Tag: trump

IBM suits revolt against CEO’s Trump endorsement

suitsCEO Ginni Rometty might be enthusiastic of her love of Donald Trump and his plans to build a national Muslim registry, but her staff are getting rather hacked off with her.

The IBM suits are revolting against their CEO’s pro-Trumpery in a very public way and telling her not to include IBM in Trump’s plans.

In November, Rometty wrote Trump directly, congratulating him on his electoral victory and detailing various services the company could sell his administration. The letter was published on an internal IBM blog along with a personal note from Rometty to her enormous global staff.

“As IBMers, we believe that innovation improves the human condition. … We support, tolerance, diversity, the development of expertise, and the open exchange of ideas,” she wrote in the context of lending material support to a man who won the election by rejecting all of those values.

However IBM employees were horrified and some of them are denouncing her letter and asserting their “right to refuse participation in any US government contracts that violate constitutionally protected civil liberties.”

The IBMPetition.org effort has been spearheaded in part by IBM cybersecurity engineer Daniel Hanley, who  started organizing with his coworkers after reading Rometty’s letter.

He has told the press that he was shocked because IBM has purported to espouse diversity and inclusion, and yet Rometty in an unqualified way was reaching out to an admin whose electoral success was based on racist programmes.

The petition now has 51 signees, which is a tiny fraction of the company’s enormous global staff, but has only circulated only privately. The full IBMPetition.org letter can reads: :

“We are disappointed that IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s open letter to President-elect Donald Trump does not affirm IBMers’ core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct. For our mutual aid and protection, we call on IBM to expand diversity recruitment programs, and we assert our right to refuse participation in any U.S. government contracts that violate constitutionally protected civil liberties. We call on IBM to demonstrate commitment to our Business Conduct Guidelines and to prevent perceived influence peddling through Trump affiliated businesses.”
“In response to your open letter to Mr. Trump [1], we are disappointed that you did not reaffirm the core values which differentiate both IBM as a company and us collectively as IBMers. While we understand your willingness to engage in constructive dialogue with the president-elect, we believe our shared culture and values remain not only constant, but also central to our transformation underpinned by cloud and cognitive initiatives. As you know, more than 400,000 IBMers around the world work in environments where diversity — including diversity of thought — is the norm. IBM values this because our diversity helps create innovation that enhances every aspect of our business.

“Your internal memo to employees, advocating diversity and the open exchange of ideas, echoes IBM President Tom Watson’s Policy Letter #4 [2]. Watson’s letter reaffirmed IBM’s moral leadership by refusing to discriminate on the basis of race, resisting the prevailing attitudes of governors in the southern United States. In this instance, Watson sacrificed short-term business interests in order to be on the right side of history, something IBM takes pride in today.”

The letter goes on to say that taking a conservative approach has grave implications.

“Our own founder’s experience and the rest of history teach us that accommodating those who unleash forces of aggressive nationalism, bigotry, racism, fear, and exclusion inevitably yields devastating outcomes for millions of innocents.”

The IBM petition is perhaps the first of its kind, a rare instance of tech employees directly confronting their management in an industry where organised labor is unheard of.

Already one IBM employee Elizabeth Wood has publicly quit the company shortly after reading Rometty’s letter. Apparently she provided advice and helped with drafts of the IBMPetition.org letter.

 

Boffins fear book-burning Trump brown-shirts

1933-may-10-berlin-book-burningUS boffins are frantically trying to work out ways to protect data on climate change from climate-denying Trump supporters who are expected to try and destroy it.

The Trump administration believes that Climate change is a fraud and has vowed to wipe government websites of years of research. The logic is that if you burn the books, people will not know that there is a problem.

Environmentalists and researchers encountered a friendly White House over the last eight years that encouraged inquiry into global warming and signed historic agreements meant to lower global carbon emissions.

However now they are worried that publicly available climate change data and research found on government websites would be wiped clean or made otherwise inaccessible to the public.

Academics like the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toronto, are attempting to download and save as much data as possible. The University of Toronto is set to host a “guerilla archiving event” in collaboration with the Internet Archive’s End of Term 2016 project.

This aims to archive the federal online pages and data that are in danger of disappearing during the Trump administration, including climate change, water, air and toxics programs.

Other universities are planning “hackathons,” putting out a call to hackers to scrape federal website databases for climate change intel.

The hacks are perfectly legal because the information is currently available to the public – they might not be after Trump takes office.

Obama’s Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that policies that have been put in place to make sure that science continues to be foundational are not going to be easy to remove.

Talking to the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco she said that there is no reason to think that a successor administration is going to want to because the data is so important to the decisions we make every single day.”

But boffins remember that they had a hell of a time getting climate data under the last Republican administration. George W. Bush made climate data inaccessible because he did not believe in global warning because God said in the bible that there would never be another flood and put a rainbow in the sky to prove it.
Other boffins are worried that budget cuts to government science organizations like NASA would make important climate prediction projects impossible.

Trump and Silicon Valley try to bury the hatchet

Donald-Trump-funnyDonald “Prince of Orange” Trump met with Silicon Valley’s top executives attempted to bury the hatchet and to smoke a peace pipe.

The meeting, in Trump Towers, focused chiefly on economic problems, including job creation, lowering taxes and trade dynamics with China, while largely avoiding the many disagreements the tech industry has with Trump on matters ranging from immigration to digital privacy.

For some reason, three of Trump’s kids sat in on the meeting. We guess it is because they know a little more than their dad about tech. Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, sat at the head of a large rectangular table as the meeting began in a conference room on the 25th floor of Trump Tower.

Of course there is a small problem of conflict of interest because Trump’s kids are going to be running his business while he is being president.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence was also there as was  Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’sSheryl Sandberg and Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk, Alphabet Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and IBM’s Ginni Rometty. Missing was Twitter, which Trump claimed was too small to be at the table and it had nothing to do with the personal spat that Trump was having with Twitter.

Cook and Musk joined Trump for separate meetings after the other technology executives leave, according to a spokesman for Trump’s transition team.

Bezos said in a statement the meeting was “very productive” and that he “shared the view that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors, not just tech – agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing -everywhere.”

Silicon Valley got on well with  President Barack Obama and heavily supported Democrat Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign.

Trump bashed the industry during the election campaign. He urged his supporters to boycott Apple products over the company’s refusal to help the FBI unlock an iPhone associated with last year’s San Bernardino, California, shootings, threatened antitrust action against Amazon and demanded that tech companies build their products in the United States.

Trump has also been an opponent of the Obama administration’s “net neutrality” rules barring internet service providers from obstructing or slowing consumer access to web content. Two advisers to his Federal Communications Commission transition team are opponents of the rules, as are the two Republicans on the FCC.

 

IBM promises Trump that it will hire US workers

Great-Depression-Unemployment-Line-Biggish Blue hopes to get on side with Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump by pledging to hire 25,000 workers in the US.

IBM Chief Executive Ginni Rometty make the pledge as she and other technology executives prepared to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump today.

Writing in USA Today, Rometty said that IBM had thousands of open positions and wanted to hire about 25,000 professionals in the next four years in the United States.

However Biggish Blue has not indicated how that hiring might be offset by staff reductions or disclose how many people IBM employs in the United States.

In fact, the company has made it clear that it will end 2016 with “Our US.workforce about the same size as it was at the beginning of the year. By 2020, we expect it to be larger than it is today,” Pratt said.

Biggish Blue had 378,000 employees at the end of 2015, according to the company’s annual report so 25,000 might not be the great increase that the pro-Trump press has been trumping.

Still it must be some sort of improvement. IBM has reported that the active number of participants in its 401(k)-pension plan fell to 84,350 last year from 110,876 in 2010.

However, Rometty is a big fan of Trump. She is one of more than a dozen US executives serving on an advisory council that Trump has formed to consult him on job creation.

Carly Fiorina might get intelligence

CarlyPresident-elect Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump might be set to ask former HP supremo Carly Fiorina to take on the job as the US’s top spook.

The news comes from the New York Times which got it from its deep throats in the Trump transition team.

The move is unexpected as not only does Fiorina have a pussy to grab but she also said some rather nasty things about Trump during the primary debates.

In her days at HP, executives were terrified as corporate axemen ruled the building downsizing what had been a hugely successful business empire. This effort doubled when Fiorina spent a fortune buying one of the world’s largest PC makers, Compaq which needed to be integrated into HP’s empire.

If there are any obvious parallels between HP and politics it could be a rather bloody time for the intelligence community. However, rumours like this have been played out by the Trump transition committee for a while now so it might never happen.

Reddit finally to crack down on Trump trolls

Donald-Trump-funny

The social notworking site Reddit is finally going to crack down on Orangemen carrying out online harassment campaigns against those who fail to support Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump.

The problem has been ongoing for a while based around a collection of trolls who inhabit a couple of groups dedicated to Trump the biggest being r/The_Donald. The attacks are often racist, sexist and bullying, but Reddit has been attempting to negotiate treaties with the main participants. After all the site is supposed to be about free speech.

However, all that changed when the trolls, empowered by their election win, decided to attack the Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman. Suddenly the gloves are coming off.

Huffman said that Reddit’s content policy prohibits harassment, but that it had not been adequately enforced.

“Personal message harassment is the most cut and dry. Right now we are in an interesting position where my inbox is full of them, it’s easy to start with me.”

Reddit will also  monitor user reports, add greater filtering capacity, and be more proactive role in policing its platform rather than relying on community moderators.

Last week, Reddit banned Pizzagate, a community devoted to a conspiracy theory, with no evidence to back it up, that links Clinton to a pedophile ring at a Washington, DC pizza parlour.

Reddit has a more permissive attitude than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to what it allows on its site, but r/The_Donald users frequently crossed a line, Huffman said, including by trying to manipulate voting to ensure their posts appear on prominent Reddit pages.

Reddit has stepped up its efforts to combat abuse on the site over the past year, creating what it called an “anti-evil” team of engineers dedicated to fighting harassment.

“The fact I was saying that combating harassment was important and then letting that openly happen to me, the CEO, there’s a disconnect there,” Huffman said.

In the past, Reddit has worked with moderators of communities to try to enforce its rules.

With r/The_Donald in particular, “we haven’t found that to be particularly effective. We might see flashes of success, but things kind of revert,” Huffman said.

Huffman said he had been asked by many Reddit users “to ban r/The_Donald outright, but he had rejected that idea, because “if there is anything about this election that we have learned, it is that there are communities that feel alienated and just want to be heard, and Reddit has always been a place where those voices can be heard”.

 

 

Internet Archive fears Trump library burnings

library-alexandria-destructionThe Internet Archive is building a backup archive in Canada after the election of Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump because it fears it is too vulnerable to court orders and destruction.

The archive is a digital library nonprofit unit that preserves billions of webpages for the historical record, Today, it began collecting donations for the Internet Archive of Canada, intended to create a copy of the archive outside the United States.

Brewster Kahle said that the election of Trump was a wake up call for institutions like his, built for the long-term, and needs to design for change.

“For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase,” he said.

The San Francisco-based Internet Archive is comprised of several different preservation efforts, spanning nearly every medium. As of 2012, the entire archive held 10 petabytes of data – for reference, Facebook’s entire photo and video collection totaled 100 petabytes around the same time. Alongside films and books, the archive holds thousands of early software programs and video games that can be emulated on modern systems. It’s particularly known for the Wayback Machine, which continuously crawls the web to archive pages over the course of decades.

Kahle estimates it will cost “millions” of dollars to host a copy of the Internet Archive in Canada, but it would shield its data from some American legal action.

Trump has shown support for greater law enforcement surveillance powers and legal censorship, including “closing that internet up in some ways” to fight terrorism”.

Kahle said that  moving the internet archive would both insulate it from efforts to take down specific content, and make it harder to request data on user activity — something that more traditional librarians fought when American surveillance powers expanded under George W. Bush.   The Internet Archive  sees it as a big libary which is vulnerable to the same sort of book burning craze that flattened the Libary in Alexandria.

US Far Right guns for Musk

elon-musk-tesla-109Far-right trolls have switched their focus from smearing Hillary Clinton and is now gunning for tech wiz Elon Musk – fearing that he might try a political career.

Bloomberg claims that hard-right groups are lining up to back misleading websites and fake journalists who attack Musk’s business empire.

The focus of the attacks is partly true. His businesses were built, legally, with the help of billions in government contracts and incentives for renewable energy and space transport.

But the stories are going on to accuse Musk of fraud and wasting taxpayer dollars. Three conservative sites have run negative pieces about Musk—by a nonexistent writer named “Shepard Stewart”. These stories include “Elon Musk Continues to Blow Up Taxpayer Money With Falcon 9” and “Elon Musk: Faux Free Marketeer and National Disgrace”. Two later retracted the stories.

Sam Jaffe, managing director of Cairn Energy Research Advisors said that whoever is behind the attacks is aiming at Musk personally because they fear he could go into politics. The pattern is the same which were levelled at Hillary Clinton when it became clear she would be running.

There were allegations of fraud and negligence levied at Clinton during the presidential campaign which successfully cemented the public’s perception of her as shady.

“It’s the exact same thing as Musk. There’s a portion of the political spectrum that is scared to death of Musk as politician. They see him as a threat. They’re starting that process.”

One anti-Musk website, Stop Elon From Failing Again launched earlier this year with the mission of becoming a “one-stop database on stopping Elon Musk.” The site combines news aggregated from mainstream sources with pickups from conservative think tanks, plus some of its own posts.

The site is backed by the Citizens for the Republic political action committee, which is led by Laura Ingraham, a right-wing radio host currently under consideration for White House press secretary.

One of the site’s most recent pieces, produced by the conservative Heritage Foundation, compared Musk to “Enron and Bernie Madoff.”

Musk’s SpaceX, which competes with the Boeing- and Lockheed Martin-backed United Launch Alliance, was also targeted this year. The website “Who Is Elon Musk?” produced a stream of stories critical of SpaceX and Musk, just as the former was being considered for government contracts.

Trump to scrap NASA’s climate change funding

Donald-Trump-funnyDonald “Prince of Orange” Trump is going to scrap NASA’s funding for climate change and is telling it to focus on space research instead.

According to his senior adviser it is all part of a crack-down on “politicised science”.

Trump wants to have explored the entire solar system by the end of the century.

However, this cunning plan would mean the end of Nasa’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. NASA’s network of satellites provides a wealth of information on climate change.

Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for Nasa to do what he has previously described as “politically correct environmental monitoring. We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research. Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission”.

Trump’s decisions will be based upon solid science, not politicised science, Walker claimed. Walker is a retired US politician who will be dead in a few years, before politicised climate change starts killing his children and grandchildren.  Of course, he might have figured out that sticking them on a Mars colony is the only safe way to avoid the end of the world.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, said NASA has a “critical and unique role” in observing Earth and climate change.

“Without the support of Nasa, not only the US but the entire world would be taking a hard hit when it comes to understanding the behavior of our climate and the threats posed by human-caused climate change,” he said.

“It would be a blatantly political move, and would indicate the president-elect’s willingness to pander to the very same lobbyists and corporate interest groups he derided throughout the campaign.”

Nasa has appointed two officials, Tom Cremins and Jolene Meidinger, to lead the transition to the new Trump administration. However, the president-elect’s team has yet to formally review the space agency. A NASA spokesman said:

“The Nasa community is committed to doing whatever we can to assist in making the executive branch transition a smooth one. The agency remains focused on the future, a future that will improve our understanding of our changing home planet from Nasa’s unique platforms in space.”

Telcos likely to have supreme power over Google

animal-memes-how-i-feel-when-i-have-waterproof-phoneAfter all its years being in bed with the Obama administration, the search engine Google might suddenly find itself in a bit of hot water.

Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump look like he is going to reverse Obama administration policies that often favoured the internet giant in the company’s battles with telecoms and cable heavyweights.

Trump looks like he will grab the pussy of the telecom firms and has already asked the US Federal Communications Commission to halt action on regulatory reform measures opposed by companies such as AT&T and CenturyLink.

The commission is now expected to reject FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s high-profile proposal to open the $20 billion market for rented pay-TV set-top boxes.

This would have dealt a big blow to cable companies and created an opening for firms such as Google.

Cable companies have expressed concerns that rivals like Google or Apple could create devices or apps and insert their own content or advertising in cable content.

This could also be bad news for net neutrality. Most Republicans strongly oppose net neutrality, which requires internet service providers to treat all data equally and bars them from obstructing or slowing down consumer access to web content.

Republicans in Congress or at a Republican-controlled FCC under a Trump administration could also pare back new privacy rules adopted in October that subject internet service providers to stricter rules than those faced by Google and other websites.