Poor People’s Campain hits D.C.

Demonstrators descended on Washington Monday in the latest protest staged by the new Poor People’s Campaign, which organizers say is the most expansive wave of nonviolent direct action in the U.S. this century. Campaign organizers Reverends William Barber and Liz Theoharis and around 100 others were arrested for protesting a Supreme Court ruling that dealt a major setback to voting rights by upholding Ohio’s controversial voter purge law. At least 300 people were arrested nationwide. Nearly 2,000 people have been arrested around the country since the campaign launched, 50 years after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. launched the first Poor People’s Campaign.”

Demonstrators descended on Washington Monday in the latest protest staged by the new Poor People’s Campaign, which organizers say is the most expansive wave of nonviolent direct action in the U.S. this century.
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Holy Fuck! A memo from a fb exec: ‘Maybe someone dies’: Facebook VP justified bullying, terrorism as costs of network’s ‘growth’

 
Avi Selk, The Washington Post • 
Updated: 

In a 2016 employee memo that was leaked this week, a Facebook executive defended the company’s questionable data mining practices and championed the growth of social media at any cost – apparently even death.

“Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies,” company vice president Andrew Bosworth wrote in the memo, according to BuzzFeed News, which published it Thursday. “Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. And still we connect people. The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good.”

Bosworth, who oversaw Facebook’s advertising and business platform at the time and is now in charge of the company’s virtual reality department, has acknowledged writing the message but said he intended only to start a debate. I didn’t agree with it even when I wrote it,” he wrote on Twitter after BuzzFeed published its report. (Ninja, please. – Z.)

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who is already facing a public relations crisis over accusations that the company mishandled millions of users’ private data, disavowed the memo. (of course. – Z.)

The 418-word memo is framed around Zuckerberg’s often-stated mission to connect the entire world through Facebook, which Bosworth cites as the company’s ultimate and unchangeable goal – whether those connections let users fall in love, attack each other or, in the memo’s most extreme example, coordinate a terrorist attack.

“That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified,” Bosworth wrote. “All the questionable contact importing practices. All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it.”

BuzzFeed noted that the memo was written almost immediately after a man was shot to death while streaming live video of himself with Facebook Live, and a few days before a Palestinian teenager was accused of killing an Israeli girl after praising terrorists on Facebook.

These deaths were a prelude to a string of other gruesome and violent incidents that appeared in videos and live streams on the social network. A man posted a Facebook video of himself killing someone last April. A month later, a man soaked himself in kerosene, lit himself on fire and used Facebook Live to stream video of his self-immolation.

This year, the public learned that Russian operatives used Facebook to propagandize and troll Americans during the 2016 election, using connectivity to create division. The repeated scandals reached a crisis point this month, with the revelation that a political firm linked to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign improperly obtained and exploited data from millions of users.

While Bosworth now argues that he was playing devil’s advocate in his memo, he wrote at the time that Facebook, by necessity, would keep connecting people and expanding no matter how ugly the cost.

“In almost all of our work, we have to answer hard questions about what we believe,” he concluded. “We have to justify the metrics and make sure they aren’t losing out on a bigger picture. But connecting people. That’s our imperative. Because that’s what we do. We connect people.”

During the nearly two years that the memo remained on Facebook’s internal platform, BuzzFeed wrote, employees commented on it and debated it. While Bosworth said it was one of his most unpopular employee messages, a former senior executive told BuzzFeed that it was “super popular internally.”

The Verge reported that Bosworth deleted the 2016 memo after learning it had been obtained by reporters this week and then wrote a new memo to employees in which he complained about the initial leak.

MUST READ: What Google and Facebook know about you

An expert has investigated the data that two internet companies possess and warns others on extent of privacy intrusion.

A technical consultant probes data Facebook and Google have on him [Reuters]
A technical consultant probes data Facebook and Google have on him [Reuters]
Google and Facebook know almost everything a smartphone owner does online or offline and store the information even if the owner deletes the data on the device, a technical consultant and web developer has written on his Twitter account.

“Want to freak yourself out?,” wrote Dylan Curran. “I’m gonna show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.”

Here is a selection of points from Curran’s list:

  • Google stores your location (if you have it turned on) every time you turn on your phone, and you can see a timeline from the first day you started using Google on your phone. https://www.google.com/maps/timeline
    [Courtesy of Dylan Curran]
  • Google stores search history across all your devices on a separate database, so even if you delete your search history and phone history, Google still stores everything until you go in and delete everything, and you have to do this on all devices. https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity
  • Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lbs in one day?) and income. https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated
  • Google stores information on every app and extension you use, how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with (who do you talk to on facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep at). https://myaccount.google.com/permissions?pli=1
  • Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they know whether you’re going to be a parent soon, if you’re a conservative, if you’re a progressive, if you’re Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, if you’re anorexic. https://www.youtube.com/feed/history/search_history
  • Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you, “I’ve requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big, which is roughly three million Word documents. 
  • Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information, mine was roughly 600mb, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.
  • This includes every message you’ve ever sent or been sent, every file you’ve ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you’ve ever sent or been sent.
    [Courtesy of Dylan Curran]
  • Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you’ve liked and what you and your friends talk about.
  • Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you’ve ever sent on Facebook.
  • They also store every time you log into Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.
  • And they store all the applications you’ve ever had connected to your Facebook account, “so they can guess I’m interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November”.
  • Side-note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of just the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10.
  • This includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your e-mails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive.
  • This includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your e-mails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive.
  • The files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.
  • This is one of the craziest things about the modern age, we would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us, but we just went ahead and did it ourselves because f**k it I want to watch cute dog videos.
  • Here’s the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed ThePirateBay section to show much damage this information can do).
  • “Here’s my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events I’ve ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is what I went for an interview for a Marketing job, and what time I arrived at).”
  • “This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my resume, my monthly budget, and all the code, files, and websites I’ve ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, which I use to encrypt e-mails.”
  • “This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps I’ve ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times I’ve recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts I’ve done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fit’s permissions).”
    [Courtesy of Dylan Curran]
  • “This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos.”
  • “And now my Google Activity, this has thousands of files, so I’ll just do a short summary of what they have.”
  • “Firstly every Google Ad I’ve ever viewed or clicked on, every app I’ve ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I’ve ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app I’ve ever installed or searched for”.
  • “Every image I’ve ever searched for and saved, every location I’ve ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I’ve ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I’ve made since 2009”.
  • “And then finally, every YouTube video I’ve ever searched for or viewed, since 2008”.

Trump’s Personal Lawyer John Dowd Quits Amid Trump Attacks on Mueller as the rats leave the ship.

H4 trump lawyer quits

Donald Trump’s top lawyer defending the president in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has resigned. John Dowd confirmed Thursday he’s leaving Trump’s legal team, writing in a statement, “I love the president and wish him well.” Dowd reportedly resigned after Trump repeatedly ignored his legal advice and attacked Robert Mueller by name on Twitter, after Mueller’s team subpoenaed financial documents from the Trump Organization.

Congress OKs Record Military Funds in $1.3T Spending Bill (Remember the warnings of Eisenhower, right?)

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Congress approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill early this morning—averting what would have been the third government shutdown of the year, less than a day before it was set to take effect. The bill won bipartisan support in both houses, clearing the Senate on a 65-32 vote just after 1 a.m., after more than two-thirds of House lawmakers approved it earlier in the day. President Trump has signaled he will sign the bill, which will boost spending on weapons and war to an all-time high, while increasing funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. It does not address the plight of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children—so called DREAMers—a key demand of immigrant rights groups and some Democrats. The bill also contains modest gun control measures, including tightening a background check measure known as “NICS”—but does not provide for universal background checks for prospective gun buyers.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg speaks out over Cambridge Analytica ‘breach’

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that the social network “made mistakes” that led to millions of Facebook users having their data exploited by a political consultancy.

Cambridge Analytica is accused of improperly using the data on behalf of political clients.

In a statement, Mr Zuckerberg said a “breach of trust” had occurred.

In a later interview with CNN he said he was “really sorry”, and pledged to take action against “rogue apps”.

He added that he was “happy” to testify before Congress “if it’s the right thing to do”.

Analysis by Dave Lee, BBC North America technology reporter, at Facebook’s headquarters

I read one thing loud and clear from Mr Zuckerberg’s initial statement: Facebook is not prepared to take the blame for what has happened.

Contrition has never been Mr Zuckerberg’s strong point, and the statement, days in the making, was no different.

No apology to users, investors or staff over how this incident was allowed to happen by the data policies in place at the time.

No explanation as to why, after learning its data was being abused like this in 2014, it opted to give the companies a telling off instead of banning them outright.

No reasoning as to why Facebook failed to inform users their data may have been affected. Technically, it still hasn’t.

Mr Zuckerberg’s words were not an explanation, but a legal and political defence. This company knows it is heading into battle on multiple fronts.

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

Trump’s New CIA Nominee, “Bloody” Gina Haspel, Faces Possible Arrest Warrant in Germany over Torture!

On Tuesday morning, President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter. In the same tweet, the president announced CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is a close ally of the Koch brothers, would be nominated to become the new secretary of state. Trump also tapped CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to head the CIA. Haspel was directly involved in the CIA’s torture program under George W. Bush. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 where one prisoner was waterboarded 83 times and tortured in other ways. Both Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel must now face Senate confirmations, but barring any Republican defections, both can be confirmed without any Democratic support. Last year, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights asked German prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant for Haspel for her role in the torture program. For more, we speak with Wolfgang Kaleck, founder and general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.