Outsourcing Firm Infosys Discriminates in Favor of Indians, Says Lawsuit
“The multi-billion dollar outsourcing firm Infosys discriminates against whites and African-Americans while favoring Indian nationals, according to a former employee.
In a newly filed lawsuit against Infosys, former executive Erin Green, who worked at the outsourcing firm between 2011 and 2016, says the company favors Indian nationals over other racial groups:
Infosys maintains roughly 200,000 employees working in the United States. While roughly 1% of the U. S. population is of the South Asian race and national origin, roughly 93%-94% of Infosys’s United States workforce is of the South Asian national origin (primarily Indian). This disproportionately South Asian and Indian workforce, by race and national origin, is a result of Infosys’s intentional employment discrimination against individuals who are not South Asian, including discrimination in the hiring, promotion, compensation and termination of individuals.
While the lawsuit does not allege any specific abuses of the H-1B or L-1 visa, where hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals are allowed to enter the U.S. every year, Green does note that the visa was used to increase Infosys’ already large Indian workforce:
Infosys has gone to great lengths to obtain its primarily South Asian work force in the U. S., in particular by utilizing professional H-1B and L-1 work visas to bring South Asians (primarily Indians) into the United States to work in information technology (“IT”) consulting roles, as its IT consulting business model dictates, and other non-IT capacities, including to replace or supplant non-South Asians. Plaintiff’s career at Infosys exemplifies the systematic pattern of discrimination at Infosys.
White and black employees at Infosys, according to Green’s lawsuit, were hardly ever promoted and even had their evaluations downgraded compared to their Indian national counterparts.
In a more specific case in 2015, Green claims Nayak “verbally assaulted and berated” his white subordinate during a conference call, bringing the woman to tears in front of fellow colleagues and Indian nationals employed at Infosys.
Within the H-1B visa industry, young, male Indian nationals are favored than any other cohort, according to research by the Center for Immigration Studies. Nearly 70 percent of all H-1B visa-holders are from India.”
Federal ‘OPT’ Program Rewards Companies For Hiring 330,000 Foreign College Grads in 2016 instead of citizens
“The federal government quietly helped and rewarded companies and universities which hired roughly 330,000 cheap foreign graduates in 2016 instead of hiring American graduates, many of whom are deep in debt.
The little-known “Optional Practical Training” program has grown from 91,140 new foreign job-seekers in 2009 to 329,158 new job-seekers in 2016, according to data provided by the Department of Homeland Security. That is almost a four-fold increase in seven years — and the program is growing even larger in 2017.
There is no cap on the OPT program, which quietly and semi-automatically gives work permits lasting up to three years when requested by foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities and colleges. Companies are not required to even interview Americans before hiring OPT graduates — and they get tax breaks for hiring foreigners over Americans.
“The government is enticing employers to hire foreigners instead of Americans … it is ridiculous,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies. Even the middle-class Americans who have downplayed the impact of cheap-labor immigration on blue-collar Americans should be alarmed by the government’s discrimination against their own college-graduate children, he added.
In 2014, the OPT program provided work permits to 249,998 foreign graduates, according to the data provided to Breitbart News by the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the program. Two years later, the number of new foreign graduates entering the program had risen by 32 percent up to 329,158.
The program provides a one-year work permit to all graduates. It also provides an extra one-year permit to graduates who work in a so-called high-tech “STEM” job. In 2016, officials working for former President Barack Obama extended the STEM permits from one year to two years. If only 20,000 of the 51,672 STEM workers from 2015 used Obama’s one-year extension, they would have increased the 2016 total from 329,158 up to 350,000.
That 350,000 estimate for 2016 means that the government is offering work permits to one foreign graduate for almost every two of the 800,000 young Americans who graduate from college each year with high-skilled degrees in business or medicine, science or software, math or physics.
The OPT program will likely grow to 500,000 foreign workers in 2020 unless it is killed by a pending lawsuit.
Under the new transparency rules established by DHS secretary John Kelly, DHS officials also provided Breitbart with the initial OPT numbers for 2017. That data showed the OPT program in the first half of 2017 by giving work permits to 255,412 foreign students, including 57,315 high-skill technology graduates. That half-year number for 2017 is larger than the 2014 total.
These high numbers likely understate the scale of the OPT outsourcing program, because the federal government also allows foreign students to get a one-year work permit via the “Curriculum Practical Training” program before they graduate into the OPT program. If 100,000 students used that CPT program in 2016, then the combined CPT and OPT programs delivered almost 450,000 white-collar American jobs to foreign students and graduates in 2016.
The annual inflow of new foreign OPT workers is now roughly three times larger than the annual inflow of 110,000 H-1B white-collar contract workers. However, the H-1B program offers longer visas to foreign workers, so it keeps a larger population of roughly 650,000 foreign white-collar workers in the United States, compared to roughly 35o,000 OPT workers.
The H-1B visas help companies hire foreign white-collar workers to take the place of the experienced American professionals who need decent salaries to help support and educate their children.
Who is impacted?
Many American college graduates are threatened by OPT, partly because the program allows foreign students to take any job, but also because the government grants three-year work permits to students who take “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math” jobs — but those STEM jobs are very expansively described. They include:
The OPT program is also a threat to upward mobility because it is increasingly being used to outsource community college technician jobs — such as nursing — which are the primary upward path for Americans born into lower-income families. The DHS list of STEM jobs also includes more than 50 types of technical jobs, including:
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Engineering Technology/Technician … solar energy … welding … industrial production … quality control … automotive engineering … [and] biology.”
Many recent graduates were hurt long-term by the slump, according to a 2014 Pew study:
In a recent report, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York went deeper and looked at underemployment among recent grads (defined as people aged 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree). The Fed researchers used data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to examine whether employed grads were in jobs that typically required a college degree, what those jobs paid, and whether they were working full- or part-time. They found that in 2012, about 44% of grads were working in jobs that didn’t require a college degree — a rate that, while about what it was in early 1990s, increased after the 2001 and 2007-09 recessions. Only 36% of that group were in what the researchers called “good non-college jobs” — those paying around $45,000 a year — down from around half in the 1990s. The share of underemployed recent grads in low-wage (below $25,000) jobs rose from about 15% in 1990 to more than 20%. About one-in-five (23%) underemployed recent grads were working part-time in 2011, up from 15% in 2000.
Other reports emphasize negative and positive prospects for recent college grads as the nation emerges from a decade-long slump.
Critically, the OPTs compete with new American graduates and nudge down the Americans’ starting salaries — which can have a huge impact on their lifetime earnings, say salary experts:
“Maximizing your first salary is really important because it determines your salary for the rest of your life,” says Matt Wallaert, chief scientist at GetRaised.com … “Your final salary is heavily dependent on your starting salary,” agrees Glenn Hiemstra, the founder of Futurist.com,
Moreover, many U.S. graduates are defaulting on college loan debts owed to the U.S. government because they cannot find well-paying jobs.
Joseph Palos, a high-tech graduate from Cornell University, formally objected to the OPT program in 2015. ”Companies don’t want to hire Americans and they abuse… OPT to hire cheap immobile labor instead of hiring anyone over the age of 35, especially in software or tech areas,” he wrote to a federal agency, according to a report in ComputerWorld.
Which companies hire OPTs?
Most universities and colleges hide useful data about their OPT programs from their American students, the tuition-paying parents and the voting public.
But a Breitbart search of the data revealed that Penn State posted a list of companies which hire OPT and other foreign graduates. The companies include accounting firms Deloitte & Touché LLP plus Ernst & Young, LLP, as well as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and the GE Global Research Center in New York. Other OPT employers included Advanced Micro Devices in Sunnyvale, Calif., Intel in Arizona, Motorola in Florida, Nokia in Texas, and Microsoft in Washington State, plus Cadbury Schweppes in New Jersey, Glaxo Smith Kline in Philadelphia, Hyatt Hotels in Washington D.C., Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, Penske Logistics in Ohio, and the Environmental Systems Research Institute in Redlands, Ca.
The Penn State list also includes many universities, many of which can keep cheap OPTs on the payroll for several years by converting them into H-1B employees. There are no limits on universities’ hiring of H-1Bs.
There’s not much reason to blame the companies for hiring OPTs, said Krikorian. By reducing employers’ taxes and subsidizing OPT employees’ pay with a chance to win green cards, “the government is encouraging these employers to hire foreign workers,” he said.
Who supports the OPT program?
Unsurprisingly, the semi-secret OPT program has intense behind-the-scenes support in Washington.
First, the OPT program — like the similar H-1B and H-2B programs — are strongly supported by business groups because they provide very cheap, compliant and disposable workers:
When a job is given to an OPT worker, neither the worker nor the employers have to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes. That tax break cuts the company’s salary costs for that foreign worker by roughly 23 percent.
When a foreign students seeks a job, Americans lose bargaining power to get decent wages for that jobs. Nationalwide, the extra inflow of immigrant labor annually transfers roughy $500 billion from employees to employers, accordin to data in the 2016 report on immigration by the National Acadeimes of Sciences.
The OPT jobs put the foreign graduates on the first step towards citizenship, which is a hugely valuable deferred bonus student studemt her overseas fmaily and their descedents in perpetuity. In effect, the federal government provides OPT workers a free lottery ticket for the prize of citizenship if they work for the pay and conditions set by the employer. But this is also a huge hidden subsidy for employers who hire foreigners instead of Americans because it allows employers to pay foreigners with hope of citizenship, while Americans must be paid in dollars.
Also, the OPT employers is heavily dependent on the employer to put him or her the next step on the path to citizenship, ensuring a compliant attitude despute low-pay and long hours. The next step is usually a H-1B visa, which requires the employer to ask the govrenment for the visa.
The OPT program adds a small but useful addition to the number of native-born and immigrant consumers who buy products in hte U.S. economy.”
Soros Legal Alum Helps Get Illegal Alien MS-13 Member Released
“An illegal alien MS-13 gang member was released by a federal judge after two immigration attorneys lobbied for his release.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth K. Dillon ordered the 17-year-old, self-admitted illegal alien MS-13 gang member be released from federal custody, despite his criminal and gang-affiliated history.
The illegal alien previously admitted to selling drugs in Honduras and witnessing multiple murders committed by fellow MS-13 members. Now, he will be allowed to live freely in the U.S.
In an interview with the Washington Post, the illegal alien spoke about how being a member of the violent MS-13 gang felt like a family:
“It was like the family I couldn’t find at home,” he said. “I thought nobody loved me. But when I found them, I said, ‘This is my family. They love me.’ ”
Older gang members gave him money, alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. But soon they demanded he sell drugs, too, including heroin and “piedra,” or crack.
“I began to see things, like them torturing people,” the teen said. “For rent. Because they belonged to another gang. Because they had screwed up somehow.”
The illegal alien gang member arrived in the U.S. as an ‘unaccompanied minor child,’ who are turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
As Breitbart Texas reported, the federal government has continued placing unaccompanied minor children in MS-13 gang hot-spots across the U.S.
One of the two attorneys who helped fight for the MS-13 gang member’s release, Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg and Rebecca Wolozin with the Legal Aid Justice Center, has ties to left-wing billionaire George Soros.
Wolozin previously worked for Soros’ Open Society Foundation as a ‘Legal Research Intern,’ according to her online resume.”
Cost Disputes Could Derail Plans To Track Foreign Departures In US Airports
“The federal government has developed a system to track foreigners leaving the country through U.S. airports, but disputes with airlines may prevent the timely application of the technology.
The new tracking system would rely on photographs taken of all passengers boarding international flights at their departure gate, allowing authorities to know with certainty whether a foreigner has left the country and where they went.
After nearly two decades spent developing technology to track individuals who enter the U.S. legally and then stay past their legal departure date, and repeated congressional mandates demanding an exit tracking system, the federal government has met resistance from airlines who don’t see the benefit of implementing it.
“Right now, there is no benefit to us. We’re not interested in adding another 10 minutes to the boarding process,” one airline official told the Wall Street Journal in Monday article.
John Wagner, who heads the program for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection agency told a congressional committee last month that DHS needs to rely on airlines to run the cameras in order to avoid an “astronomical” cost to taxpayers.
“We’re out of time and we’re out of excuses,” Wagner said. “We can’t do this without the airlines.”
Wagner also disputed the claim that the new system will inconvenience airlines, pointing out that the new technology would eliminate the necessity of checking passports.
Airline officials denied the technology would allow them to stop checking passports, saying they still have a responsibility to make sure passengers aren’t flown into other countries without identification.
The exit tracking system, which has received bipartisan support, would prevent individuals from remaining in the country illegally by having someone else exit using their passport. It would also prevent people from leaving the country undetected by using someone else’s passport.
In the past two years hundreds of thousands of people have overstayed their visas. This problem received significant congressional attention after the September 11 attacks when it was discovered several of the hijackers were in the country on expired visas.
The DHS has run a number of exit tracking pilot programs at various airports around the country. The central obstacle the department faced was determining a method to make sure individuals reported as having departed the country actually boarded the flights they were supposed to be on.
There is ample opportunity for someone to get through security and then simply leave the airport, since travelers pass through airport security checkpoints well before they reach their departure gate. The DHS successfully navigated this obstacle by developing a plan in which cameras are installed in departure gates. The cameras would scan passengers faces directly prior to boarding, the system would then cross references the images with the list of passengers who are supposed to be on the flight, confirming the individual boarded their flight.
Wagner explained that he hopes airlines will cooperate in implementing the technology but said the DHS must implement the programs with or without their cooperation. “Congress has been pretty clear about the requirement,” he told the Wall Street Journal.”
Al Franken Cancels Plans to Appear on Real Time After Bill Maher’s N-Word Flap
“As Bill Maher continues to take flak for saying a racial slur on TV, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has confirmed that he’s nixing his plans to appear on the next episode of Real Time.
Huffington Post reach out to Franken’s office to see if he would still join Maher despite his controversial conversation with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). While Maher has apologized for the incident, Franken’s spokesperson said that the appearance is a no-go:”
“Socialist” Bernie Sanders Made More Than $1 Million dollars in 2016
|| Seven Days VT
“Thanks in large part to his successful foray into authorship, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made more than $1 million in 2016. That’s according to his latest U.S. Senate financial disclosure, which he filed Sunday after receiving a 20-day extension.
The most notable source of income: book royalties. Sanders received a $795,000 advance for his best-selling book, “Our Revolution.” He got another $63,750 for his forthcoming “Bernie Sanders’ Guide to Political Revolution,” a book aimed at young readers co-authored with Kate Waters. And he took in $6,735 in royalties for his 1997 memoir “Outsider in the House.”
That’s more than $865,000 for peddling his working-class ideas. Not bad.
Then there’s the $2,521 Sanders earned last year in royalties for his 1987 spoken-word folk album, “We Shall Overcome.”
Senate rules do not require members to report their government salaries on their annual disclosures, but all rank-and-file members earn $174,000 a year. That, combined with the more than $878,000 Sanders reported in his filing, puts the democratic socialist’s 2016 payday at roughly $1,052,000.
In addition to his take-home pay, publisher St. Martin’s Press paid all expenses on Sanders’ national book tour last November and December, which took him to 12 states and the District of Columbia. Disclosure of the total was not required, and Sanders did not provide it.
Then there’s a batch of retirement mutual funds held in the name of his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders. The Senate only requires disclosure within broad dollar ranges — for instance, $15,001 to $50,000. So it’s impossible to ascertain the exact value of the retirement funds, but they are worth somewhere between $192,000 and $815,000.
In the “liabilities” category, Sanders lists two mortgages: one worth between $250,001 and $500,000, the other worth between $100,001 and $250,000.
Sanders’ most infamous real estate transaction — his 2016 purchase of a $575,000 lakefront home in North Hero — has been concealed behind an entity named the Islands Family Trust. In his Senate filing, Sanders discloses that he is “a co-trustee in a family trust created when we bought a summer home.”
Because the Senate’s disclosure standards are comfortably loose, we know much less about our junior senator’s finances than we would if he, say, released his tax returns.
But he doesn’t do that. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders released only a summary of his 2014 tax return. As the fact-checking website PolitiFact noted, of all the candidates for president last year, “Sanders’ releases are less extensive than anybody’s but Donald Trump.”
DHS Officers Humiliate Judges by Enforcing Immigration Laws, Declares Judge
“Judges are humiliated and dehumanized whenever they must enforce the nation’s immigration laws, according to a senior judge on the far-left Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The judge’s cry of outrage came when he could not block the orderly repatriation of an illegal immigrant who has two drunk driving convictions, plus a U.S. wife and three children.
“We are unable to prevent [Andres] Magana Ortiz’s removal, yet it is contrary to the values of this nation and its legal system,” complained Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who wishes to extend citizens’ rights to illegal foreign migrants.
We are compelled to deny Mr. Magana Ortiz’s request for a stay of removal because we do not have the authority to grant it. We are not, however, compelled to find the government’s action in this case fair or just. …
The government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz diminishes not only our country but our courts, which are supposedly dedicated to the pursuit of justice. Magana Ortiz and his family are in truth not the only victims. Among the others are judges who, forced to participate in such inhumane acts, suffer a loss of dignity and humanity as well. I concur as a judge, but as a citizen I do not.
The judge, who was appointed — not elected — in 1980 and is married to a former top leader in the ACLU, also lamented the authority of ordinary DHS agents to enforce the law despite protests from well-paid, high-status “civil rights” lawyers:
“Reuters has found that more than 15 percent of Facebook’s U.S. staff are immigrants employed through H-1B temporary work visas.
Based on a review of U.S. Labor Department filings for 2016 regarding temporary visa programs, Reuters found 3,339 workers of approximately 22,000 Facebook employees working in the U.S. were employed directly through H-1B temporary visas.
At over 15 percent, Facebook had the highest percentage of H-1B contractors of any U.S. tech operating company.
Breitbart News has reported that although there are only new 85,000 H-1B temporary visas granted by the U.S. State Department each year, there are about 650,000 H-1Bs working in the American private sector, roughly 100,000 H-1Bs employed at U.S. universities, and an unknown number of H-1B spouses issued green card work permits.”
15% of Facebook employees are vulnerable to Trump’s likely changes for H-1B visas
“(Reuters) – Among Silicon Valley’s top tech employers, Facebook could be the most vulnerable to U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected crackdown on guest-worker visas, according to a Reuters analysis of U.S. Labor Department filings.
More than 15 percent of Facebook’s U.S. employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa, giving the social media leader a legal classification as a H-1B “dependent” company. That is a higher proportion than Alphabet ‘s Google, Apple, Amazon, or Microsoft.
That could cause problems for Facebook if Trump or Congress decide to make the H-1B program more restrictive, as the president and some Republican lawmakers have threatened to do.
Both Trump and Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions have opposed the program in its current form. They have also indicated that they are open to reforming it to “ensure the beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest,” according to a draft executive order seen by Reuters. Reuters could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft.
The Trump administration has not proposed any new rules that would target companies with the H-1B “dependent” classification. But the fact that Facebook alone among major tech companies falls into that category suggests it is the most exposed in the industry to any changes in H-1B visa policy.
Facebook declined to comment on the matter.
Companies say they use them to recruit top talent. But a majority of the visas are awarded to outsourcing firms, sparking criticism by skeptics that those firms use the visas to fill lower-level information technology jobs. Critics also say the lottery system benefits outsourcing firms that flood the system with mass applications.
H-1B dependent status is mostly held by these outsourcing firms such as India’s Tata Consultancy Services or Infosys. The status was introduced in the late 1990s in an effort to ensure that companies did not use the visas to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor. The status requires companies to prove they cannot find U.S. workers for the jobs.”
Facebook Will Let Workers Join Glorious May Day Protests
|| Bloomberg Tech
“Facebook Inc. said it won’t punish employees who take time off to join pro-immigrant protests on May 1. And, in a nod to security staff, janitors, shuttle-bus drivers and others who work for Facebook contractors on campus, the company also said it will investigate if any of its vendors illegally crack down on their employees’ protest rights.
“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up,” a spokesman wrote in an emailed statement. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.”
Facebook notified employees of its policy in a posting on an internal forum April 14. A spokesman said it applies regardless of whether workers notify the company ahead of time. The Menlo Park, California, company also said it would re-evaluate its ties to any vendor if it breaks the law that protects workers’ rights to organize and protect themselves.
“It’s important not just to the engineers and H-1B holders that are traditionally thought of as the immigrants in tech but also to folks who are subcontracted but work side-by-side on those campuses,” said Derecka Mehrens, co-founder of Silicon Valley Rising, a union-backed coalition. “Immigrants play a critical role in the tech sector — both as engineers and coders but also in keeping tech campuses running smoothly.”
Many tech companies have been vocal in their opposition to aspects of Trump’s agenda. Facebook has criticized Trump’s immigration moves. At a rally in January at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin spoke against Trump’s executive order that closed U.S. borders to people from several majority-Muslim nations. Both companies, along with Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., are among more than 120 firms that signed a February court filing opposing the travel ban.”
Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump
“An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.
Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.
John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.
A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”
The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.
Any other CIA director would have disregarded such a flaky tip, recognizing that Estonia was eager to see Trump lose (its officials had bought into Hillary’s propaganda that Trump was going to pull out of NATO and leave Baltic countries exposed to Putin). But Brennan opportunistically seized on it, as he later that summer seized on the half-baked intelligence of British spy agencies (also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose).”
Wellesley Students Editors Endorse Silencing Opposing Speakers and Declare “Hostility May Be Warranted”
“We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on our campuses across the country. Much of that trend is the result of faculty members who have taught that free speech itself is a threat to students. The erosion of free speech has come in stages. First, schools began to declare speech to be hate speech while creating “safe zones” from the exercise of free speech. Second, schools began to enforce the ill-defined “microaggressions” to punish speech that is deemed as contributing to hostile environments or fostering stereotypes.
Now, faculty and students are increasing declaring opposing views as simply outside of the definition of free speech. That extreme argument was advanced this week by the editors of The Wellesley News who published a column entitled “Free Speech Is Not Violated At Wellesley.” It is chilling message from the Editorial Board composed of Co-Editors in Chief Sharvari Johari and Michele Lee and opinion editors Maya Nandakumar, Genae Matthews, and Tabitha Wilson. Once the champions of free speech, students have become the new censors and have adopted the perfectly Orwellian notion that the protection of free speech requires the denial of free speech.
The editors heralded the Wellesley students who refuse to respect the free speech rights of those deemed to be hateful. Simply defining such people as unworthy of free speech protections then allows the editors to become actual advocates of mob action to silence them:
“Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech. The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government.”
So speech deemed as “undermining the existence and rights of others” is all that is needed to relieve the conscience of these students and allow them to indulge in their desire to forcibly silence those with whom that disagree. There is no attempt of course to define what constitute speech that “undermines.” Rather the thrust is to legitimize the denial of free speech in the name of free speech.
Their bizarre understanding of free speech is laid out further in the statement that “The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.” Again, there is no definition of what is deemed “hateful” or “damaging” but it clearly does not include things that the editors agree with or have been taught are the products of ignorance: “We have all said problematic claims, the origins of which were ingrained in us by our discriminatory and biased society. Luckily, most of us have been taught by our peers and mentors at Wellesley in a productive way.
Now that the editors have been properly educated that some views are unworthy of protection, they are ready to take the final step in calling for the silencing of those who “refuse to adapt their beliefs.” If those people still insist on being heard, the editors declared that “hostility may be warranted.” “Hostility”?
The war on free speech appears to have produced a perfect generation of petty tyrants “mentored” in the necessity — even the moral imperative — of silencing those with whom we disagree.
I suppose this is to be expected at a school with the motto: Non Ministrari sed Ministrare — Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”
Susan Rice Requested Unmasking of Incoming Trump Administration Officials
“Susan Rice, who served as the National Security Adviser under President Obama, has been identified as the official who requested unmasking of incoming Trump officials, Cernovich Media can exclusively report.
The White House Counsel’s office identified Rice as the person responsible for the unmasking after examining Rice’s document log requests. The reports Rice requested to see are kept under tightly-controlled conditions. Each person must log her name before being granted access to them.
Upon learning of Rice’s actions, H. R. McMaster dispatched his close aide Derek Harvey to Capitol Hill to brief Chairman Nunes.
“Unmasking” is the process of identifying individuals whose communications were caught in the dragnet of intelligence gathering. While conducting investigations into terrorism and other related crimes, intelligence analysts incidentally capture conversations about parties not subject to the search warrant. The identities of individuals who are not under investigation are kept confidential, for legal and moral reasons.
As his presidency drew to a close, Barack Obama’s top aides routinely reviewed intelligence reports gleaned from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad, taking advantage of rules their boss relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats, Circa has learned.
Three people close to President Obama, including his “fall guy” for Benghazi (Susan Rice), had authorization to unmask.
Among those cleared to request and consume unmasked NSA-based intelligence reports about U.S. citizens were Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice, his CIA Director John Brennan and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
WASHINGTON — A pair of White House officials helped provide Representative Devin Nunes of California, a Republican and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, with the intelligence reports that showed that President Trump and his associates were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.
According to WaPo, there were three sources for the reports, with Michael Ellis ultimately being blamed by WaPo and AP.
What’s striking about the Times story is the spin it took. Trump had previously claimed he had been “wire tapped” (quotation marks in his original Tweet), leading to media screams that he prove it. The Times’ own reporting proves that President Trump and his associates were spied on.
The Times, rather than admit Trump had been vindicated, instead focused its attention on the question of who leaked the reports to Nunes:
Since disclosing the existence of the intelligence reports, Mr. Nunes has refused to identify his sources, saying he needed to protect them so others would feel safe going to the committee with sensitive information. In his public comments, he has described his sources as whistle-blowers trying to expose wrongdoing at great risk to themselves.
Since when did journalists attempt to unmask sources? The Times, WaPo, and other outlets rely on anonymous sources in nearly every article about national security. It’s clear they have an agenda — that agenda is not telling the truth.
This reporter has been informed that Maggie Haberman has had this story about Susan Rice for at least 48 hours, and has chosen to sit on it in an effort to protect the reputation of former President Barack Obama.”
Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel
“White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”
The National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with Bloomberg View on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed more of Rice’s requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.
The intelligence reports were summaries of monitored conversations — primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials. One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.
Rice did not respond to an email seeking comment on Monday morning. Her role in requesting the identities of Trump transition officials adds an important element to the dueling investigations surrounding the Trump White House since the president’s inauguration.”
FLASHBACK: Susan Rice Said ‘I Know Nothing’ About Unmasking of Trump Officials on Mar 22
| Free Beacon | PBS
“Susan Rice, former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, reportedly requested on several occasions the identities of “masked” U.S. persons in intelligence reports linked to President Trump’s transition and campaign. The revelation contradicts Rice’s past comments on March 22, when she claimed she knew “nothing” about the intelligence reports.
White House lawyers discovered Rice’s dozens of requests last month, during a National Security Council review of the “government’s policy on ‘unmasking’ the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally,” Eli Lake of Bloomberg reported Monday, citing U.S. officials.
But Rice, who Newsweek once called Obama’s “right-hand woman,” denied during a PBS interview last month having any knowledge of the intelligence community’s alleged incidental surveillance of Trump’s transition team.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, asserted in March that he had seen evidence that some of the Trump transition team’s communications with foreign actors were surveilled by the Obama administration.
“What I’ve read seems to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, but I don’t know that it’s right and I don’t know if the American people would be comfortable with what I’ve read,” Nunes said.
On “PBS NewsHour” on March 22, Judy Woodruff asked Rice about Nunes’ claims.
“I know nothing about this,” Rice responded at the time. “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.”
“So, today, I really don’t know to what Chairman Nunes was referring, but he said that whatever he was referring to was a legal, lawful surveillance, and that it was potentially incidental collection on American citizens,” added Rice, who went on to criticize Trump for his accusation that Obama wiretapped him during the presidential campaign.
Lake’s reporting on Monday for Bloombergappears to contradict Rice’s answer.”
The Conservative Case Against Trashing Online Privacy Rules
“PROTECTING INTERNET PRIVACY should be a bipartisan issue, right? After all, Americans seem united in their dislike of the phone and cable behemoths that dominate internet service in the US.
More importantly, the principle of protecting your personal online data from snooping wouldn’t seem to break down along tidy partisan lines. Democrats want to protect the little guy from exploitation by corporate interests. Republicans believe in individual liberty. And yet, the decision to revoke Federal Communications Commission rules that would have stopped internet providers from selling your data without your permission followed party lines almost perfectly. Almost.
No Democrat in either the House or Senate voted for the resolution that repeals Federal Communications Commission rules prohibiting ISPs from selling your browsing history without your opt-in permission. No Senate Republican voted against it. But 15 House Republicans bucked their party to join a unified Democratic caucus to vote against the resolution. Call it online profiles in courage.
“At the end of the day, it’s your data,” says representative Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), who voted against the repeal. “I don’t see how it could be anyone else’s.”
Davidson says ISPs tracking your web surfing habits to target ads is like the postal service or FedEx snooping through your letters to figure out what junk mail to send you. “If a guy could carry a letter on a horse for weeks and not open it, why can’t [internet providers] carry it for three seconds?” he asks. “What’s changed? It’s just that it’s easier now.”
For most Republicans, it seems, someone else’s private property rights took precedence: the cable and phone companies themselves. Davidson says he believes most of his colleagues subscribed to the free-market reasoning that because the ISPs built the networks, they could do with them what they pleased. But many people don’t have access to more than one home broadband provider–particularly in many of the rural districts that Republicans represent. That limitation was not lost on Republicans who broke rank.
“Consumers have little—if any—choice of internet service providers, because government severely restricts competition,” representative Tom McClintock (R-California) said in a statement. “As long as free choice cannot protect the consumer, rules like this are necessary.”
The Great Polarization
Money would seem to be another obvious driver of partisanship, but in the case of rescinding internet privacy protections, its influence wasn’t necessarily decisive.
The telecommunications industry has more than doubled its lobbying spending since 2000, and some of the resolution’s biggest backers, such as representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), have reportedly raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the industry.
The Great Polarization
Money would seem to be another obvious driver of partisanship, but in the case of rescinding internet privacy protections, its influence wasn’t necessarily decisive.
The telecommunications industry has more than doubled its lobbying spending since 2000, and some of the resolution’s biggest backers, such as representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), have reportedly raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the industry.
Even distrust of red tape and the former president wasn’t enough to convince Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) to vote for the resolution. “Think how you would respond if you hired a plumber to fix your sink and you later found him or her digging through your file cabinet, perusing your checkbook or reviewing credit card statements,” he said in a statement. “You would be appalled—and should be. To a large degree, that is what is happening with our use of the internet.”
“All your private online data—the websites you visit, the content of your chats and emails, your health info, and your location—just became suddenly less secure. Not because of hackers, but because Congress just blocked crucial privacy regulations. This will allow your internet service provider to collect all your data and sell that info to the highest bidder without asking you first. Welcome to a brave new world.
A pair of resolutions, which passed through the Senate and House with exclusively Republican votes, roll back rules proposed by the Democratic leadership of the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration which, though passed in October, had not yet gone into effect.
The rules—which will be completely dead following the expected signature of President Trump—would have required ISPs to get explicit opt-in approval from customers before selling the following “sensitive data”:
This doesn’t just mean that sharing that information without your explicit permission will be fine and dandy. Since the rules were rolled back through the Congressional Review Act, the FCC is also barred from creating any “substantially similar” rules down the line.
In theory, the information collected will be stored under some sort of ID separate from your actual name. But that’s a cold comfort considering the level of detail in this sort of information would make your identity a dead giveaway, and ISPs can hardly be trusted to keep your identifying information suitably safe from prying eyes. After all, they’ll be building dossiers any hacker would love to steal.
What to do? There are a few things you can do to try and keep your data safe, and while they aren’t necessarily easy or free, they’re worth it if you value your privacy.
Opt out with your ISP
Your ISP may not need your permission to sell your data, but you can still go to them and tell them not to do it. The catch, of course, is this requires you to be proactive, and there’s no real guarantee that this will protect you completely. Still, do it. Get on the phone or visit the website of your ISP and opt out of every ad-related thing—and into every privacy-related thing—you can find. The process can be a little arduous—often requiring the use of your ISP-given email address that you probably never use—and it may not take effect immediately either. All the better reason to do it now.
Time Warner/Spectrum customers can find their privacy dashboard here. Comcast customers can opt out of some targeted programs using these instructions. Verizon customers can find opt out options here. Remember, your phone company is technically an ISP too, so look up your options on that front as well.
Opting out is an important first step, but it is not enough to actually preserve your privacy. Your ISP is not necessarily giving you the opportunity to opt out of all its ad-targeting programs. As the policy counsel at the Open Technology Institute, Eric Null, told Gizmodo, it is “highly unlikely” the new FCC will go after ISPs that aren’t offering robust opportunities to opt-out.
Keep your data out of your ISP’s hands in the first place
Your ISP is uniquely suited to snoop on your information. Anything you put online has to pass through its hands. Email you send through Gmail, chats through Facebook Messenger—they all travel through your ISP before they reach the service that actually sends them on. But while it is impossible to cut your ISP out of this exchange entirely, you can hide the data as you are sending it.
Apps with end-to-end encryption can encrypt your private information on the phone or computer you’re using, ensuring that it is coded and protected through the entire delivery process. So while your ISP can see the data go by, they can’t make sense of it.
The most seamless solution is to pay for a Virtual Private Network—a VPN—which allows you to encrypt all the data that passes through your ISP. This means that while your ISP is still doing the work of hauling your data around, it can’t understand any of it. The downside to this is that VPNs (at least any VPNs you can trust) are not free. Most good ones will require a yearly subscription. Furthermore, you aren’t hiding your personal data from everyone, you are just entrusting it to the VPN instead of your ISP, so do your research and choose a VPN you trust not to sell you out. Fortunately, since VPNs exist exclusively to keep your data private, they are pretty incentivized to keep you happy.
The only one you can really trust to protect you is you.”
Cisco Learned of Security Vulnerabilities Because of WikiLeaks CIA Dump
“When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange disclosed earlier this month that his anti-secrecy group had obtained CIA tools for hacking into technology products made by U.S. companies, security engineers at Cisco Systems swung into action.
The Wikileaks documents described how the Central Intelligence Agency had learned more than a year ago how to exploit flaws in Cisco’s widely used Internet switches, which direct electronic traffic, to enable eavesdropping.
Senior Cisco managers immediately reassigned staff from other projects to figure out how the CIA hacking tricks worked, so they could help customers patch their systems and prevent criminal hackers or spies from using the same methods, three employees told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The Cisco engineers worked around the clock for days to analyze the means of attack, create fixes, and craft a stopgap warning about a security risk affecting more than 300 different products, said the employees, who had direct knowledge of the effort.”
Congress to US citizens: Want online privacy? Pay up!
Worried consumers may resort to buying VPN services and paying higher fees to ISPs to protect their privacy
“A congressional vote to repeal U.S. restrictions on broadband providers doesn’t mean that online privacy is dead. Consumers will just have to pay for it.
The coming repeal, which President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law, paves a clearer path for broadband providers to sell customers’ internet browsing history and other online data, without their consent.
Privacy advocates are worried. Imagine corporate giants snooping on your internet activities, and then bombarding your PC, phone and TV with targeted ads.
However, the privacy rule rollback might have an opposite effect, too. Expect broadband providers and other internet services to emerge offering online privacy protections, but at a price.”
Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations highlighted just how much we have sacrificed to the gods of technology and convenience something we used to take for granted, and once considered a basic human right – our privacy.
It is just not just the NSA. Governments the world over are racing to introduce legislation that allows to them to monitor and store every email, phone call and Instant Message, every web page visited, and every VoIP conversation made by every single one of their citizens.
The press have bandied parallels with George Orwell’s dystopian world ruled by an all-seeing Big Brother about a great deal. They are depressingly accurate.
Encryption provides a highly effective way to protect your internet behavior, communications, and data. The main problem with using encryption is that its use flags you up to organizations such as the NSA for closer scrutiny.
Details of the NSA’s data collection rules are here. What it boils down to is that the NSA examines data from US citizens, then discards it if it’s found to be uninteresting. Encrypted data, on the other hand, is stored indefinitely until the NSA can decrypt it.
The NSA can keep all data relating to non-US citizens indefinitely, but practicality suggests that encrypted data gets special attention.
If a lot more people start to use encryption, then encrypted data will stand out less, and surveillance organizations’ job of invading everyone’s privacy will be much harder. Remember – anonymity is not a crime!”