure of the readers themselves, but also of the protocol, which never forced publishers to provide signals on what was most and least important.
Another enormous challenge is discovery and curation. How exactly do you find good RSS feeds? Once you have found them, how do you group and prune them over time to maximize signal? Curation is one of the biggest on-boarding challenges of social networks like Twitter and Reddit, which has prevented both from reaching the stratospheric numbers of Facebook. The cold start problem with RSS is perhaps its greatest failing today, although could potentially be solved by better RSS reader software without protocol changes.
RSS' true failings though are on the publisher side, with the most obvious issue being analytics. RSS doesn't allow publishers to track user behavior. It's nearly impossible to get a sense of how many RSS subscribers there are, due to the way that RSS readers cache feeds. No one knows how much time someone reads an article, or whether they opened an article at all. In this way, RSS shares a similar product design problem with podcasting, in that user behavior is essentially a black box.
For some users, that lack of analytics is a privacy boon. The reality though is that the modern internet content economy is built around advertising, and while I push for subscriptions all the time, such an economy still looks very distant. Analytics increases revenues from advertising, and that means it is critical for companies to have those trackers in place if they want a chance to make it in the competitive media environment.
RSS also offers very few opportunities for branding content effectively. Given that the brand equity for media today is so important, losing your logo, colors, and fonts on an article is an effective way to kill enterprise value. This issue isn't unique to RSS '-- it has affected Google's AMP project as well as Facebook Instant Articles. Brands want users to know that the brand wrote something, and they aren't going to use technologies that strip out what they consider to be a business critical part of their user experience.
These are just some of the product issues with RSS, and together they ensure that the protocol will never reach the ubiquity required to supplant centralized tech corporations. So, what are we to do then if we want a path away from Facebook's hegemony?
I think the solution is a set of improvements. RSS as a protocol needs to be expanded so that it can offer more data around prioritization as well as other signals critical to making the technology more effective at the reader layer. This isn't just about updating the protocol, but also about updating all of the content management systems that publish an RSS feed to take advantage of those features.
That leads to the most significant challenge '-- solving RSS as business model. There needs to be some sort of a commerce layer around feeds, so that there is an incentive to improve and optimize the RSS experience. I would gladly pay money for an Amazon Prime-like subscription where I can get unlimited text-only feeds from a bunch of a major news sources at a reasonable price. It would also allow me to get my privacy back to boot.
Next, RSS readers need to get a lot smarter about marketing and on-boarding. They need to actively guide users to find where the best content is, and help them curate their feeds with algorithms (with some settings so that users like me can turn it off). These apps could be written in such a way that the feeds are built using local machine learning models, to maximize privacy.
Do I think such a solution will become ubiquitous? No, I don't, and certainly not in the decentralized way that many would hope for. I don't think users actually, truly care about privacy (Facebook has been stealing it for years '-- has that stopped its growth at all?) and they certainly aren't news junkies either. But with the right business model in place, there could be enough users to make such a renewed approach to streams viable for companies, and that is ultimately the critical ingredient you need to have for a fresh news economy to surface and for RSS to come back to life.
Fake News
Bill Text - SB-1424 Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan.
Tue, 10 Apr 2018 09:25
SB1424:v98#DOCUMENT Bill Start Amended IN Senate March 22, 2018 CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE'-- 2017''2018 REGULAR SESSION
Introduced by Senator Pan February 16, 2018 An act to amend Section 1103 of the Commercial Code, relating to commercial law. An act to add Title 14.5 (commencing with Section 3085) to Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code, relating to the Internet.
SB 1424, as amended, Pan. Commercial law. Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan.
Existing law prohibits a person, among others, from making or disseminating in any advertising device, or in any manner or means whatever, including over the Internet, any statement concerning real or personal property or services that is untrue or misleading, as specified.
This bill would require any person who operates a social media, as defined, Internet Web site with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among other things, a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information.
The Uniform Commercial Code generally regulates commercial transactions, and is intended to be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies, which include simplifying, clarifying, and modernizing the law governing commercial transactions.
This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to that law.
Digest Key Vote: MAJORITY Appropriation: NO Fiscal Committee: NO Local Program: NO
Bill Text The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. Title 14.5 (commencing with Section 3085) is added to Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code, to read:
TITLE 14.5. False Information Strategic Plans
3085. (a) Any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with physical presence in California shall develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Internet Web site.
(b) The strategic plan shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) A plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories.
(2) The utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories.
(3) Providing outreach to social media users regarding news stories containing false information.
(4) Placing a warning on a news story containing false information.
(c) As used in this section, ''social media'' means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.
SECTION 1.Section 1103 of the Commercial Code is amended to read:1103.(a) This code shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies, which are all of the following:
(1) To simplify, clarify, and modernize the law governing commercial transactions.
(2) To permit the continued expansion of commercial practices through custom, usage, and agreement of the parties.
(3) To make uniform the law among the various jurisdictions.
(b) Unless displaced by the particular provisions of this code, the principles of law and equity, including the law merchant and the law relative to capacity to contract, principal and agent, estoppel, fraud, misrepresentation, duress, coercion, mistake, bankruptcy, and other validating or invalidating cause supplement its provisions.
War on Knives
London's Mayor Declares Intense New 'Knife Control' Policies To Stop Epidemic Of Stabbings | Daily Wire
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 04:23
An epidemic of stabbings and acid attacks in London has gotten so bad that London mayor Sadiq Khan is announcing broad new "knife control" policies designed to keep these weapons of war out of the hands of Londoners looking to cause others harm.
The "tough, immediate" measures involve an incredible police crackdown, a ban on home deliveries of knives and acid, and expanding law enforcement stop-and-search powers so that police may stop anyone they believe to be a threat, or planning a knife or acid attack.
Khan announced Friday that the city has created a "violent crime taskforce of 120 officers" tasked with rooting out knife-wielding individuals in public spaces, and is pumping nearly $50 million dollars into the Metropolitan Police department, so that they can better arm themselves against knife attacks. He's also empowering the Met Police to introduce "targeted patrols with extra stop and search powers for areas worst-affected," according to a statement.
The mayor took to Twitter to announce his new policies.
Strangely enough, Khan is responsible to decreasing the number of stop-and-searches, having previously declared the tactic racist and potentially Islamophobic. It's also not clear what local Londoners will now use to cut their food.
Parliament is also set to take up heavy "knife control" legislation when it resumes this week. The UK government is expected to introduce a ban on online knife sales and home knife deliveries, declare it "illegal to possess zombie knives and knuckledusters in private" -- "zombie knives" are those defined as being manufactured for the purpose of being used as a person-to-person weapon -- and ban sales of caustic materials to anyone under the age of 18, the Independent reports.
London has seen a dramatic uptick in murder rates, surpassing even New York City in number of homicides every month since the beginning of 2018. It has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, and, technically, knives carried "without good reason" are off limits to anyone under the age of 18.
Zombie knife - Wikipedia
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 04:27
A zombie knife (also known as a zombie killer knife or zombie slayer knife) is a type of knife. It is defined in English law as a blade with
a cutting edge; a serrated edge; and images or words (whether on the blade or handle) that suggest that it is to be used for the purpose of violence. [1] The Parliament of the United Kingdom passed legislation to prohibit the sale, importation and manufacture of these knives with effect from 18 August 2016.[2][3] The prohibition was implemented by amending a statutory instrument made under the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
References Edit
Ministry of Turthiness
RATINGS DISASTER: Not A Single CNN Show Is In The Top 20 For Cable News '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 04:14
Entertainment PoliticsRATINGS DISASTER: Not A Single CNN Show Is In The Top 20 For Cable NewsCNN's ratings are continuing their fall, with many viewers choosing to watch other cable news channels like MSNBC or Fox News instead.
''CNN had significant declines in February, with ratings dropping 19% in total day and 16% in prime, where the network returned an average audience of 979,000 total viewers''behind MSNBC (1.805 million) and Fox News (2.766 million).''
Yikes, CNN.
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) March 1, 2018
According to one measure, not a single CNN show even cracked the top 20 for viewers in weekday cable news in February '' READ MORE
Help Support True Pundit's Independent Voice by Contributing Today! The Daily Caller
Hate Trumps Love
Art Collector and Bon Vivant Dies in Trump Tower Home He Couldn't Sell - The New York Times
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:15
Photo Fire inspectors sifted through the wreckage of a Trump Tower apartment a day after a fatal fire on the 50th floor. Credit Jeenah Moon for The New York Times Todd Brassner, who died in a fire at Trump Tower on Saturday, loved fast cars, electric guitars, expensive watches and making long, erudite pronouncements about art and art history. He was an art dealer with health problems and a 2015 bankruptcy that listed his apartment as the location of more than $3 million worth of artwork and other collectibles, including a 1975 portrait of Mr. Brassner painted by Andy Warhol.
Friends of Mr. Brassner said he had been trying to move since the election of President Trump in 2016, which brought increased security and activity to the building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, but he could not sell his 50th-floor apartment, which he estimated to be worth $2.5 million in 2015.
''It haunts me,'' said Stephen Dwire, 67, a musician and music producer who had been friends with Mr. Brassner since they were 14-year-olds in Harrison, N.Y., in Westchester County. ''He said, 'This is getting untenable,''' Mr. Dwire said. ''It was like living in an armed camp. But when people heard it was a Trump building, he couldn't give it away.''
Mr. Brassner, 67, lived alone amid a collection of about 100 vintage electric guitars, 40 guitar amplifiers dating to the 1930s, 150 ukuleles and artwork by Robert Indiana, Mati Klarwein, Jack Kerouac and others.
Officials from the Fire Department declined to comment on the damage to Mr. Brassner's extensive holdings. On Sunday, they had not determined the cause of the blaze, which also injured four firefighters.
Continue reading the main story ''We send our prayers and deepest condolences to Mr. Brassner's family and loved ones,'' a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said on Sunday.
Mr. Brassner's apartment in Trump Tower, built in 1983, did not have sprinklers, which were not required. In 1999, after two deadly fires in high-rise apartments, New York City enacted legislation requiring sprinkler systems in most new residential buildings and existing properties that were extensively renovated.
Real estate developers, including Mr. Trump, fought the sprinklers, arguing that they were unnecessary and would add $4 per square foot to the cost of an apartment.
James Long, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said on Sunday that residents in a fireproof building, like Trump Tower, were safest inside their apartments rather than evacuating.
Photo Todd Brassner in an undated photograph that was posted on his Facebook page. Credit via Facebook Damage from the fire was visible from Madison Avenue and 56th Street. Fifty floors up, facing east, a pair of large horizontal windows were punched out, and the glass and metal facade above appeared scorched and sooty. A metal work platform lowered from the roof hung beside the gutted apartment.
For Mr. Brassner, the building was a prestigious address for dealing art, and his early years there echoed his successes in the nexus of the art and music worlds.
''He led a very out-there life,'' said Jodi Stuart, who was Mr. Brassner's first girlfriend and had been in and out of his life since. ''Out there in sports cars, out there in rock 'n' roll, playing Hendrix on guitar, bigger than life.''
For much of Mr. Brassner's life, she said, ''You never saw him without his Jaguar.''
''We used to go to the Fillmore East and Max's Kansas City,'' Ms. Stuart said. ''Todd got right in with the Factory and Andy Warhol. He picked em: Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, Jaguars, beautiful homes, beautiful women.''
Mr. Brassner was one of two sons born to an art dealer and lighting manufacturer named Jules Brassner, who introduced him to Warhol. Todd Brassner fit right into the Warhol orbit, and often went shopping with the artist, said Stuart Pivar, a collector who was very close to Warhol.
''They were like two 14-year-olds, seeing the world,'' Mr. Pivar said. ''And he was very knowledgeable about pop art.''
Though Mr. Brassner enjoyed the high life, ''he was a very family-oriented guy, and we often talked about our parents,'' said Howard Murray, a television director who grew up with Mr. Brassner and reconnected about a decade ago. ''He always talked about his mom talking Yiddish.''
But in recent years, Mr. Brassner started leaving the apartment less and less frequently, and he resisted offers from friends to visit or bring food. Blake Gopnik, who wanted to interview Mr. Brassner for a biography of Warhol, said he set up a number of meetings. ''But he always made some complicated excuse,'' Mr. Gopnik said.
Mr. Brassner's struggle with drugs brought him into contact with ''shady characters, who snookered him out of masterpieces,'' Mr. Pivar said. The apartment was so cluttered Mr. Brassner could barely move, Mr. Pivar said.
He filed for bankruptcy in 2015, but soon after he inherited money from his father. ''He showed up at my house the next day in a brand-new red Lamborghini,'' Mr. Pivar said. ''That was Todd.''
Ms. Stuart said she thought Mr. Brassner did not want his friends to see him in declining health.
''We tried very hard to meet with him or have lunch or dinner with him,'' she said. ''He wanted us to know the Todd that was before. Not the Todd who was impaired. He suffered a lot.''
Continue reading the main story
FBI raids the office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen: NYT
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 21:51
The FBI on Monday raided the New York City office and residence of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, seeking evidence related to the payment Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.
The raids came after federal prosecutors in New York City obtained a search warrant following a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, Cohen's lawyer said.
Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and related issues, including possible collusion by officials in the Trump campaign with Russians.
NBC News reported that one raid occurred at a law office at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, located in midtown Manhattan. FBI agents also raided a room at the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan, where Cohen has been staying, and executed the warrants there.
A doorman at the Regency said, "They are still here," when asked about the FBI.
A woman who answered a call placed to Cohen's room in the hotel said she was his wife. When asked if the FBI was in the room, she hung up.
Sources told NBC News that the raid was set in motion after Mueller's team became aware of certain information but concluded it did not fall under their mandate and passed the issue on to federal prosecutors in New York.
Sources said the search was related to $130,000 in payments that Cohen has said he made to Daniels just before the presidential election.
Daniels has said that money was given to her in exchange for her agreement to keep quiet about an affair she had with Trump that began in 2006. The White House has denied that Trump had sex with Daniels.
Stephanie Keith | Reuters
Michael Cohen, attorney for The Trump Organization, arrives at Trump Tower in New York City, U.S. January 17, 2017.
Trump has said he was unaware of the deal Cohen made with her. Cohen is an executive vice president and general counsel of the Trump Organization, the company founded by the president, which is now being run by his adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.
In addition to records related to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, FBI agents also seized emails, tax documents and business records, according to The New York Times, which cited a person briefed on the search.
Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told MSNBC that just as he had predicted last week on that network, "Mr. Cohen has been placed in the crosshairs by Mr. Trump. And he has been set-up to take the fall."
"In my opinion, an enormous amount of misplaced faith has been placed on his shoulders and I do not believe he has the mettle to withstand it. If I am correct, this could end very, very badly for Mr. Trump and others," Avenatti said.
Last month Avenatti declined to comment when CNBC asked if he had been in contact with Mueller's office.
Read: Why special counsel Mueller might care about porn star Stormy Daniels getting money from President Trump's lawyer
Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said, "Today the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients. I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller."
"The decision by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary," Ryan said.
"It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney-client communications between a lawyer and his clients. These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath."
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment when asked about the raid by CNBC.
Spokesmen for the FBI's New York field office and for Mueller did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.
NA-Tech News
Skywire Miner: Hardware for the Next Internet | Blog
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:23
Sign up to our mailing list for Skywire Miner updates:
How can we create a truly free and open internet? To answer this question, we developed Skywire, the new alternative internet. Skywire is a groundbreaking, novel technology that takes control from large internet service providers (ISPs) and gives it back to the users. Its peer-to-peer model promotes net neutrality and sharing of content without blocking, slowdowns, or censorship. Skywire's open-access network preserves privacy and encourages free speech. Our mission in creating Skywire is to shape the internet's future for the better.
Skywire's revolutionary new networking protocol is already changing the internet as we know it. The protocol is based on Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). Benefits of MPLS include speed, quality of service, reliability, and security. Skywire goes beyond these standards to deliver an even faster, better network. It's designed for high performance and maximum privacy, allowing users to bypass ISPs and take control of their experience, essentially becoming their very own ISP.
Skycoin is the currency of Skywire, giving it a practical application beyond just a digital currency. When the user forwards traffic or provide network resources, he or she receives Skycoin. Likewise, when the user consumes network resources or media, he or she spends Skycoin. Users can maximize their coins in two ways: having high bandwidth in high-traffic areas, or having highly sought-after content.
The Skywire ''miner'' is meticulously designed and configured to provide a backbone for the new internet. Its custom-built hardware exceeds technical specifications to deliver maximum power and performance. Skywire functions as a ''miner'' for Skycoins. It acts as a specialized VPN, using the following hardware configuration:
8 CPU boards 2 GB of RAM per board 4 CPU cores per board 64 GB of storage per board 64-bit Linux (Alpine Linux) Gigabit ethernet, 8+1 port switch Each board features an ARM processor, 2 GB of RAM, and anywhere from 32 to 256 GB flash storage. The hardware is segmented in such a way that even if one service is compromised, the other services on the same machine can't be. An OpenWRT router with strict packet forwarding rules and access control increases security. The setup can be further customized to consist of 4, 8, 16, or 32 boards.
Users can deploy nodes manually, but automatic deployment is just around the corner. Sky-Messenger will provide a chatbot that allows users to peer clusters by public key. Once metering and settlement is implemented, Skywire will generate coins for operating the network.
Plans are already in place for second-generation hardware, which will include an OLED screen that displays RAM/CPU/Bandwidth and Skycoins per hour, an OpenWRT router, SATA ports on the board for at least 4 CPU boards, and 32 and 64 board models. The network runs on its own internal internet with dedicated hardware. In the future, the above hardware configuration will be extended to support physical wireless mesh networks.
Skywire distributes content faster and more anonymously than other alternatives. It does this by combining two powerful components: Aether and Skywire. Aether is a peer-to-peer replicated object system that powers the distribution of anonymous and immutable web content. Traditional internet apps for video streaming, messaging, and other services can all be run on Aether. Skywire, the second component, forms the backbone of the distributed networking system. It's a source-routed, public MPLS network built in a unique namespace and on a new networking stack. Skywire users essentially function as their own ISPs.
With Skywire, a local cache holds resources without connecting to the external internet. File downloads are copied directly into the local cache. Peers who are looking for that file can get it from you and pass it along the network. By leveraging peer-to-peer technology in an innovative and unique way, Skywire provides a viable internet alternative that's secure, fast, and sustainable.
The internet's future is balanced between large ISPs that restrict content for profit and cutting-edge network technology that brings the internet to you, the user. Skywire is at the vanguard of this revolution. The truth is, we don't need to rely on ISPs to explore the internet. With Skywire's networking protocol, we're creating a free, global, decentralized internet experience that's unlimited by the current market. Our vision for Skywire goes beyond transformation. As we continue to develop this trailblazing technology, one thing becomes clear: Skywire won't just change the internet. It will reinvent it.
Details We want the Skywire miner released in the next 6 months. Ideally it would be released within the next 3 months, but testing alone could take a few months. We also need to work out the logistics of assembly and shipping.
The 6 months target is still a soft date. Until the hardware and software is entering the full testing phase, we do not want to promise any date. We will not be collecting orders until we are confident about when the miners can be delivered.
Join the Skycoin Telegram for discussion of the Skywire miner and network.
There will be 300 units available for purchase. When we are ready to take orders, a form on the website will allow you to register for one.
The price will be 1 BTC for 1 unit. Purchasers will receive:
Skywire miner An amount of Skycoin equal to 1 BTC minus the hardware cost (estimated to be around $600), based on market rates at the time of purchase. Nodes operating on the Skywire network will be receiving a network incentive reward to help build out the network, in addition to traffic forwarding payments. For the Skywire miners, we'd like to increase this network incentive reward. However, we're still working out a mechanism for distinguishing the Skywire miners from other nodes, which could be any machine on the network.
The value and structure of the general network incentive reward is not yet specified. More information on this will be in a future release.
Errata More pictures of the Skywire miner Skywire Github Sky-Messenger Github Translation bounty for Русский, í•'국어, 日æ'¬èªž, 中文: 2 SKY
Translation bounty for other languages: 1 SKY
Read about the Skycoin Bounty Program
Lost Connections
'Highly mobile eyebrows' helped humans to evolve and survive, scientists find | London Evening Standard
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 20:52
Highly expressive eyebrows may have played a crucial role in helping humans to survive, scientists have found.
Our early ancestors sported a pronounced brow ridge, which was ''a permanent signal of dominance and aggression'', new research from the University of York suggested.
But modern humans evolved to adopt a smooth forehead with more visible, ''mobile'' eyebrows capable of expressing subtle emotions, the study revealed.
These brows offer key communication skills for establishing large social groups, according to the researchers, which may have set us apart from our now-extinct sister species the Neanderthals.
Scientists used modelling software to examine the purpose of brow ridges (Paul O'Higgins , University of York) Using 3D engineering software, the researchers studied the brow ridge of a fossilised skull, known as Kabwe 1, to better understand its purpose.
It belonged to one of our distant extinct ancestors - Homo heidelbergensis, who lived between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago.
Scientists discounted two theories commonly put forward to explain protruding brow ridges: that they were needed to fill the space where the flat brain cases and eye sockets of the species met, and that the ridge helped to stabilise their skulls from the force of chewing.
They decided that a possible explanation for the skull shape could be social communication.
Senior author of the paper, Paul O'Higgins, Professor of Anatomy at the University of York, said: ''Since the shape of the brow ridge is not driven by spatial and mechanical requirements alone, and other explanations for brow ridges such as keeping sweat or hair out of eyes have already been discounted, we suggest a plausible contributing explanation can be found in social communication.''
According to the researchers, modern humans evolved communicative foreheads over the past 100,000 years, beginning as a side-effect of our faces getting gradually smaller.
Co-author of the paper, Dr Penny Spikins from the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, said the adaptation may have been key to our surviving over other human species.
She said: ''Modern humans are the last surviving hominin. While our sister species the Neanderthals were dying out, we were rapidly colonising the globe and surviving in extreme environments.''
Hominins are the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors.
Dr Spikins added: ''This had a lot to do with our ability to create large social networks '' we know, for example, that prehistoric modern humans avoided inbreeding and went to stay with friends in distant locations during hard times.''
The archaeologist said eyebrow movements ''allow us to express complex emotions as well as perceive the emotions of others''.
She said: ''A rapid ''eyebrow flash'' is a cross-cultural sign of recognition and openness to social interaction and pulling our eyebrows up at the middle is an expression of sympathy.
''Tiny movements of the eyebrows are also a key component to identifying trustworthiness and deception. ''
The research, which contributes to a long-running academic debate about why anatomically modern humans evolved flatter foreheads, was published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
DEF CON 25 Wifi Village - Andrew Strutt - POCSAG Amateur Pager Network - YouTube
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 16:10
The Old Man and the Smartphone | John C. Dvorak |
Tue, 10 Apr 2018 10:04
Phones are such a big deal because of one absolute human need: constant finger fidgeting.
March 7, 2018 11:36AM EST March 7, 2018 PCMag reviews products
independently, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page.
Terms of use.
The smartphone is under intense scrutiny as a disruptive device that causes depression in teens and has resulted in a noteworthy increase in pedestrian deaths. People walk into poles because they are looking at the screen or get into car accidents because they are texting while driving. It's ridiculous.
I've been ridiculed for recommending (on national TV) that Apple stop developing and marketing the iPhone. In hindsight, I was right, but not about Apple'--just about the smartphone in general. It's a genuine plague. That said, it's too late now to do anything about it.
I'd love to see the painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch, a masterpiece done around the year 1500, updated to a modern scene with everyone holding a phone in one of the two positions'--talking or texting. In fact, look at any painting done before 2007 and add the reality of the smartphone. Take any photo from the turn of the century where every male in the crowd is wearing a straw at and add the smartphone.
Why do we, all of a sudden, need to feel so plugged in and connected that we need this phone in our pocket or by our bedsides at night?
I've always related this connectivity to the heyday of the pager in the years between 1970-2000. These devices were first used by doctors on call and drug dealers. Generally referred to as beepers, to me they were the ultimate ball and chain. I was always stunned when people who didn't need them had them anyway. I'd ask, "What do you need a pager for?" and always get some bogus answer that translated to "So I can feel important and needed."
This got out of controlwith the BlackBerry, the pager on steroids, nicknamed the CrackBerry. People would constantly be checking their email for an important, life-changing message.
To me, the phone fulfills the human need to constantly be fiddling with something. It's part of the human (and primate) condition. It's no coincidence that the decline in cigarette smoking marked the increase in smartphone usage to the point of it being dangerous. Cigarette smoking was an intensive ritual using the hands and fingers.
Humans have always needed to fiddle with something with their hands. Visit the mountain villages of the Andes and you'd find every old woman talking to her friends as she slowly hand-spins a huge ball of wool using her fingers. In Eastern Europe, you'd find people fingering rosary beads for no particular reason. Chimps and other primates spend a lot of time grooming each other and literally nit-picking. It's no coincidence that people do virtual nit-picking looking up wiki articles on the phone while in a discussion around the dinner table to clarify some fact. Nit-picking, same as a monkey.
People who are constantly knitting or those who crochet: I'd bet money that their smartphone use is decreased. Same goes for whittling or scrimshaw, basket-weaving, and painting. My thesis would indicate that taking up the guitar or the piano'--where the need to constantly use the fingers'--would take care of this need to fiddle around with something.
Those recent indicators that heavy smartphone use causes depression may have it backwards. The depression comes from lack of hand use, which is compensated for by heavy phone use. However, unlike the wool spinners or knitters, nothing comes of it. There is no fruit of any labor, just time wasting.
So my recommendation is obvious: get a piano or knitting needles or a paint-by-number kit. Get off the phone. You are not a doctor on call. Nothing is that important that it cannot wait.
Top Read More About the Author John C. Dvorak is a columnist for and the co-host of the twice weekly podcast, the No Agenda Show. His work is licensed around the world. Previously a columnist for Forbes, PC/Computing, Computer Shopper, MacUser, Barrons, the DEC Professional as well as other newspapers and magazines. Former editor and consulting editor for InfoWorld, he... See Full Bio
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Oh Elon!
NASA send human sperm to space on Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 | Daily Star
Wed, 11 Apr 2018 19:27
The sperm '' carried to the station on Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 '' will be the subject of a number of experiments to see how space and low gravity affect male sex cells.
Astronauts onboard the ISS will thaw the frozen sperm to see if sex in space would lead to successful reproduction.
The scientific study is part of NASA's Micro-11 mission, which contains samples of frozen human and bull sperm.
Once the Falcon 9's Dragon resupply capsule has completed the first stage of the journey and has docked, research will begin on the samples.
NASA hopes to understand how micro-gravity affects the swimming of sperm and how well they move in space.
In a statement, the agency said: ''Little is currently known about the biology of reproduction in space, and this experiment will begin to address that gap by measuring, for the first time, how well bull and human sperm functions in space.''
Successful fertilisation of a human egg depends on several factors and is broken down into two stages.
The sperm cell must be activated and then change slightly as it swims towards an egg to fertilise it.
In preparation for fusing with the egg, it must move faster and its cell membrane must become more fluid.
British astronaut Tim Peake safely lands on EarthMember of ISS crew Peake of Britain reacts shortly after landing near DzhezkazganBritish astronaut Tim PeakeMembers of a search and rescue team work at the site of landing of the Soyuz TMA-19M capsuleBritish astronaut Tim Peake phones home after safely landing on EarthBritish astronaut Tim Peake lands on EarthBritish astronaut Tim PeakeBritish astronaut Tim PeakeBritish astronaut Tim PeakeBritish astronaut Tim Peake has safely landed back on EarthTime Peake poses for a selfie during his spacewalkTim Peake is seen taking a selfie while on his first space walkTim Peake takes part in Expedition 46 on International Space StationTim Peake puts on his suit in preparation for his first spacewalkBritish astronaut Tim Peake completes maintenance work on the International Space StationTim Peake will become the first Briton to walk in space today when he ventures out of the International Space Station (ISS) to help repair a broken power unitTim Peake takes part in his first spacewalkBritish astronaut Tim Peake completes maintenance work on the International Space StationTim Peake prepares to take his first spacewakBritish astronaut Tim Peake speaks from the International Space Station (ISS)British astronaut Tim Peake talks on his floating microphone.Tim Peake becomes the first British astronaut to fly to the International Space StationSoyuz TMA-19M space ship blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, KazakhstanThe Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz TMA-19M space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space StationTim Peake and Scott Kelly embrace as the crew board the International Space StationRussian commander Yuri Malenchenko emerging from the Soyuz space capsule hatch at the the International Space Station (ISS).British astronaut Tim Peake's mother Angela, speaks to him on the telephone as the crew arrive at the International Space StationThe Soyuz space capsule docks at the International Space StationBritish astronaut Tim Peake's father Nigel, speaks to him on the telephone as the crew arrive at the International Space StationBritish astronaut Tim Peake and the crew seen on the International Space Station Expedition 46-47 crewmembers ESA astronaut Tim Peake, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and commander Yuri Malenchenko launch into space from Baikonur cosmodromeBritish astronaut Tim Peake's wife Rebecca, is seen ahead of Tim's arrival at the International Space StationMajor Tim Peake blasting off into orbit on board the Soyuz space capsule on his way to becoming the first British astronaut to join the crew of the International Space StationThe Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft carrying the crew of Timothy Peake of Britain, Yuri Malenchenko of Russia and Timothy Kopra of the U.S. blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, KazakhstanThe Russian Soyuz TMA-19M lifts off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in KazakhstanBritish astronaut Tim Peake pictured inside the Soyuz space capsuleTim Peake in his Chichester school uniformTim Peake blasting off into orbit on board the Soyuz space capsule on his way to becoming the first British astronaut to join the crew of the International Space StationThe International Space Station Expedition 46/47 crew launch into orbitThe Russian Soyuz TMA-19M lifts off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in KazakhstanTim Peake does the heart sign to his children before launching into spaceTim Peake says goodbye to his children as he boards the Soyuz TMA-19M rocketBritish astronaut Tim Peake, member of the main crew of the mission to the International Space Station waves to the crowds in KazakhstanBritain's astronaut Tim Peake Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and US astronaut Tim Kopra wave as they board the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraftBritish ESA astronaut Timothy Peake, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, and US NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra test their space suits during the pre-launch preparations at the Baikonur cosmodrome in KazakhstanMembers of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), walk to report to members of the State Committee prior the launch of Soyuz TMA-19M space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, KazakhstanYuri Malenchenko of Russia is accompanied by officials and clergymen as he walks to board the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraftTim Peake waves to crowads during preparations for Soyuz TMA-19M launchTim Peake pictured in his space suit during the pre-launch preparations at the Baikonur cosmodrome in KazakhstanTim Peake pictured in his space suit during the pre-launch preparations at the Baikonur cosmodrome in KazakhstanTim Peake gives the thumbs up before boarding the Soyuz TMA-19M mission into spaceTim Peake of the European Space Agency attends the pre-launch press conference on 14th December at Baikonur, KazakhstanTim Peake as a colour sergeant in Chichester High School's Combined Cadet Force NASA
TEST: Astronauts watch the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft arrive, carrying a cargo of frozen sperm ''Little is currently known about the biology of reproduction in space''
NASA In previous experiments with urchin and bull sperm, activation happens quicker in microgravity, but the steps that lead up to successful fusing are very delayed or simply do not happen at all.
''Delays or problems at this stage could prevent fertilisation from happening in space,'' Nasa warned.
It has also sent bull sperm to the station to use as a comparison.
After thawing and activating the sperm samples, researchers will use video to assess how well the sperm move in the adverse conditions of space.
LAUNCH: The rocket blasts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force base in Florida (SpaceX) Related Articles NASA covered up Nibiru 'for 30 years' and is withholding 'the TRUTH' about Planet X NASA supersonic jet BREAKTHROUGH: Space agency signs £300m deal to build 1,000mph X-plane NASA warn four MASSIVE asteroids to make close approaches starting TONIGHT Changes in the bull semen will allow researchers to detect subtle differences in sperm from both species.
After being studied on the ISS, the samples will be mixed with preservatives and returned to Earth.
Here, it will be determined if fusion occurred and whether the space sperm is any different to regular Earth sperm.
Nasa added: ''We don't know yet how long-duration spaceflight affects human reproductive health, and this investigation would be the first step in understanding the potential viability of reproduction in reduced-gravity conditions.''
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Big Pharma
What are bacteriophages
Wed, 11 Apr 2018 21:13
What are bacteriophages? Bacteriophages (or simply "phages") are bacterial viruses which attack bacteria, multiply within them, and then destroy them. They are "programmed" to destroy one or a few kinds of different strains of bacteria. Phages are widespread in nature and can appear naturally in food and in the human body (for example in the intestines). Phages can efficiently destroy bacteria which have acquired resistance to antibiotics and which are causes of life-threatening infections. It is this exceptional feature which determines whether to apply phages in treating bacterial infections.
What kinds of infections are treated at the Phage Therapy Unit? Only patients suffering from chronic bacterial infections caused by Acinetobacter, Burkholderia, Citrobacter, Enterobacter, Enterococcus, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Morganella, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Shigella, Salmonella, Serratia, Staphylococcus, and/or Stenotrophomonas may be treated at the PTU. We do not treat other infections such as those caused by streptococci (Streptococcus), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Propionibacterium acnes (bacteria that cause acne), Borrelia (bacteria that cause borreliosis), Helicobacter pylori, Haemophilus influenzae, or chlamydia. We treat for example: urinary infections, chronic bacterial prostatitis in men, vaginal infections, prosthetic joint infections, osteomyelitis, wound infections, leg ulcers, sinusitis, external and internal ear infections, skin infections, and upper and lower respiratory tract infections.
I have symptoms of bacterial infection but I do not know what bacteria cause it '' may I be admitted for experimental phage therapy? According to our protocol approved by the bioethics committee, we may admit for phage treatment only patients infected with identified bacteria. This means that the patient should have at least one result of bacterial culture to be treated for this infection. The exemption is infection with a multidrug-resistant bacterial strain. We do not provide differential diagnostics of the infections.
How are the phage preparations applied? Our phage formulations are prepared in a liquid form. They are applied orally, locally, and/or rectally. For oral application you will take a medication which neutralizes acid (up to 20 minutes before oral administration of the formulation), or a stomach acid inhibitor in order to limit the destruction of the phages by stomach acid. By local application, the formulation will be applied 1-2 times daily as a wet compress (moist dressing), sitz bath, nose or ear drops, aerosol, gargling, irrigation of vagina, fistulas, or abscess cavity. By the rectal route 10-20 ml instillations of the formulation will be applied 1-2 times daily.
What are the obligatory tests required for admission to the experimental phage therapy other than microbiological cultures and phage typing? These test include: general urine examination; erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR); peripheral blood morphology and blood smear; serum levels/activity of C-reactive protein (CRP '' wide range), glucose, total bilirubin, asparagine transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alpha-amylase, creatinine, calcium, phosphate, total protein, D-dimer, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH); serum or urine level of beta-hCG (only in women of reproductive age); electrocardiogram (ECG); chest x-ray (postero-anterior view). They are ordered by the physician before beginning the treatment based on the current results presented by a patient.
Are there any other special tests required for admission for treatment of chronic bacterial prostatitis? Yes. In the case of patients with prostatitis suspected to be caused by bacterial infection we perform at our Unit in Wroclaw a ''four-glass test'' (together with microscopic analysis of prostatic fluid), which is a gold standard in diagnosis of chronic bacterial prostatitis. This test is accompanied by a general examination of the prostatic fluid, which shows e.g. whether any inflammatory cells are present. It is possible to send us a sample (urine, semen, or prostatic fluid) for isolation of bacteria infecting the urogenital tract and its initial phage typing to make it more likely that we will have active phages against the pathogen which is the actual causative agent of the infection, but this does not replace our obligatory four-glass test.
How can I register for consultation at the Phage Therapy Unit? You may obtain detailed information about the days and hours of consultations with our specialists and register by phone (+48 71 370 99 01 is available on working days between 8:15 am and 3:45 pm Warsaw time) or e-mail ( We consult only previously registered patients. In some cases we may ask you to call and talk with our physician before registering.
Do I need to come to the Phage Therapy Unit personally to start the phage treatment? Yes. You should come personally to the PTU in Wroclaw, Cracow or Czestochowa. We do not send the phage preparations abroad. You should come for control visits (every 2-4 weeks depending on the decision of the physician) for continuation of the treatment.
What is the phage typing procedure? Phage typing is a procedure whose aim is to check the sensitivity of the given bacteria (strain) to the panel of phages from the collection of the Bacteriophage Laboratory of the IIET PAS. Based on its result the laboratory will choose or prepare the phage formulation for treatment.
Is it possible to perform the phage typing before visiting the Phage Therapy Unit? Yes. We prefer to obtain just the bacterial strain isolated in the local laboratory and sent to us on an agar transport plate by courier delivery (it should survive transport at room temperature). Alternatively it is possible to send us a sample taken from a patient (e.g. a swab) for isolation of bacteria. Bacteria should survive in this transport agar container even a few days at room temperature. We always advise sending us the samples in duplicate (only one of them will be sent for microbiological culture, and the other will be used in case of any problems with the first one). In such a case you should also send an equivalent sample to your local microbiological laboratory for parallel bacterial culture. To obtain detailed instructions please refer to our Information.
Are children admitted to the experimental phage therapy? Yes. We may admit for phage therapy not only adult patients but also children over 6 years old, at the moment.
What are the costs of the phage therapy at the Phage Therapy Unit? At present the estimated total cost of phage therapy (including qualification procedure, consultations, diagnostic tests including microbiological culture and phage typing, and cost of the phage preparations) is 2800-5700 PLN (usually the treatment lasts 6-8 weeks). The initial treatment (ca. 2 weeks) costs 1500-2800 PLN. It varies individually and depends on the nature of the infection, number of isolated pathogens, and of course on the duration of treatment.
Is it possible to pay with credit card or Euro at the Phage Therapy Unit and its branches? No. We accept only payments in cash in Polish zloty (PLN) for all procedures performed at the PTU (all payments are made to our institute's account at the cashier's office located in the institute's building). Payments for some procedures performed by the Bacteriophage Laboratory of the IIET PAS can be made in advance directly to our institute's account.
Bathroom hand-dryers suck in poo-particles and aerosolize them all over you and everything else / Boing Boing
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 14:51
A new study in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (Sci-Hub mirror) conducted microbial surveys of the bathrooms at the University of Connecticut (where the study's lead authors are based) to investigate whether hand-dryers were sucking in potentially infectious microbes and then spraying them all over everything, as had been observed in earlier studies.
They were.
The full cycle goes like this: when you flush a toilet that doesn't have a lid, the turbulence of the flush sends fecal particles into the air, where they hover in a miasmic cloud; when the dryers switch on, they pull these particles in through their intake, heat them up, and spray them onto your moist hands and other moist, hospitable surfaces where their bacteria can thrive.
HEPA filters greatly reduce this mechanism.
The new study specifically focuses on lower-powered hand-dryers, which some people had believed were less prone to sucking in tiny pieces of shit and spraying them on you.
Earlier studies on hand-dryers were tainted by funding from companies that manufactured paper towels, but as far as I can tell, no such conflict exists here.
PS533 ''was almost certainly dispersed throughout bathrooms in the research areas as spores, which would easily survive desiccation in room air, as well as the elevated temperatures in hand dryer air; however, growing or stationary-phase bacteria would not be nearly so hardy as spores,'' the authors note. ''However, the facile dispersion of one bacterial strain throughout a research facility should probably be a concern to risk assessors and risk managers when dispersion of potentially pathogenic bacteria is considered.''
In a final test, the researchers did a cursory look at some of the other bacteria the dryers were blowing around. They found that with or without a HEPA filter, the blowers stirred up potential pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus.
The findings should be a wake-up call to managers of research and clinical settings. The authors note that Clostridium difficile'--a devastating and intractable diarrheal plague'--also forms spores, and researchers have found that a flushing toilet can easily launch it into the air.
''This suggests another means of C. difficile transmission and one that may not be interrupted by either hand washing or traditional surface decontamination methods,'' the authors conclude. ''The role of this potential mode of C. difficile transmission is worthy of future study.''
Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot-Air Hand Dryers [Luz del Carmen Huesca-Espitia, Jaber Aslanzadeh, Richard Feinn, Gabrielle Joseph, Thomas S. Murray and Peter Setlow/Applied and Environmental Microbiology] (Sci-Hub Mirror)
Hot-air dryers suck in nasty bathroom bacteria and shoot them at your hands [Beth Mole/Ars Technica]
(Image: Rusty Clark, CC-BY)
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John Boehner joins marijuana company; view on cannabis has 'evovled'
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 14:43
Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner will join the board of directors of a marijuana holdings corporation, saying his views on the substance have "evolved."
Acreage Holdings, which describes itself as "one of the nation's largest, multi-state actively-managed cannabis corporations," announced Wednesday that the former U.S. representative from Ohio has joined its board of advisors, and will join the board of directors once it is formed.
In a statement sent to CNBC, Boehner said his thinking on cannabis "like that of millions of other Americans, has evolved as I've learned more about the issue."
"I decided to get involved because of the struggles of our country's veterans and the opioid epidemic, after learning how descheduling the drug can potentially help with both crises," he said.
Boehner explained that the federal government should stop labeling cannabis a "schedule 1" drug '-- lumping it in with heroin and cocaine as having the highest potential for abuse.
"Descheduling will reduce the conflict between federal policy and state programs" which have pursued more lenient policies on marijuana under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, he said.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, a Republican who ran on the Libertarian Party ticket alongside former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in the 2016 presidential election, is also joining Acreage's board.
Boehner was the top Republican in Congress from 2011 through 2015. He was succeeded by Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election at the end of his current term.
Boehner has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump's administration, as well as many of his former colleagues in the House, since his retirement. As Boehner marks his self-described evolution on marijuana, which is used both as a recreational and medical drug, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken steps to pursue enforcement against marijuana more aggressively than the Obama administration.
In a joint statement, Boehner and Weld argued against marijuana's continued federal status as a schedule 1 drug.
The "negative implications" of the schedule 1 label include "the lack of research, the ambiguity around financial services and the refusal of the VA to offer it as an alternative to the harmful opioids that are ravishing our communities," the former politicians said in the statement.
Boehner announced his new affiliation in a tweet on Wednesday.
Boehner tweet Acreage Holdings' CEO, Kevin Murphy, said Boehner and Weld "have shaped the political course of our country for decades and now they will help shape the course of this nascent but ascendant industry."
While Boehner once took a hard-line position against legalizing marijuana, he has maintained an infamous two-pack-a-day tobacco smoking habit for years.
A spokesman for Boehner did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.
Correction: Gary Johnson is a former governor of New Mexico. An earlier version misstated his state and status.
Here's how much Facebook donated to every lawmaker questioning Mark Zuckerberg - The Verge
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:34
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce today, fresh off the heels of a grueling five-hour joint session before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees yesterday. In total, Zuckerberg will face questions from nearly 100 legislators, and many of those legislators have received thousands of dollars from the company Zuckerberg runs.
Over the last 12 years, Facebook has spent $7 million in campaign contributions. Historically, Facebook has donated slightly more to Democrats than Republicans, but overall, the platform's political footprint is small in Washington, DC relative to its market cap, which is currently calculated at about $400 billion. That's not unusual for technology companies: Amazon spent $4 million in campaign contributions over 20 years, and it has a market cap of nearly $700 billion. (Note, however, that Alphabet, Inc., with a market cap just over Amazon's, appears to be outspending Facebook in DC by an order of magnitude.)
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, since 2014, Facebook has contributed a total of $641,685 to the members of Congress that Zuckerberg is facing this week. The top recipients of that money include Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
Senators who received even larger campaign contributions from Facebook didn't hold back
The amount of money received didn't necessarily correlate to the hostility of questions asked by the legislators in Zuckerberg's first hearing. That said, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) did make a somewhat bizarre pro-Facebook comment, saying, ''Some have professed themselves shocked, shocked that companies like Google and Facebook share user data with advertisers. Did any of these individuals stop to ask themselves why Google and Facebook don't charge for access? Nothing in life is free.'' Hatch has taken $15,200 from Facebook since 2014 '-- the sixth largest amount on the combined committees.
But other senators who have received even larger campaign contributions from Facebook didn't hold back. Cory Booker, who has received $44,025 from Facebook since 2014 (the largest amount), questioned Zuckerberg on the 2016 ProPublica investigation that showed Facebook allowed advertisers to target by race. Kamala Harris, who took the second largest amount ($30,990) grilled the CEO on why Facebook did not notify users in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had misused their data, causing Zuckerberg to squirm uncomfortably.
If any senators pulled their punches, it was along party lines, when small-government Republicans like Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) or Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) questioned the necessity of additional regulation. At one point Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) held up a tablet and pointed at the Facebook ''privacy'' tab, blaming individuals for not properly reviewing their own settings. Wicker has received $10,000 from Facebook since 2014, Tillis has received $7,500, and Sullivan has received a whopping $2,500.
The campaign contributions from Facebook to all the legislators who posed Mark Zuckerberg questions this week are listed below. The list includes the members of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees and House Committee on Energy and Commerce are listed in full below, and dates back to 2014.
Committee Leaders Legislator Committee Role Party 2014 Cycle 2016 Cycle 2018 Cycle Total 2014-2018 Legislator Committee Role Party 2014 Cycle 2016 Cycle 2018 Cycle Total 2014-2018 Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) Senate Judiciary Chairman R $1,000 $4,000 $0 $5,000 Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA) Senate Judiciary Ranking Minority Member D $10,000 $1,000 $0 $11,000 Thune, John (R-SD) Senate Commerce Chairman R $3,500 $5,000 $2,000 $10,500 Nelson, Bill (D-FL) Senate Commerce Ranking Minority Member D $2,500 $5,000 $2,500 $10,000 Walden, Greg (R-OR) House Energy & Commerce Chairman R $7,500 $7,000 $5,500 $20,000 Pallone, Frank (D-NJ) House Energy & Commerce Ranking Minority Member D $3,500 $0 $2,500 $6,000 Source: Center for Responsive Politics Senate SENATOR PARTY COMMITTEE 2014 Cycle 2016 Cycle 2018 Cycle Total 2014-2018 SENATOR PARTY COMMITTEE 2014 Cycle 2016 Cycle 2018 Cycle Total 2014-2018 Booker, Cory (D-NJ) D Judiciary $42,000 $0 $2,025 $44,025 Harris, Kamala (D-CA) D Judiciary N/A $28,275 $2,715 $30,990 Leahy, Patrick (D-VT) D Judiciary $2,500 $13,900 $0 $16,400 Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN) D Commerce, Judiciary $2,500 $8,200 $5,200 $15,900 Hatch, Orrin (R-UT) R Judiciary $9,200 $4,000 $2,000 $15,200 Heller, Dean (R-NV) R Commerce $3,000 $2,500 $8,900 $14,400 Blunt, Roy (R-MO) R Commerce $0 $14,100 $0 $14,100 Lee, Mike (R-UT) R Commerce, Judiciary $2,500 $11,000 $0 $13,500 Blumenthal, Richard (D-CT) D Commerce, Judiciary $6,000 $7,200 $0 $13,200 Schatz, Brian (D-HI) D Commerce $2,500 $10,000 $0 $12,500 Gardner, Cory (R-CO) R Commerce $0 $4,000 $7,900 $11,900 Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA) D Judiciary $2,500 $0 $8,935 $11,435 Udall, Tom (D-NM) D Commerce $10,000 $1,000 $0 $11,000 Thune, John (R-SD) R Commerce $3,500 $5,000 $2,000 $10,500 Nelson, Bill (D-FL) D Commerce $2,500 $5,000 $2,500 $10,000 Tester, Jon (D-MT) D Commerce $0 $5,000 $5,000 $10,000 Cornyn, John (R-TX) R Judiciary $5,000 $5,000 $0 $10,000 Fischer, Deb (R-NE) R Commerce $2,500 $5,000 $2,500 $10,000 Wicker, Roger (R-MS) R Commerce $0 $2,500 $7,500 $10,000 Cantwell, Maria (D-WA) D Commerce $0 $0 $9,100 $9,100 Coons, Christopher (D-DE) D Judiciary $5,000 $2,500 $0 $7,500 Flake, Jeff (R-AZ) R Judiciary $5,000 $2,500 $0 $7,500 Moran, Jerry (R-KS) R Commerce $2,500 $5,000 $0 $7,500 Tillis, Thom (R-NC) R Judiciary $0 $5,000 $2,500 $7,500 Johnson, Ron (R-WI) R Commerce $1,000 $5,000 $0 $6,000 Hirono, Mazie (D-HI) D Judiciary $0 $0 $5,200 $5,200 Peters, Gary (D-MI) D Commerce $0 $5,000 $0 $5,000 Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) R Judiciary $1,000 $4,000 $0 $5,000 Sasse, Ben (R-NE) R Judiciary $0 $2,500 $2,500 $5,000 Baldwin, Tammy (D-WI) D Commerce $0 $0 $3,535 $3,535 Graham, Lindsey (R-SC) R Judiciary $3,500 $0 $0 $3,500 Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI) D Judiciary $0 $2,000 $1,000 $3,000 Crapo, Mike (R-ID) R Judiciary $2,500 $0 $0 $2,500 Sullivan, Dan (R-AL) R Commerce $0 $0 $2,500 $2,500 Young, Todd (R-IN) R Commerce N/A $0 $2,500 $2,500 Capito, Shelley Moore (R-WV) R Commerce $0 $1,000 $1,000 $2,000 Duckworth, Tammy (D-IL) D Commerce N/A $0 $1,000 $1,000 Durbin, Dick (D-IL) D Judiciary $0 $0 $0 $0 Hassan, Maggie (D-NH) D Commerce $0 $0 $0 $0 Markey, Ed (D-MA) D Commerce $0 $0 $0 $0 Masto, Catherine Cortez (D-NV) D Commerce $0 $0 $0 $0 Cruz, Ted (R-TX) R Commerce, Judiciary $0 $0 $0 $0 Inhofe, Jim (R-OK) R Commerce $0 $0 $0 $0 Kennedy, John (R-LA) R Judiciary N/A $0 $0 $0 Source: The Center for Responsive Politics House of Representatives REPRESENTATIVE PARTY 2014 Cycle 2016 Cycle 2018 Cycle Total 2014-2018 REPRESENTATIVE PARTY 2014 Cycle 2016 Cycle 2018 Cycle Total 2014-2018 Eshoo, Anna (D-CA) D $17,800 $18,100 $3,900 $39,800 Walden, Greg (R-OR) R $7,500 $7,000 $5,500 $20,000 Scalise, Steve (R-LA) R $10,000 $7,000 $2,500 $19,500 Shimkus, John (R-IL) R $4,000 $8,000 $2,000 $14,000 Upton, Fred (R-MI) R $12,000 $0 $2,000 $14,000 Degette, Diana (D-CO) D $4,000 $4,000 $1,000 $9,000 Guthrie, Brett (R-KY) R $3,500 $3,000 $2,500 $9,000 Kinzinger, Adam (R-IL) R $3,000 $3,000 $2,500 $8,500 Welch, Peter (D-VT) D $2,500 $4,000 $2,000 $8,500 Matsui, Doris (D-CA) D $2,000 $4,000 $2,000 $8,000 Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN) R $4,500 $3,000 $0 $7,500 Walters, Mimi (R-CA) R $0 $4,500 $3,000 $7,500 Olson, Pete (R-TX) R $1,000 $4,000 $1,500 $6,500 Burgess, Michael (R-TX) R $0 $5,000 $1,000 $6,000 Long, Billy (R-MO) R $1,000 $2,000 $3,000 $6,000 Lujan, Ben (D-NM) D $2,000 $3,000 $1,000 $6,000 Pallone, Frank (D-NJ) D $3,500 $0 $2,500 $6,000 Butterfield, G.K. (D-NC) D $0 $4,500 $1,000 $5,500 Latta, Robert (R-OH) R $0 $0 $5,000 $5,000 Rodgers, Cathy McMorris (R-WA) R $1,000 $1,500 $2,000 $4,500 Crdenas, Tony (D-CA) D $1,000 $2,000 $1,000 $4,000 Clarke, Yvette (D-NY) D $0 $3,000 $1,000 $4,000 Hudson, Richard (R-NC) R $0 $2,500 $1,500 $4,000 Kennedy, Joseph (D-MA) D $0 $3,000 $1,000 $4,000 Ruiz, Raul (D-CA) D $2,000 $750 $1,000 $3,750 Cramer, Kevin (R-ND) R $0 $1,000 $2,000 $3,000 Johnson, Bill (R-OH) R $1,500 $1,500 $0 $3,000 Mcnerney, Jerry (D-CA) D $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $3,000 Rush, Bobby (D-IL) D $1,000 $2,000 $0 $3,000 Schrader, Kurt (D-OR) D $0 $2,000 $1,000 $3,000 Costello, Ryan (R-PA) R $0 $0 $2,750 $2,750 Collins, Chris (R-NY) R $0 $1,500 $1,000 $2,500 Peters, Scott (D-CA) D $0 $1,500 $1,000 $2,500 Brooks, Susan (R-IN) R $0 $2,000 $0 $2,000 Bucshon, Larry (R-IN) R $0 $2,000 $0 $2,000 Doyle, Michael (D-PA) D $0 $0 $2,000 $2,000 Griffith, Morgan (R-VA) R $0 $2,000 $0 $2,000 Mullin, Markwayne (R-OK) R $0 $500 $1,000 $1,500 Bilirakis, Gus (R-FL) R $0 $1,000 $0 $1,000 Carter, Buddy (R-GA) R $0 $1,000 $0 $1,000 Dingell, Debbie (D-MI) D $0 $0 $1,000 $1,000 Duncan, Jeff (R-SC) R $0 $0 $1,000 $1,000 Flores, Bill (R-TX) R $0 $1,000 $0 $1,000 Green, Gene (D-TX) D $0 $1,000 $0 $1,000 Harper, Gregg (R-MS) R $0 $0 $1,000 $1,000 Sarbanes, John (D-MD) D $0 $1,000 $0 $1,000 Barton, Joe (R-TX) R $0 $0 $0 $0 Castor, Kathy (D-FL) D $0 $0 $0 $0 Engel, Eliot (D-NY) D $0 $0 $0 $0 Lance, Leonard (R-NJ) R $0 $0 $0 $0 Loebsack, David (D-IA) D $0 $0 $0 $0 McKinley, David (R-WV) R $0 $0 $0 $0 Schakowsky, Janice (D-IL) D $0 $0 $0 $0 Tonko, Paul (D-NY) D $0 $0 $0 $0 Walberg, Tim (R-MI) R $0 $0 $0 $0 Source: The Center for Responsive Politics
Can Trump fire special counsel Mueller? Here's what could happen if he tries
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:52
Olivier Douliery | Pool | Getty Images
Donald Trump
And it also might be hard for Trump to duck criminal charges if Mueller or another prosecutor finds that the president also broke the law, given events that occurred during the Watergate era and the tenure of President Bill Clinton.
Here's a set of questions that will be on the minds of many people in Washington and elsewhere as Trump's battle of wills with Mueller plays out.
Can Trump fire Mueller? White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Trump "certainly believes" he has the power to fire the special counsel. But a former Watergate prosecutor has a different answer to the question.
"No," said Jill Wine-Banks, who worked on the Watergate investigation of President Richard Nixon and his subordinates.
That is, Trump can't fire Mueller directly.
The law that created the position of special counsel allows only the attorney general of the United States or someone else with the authority of that position to fire Mueller, Wine-Banks noted. The president cannot do it.
Related: How financial markets would react if Trump fired Mueller
In this case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from issues related to Mueller's probe. Therefore Mueller can only be fired by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is acting AG for the purposes of the investigation. That investigation was originally looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by Trump campaign officials with Russians, but since has expanded into other areas.
"Only he can do it, and he can only do it for cause," Wine-Banks said of Rosenstein.
To compare, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" on Oct. 20, 1973. Cox had refused to drop his subpoena of Nixon's taped White House conversations. Richardson resigned rather than fire Cox, and so did his deputy, William Ruckelshaus.
The third-ranking Justice Department official, Solicitor General Robert Bork, obeyed Nixon's order to fire Cox. That didn't stop the Watergate probe, which was taken over by Bork's appointee, Leon Jaworski.
Wine-Banks said Trump could get rid of Mueller in the same fashion, even if Rosenstein resigned '-- or was fired himself '-- after being told to dismiss the special counsel.
"Eventually, you could get somebody who would do anything the president would ask," Wine-Banks said. "It would be wrong. There would be mass protests in the streets."
What would happen to the federal government if Mueller is fired? "I believe impeachment proceedings will commence" against Trump, said Harry Rimm, a trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the president would be impeached.
"Even though Republican senators have suggested that firing Mueller would be suicide and create a constitutional crisis for Trump, it is unclear if there are sufficient votes for impeachment, as the House has the sole power of impeaching and the Senate has the sole power to try impeachments," Rimm added.
Wine-Banks agreed.
"In normal times, under normal political conditions, they would, of course, start impeachment proceedings immediately," Wine-Banks said.
But "this is not normal," she added, pointing out the reluctance of most GOP lawmakers to challenge Trump, as well as the lack of the kind of bipartisan working relationships seen during the Nixon era in Congress.
Can Trump be charged with crimes without being impeached? Maybe.
There is no law that says a sitting president cannot be criminally charged in the courts, nor is there one saying he can be charged. And there is no case law that directly discusses that issue.
Rimm said there is "a school of thought," which seems to include the Justice Department "believing that a sitting president is immune from criminal prosecution and can't be indicted while in office."
"Or, if he is indicted, the indictment has no legal effect," Rimm said. "Under this approach, you can remove the president from office solely through impeachment and then indict him after any Senate conviction order to punish."
Wine-Banks said she believes "a sitting president can be indicted." She was among the prosecutors on Jaworski's team during Watergate that wanted to indict Nixon.
"There are many academic articles written that would support the fact that a sitting president could be indicted," Wine-Banks said.
She noted there are two court cases that held that a sitting president could be forced to deal with pending civil cases while in office.
One case was the Supreme Court decision that forced Clinton to answer questions in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. Clinton's lie under oath denying his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky during that case led to his impeachment while president. The Senate didn't convict him, however.
The other case involves Trump. Last month, a New York state judge ruled that "no one is above the law" as she rejected Trump's bid to dismiss a defamation lawsuitby Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice" who says Trump groped her.
The judge in that case did not accept Trump's argument that a sitting president cannot be subject to a state court's jurisdiction.
Wine-Banks also pointed out that in the fall of 1973, Nixon's vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned after being charged with felony tax evasion.
Agnew had been under investigation by the U.S. attorney for Maryland on suspicion of accepting bribes while governor of that state and as vice president.
The courts never ruled on Agnew's initial claim that a sitting vice president could not be indicted.
Wine-Banks said the fact that Agnew, who was second in line to the president, was criminally charged could help a future claim that Trump or another sitting president is subject to potential criminal prosecution.
President Signs Executive Order Mandating That Poor People Work or Lose 'Welfare'
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:25
Photo: Mark Wilson (Getty Images)Without much fanfare (totally apropos, given what's been happening in the world of the White House in the last 72 hours), President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that will force recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, Medicaid and low-income housing subsidies to find work or lose their assistance.
Trump quietly signed the long-anticipated order, oddly named ''Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility.'' Given that many government agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, have already begun issuing waivers to Republican governors who want to impose stricter work requirements on Medicaid recipients to cut costs, it will not make much of an impact, according to the New York Times.
The fact remains that most able-bodied adults who receive federal aid in the form of subsidized health care or housing already work'--but are still unable to make ends meet; others receive exemptions for legitimate reasons.
From the Times:
The order gave all cabinet departments 90 days to produce plans that impose work requirements on able-bodied aid recipients and block ineligible immigrants from receiving aid, while drafting ''a list of recommended regulatory and policy changes'' to push recipients off the rolls and into jobs.
The aim, Trump aides said ... is to prod federal and state officials to take a tougher stance with aid recipients '-- millions of whom currently receive exemptions from existing work requirements because they are in training programs, provide care for relatives or volunteer their labor.
The Agriculture Department is already pressuring states to impose work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the program formerly known as food stamps. Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services granted a waiver to Arkansas so it could require Medicaid recipients to get jobs, participate in job training or engage in job searches at least 80 hours a month.
According to the Kaiser Foundation, most able-bodied adults who do not already have jobs face obstacles in working, including mental problems, criminal records and certain family situations.
Understanding the Intersection of Medicaid and WorkRecent state requests for waivers of federal Medicaid law seek to make Medicaid eligibility'...
Read more Read Yet the narrative from the Trump administration says differently.
''Our country suffers from nearly record high welfare enrollments,'' said Andrew Bremberg, the president's domestic policy chief, according to the Times, which notes that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families payments to poor people are approaching record lows.
Trump also reportedly wants to change the word ''welfare'' to include not only cash payments but also food and medical benefits (SNAP and Medicaid).
Or he just doesn't give AF. And I quote: ''Mr. Trump, several aides said, is unconcerned'--or perhaps even unaware'--of the distinction between cash assistance and other safety-net programs ... he calls them all welfare.''
And we know what connotations go along with that.
Executive Order Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:25
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to promote economic mobility, strong social networks, and accountability to American taxpayers, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. The United States and its Constitution were founded on the principles of freedom and equal opportunity for all. To ensure that all Americans would be able to realize the benefits of those principles, especially during hard times, the Government established programs to help families with basic unmet needs. Unfortunately, many of the programs designed to help families have instead delayed economic independence, perpetuated poverty, and weakened family bonds. While bipartisan welfare reform enacted in 1996 was a step toward eliminating the economic stagnation and social harm that can result from long-term Government dependence, the welfare system still traps many recipients, especially children, in poverty and is in need of further reform and modernization in order to increase self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility.
Sec. 2. Policy. (a) In 2017, the Federal Government spent more than $700 billion on low-income assistance. Since its inception, the welfare system has grown into a large bureaucracy that might be susceptible to measuring success by how many people are enrolled in a program rather than by how many have moved from poverty into financial independence. This is not the type of system that was envisioned when welfare programs were instituted in this country. The Federal Government's role is to clear paths to self-sufficiency, reserving public assistance programs for those who are truly in need. The Federal Government should do everything within its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work, including by investing in Federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty. It must examine Federal policies and programs to ensure that they are consistent with principles that are central to the American spirit '-- work, free enterprise, and safeguarding human and economic resources. For those policies or programs that are not succeeding in those respects, it is our duty to either improve or eliminate them.
(b) It shall be the policy of the Federal Government to reform the welfare system of the United States so that it empowers people in a manner that is consistent with applicable law and the following principles, which shall be known as the Principles of Economic Mobility:
(i) Improve employment outcomes and economic independence (including by strengthening existing work requirements for work-capable people and introducing new work requirements when legally permissible);
(ii) Promote strong social networks as a way of sustainably escaping poverty (including through work and marriage);
(iii) Address the challenges of populations that may particularly struggle to find and maintain employment (including single parents, formerly incarcerated individuals, the homeless, substance abusers, individuals with disabilities, and disconnected youth);
(iv) Balance flexibility and accountability both to ensure that State, local, and tribal governments, and other institutions, may tailor their public assistance programs to the unique needs of their communities and to ensure that welfare services and administering agencies can be held accountable for achieving outcomes (including by designing and tracking measures that assess whether programs help people escape poverty);
(v) Reduce the size of bureaucracy and streamline services to promote the effective use of resources;
(vi) Reserve benefits for people with low incomes and limited assets;
(vii) Reduce wasteful spending by consolidating or eliminating Federal programs that are duplicative or ineffective;
(viii) Create a system by which the Federal Government remains updated on State, local, and tribal successes and failures, and facilitates access to that information so that other States and localities can benefit from it; and
(ix) Empower the private sector, as well as local communities, to develop and apply locally based solutions to poverty.
(c) As part of our pledge to increase opportunities for those in need, the Federal Government must first enforce work requirements that are required by law. It must also strengthen requirements that promote obtaining and maintaining employment in order to move people to independence. To support this focus on employment, the Federal Government should:
(i) review current federally funded workforce development programs. If more than one executive department or agency (agency) administers programs that are similar in scope or population served, they should be consolidated, to the extent permitted by law, into the agency that is best equipped to fulfill the expectations of the programs, while ineffective programs should be eliminated; and
(ii) invest in effective workforce development programs and encourage, to the greatest extent possible, entities that have demonstrated success in equipping participants with skills necessary to obtain employment that enables them to financially support themselves and their families in today's economy.
(d) It is imperative to empower State, local, and tribal governments and private-sector entities to effectively administer and manage public assistance programs. Federal policies should allow local entities to develop and implement programs and strategies that are best for their respective communities. Specifically, policies should allow the private sector, including community and faith-based organizations, to create solutions that alleviate the need for welfare assistance, promote personal responsibility, and reduce reliance on government intervention and resources.
(i) To promote the proper scope and functioning of government, the Federal Government must afford State, local, and tribal governments the freedom to design and implement programs that better allocate limited resources to meet different community needs.
(ii) States and localities can use such flexibility to devise and evaluate innovative programs that serve diverse populations and families. States and localities can also model their own initiatives on the successful programs of others. To achieve the right balance, Federal leaders must continue to discuss opportunities to improve public assistance programs with State and local leaders, including our Nation's governors.
(e) The Federal Government owes it to Americans to use taxpayer dollars for their intended purposes. Relevant agencies should establish clear metrics that measure outcomes so that agencies administering public assistance programs can be held accountable. These metrics should include assessments of whether programs help individuals and families find employment, increase earnings, escape poverty, and avoid long-term dependence. Whenever possible, agencies should harmonize their metrics to facilitate easier cross-programmatic comparisons and to encourage further integration of service delivery at the local level. Agencies should also adopt policies to ensure that only eligible persons receive benefits and enforce all relevant laws providing that aliens who are not otherwise qualified and eligible may not receive benefits.
(i) All entities that receive funds should be required to guarantee the integrity of the programs they administer. Technology and innovation should drive initiatives that increase program integrity and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse in the current system.
(ii) The Federal Government must support State, local, and tribal partners by investing in tools to combat payment errors and verify eligibility for program participants. It must also work alongside public and private partners to assist recipients of welfare assistance to maximize access to services and benefits that support paths to self-sufficiency.
Sec. 3. Review of Regulations and Guidance Documents. (a) The Secretaries of the Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education (Secretaries) shall:
(i) review all regulations and guidance documents of their respective agencies relating to waivers, exemptions, or exceptions for public assistance program eligibility requirements to determine whether such documents are, to the extent permitted by law, consistent with the principles outlined in this order;
(ii) review any public assistance programs of their respective agencies that do not currently require work for receipt of benefits or services, and determine whether enforcement of a work requirement would be consistent with Federal law and the principles outlined in this order;
(iii) review any public assistance programs of their respective agencies that do currently require work for receipt of benefits or services, and determine whether the enforcement of such work requirements is consistent with Federal law and the principles outlined in this order;
(iv) within 90 days of the date of this order, and based on the reviews required by this section, submit to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy a list of recommended regulatory and policy changes and other actions to accomplish the principles outlined in this order; and
(v) not later than 90 days after submission of the recommendations required by section 3(a)(iv) of this order, and in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, take steps to implement the recommended administrative actions.
(b) Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Secretaries shall each submit a report to the President, through the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, that:
(i) states how their respective agencies are complying with 8 U.S.C. 1611(a), which provides that an alien who is not a ''qualified alien'' as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1641 is, subject to certain statutorily defined exceptions, not eligible for any Federal public benefit as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1611(c);
(ii) provides a list of Federal benefit programs that their respective agencies administer that are restricted pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1611; and
(iii) provides a list of Federal benefit programs that their respective agencies administer that are not restricted pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1611.
Sec. 4. Definitions. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the terms ''individuals,'' ''families,'' and ''persons'' mean any United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other lawfully present alien who is qualified to or otherwise may receive public benefits;
(b) the terms ''work'' and ''workforce'' include unsubsidized employment, subsidized employment, job training, apprenticeships, career and technical education training, job searches, basic education, education directly related to current or future employment, and workfare; and(c) the terms ''welfare'' and ''public assistance'' include any program that provides means-tested assistance, or other assistance that provides benefits to people, households, or families that have low incomes (i.e., those making less than twice the Federal poverty level), the unemployed, or those out of the labor force.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
April 10, 2018.
Digital number plates that track drivers undergo testing overseas - News - Driven
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:22
Dubai's authorities are planning to introduce a digital number plate capable of tracking drivers locations and informing the police of bad driving.
The new plates will be synced up to a user's account so that parking fees, road fines or licence plate renewals would be remotely taken from drivers by cops.
The city's police claim the technology will be used mainly to help emergency services locate accidents.
It is claimed they could also change to display a special alert or some other form of warning if they're stolen.
But concerns are growing that the plates will cause privacy issues as they could be used to catch speeding drivers.
Sultan Abdullah al-Marzouqi, the head of the Vehicle Licensing Department at Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) dispelled the rumours, claiming the introduction of the plates will make life 'easier for drivers'.
'The digital plate, called Tag to Connect, is a smart screen that will replace the current metal plate,' Sultan Abdullah Al Marzouqi told Khaleej Times.
'With the digital plate installed in your car, you need not come to any RTA service centre every year in order to renew your vehicle plate - your car registration will be automatically renewed after passing the vehicle test.'
'The digital plate will also allow vehicles to connect with each other. That's why it's "Tag to Connect" - meaning, motorists can exchange information on traffic condition or if there is an accident on the road.
'All this information will be connected to the central command system of the RTA.'
Upon their release, the plates will use cutting edge GPS transmitters mounted on the car to communicate information back to the police.
It's not clear how much the plates will cost, but according to Sultan Abdullah, they are currently being tested.
The trial is set to run until November and will find out how the technology works with Dubai's desert climate.
- Daily Mail
Computer Glitches Prevent Some New York Students From Taking Exams - WSJ
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:18
April 11, 2018 7:33 p.m. ET Many children across New York couldn't take the annual state English exams Wednesday because technical glitches blocked some schools from testing on computers.
Schools have several days to administer the tests so they can reschedule, but the problem added stress and inconvenience at a time when anxiety runs high for some families and teachers.
Many children across New York couldn't take the annual state English exams Wednesday because technical glitches blocked some schools from testing on computers.
Schools have several days to administer the tests so they can reschedule, but the problem added stress and inconvenience at a time when anxiety runs high for some families and teachers.
This week marks the first widespread rollout of computer-based testing for New York's exams for grades three through eight in English-language arts and math.
State officials said Questar Assessment Inc., the test vendor, were delayed in delivering the tests electronically to some students in the morning, but it was unclear how many were affected. District leaders said some students who started testing had trouble submitting answers.
The problem didn't affect New York City, where pupils tackled tests with paper and pencil. More than 600 schools outside the city were expected to test by computers.
Many states have faced technical problems when they switched to online testing.
''I was disappointed but not surprised that there were testing issues today,'' said Chris Brown, superintendent of West Genesee Central School District, in Onondaga County. ''It inconveniences about 1,260 of our students today but hopefully the system is working tomorrow.''
Emily DeSantis, a spokeswoman for the State Education Department, said some students in certain grades at 263 districts experienced delays, and more than 49,900 pupils completed computer-based tests on Wednesday.
''Questar resolved the matter as quickly as possible, with delay times varying,'' she said by email.
A spokesman for Questar, based in Minnesota, didn't respond to calls for comment. The company has a roughly $44 million, five-year contract with New York to develop computer-based exams and paper tests.
New York State United Teachers, which has questioned the accuracy of state testing and expressed concerns about potential data breaches in computer-based exams, was quick to criticize the rollout.
''Today's disastrous foray into computer testing left children frustrated and teachers angry that their warnings were ignored,'' the union's executive vice president, Jolene DiBrango, said in a news release. ''If SED [State Education Department] wants to restore the trust and confidence of parents in its testing system, this isn't the way to do it.''
Tesla Blames Driver in Fatal Car Crash - WSJ
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:14
Tesla Inc. defended its semiautonomous Autopilot system in the wake of a fatal crash last month, blaming the incident on the driver after his family hired a lawyer to explore legal options.
Walter Huang died on March 23 after the Model X sport-utility vehicle he was driving southbound on Highway 101 near Mountain View, Calif., collided with a barrier and was struck by two other vehicles. The auto maker a week later said that the SUV's Autopilot was activated in the moments leading up to the crash and that the driver's hands weren't detected on the wheel for six seconds before the crash.
On Wednesday, Tesla more explicitly assigned blame to the driver. ''The crash happened on a clear day with several hundred feet of visibility ahead, which means that the only way for this accident to have occurred is if Mr. Huang wasn't paying attention to the road, despite the car providing multiple warnings to do so,'' a Tesla spokesman said in a statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, San Francisco-based Minami Tamaki LLP announced in a statement that the family had retained its services and plans to file a wrongful-death lawsuit. The family appeared on local television on Tuesday night defending Mr. Huang's driving.
''The firm believes Tesla's Autopilot feature is defective and likely caused Huang's death, despite Tesla's apparent attempt to blame the victim of this terrible tragedy,'' the law firm said in a statement.
Investigators for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are probing the crash. On April 1, the NTSB said it was unhappy with Tesla for releasing detailed information about the crash.
NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk had a recent discussion that appeared to defuse the tension. ''Chairman Sumwalt had what he described as a very constructive conversation with Mr. Musk over the weekend,'' a spokesman for the NTSB said. ''They discussed the investigation of the March 23 Tesla crash, NTSB investigative processes, and Tesla's work to address the safety recommendations that were issued last year as a result of the May 2016 Tesla crash in Williston, Florida.'' '‹The latter was a reference to a fatal crash involving Autopilot for which the NTSB determined Tesla shared blame.
Tesla declined to comment on the discussion.
The NTSB declined to comment'‹ on Tesla's defense of its technology in the most recent fatal crash, while NHTSA had no immediate comment.'‹Separately, the NTSB spokesman said the agency was investigating a battery fire linked to a Tesla Model X SUV that crashed into a garage in Lake Forest, Calif., in August 2017. The NTSB is primarily interested in the battery fire in that incident, the spokesman said. Tesla declined to comment on the battery-fire probe.
Tesla's Wednesday statement intensified its defense of semiautonomous technology amid greater scrutiny of whether humans can remain alert while using these systems. Auto makers are rolling out partially automated systems that pass control back and forth between vehicle and driver, some with technology designed to keep the driver alert, such as eye-tracking technology. Others, like Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo, believe there should be no need for a human to take control in driving situations.
Autopilot, which is a collection of ''driver assistance features,'' isn't a self-driving system. Tesla tells users in its owner's manual and in-vehicle display warnings that users need to remain alert and maintain control of the vehicle.
''We empathize with Mr. Huang's family, who are understandably facing loss and grief, but the false impression that Autopilot is unsafe will cause harm to others on the road,'' Tesla said Wednesday. ''The reason that other families are not on TV is because their loved ones are still alive.''
Tesla had said earlier that the driver took no action despite having five seconds and about 500 feet of unobstructed view of the concrete highway divider.
The 2016 fatal crash in Florida put Tesla's technology into the spotlight. The NTSB said Tesla shared partial blame for the crash, noting Autopilot allowed the driver to go long periods without his hands on the wheel and ignore the company's warnings. NHTSA, however, said the system wasn't defective and that Tesla vehicles' crash rate dropped by almost 40% after the auto-steer feature was installed. The vehicle in the 2016 accident was equipped with the auto-steer feature.
After the NTSB findings in the 2016 crash, Tesla said it would continue to be clear with current and potential customers that Autopilot doesn't render vehicles fully self-driving and that motorists must always remain attentive.
'-- contributed to this article.
Write to Tim Higgins at
Syrian Oil And Gas: Little-Known Facts on Syria's Energy Resources And Russia's Help
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:56
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How to Make White People Uncomfortable
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:19
Screenshot: Dear White People (Netflix)
1. Be black.
2. Be not white.
3. Be not white and not American.
4. Tell the truth.
5. Cite facts.
6. Talk about the past.
7. Talk about the present day.
8. Talk about the future.
9. Say things like ''Hi'' and ''Excuse me'' and ''Perhaps, if I were so inclined, I'd meet you at Chipotle later. But alas, my palate is discerning, and you will, instead, find me at Waffle House.''
10. Enter buildings.
11. Walk past buildings.
12. Walk.
13. Stand.
14. Sleep.
15. Have an appropriate response to a thing a white person or a group of white people did, which can sometimes be anger.
16. Remind them of the truth.
17. Remind them that there are people other than white people.
18. Remind them that the people other than white people also happen to be people.
19. Remind them of anything, really, including a Jeep.
20. Shop at a mall.
21. Drive a car.
22. Sit in a car that someone else is driving.
23. Have money.
24. Don't have money.
25. Live in a place they've recently moved to.
26. Move to a place they live in.
27. Vote.
28. Go to school.
29. Don't go to school.
30. Order food at a restaurant.
31. Sit down at a restaurant.
32. Be aware that things called ''restaurants'' exist.
33. Protest demonstratively.
34. Protest quietly.
35. Have babies.
36. Attend church.
37. Practice something other than Christianity.
38. Say no.
39. Say ''maybe, but probably not.''
40. Carry a gun.
41. Enter an elevator.
42. Take the stairs.
43. Have more money than them.
44. Have less money than them.
45. Attend their universities.
46. And then, when you say, ''Y'all are really mad about us in your schools, so we'll just make our own schools, then,'' attend those schools.
47. Have a face that is not immediately communicating unbridled joy and mirth.
48. Be too happy.
49. Exist while they're also existing.
50. Not exist while they're also existing, because, you know, they need you to exist for whiteness to matter.
Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Who Questioned Parkland Shooting's Gun Control Agenda 'Dies Unexpectedly' >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:16
Skip to content Suspicious death has social media buzzing Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Fitzsimons, a fit 42-year old who was known to question the gun control agenda of the Parkland school shooting, ''died unexpectedly'' earlier this month.
Weeks before he died, Fitzsimons had taken to social media to criticize calls for gun control after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, including posting a meme of student gun control activist David Hogg posing as Hitler.
The Broward County Sheriff's office issued a statement about his death.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Deputy Jason Fitzsimons today. Deputy Fitzsimons began his career with the agency In 2008. During this time he served with the North Lauderdale and Pompano Beach Districts. Our thoughts and prayers are with with his family.
'-- Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) April 2, 2018
According to Fitzsimon's obituary, he ''died unexpectedly,'' which makes sense considering his age and perceived good health and fitness.
Users on social media expressed their doubts that Fitzsimon's death was of natural causes.
Hmmm don't know the specifics yet,but he looks to be a man in pretty good shape! Kinda strange he would just pass away suddenly,BETTER LOOK INTO THIS @SecretService @FBI @CIA
'-- Ray Ray Rangel (@HDRayRay) April 3, 2018
#WeThePeople WILL ALWAYS DEFEND #2A RIP OFFICER FITZSIMONS #FireIsrael #BackTheBlue #TheGreatAwakening #DrainTheSwamp #WWG1WGA #RedPill #HRCVideo #QAnon #MAGA #ParklandShooting DARK TO LIGHT! GOOD vs EVIL @POTUS #PizzaGateIsReal @realDonaldTrump @SaRaAshcraft @zachhaller #KAG #Q
'-- #Q Girl 11/11/18 (@J_nice11) April 7, 2018
RIP. Very suspicious.
'-- Molita HE (@WhstleBritches) April 3, 2018
They said he held up a photo of David Hoog and said ''Once the guns are gone our freedom will be gone too''? '-- Then dropped dead apparently? Waiting to hear more..
'-- Rhino Bug (@RhinoBug) April 3, 2018
Interesting how it's not even in the local news. When Brevard County lost a deputy in a freak car accident, it was news the same morning. What's being hidden?
'-- Raven Lancaster (@RavenLan77) April 5, 2018
Everything needs to be investigated about all of this @browardschools @TheJusticeDept @AGPamBondi he looks to be in pretty good health how would he just suddenly died?
'-- FREEDOMS-WARRIOR (@BoxAndSend) April 5, 2018
Looks like the Left did a Seth Rich on him. Did he know to much?
'-- Fr. Richard + (@FrRichardJones) April 10, 2018
It's worth noting that Florida law enforcement did recently sanction one of its deputies who questioned the Parkland shooting on social media.
North Miami Beach police officer Ericson Harrell was reprimanded after asking on social media, ''What proof do you have that anyone was killed other than #MSMS accounts, alleged witnesses and a couple of funeral processions?''
Twitter: Follow @WhiteIsTheFury
France and UK spar to be leading US military partner in Syria
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:26
By Chris Marsden 11 April 2018 France is playing the leading European role alongside the United States in preparing for military action against Syria that threatens a direct confrontation with Russia.
US President Donald Trump has held two conversations with French President Emmanuel Macron, the latest on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, France issued a statement pledging to retaliate against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if it is proved that his government and armed forces were responsible for the supposed chlorine gas or nerve gas attack in Eastern Ghouta.
Referring to Macron's earlier declaration regarding the use of chemical weapons, spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux told Europe 1 radio, ''If the red line has been crossed, there will be a response,'' before adding that intelligence ''in theory confirms the use of chemical weapons.''
A French statement explained that both countries had ''exchanged analyses confirming the use of chemical weapons.''
So politically vital is the relationship being forged between the US and France that CNN ran an April 9 op-ed by former New York Times columnist David A. Andelman titled, ''With France in, Trump has no excuse not to act on Syria.''
Andelman voiced his ire over events in August 2013, when President Barack Obama and his French counterpart, Fran§ois Hollande, pledged united military action over false claims that Assad had used sarin gas, but Obama ''pulled back from the abyss, with French bombers poised on their runways.''
Today, Andelman wrote, with Macron scheduled to pay a state visit to the White House in two weeks, ''there is every reason for Trump to steel himself and go into battle with a staunch friend and ally, Macron's France, at his side'...''
Britain's ruling elite, whose foreign policy depends on preserving the vaunted ''special relationship'' by being first off the blocks in any US-led war, is apoplectic at this latest turn of events. The media overflows with militarist rhetoric mixed with expressions of concern at being overshadowed by France.
Rupert Murdoch's Times quoted ''senior figures'' warning Prime Minister Theresa May of the UK ''losing influence in Washington to France if it turned down a request by President Trump to join a retaliatory strike.'' The article added, ''President Macron of France was said by Whitehall sources to be 'egging on' Mr Trump.''
Downing Street had been ''left embarrassed as Mrs. May was still waiting to speak to Mr. Trump last night,'' the Times continued, leaving Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaking alternately to ''his US and French counterparts yesterday as he sought to keep Britain within any joint action.''
The Daily Telegraph, the house organ of the Tory Party, was equally warlike and concerned at the UK losing influence with the US to France. It too noted how the UK's standing with Washington was undermined when, on August 30, 2013, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, faced with widespread anti-war sentiment and divisions in the military, called a parliamentary vote on a planned strike on Syria and lost. This played a significant role in Obama backing down over Syria the next day.
The Telegraph wrote, ''The fact that Mr. Trump called French President Emmanuel Macron prior to calling Mrs. May should be seen as an indication of Washington's enduring wariness about Britain's ability to support military interventions.''
Thanks to Cameron, ''the parliamentary precedent has now been set whereby any overseas intervention by the British military requires Commons approval,'' it complained. ''Unlike Mrs. May,'' it continued, ''the French president has no constraints on his authority when it comes to launching military action, and if Washington is looking for a prompt response against the Assad regime, he might find the French are in a better position to act than the British.''
Britain's loss of position is only acting as a spur to its offering the use of a Royal Navy attack submarine armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles or possibly Royal Air Force fast jets capable of firing Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
Speculation is rife over whether May will now act without parliamentary approval and reverse the precedent set by Cameron, or, in what is considered a less likely move, recall MPs from their Easter break.
The Tory right is adamant that May should proceed without parliamentary approval. Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, told May to ''stick with your allies'... We can be legalistic or we can be realistic.''
A senior military source took the same line, telling the Times, ''You have to examine options'... [It is] a prime minister's decision at the end of the day.''
The most politically vicious response came from Tory MP John (Johnny) Mercer, a captain and career soldier until 2013. Writing in the Telegraph April 8, Mercer denounced a parliamentary vote and the possibility of Labour MPs led by Jeremy Corbyn opposing actions as symptoms of broad-based anti-war sentiment that must be fought.
''The nation's politics have become nauseatingly pious since Iraq,'' he wrote. A parliamentary vote was ''a uniquely useless way of conducting foreign policy, and in almost one action emasculates us on the world stage'... It is a cop-out to go to Parliament on issues of national security'...''
He continued: ''It is now time get out there and tell the British people what modern warfare is about,'' including targeting ''every individual inside Syria involved in the chemical weapons decision-making cycle,'' levelling military bases and recognising that Assad ''should have been dead long ago.''
''We don't shy away from targeting individuals with drones in their beds because the political risk is too high,'' he insisted.
Writing again in the Sun, Mercer focused his ire on ''my largely Labour Party fellow parliamentarians [who] voted against taking military action against President Assad in 2013'... You can draw a clear correlation between our vote in Parliament in 2013, Obama's unenforced red line in 2013 and an emboldened Putin and Assad.''
The Sun 's own warmongering centred on a denunciation of Corbyn for his past leadership of the Stop the War Coalition, which was more concerning than ''his dalliances with IRA sympathisers and Soviet spies.''
Stephen Bush suggested in the pro-Labour New Statesman that no one need be too concerned at a parliamentary vote because, even though Corbyn is urging a political solution, ''There is a significant group of Labour MPs who bitterly regret not voting with the government in 2013 and that buffer of 30 to 50 MPs means that if May wants some kind of military response to this attack, she has the votes for it.''
Bush is correct in his appraisal of the parliamentary arithmetic, thanks to Corbyn's refusal to oppose the naked warmongers in his own party. With Tony Blair himself stating that no Commons vote is needed on war, the Blairites' position was epitomised by Simon Tisdall in the Guardian, who insisted, ''It's time for Britain and its allies to take concerted, sustained military action,'' ending the situation where ''hands are thrown up in horror at the prospect of another open-ended, armed Western intervention in the Middle East.''
But this is not simply about a parliamentary vote. The British ruling class is both vitriolic in its attacks on Corbyn and bitterly opposed to any repeat of a democratic vote on its war plans, no matter how meekly Corbyn frames his protests, because this might provide an impulse to the widespread anti-war sentiment among workers and youth.
May appears to have heeded the advice, convening a meeting of the National Security Council yesterday to discuss the UK response and speaking directly to Macron and Trump.
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Billions of purple jellyfish-like creatures wash up on beach in the south of France
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:24
(C) Screengrab France 3/YouTube
A popular beach in the south of France has been invaded by billions of purple creatures and it's made for an impressive sight.
Residents of the southern French seaside town of Palavas-les-Flots, got a shock when they took their usual morning stroll along the beach this week. On Tuesday morning the sand at the town just south of Montpellier on the Mediterranean coast looked a little different. A lot more purple than sandy brown.
That's because billions of jellyfish-like creatures known in French as the "v(C)lleles" (Velella in English), recognised for their oval shape and purple colour had washed up on the shores. "I first thought petrol had spilled in the sea, seeing as all the beaches are covered for miles, but no, these are jellyfish" one resident told FranceInfo radio.
In fact the Velella are not officially jellyfish although they are lumped in the same family of creatures known as Cnidaria. They are often called "by the wind sailors" or "sea-rafts". The strange incident happened because these jellyfish, which usually move together in large groups in the sea, have been pushed for three weeks by heavy winds towards the shores.
It's reportedly the first time an invasion of this type of jelly fish has happened in the south of France. These kind o jelly fish are normally found further north of the coast of Britain and Ireland. A clean-up operation was due to take place on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Army Of Islam controls The White Helmets at the disproved Chemical attack alleged location.
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:22
I knew this was deadly serious when I saw Tony Blair being wheeled around on British television to help explain to the public why ''we have to act.''
Here we are again, hearing the incessant calls for another direct military action led by the United States, and all in the name of weapons of mass destruction. Whichever way this goes, it may very well be the final act in the West's long-running chemical saga.
After the hard lessons of Iraq, you might be asking how this is happening again. It's not a surprise that the US and UK might lie, exaggerate, distort or invent a narrative as a pretext for military action. However, they couldn't pull it off without their media partners, and history clearly demonstrates that when the governments and media collude, the results are catastrophic. More than any other entity, it is the Western mainstream media who have facilitated this dirty war on Syria, and who are still holding the minds of the West's public hostage.
Read more
The reasonable among us would hope that cooler heads will prevail. The OPCW announced that it will dispatch a team of experts at the invitation of Syrian Arab Republic to investigate the incident. This is promising. The real question now is: Will chemical weapons inspectors arrive in Damascus before Trump's cruise missiles?
President Trump promised a ''forceful'' response against Syria, with partners like Great Britain and France seemingly ready to join in at a moment's notice. Russia has responded with a reciprocal warning that any US missiles targeting Syria will be intercepted and that their launch pads will be targeted. Russia certainly does not want to see a worldwide war, but it is nonetheless committed to defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syrian territory.
Undoubtedly, this is the closest the US and Russia have come to a hot war since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Western governments, media outlets, their rebel and NGO proxies, are all claiming that the Syrian government has dropped a 'barrel bomb' containing lethal chemicals, possibly chlorine gas, in the district of Douma near Eastern Ghouta this past Saturday, killing at least 40 people and injuring up to 1,000 others. The source of this report is the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the White Helmets, also known as the 'Syrian Civil Defense,' who are funded by the UK and US governments.
Both of these organizations work exclusively in terrorist-held areas around Syria.
Western war hawks are all claiming that ''Assad has form'' and therefore must be guilty. The Syrian authorities have denied that government forces launched any such assault, while the Russian Foreign Ministry has described the event as ''invented and fabricated.''
Washington has wasted no time, having already compiled its dossier of internet photos, social media videos, witness testimonies, and satellite images of 'Syrian flights and helicopters' in the area.
The obvious questions to anyone familiar with this conflict should be: Why would the Syrian government invite international condemnation and risk an all-out war by launching a chemical weapons attack against the very citizens its army has been fighting and dying for, to try to liberate from terrorist occupation? Why would they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Such common sense inquiries seem lost on the Western government-media complex.
If you are serious about finding out what really happened in Douma, you need to know which parties are in control of facts on the ground. On one hand, you have the Syrian government, the Syrian Arab Army, the Russian military. One the other side, you have a group that was still in control of some of this area over the weekend, Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), who are the ideological companions of ISIS, and who the Western media still refer to as a ''Syrian rebel group.'' Everything in their area operates under their authority, including the Western-backed SAMS and the White Helmets.
Read more
Government interests aside, we might ask how the West has arrived in a place where it is staking its position alongside a non-state actor and terrorist group, Jaysh al-Islam, over its fellow UN members?
For years now, Western media and politicians have been trying to prop-up the viability of various 'rebel' groups, as well lending them a semblance of political credibility by claiming they are 'in opposition to the Assad regime.' In fact, up until only a few weeks ago, Jaysh al-Islam was the dominant militant group in control of East Ghouta and Douma. Since 2012, this terrorist group and its affiliates have killed or captured thousands of civilian religious minorities, along with government workers and soldiers. One of their worst atrocities commenced on December 11, 2013, when thousands of militants from Jaysh al-Islam, Al-Nusra and others invaded the key workers' town of Adra, located in the Rif Dimashq Governorate, northeast of Damascus.
The terrorists '' fully backed by the United States and its allies at this time '' overran Syrian police and army positions before massacring the town's residents, executing people in their homes, beheading others in the street, with bodies reportedly left in the open, and the heads of victims reportedly displayed on trees and poles. Some residents are reported to have been cooked alive in the town's industrial baking ovens. On balance, the atrocities and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Jaysh al-Islam are as horrific as those of ISIS, who the US claims to be its sworn enemy in Syria. The hypocrisy is almost mind-bending.
While reporting in Syria last spring, I remember driving past Adra, and now a dead town. Locals spoke of this event in subdued tones and with empty expressions. The tragedy remains a scar on the national consciousness, but one which has been completely airbrushed from Western view for the simple reason that it would incriminate and defame the reprobate 'moderate rebels' who were being championed at the time by Western politicians like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Congressmen Ed Royce and Adam Kinzinger, British MP Brooks Newmark and many others. To the political architects of the Syrian war, the 'rebels' in Syria served exactly the same function as Reagan and Oliver North's 'freedom fighter' Contras in Nicaragua. Their role was to foment violence and sectarian division while destabilizing the state structures in that country, softening it up for an eventual regime change. Like the Contras, the US government allegedly trafficked over $1.5 billion in illicit weapons to their 'rebels' in Syria '' and like the Iranian Contra scandal, much of the bill was paid by a third party, in this case Saudi Arabia.
Read more
After subduing its competition in East Ghouta and Douma, Jaysh al-Islam then proceeded to hold religious minorities in cages and parade them around the streets through their new suburban caliphate, before torturing and beheading some of them. Those who were allowed to live were then used for various forms of slave labor, including helping to dig an impressive network of tunnels underneath Ghouta, Jobar and other terrorist-held areas. These are not Vietcong-style four-by-four-foot shafts, but concrete-reinforced tunnels large enough to drive a truck through. While this underground operation has been well-documented in the Syrian, Russian and independent press, it's been more or less blacked-out by the Western mainstream media. Why? Maybe because the Western PR machine is wary of allowing their public to understand the insidious nature and substantial backing which these so-called 'rebels' have enjoyed courtesy of the US, UK, France, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and most notably Saudi Arabia and Qatar '' massive foreign support which has undoubtedly extended this long war. In other words, it's the US-led coalition that is ultimately responsible for prolonging this bloody war, not Bashar Assad.
It's important to understand that Western governments and media are not merely reacting to some ''atrocity'' this week, rather they have been geared-up for escalating a hot war on Syria since 2011, and even well before that. At every turn, a concerted effort have been made to downplay any reports which run counter to the US-led coalition's narrative and to promote any claims or video footage supplied by Western-financed media producers like the White Helmets, Aleppo Media Center, and the SOHR (based in the UK), as three prime examples, but there are dozens of other outlets performing the same function. This command and control structure of the West's 'Syrian' information network should be obvious by now. Instead, all we hear from the mainstream media is a steady chorus of ''Assad's Barrel Bombs,'' followed by ''Assad is butchering his own people,'' and ''Assad has killed 400,000 of his own people,'' and ''Assad and the Russians are targeting hospitals and schools and killing children.'' Such talking points are often repeated, but never challenged.
The last seven years has seen one of the most coordinated propaganda campaigns in history and, save for a few brave award-winning journalists like Seymour Hersh, John Pilger, Gareth Porter, there's been little self-examination in the Western media. It's as if there's a party whip line in West where no one dares cross it for fear of being accused of being against ''the children of Syria,'' or being branded with derogatory McCarthyist labels like 'Assadist' and 'Putinist,' or the latest iteration, 'white supremacist.' Such slurs suit those whose mission it is to silence dissent against what is looking more and more like an official declaration of war by the US and UK against Syria, Russia and Iran.
When you peel back all the pejoratives and political smears, however, what you are left with are the facts, and they are damning. But the problem is that you cannot find many facts in The Guardian, or the Washington Post; only polemics and narratives which are synonymous with the public policy positions of the US State Department and the UK Foreign Office. One reason is that these mainstream outlets do not have reporters on the ground in Syria, and if they do, they tend to be embedded with 'rebel' terrorist factions '' which is the only side of the story which is being transmitted to Western audiences.
Read more
The day after the Rashideen Massacre in April 2017, I was with a group of journalists and international observers at the Jibrin Refugee Center outside of Aleppo, where I sought to speak to some of the survivors of what became Syria's most deadly terrorist car bombing, which killed over 120 innocents, most of them children (with some still missing to this day). I remember seeing a Washington Post journalist there and wondered how the mainstream press might report this awful tragedy. My answer came soon enough. Leading US mainstream media outlets called it ''a hiccup,'' perhaps because they were embarrassed by the depths to which their freedom-fighting 'rebels' have sunk this time '' carrying out a sectarian mass murder of Shia residents from the villages of Foua and Kafarya.
The systematic anti-Syrian bias of Western mainstream media has effectively robbed the people of Syria of any chance of getting a fair adjudication in the court of Western public opinion. It's not that they can't report the truth, it's that they won't. They can hype-up a situation and flood the information sphere with misinformation and distractions, but void of truth. Their propaganda fodder has no staying power once the facts begin to trickle in. The liberation of East Aleppo is a perfect example, as is the mainstream coverage of East Ghouta '' both a universe away from reality.
This brings us back to the Douma chemical attack. At every key juncture in this long war, when the Syrian government was making significant advances, or a US official uttered that maybe the US should think about pulling out of Syria '' all of the sudden and inexplicably '' a ''chemical weapons attack'' manifests itself. Journalist Vanessa Beeley so aptly described this uncanny phenomenon in her detailed report this week on the ground in Damascus:
''If we were to map the chemical weapon claims in each terrorist-held area undergoing liberation by the Syrian Arab Army, we would clearly see that the claims are commensurate with the pressure felt by the terrorist factions as the SAA closes in on their stronghold. In other words, as the SAA nears victory and liberation of Syrian civilians, we are expected to believe they would use chemical weapons against those civilians in an urban area which is even more densely packed as the terrorists withdraw into a shrinking combat zone, taking the civilians with them as human shields and hostages.''
Beeley adds: ''It appears to be a propaganda tactic employed by the terrorist factions to gain time, secure a ceasefire and to call for a No Fly Zone and further ''humanitarian'' intervention from the regime-change-war alliance. A ceasefire allows the militants to organize themselves and to re-arm. We know that terrorist chemical weapon attacks against the civilian population in West Aleppo were never given equivalent importance by the same ''humanitarian'' minded nations, in fact they were largely ignored. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that crying ''chemical weapon'' is a tactic designed to protect the NATO-member-state assets occupying Syrian territory.''
The US seems certain about ''Assad's chemical weapons,'' but what about the WMD capabilities of the 'rebel' terrorists? Another independent journalist, Sharmine Narwani, was actually in Eastern Ghouta as it was liberated in March, where she discovered one chemical-weapons laboratory located in the farmlands between between Shifouniyeh and Douma. Narwani also noted how the Western media journalists in her press pool seemed categorically ''disinterested'' in this crucial discovery.
It seems that the US, UK and others have dug such a deep hole with years of deceptive reporting and fictional accounts of ''Assad's atrocities'' over the years, that they cannot lose face now.
After seven years of being marinated in anti-Syrian and anti-Russian propaganda, there is little chance the Western electorate can be rehabilitated with facts. These parallel realities may be irreconcilable.
With the stakes this high, we can only pray for any divine wisdom coming from Washington or London. If it comes, it will be most welcome, but it seems the wheels of war are already in motion. Perhaps the only thing standing between a wider war and de-escalation is the press. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but can we really expect the media use it against its own corporate overlords?
If it's ever going to happen, it needs to be now.
Patrick Henningsen is an American writer and global affairs analyst.
Published time: 11 Apr, 2018 16:05
Thirteen countries support Russian non-compliance allegations against shameful Britain at OPCW (Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons)
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:22
Thirteen countries support Russian non-compliance allegations against shameful Britain at OPCW (Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Thu 6:31 am UTC, 12 Apr 2018 posted by Tapestry
Moscow said it wanted to ''address allegations of non-compliance'' with the chemical weapons convention made by the UK against
Vladmir Putin's regime has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last month.On Twitter, the Russian embassy in the Netherlands listed the 13 other countries which apparently supported its joint statement to the OPCW.The countries listed were Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Cuba, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Nicaragua.
Nine arrested in west London overnight 'gang' raids
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:21
Image copyright PA Image caption About 200 officers took part in the raids across west London Eight police raids across west London have struck a "massive blow to an established gang", the Metropolitan Police said.
A Skorpion machine gun, ammunition, cash and suspected Class A drugs were seized in the raids in Northolt, Greenford, Fulham and Brentford.
Nine people - including a 14-year-old boy - have been held on suspicion of drug and firearms offences.
Det Insp Driss Hayoukane claimed the "MDP" gang had "corrupted children".
'Kids getting involved'During a search in Stephendale Road, Fulham, officers found a Skorpion machine pistol along with another handgun, 40 rounds of ammunition, and a kilo of suspected Class A drugs, Scotland Yard said.
Overall, six males and three females, aged between 14 and 49, were arrested in the early hours of Thursday and are now in custody, according to the Met.
Image copyright PA Image caption West London properties in Northolt, Greenford, Fulham and Brentford were raided Det Insp Hayoukane said: "What we have taken out is probably a line which has been supplying the Earl's Court and Fulham areas.
"This gang have been running that line for quite a while and making a lot of money.
"These gangs have corrupted children and are using them to ferry drugs.
"If you look across London these are the kids that are getting involved in violence and stabbings because they are generally on the streets while the suppliers are removed from it, collecting the cash."
Nord Stream-2 Says Received 2nd Permit for Pipeline Construction from Finland
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:20
Europe09:25 12.04.2018(updated 10:27 12.04.2018) Get short URL
MOSCOW (Sputnik) '' Finland has issued the second permit needed for construction of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline in the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Nord Stream-2 AG has said.
"Project developer Nord Stream 2 AG today received the second of two permits required to construct and operate the planned natural gas pipeline in the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), completing the permitting procedure in Finland," Wednesday's statement read.
READ MORE: Nord Stream 2 Going Full Throttle Despite Ukraine's Protests, US Threats
Last week, the Finnish government issued the first permit for construction of the pipeline in the country's EEZ. The second permit was granted by the Regional State Administrative Agency Southern Finland, according to the statement.
"This is an important day for our project: following a very thorough analysis and extensive engagement the Finnish authorities have approved our detailed plans to construct and operate the 374-kilometer [232-mile] Finnish section of the 1,230-kilometer Nord Stream 2 Pipeline," Permitting Manager Finland at Nord Stream 2 AG Tore Granskog said.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is projected to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year to the EU across the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing Ukraine.
A number of countries have opposed the implementation of the project, particularly Ukraine, which is afraid of losing profits from the transit of Russian gas, and the United States, which seeks to export its liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.
Verge Blockchain Hacked '' Daily Security Byte
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:19
Daily Security Bytes Editorial Articles Research Threat Landscape Research Articles WatchGuard News About About Us Contact Us Contribute to Secplicity Secplicity - Security Simplified
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April 11, 2018 By Corey Nachreiner
If you watched our 2018 Security Predictions, you know that one of them was that attackers would exploit a new blockchain vulnerability in a major cryptocurrency that would result in the value of that cryptocurrency dropping. Last week, that prediction hit. An attacker leveraged a vulnerability in one of the top 30 cryptocurrencies, Verge, to unfairly mine a huge amount of the currency in a very short period of time. Watch the video below to know more about this hack, and check out the references for all the tech details.
>> Episode Runtime: 2:11
Direct YouTube Link:
Hackers steal Verge cryptocurrency using a ''51 percent'' attack '' MashableGreat forum post with all the details about the Verge Blockchain vulnerability '' BitcoinTalk'-- Corey Nachreiner, CISSP ( @SecAdept)
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Stay in Touch Recent Posts 1000s of Hacked Web Sites '' Daily Security Byte April 2018 Patch Day '' Daily Security Byte How Not to Handle Vulnerability Disclosure '' Daily Security Byte Verge Blockchain Hacked '' Daily Security Byte Two Major Data Breaches '' Daily Security ByteView AllSearch
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Two Major Data Breaches '' Daily Security Byte
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:14
Daily Security Bytes Editorial Articles Research Threat Landscape Research Articles WatchGuard News About About Us Contact Us Contribute to Secplicity Secplicity - Security Simplified
Powered by WatchGuard Technologies
April 11, 2018 By Corey Nachreiner
Over the past few weeks, a number of organizations have disclosed big data breaches, including Under Armour, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. These breaches resulted in the loss of various types of personally identifying information (PII), from password hashes to credit card track data. Watch the video below to learn much more about these breaches, and what you should do if you're a customer of any of these companies.
>> Episode Runtime: 4:15
Direct YouTube Link:
MyFitnessPal suffers a breach, losing 150 million user accounts '' Apple InsiderMyFitnessPal releases an FAQ on their data breach '' MyFitnessPalSecurity experts weigh in on MyFitnessPal hack '' ForbesHackers steal credit cards for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor '' Tech RepublicGemini's advisory on the Saks Fifth Avenue breach '' Gemini Advisory'-- Corey Nachreiner, CISSP ( @SecAdept)
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Stay in Touch Recent Posts 1000s of Hacked Web Sites '' Daily Security Byte April 2018 Patch Day '' Daily Security Byte How Not to Handle Vulnerability Disclosure '' Daily Security Byte Verge Blockchain Hacked '' Daily Security Byte Two Major Data Breaches '' Daily Security ByteView AllSearch
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2.5 billion crypto mining attempts detected in enterprise networks
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:59
The volume of cryptomining transactions has been steadily growing since Coinhive came out with its browser-based cryptomining service in September 2017.
Some websites have embraced the option and are giving their visitors the choice between viewing ads or sharing their CPU power to mine cryptocoins. Unfortunately malicious, covert hijackings of computer power are much more common, as the mining code can be secretly injected into compromised legitimate sites or even ads that are being served by third party ad networks.
Everybody's a target, including enterprises ''Enterprise networks are being impacted in various ways. Unwanted and unidentified mining activity inside networks causes increased wear and tear on corporate hardware, as the mining increases CPU cycles. Mining activity also hogs corporate network bandwidth and causes performance issues,'' Zscaler researchers pointed out.
The 2.5 billion web-based coin-mining attempts in the Zscaler cloud they've detected since October 2017 reveals the following picture:
Coinhive is by far the most active cryptominer service, followed by Crypto-Loot, CryptoNoter, Minr, DeepMiner, and several others.
Cryptomining has increased among the top 100,000 sites (as ranked by Alexa), and nudity/pornography, streaming and corporate sites are the most popular targets for cryptominers.
''The average browsing time for users on video streaming sites tends to be higher allowing miners to maximize their activity as users stay on these sites to view movies or play games,'' the researchers explained.
''Note that the professional services and marketing category sites ranked high as well, demonstrating the prevelance of mining activity on corporate networks.''
The US is the county with the greatest number of cryptomining users and in the hosting of servers that are involved in mining activity. In the first category it is followed by Switzerland, Brazil, India and Spain; in the latter by Germany, Russia, Romania and Bulgaria.
While increased power use and hardware erosion are effects that both enterprises and consumers will suffer die to cryptomining, enterprises also risk running foul of regulations.
''Corporations that unknowingly have cryptomining activities taking place on their networks may be at risk of compliance violations in that there is unidentified action taking place on company systems,'' the researchers pointed out.
Declining April 12 Temperatures In The US
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:58
Much of the US is cold this year, but April 12 used to be a warm day in the US '' with 1930 and 1925 being the warmest. April 12 afternoon temperatures have declined since the 19th century.
On this date in 1930, about half of the US was over 80 degrees, with 70 degree weather covering almost the entire US.
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Raid on Trump's Lawyer Sought Records on 'Access Hollywood' Tape - The New York Times
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:41
The F.B.I. agents who raided the office and hotel of President Trump's lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, were seeking details on his relationship with the Trump campaign and his efforts to suppress negative information about Mr. Trump, according to three people briefed on the matter.
Prosecutors are interested in whether Mr. Cohen, who had no official role in the 2016 campaign, coordinated with it to quash the release of anything detrimental to it and whether that violated campaign finance laws '-- a new front in the investigation into Mr. Cohen.
The warrant executed Monday by the agents was striking in its breadth, according to those people. It demanded documents related to the ''Access Hollywood'' tape in which Mr. Trump was heard making vulgar comments about women, and to other materials related to secret agreements Mr. Cohen made with women in exchange for them not speaking publicly about sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.
The warrant also covered emails and other documents that could reveal Mr. Cohen's private communications with Mr. Trump during a tense period in the presidential campaign when Mr. Trump confronted the possibility of embarrassing details of his extramarital affairs. And it delved deeply into Mr. Cohen's past, including documents about Mr. Cohen's personal and business finances, including his work as a New York taxi fleet manager.
The additional details the agents were seeking came a day after it was revealed that the authorities sought documents from Mr. Cohen related to payments made to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump, Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film star known as Stormy Daniels, as well as information on the role of the publisher of The National Enquirer in silencing the women.
The investigation is being run by Robert S. Khuzami, whose boss, Geoffrey S. Berman, the interim United States attorney in Manhattan, has recused himself. Mr. Khuzami is a veteran federal prosecutor who spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention in support of President George W. Bush and later led the enforcement division of the Securities and Exchange Commission during the Obama administration.
Though the raids on Mr. Cohen's office and hotel room were overseen by Mr. Khuzami, people close to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen regard the investigation as a surreptitious attempt by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to pry into Mr. Trump's personal life by using other prosecutors as his proxy in focusing on a lawyer who has represented him for more than a decade.
Asked for comment on Wednesday, Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Mr. Cohen, referred to his earlier description of the raids as ''completely inappropriate and unnecessary.'' He has described the raids as an overreach by prosecutors into the privileged communications between Mr. Cohen and his client, Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump, furious about the raids, has cooled on the idea of sitting for an interview with Mr. Mueller and is considering a more adversarial approach to the special counsel's investigation.
Since Mr. Mueller was appointed last May, Mr. Trump had taken a largely nonconfrontational approach to the investigation, providing tens of thousands of pages of emails, notes, memos and other documents as part of an effort to show he has nothing to hide and to hasten the end of the investigation.
As recently as December, Mr. Trump said he believed Mr. Mueller would treat him fairly. And Mr. Trump has repeatedly said in public and in private that he wanted to sit with Mr. Mueller for an interview. After the search warrant, Mr. Trump now is convinced that his initial belief that Mr. Mueller is simply out to destroy his presidency was correct.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, criticized Mr. Mueller's investigation on Wednesday for going beyond its mandate to look into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and into the ties between Mr. Trump's campaign and Russia.
''The president certainly has been clear that he has very deep concern about the direction that the special counsel and other investigations have taken,'' Ms. Sanders said in response to a question about a report that Mr. Trump came close to firing Mr. Mueller in December. ''This investigation started off as Russian collusion, of which there was none.''
It is not clear what role, if any, Mr. Cohen played regarding the ''Access Hollywood'' tape, which was made public a month before the election on one of the more memorable days of the campaign. On that day, Oct. 7, the Obama administration called out Russia for meddling in the election and the first batch of emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign were released.
But Mr. Cohen has acknowledged paying $130,000 to Ms. Clifford, who said she had a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump and signed a nondisclosure agreement promising not to discuss the matter. Mr. Cohen has insisted there was no relationship, but that he sought to keep a damaging story from emerging regardless.
Mr. Cohen also had a long relationship with David J. Pecker, the publisher of The National Enquirer, who is also friends with Mr. Trump and who engaged in the practice of ''catch and kill'' with negative stories, meaning women who made accusations of sexual relationships with the candidate received payments or contracts with the magazine.
Mr. Cohen had no formal role on the campaign, and Mr. Trump and his top campaign aides sought to limit his involvement. Still, Mr. Cohen was able to fill certain political voids that no one else seemed able to, such as forming a so-called diversity coalition of African-American, Hispanic and Muslim supporters, and he also raised money for the campaign and later for Mr. Trump's inaugural committee.
Perhaps equally significant for Mr. Trump was Mr. Cohen's presence on television, particularly after the ''Access Hollywood'' tape, when the candidate had few defenders.
''I have never heard Mr. Trump say anything even remotely close to the statements that I heard,'' Mr. Cohen said about the tape in one appearance on CNN. ''When I first heard that there was a tape that was going to be coming out, I said it's got to be fake because '-- and I spend thousands of hours with Mr. Trump a year. And I can tell you I have never heard him say anything, anything even close to that.''
Benjamin Weiser contributed reporting.
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Trump is right: FBI raids against his attorney Michael Cohen threaten everyone's rights | Fox News
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:37
President Trump tweeted Wednesday to complain about the Monday FBI raids on the office, home and hotel room of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The president said of the FBI: '''... they do the Unthinkable and RAID a lawyer's office for information! BAD!'' Bad indeed.
These were raids not just against Michael Cohen. They were raids against the U.S. Constitution and the rights of all Americans to be able to communicate with their lawyers without fear of government seizure of such attorney-client communications, which have until now been protected from government snooping.
With stunning speed and shocking impunity, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution '' part of the Bill of Rights that safeguards our basic freedoms as Americans '' is now at risk. Every American should sit up and pay attention. This is getting serious.
The FBI raids against Cohen, based on a search warrant, allowed FBI agents to apparently seize his documents, computers and cell phone. Cohen's communications with the president were undoubtedly among the material seized.
The Fourth Amendment is crystal clear in its protections of our rights. It states: ''The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.''
The well-established meaning of this constitutional right, built on more than two centuries of precedent and sober caution against politically inspired home or office raids, makes the raids against Cohen uniquely chilling.
While a narrow ambit of facts might, under extreme circumstances, justify such an overt, egregious, untamed and seemingly political invasion of a person's living quarters and office, known facts do not support such a bold invasion here.
To speak plainly, while no citizen is above the law, no citizen in America can be summarily stripped of his or her constitutional protections, even by a zealous prosecutor chasing the devil himself.
That is not the way constitutional protections work '' for anyone. Boldly reverting to extra-judicial methods for chasing, securing or finding something a prosecutor wants to know does not authorize any prosecutor to leap the constitution's fence.
The outrage here is layers deep. Cohen was by every public account responding thoughtfully to requests for documents and his deposition under oath, by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office.
Cohen complied with these requests and appears to have continued complying, even while his possible links to putative ''Russian collusion'' in the 2016 presidential campaign were a mystery.
Cohen is a practicing lawyer, which triggers an inviolable attorney-client privilege surrounding communications with his clients. This is a matter of law, with scant exceptions.
Like the doctor-patient privilege, the attorney-client privilege is held by the lawyer, owed to the client. Absent respect by prosecutors for that common-law right, there would be no justice, because there would be no way to protect any person's defense against injustice.
If a lawyer owes clients protection of their communications to him or her, the lawyer also owes them protection of his or her advice to them. In one fell swoop, gone is this lawyer's entire profession and stock in trade '' the ability to keep client confidences.
But it is worse. The chilling effect of these raids on a long-established presumption of attorney-client privilege ricochets widely. If that privilege can be tossed by a zealous special counsel, whether or not politically motivated, it effectively no longer exists.
The next prosecutor will be feared all the more; truthful dialogue between attorney and client will be impaired. The attorney-client privilege is derailed, since it only exists if all prosecutors honor it.
The offense is deeper, again. Not only is the raided person a cooperating party and lawyer, he is the lawyer for a prominent political figure '' President Trump.
Surely, that sensitivity '' raiding the home and office of a lawyer representing a politician from the party opposite many of his prosecutors '' cannot have escaped the raiding party.
The obvious inference as to the motivation of this raid would be political, which should be profoundly disturbing for every American.
These raids did not need to happen. They show the extraordinary lengths to which an aggressive team of gotta-get-him prosecutors is apparently willing to go.
The problem is, while prosecutors are expected to be zealous, they are not expected to trash the U.S. Constitution for any purpose '' even one they believe to be justified legally or politically.
We do not, in America, trash someone's home and office lightly, ruin a career, upend a life, and walk away '' hoping the next invasion warrants the last one.
That is not how special counsels are meant to operate, and certainly not what the Founders had in mind '' Russian meddling or not.
Ironically, we appear to be swiftly slipping toward the very society '' with brash disrespect for individual rights and a willingness to distort law for politics '' that the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was intended to protect our society against.
Thirty-five years ago, as a student, I spent time talking with dissidents behind the Iron Curtain, in places like the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany and Czechoslovakia.
That experience educated me as no law book could, to love America and our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.
More than once, I sat in a private home that had been previously raided, or was after I left. The idea of political power so brutally used, under pretense of law, was chilling. My heart sank.
Today, as I reflect on what seems an increasingly open-ended, disturbingly unaccountable investigative process, I sense that somehow we are at an inflection point as a society.
I do not believe that President Trump should remove the Special Counsel Mueller, since that would only create more political tumult. I think the answer lies elsewhere.
What's needed is a directive from the Justice Department that Mueller return to the limited scope of his investigation and finish his job at long last. Or a Supreme Court ruling on the metastasizing controversy to say what the law is.
Or maybe we just need a team of investigators who see the value of returning to the limited scope of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election '' instead of what seems like a never-ending fishing expedition going off in all sorts of directions having nothing to do with that topic. Reading about this week's raid, my heart again sank.
Verzekeraars sturen surfgedrag naar Facebook, ook van medische pagina's | NOS
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:28
Wie op de site van zijn zorgverzekeraar kijkt of een bepaalde behandeling wordt vergoed, of waar hij terecht moet voor die behandeling, verwacht niet dat Facebook meekijkt. Maar dat gebeurt bij meerdere zorgverzekeraars wel, blijkt uit onderzoek van de NOS.
Wie tot vanavond bijvoorbeeld op de websites van Menzis, ONVZ of OHRA zocht naar informatie over je soa-behandeling, depressie of plaswekker, werd de zogenoemde Facebook-pixel-plug-in ingeladen. Die is geplaatst door de zorgverzekeraar en stuurt je surfgedrag door naar de servers van Facebook. Andere zorgverzekeraars, zoals CZ, gebruiken de tracker alleen op de voorpagina van hun website.
Ook het Diakonessenhuis in Utrecht, een ziekenhuis, stuurt het surfgedrag van bezoekers door naar Facebook. Dat gebeurt ook als bezoekers pagina's met medische achtergrondinformatie bekijken. Als patinten die pagina's bezoeken, kan Facebook dat dus zien. Gebruikers geven daar overigens in principe toestemming voor door een cookiemelding weg te klikken of te negeren.
Gepersonaliseerde advertenties De Facebook-pixels worden geplaatst om mensen vervolgens gepersonaliseerde advertenties te kunnen laten zien. Zo kan Menzis een potentile klant die op zijn website is geweest, een advertentie tonen. Maar de keerzijde is dat het surfgedrag van gebruikers wordt doorgestuurd.
Facebook kan daarbij het surfgedrag van een internetter koppelen aan het Facebook-account, als die persoon is ingelogd. Wie niet is ingelogd of geen Facebook-account heeft, kan ook worden gevolgd, al weet Facebook dan niet exact om wie het gaat.
Het gaat daarbij niet om informatie uit iemands medisch dossier, maar als iemand informatie opzoekt over een bepaalde behandeling, kan dat wel iets zeggen over iemands medische problemen.
Achttien keer pixels Van de veertig zorgverzekeraars die de NOS onderzocht, gebruiken achttien verzekeraars een tracking-pixel. Daarvan gebruiken er elf de plug-in op een pagina waarop medische informatie wordt getoond.
De Patintenfederatie Nederland noemt het "buitengewoon onverstandig". "Doe jezelf en verzekerden een plezier en stuur dit soort informatie niet door", zegt woordvoerder Thom Meens. De patintenorganisatie wil dat zorgverzekeraars stoppen met het gebruik van Facebook-pixels.
Ook burgerrechtenorganisatie Bits of Freedom is niet blij. "Ik schrik hier toch wel van", zegt directeur Hans de Zwart. "We hebben meerdere keren dit soort schandalen gehad, inmiddels had ik van websites beter verwacht", zegt hij. Dat de makers van websites van zorgverzekeringen de trackers welbewust inbouwen, noemt hij "incompetent of schaamteloos".
Doe jezelf en verzekerden een plezier en stuur dit soort informatie niet door. Patintenfederatie Nederland Bekijk Facebook pixel vindt gretig aftrek onder zorgverzekeraars Niet het enige advertentienetwerk Facebook is lang niet het enige bedrijf dat pixels, ook wel trackers genoemd, plaatst voor het volgen van surfgedrag. "Maar Facebook weet, zeker als je ingelogd bent, veel meer dan andere advertentienetwerken", zegt De Zwart. Dat komt doordat gebruikers zelf ook veel informatie aan Facebook overhandigen. Andere grote advertentienetwerken zijn bijvoorbeeld Google en AppNexus.
Menzis heeft naar aanleiding van deze berichtgeving besloten om zo snel mogelijk te stoppen met het gebruik van de pixels. De verzekeraar gebruikte de tracking-pixels voor marketingdoeleinden, zei een woordvoerder eerder. Het bedrijf zegt nu dat het zijn online-beleid gaat evalueren en eventueel aanpassen. Ook ONVZ zegt de trackers inmiddels te hebben verwijderd.
Andere zorgverzekeraars zeggen de pixel te gebruiken voor marketingcampagnes. CZ gebruikt de tracker naar eigen zeggen met opzet niet op pagina's met medische informatie. "Dat vinden we niet netjes en dat zouden klanten niet fijn vinden", aldus CZ. Overigens plaatst dochterbedrijf CZdirect wel trackers op pagina's met medische informatie.
Politieke partijen en media Ook in andere sectoren worden Facebook-pixels gebruikt. Zo zijn op de sites van de VVD en Forum voor Democratie tracking-pixels te vinden.
Het Forum voor Democratie zegt de gegevens 'niet actief' te gebruiken en wijst op zijn cookieverklaring. "Als het handig voor ons is, kunnen we er gebruik van maken", aldus woordvoerder Jeroen de Vries. De VVD was niet bereikbaar voor commentaar.
Ook verschillende media hebben trackers, waaronder, De Volkskrant en NRC. Die laatste gebruikt de tracking-pixels voor abonneewerving, maar is momenteel wel aan het heroverwegen of het daarmee doorgaat. "De privacy van nieuwe klanten en lezers is erg belangrijk", aldus een woordvoerder van de krant.
Omroepen Een aantal publieke omroepen gebruikt ook tracking-pixels, waaronder de VPRO. Dat is ironisch: Zondag met Lubach, een programma van de VPRO, ageerde juist tegen tracking door Facebook. Ook Omroep MAX en Human gebruiken Facebook-trackers. De NOS doet dat niet.
Winkels gebruiken tracking-pixels aan de lopende band. Dat doen ze bijvoorbeeld om je ertoe te verleiden om de nieuwe telefoon die je wel hebt bekeken, maar niet hebt gekocht, toch aan te schaffen.
Websites die geen tracking-pixels gebruiken, kunnen overigens ook surfgedrag doorgeven aan Facebook: als ze een deel- of like-knop van Facebook tonen, kan Facebook ook uitlezen wie op websites met die knop is geweest.
Theresa May Won't Blame Assad for Chemical Attack, Not 'Confirmed' | Breitbart
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 06:25
Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that more evidence is needed before blaming Bashar al-Assad for the latest chemical attack in Syria and taking military action against his regime. Following phone calls with U.S. President Donald Trump and French premier Emmanuel Macron, No 10 said the international community ''needed to respond'' but did not confirm Assad was responsible at this stage.
''[The leaders] agreed that reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria were utterly reprehensible and if confirmed, represented further evidence of the Assad regime's appalling cruelty against its own people and total disregard for its legal obligations not to use these weapons,'' the statement read.
The UK will ''continue working closely together and with international partners to ensure that those responsible were held to account'', the statement adds.
Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are due to visit the Damascus suburb of Douma, where between 40 and 70 people were reported to have been killed in a chlorine attack over the weekend.
The White House was less timid in naming Assad in relation to the strikes, saying in a statement after the call with Mrs. May:
''Both leaders condemned Syrian President Assad's vicious disregard for human life. The President and Prime Minister agreed not to allow the use of chemical weapons to continue.''
On Monday, President Trump was promising to make a decision on an American response within ''24 to 48 hours'', although he now appears to have backed off from that claim.
''If its Russia, if its Syria, if it's Iran '' if it's all of them together '' we'll figure it out and we'll know the answers quite soon,'' he added, speaking to the press before a Cabinet meeting on the 9 th .
Meanwhile, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution ordering a full investigation into the attack overnight.
Russia's UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the U.S. of wanting the resolution to fail ''to justify the use of force against Syria''.
The UK's Ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, appeared to diverge from the Prime Minister's position, claiming: ''We as the United Kingdom believe the Syrian regime is responsible for these latest attacks.''
The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson attacked Russia's actions at the UN and also appeared to blame Assad's regime. He tweeted: ''Hugely disappointing that Russia vetoed the proposal at the UN for an independent investigation into Syrian chemical attacks.
''Russia is holding the Syrian people to political ransom by supporting a regime responsible for at least four heinous chemical attacks against its people.''
VIDEO - Somewear: limitless communication built for adventure by Somewear Labs '-- Kickstarter
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:38
You'll need an HTML5 capable browser to see this content. $74,672 pledged of $50,000 goal All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, May 2 2018 5:49 am EDT.
Somewear: limitless communication built for adventure
Somewear: limitless communication built for adventure A global, satellite hotspot that brings your friends on every adventure - beautifully designed to fit in your pocket
A global, satellite hotspot that brings your friends on every adventure - beautifully designed to fit in your pocket Read more
$74,672 pledged of $50,000 goal All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, May 2 2018 5:49 am EDT.
Risks and challenges If you've gotten this far, I'm sure you've heard the adage, "hardware is hard." We believe that's also what makes it so special to create.
We've paid our dues shipping product at some of the best companies in Silicon Valley, gone through the premier hardware accelerator in the world and deeply understand the risks and challenges of manufacturing hardware.
We have already engaged a supportive manufacturing partner and early units coming off the line are testing very well. With that said, there is always a risk of delays from unforeseen challenges we may encounter during the tooling, manufacturing, testing, and certification processes.
We are committed to sharing our successes and struggles through this process as we work to ship Somewear Global Hotspots to you this summer. If faced with the decision to trade quality for a delivery date, we will choose quality to make sure we provide the best possible experience on every adventure.
Throughout our production process, our design specifications may change slightly. We will communicate any changes and why we're making them through our updates.
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ
VIDEO - Department Press Briefing - April 10, 2018 - YouTube
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:11
VIDEO - Whoopi Goldberg: Riots Over Mueller Firing 'Would Be Fun to Watch' | Breitbart
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:38
by Pam Key 11 Apr 2018 0
11 Apr, 201811 Apr, 2018 Wednesday on ABC's ''The View,'' co-host Meghan McCain said if President Donald Trump fired special counsel Robert Mueller, there would be riots in Washington D.C. ''at levels we haven't seen.''
McCain said, ''We are sitting around pontificating about something that hasn't happened, that's going on a lot of unnamed sources so I don't think we should get too far ahead of our skis. I do think everything you're saying about what would happen if he does fires Mueller, I have said, Lindsey Graham has said it's political suicide. I one hundred percent think there would be '-- I think there would actually be rioting in Washington, D.C. I think it would be at levels we haven't seen.''
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg interjected, ''Now that would be fun to watch I have to say.''
McCain added, ''Yeah I mean '-- I think it would take levels that we can't comprehend since the Nixon era, and I don't think we should get too far ahead because it hasn't happened.''
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
VIDEO - SC bill would crack down on fake service animals | 7News | WSPA
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:30
(WBTW) - A bill in the South Carolina statehouse would make it illegal to use a fake service animal.
Several states, including North Carolina currently have similar laws on the books.
The proposed bill says there has been an increase in the number of times when someone passes off an animal as service animal and goes on to explain how "business owners and other places of public accommodation become increasingly distrustful that an animal being represented to them as a service animal is, in fact, a service animal."
Richard Kaplan, founder and president of Canine Angels Service Dogs in Little River, said there needs to be more awareness of phony service animals.
"People who are legitimate service dog owners have gone through enormous amounts of training," Kaplan explained. "And the dogs themselves go through at least a year of training. It's not only training for obedience but it's training for specific task work depending on what the disability is."
Kaplan has seen firsthand the damage a misrepresented service animal can to do to the reputation of people who really need one.
"People who simply go online and slap a jacket on a dog and get a fake license and represent the dog as a service dog sometimes, and probably most times, don't realize what an injustice they're doing to legitimate ones," he added.
The proposed bill in South Carolina wants to make it a misdemeanor if someone misrepresents a service animal and includes the following fines:
1. for a first offense, an amount not less than three hundred fifty dollars and not more than one thousand dollars;
2. for a second offense, an amount not less than six hundred dollars and not more than one thousand dollars;
3. or a third or subsequent offense, an amount not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars, in addition to not more than ten hours of community service.
Kaplan said while the bill could help things may not change.
"The problem is human nature. People looking to squeeze every inch they can out of something to gain some sort of benefit to themselves without consideration for those that really need it," he said. "I'm a firm believer that until some government agency takes control of the service dog industry there will continue to be unlimited abuse and serious incidents."
He used the examples of people brining emotional support animals on planes or in restaurants and wreaking havoc on the business or harming other customers.
"Now the venue operator, the restaurant manager, hotel operator, etc.. is now very weary and puts extra pressure, even to the point of humiliation, to the legitimate ones who may be a disabled veteran who has gone through the program and it's just not fair," said Kaplan.
He also explained why the Americans with Disabilities act is misunderstood. "It's not a great law because it's not clear in a lot of ways and the people that misrepresent their dogs think it's a victimless crim and it isn't," Kaplan explained.
The bill has six sponsors and was referred to the Committee on Judiciary in early March. The bill also includes changes to restitution requirements if a service animal is harmed. You can read about those by clicking: here.
VIDEO - Chemical Weapons made in Germany at the hand of the terrorists in Syria min: 2:14 - YouTube
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:53
VIDEO - Peter Ford Dropping Truth Bombs on BBC Radio Scotland - YouTube
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:50
VIDEO - Peter Ford Dropping Truth Bombs on BBC Radio Scotland - YouTube
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:32
VIDEO - Lynch: Comey Didn't Question Calling Clinton Case a 'Matter': 'Concerns Were Not Raised' - YouTube
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 10:33
VIDEO - Joy Reid imagines Trump being arrested and refusing to leave the White House - YouTube
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 10:24
VIDEO - (1) Blackburn to Zuckerburg: 'Diamond and Silk' is not terrorism - YouTube
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 10:00
VIDEO - Zuckerberg emerges unscathed from Congress grilling over Facebook flaws | Euronews
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:28
Two days of grilling by US lawmakers have seen Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg field 10 hours of questioning.
The 33-year-old billionaire emerged largely unscathed, managing to side-step inquisitors by giving simple "yes" or "no" answers. He also stuck to the mantra of 'user choice over privacy protection.
"People have a control over how their information is used in ads in the product today. So if you want to have an experience where your ads aren't targeted using all the information we have available, you can turn off third party information," said Zuckerberg to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on his second day on Capitol Hill.
The hearings were prompted by a scandal over data harvesting by a third-party organization. Zuckerberg has acknowledged Facebook will have to make changes but Congress appeared uncertain over how and if the government should step in.
Additional sources ' Reuters
VIDEO - This Radio Hacker Could Hijack Emergency Sirens to Play Any Sound | WIRED
Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:13
At exactly noon on the first Tuesday after Balint Seeber moved from Silicon Valley to San Francisco in late 2015, the Australian radio hacker and security researcher was surprised to discover a phenomenon already known to practically every other resident of the city: a brief, piercing wail that rose and then fell, followed by a man's voice: "This is a test. This is a test of the outdoor warning system. This is only a test."
The next week, at exactly the same time, Seeber heard it again. A few weeks after that, Seeber found himself staring up from his bicycle at a utility pole in the city's SoMa neighborhood, examining one of the more than 100 sirens that produced that inescapable emergency test message around the city. At the top, he noticed a vertical antenna; it seemed to be receiving signals via radio, not wires. The thought came to him: Could a hacker like him hijack that command system to trigger all the sirens around the whole city at will, or to use them to broadcast even more alarming sounds?
Balint Seeber holding the radios he used to reverse-engineer and spoof the communications of San Francisco's emergency sirens, like the one on the pole behind him.
Now, after two-and-a-half years of patiently recording and reverse-engineering those weekly radio communications, Seeber has indeed found that he or anyone with a laptop and a $35 radio could not only trigger those sirens, as unknown hackers did in Dallas last year. They could also make them play any audio they choose: false warnings of incoming tsunamis or missile strikes, dangerous or mass-panic-inducing instructions, 3 am serenades of death metal or Tony Bennett. And he has found the same hackable siren systems not only in San Francisco but in two other cities, as well as hints they may be installed in many more. "If you wanted to send out your own music or your own alert, you could broadcast it across entire cities," Seeber says. "You could do it with something as cheap and easy as a handheld radio you can buy from Amazon."
Spoofable SirensOn Tuesday, security firm Bastille, where Seeber works as director of vulnerability research, went public with his discovery that the emergency siren equipment sold by Boston-based ATI Systems in all three cities Bastille tested lacked the basic encryption necessary to prevent any prankster or saboteur from commandeering the system. In San Francisco, Wichita, Kansas, and another city that Bastille declined to name, Seeber was able to read and fully reproduce the transmissions to those siren systems. By bouncing that signal through a repeater near the center of each city's network, Seeber believes he could have gained control over the citywide collection of sirens, each one capable of pumping out as much as 135 decibels, according to Bastille's estimates, more than the noise of four jackhammers combined.
Although Bastille hasn't gone so far as to actually hijack any of those installed systems by radio'--and couldn't easily try Seeber's technique via radio in a test setting without risking a violation of FCC regulations'--the firm has performed a proof of concept in which it wired one of ATI's radios directly to Seeber's radio and sent the same commands. In the video above, he demonstrates the results by playing a test message and then a certain well-worn Rick Astley hit song through the siren at reduced volume.
'If you wanted to send out your own music or your own alert, you could broadcast it across entire cities.'
Hacker Balint Seeber
When WIRED reached out to ATI Systems, the company responded that "the vulnerability is largely theoretical and has not yet been seen in the field." It also argued that Bastille had broken the law with its research by violating FCC regulations against intercepting and even merely divulging the existence of government radio signals without authorization. But in a statement it sent to Bastille after the researchers warned ATI about its security flaws, ATI wrote that Bastille's findings are "likely true" and that it's testing a software update it plans to roll out soon. "Before customers panic too much, please understand that this is not a trivially easy thing that just anyone can do," that earlier statement notes. "At the same time, a certain level of concern is justified. As technology evolves, the level of threat evolves."
Seeber warns that the systems can't be easily upgraded with a remote software update and instead will require a maintenance trip to each siren pole in every city whose system is vulnerable to the spoofed signals. But in a press statement, the executive director of San Francisco's department of technology, Linda Gerull, confirmed that the city has already implemented a security upgrade across the city. ''We worked proactively with our vendor to patch the vulnerability," Gerull says. "Initial testing shows the firmware upgrade minimized the threat. Nevertheless, we will continue testing."
Missile Strikes and Nuclear LeaksAside from the three cities they tested in, Bastille's researchers note that ATI's website references siren systems installed in many other sensitive locations, including 1 World Trade Center in New York, the Indian Point nuclear power plant along the Hudson River, and campuses including UMass Amherst, Long Island University, and West Point. Bastille's researchers caution that they couldn't confirm whether those customers had installed the same vulnerable setups. But Bastille CEO Chris Risley nonetheless compares the potential for abuse of the sirens with the temporary mass panic that ensued after officials mistakenly triggered an incoming-missile alert on Hawaiian cell phones, radios, and televisions earlier this year. "If you caused evacuation around Indian Point, imagine all the chaos that warning would cause," Risley says, referring to the nuclear facility 50 miles north of New York City. "It's hard to think of infrastructure more critical than warning systems that tell us about tsunamis, air raids, and nuclear leaks."
Seeber's attack works by replicating the exact transmissions'--at the exact radio frequency'--of ATI's legitimate communications to its sirens. In fact, anyone can generate those commands, Seeber says, with a radio as simple as this $35 one sold by the Chinese company Baofeng, essentially a slightly upgraded walkie-talkie. If he were to send those signals within a range of as much as 2 miles from a powerful repeater near the center of ATI's siren networks, Seeber says it would be broadcast out to all the sirens in the system.
Seeber posits that ATI's system security depends on the notion that its radio signals are too obscure for anyone to decode rather than on any actual encryption to protect the signals or authentication that would prevent unauthorized commands from being accepted. But the rise of cheap and accessible software-defined radios that allow any hacker to pick up and or produce radio signals in a broad spectrum of frequencies has made it far easier to eavesdrop and mimic unencrypted communications than in the past. "This looks like it was security through obscurity, and in this day and age that approach is really not valid," Seeber says.
Radio ReversingStill, deciphering those communications out of thin air wasn't easy. After Seeber became determined to hack the sirens in 2015, he used Ettus Research software-defined radios to scan for their communications every Tuesday just before noon, waiting for the sirens to start. After failing to find any readable radio signals for months, he initially gave up. But after last year's hacker attack that triggered emergency sirens in Dallas for 90 minutes in the middle of the night, he was inspired to start looking again.
'It's hard to think of infrastructure more critical than warning systems that tell us about tsunamis, air raids, and nuclear leaks.'
Chris Risley, Bastille
Finally, watching a public service announcement video about the siren system, Seeber spotted a Yagi antenna that seemed to be part of the system and was able to match it to one in a catalog. Unlike the antennas on top of each siren tower, that Yagi antenna's size and shape revealed the frequency of the system's communications. "Once you've identified those magic numbers, you can start to turn what you're hearing into ones and zeroes," Seeber says. But even then, Seeber spent months more working to understand the digital protocol the siren systems used. Unlike in Dallas, which used a system sold by the company Federal Signal, the San Francisco siren communications couldn't merely be recorded and replayed. Instead, they changed slightly every week. Only after Seeber had recorded and studied weeks of radio transmission could he find the predictable pattern and reliably spoof the signal.
Since Bastille alerted ATI to the vulnerability it found in January, Seeber says he has observed an increasing amount of encrypted radio traffic from the sirens in San Francisco, a sign their security is indeed getting an upgrade. But to avoid anyone being able to replicate his attack before the systems can be secured elsewhere, Seeber isn't revealing the details of the radio frequencies or protocol he decoded. And he and Risley warn that even after ATI's sirens encrypt their radio protocols, they're likely not the only such siren systems that hackers like Seeber could exploit.
"If you have siren systems from a different vendor, you should ask if the traffic is encrypted," Risley warns cities, universities, and other facilities with emergency sirens installed. "I think, very often, you're going to find it is not."
The Sound of SirensIf you want to know how annoying'--and potentially scary'--these siren takeovers can be, just ask Dallas.Advocates have been fighting for better emergency alert systems for years, with little to show for it.Some researchers are testing an early alert system for earthquakes that so far has shown promise.
VIDEO - Another False Flag - Will Trump Escalate In Syria? - YouTube
Wed, 11 Apr 2018 17:33
VIDEO - Sky News on Twitter: "Former Prime Minister Tony Blair says he thinks there is no doubt that Russia poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury'..."
Tue, 10 Apr 2018 09:40
Log in Sign up Sky News @ SkyNews Former Prime Minister Tony Blair says he thinks there is no doubt that Russia poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury 2:19 AM - 10 Apr 2018 Twitter by: Sky News @SkyNews ps media @ PaulStainton
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@SkyNews errrrrrr
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@PaulStainton @SkyNews He also said Saddam had wmd's
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@SkyNews The same way that Saddam had WMD's? View conversation · Nico Hulo @ Dr_Dmo
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@SkyNews I had little doubt it was Russia..until Blair opened his lying gob. Now I think it was almost certainly not. Probably the Saudis.
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VIDEO - Tucker: What Do We REALLY Know This Time? - YouTube
Tue, 10 Apr 2018 05:56
VIDEO - Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he's leaving Facebook
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:26
Steve Wozniak is quitting Facebook. Buzz60
File photo taken in 2016 shows Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in San Francisco. (Photo: Martin E. Klimek, USA TODAY)
SAN FRANCISCO '-- Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told USA TODAY he's leaving Facebook out of growing concern for the carelessness with which Facebook and other Internet companies treat the private information of users.
"Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook and ... Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this," he said in an email to USA TODAY. "The profits are all based on the user's info, but the users get none of the profits back."
Wozniak said he'd rather pay for Facebook than have his personal information exploited for advertising. And he heaped praise on Apple for respecting people's privacy.
"Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you," Wozniak said. "As they say, with Facebook, you are the product."
His surprise announcement marks the latest development in back-and-forth corporate sniping by tech leaders as Facebook copes with a scandal over the potential misuse of user data by political targeting firm Cambridge Analytica. In an update last week, Facebook estimated as many as 87 million people, mostly in the United States, may have had their data improperly shared.
Facebook says 87 million may be affected by data breach. Video provided by AFP Newslook
Apple CEO Tim Cook started the unusual public criticism in late March. During a joint interview with Recode and MSNBC, he was asked what he would do about the crisis if he were in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's position.
"I wouldn't be in the situation," said Cook.
He added that Apple reviews apps to confirm that each one meets the privacy standards his company has required for users.
"We don't subscribe to the view that you have to let everybody in that wants to, or if you don't, you don't believe in free speech," said Cook. "We don't believe that."
Cook also questioned the practice of social media platforms monetizing the personal data of their users.
Zuckerberg hit back in a subsequent interview with Vox, calling Cook's comments "extremely glib."
"If you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford," said Zuckerberg.''
Championing his own company's business model, Zuckerberg also said: "At Facebook, we are squarely in the camp of the companies that work hard to charge you less and provide a free service that everyone can use. I don't think at all that that means that we don't care about people."
Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before congressional committees in Washington this week about the Cambridge Analytica episode and Facebook's response.
Starting Monday, the 87 million users whose data might have been shared with Cambridge Analytica will get a message in their news feeds. Most of the affected users '-- more than 70 million '-- are in the U.S. In addition, all 2.2 billion Facebook users will get a link so they can review what apps they use and what information is shared with those apps.
The Cambridge Analytica affair hasn't dented user engagement, according to Jefferies analyst Brent Thill.
"We analyzed Facebook's traffic over the course of March and believe that recent headlines around Facebook's data policies have not meaningfully impacted engagement on the platform," Thill wrote in a research note.
According to a survey of 750 U.S. Internet users, Facebook and Instagram are still tops, Thill found, with 93% using Facebook and about 50% using Instagram.
Wozniak is one of the prominent users who have called it quits. On Sunday, he deactivated his Facebook account after posting the following message: "I am in the process of leaving Facebook. It's brought me more negatives than positives. Apple has more secure ways to share things about yourself. I can still deal with old school email and text messages."
In an email to USA TODAY, Wozniak said he was taken aback by the extent of Facebook's data collection when he changed and deleted some of his information before deactivating his account.
"I was surprised to see how many categories for ads and how many advertisers I had to get rid of, one at a time. I did not feel that this is what people want done to them," he said. "Ads and spam are bad things these days and there are no controls over them. Or transparency."
Still, breaking up with Facebook isn't easy. Wozniak chose not to delete his Facebook account. He didn't mind bidding farewell to his 5,000 Facebook friends, many of whom he says he doesn't know. But he didn't want to give up his "stevewoz" screen name.
"I don't want someone else grabbing it, even another Steve Wozniak," he said.
Wozniak's latest comments aren't the first time he's thrown shade at Internet giants. Speaking at an international business conference in Montreal last year, Wozniak said he tries to "avoid Google and Facebook."
He cited the companies' use of widescale data-collecting operations that are used to help sharpen ad targeting of the social media platform's users, online magazine The Drum reported.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee after millions of people had their data accessed in the Cambridge Analytica scandal . (April 4) AP
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc Follow USA TODAY reporter Jessica Guynn on Twitter @jguynn
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VIDEO - Facebook deems Diamond & Silk as "Unsafe" - YouTube
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:02
VIDEO - END OF THE WORLD? Voicemail 'linked to Stephen Hawking, warns of April 'alien takeover' | Weird | News |
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 12:58
Fear and paranoia has been sparked among many amid claims this could be a clue to what happened to MH370, the truth about aliens and the date of the end of the world.
The code is said to be in the NATO phonetic alphabet and has been translated as: ''S Danger SOS it is dire for you to evacuate be caution they are not human 042933964230 SOS Danger SOS.''
Others have since received a longer version of the message.
The extended version says: ''This is not a test, this is not a joke. Over the past several years we have been wanting to send an automated voice message to people who understand and are not afraid.
A strange voicemail about an alien takeover is being received by Twitter users.
Related articles We will make ourselves known to the best of our utmost capabilities. Clear your air space for safe consequences.
Voicemail message
"One message at a time will make many know the truth. The truth that other biological beings have been walking the supreme creation that sustains life. Earth.
"But as chaos comes to your planet we must show ourselves to prove that there are different ways to keep peace. Many do not agree with what we say, so they may hunt us down.
''We will make ourselves known to the best of our utmost capabilities. Clear your air space for safe consequences.''
The first person to apparently post the shorter message was a Twitter user called Ty.
Do these pictures 'prove' the end of the world is near? Thu, November 9, 2017 According to conspiracy theorists, the end is upon us @preetalina/Twitter
1 of 11
This creature washed up on the shores of a Texas beach
Related articles On March 13, he posted the recording, asking for help to translate it.
His post received more than seven million and he gained more than 40,000 extra followers.
A few days before he posted the message, he tweeted that a strange man drove past his home at 3am and photographed it with a flash.
He thinks the creepy events are connected.
Many others came forward to say they received the message or the longer one.
The message sparked a flurry of conspiracy theories about what was being warned.
Some would-be code crackers said the code came up with coordinates which, produced on Google locations in Africa and near Malaysia.
Many speculated the latter was near where Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 vanished from radar.
Related articles Twitter user Gio de Loera said: "Are you saying that Malaysia Flight 370 encountered something non-human???"
Some users cracked the code with a strange message about late scientist Stephen Hawking.
This allegedly said: ''They are taking over.
''The message received is well related to Stephen Hawking's death, you are not ready to face them.''
Many have said the numerical sequences give April 18 this year as the of day of reckoning, rapture, or "alien take over''.
VIDEO - Uber's New Pricing Idea Is Good Theory, Risky Business - Bloomberg
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 04:42
Charging well-heeled riders more is smart economics. Until they fight back.
by Updated on
They really don't need more of this.
Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images Uber has finally confirmed what many people suspected: In some cities, at least, the company is not just raising fares when the demand for rides exceeds the supply of drivers, but is also charging higher prices to customers who it thinks will be willing to pay more.
The company uses the data it collects from customers to make educated guesses about price sensitivity. It might, for example, ask more from riders traveling to and from fancy neighborhoods, or from riders who regularly depart from businesses that are likely to provide expense accounts.
Uber Drivers Concerned About Upfront Pricing
That kind of personalized pricing '' ''price discrimination'' in economese '' is something of a holy grail because it allows companies to extract more revenue from consumers while simultaneously expanding the market. And Uber has an advantage in the race to perfect it: lots of fine-grained data on customer demand.
But Uber needs to be really careful. It's not just studying economic theory '' it's operating a dynamic marketplace in the real world. And that means there are lots of ways that individualized pricing could backfire.
First, and perhaps most familiar for Uber, is the risk of a public-relations fiasco. That's a danger for any company, but an especially significant one for a company already so troubled by bad publicity and internal culture problems that it just sidelined its chief executive, Travis Kalanick, who announced he'd be taking a leave of absence. 1
With price discrimination, though, Uber has been lucky so far: The online chatter about it hasn't escalated into the kind of public anger that erupted over ''surge pricing,'' Uber's other economically sound but notoriously unpopular pricing policy. Some of the commentary has even been positive, pointing out that while price discrimination can raise profits, it can also help society by enabling more people to access the market.
We applaud college financial aid policies, for example, because they expand access to education '' but they're a form of price discrimination, giving assistance to students who have less ability to pay, while charging full tuition to those with more resources. That said, it's reasonable to doubt that improving access is really Uber's goal.
If Uber's new pricing just starts at today's rates and pushes upwards, then Uber won't bring in any new customers '' it'll just wring more out of the customers it already has. Moreover, at least at present, it's not clear whether Uber's drivers (who themselves often come from the lower end of the income-distribution range) will get a cut of the extra revenue. Taken together, those effects could put pressure on both riders and drivers '' a formula that has caused public-relations headaches for Uber in the past.
That's not all. Uber faces a formidable antagonist: its competitor Lyft. If Lyft doesn't copy Uber's price-discrimination strategy, ride-sharing customers will become more conditioned to compare prices. That would send Uber customers to Lyft until prices become competitive again.
And Uber's customers may themselves be able to thwart Uber's plans: Every time we open our apps, we give Uber a bit more data to feed its price-determining algorithms. That lets Uber know a lot about our willingness to pay, in the same way that Google knows which ads we're more likely to click, and which YouTube videos we'll watch over and over again. But unlike Google, Uber gets a relatively restricted snapshot of our behavior '' it mostly just sees the locations we visit, which rides we consider, and which rides we do (or don't) take.
As Uber starts price discriminating, we can try to trick its algorithms into believing that we have low willingness to pay. How? By injecting some false signals into the data stream. For example, we could open the app at random, check the prices on routes we sometimes take, and then close the app without calling for a ride '' just to make ourselves look price-sensitive. We could further baffle Uber's estimates of our ride preferences by considering (and sometimes taking) rides to unusual locations.
Uber's market advantage and value proposition both rely on the company's ability to estimate supply and demand. If Uber's customers start trying to game the pricing algorithms, that could throw off Uber's demand estimates, leading to uncertainty not only in pricing but also in availability '' exactly what Uber's surge pricing was set up to avoid.
The optimal response to these obstacles is unclear. To fend off the public relations hydra, Uber needs to increase the transparency of its pricing policies. But doing so could help consumers game the system and speed the exodus to Lyft. It's a challenge, but King Uber will have to solve it on the quest for its pricing holy grail.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the author of this story: Scott Duke Kominers at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE Scott Duke Kominers is the MBA Class of 1960 Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics. Previously, he was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and the inaugural research scholar at the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago.
Read more opinion Follow @skominers on Twitter
VIDEO - Ban on home deliveries of knives in government crackdown after surge in London stabbings | The Independent
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 04:25
Anyone buying a knife online will be banned from having it sent to a residential address, under a government crackdown following a surge in street stabbings.
New legislation, to be brought forward within weeks, will also make it illegal to possess zombie knives and knuckledusters in private '' or any knife on further education premises.
Rapid firing rifles will be banned and the legal definition for threatening someone with an offensive weapon changed to make prosecutions easier.
The measures '' which also include a ban on acid sales to under-18s '' will all be included in a new ''serious violence strategy'', to be launched by the home secretary, Amber Rudd, on Monday.
It follows six shootings and stabbings in London in the past week alone and more than 50 murders in the capital in just the first three months of the year.
The strategy will mark a ''major shift in the government's response to knife crime and gun crime'', Ms Rudd will argue, while striking ''a balance between prevention and robust law enforcement''.
''This government has always stood for law and order and to tackle violent crime effectively, robust legislation and powerful law enforcement must be in place,'' the home secretary said.
''That's why we will introduce a new offensive weapons bill that includes a new offence of possessing acid in public without good reason, prevents sales of acids to under 18s and stops knives being sent to people's homes when bought online.''
Ms Rudd also insisted the government is fully behind the police wish to use stop and search powers, after one of Britain's most senior police chiefs said the backlash against them had gone too far.
She added: ''Stop and search is a vital policing tool and officers will always have the government's full support to use these powers properly.''
Most of the package of new powers was first unveiled last October, at the Conservative Party conference, which took place after a series of horrific acid attacks. It also includes:
* Updating the definition of a flick knife to reflect ''changing weapon designs''.
* Making it a criminal offence to possess corrosive substances in a public place.
* A consultation on tougher stop and search powers to enable the police to seize acid from people carrying it without good reason '' rather than simply when they have an intention to cause injury.
Ms Rudd added: ''I see no good reason why any young person should be carrying a corrosive substance in the street, so I am also announcing that we will consult on extending stop and search powers to include acid.''
Labour said the measures were ''welcome'', but said the police's ability to use them had been ''completely undermined'' by the loss of 21,000 officers since 2010.
''Talking tough is not enough,'' said Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary. ''This announcement ignores the factors which we know contribute to crime, including a lack of decent work opportunities for young people, cuts to health services and decline in community policing.
''The Tories need to put their money where their mouth is, give the police the resources they need to keep people safe and pursue a collaborative approach to tackling violent crime on our streets.''
More about: London knife crime Acid Attacks Amber Rudd Diane Abbott violent crime Reuse content
VIDEO - Facebook suspends another data analytics firm, AggregateIQ - CBS News
Mon, 09 Apr 2018 04:18
Canadian analytics firm AggregateIQ, which worked for the victorious Vote Leave campaign in the Brexit vote, has been suspended from Facebook, the company said Friday. AggregateIQ has been linked to the parent company of Cambridge Analytica , the data firm that has been accused of improperly accessing data from 87 million Facebook users.
Facebook said in a statement to CBS News that in light of reports that AggregateIQ may have received improperly received data, the firm has been suspended pending an investigation.
6 questions Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg still needs to answer "Our internal review continues, and we will co-operate fully with any investigations by regulatory authorities," read the statement.
AggregateIQ worked with four different campaigns associated with the campaign to leave the European Union in the June 2016 Brexit referendum: Vote Leave, BeLeave, Veterans for Britain and the DUP, according to the British newspaper the Guardian. Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told the Guardian that he helped found AggregateIQ while he worked at Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.
Britain's Electoral Commission said in December that VoteLeave paid 40 percent of its budget to AggregateIQ. British Columbia's Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner said last year it is investigating AggregateIQ's connection to Vote Leave and announced a joint investigation with Canada's federal privacy commissioner into both AggregateIQ and Facebook, the National Observer reported.
The firm also worked for President Trump's newly appointed national security adviser John Bolton, and the GOP Sens. Thom Tillis and Ted Cruz, according to the Guardian. Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign had also worked with Cambridge Analytica, which is at least partially funded by GOP donor Robert Mercer. Cambridge Analytica also did work for the Trump 2016 campaign, although the campaign's digital guru, Brad Parscale, has said they did not use data from Cambridge Analytica . He told " 60 Minutes " in Oct. 2017 that "psychographic" profiling that Cambridge Analytica uses "doesn't work."
Facebook announced late on March 16 that it was suspending all of SCL, which included Cambridge Analytica, as well as the accounts of Aleksandr Kogan, a psychologist who had created an app that mined data from user profiles, and Wylie. Hours later, interviews with Wylie were published in the Guardian and The New York Times alleging that Cambridge Analytica had exploited a loophole within Facebook that allowed it access the data of 50 million users despite that only 270,000 had signed up for the app. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has since said the number of user profiles accessed is closer to 87 million.
In the weeks since the news broke, Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have pledged the company will do a better job to protect users' data. But Sanderg admitted Friday in an interview with NBC's "Today" that users' data is the lifeblood of Facebook. If they want to opt out of sharing all their data, they will have to pay for it.
Meanwhile, Facebook's shares have sunk 14 percent since The New York Times and the Guardian's Observer published their interviews with Wylie, wiping out tens of billions of dollars in market value.
Zuckerberg will answer questions from Congress next week. In the meantime, Facebook said it's auditing records in an effort to find any other companies that may have taken advantage of its service, CNET reports.
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