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  • Geebo 9:00 am on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    When it comes to ‘Don’t be evil’, Google gives Backpage a pass 

    When it comes to 'Don't be evil', Google gives Backpage a pass

    Nicholas Kristof, of the New York Times, is one of the few nationally known journalists who has continually reported on the transgressions of Backpage when it comes to Backpage’s part in the sex trade. In one of his recent columns, Kristoff goes after an even bigger fish in the polluted waters of internet sex trafficking, Google. The Mountain View, California, search king opposes the proposed amendments to the Communications Decency Act that would remove the protections from prosecution that sites like Backpage have been hiding behind, otherwise known as the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

    Kristoff claims that Google has an unfounded fear when it comes to their argument of a slippery slope with Google claiming the new amendment to the CDA could open them up to frivolous lawsuits. However, a spokesperson for the National Center for Missing and Exploited children points out the new legislation is crafted in such a way that it only applies to those sites which are directly receiving money from traffickers.

    “This bill only impacts bad-actor websites,” notes Yiota Souras, general counsel at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “You don’t inadvertently traffic a child.”

    Yet the majority of Silicon Valley is opposing the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act mostly out of fear that it will somehow affect their right to free speech, which couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no slippery slope here. There is no downside. I think what the mostly insular tech community forgets is there are actual people being trafficked and sold into sexual slavery on sites like Backpage and aren’t just faceless pixels.

    Instead of worrying about Backpage’s ‘freedom of speech’ these tech companies should be more worried about the fact that many of the women and girls being trafficked on Backpage have no freedom at all in a country that prides itself on liberty.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on September 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Prime Day   

    Don’t fall for the Prime Day phishing scam 

    Don't fall for the Amazon Prime phishing scam

    A phishing attack is when a scammer sends out a mass of emails that look like legitimate emails from such places as a bank telling you to log into your account and offering you a link to do so. Usually they do this under the guise that something is wrong with your account. Instead of sending you to your bank site, the website it sends you to is almost a mirror image of your bank’s site, but it’s a fake. It’s designed to copy your log in credentials in order to steal your financial information.

    More recently, a phishing attack has appeared that purports to be from Amazon. The email looks like it came from Amazon itself and it thanks you for buying an item during Amazon’s Prime Day, its once a year site-wide sale Amazon holds in July for its Prime Members. The email then asks you to write a review for the product your purchased and promises the chance for you to win a $50 Amazon gift card if you do. Then a link is offered to take you directly to Amazon. Much like the bank phishing scam, instead of taking you to Amazon, it takes you to a site which looks almost identical to the Amazon sign on page, but as usual it isn’t. If you enter your log in credentials here, they could be stolen and the perpetrators could use the financial information stored in your Amazon account to buy items for themselves. By the time you notice, the merchandise could have already been delivered to a temporary address and you’re stuck with the bill.

    When dealing with phishing emails like this, never click on any of the links. If you feel it may be a legitimate email, go to directly to the website by typing out the address in your browser. Always make sure the URL is spelled correctly as scammers will often use addresses that are slight misspellings of the actual URL. Also make sure when dealing with any website that needs your financial information, the URL should start with https, not just http. In most modern browsers it should also display a lock icon to let you know the site is secure.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on September 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apple Watch, Baseball, Bostron Red Sox   

    Red Sox accused of using Apple Watch to cheat 

    Red Sox accused of using Apple Watch to cheat

    The Apple Watch has mostly been seen as a toy for people with disposable income that lacks any real purpose. Well, the folks at Cupertinio might be happy now that one of the largest sports brands in the world has been allegedly using the Apple Watch in a scheme that would make Dick Tracy jealous.

    Baseball powerhouse, the Boston Red Sox, have been accused of using an Apple Watch to steal signs from the opposing team’s catcher. In baseball, the catcher will signal the pitcher as to what type of pitch to throw. If an opposing team can steal the signs and signal the batter, the batter could be better prepared for the pitch. While it’s not illegal to steal an opposing team’s sign, it is illegal to use technology to steal the signs.

    In the alleged scheme, the Red Sox would receive signals in the dugout from an instant replay camera crew sent to an Apple Watch and then would signal the batter. The scheme was noticed by the Red Sox’s perennial enemies, the New York Yankees. While the Sox have admitted to the scheme, they’ve also filed a counter-complaint against the Yankees, accusing them of using cameras from the Yankees TV Network to steal signs.

    As devoted and rabid as the Red Sox fanbase is, Apple should start marketing the apple Watch to Boston fans with the slogan “Use the watch that help the Red Sox beat the Yankees.” Then they might actually start selling some.

     
  • Geebo 8:58 am on September 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gasoline,   

    Stop buying gas you don’t need 

    Stop buying gas you don't need

    Whenever a natural disaster like a hurricane hits the Gulf Coast, it’s almost a guarantee that some of the oil refineries will be knocked off-line. Hurricane Harvey was no different, flooding several refineries and closing them down. This has caused a run on gas stations in Texas in such cities as Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. Gas stations in these areas have run out of gas, but it’s a man-made crisis born out of fear.

    The runs on gas stations have become so prevalent in Texas that not only has fighting broken out between customers, but some people were also filling up illegal containers like trash cans in order to hoard gas. It was these runs on the gas stations that caused the outlets to run out of gas because they’re not designed to distribute that much gas when everyone in the area is looking to fill up their tanks, or whatever other container they might have.

    If people had just gassed their cars like they normally would, there wouldn’t have been shortages. The gas is out there, but these runs are disrupting the delivery schedule to gas stations. Just think of all the gas that must have been wasted by people waiting hours in line to top off their tanks. Instead of reacting to fear, we should be conserving gas instead. While the supplies are being replenished, think about limiting your driving to only essential matters or not running your air conditioner as much when you drive.

    In times of crisis we need to think more about everyone else than just ourselves.

     
  • Geebo 8:58 am on September 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: disaster relief, ,   

    Disaster relief jobs may be a scam 

    Disaster relief jobs may be a scam

    A few days ago, we told you about some scams to avoid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey which has devastated the city of Houston. It’s come to our attention we missed one scam that could also have calamitous effects on people. On certain websites, there have been postings for disaster relief job that may not be legitimate jobs.

    This is reminiscent of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from 2010 where fake jobs were being offered to help clean up the coastal Gulf region. It’s just a different twist on the usual job scam where the ad poster will ask you for money for either training or a background check for a job that doesn’t exist. No legitimate employer will ask you for money in advance.

    In order to protect yourself, make sure that any disaster relief work has either a contracted company behind. You should be able to check through the Better Business Bureau or the state government to see who has legitimate job offers for hurricane clean up.

     
  • Geebo 8:55 am on August 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Onliner, , spam   

    Time to change your password again after massive spam list discovered 

    Time to change your password again after massive spam list discovered

    Cybersecurity experts have discovered a record-breaking spam operation which has compromised a number of email accounts. This spam attack, dubbed Onliner, has harvested over 700 million email addresses. A great number of these email accounts had their passwords divulged as well. Even the operator of Have I Been Pwned, whose website can tell you if your email has been exposed, had his email address listed in this latest leak.

    Speaking of HIBP, it is recommended that you go to their site to see if your email has been harvested in this leak or any previous leak or hack. The only information you have to submit is your email address. HIBP is considered a trusted site in tech circles so you won’t be exposing any sensitive information to them. If your email address is on their list for the Onliner leak, change your email password immediately.

    Thankfully, the only thing the email addresses seem to have been used for, was for sending spam to other email accounts. So far there have been no reports of the email accounts being used for anything nefarious like identity theft or financial chicanery.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on August 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Amazon springs new prices on Whole Food customers 

    Amazon springs new prices on Whole Food customers

    In our weekly update of Amazon trying to take over the world, Amazon finally took the reins of Whole Foods this past Monday. In doing so, Amazon dropped prices substantially almost across the board. They did this without any warning or any marketing building up to the launch. In terms of advertising, this was a brilliant move by Amazon considering the word spread like wildfire through both traditional and social media.

    Along with the price cuts, Amazon also supplied the Whole Foods stores with discounted Amazon Echoes and Dots, their line of voice activated smart speakers. Amazon is also said to be offering additional savings to members of their Amazon Prime service as well.

    Reaction by consumers has been mixed. People that already shop at Whole Foods are appreciative of the price drops and people who were on the fringe of shopping there are willing to now give it a try. Many people are still priced out of Whole Foods as the store is trying to shake its derogative nickname of Whole Paycheck.

    While not giving it the national reach of WalMart, it’s another domino falling in Amazon’s plan to control retail space. However, Amazon will be offering Whole Food products on their website where they already dominate. While WalMart and other national chains shouldn’t be shaking in their boots just yet, Amazon is slowing taking pieces out of their market share.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Beware of scams in the wake of Hurricane Harvey 

    Beware of scams in the wake of Hurricane Harvey

    Natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey often bring out the best in humanity with many people donating time, money, resources and even blood to help the victims who have been ravaged by the storm. Unfortunately, it also brings out the worst in humanity with people trying to not only scam the victims of the storm, but those who are willing to open their hearts and wallets to the victims.

    Victims of the storm need to be aware of fake contractors offering to repair their homes. A lot of people will approach storm damaged homes claiming to be contractors, however, almost anyone can claim to be one. Avoid paying contractors up front in full and try to stick with with people you know or people who have been recommended to you. Displaced storm victims also have to be aware of rental scams as well. As usual, don’t ever wire money to a prospective landlord and don’t trust anyone who won’t let you see the property first before renting.

    Lastly, for those of you wanting to donate to relief funds for the victims, be careful for a number of scams looking to take advantage of you. Stick with known charities like the Red Cross. The City of Houston also has its own relief fund you can donate directly too.

    Being a smarter consumer not only helps the victims of the hurricane but will also help keep these scams from propagating in the future.

     
  • Geebo 8:54 am on August 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Zillow has Zestimate lawsuit thrown out 

    Zillow has Zestimate lawsuit thrown out

    Back in May, we posted how real estate site Zillow was being sued over their ‘Zestimate’ feature. The lawsuit claimed Zillow’s estimates were undervaluing the homes which were being sold on Zillow and that Zestimates were a de facto appraisal. In Illinois, where the suit was filed, all real estate appraisers have to be licensed in the state.

    Zillow can breathe a zigh of relief for now, as the lawsuit has been dismissed by a U.S. District Judge in Chicago. The judge ruled the portmanteau of Zillow and estimate, creating Zestimate, clearly shows consumers it is an estimate and not an appraisal and Zestimates were just a starting point for people looking to buy a home. The judge also ruled Zillow did not violate Illinois’ Real Estate Appraiser Licensing Act.

    The plaintiffs will no doubt try to file an amended lawsuit since they still claim Zestimates are affecting property values negatively.

     
  • Geebo 8:57 am on August 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Is Facebook Marketplace looking to take a bite out of eBay? 

    Is Facebook Marketplace looking to take a bite out of eBay?

    In Facebook’s further attempts to be all things to all people, they are looking to expand their Marketplace feature to include not just private sellers but businesses as well. This would put Marketplace not only at odds with sites like craigslist, but now would pit them against Amazon and eBay as well. Both of the aforementioned online retail titans have allowed businesses of all sorts to sell their wares through their websites for years now.

    The main difference between Marketplace and eBay is Marketplace does not offer a payment service to use like how eBay relies on PayPal. Sellers and buyers are still expected to work out the financial dealings on their own. As we’ve pointed out in the past, since Marketplace doesn’t moderate their ads well, if at all. This could still lead not only to fraudulent transactions but could also lead to other dangerous incidents such as robbery and the like.

    However, it appears Facebook is only halfheartedly behind Marketplace, not as a disruptor in the online retail space, but more as a way to keep users from wandering out of Facebook’s walled garden. As nice as a garden may look, if you try to prevent users from going elsewhere then it’s just a well-groomed prison.

     
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