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Submission + - Microsoft Anti-Porn Workers Sue Over PTSD (thedailybeast.com)

An anonymous reader writes: When former Microsoft employees complained of the horrific pornography and murder films they had to watch for their jobs, the software giant told them to just take more smoke breaks, a new lawsuit alleges. Members of Microsoft’s Online Safety Team had “God-like” status, former employees Henry Soto and Greg Blauert allege in a lawsuit filed on Dec. 30. They “could literally view any customer’s communications at any time.” Specifically, they were asked to screen Microsoft users’ communications for child pornography and evidence of other crimes. But Big Brother didn’t offer a good health care plan, the Microsoft employees allege. After years of being made to watch the “most twisted” videos on the internet, employees said they suffered severe psychological distress, while the company allegedly refused to provide a specially trained therapist or to pay for therapy. The two former employees and their families are suing for damages from what they describe as permanent psychological injuries, for which they were denied worker’s compensation. “Microsoft applies industry-leading, cutting-edge technology to help detect and classify illegal images of child abuse and exploitation that are shared by users on Microsoft Services,” a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an email. “Once verified by a specially trained employee, the company removes the image, reports it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and bans the users who shared the images from our services. We have put in place robust wellness programs to ensure the employees who handle this material have the resources and support they need.” But the former employees allege neglect at Microsoft’s hands.

Submission + - Why You Shouldn't Trust Geek Squad (networkworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Orange County Weekly reports that Best Buy's "Geek Squad" repair technicians routinely search devices brought in for repair for files that could earn them $500 reward as FBI informants. This revelation came out in a court case, United States of America v. Mark A. Rettenmaier. Rettenmaier is a prominent Orange County physician and surgeon who took his laptop to the Mission Viejo Best Buy in November 2011 after he was unable to start it. According to court records, Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal found an image of "a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck." Westphal notified his boss, who was also an FBI informant, who alerted another FBI informant — as well as the FBI itself. The FBI has pretty much guaranteed the case will be thrown out by its behavior, this illegal search aside. According to Rettenmaier's defense attorney, agents conducted two additional searches of the computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant for his home, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records. Plus, the file was found in the unallocated "trash" space, meaning it could only be retrieved by "carving" with sophisticated forensics tools. Carving (or file carving) is defined as searching for files or other kinds of objects based on content, rather than on metadata. It's used to recover old files that have been deleted or damaged. To prove child pornography, you have to prove the possessor knew what he had was indeed child porn. There has been a court case where files found on unallocated space did not constitute knowing possession because it's impossible to determine who put the file there and how, since it's not accessible to the user under normal circumstances.

Submission + - President Obama Signs Legislation Establishing Information Control Agency

stephenmac7 writes: President Obama has recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which "authorizes FY2017 appropriations and sets forth policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), military construction, and the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DOE)." Perhaps more notably, it establishes a new Department of State agency, the Global Engagement Center, that some claim may be the beginning of an Orwellian propaganda agency. Its task is to “understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation aimed at undermining United States national security interests" and support “the development and dissemination of fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda and disinformation directed at the United States and” its partners and allies. It is also authorized to gather information from intelligence agencies and financially support various groups, apparently of its own choosing, including “civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions.”

Submission + - Abrupt product termination consequences for Google?

managerialslime writes: I wonder how many good Google products never get adopted because IT executives (like me) are now too anxious about application abandonment?

When I was the CIO at a mid-size company, I rejected adoption of Google Voice, Google Wave, and Google Hangouts after seeing them abandon Google Desktop Search.

I reasoned that if Google could not give multi-year sunsetting like Microsoft, then they were not a partner I could rely on.

At what point will Google's advantage due to the flexibility of abrupt terminations be outweighed by resistance to adopting their products?

Hmm....

Submission + - US Intelligence report offers no direct evidence of Russian Hacking (dni.gov)

bongey writes: The declassified DNI report offers no direct evidence of Russia hacking DNC or Podesta emails. Exactly half of the report (subtract blank and TOC) 9 of 18 is just devoted to going after rt.com by claiming they have close ties to Russia and therefore a propaganda arm, trying to imply that rt.com is related to the hacking.
"Many of the key judgments in this assessment rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior. Insights into Russian efforts—including specific cyber operations—and Russian views of key US players derive from multiple corroborating sources. Some of our judgments about Kremlin preferences and intent are drawn from the behavior of Kremlin loyal political figures, state media, and pro-Kremlin social media actors, all of whom the Kremlin either directly uses to convey messages or who are answerable to the Kremlin"

Submission + - The other Russian cyberattack that never happened (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: Earlier this week, the Washington Post made headlines of its own for reporting that “intelligence sources” were saying Russia had hacked into the U.S. power grid, which is a thing that did not happen. In fact, this wasn't even the first time it hadn't happened — just five years ago, a Senate report tore into Homeland Security for making the same claims with even less evidence. Will legislators ever learn?

Submission + - What Hack? Burlington Electric Speaks Out (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: Burlington Electric Department general manager Neale Lunderville explains how his Vermont electric distribution utility was dragged into the center of a potential geopolitical nightmare shortly before the start of the New Year weekend.

Lunderville recaps the three days that thrust Burlington Electric into the national spotlight after the Washington Post wrongly reported that the utility was penetrated by Russian hackers.

Those reports came on the heels of a DHS alert on Grizzly Steppe, activities by two Russian APT groups alleged to have hacked the DNC. Lunderville also covers how benign indicators of compromise shared by DHS played a role in a long, disruptive weekend for his organization.

Submission + - WikiLeaks: 2017 will 'blow you away' and, no, Russia didn't hack the US election (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: The hatred WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange feels towards Hillary Clinton is far from being a secret. During the election campaign, the non-profit organization leaked Clinton emails in the hope that it would destroy her presidential hopes — and we all know the result of the election.

As we slide gently into 2017, the WikiLeaks Twitter account has turned on the ignition and is about to hit the accelerator. The tweet says: "If you thought 2016 was a big WikiLeaks year 2017 will blow you away". On top of this, Assange himself is due to appear in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, denying Russia's involvement in hacking DNC emails.

WikiLeak's tweet comes as part of a plea for donations, but it promises that this will be the year of a 'showdown'.

Submission + - Top DoE Scientist Fired by Obama Administration 1

RoccamOccam writes: Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, released a wide-ranging report on Tuesday that shows how senior Obama administration officials retaliated against a leading scientist and plotted ways to block a congressional inquiry surrounding key research into the impact of radiation.

A top DoE scientist (Dr. Noelle Metting) who liaised with Congress on the matter was fired by the Obama administration for being too forthright with lawmakers, according to the report, which provides an in-depth look at the White House’s efforts to ensure senior staffers toe the administration’s line.

Submission + - It's not you, Slashdot, it's me. 5

BuckB writes: When I was a young man, I read Slashdot in order to amaze my friends with useful facts. It was even my homepage for awhile. Sure, there was time when I cheated and went to cnet or wired. With Slashdot, I could count on high quality debate on controversial topics, even though I knew in my heart that most of the readers were Apple fans, while I am a closeted Microsofterian. Now the stories are mainly non-tech — no, that's the real reason — the stories are now mainly fake or click-bait or alarmist, and the discussions are completely uninformed, insulting, to the point of being indistinguishable from an MSNBC forum.

I'll still remember you fondly. And I'll check back now and then. You'll do fine without me, find more people who enjoy insulting contributions and upvoting rumors and gossip. But maybe, just maybe, you'll think back to when you were a leader and attracted the kinds of people like me.

Submission + - The "You Wouldn't Steal A Car" DVD Anti-Piracy Ads Used Stolen Music (abc.net.au) 1

dryriver writes: According to ABC, back in 2006, Buma/Stemra (Dutch Music Royalties Collection Agency) approached a Dutch musician, Melchior Reitveldt, to write some music for an anti-piracy ad, with the strict proviso that this music would be played only and exclusively at a local film festival. Mr. Reitveldt wrote the music, it was played, he got paid and all was well. But then, in 2007, he bought a Harry Potter DVD and to his surprise, there was his music in the anti-piracy ad at the beginning. His composition had been taken and used without his permission. In fact, it had been illegally used on dozens of movie DVDs, both in Holland and overseas. So Mr. Reitveldt went to the Buma/Stemra music royalty collection agency to clear up this misunderstanding, and ran into a brick wall. Nothing happened for a long time, and then pathetically small refunds were offered, and then they weren't paid in full, and the delaying tactics went on and on.The breakthrough came in 2011, 5 years later, when he secretly recorded a Buma director cynically telling him that "things could be sped up" if he let them "buy the music" for 1 Million Euros. The director had to resign in disgrace. In June 2012, a court ordered Buma/Stemra to repay the money.

Submission + - Assassination threats against president-elect Trump flood Twitter (nypost.com)

cold fjord writes: As anti-Trump protests and riots have broken out in various cities across the US, assassination threats against president-elect Trump. have flooded Twitter. There is even an associated hash tag: #AssassinateTrump. Federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and Secret Service, have reportedly taken notice. Such threats could run afoul of 18 U.S. Code 871 — Threats against President and successors to the Presidency, and result in serious consequences. As noted in The Secret Agents Who Stake Out the Ugliest Corners of the Internet:

Sifting through those messages to determine which, if any, need to be taken seriously is the responsibility of the Secret Service Internet Threat Desk, a group of agents tasked with identifying and assessing online threats to the president and his family. The first part of this mission—finding threats—is in many ways made easier by the Internet: all you have to do is search! Pulling up every tweet which uses the words “Obama” and “assassinate” takes mere seconds, and the Secret Service has tried to make it easier for people to draw threats to its attention by setting up its own Twitter handle, @secretservice, for users to report threatening messages to.


Submission + - Donald Trump Child Rape Victim's Story Was Completely Fabricated (inquisitr.com) 9

Okian Warrior writes: The Donald Trump child rape victim’s story, as revealed early this morning by Daily Mail, is a work of complete fiction.

Katie Johnson herself spoke with journalists about why she lied and made herself into the Donald Trump child rape victim. “We would have a rapist in the White House. I would feel horrified every single day if I stay in this country,” she said, making it apparent that, although the GOP-running presidential hopeful never sexually assaulted her, she still believes he’s a rapist.

Katie maintains that she was sexually abused on more than one occasion by Jeffrey Epstein during mid-1994. A separate informant told Daily Mail that her story “had been believable and compelling right up until the last minute,” when it was found out “Donald Trump’s name had been inserted into this, [and] he was not involved whatsoever.”

Submission + - Muslim Student Charged for Trump Hate Crime Hoax (breitbart.com)

Okian Warrior writes: A Muslim student who reported her hijab was pulled from her head and was robbed by Trump supporters will now face charges for the false claims.

The 18-year-old college student told police that white men shouting racial slurs at her drove up in a truck and struck her multiple times in the back, while also stealing her hijab and wallet.

Following the accusation, Lafayette police said there were no witnesses or surveillance footage to back up the story.

“During the course of the investigation, the female complainant admitted that she fabricated the story about her physical attack as well as the removal of her hijab and wallet by two white males,” Lafayette police said in a statement. “This incident is no longer under investigation by the Lafayette Police Department.”

Now, the Muslim student is being charged with filing a fake police report, as a Lafayette police spokesman confirmed.

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