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The Internet

Anti-Defamation League and Pepe the Frog's Creator Are Teaming Up To Save Pepe From Hate-Symbol Status ( 379

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: Matt Furie, the creator of the widely known "Pepe the Frog" meme, is joining forces with the Anti-Defamation League to reclaim the symbol from the alt-right and make it a "force for good," according to a press release. Furie and the ADL plan to start a social-media campaign by creating "a series of positive Pepe memes and messages" and promoting them with the hashtag #SavePepe, according to the release. The ADL declared "Pepe the Frog" to be a hate symbol in late September. "It's completely insane that Pepe has been labeled a symbol of hate, and that racists and anti-Semites are using a once peaceful frog-dude from my comic book as an icon of hate," Furie said in a column for Time magazine. While fiercely condemning the "racist and fringe groups" that use Pepe to propagate divisive views, Furie said Pepe was meant to "celebrate peace, togetherness, and fun." The meme, which originated from a 2005 cartoon, has been hijacked by the alt-right movement in the past several months. Members of the movement have used the meme to convey often racist and anti-Semitic messages. The messages prompted the ADL to add Pepe to its "Hate on Display" database, which documents anti-Semitic hate symbols. According to the ADL's press release on the #SavePepe campaign, Furie will speak at its "Never Is Now" summit against anti-Semitism on November 17 in New York City. The panel will focus specifically on online hate campaigns. Furie published a new Pepe cartoon on Monday detailing his "alt-right election nightmare," which depicts a sad Pepe morphing into a frog that resembles Donald Trump and then a monster. Pepe appears trapped in the mouth of the monster. The next panel depicts a nuclear explosion. Pepe then awakes and hides under his mattress.

Hackers Steal Credit Card Data From Visitors of US Senate GOP Committee Website ( 28

pdclarry writes: While all of the recent news has been about hacking the Democratic National Committee, apparently the Republicans have also been hacked over many months (since March 2016). This was not about politics, however; it was to steal credit card numbers. Brian Krebs reports: "a report this past week out of The Netherlands suggests Russian hackers have for the past six months been siphoning credit card data from visitors to the web storefront of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). [...] If you purchased a 'Never Hillary' poster or donated funds to the NRSC through its website between March 2016 and the first week of this month [October 2016], there's an excellent chance that your payment card data was siphoned by malware and is now for sale in the cybercrime underground." Krebs says his information comes from Dutch researcher Willem De Groot, co-founder and head of security at Dutch e-commerce site The Republicans were not alone; theirs was just one of 5,900 e-commerce sites hacked by the same Russian actors. You can view De Groot's analysis of the malware planted on the NRSC's site and other services here. Krebs adds: "The NRSC did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but a cached copy of the site's source code from October 5, 2016 indicates the malicious code was on the site at the time (load this link, click 'view source' and then Ctrl-F for '')."
The Internet

As ICANN Gains Full Oversight Of Domain Name System, Some Wonder If It Means the US Has Given Away The Internet ( 215

The U.S. has given up its remaining control over the Internet. The formal handover, which took effect on Saturday, followed a last-ditch attempt by a group of Republicans to block the move. They had argued that the US concession would open the door for authoritarian governments get control of the network of networks, leading to greater censorship. From a BBC report:A judge in Texas has put the kibosh on a last-minute legal attempt to block the controversial decision for the US to give up control of one of the key systems that powers the internet. It's a move being breathlessly described by some as the US "giving up the internet" to the likes of China, Russia and the Middle East. For starters, while they can take the credit for inventing the underlying technology, the US never "had the internet" to begin with. Nobody did. It's a, duh, network. Decentralised. That's what makes it so powerful. But there are bits of internet infrastructure that some people and governments do have control over, and that's what this row is all about. One of them is the DNS - Domain Name System. This is the system for looking after web addresses. Thanks to the DNS, when you type, you're taken to the correct servers for the BBC website. It saves you the grief of having to remember a string of numbers. That pairing of names and numbers is kept in one great big master file, the land registry of the web. The only organisation that can make changes is Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. As of Saturday 1 October 2016, Icann will no longer be under US government oversight.

FCC Republicans Refused To Give Congress Net Neutrality Documents ( 99

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The two Republican members of the Federal Communications Commission have refused to give Congress documents needed to complete an investigation into the FCC's net neutrality rule-making process, according to a lawmaker. "Your refusal to cooperate with the Committee's request is unacceptable, it obstructs our investigation, and it prevents the Committee from having a complete or accurate understanding of the circumstances surrounding this rulemaking," U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) wrote in a letter to FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly yesterday. There are "serious questions" about "Pai's efforts to organize opposition to the proposed rule with outside parties," Cummings' office said in a related press release. "Pai previously worked as associate general counsel for Verizon, one of the major opponents of the open Internet policy, and he reportedly 'enjoys the support of conservative think tanks like the Phoenix Center, the Free State Foundation and TechFreedom,'" the press release said. O'Rielly wrote an op-ed on the net neutrality rules in 2014, but only after he "sought edits on [the] draft op-ed from three individuals outside the FCC with professional interests that could be affected by the rule," the press release said. The Republican lawmakers claimed that President Obama had "an improper influence" over the FCC's decision and demanded documentation of all communication between FCC personnel and the White House, as well as calendar appointments, visitor logs, and meeting minutes related to meetings with the White House, plus all internal documents discussing the views and recommendations of the White House. They also asked for all documents and e-mails related to views of FCC personnel about the net neutrality proceeding. A Cummings staff member told Ars that the "request has the backing of the full committee and all the enforcement mechanisms the committee has, including issuing a subpoena." The committee has schedule a hearing for September 27 on the status of outstanding document requests to different federal agencies, and could seek updates on the requests to the two Republican FCC commissioners at this hearing, a Democratic aide for the Oversight Committee also said.

FBI Releases Hillary Clinton Email Report ( 409

The FBI released 58-pages documents on Friday detailing its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, and a summary of her interview with agents, providing the most thorough look yet at the probe that has dogged the campaign of the Democratic presidential nominee. CNN reports: Clinton repeatedly told the FBI she lacked recollection of key events. She said she "could not recall any briefing or training by State related to the retention of federal records or handling classified information," according to the FBI's notes of their July 2 interview with Clinton. Fallout from Clinton's use of a private email server continues to dog the Democratic presidential nominee's campaign, as her lead over her Republican counterpart Donald Trump has been cut in half since her post convention bounce last month, according to CNN's Poll of Polls released Thursday. Trump and other Republicans have stepped up their attacks connecting the emails to questions over whether Clinton gave preferential treatment to donors to her family's foundation. The bureau is making the information public in response to numerous Freedom of Information Act requests, including from CNN. "Today the FBI is releasing a summary of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's July 2, 2016 interview with the FBI concerning allegations that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on a personal e-mail server she used during her tenure," the agency said in a statement. "We also are releasing a factual summary of the FBI's investigation into this matter."

Massachusetts Will Tax Ride-Sharing Companies To Subsidize Taxis ( 445

Massachusetts will tax ride-sharing services -- 20 cents for each ride -- with 25% of the money raised going into a special fund for the taxi industry (according to an article shared by schwit1 ). Reuters reports: Ride services are not enthusiastic about the fee. "I don't think we should be in the business of subsidizing potential competitors," said Kirill Evdakov, the chief executive of Fasten, a ride service that launched in Boston last year and also operates in Austin, Texas. Some taxi owners wanted the law to go further, perhaps banning the start-up competitors unless they meet the requirements taxis do, such as regular vehicle inspection by the police...

The fee may raise millions of dollars a year because Lyft and Uber alone have a combined 2.5 million rides per month in Massachusetts... The 5-cent fee will be collected through the end of 2021. Then the taxi subsidy will disappear and the 20 cents will be split by localities and the state for five years. The whole fee will go away at the end of 2026.

Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the law, which specifically bans ride-sharing services from passing those costs on to their drivers or riders. And the article notes that Taiwan has also hit Uber with a $6.4 million tax bill, while Seattle has passed a new law allowing ride-sharing drivers to unionize.

Your Political Facebook Posts Aren't Changing How Your Friends Think ( 399

An anonymous reader writes:It may be hard to resist airing political grievances or appealing to voters on social media during a U.S. presidential race as heated as this one. But no one wants to hear about your politics, least of all on Facebook. Those long rants about how Trump is a bully and a buffoon, Hillary is a crook, and conspiring against Bernie Sanders has doomed America forever aren't changing voters' minds, a new study found. A staggering 94% of Republicans, 92% of Democrats, and 85% of independents on Facebook say they have never been swayed by a political post, according to Rantic, a firm that sells social media followers. The firm surveyed 10,000 Facebook users who self-identified as Republicans, Democrats, or independents. The only thing those opinionated election posts are doing is damaging your friendships. Nearly one-third of Facebook users surveyed said social media is not an appropriate forum for political discussions. And respondents from each political affiliation admitted they've un-friended people on Facebook because of their political posts.

Avast Suckers GOP Delegates Into Connecting To Insecure Wi-Fi Hotspots ( 109

Avast conned more than 1,200 people into connecting to fake wi-fi hotspots set up near the Republican convention and the Cleveland airport, using common network names like "Google Starbucks" and "Xfinitywifi" as well as "I vote Trump! free Internet". An anonymous reader quotes this report from The Register: With mobile devices often set to connect to known SSIDs automatically, users can overlook the networks to which they are connecting... Some 68.3 percent of users' identities were exposed when they connected, and 44.5 per cent of Wi-Fi users checked their emails or chatted via messenger apps... In its day-long experiment Avast saw more than 1.6Gbps transferred from more than 1,200 users.
Avast didn't store the data they collected, but they did report statistics on which sites were accessed most frequently. "5.1 percent played Pokemon Go, while 0.7 percent used dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid, Match and Meetup, and 0.24 percent visited pornography sites like Pornhub."

Paypal Founder Peter Thiel To Speak At Trump's Republican Convention ( 268

Slashdot reader speedplane writes: The New York Times is reporting that renowned Venture Capitalist, Paypal Founder, and Gawker Litigation Funder, Peter Thiel will be speaking at the Republican National Convention. The original story does not state what Thiel will discuss at the convention, only that he'll be speaking the last day, but there's plenty of speculation.
Facebook issued a statement that though Thiel is on their board of directors, his appearance was "personal," saying Thiel "is not attending on behalf of Facebook or to represent our views." NBC reports Thiel will be the first openly-gay man to speak at the convention in 16 years, "as party leaders refuse to soften the GOP's formal opposition to gay marriage," noting Thiel "has been a staunch supporter of Donald Trump's run for the oval office, previously supported Ron Paul for president and has identified himself as a conservative libertarian in the past... Other speakers will include four of Trump's children, Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin, and actor and former underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr."

Starbucks and McDonald's Announce Porn Blocks On Their Wi-Fi Networks ( 284

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN Money: Anti-pornography groups have succeeded in their efforts to get Starbucks and McDonald's to block porn on the chains' Wi-Fi networks..."We had not heard from our customers that this was an issue, but we saw an opportunity that is consistent with our goal of providing an enjoyable experience for families," McDonald's said in a statement... Starbucks said Friday it's will do so the same thing at its company-owned stores around the globe as well. "Once we determine that our customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn't involuntarily block unintended content, we will implement this in our stores," said a Starbucks spokesperson. "In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behavior that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi..."
Meanwhile, this week, the Republican Party officially added the "public health crisis" of porn to its platform.

Donald Trump To Announce Mike Pence As Vice-Presidential Running Mate ( 413

Donald Trump has selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate. A senior GOP official, cited by many media outlets today (including the WSJ), confirmed the news, adding that the announcement will be made Friday. The Guardian reports: Pence brings several qualities to the Trump campaign that Republicans have found lacking, not least of which experience in government. The 57-year-old spent 12 years in Congress, including two years in a leadership role with the House Republican Conference. He was elected governor of Indiana in 2012, and gained a degree of national notoriety that's to a controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which he signed into law and then wanted revised, after many argued it would allow discrimination against LGBT people. A Trump-Pence ticket could send a message to Republican dissenters who feel they cannot support a candidate who has proven inconsistent on guns, abortion, LGBT rights and other social conservative issues. Just before the Indiana primary election, the staunchly conservative governor endorsed Ted Cruz, Trump's leading opponent and a far-right senator from Texas.An anonymous reader shared a BuzzFeed article on Pence today. The article digs into some of the opinion pieces Pence has penned over the years. In one such article, Pence wrote that "smoking doesn't kill." "Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill," he wrote. In another piece, he argues that Carbon Dioxide "can't be the cause of increased global temperatures" because it is "a naturally occurring phenomenon in nature..." not an unnatural one.

'Fourth Amendment Caucus' Aims To Fight Government Surveillance ( 212

schwit1 quotes a report from USA Today: An unusual coalition of 13 Republicans and 12 Democrats on Wednesday announced the creation of the House Fourth Amendment Caucus to protect Americans' privacy rights against calls for increased government surveillance in the wake of terrorist attacks. The group named itself after the Fourth Amendment because the lawmakers fear that the government is increasingly seeking the power to search Americans' electronic data without a warrant. They see that as a threat to the Constitutional amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. "In the face of difficult circumstances, some are quick to pursue extreme, unconstitutional measures; the Fourth Amendment Caucus will be a moderating influence that gives voice to countless Americans whose rights are violated by these ill-conceived policies," said Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich), who joined the group led by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Ted Poe (R-Texas).

Senate Rejects FBI Bid For Warrantless Access To Internet Browsing Histories ( 224

Zack Whittaker, reporting for ZDNet:An amendment designed to allow the government warrantless access to internet browsing histories has been narrowly defeated in the Senate. The amendment fell two votes short of the required 60 votes to advance. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) switched his vote at the last minute. He submitted a motion to reconsider the vote following the defeat. A new vote may be set for later on Wednesday. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced the amendment as an add-on to the commerce, justice, and science appropriations bill earlier this week. McCain said in a statement on Monday that the amendment would "track lone wolves" in the wake of the Orlando massacre, in which Omar Mateen, who authorities say radicalized himself online, killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in the Florida city. The amendment, which may be reconsidered in the near future, aims to broaden the rules governing national security letters, which don't require court approval. These letters allow the FBI to demand records associated with Americans' online communications -- so-called electronic communications transactional records.

Invoking Orlando, Senate Republicans Set Up Vote To Expand FBI Spying ( 660

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the FBI's authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information. The move, made via an amendment to a criminal justice appropriations bill, is an effort by Senate Republicans to respond to last week's mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub after a series of measures to restrict guns offered by both parties failed on Monday. Privacy advocates denounced the effort, saying it seeks to exploit a mass shooting in order to expand the government's digital spying powers. The amendment would broaden the FBI's authority to use so-called National Security Letters to include electronic communications transaction records such as time stamps of emails and the emails' senders and recipients. NSLs do not require a warrant and are almost always accompanied by a gag order preventing the service provider from sharing the request with a targeted user. The amendment filed Monday would also make permanent a provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on "lone wolf" suspects who do not have confirmed ties to a foreign terrorist group. A vote is expected no later than Wednesday, McConnell's office said. Last week, FBI Director James Comey said he is "highly confident that [the Orlando shooter] was radicalized at least in part through the internet."

DNC Hacker Releases Trump Opposition File ( 421

An anonymous reader writes: Following the report that Russian hackers penetrated the DNC's database and stole research on Donald Trump, a 200+ page Democratic anti-Trump playbook compiled by the DNC has leaked online. In the book, Trump is called a "bad businessman" and "misogynist in chief." The document was created on December 19th, 2015, and was sent to Gawker by a hacker calling himself "Guccifer 2.0." (Guccifer is a popular Romanian hacker who hacked various American political figures, most notably Hillary Clinton and her private server.) The hacker said in an email to Gawker that the package contains a variety of donor registries and other strategy files, "just a few docs from many thousands I extracted when hacking into DNC's network," adding that he's in possession of "about 100GB of data including financial reports, donors' lists, election programs, action plans against Republicans, personal mails, etc." His motive is to be "a fighter against all those illuminati that captured our world." The "Donald Trump Report," as it's called, appears to be a summary of the Democratic Party's strategy for delegitimizing and undermining Trump's presidential aspirations. There's a section titled "Top Narratives" that describes a seven-pronged attack on Trump's character and record. The hack was first revealed Tuesday by the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, linking the hack to Russian intelligence. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says later this year it will publish enough new information about Hillary Clinton to indict her.

US Agency Lines Up Broad Support For ICANN Transition ( 64

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: A U.S. agency has lined up broad support for its plan to end the government's oversight of the Internet's domain name system, despite opposition from some Republicans in Congress. The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Thursday released statements of support for a plan to end its oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Among supporters of a plan, developed by the ICANN community, to transition ICANN's domain name coordination functions to a multistakeholder governance model are, Google, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association. NTIA on Thursday announced it had reviewed the community proposal and found it meets the agency's criteria for allowing the ICANN privatization plan to move forward. The community plan maintains the openness of the Internet and maintains the security and stability of the DNS, said NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling. It does not replace NTIA's oversight with another government organization, he said, although that's been a fear of some critics of the NTIA plan. On Wednesday, Ted Cruz proposed a bill, the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, that would prohibit the U.S. government from relinquishing its role with respect to overseeing the web's domain name system (DNS), unless explicitly authorized by Congress.

Facebook Is Tweaking Trending Topics To Counter Charges of Bias ( 157

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has said once again in an open letter to Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, that its Trending Topics section is free of any political bias or manipulation. But in response to Gizmodo's report that Facebook employees were suppressing conservative news stories, Facebook is revamping how editors find trending stories. "We could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies," Facebook general Counsel Colin Stretch wrote. Of course, Facebook is going to train the human editors who work on their trending section; they're also going to abandon several automated tools it used to find and categorize trending news in the past. Recode provides some examples, writing, "[Facebook] will no longer use its "1K list," a group of 1,000 websites it used to help verify headlines." Facebook will also get rid of several top publications, including the New York Times and CNN.

Sue Googe Uses Google's Font To Run For US Congress ( 179

An anonymous reader writes: Sue Googe is running to represent the 4th Congressional District of North Carolina in United States Congress. Since her last name resembles "Google," she has decided to use Google's font to help market her campaign. You can view a picture of Sue Googe standing next to two people holding her campaign signs here. You'll see that "Googe" is written just like "Google," but without the "l." Even the "e" in "Googe" is slanted like the "e" in "Google." "Sue" on the other hand, is not written in the same font as "Googe." It's possible the campaign accidentally selected this font, but upon closer inspection, that seems highly unlikely. It begs the question: Will Google sue Sue Googe? While we wait for Google to comment on the story, you can read all about Sue Googe on her website.

Ted Cruz Drops Out Of The Republican Presidential Race ( 879

rmdingler writes: Ted Cruz drops out of the presidential race after losing in Indiana. Donald Trump has become the presumptive nominee before Hillary has locked things up versus Bernie. This is huge. Cruz's decision to drop out came after losing significantly to Trump in the Indiana primary. "I said I would continue on as long as there is a viable path to victory. Tonight I'm sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed," Cruz told a small group of supporters Tuesday night. "Together we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we got, but the voters chose another path." He said he would "continue to fight for liberty," but did not say whether or not he would support Trump as the nominee. The exit comes soon after he announced former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate in a desperate move to keep his candidacy afloat.
United States

Half Of Americans Think Presidential Nominating System 'Rigged' ( 338

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Huffington Post: More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is "rigged" and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed. The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties -- a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair. The United States is one of just a handful of countries that gives regular voters any say in who should make it onto the presidential ballot. But the state-by-state system of primaries, caucuses and conventions is complex. The contests historically were always party events, and while the popular vote has grown in influence since the mid-20th century, the parties still have considerable sway. Just the other day, a poll was conducted by Harvard University showing a majority of young people do not support capitalism. Are the times they are a changin' or are people starting to wake up?

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