B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

AT&T and Verizon collude to keep you from switching cellphone carriers–allegedly

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 Zoey Getting Ready to Vote in the Nature Photo Contest

The Washington Post reports:

The Department of Justice is investigating potential efforts by AT&T and Verizon to hamstring a technology that could someday make it easier for consumers to seamlessly switch their wireless carriers, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The probe appears to focus on whether those companies — perhaps in a bid to stop their subscribers from jumping ship to rivals — colluded to undermine so-called eSIM cards, a technology that could someday allow the owners of smartphones, smartwatches or other devices to change their service provider on their own, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to speak freely about the probe, which has not been made public.

If the U.S. government ultimately determines that AT&T and Verizon harmed competitors or consumers, it could result in major fines or other penalties.

(click here to continue reading Did AT&T and Verizon collude to keep you from switching cellphone carriers? The Justice Department is investigating. – The Washington Post.)

Operative word being “if”…

In the Trump/GOP era of government, corporations are encouraged to run rampant over any rules or laws they don’t like, all that is needed is a nice campaign contribution, and issues miraculously vanish! Poof! 

Written by Seth Anderson

April 22nd, 2018 at 11:20 am

Posted in Business,crime

Tagged with , ,

Case of Dead Sea Scrolls, Online Aliases Ends With Probation

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Adjusted In Time
Adjusted In Time…

I am pretty sure we’ve been paying attention to this case since it was first reported, ten years ago or more, but am too lazy to look in former iterations of this blog to find the reference.

The gears of justice do grind exceedingly slow, don’t they?

The NYT reports:

Raphael Golb’s conviction wasn’t quite like any other: using online aliases to discredit his father’s adversary in a scholarly debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The 9-year-old case got a New York law thrown out and finally ended Monday with no jail time for Golb, who persuaded a judge to revisit a two-month jail sentence imposed earlier in the case.

Appeals had put the jail term on hold and narrowed the counts in his criminal impersonation and forgery conviction in a curious case of ancient religious texts, digital misdeeds, academic rivalries and filial loyalty.

“Obviously, I’m relieved not to be going to jail,” Golb said, adding that he remains concerned by having been prosecuted for online activity he said was meant as satire. “The judge today did the right thing, but the whole thing should have been thrown out nine years ago.”

(click here to continue reading Case of Dead Sea Scrolls, Online Aliases Ends With Probation – The New York Times.)

Written by Seth Anderson

April 16th, 2018 at 11:12 am

Posted in crime

Tagged with

Trump worries that federal investigators may have seized recordings made by Cohen

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You Are Being Film
You Are Being Film

Lordy, I hope there are tapes1

Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey and Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post report:

President Trump’s personal attorney Michael D. Cohen sometimes taped conversations with associates, according to three people familiar with his practice, and allies of the president are worried that the recordings were seized by federal investigators in a raid of Cohen’s office and residences this week.

Cohen, who served for a decade as a lawyer at the Trump Organization and is a close confidant of Trump, was known to store the conversations using digital files and then replay them for colleagues, according to people who have interacted with him.

“We heard he had some proclivity to make tapes,” said one Trump adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. “Now we are wondering, who did he tape? Did he store those someplace where they were actually seized? . . . Did they find his recordings?”

(click here to continue reading Trump’s allies worry that federal investigators may have seized recordings made by his attorney – The Washington Post.)

Especially funny is that Michael Cohen2 made tapes because “Spanky” Trump so often bragged about how he taped conversations, despite the fact that Trump never actually took the time to create a system to record conversations.

You Wanted To Disappear
You Wanted To Disappear

WaPo:

 

Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer and executive editor of Bloomberg View, wrote a column in the wake of Trump’s taping claim saying that Comey likely had little reason to worry. In the piece, O’Brien recounted that Trump frequently made a similar boast to him.

 

“Back in the early 2000s, Trump used to tell me all the time that he was recording me when I covered him as reporter for the New York Times,” O’Brien wrote. “He also said the same thing when I was writing a biography of him, ‘Trump Nation.’ I never thought he was, but who could be sure?”

 

But after Trump sued him for libel shortly after his biography came out, O’Brien’s lawyers deposed Trump in December 2007 — during which Trump admitted he had not, in fact, clandestinely taped O’Brien.

 

“I’m not equipped to tape-record,” Trump said in the deposition. “I may have said it once or twice to him just to — on the telephone, because everything I said to him he’d write incorrectly; so just to try and keep it honest.”

 

 

(click here to continue reading Trump’s allies worry that federal investigators may have seized recordings made by his attorney – The Washington Post.)

I’d say the odds are greater than 50/50 that Trump was recorded by Cohen saying something of interest to federal prosecutors, and that the Feds have a copy of this recording or recordings, and that Trump is stress-peeing on a rug in the Oval Office right now.

Footnotes:
  1. said everyone at the same time, except for Trump and his thugs []
  2. allegedly []

Written by Seth Anderson

April 12th, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Posted in crime,politics

Tagged with , , ,

FBI Raid On Paul Manafort Storage Locker

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One Step Forward
One Step Forward

Michael Cohen being raided is big news, but there are other threads we are following, including the Paul Manafort case. 

The FBI found a storage locker with lots and lots of documents that Paul Manafort was saving, perhaps to be made whole. This will come up again, mark my words.

Betsy Woodruff reports:

According to court documents, one of Manafort’s former employees led an FBI agent to a storage locker filled with paperwork on Manafort’s businesses and finances. The person’s name is redacted from the filings. But he’s now at the center of a fight over evidence that could play a significant role in the government’s case against Manafort.

“People do strange things when confronted with authoritative FBI agents,” said Sol Wisenberg, a criminal defense attorney with Nelson Mullins.

The person whose name was redacted also gave the FBI agent “a key to the lock on Unit 3013 and described the contents of Unit 3013,” according to the affidavit. That person also gave the FBI agent “written consent” to search the storage unit, and opened it for the FBI agent.

The FBI agent then looked into the storage unit and saw about 21 boxes of documents, as well as a filing cabinet. One box was marked as containing expenses, paid bills, invoices, and legal complaints. Another box said it contained “Ukraine Binders,” as well information about ballot security, Georgia, research, and “Ukraine Campaign.”

Manafort and Gates have been involved in Ukrainian politics for years, and helped prop up Kiev’s Putin-friendly strongman, Viktor Yanukovych.

The FBI agent seemed to figure out immediately that the storage unit’s contents were interesting, because the law enforcement officials started surveilling the storage unit facility to see if anyone went in to take out any files. The day after seeing the storage unit, the FBI agent filed the affidavit—which was more than 20 pages long—with a magistrate judge.

(click here to continue reading A Second Paul Manafort Associate Has Turned on Him.)

I guess these guys haven’t heard of a document shredder or something. I shred stuff on a regular basis and I avoid criminal or even sketchy business! Why wouldn’t these guys have a contract with a shredding company to come every other month?

Gleamingly Banal
Gleamingly Banal

A sign of one’s age when this is the birthday present I bought myself

Written by Seth Anderson

April 10th, 2018 at 10:04 am

F.B.I. Raid Is Perilous for Michael Cohen — and Trump

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Movie Night
Almost Like Movie Night…

The FBI raid on Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen is a pretty big development. Unusual for an attorney’s office to be raided, there must be some solid evidence of crime.

Ken White, aka Popehat, writes:

This is what we know, in part from Mr. Cohen’s attorney: The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, acting on a referral from Mr. Mueller, sought and obtained search warrants for Mr. Cohen’s law office, home and hotel room, seeking evidence related at least in part to his payment of $130,000 in hush money to the adult actress Stephanie Clifford, who goes by her stage name, Stormy Daniels. There are reports that the warrant sought evidence of bank fraud and campaign finance violations, which is consistent with an investigation into allegations that the Daniels payment was illegally sourced or disguised. (For example, routing a payment through a shell company to hide the fact that the money came from the Trump campaign — if that is what happened — would probably violate federal money-laundering laws.)

What does this tell us? First, it reflects that numerous officials — not just Mr. Mueller — concluded that there was probable cause to believe that Mr. Cohen’s law office, home and hotel room contained evidence of a federal crime. A search warrant for a lawyer’s office implicates the attorney-client privilege and core constitutional rights, so the Department of Justice requires unusual levels of approval to seek one. Prosecutors must seek the approval of the United States attorney of the district — in this case Geoffrey Berman, the interim United States attorney appointed by President Trump.

Prosecutors must also consult with the criminal division of the Justice Department in Washington. Finally, prosecutors must convince a United States magistrate judge that there’s probable cause to support the search. Faced with a warrant application destined for immediate worldwide publicity, the judge surely took unusual pains to examine it. This search was not the result of Mr. Mueller or his staff “going rogue.”

(click here to continue reading Opinion | Why the F.B.I. Raid Is Perilous for Michael Cohen — and Trump – The New York Times.)

and importantly, if the Southern District of New York, in the process of examining Cohen’s records in their taint team, find evidence of other crimes or discover relevant documents for the Russia investigation, they can send those back to the Special Prosecutor.

Washington Post:

In a search like this, prosecutors typically set up a privilege team or “taint team” of investigators not involved in the case to review potentially privileged documents and shield those from the team actually involved in the prosecution. There is an exception to the attorney-client privilege if communications to an attorney are used in furtherance of a crime or fraud; that could come into play here as well. And documents related to anything Cohen did on his own — after all, Trump has denied knowing about the payment to Daniels — are likely not privileged if they do not contain attorney-client communications. Documents are not automatically privileged simply because they passed through an attorney’s hands.

(click here to continue reading Michael Cohen is in serious legal jeopardy – The Washington Post.)

Popehat again:

The Stormy Daniels payout may be outside the scope of the Russia investigation, but it’s possible that Mr. Cohen’s records are full of materials that are squarely within that scope. And the law is clear: If investigators executing a lawful warrant seize evidence of additional crimes, they may use that evidence. Thus Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen, with their catastrophically clumsy handling of the Daniels affair, may have handed Mr. Mueller devastating evidence.

(click here to continue reading Opinion | Why the F.B.I. Raid Is Perilous for Michael Cohen — and Trump – The New York Times.)

Stay tuned!

Written by Seth Anderson

April 10th, 2018 at 9:33 am

Posted in crime,politics

Tagged with , ,

Shameless Grifter Pruitt Scored a $50-a-Day Condo From Lobbyists, Miraculously Their Client’s Project Got Approved

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Emotional Response to Swamp Trees
Emotional Response to Swamp Trees

Speaking of the demonic, shameless grifter Scott Pruitt

The NYT reports:

The Environmental Protection Agency signed off last March on a Canadian energy company’s pipeline-expansion plan at the same time that the E.P.A. chief, Scott Pruitt, was renting a condominium linked to the energy company’s powerful Washington lobbying firm.

Both the E.P.A. and the lobbying firm dispute that there was any connection between the agency’s action and the condo rental, for which Mr. Pruitt was paying $50 a night.

Nevertheless, government ethics experts said that the correlation between the E.P.A.’s action and Mr. Pruitt’s lease arrangement — he was renting from the wife of the head of the lobbying firm Williams & Jensen — illustrates why such ties to industry players can generate questions for public officials: Even if no specific favors were asked for or granted, it can create an appearance of a conflict.

“Entering into this arrangement causes a reasonable person to question the integrity of the E.P.A. decision,” said Don Fox, who served as general counsel of the Office of Government Ethics during parts of the Obama and George W. Bush administrations.

(click here to continue reading Pruitt Had a $50-a-Day Condo Linked to Lobbyists. Their Client’s Project Got Approved. – The New York Times.)

Staying in a 2 bedroom condo in a swanky DC neighborhood for $50 a night? That’s a good deal if you can stomp out of the swamp to get it. Pruitt’s daughter got to use the other room, but she stayed for free. And the $50 was only for nights he was there, not the entire time. You know, like a deal you would negotiate with your landlord. If your landlord was a lobbyist who had business in front of your agency, naturally.

However, an examination of Capitol Hill rentals suggests that rates typically are considerably higher and generally do not come with a provision, as Mr. Pruitt’s did, that the renter can pay for only the nights stayed at the condo.

“I’ll leave my stuff here for six months, will sleep here a few nights a month on an irregular schedule, and you’ll charge me only for the nights when the police don’t break down the door, and I wake up in your bed. Deal? Deal.“ 

Phil Marches On
Phil Marches On

Daily News:

 

Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt’s security detail broke down the door of the Capitol Hill condo he rented from the wife of an energy lobbyist last year because they believed the Trump cabinet member was unconscious, according to a report Friday.

 

The bizarre March 2017 incident unfolded after a member of Pruitt’s personal security became concerned about the administrator when he didn’t answer his phone, according to ABC News.

 

“They say he’s unconscious at this time,” a 911 operator is told, according to a recording obtained by the network. “I don’t know about the breathing portion.”

 

 

(click here to continue reading EPA boss Pruitt’s security worriedly broke down rental condo door – NY Daily News.)

Drugs? Weird BSDM? Spanking the Orange Dotard? Curious as to what really happened here.

Written by Seth Anderson

April 2nd, 2018 at 8:14 pm

Defense Department subpoena sought Re Federal Savings Bank

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The Federal Savings Bank
The Federal Savings Bank, West Loop, in the news again. 

Crain’s Chicago reports:

Two senior House Democrats are pushing to subpoena the Department of Defense on whether Trump administration officials considered nominating Chicago banker Stephen Calk as secretary of the Army after his small local bank made outsized loans to Donald Trump’s former campaign manager.

The request for a subpoena was made in a letter today—you can read it below—to U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Texas, chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, from the panel’s senior Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, and Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, senior Democrat on the House Oversight subcommittee on national defense.

The two Democrats said the Defense Department hadn’t produced any of the documents they asked for, nor said when it would.

The letter referenced “extremely troubling reports that a banker named Stephen Calk may have made loans of up to $16 million to President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in exchange for promises to name him secretary of the Army.”

Calk’s Chicago-based lender, Federal Savings Bank, made a total of $16 million in loans to Manafort in December 2016 and January 2017. They were collateralized by homes in New York City, the Hamptons and Virginia.

At just $364 million in assets, Federal Savings Bank is far too small to be making loans of that size to a single borrower.

“Although Mr. Calk ultimately was not given a position with the department, reports that he was being considered for a high-level and highly sensitive national security position within the Trump administration as part of a quid pro quo with Mr. Manafort raise serious concerns that, completely apart from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, warrant scrutiny by Congress,” the Democrats’ letter said.

They want to review all Defense Department documents and communications regarding a potential role for Calk, among other items.

(click here to continue reading Defense Department subpoena sought on Trump official – Government News – Crain’s Chicago Business.)

Previous coverage here and here  

Written by Seth Anderson

March 28th, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Junk Scientists blames ACLU effect for spike in Chicago’s violence

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Police Line  Do Not Cross
Police Line – Do Not Cross

I’m with the ACLU on this:

A [questionable] new study blames Chicago’s sudden spike in gun violence in 2016 on the dramatic drop in street stops by Chicago police that year, but several crime experts quickly discounted its findings, particularly its conclusion that the Laquan McDonald scandal wasn’t a factor.

But the ACLU and several crime experts who reviewed the study at the Tribune’s request questioned its findings.

“They’re more or less suggesting that working in an unconstitutional police department is worth the trade-off,” said John Eterno, a criminal justice professor at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y., and a former captain with the City of New York Police Department. “If you’re going to be doing 40,000 stops a month … you have to have reasonable suspicion on every one of those 40,000 stops.”

Karen Sheley, an ACLU staff attorney who is overseeing the agreement with Chicago police, dismissed the study as “junk science.”

“This particular viewpoint is both insulting to officers who follow the law on a regular basis and ignores the harm, including the public safety, to the communities who are most impacted by police work,” she said.

The study’s authors are law professor Paul Cassell, a former federal judge appointed by President George W. Bush, and economics professor Richard Fowles, who specializes in statistical analysis. The two also published a study last year arguing that the longstanding Miranda warnings for suspects in custody — that they have the right to remain silent — have “handcuffed” police officers across the country.

The experts who reviewed the study questioned its main conclusion — the strong link between street stops and homicides. In 2017, by comparison, street stops increased only slightly, yet homicides fell by more than 100.

“I’m very concerned about what they see from that one year and suddenly they make all these claims, which is just so wrong,” said Eterno, the Molloy College professor. “You can’t really make claims about any type of trend or anything that’s going on based on the one-year change.”

Others pointed to New York, where homicides remained low even when the number of stop-and-frisks fell sharply.

(click here to continue reading Study blames ‘ACLU effect’ for spike in Chicago’s violence in 2016, but experts differ – Chicago Tribune.)

I don’t want to live in a police state where basic civil liberties have been suspended, and a militarized armed police has free reign to terrorize each and every citizen with the assumption that this and only this is the way to reduce violent crime. That is not America, that is a totalitarian hellscape.

How about we reduce the number of guns held by citizens instead? Well regulated militia and all that.

You know the NRA and its allies in the media and in Congress will be citing Cassell/Fowles this month until their neck veins are bulging.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 26th, 2018 at 8:04 am

Posted in crime

Tagged with , ,

Nicolas Sarkozy, ex-French president, detained over Gaddafi bribery allegations

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Monument to Honore de Balzac
Monument to Honore de Balzac…

You’d think this would be a bigger story, but I guess the Trumpnado overwhelms the news cycle most days.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was taken into police custody Tuesday over allegations he illegally accepted 50 million euros ($68.5 million) from the government of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to finance his successful 2007 presidential campaign.

The detention of Sarkozy — France’s president between 2007 and 2012 — represented a major development in what is likely to become an explosive political scandal.

If the allegations are true, it would mean Sarkozy knowingly violated France’s campaign finance laws, which in 2007 capped campaign funding at 21 million euros ($28.8 million). In the presidential election that year, Sarkozy narrowly defeated Ségolène Royal, a Socialist, in the final round of the vote.

Investigators and journalists have long scrutinized potential connections between the former center-right president and Gaddafi.

(click here to continue reading Nicolas Sarkozy, ex-French president, detained over Gaddafi bribery allegations – The Washington Post.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 21st, 2018 at 11:09 am

Posted in crime,News-esque

Tagged with , ,

Cook County Voters Give Firm Yes on Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

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Non binding referendum still progress
Non binding referendum, still, progress

Legalize Marijuana Cook County
Legalize Marijuana: Cook County

Cook County’s 2018 primary ballot contained a non-binding referendum to legalize marijuana statewide. Of course, as you’d expect, it passed. By a greater than 2 to 1 margin.

Cook County voters on Tuesday voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use in Illinois, according to unofficial results.

County commissioners voted unanimously last December to put the question on the primary ballot. The state Senate earlier this month passed a measure to put the question on ballots for statewide voters in November, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The full question on primary election ballots read as follows: “Shall the State of Illinois legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

Supporters of legalization point to the increased tax revenue that has come with legalization, taxation and regulation in other states. Opponents often have concerns about social costs and the fact that marijuana use would remain illegal under federal law.

Recreational marijuana is currently legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and California. All but Vermont passed the laws in binding ballot questions between 2012 and 2016.

(click here to continue reading Cook County Voters Give Firm Answer on Legalizing Recreational Marijuana – NBC Chicago.)

Somehow CO, WA, AK, NV, OR, MA, ME, VT, and CA don’t seem like they are turning into chaotic, failed states. In fact, these states are all doing pretty well all things considered.

JB Pritzker Wants to legalize and tax marijuana
JB Pritzker Wants to legalize and tax marijuana

Oh, and the winner of the Democratic primary for Governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker, sent flyers announcing his position last week. Interesting. The current witless doofus occupying the governor’s mansion, Bruce Rauner, is very tepid, at best, in support for cannabis reform: he didn’t want medical marijuana either.

Tina Sfondeles wrote, back in December, 2017:

Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking a blunt stance, telling a Downstate TV station that it would be a “mistake” to legalize marijuana in Illinois.

The Republican governor has, in the past, said he wants more studies on the “ramifications” in states that have legalized the drug. On Wednesday, he took it further.

“I do not support legalizing marijuana. I think that’s a mistake. You know there’s a massive, human experiment going on in Colorado, and California, other places. We should see how that’s impacted lives and addiction and hurt young people before we make any decision about it here,” Rauner said in an interview on WSIL in Marion. “I do not support legalizing marijuana.”

In April, the governor called recreational marijuana “a very, very difficult subject.” He said he wouldn’t support legalizing marijuana unless there’s a study of the “ramifications” in states that have legalized the drug.

(click here to continue reading Gov. Rauner not high on legalizing marijuana: ‘That’s a mistake’ | Chicago Sun-Times.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 21st, 2018 at 7:37 am

6 Charged With Identity Theft Scheme Using Card Skimmers at Gas Stations

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Filling Up
Filling Up…

There has to be some better solution to the problem of gas station and ATM skimmers  other than paying cash inside the little gas station booth.

Six Florida residents are accused of using card skimmers at Chicago-area gas stations to commit identity theft to the tune of more than $200,000.

Charges of identity theft, financial institution fraud, theft by deception, conspiracy to commit a financial crime, computer fraud and mail fraud have been filed in Cook County

“This scheme is nearly impossible to detect by a customer, so it is critically important that people regularly monitor their bank and credit card accounts and report any unauthorized charges,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in the statement.

(click here to continue reading 6 Charged With Identity Theft Scheme Using Card Skimmers at Gas Stations – NBC Chicago.)

Impossible to detect! Well, what then? Apple Pay or other higher security transactions?

Written by Seth Anderson

March 19th, 2018 at 10:57 am

Posted in Business,crime

Tagged with ,

Equifax executive charged with insider trading before data breach made public

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Where all hopes sank
Where all hopes sank

Equifax shouldn’t be allowed to exist, there should be some sort of 3 Strikes law for corporations that are rogue entities like Equifax…

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged a former Equifax executive with insider trading, alleging that he profited from confidential information about a data breach at the company that compromised sensitive data of 143 million people to make a profit.

Jun Ying, former chief information officer of a U.S. business unit of Equifax, faces both civil and criminal charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

”Ying used confidential information to conclude that his company had suffered a massive data breach, and he dumped his stock before the news went public,” Richard R. Best, Director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office, said in a statement.  ”Corporate insiders who learn inside information, including information about material cyber intrusions, cannot betray shareholders for their own financial benefit.”

(click here to continue reading Former Equifax executive charged with insider trading before data breach made public – The Washington Post.)

Everyone is going to have to deal with fallout from the Equifax debacle for years to come, meanwhile, they have not made amends.

 

Equifax Inc. said more U.S. consumers were affected by its large data breach last year than originally disclosed.

 

The company on Thursday said that it identified about 2.4 million U.S. consumers whose names and partial driver’s license information were stolen. The company said the consumers affected “were not in the previously identified” population of cyberattack victims.

 

That brings the total number of U.S. consumers whose personal information was compromised by the breach to 147.9 million, up from 145.5 million previously.

The company also reported fourth-quarter earnings rose 40%, to $172 million, beating expectations due to a benefit from the new U.S. tax law and revenue growth in international markets. The U.S. division of Equifax that works closely with banks and other lenders reported a drop in year-over-year revenue, while overall operating expenses rose 8% as the company deals with security improvements and litigation costs.

 

 

(click here to continue reading Equifax Identifies Additional 2.4 Million Affected by 2017 Breach – WSJ.)

Voyeurs and a Handful of Change
Voyeurs and a Handful of Change

Take away their business license, send the executives to jail, or even better, strip them of their citizenship and deport them.

 

Equifax, one of the three main consumer-credit data companies, is paid to spy on and compile all of your personal financial records. The company holds sensitive data on almost every aspect of our lives, yet hackers were able to get past their weak protection systems. This is because you aren’t a customer of Equifax; you are the company’s product. As a result, Equifax has no incentive to provide you with good services. In the wake of the hack, Equifax offered a credit-monitoring tool, but to use it consumers needed to sign an arbitration agreement that said they wouldn’t sue the company. (Equifax has since dropped this requirement after an outcry.)

 

These kinds of arbitration agreements replace courts with a private judicial system of company lawyers, and they have since metastasized across the entire economy. The CFPB recently finalized a rule that would outlaw these mandatory agreements by financial companies starting next year. Among other things, the rule would prevent Equifax from forcing people into arbitration after it goes into effect. Yet under an obscure congressional procedure, Republicans have the ability to repeal this rule with only 50 votes in the Senate. Though they might still do it, they’re having a harder time now, since they would be on the hook for any further abuses.

 

As reported by David Sirota, Equifax was one of the lead companies lobbying against the CFPB rule. But Equifax’s calamitous blunder, more than any white paper, demonstrates the need for strong new regulations to protect our personal data. If the rule survives, we can thank the companies whose own horrible gaffes demonstrated the need for it in the first place.

 

 

(click here to continue reading The Financial Industry Is Its Own Best Enemy | The Nation.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 14th, 2018 at 9:31 am

Posted in Business,crime

Tagged with ,

May issues ultimatum to Moscow over Salisbury poisoning

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 Albion
Albion. 

Will this become a NATO thing? Prime Minister May is using specific language, will NATO have to respond as well?

Theresa May has given Vladimir Putin’s administration until midnight on Tuesday to explain how a former spy was poisoned in Salisbury, otherwise she will conclude it was an “unlawful use of force” by the Russian state against the UK.

After chairing a meeting of the national security council, the prime minister told MPs that it was “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. She warned that Britain would not tolerate such a “brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil”.

In a statement to the House of Commons that triggered an angry response from Moscow, the prime minister said the evidence had shown that Skripal had been targeted by a “military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia”. Describing the incident as an “indiscriminate and reckless act”, she said that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, had summoned the Russian ambassador to Whitehall and demanded an explanation by the end of Tuesday.

Ministers on the national security council were told that the nerve agent used was from a family of substances known as Novichok. “Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at Porton Down, our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so, Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations, and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations, the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal,” she said.

 

The prime minister said that left just two plausible explanations “Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said: “The United Kingdom has concluded that Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. And prime minister Theresa May stated today that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act. The use of any nerve agent is horrendous and completely unacceptable. The UK is a highly valued ally, and this incident is of great concern to Nato. Nato is in touch with the UK authorities on this issue.”

(click here to continue reading May issues ultimatum to Moscow over Salisbury poisoning | UK news | The Guardian.)

Also, I cannot believe that the US president has not commented upon this crime against one of America’s closest allies. If the terrorist who used this chemical weapon was from Syria, or anywhere with a predominantly Muslim population, Trump would be issuing a Twitter storm. But since it is most likely a Russian attack, Trump is silent. Is he scared? Is he happy that he isn’t the one poisoned? Or what exactly?

sub Hoc Floresco

Parliament Buildings London
Parliament Buildings London

First Site of Scotland Yard
First Site of Scotland Yard

Written by Seth Anderson

March 12th, 2018 at 8:54 pm

Posted in crime,News-esque

Tagged with , , ,

Martin Shkreli sentenced to seven years in prison

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You Finished Before We Were Done
You Finished Before We Were Done

Brief fu1, I bet footage of this tearful speech would be worth a lot to many, many news organizations…

A federal judge on Friday sentenced Martin Shkreli, the notorious former hedge fund manager, to seven years in prison for defrauding his investors.

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto roughly split the difference between the 15 years prosecutors asked for and the 18 months sought by Shkreli’s defense team. Shkreli, 34, who delivered a tearful speech to Matsumoto apologizing for his conduct and pleading for leniency, did not react to the sentence.

(click here to continue reading Martin Shkreli sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors – The Washington Post.)

Merchandise Mart Is Happy To See You
Merchandise Mart Is Happy To See You.

Footnotes:
  1. follow up []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 9th, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Posted in crime

Tagged with

Yes Means Yes Can Be Murkier in Court

without comments

You re One Sexy Mother Clucker
You’re One Sexy Mother Clucker…

Thinking back to when I was 17 in college, the standards and signals were certainly different. This young man might very well have raped the complainant, I don’t know the facts. Sexual assault is not a joking matter, and I’m not making light of this case, only observing how dramatically times and mores have changed from my era.  

But the jurors seemed to have come to the case with a different understanding of what it means to show consent, highlighting the divide between the standards of sexual behavior espoused in freshman orientation programs and campus brochures, and those that operate in courts of law.

One, speaking anonymously after the verdict out of hesitancy to speak for other jurors, said the panel members asked themselves whether there was “enough evidence to show that there could not have been consent. And we couldn’t get there.”

James Galullo, another juror, said he did not understand the outrage that the verdict had inspired on campus, among students who wrote angry opinion pieces for the campus newspaper or took to social media to denounce the outcome.

“I just think it’s lack of experience in the world,” Mr. Galullo, 61, said. “The jurors were all basically middle-aged. They were able to see their way through all the noise.”

Alexandra Brodsky, a lawyer at the National Women’s Law Center who graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School, said, “Schools have adopted consent as an educational tool, but that sometimes means we end up using words that mean different things in different contexts.”

“There are many forms of violence that would be condemned on campus, where a prosecutor would have trouble getting a jury to convict,” she added.

But even college students disagree on the language of consent. A 2015 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Washington Post found that 47 percent of current and recent college students said that someone undressing themselves signaled agreement to further sexual activity; 49 percent said it did not.

(click here to continue reading Yale Rape Verdict Shows How ‘Yes Means Yes’ Can Be Murkier in Court – The New York Times.)

If you were on a date, and someone took their clothes off in front of you, how is that ambiguous? What message are they sending by disrobing? 

All Nude
All Nude

Written by Seth Anderson

March 8th, 2018 at 9:15 pm

Posted in crime,News-esque

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