Facebook’s email dump in the UK

❝ As expected, the UK Parliament has released a set of internal Facebook emails that were seized as part of its investigation into the company’s data-privacy practices. The 250-page document, which includes conversations between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other high-level executives, is a window into the social media giant’s ruthless thinking from 2012 to 2015 — a period of time when it was growing (and collecting user data) at an unstoppable rate…

❝ If Facebook was hoping to close the year without any more controversies, these internal documents certainly won’t help. They’re yet another example of the company’s old, ambitious motto to “move fast and break things,” one that it’s desperately trying to get away from.

Some of the folks I respect the most – like Om Malik – have wholly nuked their Facebook presence. The only reason I retain a site there is to maintain minimal contact with old friends and family back in New England and round about this tired planet. Frankly, I’m the worst in the world at actually staying in touch. I never get round to answering “how are you doin'” inquiries from folks I still love as comrades fighting bigotry and war. Hopefully, they remember I was always craptastic at that.

British spies stole emails from the NY Times, Reuters, BBC and more

The British intelligence organization GCHQ instigated a test exercise in 2008 that captured the emails of journalists and editors from Reuters, the New York Times, The Guardian, the BBC, NBC, the Washington Post and others, according to recently released files from Edward Snowden.

As a result of the test, the content of the emails was shared on the organization’s internal servers where anyone in the organization could read them. GCHQ was tapping fiber-optic cables in November of 2008 when they intercepted over 70,000 emails, including emails from the mentioned news companies, according to The Guardian.

The motive of the test is unknown, but other Snowden documents have shown the NSA and other intelligence agencies regularly target investigative journalists, often putting them on the same target lists as terrorists.

British Prime Minister David Cameron recently called for the banning of encrypted messages that can’t be intercepted by intelligence agencies.

He joins the list of corrupt American politicians in Congress and the White House who agree – no one should have the right to privacy from government snoops and spies.

Republican governor says re-election is “distracted” by pr∅n revelations


Republicans only enjoy a little pr∅n

A widening scandal over the exchange of emails containing pornography by current and former members of the attorney general’s office has gripped the Pennsylvania capitol all week.

Pennsylvania’s state supreme court chief justice demanded information on whether any judges were part of the exchanges. Governor Tom Corbett, who was attorney general when the emails were exchanged, was forced to defend his management of the office as he campaigns for a second term.

And on Thursday, two top officials who followed Corbett from the attorney general’s office into his gubernatorial administration resigned…

Their departures came a week after Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office identified them as being among eight ex-employees who sent or received hundreds of pornographic images or videos in emails that were discovered during Kane’s review of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse prosecution.

All eight men, who also include state police commissioner Frank Noonan, worked under Corbett while the latter was the state’s elected attorney general from 2005 to 2011. Corbett had requested details on the emails in question before determining if the four men employed in his administration should keep their jobs.

Kane is a Democrat who took office last year. Corbett, a Republican, is in the closing weeks of an uphill re-election campaign against Democrat Tom Wolf.

I doubt either of the two sleazy political parties we’re stuck with has a commanding lead over the other when it comes to morality or dedicating all their political time to working for the citizens who elect them. Still, the Republican tradition of holier-than-thou campaigning, moralizing about anyone and everyone who might come from anywhere other than fundamentalist Christian culture is contemptible in repeatedly being caught in lies about their so-called family values.

It’s more established in exception than in standards of practice. Pretty much everyone expects their deeds to contradict their words.

Banks manipulated rates at the expense of retirees

U.S. investigators uncovered evidence that banks reaped millions of dollars in trading profits at the expense of companies and pension funds by manipulating a benchmark for interest-rate derivatives.

Recorded telephone calls and e-mails reviewed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show that traders at Wall Street banks instructed ICAP Plc brokers in Jersey City, New Jersey, to buy or sell as many interest-rate swaps as necessary to move the benchmark rate, known as ISDAfix, to a predetermined level…

By rigging the measure, the banks stood to profit on separate derivatives trades they had with clients who were seeking to hedge against moves in interest rates. Banks sought to change the value of the swaps because the ISDAfix rate sets prices for the other derivatives, which are used by firms from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to Pacific Investment Management Co…

That may run afoul of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which bars traders from intentionally interfering with the “orderly execution” of transactions that determine settlement prices.

The phone calls and e-mails emerging since Bloomberg News first reported in April on the rigging of ISDAfix add to growing evidence that banks have gained financially by distorting key financial gauges in world markets on everything from interest rates to currencies to commodities…

While the indexes under scrutiny are little known to the public, their influence extends to trillions of dollars in securities and derivatives. Britain’s markets regulator is looking into the currency market, where $4.7 trillion is exchanged each day, after Bloomberg News reported in June that traders have manipulated key rates for more than a decade.

RTFA if you’re interested in learning the dirty details. The process may seem complex; but, as usual, it boils down to banks and traders manipulating indexes, trades and sales to produce specific rates. Those produce profits for the firms – which is why the fraud. The traders in the firms get upwards of $7 million in commission for being good little crooks.

Brits are sucking up 600 million communications a day

onlineprivacy

A British spy agency taps the network of cables that carry the world’s internet and telephone communications to secretly collect vast streams of private information, documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed.

The GCHQ agency scoops as much as it can from Facebook posts, email messages, internet histories and calls while tapping into the global fibre-optic network with little legal oversight, according to a report from the Guardian newspaper.

The activities are detailed in two documents leaked to the newspaper by Snowden, the former NSA and CIA worker who revealed America was spying on millions of foreigners and US nationals without their knowledge under the Prism scheme. The GCHQ scheme is billed as wider-ranging than Prism, with less legal oversight.

Snowden provided the Guardian with two GCHQ documents, titled Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, which detail how an operation codenamed “Tempora” has for 18 months gathered, stored and analysed vast amounts of data, while also passing information to its US counterpart, the National Security Agency.

“It’s not just a US problem,” Snowden told the newspaper. “The UK has a huge dog in this fight. They are worse than the US.”

The Guardian says the programme has turned the UK into an “intelligence superpower” among members of the Five Eyes electronic spying alliance of US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The leaked documents show that the GCHQ intercepted 600 million “telephone events” each day last year by tapping more than 200 fibre-optic cables. Hundreds of analysts from the GCHQ were assigned to sift through the intercepts, with lawyers saying the UK had “a light oversight regime compared with the US”, according to Snowden.

Like every clot of Big Brotherly snoops they claim everything they do is legal and designed to protect the nations under their watchful eye.

I wonder why my mates in the UK and several dominions feel less secure?

Brits protest against government plans for eavesdropping


Soon to have antennas and microphones to match

British lawmakers and rights activists joined a chorus of protest Monday against plans by the government to give the intelligence and security services the ability to monitor the phone calls, e-mails, text messages and Internet use of every person in the country.

In a land where tens of thousands of surveillance cameras attest to claims by privacy advocates that Britain is the Western world’s most closely monitored society, the proposal has touched raw nerves, compounding arguments that its citizens live under what critics call an increasingly intrusive “nanny state…”

Under the proposal, reported in The Sunday Times of London, a law to be introduced this year would empower the authorities to order Internet companies to install hardware enabling the government’s monitoring agency, Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, to examine individual communications without a warrant.

A similar effort to enhance the authorities’ powers was made by the previous Labour government in 2006, but it was abandoned after ferocious opposition, including from the two parties that now form the coalition government — the Conservatives, who are dominant, and the Liberal Democrats…

Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and a Liberal Democrat, defended the plan, saying he was “totally opposed to the idea of governments’ reading people’s e-mails at will or creating a new central government database.”

“The point is, we are not doing any of that and I wouldn’t allow us to do any of that,” he said, arguing that the authorities wanted to update “the rules which currently apply to mobile telephone calls to allow the police and security services to go after terrorists and serious criminals and updating that to apply to technology like Skype, which is increasingly being used by people who want to make those calls and send those e-mails…”

And you all know how well you can trust Nick, eh?

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Scotland Yard reaffirms — there is no patch for stupid!


Inspector Lestrade gets it wrong, again!

Scotland Yard has inadvertently shared the email addresses of around 1,000 victims of crime with each other, in a mistake that has been referred to the information commissioner.

The Metropolitan police said emails were sent out to 1,136 victims, mostly of car theft or pickpockets, as part of a survey… But the addresses were put in the wrong section of the email, which meant they were shared with other victims.

A Met spokesman said: “No other personal details were revealed and we are contacting everyone affected to explain what happened and to apologise…”

The emails were sent as part of the survey into whether victims felt they were receiving a better service following the introduction of a single telephone number for the investigation unit in London. They were sent in seven batches of between 119 and 198 recipients…

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said it had received the referral and it was being examined.

She said the highest fine the office could issue was £500,000 but that was for breaches of data of an extremely sensitive nature, for example the sharing of details about child sexual assault victims.

This only qualifies as clumsy, incompetent and maybe stupid.