Category Archives: Technology

Facebook on the Hot Seat, Zuckerberg in Hiding | Mar 21 2018

Where’s Zuck? Facebook CEO silent as data harvesting scandal unfolds

|| The Guardian UK

Amid calls for investigation and a #DeleteFacebook campaign, company releases an official statement but its figurehead keeps quiet

“The chief executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has remained silent over the more than 48 hours since the Observer revealed the harvesting of 50 million users’ personal data, even as his company is buffeted by mounting calls for investigation and regulation, falling stock prices and a social media campaign to #DeleteFacebook.

Facebook’s shares slid 6.77% on Monday following the news, knocking $36bn off the company’s valuation as investors worried about the consequences of the revelations. Zuckerberg owns 16% of the company and personally saw his fortune fall $5.5bn to $69bn, according to Forbes’ live tracker of the world’s wealthiest people.

The embattled social media company announced on Monday that it will engage a digital forensics firm to conduct an audit of Cambridge Analytica to determine whether or not the firm still has copies of the data in question.

The Observer reported this weekend that a company called Global Science Research (GSR) harvested tens of millions of Facebook profiles and sold the data to Cambridge Analytica. The New York Times reported on Saturday that Cambridge Analytica still possesses “most or all” of the harvested data. Cambridge Analytica has denied knowing that the data was obtained improperly.

“If this data still exists, it would be a grave violation of Facebook’s policies and an unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments these groups made,” Facebook said in a statement.

The engagement of the digital forensics firm Stroz Friedberg is unlikely to assuage officials in the US or UK, where lawmakers have issued calls for Zuckerberg to testify about the data breach. Representatives of Stroz Friedberg were at Cambridge Analytica’s office in London on Monday evening when the UK Information Commissioner’s Office asked them to leave so the authorities could pursue its own investigation, Facebook said hours after the first announcement.

On Monday, the US senator Ron Wyden sent Zuckerberg a detailed list of questions related to the breach, with a demand for answers by 13 April. Two members of the Senate judiciary committee, Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican John Kennedy, called for hearings with the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google.

“It’s time for Mark Zuckerberg to stop hiding behind his Facebook page,” said the Conservative MP Damian Collins, chair of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee.

Referencing the government’s request for Facebook’s auditors to leave Cambridge Analytica’s offices, Collins tweeted: “These investigations need to be undertaken by the proper authorities.”

The three social media companies testified in Washington last fall, following the revelation that their platforms had been used by foreign agents seeking to illegally influence the US presidential election. All three companies sent their general counsels, a move that was criticized at the time. It is unlikely that Zuckerberg will be able to avoid congressional questioning a second time.

Experts have long criticized Facebook’s privacy practices, but their warnings have done little to dissuade users – now numbering more than 2 billion around the world – from signing up for the platform.

Whether the scandal will result in actual change in user trust of the company remains to be seen, but the hashtag #DeleteFacebook trended on Twitter on Monday as users shared their intention to log off the social network for good. Others tweeted #WheresZuck, in reference to the executive’s silence.

Also on Monday, the New York Times reported that Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, would be leaving the company following disagreements with other executives over the handling of the investigation into the Russian influence operation.”

….Continue reading more @ The Guardian

SpaceX Leaps to the Top with Latest Launch | Feb 08 2018

What it took for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to disrupt Boeing, leapfrog NASA, and become a serious space company

|| Quartz

“The Space Exploration Technology rocket factory is a large, white hangar-like building near Los Angeles international airport, with a parking lot filled with late-model motorcycles and Tesla electric cars. The vast metal structure once churned out 747 fuselages for Boeing. When you get through the front doors, past security and a cubicle farm stretching the width of the building, there it is: Science fiction being wrought into shape, right in front of you.

Right in front of all the workers, too. The company’s two-floor cafeteria is practically on and overlooking the manufacturing floor. Designers and accountants can eat lunch watching technicians build space capsules and rocket stages. There’s a lot to see: Rockets, like good suits, are bespoke objects, hand-made to order; a SpaceX tour guide says much of the work is too precise for robotic assembly.”

….Continue reading @  Quartz

 

Video: Falcon Heavy blasts off, boosters land at Cape Canaveral

|| Spaceflightnow.com

 

video here: spaceflightnow.com

 

Apple to Bring Home Billions to the USA || Jan 18 2018

Apple announces plans to repatriate billions in overseas cash, says it will contribute $350 billion to the US economy over the next 5 years

|| CNBC

Apple will invest $350 billion in the US economy over the next 5 years

“Apple will invest $350 billion in the US economy over the next 5 years
Apple on Wednesday made a slew of announcements about its investment in and contribution to the U.S. economy in part because of the new tax law.

The headline from Apple is that it will make a $350 billion “contribution” to the U.S. economy over the next five years, although it’s unclear exactly how the company came to that number.

The company also promised to create 20,000 new jobs and open a new campus.

It said it expects to pay about $38 billion in taxes for the horde of cash it plans to bring back to the United States. This implies it will repatriate virtually all of its $250 billion in overseas cash.

Apple also said it will spend over $30 billion in capital expenditures over the next five years. About $10 billion in capital expenditures will be investments in U.S. data centers, the company said.

Apple added that it will spend $5 billion as part of an innovation fund, up from the $1 billion CEO Tim Cook announced last year on CNBC’s “Mad Money.”

The job creation will include direct employment and also suppliers and its app business, which it had already planned to grow substantially (app developers earned $26.5 billion in 2017.) The new campus will focus on customer support.

Wednesday’s announcement indicates that Apple will still have hundreds of billions of dollars in cash. It could spend that money on buybacks, dividends or acquisitions or moonshot projects.

The announcement raises the bar for the world’s most valuable company — now a huge driver of the economy — to continue its dominance and growth in the wake of political pressure on big tech companies. The plan calls for Apple to keep up 2018’s $55 billion “supercycle” spending rate with domestic suppliers and manufacturers.

“We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible,” Cook said in a statement.

In 2016, then president-elect Donald Trump publicly called out Apple’s reliance on its Chinese supply chain, telling The New York Times that he would “get Apple to build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States.”

Apple shares were up about half a percent after the announcement, adding about $5.6 billion to the company’s market capitalization after the stock opened Wednesday’s trading session down 0.3 percent.

….Continue reading more @ CNBC.com

Foreign Nationals Now the Majority in Silicon Valley Jobs | Nov 22 2017

Report: Foreign Nationals Outnumber Americans in High-Paying, White-Collar Silicon Valley Jobs

|| Breitbart

“Foreign nationals now outnumber Americans in high-paying, high-skilled, white-collar jobs in Silicon Valley, California – the hub of the United States tech industry.

Silicon Valley Leadership Group President Carl Guardino touted the statistic in a report, revealing that 57 out of every 100 jobs in Silicon Valley that require at least a bachelor’s degree are taken by a foreign-born resident.

The revelation comes as President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has led an initiative to increase educational funding of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields while ignoring the issue of mass immigration and multiple visa programs that have led to Americans being replaced by foreign nationals.

For instance, Ivanka helped secure $200 million of the Department of Education’s grant funds towards STEM fields, Breitbart News reported.

At the same time, Ivanka endorsed a plan to give amnesty to illegal aliens who have been shielded under a President Obama-created temporary amnesty program. Such an amnesty would have the potential to lead to a chain migration whereby between 9.9 million and 19 million foreign nationals enter the U.S. over the next few decades, further crowding out Americans from the workforce.

The growing foreign-born population taking jobs in Silicon Valley comes as nearly 500,000 Americans graduate in the STEM fields every year who are forced to compete with a booming foreign-born population in the U.S. and foreign workers who are imported by outsourcing firms and major tech conglomerates.

For example, the H-1B visa, which brings more than 100,000 foreign workers to the U.S. every year, has been used quietly by tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook to import a cheaper, foreign workforce, as Breitbart News reported. The H-1B visa allows for Americans to be displaced from their white-collar jobs, and sometimes they are even forced to train their foreign replacements as a stipulation of their severance.

Every year, more than 1.5 million illegal and legal immigrants are admitted to the U.S., with the current foreign-born population booming to an unprecedented high of roughly 44 million individuals. Mass immigration to the U.S. has been at the expense of American workers in the working and middle-class who have been forced to compete with foreign labor while their wages have remained stagnant.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

Dem Congressman Who Oversees Sexual Harassment Settlements is Under FBI Investigation

|| theGatewayPundit

“It turns out that the Democrat swamp creature who oversees Congressional sexual harassment settlements is under FBI investigation.

Democrat Congressman Bob Brady of Pennsylvania is under FBI investigation for false statements, conspiracy and campaign fraud, Newsweek reported.

Brady is apparently Congress’ most trusted man to oversee sexual harassment cases. Amazing.

Pennsylvania Congressman Bob Brady, who oversees the settlements paid by Congress for sexual discrimination complaints, is under FBI investigation for false statements, conspiracy and campaign fraud, documents showed Tuesday.

Brady, a Democrat, is a ranking member of the Committee on House Administration, which gives him power over settlement payments with taxpayer dollars. The office also works to prevent sexual harassment in Congress.

The FBI obtained a search warrant for Brady’s emails.

There is probable cause to believe that Brady and his associates “were involved in the commission of several crimes, including conspiracy, false statements, producing false records, false campaign contribution reports, and violating limits on campaign contributions and expenditures,” the court papers say. “Brady’s email account is likely to contain evidence of these crimes.”

Brady’s campaign associates were also indicted last month.

A man like Bob Brady can easily be bribed or blackmailed since he is compromised. He is not fit to be in a position of power over other men who are desperate to make their sexual harassment cases disappear. This dynamic further stacks up against female victims who are abused and intimidated by powerful men in DC.”

….Continue more @ TGP

Equifax Hack Raises Major Questions of Consumer Privacy | Sep 9 2017

Equifax finally responds to swirling concerns over consumers’ legal rights

|| Washington Post

Update: Equifax issued a statement Friday evening. “In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident,” the company said.

Sharp-eyed social media users have combed through the Equifax data breach site’s fine print — and found what they argue is a red flag.

Buried in the terms of service is language that appears to bar those who enroll in an Equifax credit monitoring program from participating in any class-action lawsuits that may arise from the incident. Here’s the relevant passage of the terms of service:

AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE ALL DISPUTES BY BINDING INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE SECTION CAREFULLY BECAUSE IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS BY REQUIRING ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES (EXCEPT AS SET FORTH BELOW) AND A WAIVER OF THE ABILITY TO BRING OR PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION, CLASS ARBITRATION, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE ACTION. ARBITRATION PROVIDES A QUICK AND COST EFFECTIVE MECHANISM FOR RESOLVING DISPUTES, BUT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IT ALSO LIMITS YOUR RIGHTS TO DISCOVERY AND APPEAL.

This language is commonly known in the industry as an “arbitration clause.” In theory, arbitration clauses are meant to streamline the amount of work that’s dumped onto the court system. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concluded in the summer arbitration that clauses do more harm to consumers than good — and the agency put in place a rule to ban them.

“In practice, companies use these clauses to bar groups of consumers from joining to seek justice by vindicating their legal right,” Richard Cordray, the CFPB’s director, told reporters in July, according to my colleague Jonnelle Marte.

Here’s a further look into why the language raised concerns.

Why is arbitration a big deal?

There is already at least one class-action suit brewing against Equifax. Arbitration clauses make it hard if not impossible for consumers to join such suits. Arbitration is weaker than class-action suits, critics say, because it limits consumers’ ability to find facts to support their case, to appeal decisions or to present their case before a jury.

Friday afternoon, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took aim at Equifax’s arbitration clause, tweeting his staff has contacted the company urging it to remove that part of the fine print.

“This language is unacceptable and unenforceable,” the state’s top lawyer said in his tweet. Minutes later, Schneiderman’s office announced a formal probe into the Equifax breach. In a release, the state attorney general’s office said Schneiderman had sent a letter to Equifax asking for more information. Among the questions were whether any consumer information has found its way to the “black market,” according to a person familiar with the investigation.

A spokesperson for Schneiderman declined to comment on whether officials were investigating the sale of company stock by Equifax executives before the discovery of the hack.

So should I register with the Equifax site, or not?

It’s up to you, but you should know going into the process what you’re signing up for. Equifax issued a statement Friday evening apologizing for consumers’ inconvenience and said the arbitration clause and class-action waiver “does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.”

…Continue reading more @ https://www.washingtonpost.com

 

Were You Hit By The Equifax Security Breach?

|| Refinery 29

“The three credit reporting agencies collect a vast array of personal data from consumers to calculate credit scores, which can determine an individual’s loan-worthiness or the terms of a loan. At a minimum, the accrued information includes Social Security numbers and credit card information that would be nerve-wracking to have stolen.

Yesterday, this information from as many as 143 million people in the U.S. — about 44% of the population — was leaked after a cybersecurity breach of Equifax’s database.
“The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed,” the firm said in a statement. “As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain U.K. and Canadian residents.”
Equifax says the breach occurred from mid-May through July 2017, and they urge consumers to “check potential impact” at a dedicated website, which you can do here. They’ve also opened a call center line (which will be open on weekends), and recommend that people with questions advises people who are worried about their information being exposed to consider placing a temporary fraud alert on their credit report for now.”
…Continue reading more @ Refinery29.com

Irvine Co. Makes Play for New Amazon Headquarters | Sep 8, 2017

Donald Bren & Irvine Company make rare public pitch for Amazon’s 2nd headquarters

|| OC Register

“When the titan of e-commerce said it needed a second headquarters, an Orange County titan of real estate said come on down.

Donald Bren, the owner and chairman of the Irvine Company issued a rare statement Thursday after Amazon said it was on the hunt for another base of operations in North America.

“We are uniquely qualified to meet Amazon’s needs,” Bren said in a statement to the Register.

The Irvine Co. will work with Irvine officials to identify specific plans and locations, company spokesman Scott Starkey said.

Amazon has a few must-haves: A prime location, close to transit, with plenty of space to grow.

Irvine officials believe the city would “appear to be the perfect location.”

The city plans to submit a proposal to Amazon, though they don’t have a timeline yet.

City Manager Sean Joyce became aware of “this intriguing opportunity today,” city spokesman Craig Reem said. Joyce has assigned staff to create a proposal, Reem said, but added “there is a lot of work ahead.”

The city, Reem said, would still have to explore where to build the headquarters.

“Irvine is nimble and innovative and ready to leverage our changing economy,” Councilwoman Melissa Fox said.

Amazon said Thursday it will spend more than $5 billion to build another headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees. It plans to stay in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the new space will be “a full equal” of its current home, said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

Irvine will have to compete with the likes of Los Angeles. Officials there said the city also is planning to bid on the project.

The e-commerce giant has a significant presence in Southern California with warehouses and distributions scattered from Irvine to Moreno Valley. Logistics here also might be favorable with the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and cargo airports in Ontario and at LAX.

Amazon’s announcement highlights how fast the company is expanding and is certain to create a scramble among cities and states vying to make the short list. They have a little more than a month to apply through a special website, and the company said it will make a final decision next year.

It didn’t hint about where it might land, but its requirements could rule out some places: It wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and wants to be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade. That’s about the same size as its current home in Seattle. Co-headquarters, though, often come about as a result of mergers.

Amazon said its search is open to any metropolitan area in North America that meets the parameters — the city itself doesn’t necessarily have to be a million people — but declined to say how open it was to building outside the U.S.

“We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees, and the community can all benefit,” the company said on its search website, about why it was choosing its second headquarters through a public process.

Bezos has crowdsourced major decisions before – in June, just before Amazon announced its plan to buy organic grocer Whole Foods, the billionaire took to Twitter seeking ideas for a philanthropic strategy to give away some of his fortune. And tech companies have been known to set places in competition with each other: In vying to land Google’s ultra-fast broadband network, many cities used stunts and gimmickry to get the company’s attention. Topeka even informally renamed itself “Google, Kansas.”

In just the last month, Amazon announced plans to build three new warehouses that pack and ship packages in New York, Ohio and Oregon. And it recently paid close to $14 billion for Whole Foods and its more than 465 stores. The company plans to hire 100,000 people by the middle of next year, adding to its current worldwide staff of more than 380,000.

Amazon’s current campus in Seattle takes up 8.1 million square feet, has 33 buildings and 24 restaurants and is home to more than 40,000 employees. At the second headquarters, Amazon said it will hire up to 50,000 new full-time employees over the next 15 years who would have an average pay of more than $100,000 a year.

Amazon’s website about the search lauds the benefits it can bring to a community. And Amazon’s arrival could transform an area: Until 10 years ago, the neighborhood near Seattle’s campus just north of downtown was dotted with auto parts stores and low-rent apartments. Now the area is a booming pocket of high-rise office complexes, sleek apartment buildings and tony restaurants.

Amazon’s rise has not been without local critics, who say the influx of mostly well-heeled tech workers has caused housing prices to skyrocket, clogged the streets with traffic and changed the city for the worse. The Seattle Times reported Thursday that the median price for a house in August in Seattle was $730,000, up almost 17 percent in a year.”

….Continue reading more @ OC Register

 

| Question: Where is Irvine’s current congress person Rep. Mimi Walters? Missing in action as usual? And curious the Irvine Co. is not working with Walters to get jobs and expand business in Irvine and South Orange County. 

We can either let jobs leave SoCal or fight to get some. Irvine is an amazingly vibrant and major high tech hub. So why is Walters supporting driverless cars as a huge social boon? We don’t make such cars in South Orange County. / CJ

Orwell’s Prophetic ‘Two Minutes Hate’ Against A Political Enemy Eerily Similar to Media Daily Thumping of Trump | August 15, 2017

George Orwell’s Two Minute’s Hate Drives Political Opponents to Temporary Madness

|| Youtube

…More @ Youtube

 

Today at Trump Towers in Manhattan

|| Youtube

 

Unhinged Crowd Tears Down Statue in Durham NC

|| Youtube

‘Liberals’ React to Losing Nov 2016

|| Youtube

 

New Yorkers Can’t Find North Korea on  a Map

|| RT