WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted narrowly to repeal regulations requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers’ privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc’s Google or Facebook Inc .The vote was along party lines, with 50 Republicans approving the measure and 48 Democrats rejecting it.The two remaining Republicans in the Senate were absent and did not cast a vote.According to the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama, internet providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.The vote was a victory for internet providers such as AT Inc , Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc , which had strongly opposed the rules.The bill next goes to the U.S. House of Representatives, but it was not clear when they would take up the measure.
According to a report in Recode, lawmakers in the Senate could act tonight to tear down privacy rules instituted by the Federal Communications Commission under President Obama.The rules in question force internet service providers to gain customers’ permission before selling their data to third parties.ISPs have described those rules as burdensome and unnecessary; the FCC at the time said they were vital to protecting consumers’ data.But under the new Chairman, Ajit Pai, the FCC has been rebranding itself as a body for regulating the technical aspects of telecoms, rather than the industry as a whole.The measure being considered in the Senate is called a resolution of disapproval, and serves to overturn rules made by a federal agency.Prior to this year, resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) had only been used once, but Republican lawmakers have been busy since January using the move to overturn rules made by the outgoing President’s administration.
(Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday took up a measure to repeal regulations adopted by the Obama administration requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers’ privacy than websites like Google or Facebook.The Senate began debate on Wednesday evening under a provision that allows Congress to repeal recently approved federal regulations.Under the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama, internet providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.Earlier this month, the FCC temporarily blocked those rules from taking effect, a victory for internet providers such as AT, Comcast, and Verizon  that had strongly opposed the measure.A final Senate vote on the measure is expected on Thursday, but it was not clear when the U.S. House of Representatives might take up the measure.“Congress needs to repeal these privacy restrictions in order to restore balance to the internet ecosystem and provide certainty to consumers,” said Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican who sponsored the measure.But Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said that broadband providers build profiles “about our children from birth.This is a gold mine of data – the holy grail so to speak.It is no wonder that broadband providers want to be able to sell this information to the highest bidder without consumers’ knowledge or consent.And they want to collect and use this information without providing transparency or being held accountable.”The American Civil Liberties Union also criticized the proposal to undo the rules.“With this move, Congress is essentially allowing companies like Comcast, AT, and Verizon to sell consumers’ private information to the highest bidder,” ACLU general counsel Neema Singh Guliani said earlier this month.FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, nominated by Republican President Donald Trump to serve a second five-year term on the commission, said earlier this month that consumers would have privacy protections even without the Obama administration internet provider rules.Republican commissioners, including Pai, said in October that the rules would unfairly give websites like Facebook, Twitter Inc or Google the ability to harvest more data than internet service providers and thus dominate digital advertising.Websites are governed by a less restrictive set of privacy rules overseen by the Federal Trade Commission.Democratic Senator Edward Markey said “just as phone companies cannot sell information about Americans’ phone calls, an internet service provider should not be allowed to sell sensitive consumer information without affirmative consent.”(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)
But do you want to hear a dirty little secret about Trump’s allegations?An identical scenario to the one Trump describes actually happened in the 1980s.President Trump is entering the third week of his claims that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election season.First, Trump made the unfounded claims with precisely zero indication of where he got the information.While Trump has still offered no proof, there’s actually a precedent for this precise kind of arrangement between Five Eyes partners—Five Eyes being the spying alliance between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.The 1994 book Spyworld was written by Mike Frost, a former intelligence officer for Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), a bit like Canada’s version of the NSA.
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The first point addressed by the dynamic duo was that of fears hackers had altered the nation's election results.Both Comey and Rogers stressed to the committee that they had seen no evidence of anyone compromising electronic election terminals to directly influence the outcome, although some voter registration records were obtained.Both men also shot down wild claims by a Fox News analyst – and later tweeted by Commander in Chief Trump – that then-President Barack Obama ordered that Trump and his associates be wiretapped, possibly by British agents at GCHQ.Admiral Rogers agreed, saying that no members of the NSA had been involved in any such shenanigans, and he hadn't seen evidence of such surveillance.Noisy hacking attacks by RussiaA large part of the hearings covered the ongoing investigation into Russian state spies and Putin-sponsored miscreants actively influencing the US presidential election.
The director, testifying before a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also said that the agency was probing whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government."I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counter-intelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.As with any counter-intelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed," Comey said.Moments later, in response to a question about Trump's claims on Twitter earlier this month that Trump was wiretapped by Obama during the election, Comey responded: "The department has no information that supports those tweets."The president later followed up with other tweets saying the same thing.Comey and Mike Rogers, the National Security Agency director, both testified that there was no evidence that Russian hacking intruded into US voting machines to change the outcome of the presidential election
Jeremy Fleming, the deputy director-general of MI5, is to helm GCHQ following the surprise resignation of Robert Hannigan this January.Citing "personal reasons", Hannigan informed the UK's Foreign Secretary of his decision to leave in an exchange of letters a couple of months ago.Even then, his departure came at a difficult time for the agency as its most prominent ally, the US National Security Agency, looked towards pro-torture President Trump as its commander-in-chief.He also comes at an interesting time for the spy agency.Just over two weeks ago, on Twitter, the US president first claimed that his phones had been "tapped" by former US president Barack Obama.Last week, President Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer repeated accusations that GCHQ had been "wiretapping" the leader on behalf of the NSA, a claim initially made by Fox news "media commentator" Judge Andre Napolitano.
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Today, FBI director James Comey and NSA director Mike Rogers told the House Intelligence Committee that they’ve seen nothing to confirm the allegation President Trump made in a tweet March 4.Yet the White House stands by a story various Trump surrogates have repeated in the weeks since.Hours before Spicer addressed the press, Comey definitively rejected the president’s baseless tirade.“The department has no information that supports those tweets,” Comey said as Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, repeatedly grilled him on Trump’s accusations.The administration’s insistence on sticking to Trump’s story represents a stunning dismissal of the country’s intelligence apparatus.Even after US intelligence declared that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee, candidate Trump insisted the hacker could be a 400-pound guy sitting on his bed.
The FBI is actively investigating Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible cooperation from President Donald Trump's campaign, agency director James Comey confirmed.The existence of an investigation isn't a surprise, but Comey's announcement Monday is the first time the FBI has acknowledged an active case.The FBI typically does not comment on active investigations, but the Russian actions targeting the U.S. election represents an "unusual" case, he told members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.U.S. intelligence agencies are confident that Russia directed hacks into the Democratic National Committee and campaign officials for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.Leaked emails were released by WikiLeaks and other websites during the 2016 campaign.During the hearing, Comey also shot down Trump claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in New York City during the presidential campaign.
But do you want to hear a dirty little secret about Trump’s allegations?An identical scenario to the one Trump describes actually happened in the 1980s.President Trump is entering the third week of his claims that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election season.First, Trump made the unfounded claims with precisely zero indication of where he got the information.While Trump has still offered no proof, there’s actually a precedent for this precise kind of arrangement between Five Eyes partners—Five Eyes being the spying alliance between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.The 1994 book Spyworld was written by Mike Frost, a former intelligence officer for Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), a bit like Canada’s version of the NSA.
Appearing before the House Select Committee on Intelligence today, FBI director James Comey couldn’t offer a shred of evidence to support Donald Trump’s outlandish and totally unsubstantiated claim that former President Obama wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower during the election.“I have no information that supports those tweets,” said Comey.That’s right, the head of the FBI is currently sitting alongside Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, to answer questions from members of Congress about Trump’s neurotic tweets.Comey went on to say that there is “no information” that supports Trump’s claim and that “no president could” order a wiretap.“I’ve seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in such activity, nor that anyone engaged in such activity,” said Rogers.Literally nobody—including Trump himself, who basically has access to all of the world’s intelligence—has provided even the smallest piece of evidence to prove his wiretapping claim.
As President Barack Obama stated in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Merkel:“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not — and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones — if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.”It’s still up for debate whether fake news changed the outcome of the recent presidential election, but most would agree the country is better off if we were reading accurate stories.While there’s no quick and easy way to fix fake news, one technology could help improve the quality of public discourse: artificial Intelligence.Facebook and Google are already using AI to identify content that appears specious, and soon we’ll see media companies, government and non-partisan groups, and other concerned organizations deploy similar tools.AI-powered software can already analyze the structure of an article to assess its logical soundness.While analyzing video content is more challenging, it is not far off.Imagine a world where every article could be assessed based on its level of sound discourse.Several years ago, I read with interest an article by Paul Graham, famed investor and founder of Y Combinator, entitled “How to Disagree.” In it, Graham lays out the stages of argumentation – spanning from the least sophisticated strategy of name calling to ad-hominen attacks, all the way up to direct refutation of a central argument.Natural language understanding and machine learning tools could be designed to parse articles to uncover the underlying rhetorical architecture, including the main point of the piece, the statements supporting the central thesis, determining if the author directly assails the central argument or simply tries to discredit the source, and more.Think of this as the higher-level abstraction of software development environments that automatically format text according to the programming language and context like indenting, closing brackets, grouping functions by color, etc.These capabilities make it simpler to understand the context and functionality of the underlying code and how individual snippets relate and contribute to the larger code base.
Intelligence agency GCHQ has had to take time out of its day to specifically refute Donald Trump's claims that it wiretapped Trump Tower during the election.Usually, GCHQ doesn't comment on anything, preferring a dignified silence and the old "we can neither confirm nor deny."To directly respond to, publicly refute, and pretty much insult the people making the claims is unprecedented.But then, so is Trump.If you missed it, Press Sec Sean Spicer repeated Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano's claim that Barack Obama used GCHQ to wiretap Trump, a sentence which sounds like the kind of dream you have after too much cheese:"Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command.
Intelligence agency GCHQ has had to take time out of its day to specifically refute Donald Trump's claims that it wiretapped Trump Tower during the election.Usually, GCHQ doesn't comment on anything, preferring a dignified silence and the old "we can neither confirm nor deny."To directly respond to, publicly refute, and pretty much insult the people making the claims is unprecedented.But then, so is Trump.If you missed it, Press Sec Sean Spicer repeated Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano's claim that Barack Obama used GCHQ to wiretap Trump, a sentence which sounds like the kind of dream you have after too much cheese:"Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command.
Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary and occasional Easter Bunny, went on national TV yesterday and said that President Obama used British intelligence sources to spy on Donald Trump.GCHQ responded with a rare public statement flatly denying the charge.“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command,” Spicer alleged in a press conference yesterday.The Telegraph reports that General McMaster, the National Security Adviser who replaced the disgraced Michael Flynn, personally apologised as well.“Recent allegations made by media commentator judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense,” GCHQ said in a rare statement.“They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
GCHQ described the claims as “nonsense” after Donald Trump tweeted that he had been under surveillanceThe UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has vehemently denied claims made by an American TV station that it carried out surveillance on Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Presidential election.Earlier this week, Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano accused GCHQ of helping former US President Barack Obama eavesdrop on Donald Trump while he was still in office.White House press secretary Sean Spicer then repeated the claims during a press conference on Thursday, prompting a furious response from the UK intelligence organisation.“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command,” Spicer said during his press conference.“He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI and he didn’t use the Department of Justice.
Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary and occasional Easter Bunny, went on national TV yesterday and said that President Obama used British intelligence sources to spy on Donald Trump.GCHQ responded with a rare public statement flatly denying the charge.“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command,” Spicer alleged in a press conference yesterday.The Telegraph reports that General McMaster, the National Security Adviser who replaced the disgraced Michael Flynn, personally apologised as well.“Recent allegations made by media commentator judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense,” GCHQ said in a rare statement.“They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
The White House has issued a formal apology to Britain after accusing its intelligence agency, GCHQ, of assisting former president Barack Obama in wiretapping Trump Tower in the weeks after the US election.The US has agreed not to repeat any such claims after GCHQ denied the allegations, BBC reports.A spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May further said it has been made clear to the White House the claims were “ridiculous and should have been ignored.”An investigation conducted by a Senate committee earlier this week also concluded there were absolutely “no indications” to suggest the government surveilled Trump Tower before or after the election.GCHQ has similarly downplayed the accusations – voiced by Press Secretary Sean Spicer earlier this week – as “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous.”While the allegations initially came from former judge Andrew Napolitano, Spicer repeatedly referred to them in press conferences despite offering no evidence to back up the claims.
President Donald Trump a few days ago let loose one of the wildest claims of his presidency so far, that his predecessor wiretapped him at Trump Tower during the campaign.Since then, President Barack Obama denied those accusations, but Trump’s administration failed to either retract the allegations or provide any proof to support them.In fact, Kellyanne Conway went on to detail in an interview the various ways Trump Tower could have been wiretapped.Among the things Trump’s advisor mentioned are TVs and “microwaves that turn into cameras.”In an interview with Bergen Record’s Mike Kelly, Conway implied that more sophisticated surveillance techniques may have been used to spy on Trump during the campaign, without providing any sort of evidence.Instead, Conway cited articles that emerged last week detailing the CIA’s advanced malware programs capable of turning iPhone, Android, and even TV sets into devices that can silently spy on targets, as leaked by Wikileaks.
Kellyanne Conway, on a couch littered with embroidered throw pillows, told Bergen Record columnist Mike Kelly that we can all be surveilled by “microwaves that turn into cameras.” This, according to one of Trump’s most distinguished fabulists, is “just a fact of modern life.” Pardon me while I have an aneurysm.No such piece of tech exists, because why would anyone ever want a Transformers-esque camera-wave?When asked about her boss’s allegations that he’d been wiretapped by Barack Obama—allegations which were made with zero evidence and have been regarded as baseless—Conway responded thusly:Conway: What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately.Conway: There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their—certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways, and microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera.By “an article” Conway was almost certainly referring to the unverified Wikileaks Vault 7 documents which supposedly originated with the CIA.
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