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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car wash, Colorado Rockies, , , , , , , UK   

    Fake cash in a safe zone, phony opening day tickets, and an app to report human trafficking 

    Fake cash in a safe zone, phony opening day tickets, and an app to report human trafficking

    When dealing with classifieds transactions, we often recommend using safe zones at local police stations. While safe zones go a long way in helping to ensure your safety, you can still be ripped off if you’re not careful. In Pennsylvania, a pair of suspects were said to have paid $500 in ‘Motion Picture Money’ for a PlayStation 4 at a local police station’s safe zone during an OfferUp transaction. While police were able to apprehend the suspects quite easily, this does show that you should be on your guard at all times even when using specially designated safe zones.

    Meanwhile, in Colorado, a couple found themselves out of $300 after trying to purchase opening day tickets for the Colorado Rockies. They had set up a ticket purchase through craigslist and had met the seller in the parking lot of Coors Field on opening day. The couple even took a picture of the man selling the tickets and his driver license in hopes that this would dissuade the man from selling them fake tickets. Unfortunately, it didn’t as the couple were turned away from the gate for the tickets being invalid. The tickets themselves appeared to be legitimate but what scammers do in many cases is they buy the tickets using stolen credit cards. Once the cards are reported stolen the tickets are canceled but the scammer already has physical tickets that were valid at one time. This particular scammer reportedly even taunted his victims after they tried to contact the seller over the phony tickets.

    Lastly, in the UK, an app has been developed to report possible human trafficking at car washes. The app was developed by an anti-slavery arm of the Church of England and shows users a checklist of signs of human trafficking at hands only car washes. A number of the victims at UK car washes turn out to be people displaced by immigration issues, mental health issues, or being in abusive situations. The app refers any possible sightings of trafficking to the UK’s National Crime Agency who decide if it warrants an investigation. While apps like this have been attempted in the US many don’t show the user how to recognize the signs of trafficking. An app like this designed by the FBI and suggested to the industries where human trafficking mostly takes place could be a boon in the fight against all forms of human trafficking. In the meantime, if you or someone you know could be caught up in trafficking you can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888 or at their website.

     
  • Geebo 10:07 am on November 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Camp Fire, , natural disasters, , , UK   

    Excerpts of Facebook documents released and a scam warning for the victims of the Camp Fire 

    Excerpts of Facebook documents released and a scam warning for the victims of the Camp Fire

    The Wall Street Journal has obtained some excerpts of the internal Facebook documents seized by British Parliament. According to the WSJ, by way of The Verge, Facebook once considered selling user data to third parties. You know, instead of giving it away like they unintentionally do with all these data breaches. Emails show that there was chatter among Facebook employees about selling user data for a premium price after Facebook’s lackluster IPO failed to garner the company the assets they were hoping for. The question is how high up did this discussion go? We should no more once the complete documents are published.

    However, the main topic of today’s blog post is the devastating Camp Fire that has caused so much destruction and devastation in California. As we’ve mentioned before when discussing natural disasters, while events like these can bring out the best in humanity by those volunteering to help the victims of the fire it also brings out the worst in humanity when scammers and con artists descend on the area looking to take advantage of the victims. Local news media in Sacramento is reporting that housing scams are proliferating through the area targeting the victims of the fire.

    The scam itself is nothing new. The scammer will post a phony ad for a rental property on craigslist or Zillow at a too good to be true price. The scammer will come up with some excuse as to why they can’t show the property and will request that you wire them a deposit. Unfortunately, the scammers are normally from overseas so prosecuting them after the fact is almost impossible as is the recovery of any money sent to the scammer. As the article from Sacramento points out, always use a check or credit card to pay for any deposits as these transactions are easier to recover if you’ve been scammed. Please don’t let your anxiety over finding shelter cloud your judgment. Always do the research before giving anyone any money for rent or deposits.

     
  • Geebo 10:16 am on November 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , UK   

    Update on Facebook and Parliament, and Delaware suing to dissolve Backpage’s LLCs 

    Update on Facebook and Parliament, and Delaware suing to dissolve Backpage's LLCs

    First, we have a quick update on the ongoing British Parliament hearing from yesterday involving Facebook. The hearing went almost along the lines as the US Congressional hearing where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified. A number of politicians addressed their concerns with Facebook’s privacy policies and interference by political agitators with Facebook giving little to no information in response. However, according to reports, Parliament may publish the sensitive internal documents that they’ve seized later this week. This could potentially be devastating for Facebook as the documents could show just how complicit Facebook was in allowing the Cambridge Analytica scandal to happen.

    Moving on from Facebook, Backpage was back in the news again recently. As you may know, Backpage was responsible for 80% of all online human trafficking in the US by allowing thinly veiled ads for prostitution on their website. Earlier this year, Backpage was seized by the Federal Government and CEO Carl Ferrer pleaded guilty to human trafficking and money laundering charges. One of the last vestiges of Backpage’s existence was that even after their government seizure, Backpage was still incorporated in Delaware as an LLC in good standing and there was little the state government could do to change that. Now, that all seems to be changing.

    After passing a state law back in June, Delaware is now able to dissolve certain LLCs with Backpage being one of them. Last week, Delaware State Attorney General Matt Denn asked the Court of Chancery to dissolve the four LLCs that were related to Backpage. AG Denn argues that Backpage abused their “powers, privileges or existence” under state law. This lawsuit was the first one filed after the passing of the new law in June. This has far-reaching implications that affect more than just Backpage as various other shady operations have hidden under Delaware’s lax corporate tax laws. Hopefully, this means that companies like Backpage are no longer welcome in the First State.

     
  • Geebo 10:14 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , UK   

    Facebook Parliament update and how Zuck stole Thanksgiving 

    Facebook Parliament update and how Zuck stole Thanksgiving

    In an update to yesterday’s post about the UK’s Parliament seizing internal documents from Facebook, The Guardian is updating the proceedings live on their website and is live streaming the hearings at the video below. So far there has been nothing earth-shattering revealed in the testimony from Facebook’s Vice President for Public Policy Solutions Richard Allan. So far, Parliament has said that they would not be publishing the seized documents today, but publishing them at a later date has not been ruled out.


    If the stream is currently not playing it is set to resume at 3:30PM GMT/10:30AM EST

    Meanwhile, while we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop in Parliament, let’s revisit an older story that seems to have mostly gone under the radar. If you’ll recall, about 2 weeks ago we published a post about how the New York Times accused Facebook of using underhanded tactics to try to silence Facebook’s critics. One of those tactics was said to include hiring a right-wing media firm to run a smear campaign against philanthropist George Soros and accusing many of Facebook’s critics as being anti-Semitic. Facebook finally came out and admitted that they did, in fact, hire the media firm known as Definers. So they’ve basically admitted to at least one of the major accusations by the Times. So why hasn’t this been bigger news? Because Facebook used one of the oldest tactics in the PR book by releasing this information right before the Thanksgiving holiday. This was a brilliant sleight of hand distraction that most stage magicians would be proud of.

    Facebook is more and more becoming the public face of privacy intrusion and cover-ups. In the past, most people were more worried about the government invading their privacy instead, it turned out to be a company that was started as a way people could connect to their friends. Then again, I guess we’re always betrayed the hardest by the ones we trust the most and in the past, the American people put a lot of trust in Facebook. Now it’s becoming more evident with each passing day that trust was misplaced.

     
  • Geebo 10:33 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Six4Three, UK   

    UK Parliament seizes internal Facebook data about privacy leak 

    UK Parliament seizes internal Facebook data about privacy leak

    While America was enjoying the tradition of the extended Thanksgiving weekend, the British Parliament was hard at work trying to hold Facebook accountable for the spate of data and privacy leaks that have been plaguing Facebook since the Cambridge Analytica scandal back in March of this year. Over the weekend, Parliament took the bold and unusual step of seizing internal Facebook documentation from an American citizen who happened to be in the UK at the time. This seizure is said to be a rarely used power of the UK Parliament. British news stalwart The Guardian first reported that Parliament had seized the documents from a US businessman and software developer who is embroiled in a lawsuit with Facebook in California.

    Parliament has tried repeatedly to get Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before them about British privacy leaks much as the US Congress did. However, Facebook has been reluctant to let Mr. Zuckerberg testify before Parliament even going so far as incurring a £500,000 fine which Facebook has the temerity to appeal. Basically, Facebook has continued to stymie Parliament’s attempt to investigate how the social media network allegedly abused the personal data of UK citizens and had little to no choice but to seize these documents.

    The documents in question were said to have been discovered by an app developer called Six4Three. Six4Three was developing an unsavory app that in theory would have allowed users to find pictures of their Facebook friends in bikinis. During the development of the app Facebook drastically altered what information app developers had access to allegedly bankrupting Six4Three. While the app may have been distasteful at best it does show how Facebook reportedly played fast and loose with users’ private data. After Six4Three went bankrupt, they sued Facebook in California for breach of contract. It was during Six4Three’s discovery process that they came across internal Facebook documents that allegedly show how Facebook allowed the Cambridge Analytica scandal to occur including confidential emails between senior executives, and communication with Mark Zuckerberg.Facebook is requesting that Parliament not make the documents public due to the fact that the documents have been sealed in a California lawsuit. However, legally Parliament does not have to grant this request and the documents may be made public as early as tomorrow. Instead of sending Mark Zuckerberg to appear before Parliament, Facebook is instead sending its Vice President for Public Policy Solutions Richard Allan.

    While the timing of this seizure seems to be incredibly convenient for Parliament, the fact that Facebook seems to be even more evasive than usual almost speaks volumes about Facebook’s alleged role in the Cambridge Analytica debacle. With reports ensuing in the months after the scandal that Facebook growth has stagnated and that they’re supposedly desperate to keep users engaged on their platform, a company-wide cover-up is not out of the realm of possibility. With Parliament taking action that Congress wouldn’t, could we be seeing the beginning of the end for Facebook? What weight will any Parliament action hold against a US-based company even though Facebook had exposed the data of millions of UK citizens? Is Facebook the Enron of privacy? With any luck, we’ll know the answers to those questions within the next 48 hours.

     
  • Geebo 11:52 am on March 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , survey, UK   

    Facebook survey asks bizarre questions about child grooming 

    Facebook survey asks bizarre questions about child grooming

    (Disclaimer: This post will be discussing frank topics that may be disturbing to some readers)

    Hot on the heels of Facebook trying to solve their foreign meddling problem with postcards, the social network finds itself in the news once again for all the wrong reasons. Over this past weekend, Facebook users in the UK were asked some rather odd and disconcerting questions in a survey about how they thought Facebook should handle certain volatile situations. A couple of those questions asked about the hypothetical grooming of a 14-year-old girl by an online predator.

    As The Guardian reports, the questions asked by Facebook were more than tone-deaf and insensitive by the way they were posed. Facebook asked how it should be handled if an adult man asked for sexual pictures of the 14-year-old girl. The responses users could choose from ranged from “this content should not be allowed on Facebook” to “I would not mind seeing it” and “I have no preference on this topic”. None of the responses included any kind of suggested contact with law enforcement. Facebook has come out with one of the understatements of the year by saying the survey was a mistake.

    Now do we think that Facebook is gearing up to become some kind of underground network for child predators? No, we do not. Facebook actually has a better record of dealing with online predators than a lot of other social platforms like Kik, Snapchat, and craigslist. However, this shows once again that Facebook is the textbook definition of ‘the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing’. Whether or not this survey was created by an algorithm or by committee, someone along the Facebook chain of command either allowed this survey to pass by them unnoticed or worse yet, approved the survey.

    This is yet another example of how Facebook’s sphere of influence has gotten away from them like so many wild horses. For a company that has such a global reach, maybe it’s time for the social giant to be reined in.

     
  • Geebo 10:12 am on November 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , National Trading Standards, UK   

    Counterfeits flooding Facebook Marketplace 

    Counterfeits flooding Facebook Marketplace

    Reports are coming out of the UK’s National Trading Standards, the UK equivalent of the Consumer Protection Agency, that high-end counterfeit goods are flooding Facebook Marketplace. This includes such brands as Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton among others. The reason that counterfeit goods like this are a problem is because they’re often funding organized crime or illegal sweatshops with child labor.

    To compound the problem, the NTS has said that Facebook lacks any channels to report counterfeit goods. It also doesn’t help that fake Facebook profiles can be created with little to no information given. Also, like too many large online marketplaces, Facebook doesn’t seem to monitor or review the Marketplace ads for illegal content. While this may be currently making news in the UK, counterfeits have been sold on Facebook in the US for years predating Facebook Marketplace.

    This story shows two problems inherent in the marketplace industry today. The first is that any online marketplace worth its salt should be checking their own ads that may be harmful to their users. The second is that this is another example of Facebook having unchecked power in our everyday lives. Many people may assume that counterfeit items for sale on Facebook Marketplace are legitimate since Facebook is supposed to be about real people. Instead, it’s as fake as the bags they’re listing for sale.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on November 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brexit, , , UK   

    Did Russian Facebook meddling influence another election? 

    Did Russian Facebook meddling influence another election?

    According to recent reports, there may have been Russian involvement in another historical election besides the 2016 US Presidential election. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre is said to be getting ready to announce that there was severe Russian interference when it came to the 2016 Brexit referendum. As with the US election, Russian groups were said to have allegedly placed Facebook ads in the UK stirring the flames of nationalism and anti-immigration movements.

    Buzzfeed has reported that Facebook has admitted there may have been Russian bought ads in the UK about the Brexit vote. Interfering in the Brexit vote doesn’t just affect England but affects the whole of the European Union if not all of Europe. When the UK leaves the EU this will have a negative economic impact on the rest of Europe which Russia may be trying to exploit, all through a social network used mainly for cat pictures.

    Facebook has more users than most countries have citizens. It wields massive influential power but that power has grown wildly out of their control and Facebook doesn’t seem to be doing much to rein that power in. Instead, they’re letting burn out of control while trying to tell everyone that everything is fine. Even while they’re allegedly being manipulated by world superpower with a history of meddling in the political affairs of other nations.

     
  • Geebo 9:16 am on October 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , UK   

    BBC: Craigslist complicit in crime 

    It’s no secret in America that craigslist is the home of a number of illegal activities on its website every day. The problem is that craigslist doesn’t do anything about it and it’s almost deemed as just a part of doing business on craigslist. Outside of when craigslist still had its adult services section, rarely has a media outlet taken craigslist to task for allowing criminal activity to continually occur. However, in the UK, the vaunted BBC has decided to bring this particular problem to light.

    In a BBC expose that is set to air soon, one of their reporters took it upon himself to show just how widespread criminal activity is on craigslist in the British Isles. The reporter found everything from high-end cocaine, to stolen passports, to people who were willing to let criminals launder money in their bank account. The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said that legislation should be put in place to prevent these activities from taking place on craigslit, while a UK cybersecurity expert said that craigslist could easily implement measures to prevent crimes like this.

    Now if crime is so widespread on craigslist in the UK, it’s more than likely occurring one hundred fold in the US. Instead of just a few voices shouting into the wind about the dangers of craigslist, we need the major news outlets to continue investigating craigslist instead of just patting themselves on the back because the adult services section closed.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , UK   

    Facebook turns to old media to fight fake news prior to UK election 

    Facebook turns to old media to fight fake news prior to UK election

    In the run up to Election Day in the UK, Facebook has turned to an unlikely ally in their continuing struggle against ‘fake news’. The social network behemoth has taken out several print ads in UK newspapers on how to recognize fake news.

    While the ads do contain helpful information on how to be a more discerning news consumer, it does indicate something Facebook probably won’t admit to itself. Facebook may feel some responsibility for the fake news that many think unduly affected the 2016 US Presidential Election. Thousands of dummy Facebook accounts have also been purged in anticipation of the election.

    However, the problem with the fake news argument is certain individuals have such a confirmation bias that they can’t be turned into more responsible content consumers. Take vaccinations for example. It was once claimed vaccinations caused autism, which caused many parents to forgo immunizations for their children. Even though that claim has been discredited many times over, there are still many people who cling to that fallacy.

    For many people, politics are their vaccinations. They blindly follow whatever dogma their chosen political party subscribes to no matter who the candidate may be. With those political leanings, many of these people will only read news from sources biased towards their own affiliation. It’s too late for Facebook users like that, they are lost to us.

    The only way to combat this kind of ignorance is for those of us who can discern fake news from fact to become more active in political matters and to get out and actually vote.

     
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