Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sleeping Beauty

A kiss will awaken her:

"In person, thanks to a shaggy beard and slightly wizened features, the actor who played Jesus in Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” still resembles, if not the Messiah, at least one of the apostles....." 

You want to keep the nurses happy? 

Take 'em over to McDonalds for lunch.

After, you know.....

Former Playboy model sues to break silence on Trump

They were consensual affairs; the scandal is in the abortion she had (he didn't want it). One wonders what the kid might have grown up to become.

"Melania Trump is hosting executives from major online and social media companies to discuss cyberbullying and Internet safety, more than a year after saying that would be her issue as first lady. The meeting Tuesday marks her first public event on the topic, a choice some observers have questioned given that her husband often berates people on Twitter. Amazon, Snap, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are among the companies that are expected to attend the meeting. The Internet Association and the Family Online Safety Institute said they will also be represented. All the major technology companies have strict policies prohibiting harassment and other bullying behavior on their services, but primarily rely on users to report abuses and weed them out. They try to clearly spell out the kinds of remarks and other posts that won’t be tolerated in special sections such as one Facebook, the largest online social network, has set up. But the efforts so far have fallen short, leading to rampant abuses that even some of the companies acknowledge have driven away or tormented portions of their audience."

My torment is usually between 6 and 8 in the morning as I read a Globe, and they are really getting desperate

Speaking of rotten husbands:

"Housing Secretary Ben Carson, under fire after his office ordered a $31,000 dining set, told a House panel Tuesday that he left furniture purchasing decisions to his wife. Carson said that he was unaware of the purchase, and canceled it as soon as he learned about it in news reports. But e-mails released by an accountability organization last week suggest that Carson and his wife, Candy Carson, both played a role in selecting the furniture. On Tuesday, Carson told a House Appropriations subcommittee that he and his wife looked at furniture catalogues together. But ‘‘the prices were beyond what I wanted to pay,’’ he said. Carson said he then put his wife in charge of furniture selection. Carson said he was shocked when he found out about the $31,000 price tag. ‘‘I said, ‘What the heck is that all about?' ’’ he said. ‘‘I investigated and immediately had it canceled. Not that we don’t need the furniture but I thought that was excessive.’’

Divorce papers are on their way.

"Mississippi’s governor will appoint the state’s agriculture commissioner to fill the Senate vacancy that will soon be created when veteran Senator Thad Cochran retires, three state Republicans said Tuesday. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a 58-year-old Republican, was elected agriculture commissioner in 2011 and has held the job since then. She will be the first woman to represent Mississippi in either the US House or Senate....."

I hate to ask it, but is she married?

Your ride is here:

Uber fatality drives home need for uniform safety rules 

Only problem is, "Arizona has developed a reputation as a Wild West for the technology. The state allows self-driving cars without humans in the driver seat, though the vehicle in the crash did have an Uber employee behind the wheel. The accident happened Sunday evening, with officials saying the Uber vehicle did not slow before hitting 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. But the police chief in Tempe told the San Francisco Chronicle that Uber may not have been at fault in the accident because the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk but “came from the shadows right into the roadway.”

Did they ever get those emissions checked?

Why aren't you answering your phone?

"Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO after data scandal; FTC probing Facebook" New York Times  March 21, 2018

NEW YORK — Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm with ties to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, on Tuesday, amid a furor over the access it gained to private information on more than 50 million Facebook users. 

Forget the government data collections, the warehouses of servers storing it, and the prying Five Eyes surveillance network, not to mention the corporate collections, endless hacking cases, and political use of this stuff since Obama allegedly pioneered it, etc. This current pile of print is starting to stink.

The decision came after a television broadcast in which Nix was recorded suggesting unseemly practices to influence foreign elections.

The London company, founded by former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon and Robert Mercer, a wealthy Republican donor who has put at least $15 million into it, offered tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.

Nix’s suspension was one of several developments Tuesday as pressure — from state capitals to Congress and federal regulators to Britain’s Parliament — intensified on Facebook to be more forthcoming about what it knew about the use of its data and about what it intends to do to safeguard its users’ privacy.

Consider who is asking!

In Washington, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into whether Facebook had violated an agreement with the agency on data privacy.

The action follows investigations jointly launched by Massachusetts and New York into Facebook’s handling of personal data. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said his office would also investigate.

Maybe she should be looking into Cambridge Analytica, it being a local company and all (ha-ha-ha).

The British Parliament called for a hearing with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive. Several senators have also called for him to appear in Washington.

Now that is serious.

Adding to concerns about the company is the impending departure of Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer. That change reflects heightened leadership tension at the company. 

I'm told they are becoming authoritarian.

Recent news has pummeled Facebook’s stock, which closed Tuesday at $168.15, down 2.5 percent, after tumbling Monday. 

Even more $eriou$.


"Stock indexes finished mostly higher after a day of bouncing around on Tuesday as retailers, energy companies, and banks recovered some of their losses from the day before, but technology companies struggled as Facebook dropped again. Amazon led a rally among retailers, and it passed Alphabet, Google’s parent, as the second- most-valuable US-listed company, while energy companies rose with oil prices. Banks rose along with interest rates as leaders of the Federal Reserve met. They are expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday. Facebook sank following reports the Federal Trade Commission will investigate its handling of user data, while US and UK authorities demanded answers from the company following reports that Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm that worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, improperly obtained data on 50 million Facebook users without their permission. While Facebook stock regained some ground, the stock has fallen more than 9 percent this week. Twitter and Snap also fell as investors considered the possibility the government will pass new laws affecting their businesses....." 

I'm not on SnipSnap or SnapShit or whatever it is.

Also see: 

"Israel’s justice minister warned Tuesday the government is considering taking “legal action” against Twitter Inc. for ignoring repeated requests to remove online content that was inciting or supportive of terrorism. Ayelet Shaked accused the American social media firm of failing to contribute to the country’s fight against online incitement, according to an
e-mailed statement Tuesday from her office. “Terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah have moved to Twitter instead of Facebook,” Shaked said. “Through Twitter, the terrorist organizations promote terror and incite to violence, including public activity that they carry out without fear.” The Israeli government has ramped up efforts to mitigate the effect of new technologies on its longstanding conflict with the Palestinians. Social media were used to stoke a wave of stabbing attacks inside Israel in late 2014, politicians said. Since then, the government has tried to pass the so-called “Facebook Law,” giving Israel the tools to have content “liable to lead to murder and terror” removed immediately, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in December 2016."

Think of the censorship as a birthday present

Israel about to gift the Palestinians, too!

Cambridge Analytica’s so-called psychographic modeling techniques, built in part with the data harvested from Facebook, underpinned its work for the Trump campaign in 2016. Nix once called the practice “our secret sauce,” though some have questioned its effectiveness.

In a joint investigation published online Saturday, The New York Times and The Observer of London detailed the firm’s acquisition and use of Facebook data.

On Monday, a British TV news report also cast the company in a harsh light, showing video of Cambridge Analytica executives offering to entrap politicians.

In the video, Nix suggested ideas for a prospective client looking for help in a foreign election. The firm could send an attractive woman to seduce a rival candidate and secretly videotape the encounter, Nix said, or send someone posing as a wealthy land developer to pass a bribe. “We have a long history of working behind the scenes,” Nix said.

Just like Mossad or the CIA.

The prospective client was actually a reporter from Channel 4 News in Britain, and the encounter was secretly filmed as part of a monthslong investigation.

They left that in today, huh?

Announcing the CEO’s suspension, the company said that “in the view of the board, Mr. Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation.”

The company asked Alexander Tayler, its chief data officer, “to serve as acting CEO while an independent investigation is launched to review those comments and allegations.” The company also said it had hired a lawyer, Julian Malins, “to lead this investigation, the findings of which the board will share publicly in due course.”

It added: “The board will be monitoring the situation closely, working closely with Dr. Tayler, to ensure that Cambridge Analytica, in all of its operations, represents the firm’s values and delivers the highest-quality service to its clients.”

Tayler trained as a chemical engineer and joined Cambridge Analytica in 2014 as its lead data scientist, according to his LinkedIn profile. Malins is a seasoned corporate lawyer who has worked on complex litigation, with an expertise in asset recovery and money laundering cases.

Some observers said suspending Nix was, at most, a first step.

“If they think ‘suspending’ a chief executive even approaches proportionality for this kind of mass data breach, they underestimate people & institutions who will fight for #privacy rights & for Facebook to account for their actions,” Claude Moraes, a Labour Party official who represents London in the European Parliament, wrote on Twitter.

There have been so many where the perps have faded down the pre$$ memory hole and it was never heard of again (except to flog the conventional myth narrative supplied by said pre$$).

The FTC investigation is tied to a 2011 settlement the agency reached with Facebook. The agency had accused the company of deceiving customers “by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public,” according to a statement at the time.

Imagine finding out that Hussein had cooperated with U.N. investigators and there were, in fact, no Iraqi WMD programs.

Among several violations, the FTC found that Facebook told users third-party apps on the social media site, like games, would not be allowed to access data. But the apps, the agency found, were able to obtain almost all personal information about a user.

Now stay calm about where they got the software.

The data on the 50 million users was harvested in 2014 by an outside researcher, Alexander Kogan. Kogan, a professor at Cambridge University, paid users small sums to take a personality quiz and download an app, which collected private information from their profiles and from those of their friends. Facebook allowed that sort of data collection at the time. Then, as The Times reported over the weekend, Kogan gave the information to Cambridge Analytica. Passing the information to a third party violated Facebook’s policies, the company said last week.

Isn't that what the Kochs are doing courting Hispanics?

“We are aware of the issues that have been raised but cannot comment on whether we are investigating,” an FTC spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday. “We take any allegations of violations of our consent decrees very seriously.”

Facebook said it expected to receive questions from the FTC related to potential violations of its 2011 consent decree.

“We remain strongly committed to protecting people’s information. We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have,” Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, Rob Sherman, said in a statement.

Still deceiving customers, I see.

The agency’s action against Facebook in 2011 was considered a landmark in privacy enforcement. The company could face fines of $40,000 a day per violation if the agency finds it violated the settlement.


"Google announces plan to combat spread of misinformation" by Kevin Roose New York Times  March 20, 2018

NEW YORK — In a move to combat the epidemic of false and unreliable information on the Internet, Google is pledging to spend $300 million over the next three years to support authoritative journalism.

Have you seen their new headquarters?

Google’s campaign, which was announced at an event in New York on Tuesday, will be known as the Google News Initiative. Among the initiative’s goals are making it easier for Google users to subscribe to news publications, and giving publishers new tools to create fast-loading mobile pages. The project is Google’s most ambitious attempt yet to improve the quality of information it shows to users at a time when tech companies have come under criticism for letting hoaxes and misinformation bloom on their services. 

Iraq, WMDS, that's all I'm going to say. They can take down the site (maybe you made the list of Schindler, Google’s chief business officer) and poison the minds of the youth, it doesn't matter. The genie of knowledge can't be put back. The world knows, even if those that live in the West do not.

As part of its efforts, Google is creating a Disinformation Lab in partnership with the Harvard Kennedy School’s First Draft, which will attempt to identify false news during critical breaking news situations.

Ma$$ media not getting it done, huh?

Google and YouTube, the video site owned by Google’s parent company, have been criticized for allowing conspiracy theories and unreliable partisan sources to filter to the top of search results for breaking news and for having failed to stop the spread of false news during the 2016 presidential race.

We've won, folks. Game over.

Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president of news products, said the company had built new tools, including some already in operation, to prevent malicious actors from gaming its search algorithms to spread disinformation.

And there they are, on the news rack day after day.

He pointed to the search results for the shooting at a Maryland high school earlier Tuesday. Unlike the search results for similar previous shootings, which surfaced stories from hoax websites and toxic message boards, the results on both Google and YouTube for topics related to the Maryland shooting were dominated by stories from legitimate mainstream publications.

“We want to make it easier for users to see the authoritative coverage up front,” Gingras said.

Authoritative coverage is a euphemism for propaganda., Google’s nonprofit arm, also announced a $10 million media literacy project to help American teenagers learn skills to identify false news. The company said this program would involve using GIFs, memes, videos and YouTube celebrities “to respond to the spread of misinformation.”

You know it when you smell it, kids.

Google also pledged to take on an emerging trend: “synthetic media,” a genre of photos and videos that are manipulated using artificial intelligence software.

The most troublesome form has been “deepfakes,” ultrarealistic fake videos that swap one face onto another. Experts are concerned that these creations could poison the information landscape. 

Too late. Ma$$ media been caught phonying up too many already.

Google didn’t unveil any specific plans to address synthetic media but said it would release data sets to journalism organizations and researchers to help them develop tools to spot the fakes.... 

I think I'm looking at one right now.


Time for a cigarette.

And with that, I put this blog to bed.