Category Archives: Technology

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

Voter Fraud Begins at the State Level Now A National Security Issue | August 09, 2017

Judicial Watch: Corrupt State Employees Sold Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens Resulting in Voter Fraud in Mass

|| theGatewayPundit

“Massachusetts – Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Tuesday that corrupt state employees sold drivers’ licenses and state identification cards to illegal immigrants who bought Puerto Rican documents on the black market, according to the DOJ. The operation perpetuated voter fraud because some of the false identities and addresses were used to vote in Boston.

Judicial Watch reports:

The scheme was operated by four taxpayer-funded employees at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) along with two outside accomplices who sold Puerto Rican documents to illegal aliens. All six were recently arrested and charged with aggravated identity theft. They probably never would have been caught if not for an anonymous tip received by the Massachusetts State Police nearly two years ago and there’s no telling how long the illicit scheme operated.

The anonymous letter said that a corrupt RMV employee was providing stolen identifications and drivers’ licenses to individuals seeking false IDs, the DOJ announcement states. An investigation ensued and authorities discovered that the four clerks were working with a document vendor and document dealer to provide the licenses and official state ID cards to illegal immigrants in exchange for cash. “The scheme involved several steps,” the DOJ says. First, the document dealer sold a Puerto Rican birth certificate and U.S. Social Security card to the document vendor for approximately $900. The vendor would then sell the stolen identities for more than $2,000 to illegal aliens—some with criminal records—seeking legitimate identities in Massachusetts. After the first layer of illicit transactions occurred, the counterfeit documents and false identities and addresses were used to fraudulently register clients to vote in Boston.

Illegal aliens would then bring the stolen identities to the RMV where the corrupt clerks worked and they would accept cash to illegally issue authentic documents, including drivers’ licenses and ID cards. “The clerks also accepted cash to use the RMV’s system to run queries, including Social Security number audits, to confirm that the identities the clients were stealing actually belonged to verifiable individuals,” the DOJ announcement states. The unscrupulous state workers face up to two years in prison, according to the feds, who won’t reveal the magnitude of the operation and how many authentic state documents were issued fraudulently to illegal aliens.

Judicial Watch has been aggressively pursuing voter fraud which is plaguing our nation. In fact, Judicial Watch warned the state of California recently that if they don’t clean up their voters rolls, they will sue them in Federal Court.

Just how bad is California? As TGP previously reported, there are eleven counties in California with more registered voters than voting age adults in the county.”

….Continue reading more @ TGP

 

Obama Admin Had FBI Spy on Social Media on Election Day | Aug 05, 2017

Obama White House Oversaw Election Day News Monitoring On ‘Edge Of Constitutional Legality’

|| Daily Caller

“Dozens of FBI officials monitored social media on Election Day 2016 looking for “fake news” being spread as part of a Russian disinformation campaign against former candidate Hillary Clinton, multiple sources told CNN.

The FBI knew it was walking a fine legal line by monitoring the media for “fake news,” according to sources. It was part of a larger effort to look for Russian cyber threats to the elections, CNN reported.

“We were right on the edge of Constitutional legality,” a source briefed on the matter told CNN. “We were monitoring news.”

Intelligence officials monitoring social media held conference calls with the White House throughout Election Day. Some minor issues came up, but nothing happened to disrupt voting.

An anonymous Obama White House official told CNN the election monitoring was “a failure of imagination,” and what the Russians “did worked.”

The news comes on the heels of reports that special counsel Robert Mueller will use at least two grand juries in his investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the campaign.

To date, there’s been no conclusive evidence of collusion.”

….Continue reading more @ Daily Caller

 

Japan Decides to Dump 770,000 Tons of Radioactive Waste Water into the Pacific Ocean | July 15, 2017

Fishermen express fury as Fukushima plant set to release radioactive material into ocean

|| Telegraph UK

Local residents and environmental groups have condemned a plan to release radioactive tritium from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

“Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, say tritium poses little risk to human health and is quickly diluted by the ocean.

In an interview with local media, Takashi Kawamura, chairman of TEPCO, said: “The decision has already been made.” He added, however, that the utility is waiting for approval from the Japanese government before going ahead with the plan and is seeking the understanding of local residents.

The tritium is building up in water that has been used to cool three reactors that suffered fuel melt-downs after cooling equipment was destroyed in the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that struck north-east Japan in March 2011.

Around 770,000 tons of highly radioactive water is being stored in 580 tanks at the site. Many of the contaminants can be filtered out, but the technology does not presently exist to remove tritium from water.

“This accident happened more than six years ago and the authorities should have been able to devise a way to remove the tritium instead of simply announcing that they are going to dump it into the ocean”, said Aileen Mioko-Smith, an anti-nuclear campaigner with Kyoto-based Green Action Japan.

“They say that it will be safe because the ocean is large so it will be diluted, but that sets a precedent that can be copied, essentially permitting anyone to dump nuclear waste into our seas”, she told The Telegraph.

Fishermen who operate in waters off the plant say any release of radioactive material will devastate an industry that is still struggling to recover from the initial nuclear disaster.

“Releasing [tritium] into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumours, making all our efforts for naught”, Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishing cooperative, told Kyodo News.”

….Continue reading more @ Telegraph UK

|  Question: How is it conceivable that a single nation can make such a unilater decision that can affect the entire planet? We simply don’t know what the affects will be from such major environmental decision. Yet not a peep from the MSM on this critical eco-issue.

Moreover, how is this not a form of state-sponsored form of eco-terrorism? /CJ

 

Fukushima’s tritiated water to be dumped into sea, Tepco chief says. Does Tepco and Japan owns the Pacific Ocean?

|| Nuclear-News.net

We were all just kidding when we said we would save our ocean. Besides, what’s a little bit more poison in the Pacific? Pretending to manage the unmanageable. Dumping into the ecosystem is simply standard operation. The solution to pollution is dilution.–old adage.

Should all of us, all the other countries, stay silent while Tepco and Japan are deciding on their own to dump even more radioactive contamination into our Pacific Ocean?

I would like to point out that the Pacific ocean does not belong to Japan, it belongs to all of us; as my dear friend Sheila Parks already pointed out in her excellent December 2013 article which I recommend to everyone to read, https://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Pacific-Ocean-Does-Not-by-Sheila-Parks-Energy-Nuclear_Fukushima_Fukushima-Cover-up_Japan-131215-303.html.

Now, a question: Will all the Pacific Ocean neighboring countries will stand saying nothing about Japan dumping all that accumulated contaminated water into the Pacific ocean? Mind you, in addition to all what Tepco has been already unwillingly and willingly dumping on the sly with all kinds of lousy reasons during the past 6 years…

Terrible, but tritium is actually released by all nuclear reactors. Legally and illegally, which reactor communities should point out every chance they get. Tritium (H3O) can go everywhere in your body water goes, even across the blood brain and placental barriers, and is thought to be a cause of elevated rates of childhood leukemia around nuclear reactors.

Despite the objections of local fishermen, the tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be dumped into the sea, a top official at Tokyo Electric says.

“The decision has already been made,” Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., said in a recent interview with the media.

Tritium typically poses little risk to human health unless ingested in high amounts, and ocean discharges of diluted volumes of tritium-tainted water are a routine part of nuclear power plant operations. This is because it is a byproduct of nuclear operations but cannot be filtered out of water.

As of July 6, about 777,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space.

Tepco’s decision has local fishermen worried that their livelihood is at risk because the radioactive material will further mar public perceptions about the safety of their catches.

Kawamura’s remarks are the first by the utility’s management on the sensitive matter. Since the March 2011 meltdowns were brought under control, the Fukushima No. 1 plant has been generating tons of toxic water that has been filling up hundreds of tanks at the tsunami-hit plant.

Kawamura’s comments came at a time when a government panel is still debating how to deal with the tritium issue, including whether to dump it all into sea.

Saying its next move is contingent on the panel’s decision, Kawamura hinted in the interview that Tepco will wait for the government’s decision before actually releasing the tainted water into the sea.

“We cannot keep going if we do not have the support of the state” as well as Fukushima Prefecture and other stakeholders, he said.

Toxic water at the plant is being treated by a complex water-processing system that can remove 62 different types of radioactive materials except tritium.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has been urging Tepco to release the water. Kawamura says he feels emboldened to have the support of the NRA chairman.

But fishermen who make their livelihoods from sea life near the plant are opposed to the releases because of how the potential ramifications will affect their lives.

“Releasing (tritium) into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumors, making our efforts all for naught,” said Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishermen cooperative.

Tachiya, of the cooperative that includes fishermen from the towns of Futaba and Okuma, which host the plant, took a swipe at Tepco’s decision, saying there has been “no explanation whatsoever from Tepco to local residents.”

On March 11, 2011, tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, situated 10 meters above sea level, and flooded the power supply, causing a station blackout. The cooling systems of reactors 1, 2 and 3 were thus crippled, leading to core meltdowns that became the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Water is being constantly injected into the leaking reactors to keep the molten fuel cool, creating tons of extremely toxic water 24/7. Although it is filtered through a complex processing system, extracting the tritium is virtually impossible.

More @

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/?post_type=news&p=1208906

Continue reading more @ Nuclear-news.net

 

Barack Obama Knew Russians Were Trying to Hack U.S. Pres Election But Did Nothing About It | June 24, 2017

The American people had damn near an absolute right to know this information.

|| Esquire

“It so happens that Friday is an official Ratfcking Holiday, and a very important one. It’s June 23 or, as we who celebrate it like to call it, Smoking Gun Day. It was 45 years ago to the day that H.R. Haldeman stopped by the Oval Office and, with a tape recorder whirring merrily away in a drawer, he and Richard Nixon discussed how to get the CIA to turn off the FBI’s investigation of Watergate because that investigation was moving into “some productive areas.” They talked about ripping scabs open, and “that whole Bay of Pigs thing,” and having Walters tell Gray not to go into this thing any further, period. “All I can conclude,” Patrick Buchanan reportedly said when this tape finally came to light, “is that the old man has been shitting us.”

So, in honor of the day, The Washington Post comes up with an amazing tale of the way ratfcking is done in the modern era. It begins with a top-secret communique delivered to President Barack Obama last August.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race. But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

The dynamite, she go boom.

At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent. Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.

I seem to remember this remarkable coincidence.

The piece is too long, too well reported, and too detailed to summarize in block quotes, but what it makes sadly clear is that the culture of secrecy within the intelligence community worked invariably to empower the ratfcking, rather than to hinder it.

This, right here. This is where they choked. The American people had damned close to an absolute right to the information their government already had. The most fundamental act of citizenship is the right to cast an informed vote. The idea that the Obama administration withheld the fact that the Russians were ratfcking the election in order to help elect a vulgar talking yam is a terrible condemnation of the whole No Drama Obama philosophy. Would Donald Trump have raised hell if the White House released what it knew? Of course, he would have. But, as it was, the American people went to vote with only about half of the information they needed to assess his candidacy. This was a terrible decision.”

….Continue reading more @ Esquire