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  1. He wants a rehearing. President Trump is determined to challenge an appeals court ruling preventing him from blocking critics on Twitter. The Justice Department has filed papers for Trump that demanded a rehearing by the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, arguing that the three-judge panel's unanimous decision was "fundamentally misconceived." The move would supposedly create a chilling effect for politicians if upheld. "Public officials who address matters relating to their public office on personal accounts will run the risk that every action taken on that account will be state action subject to constitutional scrutiny," according to the filing. The challenge may face an uphill battle. In the earlier ruling, Circuit Judge Barrington Parker noted that @RealDonaldTrump is "one of the White House's main vehicles" for official activity -- it's under scrutiny precisely because many of Trump's tweets are state actions. He "hereby ordered" companies to find alternatives to production in China on August 23rd while using his personal account, for example, and incorrectly . If Trump was allowed to block critics of his policies on his personal account, other politicians could simply shift their announcements to personal accounts to avoid their responsibilities for civic interaction. This lines up to a degree with a January ruling that an official's Facebook page is a public forum. As it is, there are calls for consistency across the aisle. Critics have sued Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez arguing that they, too, shouldn't be blocked on Twitter merely based on disagreements. While Trump may not be fond of seeing critics' tweets, the ruling could also ensure that rival politicians have to contend with online objectors of their own. Source
  2. After Beijing announced an additional $75 billion tariffs on the US, Trump demanded US Businesses find alternatives. We Don't Need China Trade and currency wars took another huge leap forward just one day after another oft-repeated message that a deal with China is coming. The Wall Street Journal reports Trump Orders U.S. Businesses to Find Alternative to China. President Trump said U.S. companies were “hereby ordered” to start looking for alternatives to doing business in China after Beijing said it would impose tariffs on $75 billion worth of additional U.S. products. “Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years,” Mr. Trump wrote in a series of tweets. “They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue. I won’t let that happen! We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them.” Mr. Trump’s comments came in response to China’s plan, laid out Friday, to impose tariffs of 5% and 10% on almost all the remaining U.S. imports on which it has yet to impose punitive taxes, including vehicles and car parts, in retaliation against U.S. moves to slap punitive tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. The president demanded that U.S. companies “immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” Items China plans to impose tariffs on include agricultural products, apparel, chemicals and textiles. Some major car companies will be hit hard by the increase in tariffs, particularly Tesla Inc.and Ford Motor Co., as well as Germany’s BMW AG and Daimler AG ’s Mercedes-Benz. These companies build a significant number of vehicles in the U.S. for export to China—mostly premium models—and a higher tariff could force them to raise prices. Soon after President Trump announced his plans for fresh tariffs set for Sept. 1, Beijing responded by officially announcing the freezing of purchases of U.S. agricultural products and letting its currency drop to its lowest level in a decade. A weaker yuan makes Chinese exports cheaper. China Tweetstorm Wow Bond yields are tumbling, the DOW is down 500 points, The Yuan is hitting new lows and gold is up $30. Source
  3. On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump went after Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a series of tweets. Trump said Pichai "was in the Oval Office working very hard to explain how much he liked me, what a great job the Administration is doing, that Google was not involved with China's military." Trump's outburst was seemingly spurred by a segment on Fox Business' "Lou Dobbs Tonight" that featured a former Google engineer named Kevin Cernekee accusing Google of bias against Trump. Image:Google CEO Sundar Pichai. President Donald Trump went after Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday morning in a series of tweets. Trump said Pichai had visited the Oval Office and was "working very hard to explain how much he liked me, what a great job the Administration is doing, that Google was not involved with China's military, that they didn't help Crooked Hillary over me in the 2016 Election, and that they are NOT planning to illegally subvert the 2020 Election despite all that has been said to the contrary." Pichai and other tech leaders have repeatedly visited the White House since Trump was elected in 2016. It wasn't immediately clear which meeting with Pichai that Trump was referring to, and White House press representatives didn't immediately clarify. Pichai's most recent meeting with Trump was in March, when the two men discussed relations with China and "political fairness," Trump said. Image:President Donald Trump and Pichai Trump's outburst at Pichai was seemingly in response to a segment on Fox Business' "Lou Dobbs Tonight" that featured a former Google engineer named Kevin Cernekee. In an interview with "Fox & Friends" that was replayed in the segment, Cernekee, who was fired from Google in 2018, accused Google of bias against Trump and intentionally altering the way its service works. Trump had embedded a video of the segment in a tweet that read: "Check out what @Google is up to for the 2020 election!" In the interview, Cernekee said Google intended to "use all the power and all the resources that they have to control the flow of information to the public and make sure that Trump loses in 2020." This is far from the first time Google has become a political target. Trump has made similar accusations of bias in the past, and last week Peter Thiel, the Facebook board member and prominent Silicon Valley conservative, published a scathing op-ed article in The New York Times blasting Google's relationship with China. Google has repeatedly denied allegations of anti-conservative bias, and representatives have testified in front of Congress that the allegations are unfounded. "The statements made by this disgruntled former employee are absolutely false," a Google representative said on Tuesday morning. "We go to great lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in ways that don't take political leanings into account. Distorting results for political purposes would harm our business and go against our mission of providing helpful content to all of our users." Source
  4. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday his administration was looking closely at Amazon.com’s bid on a $10 billion cloud contract with the Defense Department after getting complaints from other tech companies. Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp were selected in April to continue competing for the Pentagon cloud computing services that is part of a broad modernization of Pentagon information technology systems. The selection left Oracle Corp and IBM Corp out of the competition for the contract for the Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud, or JEDI. Trump has taken several swipes at Amazon since becoming president, complaining of unfair business practices and that the online retailer does not pay the U.S. Postal Service a fair rate for package delivery. Amazon did not have an immediate comment. Trump’s criticism stems in part from his oft-expressed dislike of the Washington Post’s critical coverage of his administration. Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos privately owns the Washington Post. Oracle has complained about the contract award process, including expressing concern about the role of a former Amazon employee who worked on the JEDI project until recusing himself, then later left the Defense Department and returned to Amazon Web Services. Oracle earlier this month lost a lawsuit challenging the contract award. A judge ruled Oracle did not have standing to claim it was wronged by the decision because it did not meet the contract requirements. Its chief executive, Safra Catz, who was a member of the executive committee of Trump’s transition team after he was elected, told reporters in April that she has met with Trump to discuss the contract, telling him commercial customers often use more than one cloud. Source
  5. The Presidential manure is causing Bitcoin’s price to come up roses. Please sir, may we have another? Crypto Twitter had a field day yesterday President Trump delivered his tuppence-worth about Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra project. “I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” said the President, in his first-ever tweet on the subject. “If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National and International,” he added. But for cryptocurrency, as a whole, his tweets were nothing except good news. Here’s why. 1. As Trump knows, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. For cryptocurrency, it’s all about adoption. But how can you adopt something if you don’t even know what it is? Trump’s tweet to his 62 million followers presumably reaches some millions of people who are, shall we say, not super sophisticated about crypto. Indeed, Google searches for Bitcoin spiked post-Trump tweet. Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong tweeted that the POTUS tweets mark the third stage in the four stages that will lead to adoption: “getting ignored, getting laughed at, getting fought, and then winning.” And Jeremy Allaire, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs-backed Circle, tweeted that Trump’s tweets could be the “largest bull signal” for Bitcoin of all time. Within half an hour of Trump’s tweet, Bitcoin had risen by 2%. 2. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. If Trump is for something, automatically, much of the U.S. and the rest of the world will take the other side. Presidential hopeful Democrat Andrew Yang is already on the side of ethical crypto. Trump being opposed to it will only make the issue political, and force the rest of the pack to declare themselves. Indeed, Trump’s ignorant rant might even force Rep. Maxine Waters to soften her hardline, anti-Facebook position. She sure doesn’t want to be Trump’s comrade in arms. 3. Trump will focus his attacks on Facebook History will not remember Donald Trump as a great intellect. It will be far easier for him to rail against Facebook—which he’s already targeted as being biased against the Right. That will only increase the onus of the social network to spend gazillions of dollars appeasing regulators—which will benefit bitcoin and the rest of the crypto industry. Pull up your lawn chair and grab some popcorn, kids while we watch this play out. Source
  6. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested the European Union was out of line bringing lawsuits against U.S. technology companies like Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google , saying legal action against those firms should be the purview of the United States. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump “She hates the United States perhaps worse than any person I’ve ever met,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network in an apparent reference to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. “What she does to our country. She’s suing all our companies. We should be suing Google and Facebook, and all that, which perhaps we will,” he said. “They’re suing Apple for billions of dollars. They’re suing everybody.” “They make it almost impossible to do two-way business,” Trump said, reprising his frequent complaint that Europe treats the United States worse than China when it comes to trade. Trump also reiterated his view that social media companies were discriminating against conservatives. “They should be sued,” he said. Source
  7. Trump's meeting with Cook was disclosed by daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump. US President Donald Trump met with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday to discuss trade and other hot-button issues facing the tech company as Trump deliberates whether to make good on his threat to hike tariffs on imports from China. Trump's meeting with Cook was disclosed by daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump during an event that Trump held with governors on skills development. Cook is a frequent visitor to the White House and has worked with Ivanka Trump on her job training and education initiatives. The president often name-checks Cook as a business leader who has brought jobs and investment back to the United States. On Thursday, Trump spoke with Cook about "trade, US investment, immigration and privacy," White House spokesman Judd Deere said. A spokesperson for Apple could not be immediately reached for comment. The meeting comes as Trump weighs whether to go ahead with proposed increases to tariffs in his trade war with China. He has said he will make a decision some time after the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan at the end of June, where he hopes to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump is using tariffs to push Xi to change a host of Chinese trade practices, but negotiations have flagged. Makers of consumer electronics like phones and tablets have escaped the brunt of tariffs to this point but likely would be affected by the next hike. US authorities are also preparing to probe market power of large technology companies, according to sources. Cook has defended his company, saying it has a moderate share of the market and is not too large. Source
  8. Trump moves could stop Huawei from buying US tech or from selling to US firms. Enlarge / Customers purchase mobile phones at the Huawei Experience Center on May 16, 2019 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. Getty Images | VCG/Long Wei The Trump administration yesterday took two actions that could effectively prevent Huawei from buying US technology and prevent it from selling products to US companies. An executive order issued by President Trump and a separate action taken by the US Commerce Department could "cut the Chinese telecommunications giant off from American suppliers and ban it from doing business in the US," The Wall Street Journal wrote. The order doesn't mention Huawei or China by name, but it was widely seen as targeting Huawei and other Chinese companies such as ZTE. Huawei is the second-biggest smartphone vendor in the world, according to IDC, and it sells a large amount of network equipment to telecom providers and other companies. Trump's executive order "declar[ed] a national emergency and barr[ed] US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk," Reuters wrote. The executive order applies to future transactions only. Shortly after Trump's executive order, "the Commerce Department said it had added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List—a move that bans the telecom giant from buying parts and components from US companies without US government approval," Reuters also wrote. This will make it difficult for Huawei to sell some products because of its reliance on US-made parts, and could potentially put its use of the Google Play store and Google apps on Android devices in jeopardy. ZTE had to shut down temporarily last year after a similar ban prevented it from using Qualcomm chips and Google software. (Huawei makes its own smartphone chips.) However, the Commerce Department hasn't yet announced all the exact details of the new restrictions, so it's hard to make specific predictions of what products will be affected. The US agency said it "will issue regulations within 150 days to establish procedures for reviewing such transactions." US-China trade war expands The moves expand a trade war between the US and China. Trump's executive order said the actions are necessary to prevent "economic and industrial espionage against the United States and its people," as US enemies could "create and exploit vulnerabilities in information and communications technology or services, with potentially catastrophic effects." The US government hasn't been able to find hard evidence that Huawei spies on behalf of China, however. "Huawei has denied those charges, and its chief executive [Ren Zhengfei] has said he would shut down the company rather than obey Chinese government orders to intercept or divert Internet traffic," the New York Times wrote. "American officials say he would have no choice: Chinese law requires that the country's firms obey instructions from the nation's Ministry of State Security." Both Huawei and the Chinese government condemned the Trump administration moves. "Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the US lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of US companies and consumers," Huawei told CNBC. "In addition, unreasonable restrictions will infringe upon Huawei's rights and raise other serious legal issues." A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson called the US moves "abuse of export control measures," according to the Associated Press. Source: Trump tries to shut Huawei out of US market with executive order (Ars Technica)
  9. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping soon to try to seal a comprehensive trade deal as Trump and his top trade negotiator both cited substantial progress in two days of high-level talks. Trump, speaking at the White House during a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, said he was optimistic that the world’s two largest economies could reach “the biggest deal ever made.” No specific plans for a meeting with Xi were announced, but Trump said there could be more than one meeting. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were invited to bring a U.S. negotiating team to Beijing around mid-February, with dates still pending. At the end of two days of high-level talks next door to the White House, Liu told Trump that China would make a new, immediate commitment to increase soybean purchases. An administration official later clarified the amount as a total of 5 million tonnes, effectively doubling the amount bought by China since resuming limited purchases in December. U.S. soybean sales to China, which totaled 31.7 million tonnes in 2017, were largely cut off in the second half of last year by China’s retaliatory tariffs and the announcement drew a positive reaction from Trump, who said it would “make our farmers very happy.” While China has offered increased purchases of U.S. farm, energy and other goods to try to resolve the trade disputes, negotiators dug into thornier issues, including U.S. demands that China take steps to protect American intellectual property and end policies that Washington says force U.S. companies to turn over technology to Chinese firms. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said there was “substantial progress” on these issues, including verification mechanisms to “enforce” China’s follow-through on any reform commitments it makes. “At this point, it’s impossible for me to predict success. But we’re in a place that if things work out, it could happen,” Lighthizer said at the Oval Office meeting. Later, he told reporters that the U.S. objective was to make China’s commitments “more specific, all-encompassing and enforceable” with a mechanism for taking action if China fails to follow through, but declined to provide specific issues. Reuters previously reported that such an enforcement mechanism would involve a snap-back of U.S. tariffs. Asked whether the two sides discussed lifting U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, Lighthizer said tariffs were not part of the talks. A person familiar with the discussions said a broad range of concerns about access to Chinese agricultural markets were raised in the talks but little progress was made. The White House said in a statement that a scheduled March 2 tariff increase on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent was a “hard deadline” if no deal was reached by March 1. Trump said he did not think he would need to extend the deadline. “I think when president Xi and I meet, every point will be agreed to,” Trump added. But Trump has vetoed multiple proposed trade deals with China, choosing to push ahead with tariffs on Chinese goods to gain leverage. Earlier, Trump said on Twitter he was looking for China to open its markets “not only to Financial Services, which they are now doing, but also to our Manufacturing, Farmers and other U.S. businesses and industries. Without this a deal would be unacceptable!” The U.S. complaints on technology transfers, and intellectual property protections, along with accusations of Chinese cyber theft of American trade secrets and a systematic campaign to acquire U.S. technology firms, were used by Trump’s administration to justify punitive tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. China has retaliated with tariffs of its own, but has suspended some and is allowing some purchases of U.S. soybeans during the talks. Chinese officials have said their policies do not coerce technology transfers. The U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods are just one front in Trump’s efforts to upend the global trading order with his “America First” strategy. He has also imposed global tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, washing machines and solar panels and has threatened to raise tariffs on imported cars unless Japan and the European Union offer trade concessions. Source
  10. An episode of a 1950s Western drama may have foretold America’s current border wall crisis more than 60 years ago. Politics today and the show both feature men named Trump with a wall that is promised to protect every citizen from danger. “Trackdown” aired on CBS between 1957 and 1959 and took place in Texas following the Civil War. The series followed Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman, played by Robert Culp, on his adventures protecting the people of the Lone Star State. The 30th episode of the show, titled “The End of The World,” premiered on May 9, 1958, and saw a con man named Walter Trump, played by Lawrence Dobkin, attempt to scam the entire town. Snopes confirmed that the eerily prescient episode was real. The fictional Trump warned the Texans that apocalyptic meteors would strike the town at midnight, but he could protect everyone. “I bring you a message,” he said. “A message few of you will be able to believe…but be not afraid my friends: I also bring you the means with which to save yourself.” His solution was to build a wall made of magical metal that would repel the meteors and keep everyone safe. As the citizens started to believe Trump, he offered to give them walls for $50 each. However, Ranger Gilman wasn’t convinced. Pandemonium erupted in the town, but in the end Gilman arrests Trump for grand theft and fraud. Even though “Trackdown” was a fictional show, the events of that episode closely mirror what is happening today. As today’s government shutdown enters its third week with no compromise on the Mexican border wall in sight, the country may be hoping for a Ranger Gilman of its own to bring an end to it. Source
  11. In the three days since President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night address to the country, you’ve probably already forgotten the significance of his parroted talking points about a border wall, or all that weird nose breathing. If you live in Seattle and were watching it on your local Fox affiliate, however, you probably can’t stop thinking about how orange he looked, and also, wasn’t he licking his lips more than normal? No, you weren’t imagining it—the clip of his address aired on Seattle’s Q13 Fox was doctored. The video, aired on the Seattle-based Q13 news station on Tuesday night, shows Trump delivering part of his speech, saying he hopes to see the country “rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.” But it also shows him with a bigger head, a harsher tint of saturated orange skin, and an exaggerated propensity for licking his lips. Essentially, the edited video—known as a “deepfake”—made Trump look more like Trump, with his enlarged ego, spray tanned complexion, and inability to keep his tongue (and dentures) from falling out of his mouth. Despite the video’s creative merits, the TV station involved, Q13, did not think the doctored video of Trump was commendable, and has fired the station editor involved, the Seattle Times reported on Thursday. Conservative talk radio host and RNC media director Todd Herman brought attention to the discrepancy between the Q13 video and the broadcast of Trump’s address, uploading a side-by-side comparison of the two videos. A listener had sent him the Q13 clip recorded with their phone during its broadcast. On Thursday, Q13 news director Erica Hill released a statement saying the doctored video didn’t meet the station’s editorial standards, later following up with a statement that the editor involved had been fired. Whether the editor actually created the video or just put it on air is unclear, the Times pointed out. “This does not meet our editorial standards and we regret if it is seen as portraying the president in a negative light,” Hill’s statement read, according to the Times. “We’ve completed our investigation into this incident and determined that the actions were the result of an individual editor whose employment has been terminated.” The war of poorly edited partisan videos is far from over, though I suggest hanging this one in the hall of fame. Source
  12. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday further sought to pressure the Federal Reserve as the central bank prepared to start its two-day policy meeting, warning the Fed’s board not to “make yet another mistake” ahead of an expected interest rate hike. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to raise interest rates for the fourth time this year during its two-day meeting on interest rate policy that is due to start later on Tuesday. The Fed, which has been raising interest rates in 25-basis-point increments since December 2015, has promised to raise rates gradually toward a neutral setting to keep the economy from overheating. Many economists also expect additional increases next year although at a slower pace. Trump, who has made the economy a key part of his political platform, has repeatedly criticized the Fed and its chairman, Jerome Powell. “Don’t let the market become any more illiquid than it already is. Stop with the 50 B’s. Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers. Good luck!” Trump wrote. Source
  13. US President Donald Trump went off topic in characteristic style at the United Nations Security Council this week, accusing China of using state media to meddle in the upcoming midterm elections. While he provided no evidence for his remarks, which derailed a meeting that was supposed to focus on issues of nonproliferation, he later accused China on Twitter of "placing propaganda ads in the Des Moines Register and other papers, made to look like news." He was referring to an insert from the state-run China Daily placed in a recent Sunday edition of the Iowa paper, which featured stories promoting the benefit of US-China trade, warned of the potential market losses caused by a trade war, and highlighted Chinese President Xi Jinping's long relationship with the state, among other less news-worthy columns. Political analysts largely agreed the insert was intended to put pressure on the White House by targeting key Republican districts that will be most affected by a drawn-out trade war with China. "I think it's trying to maximize pressure on the administration to change its trade policies toward China by attempting to show White House and Republicans that they're going to pay a price with the mid-terms," David Skidmore, a political science professor at Drake University, told the Des Moines Register in a piece by the paper about the insert. On Wednesday, Xi himself extolled state media's "contributions to the cause of the Party and the people," and praised television workers in "promoting in-depth integration and innovation in international communication to present a true, multi-dimensional and panoramic view of China." While there is no evidence Xi is attempting to influence US elections, Trump is absolutely correct that Beijing uses its media to shape foreign opinions of China -- what he left out, however, is that Washington does as well with its own government-funded media. Telling China's story While it may have been a novelty to some newspaper readers in Iowa, China Daily is a major newspaper, founded in 1981 it is now published in 12 editions across Asia, Europe, Africa and the US. Unlike most other English-language state media, like broadcaster CCTV or the Global Times, China Daily is not an offshoot of a domestic product but has always targeted foreign readers. Today, it claims a circulation of around 800,000, with the majority of readers overseas. The paper's blue vending machines are ubiquitous in Washington DC and parts of New York and other US cities, and it is also often given out for free in hotels and by airlines around the world. This reach is further extended by China Watch, which the newspaper describes as a "monthly publication distributed to millions of high-end readers as an insert in mainstream newspapers." These include major US and British titles, such as the Washington Post, and the UK's Daily Telegraph, giving the insert a reach of 4 million readers, according to China Daily. By comparison, in 2016 USA Today, the top English-language daily in the world, had a circulation of around 4.1 million, while the New York Times had a circulation of 2.1 million. China Daily did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump isn't the first to complain about China Watch. Critics have accused newspapers of failing to highlight to readers that it is a paid insert, or distinguish its content from their own, especially online. On the website of the UK's Daily Telegraph for example, branding is the same as stories produced by the paper's own journalists, except for a disclaimer in small text at the top of the page reading "this content is produced and published by China Daily, People's Republic of China, which takes sole responsibility for its contents," and a similar disclaimer at the bottom of the article. The Daily Telegraph did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding their China Watch sections. A spokeswoman for the Washington Post said the section was clearly marked as not involving "the news or editorial departments of The Washington Post," adding the China Watch section differs in layout and format "from our editorial content in a number of ways, including headline style, body font and column width." Of course, publishing something and having people read it are completely different things, as many media companies have learned to their chagrin. But no matter its reach, China Daily clearly has the backing of Beijing, expanding overseas staff and advertising even as other newspapers slash costs and lay off employees. Going out While it was China Daily which drew Trump's attention, it is not the most important outlet in Beijing's state media strategy. That title belongs to state broadcaster CCTV, and its international offshoot CGTN. (CNN has an affiliate relationship with CCTV.) As Ying Zhu recounts in her book about the network, "Two Billion Eyes: the story of China Central Television," beginning in the early 2000s, Chinese state media was encouraged to "play in the same global pond as CNN, the BBC, and other big Western media firms." This was influenced by then-President Jiang Zemin's call to "let China's voice broadcast to the world," a strategy which finally reached its zenith this year with the creation of Voice of China, a new super bureau combining three state-run networks, CCTV, China National Radio and China Radio International. Of particular attention for this effort has been Africa, where CGTN, China Daily and state news agency Xinhua have all invested heavily. As I document in my book "The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet," this propaganda push has coincided with an increase in internet controls and censorship on the continent, often actively assisted by Beijing. Like China Daily, CGTN receives a large amount of state funding, which it has used to expand massively. It now broadcasts in more than 180 countries and regions around the world, and is currently building an expensive new London headquarters. But as with its newspaper sibling, broadcasting in a country doesn't necessarily mean anyone is watching. While accurate global viewership figures are difficult to come by, CGTN claims its English-language offerings can be seen in more than 140 million homes internationally. By comparison, CNN International reaches more than 373 million households worldwide, while the BBC claims a global audience of 376 million. Russian state broadcaster RT, a frequent bogeyman in US political discourse, also knocks CGTN out of the park on YouTube, where the Chinese network has around 800,000 subscribers across multiple channels, compared to RT's more than 3.3 million. This could be down to content, while CGTN has relaxed considerably from its highly staid past, it lacks the type of slick appeal of RT, nor has it been so willing to host the type of conspiracy theorists who tend to do so well on YouTube. Attention war Whether or not its investment in China Daily and CGTN is paying off, Beijing clearly sees great value in promoting state media overseas, building on its effectiveness as a propaganda tool at home. This effort has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, and US and Australian lawmakers especially have said they are uncomfortable with the role Chinese state media plays in their countries. China hawks such as Marco Rubio, chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC), have long accused Beijing of using its influence around the world to stifle debate and promote its agenda. "Chinese government foreign influence operations, which exist in free societies around the globe, are intended to censor critical discussion of China's history and human rights record and to intimidate critics of its repressive policies," Rubio said during a hearing on the "Long Arm of China" last year. More recently, the US Department of Justice reportedly recommended CGTN and Xinhua be forced to register as foreign agents under an act designed to police lobbyists working for overseas governments. This followed similar restrictions placed on RT which caused the broadcaster to lose its congressional press credentials and were widely denounced by press freedom advocates. Responding to question regarding the alleged move by the US government, Chinese Foreign Ministry Geng Shuang promoted the importance of free speech. "Media serve as an import bridge and bond to enhance communications and understandings between people of different countries," he said at a Beijing press conference, adding that countries "should perceive media's role in promoting international exchange and cooperation in an open and inclusive spirit." Influence battle While the hypocrisy of China complaining about restrictions on the press is self-evident, it's important to remember that while US lawmakers complain about foreign media influence operations, Washington continues to run several of its own. Beginning after World War II and ramping up during the Cold War, the US government invested billions of dollars in Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and related publications and broadcasters. In 2018, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees those outlets, requested over $685 million in funds from Congress to cover costs for what it described as "one of the largest media organizations in the world." BBG subsidiaries broadcast in more than 60 languages to an audience of around 278 million people each week, with thousands of employees based in 50 news bureaus around the world. In its statement to Congress, the bureau said its coverage is "particularly strong" in regions where "global actors that do not share American values are attempting to make further inroads." Both of the main broadcasters targeting China -- RFA and VOA -- are bound by their charters to be objective and are not subject to the same kinds of direct oversight exercised over Chinese state media, but this does not stop the countries which they target seeing them as malicious tools of US influence. Following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, funding for VOA broadcasting into China was ramped up, and in 1994 RFA was launched with an initial Chinese-language broadcast in order to "promote democracy and human rights" in China. By their nature, BBG outlets tend to be pro-American in a broad sense, and often lean heavily on dissidents and critics in their coverage. Often this serves as a counter to domestic propaganda, which may feature little to no criticism of the government. RFA in particular produces some excellent reporting from local journalists -- often at great risk to themselves -- out of Tibet and Xinjiang, areas of China from which most foreign journalists are locked out. Since RFA and VOA started targeting China, Beijing has invested heavily in jamming radio signals from the two US-funded broadcasters, and state media has denounced them as tools of the CIA. Their websites and email newsletters are also heavily blocked and censored. In one particularly ironic article, the Global Times lauded cuts to VOA, which it described as a "government-funded propaganda tool of the US," even as it praised Chinese efforts to improve overseas broadcasting. Perhaps all involved need to look in the mirror. Source
  14. Jobseekers' files follow internal records leaking online The United Nations has been hit with two damning data leak allegations in as many days. The global organization has seen researchers uncover a pair of flaws that had left a number of its records, and those of its employees, accessible to hackers online. Word of the first issue came out yesterday when security researcher Kushagra Pathak found that the UN had left an unsecured set of Trello, Jira and Google Docs projects exposed to the internet. Pathak, who has specialized in uncovering vulnerable Trello boards and web apps, said the exposed information included account credentials and internal communications and documents used by UN staff to plan projects. After stumbling onto the vulnerable Trello board, he was able to then get access to the Jira and Google Docs deployments where he harvested other sensitive data. Pathak privately reported the issue to UN, who has since locked down the vulnerable web app instances. The second exposure was uncovered by researcher Mohamed Baset of Seekurity and resulted in the exposure of "thousands" of CVs submitted by job applicants. Baset reports that the UN failed to patch vulnerabilities in one of the WordPress CMS systems it uses to handle job applications. This would potentially allow anyone who chose to exploit the local path disclosure the ability to access the thousands of CVs people had submitted when they applied for a job with a UN agency. The vulnerability was reported to the UN in August, but after getting the full bureaucratic runaround, Baset decided to go public with the flaw this week, and share a proof of concept video: It wasn't all long faces at the UN this week, however. Members of the org had a moment of levity this morning when US President Donald Trump addressed the General Assembly. The Commander-in-Chief's boasts of historic accomplishments at the helm of America sparked chuckling and guffawing by foreign diplomats witnessing his speech... A nice chuckle was had by most. Meanwhile, at last estimate, Trump was custodian to some 4,000 nuclear warheads. Source
  15. WASHINGTON – UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said Wednesday that world leaders who laughed during President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations did so because "they loved how honest he is." Trump began his speech to the UN on Monday by saying his administration "has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country." When the comment drew laughter from the crowd of diplomats, Trump said: "I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay." Haley said on Fox News that the press was wrong to portray the laughter as disrespectful to the president. "They loved how honest he is," Haley said on the Fox and Friends show. "It’s not diplomatic and they find it funny." She said diplomats were "falling over themselves" to get a picture with Trump and tell him "how great his speech was." "They love that he’s honest with them and they’ve never seen anything like it, so there’s respect there," she said. "I saw that the media was trying to make it something disrespectful. That’s not what it was. They love to be with him." Trump seemed to be taken aback by the laughter at the time, but he later told reporters that he was trying to get a laugh with his opening lines. "Oh it was great, well, that was meant to get some laughter, so it was great," he said. Trump's remarks and the crowd's laughter drew ridicule on Twitter, with even Sputnik, Russia's state-owned media outlet, joining in. "UN audience burst into laughter @realDonaldTrump during his address," the Sputnik tweet said. Source
  16. Young people can see the president’s tweets as jokes, but they still often share his negative feelings about the press. Since President Trump took office, he has relentlessly attacked the media. He’s shunned individual reporters, referred to the press as “the enemy of the American people,” and popularized the term “fake news” to denigrate credible articles. Meanwhile, public trust in the press is at an all-time low. According to a recent Knight-Gallup report, only a third of Americans view the press positively. There is increasing evidence that this skepticism, exacerbated by the president’s relentless attacks, is trickling down to the next generation of voters. A 2017 report on a series of focus groups with 52 people between the ages of 14 and 24, conducted by Data & Society and the Knight Foundation, found that many young Americans believe the news is biased and are skeptical of its accuracy. “There was no assumption that the news would convey the truth or would be worthy of their trust,” the study reported. Teenagers, in particular, appear to be increasingly questioning the credibility and value of traditional media organizations. In interviews with The Atlantic, teens expressed great skepticism about the accuracy of the mainstream media, reiterated Trump’s biased characterization of many news sources, and said the president’s outrageous tweets have become so much a part of everyday life that they’ve morphed into catchphrases. “I don’t believe there [are] any neutral news organizations,” said Emma Neely, a 19-year-old in Tennessee. “Each writer and editor has their own personal bias. What they write, even if it’s a little biased, it’s still biased.” Angie, a 16-year-old in New York, agreed. She contends that Trump’s comments have revealed to people that the news media cannot be trusted. “I think this whole phenomenon has given teens awareness that bias exists and things are not what they seem,” she said. Sally, a 17-year-old in Puerto Rico, said she’s learned not to trust the media and was disappointed with the biases she found in how some outlets handled coverage of Hurricane Maria’s destruction. “They say what they want to say,” she said. “I don’t feel they say the truth as it is.” Social media has given young people unprecedented access to real-time news. Many teens I spoke with follow the president, other politicians, journalists, and news outlets on Twitter. The ones who don’t follow Trump directly all said they were aware of almost everything he tweets thanks to screenshots posted to Snapchat or Instagram, where his comments are warped into punch lines and memes. “I see a huge change from six years ago,” said Kathleen Carver, an AP government teacher at Wylie East High School in Texas. “When I started working, students weren’t really interested or even knowledgeable about basic current issues. Today, though, students are talking about current events ... Kids talk about current events and issues like it’s high-school gossip. It’s become a lot more relevant to them.” That doesn’t mean they take the president seriously. Even teenagers who said they identified as conservative-leaning said they joke about the outrageousness of Trump’s comments. Carver said that she has been amazed at how quickly Trump’s tweets are adapted into punch lines in her classroom. “When I say a crazy fact or something that shocks the students, I always have a student yell out ‘fake news,’ which causes a lot of laughter,” she said. “The younger internet, we all understand it’s irresponsible of [Trump to tweet], but at the same time we laugh at it and make it into a meme,” said Colin, a 16-year-old in Pennsylvania. “Like how often does a person tweet ‘Thank you Kanye, very cool’? ... People see something crazy now and say ‘thank you Kanye very cool,’ or they edit random stuff over [Trump’s] tweets.” “I can’t take him seriously if he’s tweeting more than I do,” said Samara, a 16-year-old in Texas. “A lot of people have him blocked, it’s like whatever.” Trolling the president on his own social channels by replying to his tweets or commenting on his Instagram is entertaining, said several teens, but the amount of backlash you get from conservative-leaning accounts when doing so gets old. Bennet, a 15-year-old in Massachusetts who asked to be referred to by gender-neutral pronouns, said they often go on Instagram or Twitter to “comment something snarky. I get the usual, ‘oh you’re some dumb liberal blah blah. You’re stupid antifa.’” CJ Pearson, a 16-year-old conservative commentator, said the reason why Trump’s messages permeate so deeply into teen culture is because “President Trump understands the meme culture better than so many people. Every tweet he makes doesn’t just live on Twitter. It goes across every platform and stirs discussion among people who aren’t even political.” Pearson, an avid Trump supporter, said he has lots of friends with political beliefs different from his own, but even they are hyperaware of everything the president does and says, and enjoy debating it. “Trump has been able to connect with teens in a way no president has before,” he said. “When Obama wanted to connect with young people, he sat down with [the 46-year-old YouTube star] Glozell, someone his own age. If Trump wants to reach young people, he’ll just tweet.” Even Pearson doesn’t take what the president says on Twitter seriously. “I will literally reply to a tweet, quote tweet it like, ‘LMAO,’ because that’s what I’m doing when I read the tweet. I’m laughing so hard,” he said. As much as they laugh, though, Trump’s negative views on the media have undoubtedly affected teens’ views of certain outlets. The teens I spoke with often had strong opinions about CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Fox News. Colin said he tries to avoid CNN and most mainstream news sites, instead following independent journalists he likes on YouTube. “In 2016, I became a little more skeptical of the mainstream media, just because I know how corporate donors and commercials work,” he said. “Why wouldn’t CNN endorse Clinton or talk about her in a better way than Trump when Time Warner was donating so much money to her campaign?” (CNN did not officially endorse any candidate in the last election, but Trump supporters have frequently attacked the network for what they have seen as a pro-Clinton bias.) Laura Medici Fleming, a history teacher at Ridgewood High School in New Jersey for 35 years, said she’s seen a huge shift in the way her students perceive mainstream news organizations. “When I first started teaching, the word of The New York Times was practically gospel, but that has changed in the past few years,” she said. “The current climate has had an impact. Some of the students make disparaging comments about CNN and ‘fake news.’ And some roll their eyes at Fox.” Carver said she’s had to alter which news sources she uses to teach her students, since if she presents an article from the wrong “side,” students will write the information off. “If I present CNN or Fox, that may automatically cause some limitations,” she said. Travis Grandt, a history teacher in Colorado, said that he was once admonished by kids in his classroom for pulling up an article from CNN on the classroom’s smart board before class started. Grandt said a student told him it was obvious CNN was picking on Trump, based on the headlines. “I asked him if it seemed ridiculous that there are lots of stories about the most powerful person in the world on an international news site,” Grandt said. “He said no, but all of the stories on CNN were super negative.” For “non-biased news,” the teens I spoke to said they turn directly to journalists themselves or news-related pages on social media vetted by people they trust. “I follow a few political Instagram accounts,” Colin said. “They’ll post memes and headlines and stuff and people discuss them. Political Instagram is a thing. It’s sort of like a weird mesh between a meme page and a news page.” Pearson said that he thinks it’s much more valuable to follow individual journalists online than faceless media networks. “I put the same weight on tweets from reporters as a story they actually have a byline on,” he said. “If you have a checkmark there’s a lot of credibility that comes with that.” Neely said she also mostly gets her news on Twitter and follows several journalists, though she doesn’t trust most of what she sees. “On Twitter, there’s always all kinds of different news stories coming up. You never know if they’re real or not, of course,” she said. “Sometimes if I see a news story on Twitter, I’ll go on Instagram and look up the person they’re talking about to get more information on who the person is.” One thing teens did feel positively about was their ability to impact the broader media and political landscape. They all felt empowered by social media to make their voices heard, despite the fact that most still can’t vote. “Teenagers and young people in general have taken the world by storm,” said Isabel, a 13-year-old in New York. “We are human beings with real minds. Whether you want to listen to us is your choice but we are going to talk and be heard out in the long run.” Source
  17. President Trump says the US is "acting swiftly on intellectual property theft", noting that the country cannot "allow this to happen as it has for many years." Coincidentally, or not, a panel in Capitol Hill yesterday discussed the streaming box threat, with the MPAA revealing that the Department of Justice is looking at "a variety of candidates" for criminal action. For the past several years most of the world has been waking up to the streaming piracy phenomenon, with pre-configured set-top boxes making inroads into millions of homes. While other countries, notably the UK, arrested many individuals while warning of a grave and looming danger, complaints from the United States remained relatively low-key. It was almost as if the stampede towards convenient yet illegal streaming had caught the MPAA and friends by surprise. In October 2017, things quickly began to change. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment sued Georgia-based Tickbox TV, a company selling “fully-loaded” Kodi boxes. In January 2018, the same anti-piracy group targeted Dragon Media, a company in the same line of business. With this growing type of piracy now firmly on the radar, momentum seems to be building. Yesterday, a panel discussion on the challenges associated with piracy from streaming media boxes took place on Capitol Hill. Hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), ‘Unboxing the Piracy Threat of Streaming Media Boxes’ went ahead with some big name speakers in attendance, not least Neil Fried, Senior Vice President, Federal Advocacy and Regulatory Affairs at the MPAA. ITIF and various industry groups tweeted many interesting comments throughout the event. Kevin Madigan from Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property told the panel that torrent-based content “is becoming obsolete” in an on-demand digital environment that’s switching to streaming-based piracy. While there’s certainly a transition taking place, 150 million worldwide torrent users would probably argue against the term “obsolete”. Nevertheless, the same terms used to describe torrent sites are now being used to describe players in the streaming field. “There’s a criminal enterprise going on here that’s stealing content and making a profit,” Fried told those in attendance. “The piracy activity out there is bad, it’s hurting a lot of economic activity & creators aren’t being compensated for their work,” he added. Tom Galvin, Executive Director at the Digital Citizens Alliance, was also on the panel. Unsurprisingly, given the organization’s focus on the supposed dangers of piracy, Galvin took the opportunity to underline that position. “If you go down the piracy road, those boxes aren’t following proper security protocols, there are many malware risks,” he said. It’s a position shared by Fried, who told the panel that “video piracy is the leading source of malware.” Similar claims were made recently on Safer Internet Day but the facts don’t seem to back up the scare stories. Still, with the “Piracy is Dangerous” strategy already out in the open, the claims aren’t really unexpected. What might also not come as a surprise is that ACE’s lawsuits against Tickbox and Dragon Media could be just a warm-up for bigger things to come. In the tweet embedded below, Fried can be seen holding a hexagonal-shaped streaming box, warning that the Department of Justice is now looking for candidates for criminal action. Neil Fried of @MPAA with one of the streaming Kodi boxes leading to big piracy problems during Capitol Hill panel talk. Says DOJ looking at ‘variety of candidates’ for criminal action. @Comm_Daily pic.twitter.com/aYIRA4wgTC — Matt Daneman (@mdaneman) March 7, 2018 What form this action will take when it arrives isn’t clear but when the DoJ hits targets on home soil, it tends to cherry-pick the most blatant of infringers in order to set an example with reasonably cut-and-dried cases. Of course, every case can be argued but with hundreds of so-called “Kodi box” sellers active all over the United States, many of them clearly breaking the law as they, in turn, invite their customers to break the law, picking a sitting duck shouldn’t be too difficult. And then, of course, we come to President Trump. Not usually that vocal on matters of intellectual property and piracy, yesterday – perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not – he suddenly delivered one of his “something is coming” tweets. The U.S. is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft. We cannot allow this to happen as it has for many years! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2018 Given Trump’s tendency to focus on problems overseas causing issues for companies back home, a comment by Kevin Madigan during the panel yesterday immediately comes to mind. “To combat piracy abroad, USTR needs to work with the creative industries to improve enforcement and target the source of pirated material,” Madigan said. Interesting times and much turmoil in the streaming world ahead, it seems. Source
  18. Dubai: An art exhibition in a Dubai gallery titled "The Vulnerability Series" shows world leaders as displaced or disenfranchised people, moving them away from the corridors of power that they normally occupy. Syrian refugee artist Abdalla Al Omari's work, which took 19 months to make and was created in his Brussels studio, includes paintings US president Donald Trump, Russian president Vladimir Putin, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, Kim Jong-un, former US president Barack Obama and other world leaders as the homeless and as refugees. "Being a refugee is like having a new lump in your body that you had nothing to do with, and it will stay until the last day, so you better deal with it," Al Omari told CNN. In the series, President Trump is portrayed as a refugee holding a young child; his belongings and a sleeping mat on his back, a photo of his family clutched in his right hand. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Al Assad also feature. Putin, whose military has conducted airstrikes on Syria's rebel held areas, is depicted as a homeless person, while Assad appears partially submerged in water with only a paper boat to come to his aid. In another painting entitled The Queue, a seemingly endless line of people waiting for food, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and former US President Barack Obama, is depicted. While reactions to the series have been "90% positive," according to Al Omari, the artist also received a fair share of criticism. Pictures: Read More @ cnn.com news18.com
  19. Trump Move To Kill Privacy Rules Opposed By 72% Of Republicans, Survey Says Privacy is partisan for lawmakers, but not necessarily for the rest of us. Although the move to eliminate Web browsing privacy rules was pushed through Congress by Republican lawmakers over the objections of Democrats, a new poll found that equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats approve of the rules and wanted them to be preserved. President Donald Trump yesterday signed the repeal of online privacy rules that would have limited the ability of ISPs to share or sell customers' browsing history for advertising purposes, confirming action taken by the Senate and House. This was very much a partisan issue among elected officials. In a 50-48 vote, every Republican senator voted to kill privacy rules and every Democratic senator voted to preserve them. The House vote was 215-205, with 15 Republicans breaking ranks in order to support the privacy rules. But ordinary Americans aren't split on the issue, according to a Huffington Post/YouGov survey that found 72 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats opposed the rollback. "[E]ven identifying the bill as a GOP proposal isn’t enough to win it intra-party support," Huffington Post wrote. "Told that Republicans in Congress passed a bill to overturn the regulations that would ban the sharing of customers’ information, 72 percent of both Republicans and Democrats say the privacy rules should go into effect, with just 15 percent in each party believing the rules should be overturned." The rest answered, "not sure." Full results are available here. The poll question asked, "Last year, the federal government adopted a set of rules to ban telecom and cable companies from sharing customers’ personal information, including their Web browsing history, without their permission. A Republican bill passed by Congress would overturn those rules before they go into effect. Which describes your opinion?" The question was answered by 362 Democrats and 248 Republicans. Support for privacy rules was even greater in response to an earlier question that did not mention the plan to kill the rules. When asked, "Do you think telecom and cable companies should or should not be allowed to share personal information about customers, such as their Web browsing history, without first getting customers’ permission?", 82 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of Republicans said ISPs should not be allowed to share such information without customers' prior consent. Most aren’t aware of VPNs and Tor Eighty percent of survey respondents reported being "somewhat" or "very" concerned about the privacy of personal information online. But most don't know much about privacy-protecting technologies. When asked if they'd ever used anonymous browsing technologies like proxy servers, Tor, or VPNs, 55 percent either were not sure or did not know what those technologies are. Sixty-three percent of Republicans weren't sure or didn't know what those technologies are, compared to 53 percent of Democrats. YouGov polls are conducted differently from traditional telephone surveys. YouGov's panel of people who agreed to participate in online surveys "is itself not representative of the US population, but samples are drawn from that panel to match a random sample of respondents drawn from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey," the survey methodology says. No poll is perfect, but YouGov has gained some recognition. The Economist has partnered with YouGov for years. FiveThirtyEight gives YouGov a "B" rating—the site's grades for other polls range from A+ to F. Lawmakers and donations from lobbyists On privacy, the Huffington Post/YouGov poll found large majorities supporting privacy rules regardless of age, gender, race, income, and geographical region, though there were differences within groups. But the people whose opinions really counted were Republican elected officials and ISPs who lobbied to kill the rules. No Democratic lawmakers voted to repeal the privacy rules, even though elected officials from both major parties received plenty of financial donations from telecom companies, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. ISPs tend to spread their cash around to both parties in hopes of gaining favor throughout the government, but Republicans who voted to keep the privacy rules have not been rewarded as richly as Republicans who voted to eliminate them. "On the House side, while there wasn’t a huge difference in overall funds received by lawmakers voting for or against the resolution, there was a gap in the Republican vote," the research group said. "GOP lawmakers who voted to quash the rule received an average of $138,000 from the industry over the course of their careers. The 15 Republicans voting nay? They got just $77,000." A difference of $37,566 to $21,395 was also observed when looking at these numbers for 2016 only. Three House Democrats who abstained from the vote received higher donations than Democrats on average, the analysis found. Source
  20. Privacy Shield was always lipstick on a pig, but that pig now looks like bacon as the Trump administration casts further doubt on its robustness. As US President Donald Trump prepares to sign off on another immigrant travel ban today, in the process he might deliver another blow to the already-questionable protection offered by the US/EU Privacy Shield data transfer scheme. The robustness of Privacy Shield has been in question from the moment it was cobbled together as a beyond-last-minute replacement for the defunct Safe Harbor agreement, ruled unsafe by the European Court of Justice in 2015. With two years of negotiations to come up with Safe Harbor II passing their deadline without result, Privacy Shield was suddenly pulled out of the bag as a last-minute solution. The hurried nature with which it was put together meant that it always smacked of being a comfort blanket to calm post-NSA revelations nerves among non-US cloud services buyers, rather than a solid legal framework to protect data from intrusive examination by American intelligence services. Privacy Shield was put together under the Obama administration. The election of Donald Trump as US President, with his views on intelligence gathering and his outspoken enmity towards tech firms on the subject, has only made the Shield’s long term future seem ever more unlikely. Trump’s Executive Order on travel bans earlier this year prompted a joint letter to the European Commission from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), warning: People in the EU have diminished protections when it comes to limits on dissemination of their personal information, the right to access their private information held by the US government, and the right to request corrections to their information. The ACLU/HRW letter explains: The Privacy Shield framework adequacy determination relied in part on US government assurances that there were appropriate mechanisms in place for individuals to seek redress in cases where their data was accessed by the US government. Similarly, the umbrella agreement requires the US to ensure that individuals are entitled to seek access and correction to their personal information, unless specified exceptions apply. The umbrella agreement also requires that the US provide the ability to seek administrative redress to individuals in the EU in cases where they are improperly denied the ability to access or correct their information. However, provisions in the recent Executive Order issued by the Trump administration raise concerns regarding whether EU data transferred to the US meets the standards outlined in these documents. The Executive Order in question was, of course, put on hold by the US courts, but Trump is set to sign a replacement later today. While that will have some amendments to the original text, it’s unlikely to have changed so much as to invalidate ACLU/HRW’s concerns. ACLU/HRW also point to the current non-functioning status of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), which should have oversight of regulating and monitoring Privacy Shield’s requirements from the US end: It is clear that the European Commission relied on the representations regarding the oversight role of the PCLOB as part of its adequacy determination. Unfortunately, however, the PCLOB is no longer a fully functional body. Currently four of the five board positions on the PCLOB are vacant. To fill those slots, Trump would have to come up with and sign off on four nominations, including a couple of Democrats to maintain required balance, then seek Senate approval. It’s safe to assume that this is nowhere near the top of his list of things to do, given that nearly 2,000 roles in the new administration remain unfilled. The stance from the US government is one of ‘nothing to see here’. Bruce Swartz, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, wrote to the European Commission stating: Section 14 of the Executive Order does not affect the privacy rights extended by the Judicial Redress Act to Europeans. Nor does Section 14 affect the commitments the United States has made under the DPPA (Umbrella Agreement) or the Privacy Shield. Nonetheless, Vera Jourova, the EU Justice Commissioner, let slip some underlying concerns in an interview with Bloomberg last week, when she talked of the need to be “vigiliant” and said she would be looking for reassurance from the Trump administration. And she warned: If there is a significant change, we will suspend…I will not hesitate to do it. In reality, the so-called Shield may be fractured beyond repair already. It won’t formally come under review by the European Commission’s own Article 29 Working Party (WP29) in Brussels until July, but there’s nothing to suggest that the group’s public concerns about the shortcomings of the agreement have changed at all. The US dilemma All of this leaves US cloud services firms in a state of flux. While many of them were quick to seize on Privacy Shield as proof for buyers that transatlantic business could be conducted in safety, an increasing number are reflecting uncertainty about future legislative and regulatory positions in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For example, Workday notes in its latest filing that: [Privacy Shield] has been challenged by private parties and may face additional challenges by national regulators or additional private parties. In addition, the other bases on which we and our customers rely for the transfer of data, such as model contracts, continue to be subjected to regulatory and judicial scrutiny. In an SEC filing from January, Microsoft – currently being pursued by the US Justice Department demanding access to data physically stored on a server in Ireland – states: The Privacy Shield and other mechanisms are likely to be reviewed by the European courts, which may lead to uncertainty about the legal basis for data transfers across the Atlantic. Those are just cautionary notes being struck compared to the blunt announcement from Yahoo! in its own SEC filings to the effect that, after depending on Safe Harbor for years: We are not currently relying on the Privacy Shield Framework. Yahoo! also highlights why this uncertainty matters so much: The interpretation and application of privacy, data protection, data transfer and data retention laws and regulations are often uncertain and in flux in the United States and internationally. These laws may be interpreted and applied inconsistently from country to country and inconsistently with our current policies and practices, complicating long-range business planning decisions. My take When Privacy Shield was introduced, we dubbed it lipstick on a pig. That porker is now bacon and sizzling in the pan. And much as I love a good rasher, that’s not good news for anyone – except perhaps indigenous country-specific cloud services providers with in-country data centers where customer data isn’t going to cross any borders. For the US cloud services industry’s sake, leaders there who want to carry on doing business in Europe long term need to pile pressure on the Trump administration to get behind a proper Privacy Shield replacement or, at the very least, to meet the requirements necessary to tape over the cracks in the existing flawed one. By Stuart Lauchlan http://diginomica.com/2017/03/06/can-privacy-shield-survive-another-executive-order-trump/
  21. Trump's Pick for FCC Chairman Is Against Net Neutrality Ajit Pai is known for opposing net neutrality regulations While net neutrality was something that former President Barack wanted to guarantee during his time in the office, providing strong legal protections, things may change drastically under Trump. The rules put in place in previous years in order to protect net neutrality have been opposed time and time again by telecommunications giants such as Comcast and Verizon, who chose to oppose Obama and the FCC every step of the way simply because these rules sought to create a level playing field for all Internet companies. Politico reports that Trump plans to name Ajit Pai as the leader of the FCC. Pai is a known Republican, a member of the FCC since 2012. This wouldn’t be so bad since he knows how to lead the FCC since he has been a member for so many years, but he has been known to oppose many of his colleague's plans and regulations, particularly net neutrality. In fact, just last month he made sure to say just how happy he has been at his job, but how he would have done things differently. Pai said there were many “outdated and unnecessary” regulations that needed to be removed, especially those that are “holding back investment, innovation, and job creation.” While he does not name net neutrality outright in this particular speech, it is quite likely that it will end up on Pai’s hit list since he is not one of its supporters and he is spoken about reforming the laws before. This is quite concerning because huge ISPs such as Comcast could go ahead and block access to certain websites, force customers to pay more to reach those high volume websites they are seeking and so on, which is something they have done in the past. While we would be more than happy to say that these are just speculations of what he would do once he is head of the FCC, things are not just speculations. Pai spent most of his career in public service with the DOJ, but he is also worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the FCC. He has also been involved with the communications industry by occupying a job as a lawyer for Verizon and representing telecommunications clients at another firm. Source
  22. Four in Five Britons Fearful Trump Will Abuse their Data More than three-quarters of Britons believe incoming US President Donald Trump will use his surveillance powers for personal gain, and a similar number want reassurances from the government that data collected by GCHQ will be safeguarded against such misuse. These are the headline findings from a new Privacy International poll of over 1600 Brits on the day Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President of the most powerful nation on earth. With that role comes sweeping surveillance powers – the extent of which was only revealed after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden went public in 2013. There are many now concerned that Trump, an eccentric reality TV star and gregarious property mogul, could abuse such powers for personal gain. That’s what 78% of UK adults polled by Privacy International believe, and 54% said they had no trust that Trump would use surveillance for legitimate purposes. Perhaps more important for those living in the United Kingdom is the extent of the information sharing partnership between the US and the UK. Some 73% of respondents said they wanted the government to explain what safeguards exist to ensure any data swept up by their domestic secret services doesn’t end up being abused by the new US administration. That fear has become even more marked since the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act or 'Snoopers’ Charter', which granted the British authorities unprecedented mass surveillance and hacking powers, as well as forcing ISPs to retain all web records for up to 12 months. Privacy International claimed that although it has privately been presented with documents detailing the info sharing partnership between the two nations, Downing Street has so far refused to make the information public. The rights group and nine others are currently appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a decision by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) not to release information about the rules governing the US-UK agreement. “UK and the US spies have enjoyed a cosy secret relationship for a long time, sharing sensitive intelligence data with each other, without parliament knowing anything about it, and without any public consent. Slowly, we’re learning more about the staggering scale of this cooperation and a dangerous lack of sufficient oversight,” argued Privacy International research officer, Edin Omanovic. “Today, a new President will take charge of US intelligence agencies – a President whose appetite for surveillance powers and how they’re used put him at odds with British values, security, and its people… Given that our intelligence agencies are giving him unfettered access to massive troves of personal data, including potentially about British people, it is essential that the details behind all this are taken out of the shadows.” Source
  23. Twitter Ready to Ban US President If He Becomes an Internet Troll Donald Trump should be careful when he uses social media Tech watchers probably know that Donald Trump doesn’t turn to Twitter to share his favorite recipes, but to post thoughts criticizing the media, politicians, US services, companies, and pretty much everyone who doesn’t share the same beliefs. Twitter was used by Donald Trump several times to post his rants during the presidential campaign, but this all has to stop because the service wants everyone to comply with the rules, even if he is the President of the United States. In a statement provided for Slate, a Twitter spokesperson says that Donald Trump might be banned if he violates the rules of the service, which do not allow hate speech or bad language. “The Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies,” a spokesperson explained, without specifically mentioning Donald Trump. “The Twitter Rules apply to all accounts,” Twitter said when asked about the possibility of banning the US President-elect by QZ. Donald Trump said he’d behave on Twitter Donald Trump previously promised to be more restrained on social media, especially because he’s now the President of the United States. “I'm going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I'm going to be very restrained. I find it tremendous. It's a modern form of communication. There should be nothing we should be ashamed of,” he said. And yet, it just seems like Donald Trump can’t become a different person overnight because earlier today he took to Twitter to explain that Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who is accused of attacks against students at the Ohio State University, shouldn’t be in the United States. “ISIS is taking credit for the terrible stabbing attack at Ohio State University by a Somali refugee who should not have been in our country,” he posted. Artan, on the other hand, is a legal US resident and he arrived in the United States in 2014, after leaving his home country Somalia in 2007. Source
  24. Clinton or Trump? Who will win US election? Anyways just "go with it...but be nice!!!!!" people!
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