US in group of nations calling for encryption back doors

The privacy of Internet users “is not absolute,” according to a statement from a five-country coalition that includes the United States following a meeting about security, with the overall theme demanding technology companies to make social networks and messaging services safer and to offer more support to government agencies to break encryption and access potentially sensitive data…

“Privacy laws must prevent arbitrary or unlawful interference, but privacy is not absolute,” the statement reads. “It is an established principle that appropriate government authorities should be able to seek access to otherwise private information when a court or independent authority has authorized such access based on established legal standards. The same principles have long permitted government authorities to search homes, vehicles, and personal effects with valid legal authority.”

Lockstep unity between these five English-speaking nations and they all sound like they’d have no problem with the divine right of kings, either.

OTOH, There is this letter to Washington politicians from lots of organizations concerned with our human rights – including privacy.

Barry Ritholtz says, “Don’t let the trolls get you down!”

❝ I began sharing my work online two decades ago as one of the early financial bloggers. I started on Yahoo Geocities in the 1990s, Typepad in 2003, and finally on WordPress at my own domain in 2008. That is where the Big Picture still resides…

Alas, a classic case of the tragedy of the commons struck, rendering comments mostly worthless as they were overrun with spam advertising and trolls. Managing them was a giant time suck, with no effective technology solution. It was with some reluctance that I finally decided to close down my blog comments. For the same reasons, you will not find a comment section below my Bloomberg View columns.

❝ Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive officer, seems to be making some progress in the company’s response as it begins cleaning up its act and banning some of the most egregious offenders. It has also given users more tools to help them avoid the worst of the trolls. This is good news for those of us in the financial community, as Twitter is a tremendous resource.

Reading discussions between a few law professors about their Twitter usage (see this and this) reminded me of this. Because I find Twitter to be enormously helpful, I want you to also take advantage of its resources. Here are a few ideas that can help you, too…

RTFA. We can always use more suggestions about dealing with the ego-smitten or simply corrupt folk who take up otherwise useful space online.

Trump flunkies magically vanish 98% of the effects of carbon pollution

❝ The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has adjusted the social cost of a ton of carbon from around $51 to $1 in its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a significant reversal of a policy developed by the Obama administration and widely adopted by governments both local and foreign…

❝ The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has adjusted the social cost of a ton of carbon from around $51 to $1 in its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a significant reversal of a policy developed by the Obama administration and widely adopted by governments both local and foreign.

❝ When adjusted to 2017 dollars, the estimate placed the social cost of carbon at around $51/ton for 2020. That value has been adopted by some states, companies and foreign governments as the go-to number for assessing the damages of carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Canada, for instance, has embraced the U.S. value and has signed an agreement with Mexico that will see the two countries harmonize their assessments of damage caused by carbon…

❝ When adjusted to 2017 dollars, the estimate placed the social cost of carbon at around $51/ton for 2020. That value has been adopted by some states, companies and foreign governments as the go-to number for assessing the damages of carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Canada, for instance, has embraced the U.S. value and has signed an agreement with Mexico that will see the two countries harmonize their assessments of damage caused by carbon.

❝ That officials are now seeking to rewind the existing social cost of carbon is no surprise, given that President Donald Trump issued an executive order in March directing agencies to stop using the Obama administration’s estimate and disbanding an interagency working group charged with reviewing the issue. The new policy on the social cost of carbon made its debut in a Sept. 27 regulatory impact analysis for the Bureau of Land Management’s delay of the 2016 methane waste prevention rule for the oil and gas industry.

What? You thought Trump and the Trumplets in the Republican Party give a damn about methane pollution, carbon pollution, any kind of pollution which isn’t a clear and present danger to the Lives of the Rich and Richer?

As the Russians say, “It is to laugh.”

Treasury Department Flunkies Silence Study Showing Trump Tax Plan Won’t Do Crap for the Working Class


Trust me!Alex Wong/Getty Images

❝ Earlier this week, the Trump administration revealed its long-awaited tax plan, the broad strokes of which are massive tax cuts for people like…Donald Trump and corporate America, at the expense of low-income families and the middle class…Of course, even Team Trump and the G.O.P. know they can’t win support for the plan by just coming out and saying, Rich people, this one’s for you; sorry, we’re not sorry, peasants!, which is why they’ve been claiming their framework is all about helping the average American…Lying.

❝ …Until recently, a 2012 paper by the Office of Tax Analysis that could be found on the Treasury Department’s Web site found that “workers pay 18% of the corporate tax while owners of capital pay 82%,” with the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimating that “capital bears 75% of the long-run corporate-tax burden, with labor paying the rest.” In other words, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s claim that slashing the corporate tax rate would disproportionately benefit workers is, to use economic jargon, total bullshit. It’s the rich guys who disproportionately stand to save the most — by a lot.

Mnuchin does what you expect him to do: ❝ The Treasury Department has taken down that 2012 economic analysis that contradicts Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s argument that workers would benefit the most from a corporate income tax cut.

Asked about the curious case of a paper at odds with the administration’s point of view, a Treasury spokeswoman told the Journal, “The paper was a dated staff analysis from the previous administration. It does not represent our current thinking and analysis.”

There’s a surprise, eh? BTW, most surveys never find fewer than 75% of economics professionals agreeing with that paper – and not agreeing with creeps like Trump and Mnuchin.