“I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.
RTFA. Written by a brave person, conscientious enough to defend a constitution stained by Congressional cowardice, this nation’s bigotry, racism.
❝ The U.S. government has dropped its request for Twitter to produce records that could identify users behind an account opposed to President Donald Trump…
As a result, Twitter is withdrawing a federal lawsuit that challenged the government’s request. On Thursday, Twitter charged that efforts by the government to “unmask” the people behind the account violated the First Amendment…
❝ “The speed with which the government buckled shows just how blatantly unconstitutional its demand was in the first place,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Esha Bhandari said in a statement. Bhandari represents the unidentified person or people behind the Twitter account.
❝ The account in question is @ALT_uscis, a reference to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. In the two months of its existence, the account has been critical of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The account described its users to The Associated Press in February as employees and former employees of the agency.
The account is one of dozens of rogue Twitter accounts that have sprung up since Trump took office, purporting to represent current or former federal employees at various agencies who oppose the administration’s policies. Other such “alternative” — or “alt” — accounts include @Alt_CDC for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and @AltUSEPA for the Environmental Protection Agency…
I think someone must have explained the First Amendment to Trump. Not that he’d agree with most of the Bill of Rights. He’s just stuck with it.
❝…In an interview with the CEO of “a big data intelligence company” called Dstillery…The CEO told public radio program Marketplace something astounding: his company had sucked up the mobile device ID’s from the phones of Iowa caucus-goers to match them with their online profiles.
“We watched each of the caucus locations for each party and we collected mobile device ID’s,” Dstillery CEO Tom Phillips said. “It’s a combination of data from the phone and data from other digital devices…”
❝What really happened is that Dstillery gets information from people’s phones via ad networks. When you open an app or look at a browser page, there’s a very fast auction that happens where different advertisers bid to get to show you an ad. Their bid is based on how valuable they think you are, and to decide that, your phone sends them information about you, including, in many cases, an identifying code (that they’ve built a profile around) and your location information, down to your latitude and longitude.
Yes, for the vast majority of people, ad networks are doing far more information collection about them than the NSA – but they don’t explicitly link it to their names…
❝So on the night of the Iowa caucus, Dstillery flagged all the auctions that took place on phones in latitudes and longitudes near caucus locations. It wound up spotting 16,000 devices on caucus night, as those people had granted location privileges to the apps or devices that served them ads. It captured those mobile ID’s and then looked up the characteristics associated with those IDs in order to make observations about the kind of people that went to Republican caucus locations (young parents) versus Democrat caucus locations. It drilled down farther (e.g., ‘people who like NASCAR voted for Trump and Clinton’) by looking at which candidate won at a particular caucus location…
❝One thing that isn’t in the data is personal identifiable information. The data and system are completely anonymous. We have no idea, for example, what your name is. All we see are behaviors and everything we do is based on analyzing those behaviors writ-large…
I guess that makes me feel a little better. Erm.
❝Dstillery: This application is an extension of what we do every day in our core business. Our entire mission as a company is to find the right consumer at the right time with the right message. We had to do some special setup and analysis due to the caucus dynamics, but this sort of experiment – seeing things in the data that no one else has before – is our bread and butter.
Warms the cockles of your heart, right? American entrepreneurs showing the way for the NSA.
If you’re using an iPad or iPhone, iOS operating system, go to SETTINGS > PRIVACY > ADVERTISING > turn on LIMIT AD TRACKING if it’s off.
Every little bit helps. We dump all cookies every day to start the day. We have location tracking turned off for just about everything – and specify that it’s on only when the app is in use. Only apps like MAPS, WEATHER.
One of his regular appearances on Fox News
A former Republican political operative was sentenced Friday to two years in prison and another two years of probation in the first criminal case of illegal coordination between a campaign and a purportedly independent political ally.
The reason for “former”, of course, is that he got caught.
Tyler Harber, convicted in February, told the court he knew he was guilty when he created and helped arrange for the super Pac National Republican Victory Fund to buy $325,000 in ads to help Republican Chris Perkins’ 2012 House campaign. He received $9,100 for setting up the deal. He had pleaded guilty to one count of coordinated federal election contributions and one count of making false statements to the FBI…
Prosecutors said he used an alias and other means to deflect inquiries by a political party official. He also admitted that he told multiple lies when interviewed by the FBI.
Federal prosecutor said Harber’s guilty plea and sentencing was “an important step forward in the criminal enforcement of federal campaign finance laws.”
It’s also the only conviction for a crime as common as white bread. The laws were re-written by rightwing flunkies on the Supreme Court. Existing standards for the Federal Election Commission are so wimpy as to hardly exist.
Getting rid of the Citizens United decision is one of the many tasks Congressional conservatives consider unimportant. Not that they work very hard at anything an American citizen might consider dutiful.
The response from leading Republicans like, say, Jeb Bush, is a call to set aside that portion of the law that calls for separation from anonymous donors and candidates for elected office.
Tyler Harber’s PAC? The National Republican Party Victory PAC.
Blogs – We don’t need no stinking blogs
A group of Mexican media outlets and civil society groups have launched MexicoLeaks, a digital platform to receive information leaks that could lead to corruption investigations.
Representatives of the effort said…that those wanting to leak information can do so anonymously. Information and tips will be investigated and confirmed before anything is published.
The effort includes two civil society organizations and six media outlets, including Mexico’s weekly magazine Proceso, the website Animal Politico and the investigative unit of journalist Carmen Aristegui.
The launch comes at a time when the Mexican government faces scandals of alleged corruption and conflict of interest, specifically in the purchase of real estate, that have come to light through journalistic investigations. Those involved have maintained that the transactions were legal.
“Overdue” is putting it mildly.
Click to enlarge
Anonymity for lottery winners is respected in China. But, regulations require winners to show up publicly to claim their winnings. So, a tradition has grown of winners arriving in disguise, in costume.
This week – the largest win in history happened – half a billion yuan/ab’t 80 million US dollars.
The winner chose to be a comic book bear.
Cynthia Daily and her partner used a sperm donor to conceive a baby seven years ago, and they hoped that one day their son would get to know some of his half siblings — an extended family of sorts for modern times.
So Ms. Daily searched a Web-based registry for other children fathered by the same donor and helped to create an online group to track them. Over the years, she watched the number of children in her son’s group grow. And grow.
Today there are 150 children, all conceived with sperm from one donor, in this group of half siblings, and more are on the way. “It’s wild when we see them all together — they all look alike,” said Ms. Daily, 48, a social worker in the Washington area who sometimes vacations with other families in her son’s group.
As more women choose to have babies on their own, and the number of children born through artificial insemination increases, outsize groups of donor siblings are starting to appear. While Ms. Daily’s group is among the largest, many others comprising 50 or more half siblings are cropping up on Web sites and in chat groups, where sperm donors are tagged with unique identifying numbers.
Now, there is growing concern among parents, donors and medical experts about potential negative consequences of having so many children fathered by the same donors, including the possibility that genes for rare diseases could be spread more widely through the population. Some experts are even calling attention to the increased odds of accidental incest between half sisters and half brothers, who often live close to one another…
“These sperm banks are keeping donors anonymous, making women babies and making a lot of money. But nowhere in that formula is doing what’s right for the donor families…” Let’s don’t forget making it more difficult for the average neurotic to sue the donor.
Because there is so much secrecy surrounding sperm and egg donations, Wendy Kramer said, it has been difficult for families of children born via sperm donation to step forward with their concerns. Some heterosexual couples never tell a child that he or she is the product of a sperm donation…
Experts are not certain what it means to a child to discover that he or she is but one of 50 children — or even more. “Experts don’t talk about this when they counsel people dealing with infertility,” Ms. Kramer said. “How do you make connections with so many siblings? What does family mean to these children?”
And who cares? Maybe, just maybe, they’re mostly concerned with living their own lives instead of being part of a pseudo-science soap opera.
RTFA to consider the few tidbits of legitimate concern – awash with neurotic fear and trepidation lacking scientific measurement. Exactly the kind of tempest in a teacup that could keep a congressional committee – and some bible-thumping politician running for reelection – busy for an entire year.
The global battle between hacker activists and police has intensified with 32 arrests in Turkey and an admission from Spanish police that the group Anonymous had successfully attacked their website in response to arrests made there.
Turkish police arrested 32 suspected local members of Anonymous, including eight minors, according to state news agency Anatolian. The arrests followed a complaint from Turkey’s directorate of telecommunications, whose website was taken down on Thursday…
Turkey is due to introduce an obligatory nationwide internet filtering system in August that will see users forced to sign up to one of four filters.
These are labelled “domestic”, “family”, “children” or “standard”, but hacker activists gathered under the Anonymous umbrella claim they will lead to state control of individual internet use, and allow authorities to keep records of such use.
The police operation in Turkey followed the arrest of three alleged leaders of the so-called Anons in Spain on Friday…
The group says it is not involved in credit-card fraud, but has been held responsible for attacks on the servers of both Mastercard and Amazon.
I wonder how many will do serious time, how many will cooperate and become agents for the Federales in a couple more countries?