Trade groups representing Facebook, Microsoft and Apple are pushing the Senate to pass legislation limiting National Security Agency spying before the Republican majority takes control of the chamber.
A coalition of Internet and technology companies, which also include Google and Twitter, support a bill the Senate plans to vote on Nov. 18 to prohibit the NSA from bulk collection of their subscribers’ e-mails and other electronic communications. Many of the companies opposed a Republican-backed bill the House passed in May, saying a “loophole” would allow bulk collection of Internet user data.
Members of the Consumer Electronics Association “have already lost contracts with foreign governments worth millions of dollars,” in response to revelations about U.S. spying, Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of the group that represents Apple, Google and Microsoft, wrote in a letter sent to all senators yesterday.
The clock is ticking. If a final bill isn’t reached this year, the process for passing legislation would begin over in January under a new Congress controlled by Republicans, many of whom support government surveillance programs.
U.S. Internet and technology companies are confronting a domestic and international backlash against government spying that may cost them as much as $180 billion in lost business…
The issue emerged in June 2013 when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed a program under which the U.S. uses court orders to compel companies to turn over data about their users. Documents divulged by Snowden also uncovered NSA hacking of fiber-optic cables abroad and installation of surveillance tools into routers, servers and other network equipment…
The Senate bill, S. 2685, would end one of the NSA’s most controversial domestic spy programs, through which it collects and stores the phone records of millions of people not suspected of any wrongdoing. In addition to curbing data collection, the legislation would allow companies to publicly reveal the number and types of orders they receive from the government to hand over user data.
RTFA for all the gory economic details. No, you won’t see any participation from tech companies dedicated to skimming the cream off the vat of money tied to the military-industrial complex. And you won’t find a clot of Blue Dog Democrats standing in line to vote for privacy.
Like their peers in today’s Republican Party, conservative Democrats aren’t likely to fight for the personal liberty they all blather about. The concept of “Libertarian” in Congressional politics is thrown around a lot. Mostly by hustlers who read one or two books by Ayn Rand. Perish the thought they stand up to be counted alongside ordinary citizens.
Pope Francis has revealed that the Vatican will rent out the Sistine Chapel for a corporate event for the first time in its 600-year history.
Porsche will hire the revered chapel, which is covered in Michelangelo’s stunning frescoes, and put on a private concert for 40 lucky – and high paying – guests. The concert, which takes place on Saturday, will be one stop on an exclusive tour of Rome organised by the car brand.
The Vatican has not divulged how much it will earn from the event, but the five-day tour of Italy’s capital, arranged by the Porsche Travel Club, costs up to €5,000 a head, meaning an overall intake of €200,000, reported…
The concert will be performed by a choir from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, which traces its origins back to the 16th century. Participants will then sit down to a meal in the midst of the Vatican Museum, “surrounded by masterpieces by world-famous artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael”…
Proceeds from the event will go to charities working with the poor and homeless…
The Sistine Chapel’s…primary function is to be the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new Pope is selected.
Why not carry the logic a step or two further? Just imagine the annual revenue from the Facebook Chapel?
When silver surfer Anna Stoehr decided to join Facebook on the eve of her 114th birthday, she came across an oversight which Mark Zuckerberg and pals may not have anticipated.
Anna noticed 1900, the year she was born, was not listed as an option when she registered her date of birth to the site – that only stretches as far back as 1905.
So she was forced to do what countless other youngsters do every day to join the site, and lie about her her age…She got around the problem by knocking 15 years off her age and becoming, in the eyes of Facebook at least, a sprightly 99-year-old.
The supercentenarian’s interest in technology was piqued when she befriended Joseph Ramireza, a sales rep who had sold a phone to Anna’s 85-year-old son Harlan.
What followed was an unlikely friendship which saw Joseph visit Anna at her residential home in Minnesota, and teach her about the internet…Now a tech-savvy whizz, Anna can be found whiling her time away FaceTiming friends and family from her new iPad and connecting with friends on the social networking site.
With the help of Joseph, she has also drawn the problem to the attention of Mr Zuckerberg, writing a letter to the Facebook founder (on a typewriter) in which she says: ‘I’m still here.’
Seems like a reasonable goal to me. Facetime rocks! Too bad Facebook hasn’t a clue about age.
An Illinois woman who allegedly stole a dress from a West Frankfort store was arrested after she posted a selfie of herself wearing the pilfered garment on Facebook.
Danielle Saxton allegedly swiped a leopard-print dress from Mortie’s Boutique and then posted four photos of herself wearing the ill-gotten garb just hours later. Saxton even made one of the snaps her profile picture.
People who had also seen the store post about the theft were able to connect the dots and alert police. “Not two hours and our stolen dress has shown up on Facebook,” Mortie’s posted. “Gotta love it.”
“We just had a description and a direction of travel, but when the social media aspect played into it, we were able to identify who it was. And by looking at the background of the photograph we were able to pinpoint where she was at,” said Police Chief Shawn Talluto.
When police arrived to arrest the 27-year-old suspect, she was holding the dress and other stolen clothes.
The store previously used its surveillance cameras and social media to catch three other…shoplifters.
Same as it ever was. You don’t set off on a day’s worth of stealing because you’re extra bright.
Unbeknownst to the world, Facebook data scientists, in collaboration with Cornell University and the University of California, ran an experiment in 2012 to test how emotions can be transmitted through social media. They did this by manipulating the newsfeed of 689,003 English-speaking Facebook users, so it would show low numbers of positive or negative posts, and observed how this influenced their posts.
The results of the study were published late last week and have since gone viral. They concluded that emotional states could be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.
Reaction was negative and swift, with people predictably angry to find out Facebook had tweaked user feeds without permission. Critics questioned the ethics of the study; the researchers were criticised for not seeking consent; and the social networking giant was deemed creepy by angry users.
Adam Kramer, a Facebook employee and one of the authors of the study, apologised for the emotional contagion, saying, in hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all the anxiety caused…
Facebook may have been concerned about users’ exposure to negativity, but it is unlikely it thought about how users would feel after discovering they were lab rats for the social network.
That’s putting it pleasantly.
Poisonally – unlike Google which tried at first to maintain a facade of caring for consumers and customers as associates in a journey through the InterWebitubes – I feel Facebook has always seemed to be peering down its patrician nose at us common folk.
Now, they’re neck-and-neck spewing disingenuous bullshit about caring for anything more than their balance sheet.
Minnesota police arrested a burglary suspect who apparently forgot to log out of Facebook after checking his profile during a break-in at a St. Paul home.
The homeowner came back to his house and found that credit cards, cash and a watch were missing. The thief had also left behind a pair of Nike tennis shoes, jeans and a belt that he apparently discarded because it had been raining outside.
He also left behind his information on James Wood’s computer.
“World’s dumbest criminal,” Wood told CBS Minnesota. “I don’t know. I started to panic, but then I noticed he had pulled up his Facebook profile.”
Wood began posting on Nicholas Wig’s profile and the 26-year-old eventually texted him. After they made a plan to meet up later to exchange items, Wood went for a walk. He then spotted Wig on the street and called police…
Women across Iran are posting photos of themselves without the hijab to a dedicated Facebook page called “My Stealthy Freedom”…The Facebook page was set up just over a week ago, and already has 130,000 “likes”. Almost all are from people in Iran, both men and women.
So far the page has around 150 photos. They show women on the beach, on the street, in the countryside, alone, with friends or their partners – but crucially – all without the headscarf. Most include a few words, for example: “I loathe the hijab. I too like the feel of the sun and the wind on my hair. Is this a big sin?”
Ever since the Islamic Revolution 35 years ago, it has been illegal for a woman to leave the house without wearing a headscarf. The punishment ranges from a fine to imprisonment. “My hair was like a hostage to the government,” says Masih Alinejad, an Iranian political journalist who lives in the UK and who set up the Facebook page. “The government still has a lot of hostages,” she adds.
Alinejad got the idea after she posted some photos of herself without the hijab to her own Facebook page. The images were liked thousands of times. So many women began to send her their own pictures that she decided to set up a dedicated page. Though she’s well-known for being critical of the government in Iran, she insists the page is not political. “These are not women activists, but just ordinary women talking from their hearts…”
The hijab is a controversial issue in Iran. A recent billboard campaign reminding women to cover themselves up, was mocked on social media for comparing women to chocolates in a wrapper. But many support the wearing of the hijab, arguing it’s an important part of Islamic law – there was a demonstration in Tehran last week, with protesters calling for a more strict implementation of the rules.
Letting religion order your clothing, your nutrition – or lack thereof – is absurd. I can’t say much more than that because this is the kind of question I sorted out well before I left my teens. That was a very long time ago.
So, folks who get hung up into deep discussions about the flavors that differentiate religion really aren’t getting a whole boatload of commentary from me. Difficult enough restraining my native crankiness. :)
Oklahoma’s Cyber Command Security Operations Center said state employees on the state computer network made 2,008,092 visits to Facebook in a three month span.
The agency, which is aimed at protecting the state computer system from cyber attacks, said its tracking of the state computer network found state employees made 2,008,092 visits to Facebook between July and September, but officials said the number may be inflated as Facebook registers a page view every time a website is brought up that includes an embedded Facebook widget…
The operations center said Google registered 1,074,684 page views during the same time period and Twitter and YouTube had 272,661 and 225,228 page views, respectively.
Preston Doerflinger, director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which oversees the Cyber Command Security Operations Center, is implementing a policy to block state employees from using their work computers to access Facebook unless they can demonstrate a legitimate need to access the site as part of their jobs, an agency spokesman said.
What constitutes a legitimate need to access Facebook as part of your job? Unless you’re paid to be a snoop.
Some of America’s largest technology and telecoms companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and AT&T, are backing a network of self-styled “free-market thinktanks” promoting a radical rightwing agenda in states across the nation, according to a new report by a lobbying watchdog.
The Center for Media and Democracy asserts that the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella group of 64 thinktanks based in each of the 50 states, is acting as a largely beneath-the-radar lobbying machine for major corporations and rightwing donors.
Its policies include cutting taxes, opposing climate change regulations, advocating reductions in labour protections and the minimum wage, privatising education, restricting voter rights and lobbying for the tobacco industry.
The network’s $83.2m annual warchest comes from major donors. These include the Koch brothers, the energy tycoons who are a mainstay of Tea Party groups and climate change sceptics; the tobacco company Philip Morris and its parent company Altria Group; the food giant Kraft; and the multinational drugs company GlaxoSmithKline.
More surprisingly, backers also include Facebook and Microsoft, as well as the telecoms giants AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon…