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  • Geebo 10:30 am on December 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    An Amazon scam just in time for the holidays 

    An Amazon scam just in time for the holidays

    With only 11 days left until Christmas, I’m sure many of us are still scrambling for gifts for our loved ones. In the rush, you may want to use a site like Amazon to try to simplify matters and have everything there by the 25th. However, in your haste to fulfill those Christmas wishes to your family, you may want to slow down so you don’t fall prey to a scam that seems to come from The Grinch himself.

    It’s known as a phishing scam and is designed to get your login credentials to many different websites. Most of the year these emails will try to look like they’re from your bank asking you to click a link and login to your account to solve some fictitious problem the scammers have made up. Instead of your bank, the link takes you to a website they may look identical to your bank’s website but is actually a phony site designed to copy your login information. With the holidays fast approaching many states are reporting that they’re seeing an increase in this type of scam involving retail sites like Amazon. Once the scammers get your login information they usually max out your account by buying largely untraceable things like gift cards.

    If you ever receive one of these emails delete it immediately. Don’t even bother responding to the scammers as they can use the barest amount of information to perform any number of scams. Instead, if you feel like you do need to secure your account always type out the URL of the website in your browser and log into your account from the merchant’s main page. This way you’ll be sure you’re accessing the correct service.

  • Geebo 10:51 am on December 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Twitter CEO apologizes for Myanmar tweet…sort of 

    Twitter CEO apologizes for Myanmar tweet...sort of

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

    This past Monday we posted about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s tweet about his visit to the controversial country of Myanmar. For those of you who may not know, The UN has accused Myanmar of committing genocide and ethnic cleansing by persecuting the Rohingya Muslim minority in the largely Buddhist country. Mr. Dorsey had tweeted a glowing review about his meditative retreat that he took in Myanmar which seemed largely tone-deaf to the plight of the Rohingya. Mr. Dorsey has finally responded to the criticism against him and frankly, it’s not that much better.

    In response to the criticism, Mr. Dorsey tweeted out the following…

    Then added to that, stating that his trip to Myanmar was “purely personal” and had focused only on his meditation practice.

    In a word, one could interpret Dorsey’s latest statement as he knew what was going on in Myanmar but decided that his meditative retreat was more important than the plight of the people who have been referred to as the most persecuted people in the world today. It’s almost tantamount to saying that while it’s a shame that North Korea violently oppresses its people the shows they put on are great.

    This is just one of the many examples of why Silicon Valley CEOs are not seen as trustworthy by the American public. Instead of being attuned to the plight of the people around them, many of them are more interested in having indulgent experiences while awash with venture capital. Maybe we’d all be better off if some of that capital was used for more philanthropic endeavors rather than helping to prop up governments that are killing their own people.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    FBI investigating possible net neutrality fraud 

    FBI investigating possible net neutrality fraud

    The last we heard about the net neutrality debate, the FCC had admitted that half a million comments submitted to the FCC website were made by phony Russian accounts. In the run-up to net neutrality’s repeal by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the public could submit either their support or opposition to net neutrality, the regulations that protected a free and open internet. Pai, a former Verizon attorney, repealed net neutrality claiming that it stifled innovation. During the past week, the FBI decided to get involved with the investigation into the fake accounts.

    The FBI has launched an investigation into whether or not “people’s identities were posted to the FCC’s website without their permission, falsely attributing to them opinions about net neutrality rules.” According to the New York Attorney General’s office, close to ten million comments submitted to the FCC’s website were submitted with stolen identities. The total amount of comments received numbered around 24 million. When factoring in what were believed to be legitimate comments close to 99% were in favor of keeping net neutrality protections in place.

    The FBI has subpoenaed several telecom lobbyists and trade groups. Previously the state of New York had requested information from the FCC regarding the status of these allegedly fake accounts but by most reports, the FCC refused to cooperate citing the state of New York had no authority to investigate these claims. Now, only time will tell if anything actually comes out of this new investigation by the FBI or will Ajit Pai’s higher-ups will try to hamper the investigation? After all, the administration has to do something to keep that telecom campaign money pouring in.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Google+ shutting even earlier due to more massive breach 

    Google+ shutting even earlier due to more massive breach

    If you’ll recall, back in October, Google announced that it would be shuttering its underused social network Google+ in August of 2019 due to a security breach that left 500,000 user accounts vulnerable. This was after the Wall Street Journal discovered a flaw in the comically underused platform. In a world where Facebook is continually exposing millions of accounts to third parties in an almost regular basis, 500,000 users seemed like a thimble of water in the ocean in comparison. Now, a new breach has put Google in very similar company with Facebook.

    During internal testing by Google, it was recently discovered that Google+ had another bug in it that left 100 times the amount of accounts exposed than the last breach. Over 52 million accounts could have been potentially exposed with such information as a user’s name, email address, occupation, and age to third-party developers. Google has stated that there’s no evidence that any of the exposed information was used by bad actors but this latest breach has caused Google to move up the timetable for the demise Google+. Now Google has scheduled the shutdown for April of 2019.

    Besides being in amazement that Google+ actually had that many users at one point, this bug could not have come at a worse time. Maybe Google will be able to weather this storm since Google+ was nowhere near as popular as its competitors but when you add it to the multitudes of other security breaches in similar spaces this could invite even more governmental eyes looking to regulate companies like Google and Facebook. And as we’ve mentioned before, in today’s highly partisan climate it might not be the best time for any kind of sweeping legislative change.

  • Geebo 10:03 am on December 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Twitter CEO in hot water for promoting Myanmar 

    Twitter CEO in hot water for promoting Myanmar

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

    We’ve posted about the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar many times before. In a nutshell, the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country formerly known as Burma have been persecuted by the Buddhist majority in Myanmar resulting in UN accusations of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Myanmar government. Previously, Facebook has faced global backlash since it’s been their platform which has been used to spread the ethnic violence throughout the country along with Facebook’s inaction to do anything meaningful to help quell the violence. While Twitter hasn’t been seen as nearly as complicit as Facebook in the ongoing crisis, Twitter now finds itself embroiled in its own Myanmar controversy.

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has found himself facing an enormous backlash after posting what could only be called a glowing review of his recent trip to Myanmar. On his own personal Twitter account, Dorsey posted what has been called a tone-deaf tweet about his visit there remarking that “The people are full of joy and the food is amazing,” while discussing his meditative retreat in the northern part of Myanmar. The Rohingya crisis has been largely taking place in the southern region of the country which has been seen as the ancestral lands of the Rohingya. Close to a million Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh trying to escape the state-sponsored violence against them. Meanwhile, Dorsey has posted a tweet that is essentially a tourism ad for a country with an abysmal human rights record.

    While not an official endorsement of Myanmar’s atrocities, Dorsey’s tweet does come off as being elitist and woefully out of touch. It’s hard to imagine that Mr. Dorsey was unaware of the plight of the Rohingya with as much criticism as his main competitor has been receiving in the world stage for the better part of a year. So what compelled Dorsey to not only visit the country like it was a family trip to Disneyland but also make that tweet like it was a 5-star Yelp review of the country? So far no one knows as Dorsey has yet to comment on the matter. Is this just another case of the Silicon Valley elite being out of touch with what’s happening outside of their own social status bubbles? While it sure seems that way one has to wonder if something even more disheartening is going on underneath the surface.

  • Geebo 10:10 am on December 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Betsy DeVos, , for-profit schools   

    For-profit college closes leaving students in debt without degrees 

    While we won’t mention any of the institutions by name, we’ve all seen the advertisements by for-profit colleges on TV. They all seem to make grandiose of promises of a better future with an almost guaranteed promise of employment once you graduate. Some even promise laptops or tablets just for being admitted to the school.  Since many of these schools are only in the business of making money once could assume that they probably don’t reject many applicants. They’re also seen as predatory as they mostly target low-income students and veterans while costing at least four times more than a community college which tends to have better education programs.

    These for-profit schools are largely funded by federal student loans which the majority of students end up defaulting in without ever getting a degree. One such college chain known as the Education Corporation of America just went bankrupt leaving 20,000 students without degrees and college credits that can’t be transferred to most other schools. Another problem with schools like this is that they’re accredited by agencies that are themselves for-profit agencies.

    During the Obama Administration, a number of these accreditation agencies had their credentials revoked but had them reinstated by current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. If that seems oddly familiar to you it’s because it’s exactly what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai did with net neutrality, putting the power and profit back in the hands of the telecoms. While we’re not against any company making a profit we are opposed to profits being made at the expense of the less fortunate and the current administration seems to be all about making profits for their pet industries by any means necessary.

  • Geebo 10:12 am on December 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    FCC admits Russian interference in net neutrality debate 

    FCC admits Russian interference in net neutrality debate

    This week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, released a memo where he admitted that at least half a million comments submitted to the FCC came from Russian email addresses. If you’ll recall, the FCC opened up their website to comments in order to discuss the then pending repeal of net neutrality legislation. The site was flooded with comments that the FCC first claimed was a denial of service or DDoS attack. Later on, the FCC backed down on that claim.

    The 500,000 comments made by Russian accounts were all said to be in favor of net neutrality and Pai has put this forward as evidence of foreign interference into our democratic process. The question that needs to be asked is, were these fake accounts in favor of net neutrality so the Trump Administration’s FCC could claim that the commenting period was invalid in their way to repealing the net neutrality protections put in place by the Obama Administration?

    When you have an administration with alleged questionable ties to Russia, why would Russia act as an opponent to the administration’s policies unless their only goal was to make net neutrality supporters look bad? With Ajit Pai constantly changing the narrative on net neutrality if he says the sky is blue you may want to look outside to make sure he’s right. It’s looking more and more like the FCC sold out consumer internet protections wholesale to the major telecoms with a little help from overseas friends.

  • Geebo 10:16 am on December 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Facebook slips as the top place to work as a Facebook scam targets veterans 

    Facebook slips as the top place to work. Also, a Facebook scam is targeting veterans.

    In a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Facebook employees looking to leave the company, Glassdoor released their 2019 rankings of the best places to work. Facebook has fallen hard from its number one perch sliding all the way down to number seven. While it’s still in the top ten of the best places to work in the country, its decline on Glassdoor’s list shows that worker’s attitudes toward the company have definitely shifted in a less than positive way. Facebook was supplanted at the top of the list by consulting firm Bain and Company.

    In other news, a scam has arisen on Facebook that is indicative of its ongoing fight with foreign agitators. WIRED is reporting that foreign entities are posing as various US veterans groups in order to provoke outrage among veterans. As has been Facebook’s usual response to matters like this, Facebook has only been shutting down these scam pages when they’ve been notified by a legitimate veterans organization although the process took months. The scam pages seem to be largely targeting veterans who served during the Vietnam War. The scammers seem to be targeting Vietnam vets due to their age and are hoping that the vets are not savvy internet users. Unfortunately, a number of these scam pages continued to stand because Facebook said that the page did not violate their ever-vague community standards.

    What can be said about this latest Facebook faux pas that hasn’t been said about the others? Again, this latest scam shows that Facebook seems to thrive on controversy and outrage in order to keep their users engaged on the platform by any means necessary. In this day and age where the average Facebook users use the platform to obtain their news, they can almost hardly be blamed for buying into the misinformation since they’re inundated by it on an almost constant basis. If Facebook isn’t willing to help those who have served our country then who are they out to help besides themselves?

  • Geebo 10:14 am on December 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Are Facebook employees looking to jump ship? Also, hate speech is still a problem for the platform. 

    Are Facebook employees looking to jump ship? Also, hate speech still a problem for the platform.

    For several years, Facebook was considered the place to work in Silicon Valley. Many considered it to be the holy grail of employment with Facebook even being ranked the best place to work in America by employer review site Glassdoor.com. Facebook even touted this fact themselves in a corporate video where they almost break their arm patting themselves on the back.

    However, the ranking and the video all took place before Facebook started to be embroiled in the myriad of scandals that have shaken the foundations at the Menlo Park headquarters. According to CNBC, a number of current Facebook employees have been reaching out to former colleagues supposedly looking for new employment opportunities. That’s not unusual for many companies but former Facebook employees have said they’ve seen a sharp increase recently in current Facebook employees looking to leave the company. One of the problems facing current Facebook employees is that Facebook holds a lot of sway in Silicon Valley and can basically determine your future employment opportunities. Again, according to CNBC, if you leave Facebook in the ‘wrong’ way, you can be labeled as “non-regrettable”. Not only does this status mean you could never work for Facebook again, but it could also keep you out of many other positions in the tech industry.

    To make matters worse for Facebook, The Daily Beast has published a report where they documented a deluge of posts that could be considered hate speech by most rational people, yet Facebook failed to do anything about these posts until The Daily Beast pointed them out to Facebook. The majority of these posts were calling for violence against immigrants. Even though The Daily Beast reported many of these posts to Facebook, the social network failed to remove all of them saying that some of the calls for violence didn’t violate their nebulous community standards. Again, this lends credence to the theory that Facebook wants to keep as many users engaged as possible even if it’s through inflammatory content. Facebook’s so-called commitment to stopping hate speech seems little more than lip service to anyone who actually tried to do something about it. Any private company, and by private we mean that it’s not a government-run institution, that not only allows but encourages their platform to be used for hate cannot have its users best interest at heart.

  • Geebo 10:31 am on December 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buzzfeed, Definers, ,   

    Buzzfeed releases Facebook document on critic George Soros 

    Buzzfeed releases Facebook document on critic George Soros

    George Soros

    For the past several weeks, Facebook has been facing a public backlash ever since the New York Times revealed Facebook’s alleged plans to try to discredit their critics. One of those tactics was to hire right-wing media firm Definers who have been accused of allegedly trying to run a smear campaign against progressive philanthropist George Soros. Definers was said to have been given the orders to investigate Soros by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. More recently, Buzzfeed News has obtained a document created by Definers for Facebook about George Soros’ alleged ties to activist groups that are critical of Facebook. The document can be read below.

    While Buzzfeed calls the document ‘largely innocuous’, not only does it make a giant leap in logic, but it also reads like a conspiracy theorists manifesto. The document from Definers basically concludes that since some groups that are critical of Facebook have received money from Geroge Soros then the group Freedom from Facebook must be receiving money from Soros too. Soros has been a very prominent critic of Facebook for some time now, however, the right has long held Soros up as some kind of villain who they claim is funding everything that is wrong with America.

    As TechCrunch points out, Freedom from Facebook says that they have received no money from Soros and instead its initial funding came from a Pennsylvania-based philanthropist and former hedge fund executive. It almost seems like Definers were given orders by Sheryl Sandberg to connect George Soros to Freedom From Facebook in any way possible and this is what they came up with. While the document from Definers may not be damning in itself, it does exhibit the questionable tactics Facebook will use in order to try to quash any public dissent.

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