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  • Geebo 9:01 am on April 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Radcliffe Haughton, Zina Daniel Haughton   

    Court rules lawsuit can continue against Armslist 

    Court rules lawsuit can continue against Armslist

    Image via the New York Post

    We originally posted about Armslist here. Armslist is known as ‘the craigslist of guns’ as it allows private sales of guns between owners and buyers. The site is not without controversy as it has been seen by some as an avenue of illegal gun sales. In many states, private gun sales do not need a background check to be completed. This has led to a number of criminals circumventing the background checks by using Armslist to obtain their firearms. Much like Backpage used to, Armslist has been held relatively harmless in these matters due to the Communications Decency Act of 1996. However, a recent court ruling may see Armslist lose that protection.

    In 2012, Radcliffe Haughton stormed his estranged wife’s workplace in Brookfield, Wisconsin, shooting and killing his wife, Zina Daniel Haughton, and two other victims before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Haughton had a domestic violence injunction against him which prevented him from legally owning a gun. He is said to have purchased the gun used in the killings off of Armslist in order to evade any kind of background check. Zina’s daughter, Yasmeen Daniel, had previously tried to sue Armslist for their role in facilitating the gun sale but the suit was dismissed due to the CDA which stated that Armslist was not responsible for what their users may or may not do. Yesterday, However, the Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit stating that it can be argued that Armslist is designed to facilitate illegal gun sales.

    Again, all Armslist does to discourage illegal gun sales is to make users click on a button that says they’re over 18 and they’re legally able to purchase a gun and that’s it. While that may be enough to legally absolve them from any wrongdoing it doesn’t absolve them from the fact that by allegedly turning a blind eye to illegal sales there is blood on their hands.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on April 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Johnny Barker, Kevin Garcia-Boettler, , , ,   

    Arrests made in the craigslist disappearance of Okla. men 

    Arrests made in the craigslist disappearance of Okla. men

    There’s been an update to yesterday’s story about the disappearance of two men from Moore, Oklahoma, who went missing after an alleged craigslist transaction. Sadly, the bodies of 21-year-olds Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland were found in a pond with both men having been shot to death. Three suspects have been arrested and charged in their murders, and they are 22-year-old Kevin Garcia-Boettler, 43-year-old Johnny Barker, and the 16-year-old brother of Garcia-Boettler.

    According to police, Moreland and Smith were said to be selling a gun on craigslist and the trio of suspects were meeting with the two men to purchase the gun. Once Moreland and Smith approached the suspects’ van, one of the suspects claims they heard a gun being cocked by one of the victims. This resulted in one of the suspects firing on the two men, killing them both. Tragically, this could have all been prevented.

    Craigslist’s terms of service forbids firearms from being sold or traded on their site, yet it happens all the time. The problem with craigslist is the usual one as they hardly ever do any kind of moderation on their site for any kind of illegal items or sales. Instead, they rely on their users to flag any kind of inappropriate ad, the same users who are posting the illegal ads to begin with. This is akin to the inmates running the asylum. Craigslist has the ability to screen for ads like this as they have done so in the past with unlocked iPhones when that was still illegal. Yet they allow guns to change hands without even batting an eye.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on April 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Two men missing after possible craigslist abduction 

    Two men missing after possible craigslist abduction

    Over this past weekend, two Oklahoma families are experiencing their worst nightmares after members of their families disappeared during what was believed to be a craigslist transaction. 21-year-olds Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland were reportedly abducted from a supermarket parking lot in Moore, Oklahoma, by two men in a white van. Shots were also said to have been fired during the abduction and a bloody gun was found at the scene.

    This was no midnight meeting either as the two men met their purported abductors at 6:00 PM on a Saturday in a busy parking lot. This is the definition of a well-lit public place during the day. Sadly, these precautions weren’t enough as their captors committed a brazen daylight attack against the two victims. Police are looking to the public for help in finding the two victims.

    Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Smith and Moreland is asked to call the Moore Police Department at (405)793-5171.

    As we have stated in the past, we believe the safest place to conduct any kind of classifieds transaction is at your local police department as many stations across the country are now encouraging citizens to use their locations to conduct business safely. I understand there are segments of the population who don’t trust police and many have good reason to be fearful. However, it may be worth putting those fears aside in order to be able to go home to your family.

    Our thoughts go out to the families of Mr. Smith and Mr. Moreland, and we are hoping for their safe return.

     
  • Geebo 9:11 am on April 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , romance scam   

    Fake Facebook profiles a problem for the military 

    Fake Facebook profiles a problem for the military

    One of the other issues discussed with Mark Zuckerberg by Congress was not just that of privacy, but that of identity theft. US Representative Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, mentioned to Zuckerberg that the Congressman had his own information stolen by scammers who had created fake profiles in order to extort money from victims. According to CBS Marketwatch, this is not a new problem on Facebook and often targets members of the military to steal their identity.

    Members of the military often have their profiles copied to make fake Facebook profiles by overseas scammers. The scammers then use the fake profiles to try to get someone romantically interested in the fake profile. This is hen usually followed up by some request for money from the victim. These scams have claimed anywhere from hundreds to millions of dollars from victims, and it’s believed the crime is underreported due to the number of victims who are too embarrassed to come forward.

    Facebook is usually not a big help when it comes to these fake profiles. When the military reports these profiles, Facebook will have them removed, but then they’ll just pop right back up soon after. As in the video shown above, the serviceman whose profile was copied again and again couldn’t get the fakes removed due to Facebook claiming that the fake profiles did not violate their ever-vague ‘community guidelines’.

    Now you may be savvy enough to not fall for such a scam, but think of all your friends on Facebook who may not be. If they’re suddenly head over heels for someone in the military they’ve met online, warn them that this may be a scam, especially if they ask for money. As a military spokesperson put it to CBS…

    Members of the military shouldn’t be asking for money, said Heusdens. “If they say they need help paying for a medical bill, the military pays for medical treatment for soldiers,” she said. Likewise, asking for help to buy food is a red flag.

    “We get fed very well,” she said.

     
  • Geebo 10:07 am on April 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Are traffickers targeting your kids through social media? 

    Are traffickers targeting your kids through social media?

    When an a news article or blog post asks a question in the headline the answer is usually no. However, with this blog post the answer is actually yes, but with more context then these type of articles would normally give. Recently, the tabloid-ish New York Post recently ran an article entitled “Sex traffickers are using social media to target children.” The Post article seems to imply that with Backpage’s closure, pimps and traffickers are turning to social media to recruit new victims. While I’m sure that there has been an increase in traffickers turning to social media, this is nothing new.

    Pimps and traffickers have been targeting children on social media since at least the days of MySpace. More recently, traffickers troll apps like Instagram and Snapchat in order to approach potential new victims. Usually these culprits promise their victims lives of wealth. Sometimes they’ll tell their victims that they could be models or singers, or they’ll approach their victims romantically then proclaim to be their boyfriend when they’ve told other victims the same thing.

    So what can parents do to prevent their kids from falling under the control of a pimp? One of the best thing to do is monitor your child’s social media accounts. Question any comment or message left by someone that you think is inappropriate. If your child can’t identify someone on their friends list as someone they know in real life then that friend probably doesn’t need to be on their friends list. You may also want to consider holding on to your child’s devices at bedtime, this way no one can be messaging your kids at night away from the eyes of parents.

    The most important thing you can do is talk to your children and let them know that there are people online who are looking to take advantage of them and how they can recognize the signs. In most cases, all it takes is a little parental diligence to keep your kids from ending up in the hands of these modern-day slave traders.

     
  • Geebo 9:07 am on April 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Backpage CEO pleads guilty to human trafficking charges 

    Backpage CEO pleads guilty to human trafficking charges

    Former Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

    In a previous post, we wondered what Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer’s role was in the Federal seizure of Backpage since his name did not appear on the 93-count indictment against other Backpage heads and employees. Now we know as it has been announced that prior to the seizure of Backpage, Ferrer pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to facilitate prostitution.

    Yesterday, Federal authorities announced that they took Ferrer to three separate states to plead guilty against the various charges against him in Texas, Arizona and California. Ferrer has also agreed to testify against Backpage founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. In his pleas Ferrer admitted that Backpage was well aware that the ads on its site were used to facilitate prostitution.

    “I have long been aware,” Ferrer wrote, “that the great majority of these advertisements are, in fact, advertisements for prostitution services (which are not protected by the First Amendment and which are illegal in 49 states and in much of Nevada).”

    Ferrer also admitted that Backpage was used to launder money after the credit card companies stopped accepting payments for Backpage.

    “I worked with my co-conspirators to find ways to fool credit card companies into believing that Backpage-associated charges were being incurred on different websites,” as well as route Backpage money through seemingly unrelated entities, and to use companies which processed crypto-currencies.”

    This virtually nullifies any kind of ‘free speech’ argument Backpage could possibly present in court.

    When asked for his reaction on Ferrer’s arrest, Geebo CEO Greg Collier issued the following statement…

    With the recent announcement of former Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer admitting that Backpage was complicit in not only promoting prostitution through their website, but also laundering money, we here at Geebo wish to earnestly thank Mr. Ferrer for doing the right thing. While we imagine it couldn’t have been easy for Mr. Ferrer to make the decision to plead guilty to human trafficking and laundering charges while facing possible jail time and a forfeiture of substantial assets, we applaud him for taking the steps necessary in order to shutter what was once called the country’s largest online avenue of human trafficking. While we have been critical of Mr. Ferrer’s practices in the past, Backpage’s closure could not have been done without him. Many mothers will now not have their daughters sold into slavery on Backpage thanks to his actions.

    In exchange for his plea, Ferrer is looking at a maximum of five years in prison and forfeiture of his corporate assets.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on April 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Zuckerberg: Facebook is not a monopoly 

    Zuckerberg: Facebook is not a monopoly

    For the past two days, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before both houses of Congress in regards to the data breaches and scandals that have been in the public eye since the 2016 Presidential election. Zuckerberg’s total testimony added up to about ten hours of testimony in total, and in that ten hours not a lot of progress was actually made as Mr. Zuckerberg either tried to deflect the questions asked of him or would offer a nebulous explanation of how Facebook works.

    However, that’s not to say there wasn’t some newsworthy information to come from Mr. Zuckerberg’s testimony. When Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked if Zuckerberg thought Facebook was a monopoly, Zuckerberg responded with “It certainly doesn’t feel like that to me.” When asked by Sen Dan Sullivan (R-AK) if Facebook was too powerful, Zuckerberg replied with the non-answer of “We need to have a conversation about the right regulation.” Yet in his testimony Zuckerberg claimed that “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

    As we have seen through the election meddling, the Cambridge Analytica breach, and the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people through Facebook in Myanmar, the social media giant absolutely has too much power. It has so much power that Facebook isn’t even control of all of the power it possesses. The question that then needs to be asked is Mark Zuckerberg so insulated from his own company that he believes what he is telling Congress, or is he just an outright liar? No one man or company should hold such global power. Facebook needs to either rethink their business model or face possible regulatory wrath of Congress that hasn’t been seen since the breakup of AT&T.

     
  • Geebo 9:49 am on April 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Geebo: Stemming the tide of human trafficking at home 

    Geebo: Stemming the tide of human trafficking at home

    An example of many of the trafficking ads we’ve been receiving lately.

    As I’m sure you’ve read, Backpage.com was seized this past Friday by the Federal government. Two of its founders were not only indicted, but are currently sitting in jail. From the beginning, Backpage’s business model was based on the sexual slave trade, collecting as much as 99% of their revenue from the ads placed by pimps and traffickers. While making hundreds of millions of dollars in such an illicit way, the seizure of Backpage was the only logical way this could have ended.

    Since Backpage’s closure, Geebo has been receiving a torrent of ‘adult’ ad submissions for review. The keyword in that sentence is ‘review’ as Geebo has always reviewed ads for objectionable content. Thanks to the great software used under the hood at Geebo and the human curation done by our moderation staff, we have never allowed and never will allow Geebo to become a haven for those who would sell women and children into sexual servitude. Since day one and with little fanfare, Geebo has committed itself to keep its ads free from the likes posted on Backpage while maintaining a profitable business. Toward that end, Geebo was an industry trend setter when CEO Greg Collier made the decision to remove personal ads from the site in 2010 in order to prevent the ads from being abused by traffickers, where on other sites many victims are tricked into being trafficked through their personal ads.

    Another great thing about Geebo is that these decisions weren’t made due to public pressure or pending legislation. These decisions were made out of something that appears to be rare in the industry these days, and that is common human decency. Craigslist shut down there adult services section only after massive public pressure from the media, and closed their personals after the passage of FOSTA/SESTA, which is almost an admission that trafficking was still taking place on their personals. When the credit card companies cut off Backpage, they became so desperate to stay in business they started accepting payment for prostitution ads in cash, Bitcoin and gift cards. If they hadn’t been raided by Federal authorities there’s no doubt that Backpage would still be collecting money for these ads. Geebo shows that a classifieds site can be run ethically without having to resort to questionable ads designed to make money off of the suffering of others.

     
  • Geebo 9:09 am on April 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Where in the world is Carl Ferrer? 

    Where in the world is Carl Ferrer?

    Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

    Yesterday, the 93-count indictment against seven Backpage employees was finally made public. As previously noted, Backpage co-founder Michael Lacey was already known to have been named in the indictment. What we know now is the remaining six people being indicted for various charges related to the Federal seizure of Backpage. One of the expected names to be listed on the indictment was the other co-founder of Backpage, Jim Larkin, and his name is listed second on the indictment. However, there is one name that’s missing from the list of the seven Backpage employees who you would think would be at or near the top of the list.

    Thanks to the AIM Group, we have a list of those who have been indicted. They include…

    — Michael Lacey, founder of Backpage

    — James Larkin, a cofounder

    — Scott Spear, EVP of a Backpage parent company and one-time part-owner

    — John “Jed” Brunst, CFO of a Backpage parent company and one-time part owner

    — Dan Hyer, the company’s sales and marketing director

    — Andrew Padilla, operations manager

    — Joye Vaught, assistant operations manager

    In case you’re still wondering whose name is not appearing on the list it would be that of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer. However, while not currently under indictment, Ferrer is referenced to several times in the indictment by the initials “C.F.” and not always refered to in the best light. For example, C.F. is said to have rejected an implementation that would admonish Backpage users if they used search terms that would indicate they were looking for a child prostitute. This is the same Carl Ferrer who decided to just ignore a Congressional subpoena in 2015.

    This obviously leads to the question, is Carl Ferrer the reason the seizure took place in the first place? The feds could have had a big enough carrot to dangle in front of Ferrer as he was still facing money laundering charges in the state of California. If that’s the case Ferrer should be applauded somewhat for allowing the internet’s largest avenue for human trafficking facilitation to be taken down, but let’s keep in mind that in the past, Ferrer has never had the best of intentions. One also has to wonder if Ferrer may have been granted immunity from prosecution if he turned on his seven cohorts. Although, I would imagine this wouldn’t make him immune to any civil litigation which probably would hurt Ferrer more than any prison sentence.

    The entire indictment can be read below.

    Backpage Indictment by trenchreynolds on Scribd

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on April 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CubeYou, , , , Senator John Neely Kennedy   

    Senator to Facebook: “We Can Do It The Easy Way Or The Hard Way” 

    Senator to Facebook: "We Can Do It The Easy Way Or The Hard Way"

    U.S. Senator John Neely Kennedy (R-La.)

    While we await further news on any prosecutorial action against Backpage, Facebook continues to dominate the headlines with more potential data breaches and a possible Congressional showdown.

    The first bit of news that made headlines over the weekend was that Facebook divulged another potentially damaging data breach that happened in a similar vein to that of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook is said to have suspended operations with an analytical firm called CubeYou. CubeYou was accused of harvesting personal data from Facebook users through those quizzes that many people take on Facebook that appear on the surface to be innocuous. In this instance, CubeYou is accused of allegedly using the information collected to sell to marketers.

    How many more of these analytical firms are collecting Facebook user data against Facebook’s wishes? That’s what U.S. Senator John Kennedy would like to know. Yesterday Senator Kennedy, no relation to the famous Kennedy political family, appeared on Face the Nation and had a warning for Mark Zuckerberg. In the mostly friendly interview Senator Kennedy stated that he doesn’t want to regulate Facebook ‘half to death’, however, he also said that if Facebook is unwilling or incapable of fixing their problems, the Senator said “We can do this the easy way, or the hard way” in regard to Mark Zuckerberg’s expected appearance before Congress this week.

    Senator Kennedy seems like he has a good grasp on this situation at hand with Facebook. It appears that Senator Kennedy could either be Mark Zuckerberg’s best friend or worst enemy depending on how forthcoming the Facebook CEO will be with Congress this week.

     
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