Updates from March, 2018 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Humana,   

    Is retail’s venture into healthcare dangerous? 

    Is retail's venture into healthcare dangerous?

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that retail giant Walmart may be in talks to acquire one of the nation’s leading health insurers in Humana. If the acquisition talks were to be true, this would just be the latest in a series of talks between retail outlets and healthcare providers, but is it a good trend?

    Currently, pharmacy chain CVS is in talks to purchase Aetna, and Amazon has been looking to get into the pharmacy management business. With these acquisitions are we headed to a future if a healthcare cabal where only a few corporations can control reimbursement rates? It does seem to appear that way.

    With retail heading towards a duopoly between Walmart and Amazon these two companies once again are showing signs of trying to be all things to all people by also trying to control healthcare. If this trend continues, we may be seeing a single payer healthcare system in our future, but not one administered by the government for all citizens but rather by the profit driven iron fist of a possible single corporate entity for only those who could possibly afford it.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on March 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Airbnb being used in craigslist scam 

    Airbnb being used in craigslist scam

    Short-term rental platform Airbnb has had its own problems lately when it comes to local zoning laws and ever-increasing pressure from the hospitality industry. Now, they find themselves as unwilling participants in a rental scam that unsurprisingly takes place on craigslist, and like most craigslist scams, it’s a new twist on an old scam.

    A report out of Minneapolis is stating that a property listed on Airbnb for temporary stays is being listed on craigslist as a more permanent rental. The craigslist scammers copied the Airbnb ad almost word for word and stole all the pictures used in the original ad. The scammers then tried to get a victim to wire them $2,100 to an out-of-state bank. This isn’t the only type of Airbnb scam perpetrated through craigslist as this video shows.

    As stated before, this is a twist on an old scam where craigslist scammers would copy entire ads from the websites of realtors of homes for sale, then list the properties on craigslist as rentals in order to try to scam people out of phony deposit or background check fees depending on how ambitious the scammers are.

    As with any online transaction, never wire money anywhere. It’s too easy for the scammers to remain anonymous and make off with your money. In too many instances the money lost is all the money the victims had in trying to find a home for their families who are then left penniless and without a roof over their heads.

     
  • Geebo 9:07 am on March 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , housing   

    Facebook accused of discriminatory housing ads 

    Facebook accused of discriminatory housing ads

    It appears that Facebook is trying to fend off controversy from all sides these days. Not only is it facing lawsuits over the data they’ve been allegedly collecting from Android users, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to testify himself before Congress over the purported Cambridge Analytical data breach. Now to compound matters for Facebook, they’re being sued for allegedly allowing certain demographics from seeing certain housing ads.

    Four fair housing groups are suing Facebook claiming that their ad program allows groups such as single parent families, disabled veterans and minorities from to be excluded from seeing housing ads based on users likes and groups. According to the complainants, they created a phony realty firm and Facebook had a preset list of options of who could be excluded from being shown the ads.

    Choosing from a list of preset options, the fictitious landlord was able to exclude people with interests in the “National Association for Bikers with a Disability,” “Disabled American Veterans,” “Disability.gov,” and “Disabled Parking Permit.” Facebook estimated that the ad would reach 1.2 million people, the group reported.

    Facebook denies the charges and says the lawsuit has no merit, however, this isn’t the first time Facebook has come under fire for discriminatory ad practices. Late last year they were accused of allowing job ads to be shown only to a certain age group.

    For all intents and purposes, Facebook is a monopoly as they virtually have no competition in the social media space. If they continue to engage in such practices like they’re being accused of, how long will it be before the government decides to either heavily regulate them or break them up? Considering the unchecked power they wield it can’t come soon enough.

     
  • Geebo 9:06 am on March 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andrew Turley, , ,   

    Why you shouldn’t mourn the craigslist personals 

    Why you shouldn't mourn the craigslist personals

    As we posted last week, craigslist shuttered its personals section in anticipation of FOSTA being signed into law. Many in tech circles are lamenting the loss of craigslist personals as if it was some place where wholesome couples would meet so they could attend church and ice cream socials together. What they’re conveniently forgetting is that the personals section of craigslist had a much more sinister undercurrent that not much of the public was aware of.

    For example, recently, 30-year-old Andrew Turley was sentenced to 60 years behind bars for trying to sell his 4-year-old daughter for the purposes of sex on craigslist. According to investigators, Turley would drug his daughter to make her compliant. After police responded to his craigslist ad they found his daughter in a ‘groggy state’ and appeared to be under the influence of some type of drug.

    Sadly, this is not just a one-off occurrence as the Craigslist personals have a long history of this type of activity. This wasn’t even the youngest victim to ever be sold through craigslist as an Idaho man tried selling a 3-year-old girl through craigslist. In either case, none of the ads were flagged by craigslist’s community policing. For those of you who try to say that this will drive the predators underground, that’s the whole point. Without such a platform like craigslist, predators will have one less highly trafficked platform to find their victims and reprehensible parents won’t have the marketplace to sell their kids.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Facebook has been collecting Android user data for years 

    Facebook has been collecting Android user data for years

    While the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to find its way into the headlines, Facebook is undergoing yet another perceived breach of user trust. Over the weekend, tech news site Ars Technica reported that Facebook has been allegedly collecting data for years from users who use its mobile application on Android devices.

    The report states that Facebook has been collecting information not just on your contacts on Android, but information about your calls and text messages such as who you contacted and how long the call may have been. Facebook tries to defend itself by saying this an optional and voluntary feature, but as the Ars Technica report points out, that particular check box is pre-checked when you install Facebook to your device. Forbes has an article on how you can see how much of your data Facebook has and how to prevent Facebook from gathering this data in the future.

    Even Silicon Valley, which is normally protective of its own, has been coming down hard on Facebook lately. Not only has Elon Musk removed the Facebook pages for Tesla and Space X, but Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “well-crafted” rules toward Facebook privacy may well be needed.

    It’s long been said on the internet that if you’re using a free service as much as Facebook is used, you’re not the customer but the product. With each passing day, Facebook continuously seems to prove that adage correct.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on March 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Craigslist pulls personal ads ahead of FOSTA signing 

    Craigslist pulls personal ads ahead of FOSTA signing

    Before the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) could even be signed into law, craigslist has taken it upon themselves to remove the personal ads section from their website. Anyone clicking on any of the personal ad links on craigslist are met with the above message. As is usually the case with craigslist, they’re playing the victim over something they should have done years ago.

    To hear craigslist tell it, they sound like FOSTA is about to kill all romance on the internet. What craigslist isn’t telling you is that their personal ads, like most sections of their site, have long been the home of criminal activity. When craigslist shut down its erotic services section after public pressure, whatever human trafficking ads didn’t move to Backpage moved to craigslist’s personals section. That’s not even taking into account that craigslist’s casual encounters section was often used by child predators looking for their next victim. So while craigslist is acting like some kind of martyr, let it never be forgotten that their personals section has mostly been a cesspool of crime.

    Eight years ago, Geebo decided to remove personal ads from its site. Not because of any public pressure or impending legislation, but because it was the right thing to do. Craigslist has only itself to blame since they failed to monitor their own site for decades.

     
    • Chad Frey 1:38 pm on March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Good , Something they should of done years ago. I never met anyone off of personals on craigslist. The only question is this what took them so damn long?

  • Geebo 9:29 am on March 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car title, lien,   

    Make sure you buy a car with a lien-free title 

    Make sure you buy a car with a lien-free title

    Unless you live in a major metropolitan area like New York or San Francisco, it’s almost impossible to get around in our country without a car. This is especially imperative for lower-income families who may have trouble paying for things such as insurance or the many state fees included with car ownership. That’s why you need to be extra careful when buying a used car online. We’ve detailed many used car scams before, but now we’re hearing of a new one that could leave you broke and without a vehicle.

    In Glendale, Arizona, a woman recently purchased a used car from a seller on a classifieds app. The seller had a sob story about how she had to pay for a recent funeral and didn’t even have money for food or their cell phone. The buyer, feeling sorry for the seller, not only bought the car, but bought groceries for the seller and paid for the seller’s cell phone bill. It wasn’t too much longer after the transaction that the car was repossessed and the buyer was then out of her money and no longer had the car. The car had a lien on it from title loan company. Even though the car was sold to a new owner the title loan company had the legal right to repossess the car.

    Whenever buying a used car, always do a history check of the car even if you’re pressed for time in needing a vehicle. Always obtain the vehicle’s VIN number which can be usually found on the driver’s side toward the bottom of the windshield as you look into the car. Many states provide a free or low-cost service where you can see if there are any liens on the car. You can also use the more expensive independent services like Carfax and others to get a more detailed history of the car.

    Not having a car today is a major inconvenience to say the least. To not have a car and losing a big sum of money in the process can be crippling for some families. So please take the time in researching a car before purchasing.

     
  • Geebo 9:29 am on March 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Chris Cox, , , Section 230   

    Author of Section 230: 230 was not to facilitate people doing bad things on the internet 

    Author of Section 230: 230 was not to facilitate people doing bad things on the internet

    With Congress about to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, a number of pundits in tech circles have decried the amendment as the end of free speech on the internet and various other reasons why the sky is falling. However, one of the section’s authors says that Section 230 is not being used the way it was intended. Former Congressman Chris Cox recently said that Section 230 “was to help clean up the Internet, not to facilitate people doing bad things on the Internet.”

    Cox helped wrote the legislation back in 1994 when a financial company tried to sue the platform Prodigy for libel when one of its users had accused the financial company of fraud. Since Prodigy moderated its content for language the courts ruled against Prodigy. Cox wanted protection for platforms like Prodigy from third-party users. The fact that we’re talking about Prodigy, a long dead internet portal, should show you how antiquated Section 230 truly is.

    As you may know, Section 230 is about to be amended to include language that would help prosecute websites and platforms that knowingly facilitate human trafficking such as Backpage is accused of doing. Congressman Cox even says that websites connected to unlawful activity should not be protected by Section 230. Let’s also not forget that we’re talking about real human lives that are being peddled through Backpage and if Backpage would be forced to curtail its activities it would greatly reduce the number of women and children being sold as slaves in the US. Without Backpage, we wouldn’t have every two-bit wannabe pimp thinking they can make themselves some money just by getting some girls and advertising them on Backpage. While it wouldn’t solve the trafficking crisis completely, it would go a long way in keeping a lot of people safe from the life that Backpage gets rich off of.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on March 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Anti-Backpage trafficking bill on track to become law 

    Anti-Backpage trafficking bill set to become law

    Late last month, the US House of Representatives passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, or FOSTA. Yesterday, the US Senate voted almost unanimously to advance their version of the act known as the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, or SESTA. It’s expected to be passed by the Senate later today and then signed into law later this week. SESTA/FOSTA would allow the victims of online sex trafficking to seek damages against sites like Backpage who allegedly knowingly assisted in the trafficking trade.

    As has been mentioned before, SESTA/FOSTA amends section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 which Backpage has used to claim that their role in the sex trade is protected free speech under the law. A number of opponents to SESTA/FOSTA claim that this amendment will mean the death of free speech on the internet as we know it, however, that is simply not true. As this piece on political blog The Hill points out, “the legislation requires proof that a website “knowingly” assisted, facilitated, or supported sex trafficking when it entered into a venture with a sex trafficker.”

    All the evidence that has been uncovered by journalists and a congressional investigation seem to point out that Backpage knowingly engaged and assisted sex traffickers by advising them on what to put in their ads. This is and has never been an issue about free speech, but rather the freedom of the women and children who have been trafficked on Backpage. Most arguments against the purported legislation are just fear-mongering and histrionics.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on March 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Steve Bannon   

    50 million Facebook accounts exposed in political data breach 

    50 million Facebook accounts exposed in political data breach

    In a story that seems like it was taken straight from the 1988 sci-fi movie ‘They Live’, a large data firm is accused of allegedly breaching the Facebook accounts of 50 million US voters in order to ‘change audience behavior’. It was supposedly done, once again, to try to influence the 2016 Presidential election.

    Cambridge Analytica is accused of allegedly using a paid survey app that was disguised as a personality test. The app required users to log in through Facebook. After a user logged into Facebook, the app would not only harvest the information of the user, but also data from everyone in the user’s friends list. Trump advisor Steve Bannon was a board member of Cambridge Analytica and, according to the New York Times, “was intrigued by the possibility of using personality profiling to shift America’s culture and rewire its politics.”

    To make matters worse, Facebook allegedly knew of the misuse of the data and did little about it except to ask Cambridge Analytica to delete the information they had. Again, the New York Times claims that the data was not deleted and was discoverable online. So this seems like it is another instance where Facebook supposedly knew of alleged election interference and chose to do next to nothing about it. Many lawmakers are even calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress. It’s about high time that he did since it’s obvious he really has little to no control over what’s really happening throughout Facebook and the detrimental effect it has on our society.

     
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