Tag: trump

FBI running three probes into Russian gaming of the US elections

The Untouchables have three separate probes into the Russian hacking of the US presidential elections.

For those who came in late, it is widely believed Tsar Vladimir Putin ordered his crack team of hackers to game the US presidential election to put a wealthy orange businessmen who owes him and his Russian chums rather a lot of cash in the top job.

Donald (Prince of Orange) and Tsar Putin have denied it, but then it is likely they would. Trumpets who support Donald Trump have been appearing all over the internet saying that “there is no proof” despite rather a lot of evidence that this sort of thing was going on.

The FBI’s Pittsburgh field office, which runs many cyber security investigations, is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems, the officials said.

Those breaches, in 2015 and the first half of 2016, exposed the internal communications of party officials as the Democratic nominating convention got underway and helped undermine support for Hillary Clinton.

The Pittsburgh case has progressed furthest, but Justice Department officials in Washington believe there is not enough clear evidence yet for an indictment, two of the sources said.

The bureau’s San Francisco office is trying to identify the people who called themselves “Guccifer 2” and posted emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s account, the sources said.

Those emails contained details about fundraising by the Clinton Foundation and other topics.

Beyond the two FBI field offices, FBI counterintelligence agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants and foreign communications intercepts, two of the people said.

This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said.

Scott Smith, the FBI’s new assistant director for cybercrime, declined to comment this week on which FBI offices were doing what or how far they had progressed. It is hard to see him being enthusiastic to find a culprit as he might find himself having arrest the bloke who appointed him,

A White House spokesman pointed to a comment Trump made during the campaign, in which he said: “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”

Trump claims he has no business connections to Russia and that reports in the New York Times that Americans with ties to Trump or his campaign had repeated contacts with current and former Russian intelligence officers before the November election were fake news.

EU watchdogs want privacy assurances from Trump

European Union data privacy watchdogs are demanding that a move by US President Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump to crack down on illegal immigration will not undermine a transatlantic pact protecting the privacy of Europeans’ data.

Trump wrote an executive order on January 25 aiming to toughen enforcement of US immigration law. It ordered US agencies to “exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.”

This basically killed off any agreement that the EU had on safe harbour data transfers. It means that if there is a US company running a cloud operation in the EU it has to turn over any data on anyone.

The EU’s data protection authorities said they would write to U.S. authorities “pointing out concerns and asking for clarifications on the possible impact of the Executive Order” on that framework, known as the Privacy Shield, as well as on another agreement protecting law enforcement data shared between the United States and the EU.

The EU-US Privacy Shield is used by almost 2,000 companies including Google, Facebook and Microsoft to store data about EU citizens on US servers and makes possible about $260 billion of trade in digital services.

It replaced a previous system thrown out by the top EU court on the grounds it allowed US spies unfettered access to data stored on US servers.

The European Commission press office has played down concerns over any threat to the privacy of Europeans’ data, saying the US Privacy Act had never protected Europeans’ data and so any changes to it would not affect EU-US data transfer agreements.

But it might be that the European court might see things differently.

Zuckerburg talks bulwarks about isolationism

Facebook's Zuckerberg - Wikimedia CommonsSocial notworking Tsar Mark Zuckerberg was speaking a load of bulwarks against rising isolationism.

In a note, he wrote to Facebook users and claimed that the social notworking site could be the “social infrastructure” for the globe and a bulwark against isolationism.

“Across the world there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection,” Zuckerberg wrote.

The question, the 32-year-old executive said, was whether “the path ahead is to connect more or reverse course,” adding that he stands for bringing people together.

Zuckerberg quoted Abraham Lincoln, the US president during the country’s 19th century Civil War and waxed rather philosophical saying that the dogmas of the quiet past, were inadequate to the stormy present.

Facebook could move far beyond its roots as a network for friends and families to communicate, suggesting that it can play a role in five areas, all of which he referred to as “communities,” ranging from strengthening traditional institutions, to providing help during and after crises, to boosting civic engagement.

In comments on Facebook, some users praised Zuckerberg’s note for staying positive, while others declared “globalism” dead.

Facebook has been under pressure to monitor closely police hoaxes, fake news and other controversial content, although the concerns have had little impact on its finances. The company reported 2016 revenue of $27.6 billion, up 54 percent from a year earlier.

One area where Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook would do better would be suggesting “meaningful communities.” Some 100 million users are members of groups that are “very meaningful” to them, he wrote, representing only about five percent of users.

Facebook is also using artificial intelligence more to flag photos and videos that need human review, Zuckerberg wrote.

While there is much that can be agreed with in Zuckerberg manifesto he did avoid one word which would have been nice to hear “privacy.”

Trump demands Facebook hand-over protester’s details

fishy trumpUS president Donald (Prince of Orange) has ordered his spooks to search the Facebook addresses of everyone who was arrested protesting against him on his inauguration day.

More than 230 protesters were arrested on that day and many were charged with rioting and had their phones seized by Washington, D.C., police.

One of the individuals who was arrested received an email from Facebook’s “Law Enforcement Response Team” which means that coppers were asking Facebook to reveal information about this arrestee.

It is incredibly unlikely that he is the only one and it appears that those who were charged by coppers on the day are now “persons of interest”.

Rachel Reid, a spokesperson for the DC Metropolitan Police Department, responded that “MPD does not comment on investigative tactics”. In fact, that appears to be law enforcement’s general line on the news.

According to this database, US law spooks requested information on the accounts of 38,951 users over January to June of 2016, and they received some type of data in 80 percent of cases.

Which “legal process” authorities sent to Facebook for information on the protester matters considerably in terms of how much data they can seize for investigation.

US Telcos given blank cheque on net neutrality

70977464_7d8ecfa4da_zThe Federal Communications Commission’s new Republican leadership is turning the outfit into the sort of watchdog who snoozes while the comms companies burgle the house.

On Friday evening, the man in charge rescinded a ruling that AT&T and Verizon Wireless violated net neutrality rules with paid data cap exemptions and promised to look away on the racket.

The Trump appointed Chairman Ajit Pai has also rescinded several other reports and actions he disagreed with.

The comms companies had a wizard wheeze to kill off competition for their video services by allowing them to be used without counting against data cap restrictions.  After all there is nothing wrong with throttling your opposition is there?  The FCC disagreed but Pai saw nothing wrong with it. Now he is in charge he is making sure that there is nothing to stop the comms companies throttling who they like – so long as it is not him, we guess.

Pai says that free data offerings are “popular among consumers precisely because they allow more access to online music, videos, and other content free of charge.” He has also vowed to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality rules and hasn’t committed to enforcing them while they remain in place.

But the abandoning of the investigation is the first move that Pai has taken against the FCC’s anti-net neutrality laws.

Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly added that this was just the first step they would be taking to protect the poor comms companies from regulations so they could continue to provide the sorts of products their customers wanted without the fear of red tape.  After all companies with total regional monopolies always provide what their customers want and never think of profits first.


Facebook could be gutted by Trump’s visa crack-down

what-we-learned-about-facebook-ceo-mark-zucke-L-gl5gYRSocial notworking site Facebook could be the most vulnerable to US President Donald Trump’s expected crackdown on guest worker visas.

According to a Reuters analysis of US Labour Department filings more than 15 percent of Facebook’s US employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa making it a an H-1B “dependent” company.

That is much worse than Alphabet, Google, Apple, Amazon or Microsoft. This could cause major problems for Facebook if Trump or Congress decide to make the H-1B program more restrictive, as the president and some Republican lawmakers have threatened to do.

Both Trump and Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions have opposed the program in its current form. They have also indicated that they are open to reforming it to “ensure the beneficiaries of the programme are the best and the brightest,” according to a draft executive order seen by Reuters.

The Trump administration has not proposed any new rules that would target companies with the H-1B “dependent” classification. But the fact that Facebook alone among major tech companies falls into that category suggests it is the most exposed in the industry to any changes in H-1B visa policy.

Neither the White House nor Facebook are saying anything. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that Trump would target H-1B visas as part of a larger immigration reform effort through executive orders and Congressional action, but gave no details.

Facebook listed itself as a dependent company in its applications for H-1B visas with the Labor Department last year.

Before he took office as president, Trump discussed changes to the H-1B visa program with top technology executives, including Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.


2,000 Googlers walk off in Trump protest

protest_google_twitter_1485837356289More than 2,000
Google employees across eight offices worldwide staged a walkout yesterday in protest against President Donald Trump’s executive order imposing a travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

The protests were led by Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, both of whom entered the US as immigrants.

Pichai told the rally: “This is something, there are some values, which are really near and dear to your heart. It’s foundational and it’s something you should never compromise on” adding that “the fight will continue”.

Brin had already taken part in the immigration protests at Sans Francisco airport a day back, was cheered by the crowd for his speech in which he said the US, once a courageous nation, was failing to stand up to expectations of ex-refugees like him.

“I came here to the US at age six with my family from the Soviet Union, which at that time was the greatest enemy the US had — maybe it still is in some form — but it was a dire period of the Cold War… some probably remember it. And there was threat of nuclear annihilation. And even then, the US had the courage to take me and my family in as refugees.”

The employees used hashtag #GooglersUnite, to tweet photos and videos of walkout actions around the world, including at the headquarters in Mountain View. The protest came a day after employees donated more than $2m to a crisis fund that will be distributed among nonprofit groups working to support refugees.

Silicon Valley gears up to fight Trump

Donald-Trump-funnySilicon Valley is leading the corporate resistance to President Donald (Prince of Orange)Trump’s clampdown on immigration.

Apparently Big Tech is spending a fortune on financing legal opposition, criticising the plan, as well as helping employees ensnared by his executive order.

It had long been expected that Silicon Valley would fight back against Trump. The industry has depended on immigrants and championed liberal causes such as gay rights.

At the moment, it looks like they are still in the organisation stage. Over the weekend, as Trump tried to shut out immigrants from countries which he does not do business with, most in the tech industry stopped short of directly criticising the new Republican president.

Apple, Google and Microsoft offered legal aid to employees affected by the order. Several Silicon Valley executives donated to legal efforts to support immigrants facing the ban.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and Uber head Travis Kalanick both said on Twitter that they would take industry concerns about immigration to Trump’s business advisory council, where they serve.

Kalanick has faced opposition on social media for agreeing to be part of the advisory group. Kalanick in a Facebook post on Sunday called the immigration ban “wrong and unjust” and said that Uber would create a $3 million fund to help drivers with immigration issues.

Khash Sajadi, the British-Iranian chief executive of San Francisco-based tech company Cloud 66, was stuck in London because of the ban.

Sajadi is hoping that bigger tech companies like Google and Facebook would take legal action to protect affected employees. That could help set a precedent for people in similar situations.

He warned that it is going to take legal action as people speaking up is not going to be enough.

The tech industry also has other matters where it may find itself opposed to Trump, including trade policy and cyber security.

Over the weekend startup incubator Y Combinator president, Sam Altman, wrote a widely read blog post urging tech leaders to band together against the immigration order. He said he has spoken with a variety of people about organising but remains unsure about the best course of action.

“The honest answer is we don’t know yet. We are talking with legal groups and tech groups, but this is so unprecedented that I don’t think anyone has a manual.”

At Lyft, co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green pledged on the company’s blog to donate a million dollars over the next four years to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which won a temporary stay of part of Trump’s executive order on Saturday night.

Dave McClure, the founding partner of 500 Startups and an outspoken critic of Trump, said his venture capital firm will soon open its first fund in the Middle East and will shift its attention to supporting entrepreneurs in their native countries, if bringing them to the United States proves impossible.

Ironically this will help countries identified by Trump as “enemies” develop their technology base.


Theil heads to Middle Earth to escape the Mordor of Trump’s America

new zealand After helping getting Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump elected, one of the Silicon Valley oligarchs is trying to escape the coming Apocalypse.

Despite being on Trump’s transition committee, Theil does not appear to think that Trump will “make America Great Again” and is trying to buy up land in Middle Earth, er New Zealand, the country famous for its health service and belief in battling climate change.

The New Zealand Herald is reporting that Peter Thiel has applied for New Zealand citizenship. The revelation only came after the newspaper started to investigate a 477-acre property that Thiel had bought in 2015. The newspaper was wondering why Thiel hadn’t got official approval to buy the property under foreign ownership laws.

Apparently, he didn’t need to because he was just as much a Kiwi as Nick Farrell.

Thiel currently serves on President Donald Trump’s transition team appears to have joined some other Silicon Valley tech giants setting up apocalypse homes in New Zealand fearing a Trump presidency will destroy the United States in some fashion.

But New Zealand isn’t the only place where the mega rich are setting up shop for life and leisure. Steve Wozniak gained residency in nearby Australia in 2014. His wife is Australian, and he’s said that he likes the idea of being able to “die an Australian.

In the week following President Trump’s election, a whopping 13,401 Americans applied for residency in New Zealand—a full 17 times the normal rate.

Oracle’s Trumpeter CEO lays off more employees

CatzOne of Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump’s staunchest allies Oracle CEO Safra Catz, has decided that the best way to Make America Great again is to lay off lots of American workers.

Catz, who is on Trump’s transition team, does not appear to have got the memo about providing more US jobs. Mercury News said that Oracle is laying off approximately 450 employees in its Santa Clara hardware systems division.

This is a conservative number as a discussion board for technology business firings, claim about 1,800 employees company-wide are being told to clear out their desks.

Oracle claims the company isn’t closing the Santa Clara facility. Instead, “Oracle is refocusing its Hardware Systems business, and for that reason, has decided to lay off certain of its employees in the Hardware Systems Division”.

Those going are members of Oracle’s failing SPARC hardware department. In mid-2016, Oracle claimed its new SPARC S7 processor would be offered on Oracle Cloud. The cloud is Oracle’s new revenue hope since its new software licensing revenue plummeted by 20 percent in its last quarter ended December 15. At the same time, Oracle’s hardware revenue had fallen 13 percent. In Oracle’s most recent SPARC/Solaris roadmap, the next generation Solaris 12 has vanished to be replaced by moderate refreshes called Solaris 11.next and SPARC next.

While some of the staff cleaning out their desks are management and staff, the majority are hardware and software developers.

Things are not going well at Oracle.  The US Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Oracle in January claiming that Oracle had engaged in pay discrimination practices against female, African-American, and Asian employees.

Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger claimed that the court case was politically motivated, based on false allegations, “and wholly without merit”.