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Current Affairs Posts - Page 2

WikiLeaks: Apple gives customers' data to governments

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Oct 26, 2016 7:00 am

The ongoing WikiLeaks data dump continues, all without proof of life of Julian Assange after the Ecuadorian embassy had its internet line severed - new information has surfaced on Apple and just how much it cares for its consumers' privacy.




In a purported leaked email from December 2015, Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives sent an email to John Podesta, the Chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign - Lisa said: "Please know that Apple will continue its work with law enforcement. We share law enforcement's concerns about the threat to citizens and we work closely with authorities to comply with legal requests for data that have helped solve complex crimes".


But it was the next paragraph that was highlighted by WikiLeaks, and for good reason: "Thousands of times every month, we give governments information about Apple customers and devices, in response to warrants and other forms of legal process. We have a team that responds to those requests 24 hours a day. Strong encryption does not eliminate Apple's ability to give law enforcement meta-data or any of a number of other very useful categories of data".

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14,900 new files found on Hillary Clinton's email server

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Aug 23, 2016 2:51 am

Hillary Clinton's poker face continues, with the FBI finding another 14,900 emails and documents on her private server - nearly 50% more than Clinton's lawyers turned over to the State Department.




We don't know what's in the documents and emails, but the FBI obtained a disc that includes all of the new emails and attachments that Clinton sent, or received. Clinton's attorneys originally turned over around 30,000 messages that were what they considered work-related, but we all know that's not true.


A judge in a lawsuit over public records has thrown the State Department's proposal plans to the road, as they wanted to release the documents starting on October 14, and are pushing for an earlier release. If the judge is successful, this won't happen sooner, but it will be enough to have Clinton squirming.

Volkswagen fraud settlement biggest in US history, hits $15 billion

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Jun 28, 2016 5:13 am

Volkswagen really screwed the pooch with its diesel emission fraud, with over 500,000 US regulators and diesel vehicle owners seeing a settlement of over $15 billion in cash, according to Reuters.




If the settlement goes through, it'll be the largest ever automotive buyback in American history, and the most expensive scandal in the automotive industry. Last year, Volkswagen was caught in a scandal, where it had lied to regulators, installing secret software that allowed US cars to push out up to 40x more pollution. The settlement is expected to be finalized soon, with $10.03 billion in buyback offers to owners of around 475,000 polluting vehicles, and close to $5 billion to offset excess diesel emissions, and boost zero emission vehicles.


Reuters reports: "A separate settlement with nearly all U.S. state attorneys general over excess diesel emissions will be announced on Tuesday and is expected to be more than $500 million and will push the total to over $15 billion, a separate source briefed on the matter said. Spokeswomen for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Volkswagen declined to comment. Speaking on condition of anonymity, due to court-imposed gag rules, the original source said that owners of 2.0 liter diesel VW 2009-2015 cars will receive an average of $5,000 in compensation along with the estimated value of the vehicles as of September 2015, before the scandal erupted".

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Uh... so the Chewbacca Mom has made $400K, now charges for autographs

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Jun 9, 2016 2:16 am

I don't even know how to begin this news post, but the Chewbacca Mom has made a very swift $400,000 since her Facebook Live video went viral three weeks ago.




In that time, Chewbacca Mom or Candace Payne, has made $400,000 from gifts received, and is now charging $20 per autograph. Payne will be at the Dallas Fan Expo on Sunday, with her booth directly beside Game of Thrones star Jack Gleeson, with Payne charging people $20 per autograph. Payne said that she'll be donating a portion of the profits to a Christian ministry initiative - Oak's Followship "All-In".


How. Why. How. I don't even.

North Korea bans access to Facebook, YouTube and porn sites

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Apr 1, 2016 3:30 pm

North Korea's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has announced a nation-wide ban on social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, as well as YouTube and even porn sites.




The Associated Press reports that North Korea is tightening its grip on censorship by blocking access to major social media sites for "a certain period of time". The ban also includes several South Korean websites, as well as gambling and porn sites. The government warns that anyone who attempts to circumvent the ban or distribute "anti-republic data" will be punished.


As North Korean citizens are walled off from the outside web and only have access to a government-controlled intranet, the new restrictions are aimed at making it extremely difficult for visitors and foreign residents to share the country's current events with the outside world. Before now visitors were able to enjoy unrestricted access to the web. Interestingly enough, Instagram has been whitelisted and isn't banned by the new law.

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France to shut down open Wi-Fi during states of emergency

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Dec 7, 2015 10:08 pm

In response to the devastating terror attacks in Paris, the French government may pass a series of bills severely limits the online freedom of its citizens during declared states of emergency.




The French newspaper Le Monde acquired the leaked Ministry of Interior documents that outline key legislature that compromises the online privacy of its citizens. According to the publication, there are two separate bills that have different ranges of severity.


The first bill calls for all free and shared Wi-Fi connections to be forcibly closed during a state of emergency. The idea behind this is to disrupt terrorist communications and make it easier for police and officials to track suspects. While open Wi-Fi networks are generally more insecure, police have a hard time pinpointing the location of users tethered to free hotspots.

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Ahmed 'Clock Kid' Mohamed's family seeking $15 million in damages

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Nov 24, 2015 10:29 am

We all heard about Ahmed "Clock Kid" Mohamed, where earlier this year he was arrested under the suspicion of making a "hoax bomb" that turned out to just be a clock.




At the time, one teacher at his school said they saw Ahmed's creation and said it looked like a bomb. But now Ahmed's family has lawyered up, with their lawyer stating that school officials never thought of the clock as an explosive device and that the second teacher didn't treat the clock as if it were dangerous.


The teacher escorted Ahmed to the office, where he met five police officers, the principal and the assistant principal, where they performed and "interrogation". During that time, Ahmed wasn't allowed to contact his parents, and he was forced to sign a letter of confession as he was threatened with expulsion. Ahmed's family moved home to Qatar last month, but they want to come back. Their letter of demand is seeking $15 million, but they also want written apologies from both the mayor and Irving police chief for leading Ahmed's reputation "permanently scarred".

It looks like there were only 12,000 'real' women on Ashley Madison

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Aug 28, 2015 4:25 am

Well then. According to the information scraped from Ashley Madison's database, it looks like as much as 95% of their members were male. But now The Impact Team has gone through the dumped data, with quite the revelation: just 12,000 of the 5.5 million women on the site were 'real'.




Out of the 37 million accounts, 31 million were men and 5.5 million were women. But this is where The Impact Team and their look into the data gets juicier. After speaking with a data scientist, the publication began comparing male and female profiles, looking for certain patterns. Looking at members' e-mail addresses pointed towards a few very obvious accounts, such as, and so on. When the IP addresses were checked, it showed that 80,000 or more accounts were created locally, within the company.


But the biggest anomaly of them all is that there were unusual last names for hundreds of accounts, but there's the biggest glaring fact: just 1,492 women checked their messages on the site. Comparing 1,492 women checking their messages, against the 20 million men who checked their accounts, we can see that there is a big disparity in the sexes there. Just 2,400 women started a conversation using the chat system on Ashley Madison, compared to the 11 million men that used the chat feature.

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Over 83,500 sign petition for Reddit CEO to step down

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Jul 4, 2015 12:28 pm

In a petition on, Billy Johnson from the US has asked Ellen Pao, the CEO of Reddit, to step down from her position. I went to write this article about two hours ago but had to run out of the house for a while, where at that time, there were 75,300 signatures.




Two hours later, there are 83,500 signatures asking for Pao to step down. Why is Pao being asked to step down? Well, the company just fired its Director of Communications, Victoria Taylor, who was responsible for some of the most popular subreddits on the site, such as /r/IAmA and many more. Taylor was the main contact for many celebrities and other high-profile figures, and in response to her being fired, Reddit moderators have "effectively shut down many of the site's most popular sections" reports The Verge.


But when it comes to the petition asking for Pao to step down, Johnson writes: "Ellen K. Pao is a lawyer and the chief executive officer of the Internet company Reddit Inc. After Pao lost her gender discrimination case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins she was appointed CEO of Reddit Inc and Reddit entered into a new age of censorship. A vast majority of the Reddit community believes that Pao, "a manipulative individual who will sue her way to the top", has overstepped her boundaries and fears that she will run Reddit into the ground. Alternative sites to have sprung up and have received vast amounts of traffic within the recent months". He finishes with: "Action must be taken to prevent Reddit from being further run into the ground".

Amazon building a 150 megawatt wind farm to power data centres

By: Chris Smith | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Jan 21, 2015 1:06 am

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has just announced that their cloud provider service will be powered by a wind farm in the future. Looking to produce 150 megawatts total of power, this is part of AWS' bid to move toward fully renewable energy supplies.




This farm is aiming to generate half a million megawatt hours by January 2016, seeing the 150 megawatt value being reached at a later date.


Named Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge), this project is being developed with help from AWS partners Pattern Energy Group. This announcement is further said to be due to Greenpeace attacking Amazon for refusing to provide details on how it planned to make the more to renewable energy. Amazon also claims that cloud computing is more environmentally friendly than traditional options due to sever capacity usage and less power consumption is needed to power their infrastructure.

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