Updates from October, 2018 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:14 am on October 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hurricane Michael, phone service   

    Ajit Pai blames telcos for slow response after hurricane due to regulations he enacted 

    Ajit Pai blames telcos for slow response after hurricane due to regulations he enacted

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    After Hurricane Michael recently struck Florida, many in the devastated areas were left without any kind of phone service. This was reminiscent to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 when many New York residents were left without similar capabilities. In both cases, the phone companies were slow to restore service. In 2012, Verizon was hesitant to restore landlines after the storm destroyed the lines. The Obama-era FCC instituted regulation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy that required service restoration by the telcos after natural disasters.

    Now, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai criticized the phone companies for not restoring phone service in Florida quickly enough after Hurricane Michael. But as Ars Technica points out, Chairman Pai is basically criticizing a problem that he created. Pai repealed the Obama-era requirement to restore service in 2017 claiming that the regulation prevented the telcos from upgrading their copper lines to fiber. This didn’t prevent Chairman Pai from criticizing Verizon, his former employer, from not responding fast enough to restore service in Florida.

    In my opinion, this is more evidence of how Ajit Pai acts like someone from the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s novel 1984. He says things to the public that are so blatantly untrue you have to wonder if he knows he’s lying or if he actually believes what he’s saying. For example when Pai claimed that the majority of Americans were opposed to net neutrality while the public was clamoring for the FCC to keep the protections in place. While I’m not prone to name calling, Ajit Pai is a joke and only has his position as a way to protect the interest of the telecommunications companies rather than the American people.

     
  • Geebo 9:04 am on October 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Mankato,   

    17-year-old caught with gun from Armslist 

    17-year-old caught with gun from Armslist

    Previously, I’ve posted about how ‘the craigslist of guns’, better known as Armslist, has been used by several felons to purchase guns when the law expressly prohibits felons from owning guns. Armslist falls under the ‘gun show’ loophole meaning no background check is required when the private sale of a firearm is made. These shady gun sales through Armslist have led to several murders. Now besides felons, who is the last type of person who should be buying a gun through Armslist? If you answered minors you would be correct. However, this hasn’t stopped at least one teen from buying a weapon from the dubious website.

    In Mankato, Minnesota, a 17-year-old male was pulled over by a state trooper for allegedly speeding. The trooper was said to believe that there may have been drugs in the car. When the car was searched the trooper reportedly found a minor amount of drugs but also found a handgun. The driver claimed that he bought the gun from a private seller on Armslist for $300. In case you were wondering, Minnesota state law dictates you have to be at least 18 before legally purchasing a handgun. The suspect is facing felony charges of underage gun possession and drug possession.

    Thankfully, the teen decided not to engage the trooper with the weapon at hand. That may have been his smartest move. Considering how many law enforcement officers end up being ambushed in similar situations this teen should never have had the gun in the first place. What is it going to take for either Armslist to start being more responsible or for legislators to close the gun show loophole? Since the multitudes of murders and mass shootings haven’t changed the laws or Armslist’s disregard for safety, will it take a shooting tragedy of such massive proportions that it shakes us from our complacency for these types of shooting before anything is done? Instead, action should be taken now before our country reaches that level of violence.

     
  • Geebo 9:05 am on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Boston, Kurt Stokinger, ,   

    Armslist sued by Boston cop shot by illegal gun 

    Armslist sued by Boston cop shot by illegal gun

    Armslist, the so-called ‘craigslist of guns, is back in the news once again. Previously, Armslist has been tied to a domestic violence-related murder and the murder of a Chicago police commander. In both cases, the guns used to commit these crimes were purchased through Armslist by people who were forbidden by law from owning a gun. Much like Backpage did before it was seized by federal investigators, Armslist hides behind the Communications Decency Act of 1996 claiming that they’re not responsible for their users’ actions. A new lawsuit is looking to change Armslist’s tired tune.

    In 2016, Boston Police Officer Kurt Stokinger was shot in the leg by a known drug dealer. The incident left Officer Stokinger with considerable medical issues. The gun used to shoot Officer Stokinger was not only bought through Armslist but the seller had sold over 60 guns with the serial numbers removed. Officer Stokinger is suing Armslist, the shooter, and the seller. The lawsuit claims…

    “Armlist chose to establish an online firearms marketplace which facilitated sales to illegal purchasers and did not include reasonable safeguards to minimize the risks of illegal and dangerous conduct.”

    As has been mentioned before, Armslist falls under the gun show loophole where firearm sales from private sellers do not require a background check. In my opinion, there’s no way Armslist could have gotten into this business without realizing that their platform would be used for a plethora of illegal sales. Much like how Backpage was well aware that they were dealing in the human trafficking trade. And much like how the time eventually came for Backpage, the time will come for Armslist as well if they don’t change their policy of allowing anonymous firearm sales with no regard for human life.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Latest Facebook hack was not politically motivated. The real explanation is worse. 

    Latest Facebook hack was not politically motivated. The real explanation is worse.

    It was back in late September, which was not all that long ago, when it was announced that Facebook was hacked to the tune of 50 million accounts. The hack not only exposed user information but allowed the hackers access to what’s been referred to as ‘access tokens’, which theoretically would allow the hackers to gain access to other platforms which use Facebook as a login. While Facebook is now claiming the number of accounts hacked was closer to 30 million, it was believed the attack was carried out by state-sponsored agents. Now, Facebook is walking back on that claim and the new claim isn’t much better.

    According to yesterday’s report from the Wall Street Journal, brought here via Business Insider, an anonymous Facebook insider has said that the hack was conducted by your run of the mill spam hackers. These hackers are the type who are in it for the money rather than any political ideal. Among some of the information that was taken from Facebook were birthdates, phone numbers, search history of Facebook users.

    In my opinion, it’s worse that Facebook was hacked by a group of spam hackers rather than a foreign power. To me, this means that Facebook’s security is lacking in a basic way since they can’t keep out the hackers who sell your information to email spammers and phone scammers. An attack from a world power can almost be understood against a platform that is as massive as Facebook. However, Facebook’s security should be above nickel and dime attacks like this that are more akin to the stereotypical hacker who lives in their parents’ basement.

    A saying that’s been going around in tech circles lately is that the only safe Facebook account is a deleted Facebook account.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Tennessee   

    Are you in danger of this twist on the check scam? 

    Are you in danger of this twist on the check scam?

    I’ve been writing about various scams for quite some time now. One of the more prevalent scams is what’s referred to as the fake check scam. How this scam usually works is when you post something for sale online, you may receive a check for more than your asking price. The person who sent you the check will say something along the lines of the excess amount was a mistake and that you should deposit the check then wire them back the difference. You should never deposit one of these checks as they often turn out to be counterfeit and you could end up being responsible for paying the full amount of the phony check to your bank. Now, there is a variation of that scam which targets people who write personal checks in their daily lives.

    While this may not technically be a new scam, it is the first I’m hearing about it and it’s been a long time since I’ve heard of a new scam. Anyway, in Tennessee, an IT professional discovered that several thousand dollars were missing from her checking account. When she contacted her bank it turned out that some unscrupulous type was printing out cashiers checks using her banking account information. While the bank was able to return her money to her, the scammer used the bogus checks to buy a motorcycle off of craigslist. That means that whoever was selling the motorcycle basically had their motorcycle stolen.

    So how did a con artist get a hold of this woman’s checking account information? Well, if you write personal checks on a regular basis any number of people would be able to ascertain your account information since your account and routing numbers are printed on each check. Then a phony cashiers check with your information could be produced on just about any printer. While writing checks is slowly becoming a dying practice, there are still some holdouts. I’m sure we all either know someone who still writes checks or have run into someone who still uses checks as their primary form of payment. In our digital age, while not perfect, debit cards are a much more secure and convenient form of payment. If you know an avid check writer, please consider sharing this story with them in hopes of keeping their personal finances safer.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Facebook removes more Burmese pages involved in ethnic cleansing, but is it enough? 

    Facebook removes more Burmese pages involved in ethnic cleansing, but is it enough?

    In a move that seems like removing grains of sand from an avalanche, Facebook has removed 23 more accounts in Myanmar that were allegedly encouraging ethnic cleansing. If you’re not familiar with the situation. the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has been accused of persecuting the Muslim Rohingya minority resulting in the displacement of close to a million Rohingya and the death of thousands. Top government and Buddhist officials have been accused of using Facebook to fuel the flames of hatred in Myanmar. The following video will give you a glimpse into not only how the Rohingya are being treated but also how much the Myanmar government is in denial.

    This isn’t the first time Facebook has blocked the accounts of Burmese officials. Back in August, Facebook closed 70 accounts of Burmese officials and leaders who were said to be encouraging violence against and spreading false information about the Rohingya people. However, that was only after the UN condemned Myanmar for committing genocide. This time isn’t much different as Facebook closed the more recent accounts after the New York Times published a report stating that the Myanmar government was using Facebook accounts in entertainment and other social groups where the users would incite violence against the Rohingya. In America, this would be like belonging to a Game of Thrones fan page where the comments would be calling for the persecution of blacks and Hispanics and these comments would be sponsored by the government.

    Once again, Facebook is being reactive to these problems rather than proactive. Facebook won’t correct any problem until it means bad PR for them. Between political unrest and data breaches, for every leak Facebook tries to plug, ten more pop up. Before too long, the boat that Facebook built will start to sink while Mark Zuckerberg just rearranges the deck chairs.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , George Stanley, , Maine,   

    Man’s home ransacked after malicious craigslist ad posted 

    Man's home ransacked after malicious craigslist ad posted

    There’s a crime that’s been occurring through craigslist for years now that while not as violent as some can be just as devastating. Apparently, if you get on the bad side of one of your neighbors they have the option of placing a craigslist ad telling the internet that everything in your house and on your property is being given away for free. Even though in reality, no one ever gives away all their possessions for free on craigslist, it doesn’t stop craigslist users from showing up in droves to plunder the property like so many Visigoths at the gates of Rome. Sadly, this occurred to one man in Maine.

    George Stanley left his home and business in Greene, Maine, to spend a couple of weeks in Florida. When he returned, he found that his property had been pillaged and much of what wasn’t taken was destroyed. According to Stanley, he had a car on his property that he was planning on restoring. The marauding horde of vandals not only cut the tires off the car, but they also pried open the trunk, hood, and doors to take whatever they could. Mr. Stanley reportedly has cancer and believes he only has a few years left, but now, many of the possessions he had that he used to make a living are now gone and nothing has been returned.

    This unfortunate incident could have been easily prevented if craigslist just took the extra step to moderate their ads. Instead, craigslist let’s just about every ad get posted to their platform unless it hurts their own bottom line. While most rational people wouldn’t believe someone would give away all their stuff in such a disorganized matter, there are a number of people who believe anything they read on the internet and lot of them use craigslist. We at Geebo care about not only our users more than that but also the general public as we moderate our ads and we would never willingly allow our platform to be used to create such havoc.

     
  • Geebo 9:21 am on October 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Armslist dealer who sold gun used to kill Chicago officer couldn’t stop selling guns 

    Armslist dealer who sold gun used to kill Chicago officer couldn't stop selling guns

    Image via the New York Post

    I’ve posted about Armslist a few times before. While it’s been referred to in the past as the ‘craigslist of guns’ it’s also been cited as a major avenue in which illegal firearms have been funneled into the violent streets if Chicago. One of those guns was used to kill Police Commander Paul Bauer back in February.

    The Chicago Tribune is now reporting that the man who allegedly sold the fateful gun over Armslist was already being watched by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. A gun that the seller sold ended up in the hands of a known drug dealer which is what first led the ATF to the seller. The ATF warned the seller to stop selling the guns but the man continued. He wasn’t charged with any crimes until after Commander Bauer was killed by a felon who was prohibited from owning a gun.

    The main purpose of Armslist is for private gun owners to sell the firearms between them. Private sales like this are not subject to any background checks which have led many people who are banned from owning guns to use Armslist to obtain their weapons. This has also led to more than a few killings. Much like Backpage used to do, Armslist hides behind the Communications Decency Act claiming that they’re not responsible for what their users do. However, unlike the closure of Backpage which had bipartisan support in Congress, Lawmakers are hesitant to do anything about Armslist since gun ownership has become such a highly contested issue in this country. Since guns from private sales on Armslist are ending up in the hands of killers, a required background check for private sales would go a long way in curtailing the sale of firearms to felons. The question is does any lawmaker have the guts to step up and start fighting for this?

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on October 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: elderly, grandparent scam,   

    The grandparent scam is making the rounds again 

    The grandparent scam is making the rounds again

    Scammers love to target the elderly. The scammers count on their victims being more trusting and not tech savvy in order to scam the elderly out of what little money they might have. A scam that has become quite prevalent os what’s known as the grandparent scam. In it, the scammer calls an elderly person and claims to be one of their grandchildren who has been arrested somewhere out-of-state and needs bail money. They then instruct the victim on where to send the money. Too often the victims send the phony bail before they realize it’s a scam.

    While the scam sometimes varies the scammers often employ some concerning tactics to try to get their victims to send the money. In a lot of cases, scammers have some very personal information about the victim including who their grandchildren are and where they live. When a person becomes suspicious that this may not be their grandchild the scammer will say that they’ve received injuries that prevents them from talking correctly. A tip-off that this may be a scam is if the ‘grandchild’ asks for money to be wired or the victim is asked to buy gift cards. In one case, an elderly couple was asked to actually mail the money.

    The AARP website has a great article on how to avoid this scam with such tips as asking the caller something that only they would know. They also recommend that if you receive one of these calls you should collect yourself first before making any actions. Then call a relative who would know the whereabouts of the person in question and verify with them where this person currently is. This way if it does turn out to be an actual emergency you can respond in an appropriate manner.

    If you know someone who may be vulnerable to this scam please talk with them or share this post with them.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , University of Toledo   

    Univ. study shows links between social media and human trafficking 

    Univ. study shows links between social media and human trafficking

    The University of Toledo is an institution known for holding international conferences on human trafficking. So it should come as no surprise that they were asked by the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission to undertake a study on how social media is used in grooming human trafficking victims. Now you might be the type of person who would ask why a study like that would be needed since there have been plenty of instances where traffickers have found victims on social media. Well, the study goes a little deeper than that.

    The University’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute recently released the findings of their study which delves into the nitty-gritty about how traffickers groom their victims in order for parents to be more aware of the possible dangers. For example, the study lists the kind of language used by children that would attract human traffickers like “Nobody gets me”, “I am so ugly”, and “My life sucks”, to name a few. The study also gives tips to parents on what language the traffickers might use to gain the trust of their children such as “I’ll make your life better”, and “I’ll make you successful.”

    Dr. Celia Williamson, the founder of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, was quoted as saying…

    “Parents who are educated can wage a worthy defense against potential recruitment and recruitment of their youth online,” Williamson said. “Parents who work to build healthy, open and communicative relationships are more likely to have youth that share information about where they go and who they talk to online.”

    Talk to your kids about adults who try to lure them away from home with promises of money and fame. You may think you’re kids are too young to talk with them about dangers like this but the traffickers don’t think they’re too young at all. So you might want to have that talk with them before the traffickers do. You may also want to keep a close watch on their social media activity. You may trust your child with how they behave online but you can’t trust those looking to exploit them. It’s not a violation of trust if you check up on them but a matter of their protection.

     
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