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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 127)

Viewers trash CNN following debate for biased questions against Bernie Sanders

Westlake Legal Group HLYJlsu33mLhFV1gR9UTyMbSGqGi6t9km9j4e1F5pRQ Viewers trash CNN following debate for biased questions against Bernie Sanders r/politics

I’m Warren this time around, but it was so painfully obvious that CNN Corporate execs were bought out by centrist / Republican bidders…

“Bernie Sanders… You advocate for Medicare For All.. Why are you raping and pillaging the people as they drown in the taxes wrought by your disastrous plan?”

Quick facts:

  • These questions NEVER consider how much excess we pay ALREADY

  • They never consider how many people are UNINSURED or UNDER-INSURED AND DIE because of this.

  • They never look at the ROI of true Universal Healthcare and its positive-feedback loop on society.


Foreword: I work in the healthcare system from a logistical standpoint. My wife is also an RN. I’ve researched this passionately for a while. I’ll do my best to target exactly what makes it more efficient while simultaneously being more ethical:

Americans pay 1.5-2x MORE per-capita for the cost of healthcare than comparative first-world industrialized OECD nations. So when people say “how will we pay for it?” tell them in all likelihood it will be cheaper than what we’re paying now. And yet they’re able to provide healthcare coverage to their entire population. In America? Even today despite the ACA helping, ~28 million people still lack healthcare coverage despite gains with the ACA. Because of this, up to 40,000 people die annually due solely to a lack of healthcare. Even a fraction of this figure is disgusting and causes more deaths to innocent Americans than 9/11 every 28 days.

  • They’re able to closely match (and sometimes out-pace) the health outcomes of the United States (WHO, OECD, Commonwealth)

  • They’re able to do this at almost half the cost (whether it’s private or via taxes, it makes no difference when you’re broadly paying less).

  • They’re able to provide ethical coverage to EVERYONE.

  • In doing so, you standardize administrative costs and billing (where a much higher overhead and waste occurs in the U.S. Up to 30% in administrative costs is unparalleled from elsewhere, even Medicare has much lower overhead).

  • You have a Return On Investment (ROI). It’s no surprise that when your workforce is healthier, happier, they’re more productive seeing as they’re less stressed and more capable of tackling their health ailments while they’re small instead of waiting for them to snowball to the point they’re unavoidable. (Per Kaiser Family Foundation, ~50% of Americans refuse to seek medical attention annually due to concerns for medical costs. Being in the healthcare industry, I assure you this is not what you want as you will inevitably be forced to confront your ailment when it’s exacerbated and exponentially more costlier to treat).

  • Medicare (what would likely be expanded to all) has superior patient satisfaction, leverages better rates against Hospitals, and is better at auditing fraud–all the while keeping things transparent (which is why their reports are broadly public and private insurers keep their data a closely guarded secret).

A final note is that apologists like to tout our advanced medical technologies. But here are a few points to make on that: 750,000 Americans leave to go elsewhere in the world for affordable health care. Only 75,000 of the rest of the world engage in “medical tourism” and come here to America annually. Let’s also note that most people lack the top-tier health insurance plans to access/afford such pioneering procedures. Meanwhile, countries like Germany and Japan are still innovators, so don’t let the rhetoric fool you. Worst case, America could easily take the savings from streamlining the billing process and inject that into research grants to universities, CDC, or NIH.

It is more efficient and ethical, and momentum is building. I’ll end with posting this AskReddit post of people telling their heartfelt stories in universal healthcare nations. While these are a collection of powerful anecdotes, it is 99% highly positive, with valuable views from those who’ve lived both in America and elsewhere. Simply speaking, both the comparative metrics and anecdotes do not support our current failed health care system.

If they’re still asking, “how will we pay for it?” Ask them if they cared about the loss in tax revenue that resulted from unnecessary tax-breaks on the wealthy, or the $2.4 trillion dollar cost of the Iraq War for which we received no Return-On-Investment (ROI). Remind them what the Eisenhower Interstate Highway Project did for us as an ROI. Remind them what technology we reaped from putting men on the moon, or the cost of WWII and development of the atom-bomb. Curiously, these people do not speak a word to these issues. Put simply, America is “great” when we remember that we have a reputation for a can-do attitude. Making excuses for why we cannot do something isn’t our style when we know it’s the right thing. We persevere because it’s the right thing.

Please, support Universal Healthcare in the form of Single-payer, Medicare-For-All. Be it Sanders’ plan or Warren’s plan, it doesn’t matter. Both are sufficient to push the concept forward into actual policy which will evolve.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How China Obtains American Trade Secrets

Westlake Legal Group merlin_154986675_9a62197b-7cc2-4aa1-9b78-13594ff50ac4-facebookJumbo How China Obtains American Trade Secrets wind power United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Solar Energy Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures International Trade and World Market Industrial Espionage China Automobiles

BEIJING — The new trade deal between Washington and Beijing is intended in part to address one of the most acrimonious issues between them: China’s tactics in acquiring technology from companies based in the West.

It’s a thorny topic, and one that is unlikely to be fully solved with a trade pact.

The Trump administration blames China for stealing Western trade secrets, and it used those allegations as the legal basis for launching the trade war nearly two years ago. Trade talks between the two sides quickly became about broader issues, but the partial trade pact set to be signed on Wednesday includes pledges by China to stop some of the practices that Western businesses have long criticized. Depending on the details, that could make the deal more palatable for American businesses.

Underpinning these concerns is that China has repeatedly shown that it can acquire technology and, through heavy government subsidies, build competitive rivals to American companies. Businesses worry that it could do the same in other industries, like software and chips.

China has long denied that it forces foreign companies to give up technology. They do it willingly, Beijing asserts, to get access to China’s vast and growing market. Still, Chinese officials say they are taking steps to address the concerns.

The American authorities have long accused Chinese companies and individuals of hacking and other outright theft of American corporate secrets. And some in the Trump administration worry that Chinese companies are simply buying it through corporate deals.

American companies say Chinese companies also use more subtle tactics to get access to valuable technology.

Sometimes China requires foreign companies to form joint ventures with local firms in order to do business there, as in the case of the auto industry. It also sometimes requires that a certain percentage of a product’s value be manufactured locally, as it once did with wind turbines and solar panels.

The technology companies Apple and Amazon set up ventures with local partners to handle data in China to comply with internal security laws.

Companies are loath to accuse Chinese partners of theft for fear of getting punished. Business groups that represent them say Chinese companies use those corporate ties to pressure foreign partners into giving up secrets. They also say Chinese officials have pressured foreign companies to give them access to sensitive technology as part of a review process to make sure those products are safe for Chinese consumers.

Foreign business groups point to renewable energy as one area where China used some of these tactics to build homegrown industries.

Gamesa of Spain was the wind turbine market leader in China when Beijing mandated in 2005 that 70 percent of each wind turbine installed in China had to be manufactured inside the country. The company trained more than 500 suppliers in China to manufacture practically every part in its turbines. It set up a plant to assemble them in the city of Tianjin. Other multinational wind turbine manufacturers did the same.

The Obama administration questioned the policy as a violation of World Trade Organization rules and China withdrew it, but by then it was too late. Chinese state-controlled enterprises had begun to assemble turbines using the same suppliers. China is now the world’s biggest market for wind turbines, and they are mostly made by Chinese companies.

A somewhat similar industrial evolution occurred soon after in solar energy. China required that its first big municipal solar project only use solar panels that were at least 80 percent made in China. Companies rushed to produce in China and share technology.

The Chinese government also heavily subsidized the manufacture of solar panels, mostly for export. Chinese companies ended up producing most of the world’s solar panels.

Some in the Trump administration fear the same thing is happening in cars.

Shortly after opening China to foreign auto companies, Chinese officials held a competition among global automakers for who would be allowed to enter the market. The competition included a detailed review of each company’s offer to transfer technology to a joint venture to be formed with a Chinese state-owned partner.

General Motors beat out Ford Motor and Toyota by agreeing to build a state-of-the-art assembly plant in Shanghai with four dozen robots to make the latest Buicks. Executives at Volkswagen, the German automaker that had entered China even earlier, were furious, because competitive pressures forced them to upgrade their technology as well.

China is now the world’s largest car market. But except for a few luxury models, practically all of the cars sold in China are made there. Steep Chinese tariffs on imported cars and car parts have also played a role, as has the desire of foreign companies to avoid the costs and risks of transporting cars from distant production sites.

In the trade truce expected to be signed on Wednesday, Chinese officials have agreed not to force companies to transfer technology as a condition of doing business, and they undertook to punish firms that infringe on or steal trade secrets. China also agreed not to use Chinese companies to obtain sensitive technology through acquisitions.

Even before that, Chinese officials pledged to drop the joint venture requirement in areas like cars.

The question is whether China will stick to its pledges. Chinese officials have already issued rules echoing much of what they promised in Wednesday’s agreement. Foreign lawyers say the new rules have large loopholes. The rules give Chinese regulators broad discretion to act as they see fit in cases that involve “special circumstances,” “national state interests” and other fuzzy exceptions.

The trade pact calls for consultations within 90 days if the United States thinks Beijing is not living up to its commitments, but it is unclear whether the Trump administration could then force compliance. More broadly, the pact does not address China’s subsidies for new industries, a key factor in what happened in sectors like solar panels. China has largely rebuffed calls to rein in subsidies for homegrown competitors in industries like semiconductors, commercial aircraft, electric cars and other technologies of tomorrow.

The Trump administration is counting on tariffs to counterbalance that. The partial trade pact will leave in place broad tariffs on many of those industries to prevent Chinese competitors from flooding the American market. Leaving broad tariffs in place also gives Western companies a strong financial incentive to reconsider supply chains that are heavily reliant on China.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pence tells Wisconsin rally Packers will defeat Pelosi’s 49ers

Westlake Legal Group AP19325828215089-1 Pence tells Wisconsin rally Packers will defeat Pelosi's 49ers fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/wisconsin fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/mike-pence fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article ab355130-e17f-53c3-92fa-38f0981ce16e

Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd of Trump supporters in Wisconsin Tuesday that the Green Bay Packers are just days away from beating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game over the weekend.

PENCE RESPONDS TO GOP SEN. LEE’S CRITICISM OF IRAN INTEL BRIEFING: SOLEIMANI STRIKE PREVENTED ‘IMMINENT’ ATTACK

“We’re 11 months away from Election Day, and we’re just five days away from when the Green Bay Packers defeat Nancy Pelosi’s 49ers,” Pence said at a rally in Milwaukee. The crowd then erupted into chants of “Go Pack Go,” SF Gate reported.

The two teams are scheduled to face off at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday.

PELOSI IS A BIG SPORTS FAN

In 2017, Pence left a 49ers game against his home state’s Indianapolis Colts when several players on the San Francisco team knelt in protest during the national anthem. It was later reported that Pence’s brief visit – which involved flying Air Force 1 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles for the game – cost taxpayers more than $250,000.

Pelosi, who represents California’s 12th congressional district, which includes San Francisco, told reporters last week that she wanted to go to the 49ers’ Divisional Round playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings but instead needed to “save our country from peril” by remaining in Washington.

She announced Tuesday that the entire House would vote this week on whether to send the two articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate for trial.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

Pelosi had been withholding the articles hoping to receive a commitment from Senate Republicans to see additional documents and testimony as part of trial proceedings. That commitment never came, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday he was considering allowing both sides – Democrats and Republicans – to call additional witnesses.

She has not commented on whether she’ll attend the NFC Championship Game.

Westlake Legal Group AP19325828215089-1 Pence tells Wisconsin rally Packers will defeat Pelosi's 49ers fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/wisconsin fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/mike-pence fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article ab355130-e17f-53c3-92fa-38f0981ce16e   Westlake Legal Group AP19325828215089-1 Pence tells Wisconsin rally Packers will defeat Pelosi's 49ers fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/wisconsin fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/mike-pence fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article ab355130-e17f-53c3-92fa-38f0981ce16e

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Consolation prize: Clemson knocks off No. 3 Duke in hoops

Westlake Legal Group Newman-Hoag Consolation prize: Clemson knocks off No. 3 Duke in hoops fox-news/sports/ncaa/duke-blue-devils fox-news/sports/ncaa/clemson-tigers fox-news/sports/ncaa-bk fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article a21d2cf1-92cc-56c2-a2c5-f033f99e631f

What a wild ride the past four days have been for Clemson fans.

The Tigers beat No. 3 Duke 79-72 on Tuesday night to sandwich wins over the Atlantic Coast Conference’s basketball blue bloods around Monday’s loss in the College Football Playoff title game.

Tuesday night’s win over the Blue Devils was the highest-profile upset for the Tigers (9-7, 3-3 ACC) since they beat No. 1 North Carolina on their home court in February 2001. And just like that day, students rushed the court at Littlejohn Coliseum.

On Saturday, Clemson beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill for the first time in program history, ending a 59-game losing streak on the Tar Heels’ home court and setting off a locker room celebration that looked like the aftermath of an NCAA Tournament win. The Tigers have won three in a row since falling below .500 in a Dec. 31 loss to Miami.

“2020 is starting to feel like our year,” said Aamir Simms, who led Clemson with a career-high 25 points.

The Blue Devils (15-2, 5-1 ) came into the game as 10 1/2-point favorites and were leading the nation with an average margin of victory of 21.5 points. Duke had not lost since a stunning home defeat to Stephen F. Austin in November.

Clemson fans, stung by the football Tigers’ first loss in 30 games — a 42-25 defeat against LSU Monday night at the Superdome in New Orleans — stopped moping less than 24 hours later. Duke never had a bigger lead than 4-0 and Clemson led for more than 28 minutes.

Simms and Tevin Mack, who scored 22 points, kept dragging Duke’s big men around the perimeter.

“We tried to move their guys around a lot. They have a lot of size,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said.

That opened up the lane for Clemson’s offense. Seventeen of the Tigers’ 30 baskets were layups or dunks — including one by John Newman III that was so nasty it got a shout-out on Twitter from Magic Johnson.

“Simms was spectacular tonight in how he controlled the game,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Clemson led 40-33 at halftime and stretched the lead to nine points before Duke rallied. The Blue Devils led 62-59 with 6:40 remaining.

That’s when Clemson took control with a 14-3 run, including eight points from Simms. His three-point play made it 73-65 with 2:16 remaining.

Mack finished 10 of 14 from the field. Simms was almost as efficient, shooting 10 of 15, and he had nine rebounds and five assists.

Vernon Carey Jr. scored 20 points for Duke and Tre Jones had 17.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: The Blue Devils’ defense, ball control and free throws betrayed them. Clemson shot 56.6%, far better than anyone else against Duke this season. Duke also turned the ball over 15 times and made just 10 of 20 free throws.

Clemson: The obituaries for the Tigers’ season written after a 73-68 overtime loss to Miami were premature. Clemson has won three in a row, shooting at least 43% in each game. And beating North Carolina and Duke back-to-back is every ACC fan’s dream.

DOMINATING CAROLINA

Clemson has only beaten North Carolina and Duke in back-to-back games once before — in 1990 on the way to the Tigers’ only regular-season title in 67 ACC seasons.

Add the win Jan. 4 over North Carolina State and Clemson has beaten the three ACC teams from the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area in consecutive games for the first time since 1967. The Wolfpack win came between victories over the Blue Devils and Tar Heels that year.

DUKE INJURIES

Duke’s Joey Baker missed Tuesday’s game with a sprained right ankle.

Krzyzewski said the Blue Devils missed more from the sophomore than just his seven points a game. He also averages 15 minutes, spelling Jones and and others in key stretches.

“Not having what we have had hurts us. And we’re not going to have it for a little bit,” said Krzyzewski, who isn’t sure if Baker will return for Saturday’s game against No. 11 Louisville.

BROWNELL MILESTONE

Not only did Brownell beat the highest-ranked team in his 10 years at Clemson on Tuesday night, he also became the winngest coach in Tigers history.

It was Brownell’s 178th victory, passing Cliff Ellis.

“I’m honored. There have been a lot of good coaches here,” Brownell said.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Duke got jumped by Baylor in this week’s AP Top 25 to fall to third. The Blue Devils will likely drop further.

UP NEXT

Duke: The Blue Devils host No. 11 Louisville on Saturday with first place in the ACC on the line.

Clemson: The Tigers take on their fourth of five North Carolina-based ACC teams in a row when they head to North Carolina State on Saturday. Clemson has never played five North Carolina teams consecutively in one season.

Westlake Legal Group Newman-Hoag Consolation prize: Clemson knocks off No. 3 Duke in hoops fox-news/sports/ncaa/duke-blue-devils fox-news/sports/ncaa/clemson-tigers fox-news/sports/ncaa-bk fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article a21d2cf1-92cc-56c2-a2c5-f033f99e631f   Westlake Legal Group Newman-Hoag Consolation prize: Clemson knocks off No. 3 Duke in hoops fox-news/sports/ncaa/duke-blue-devils fox-news/sports/ncaa/clemson-tigers fox-news/sports/ncaa-bk fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article a21d2cf1-92cc-56c2-a2c5-f033f99e631f

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Want Your Personal Data? Hand Over More

Westlake Legal Group 00datarequests2-facebookJumbo Want Your Personal Data? Hand Over More Science and Technology Privacy Law and Legislation General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Data Storage California

The new year ushered in a landmark California privacy law that gives residents more control over how their digital data is used. The Golden State isn’t the only beneficiary, though, because many companies are extending the protections — the most important being the right to see and delete the personal data a company has — to all their customers in the United States.

In the fall, I took the right of access for a test drive, asking companies in the business of profiling and scoring consumers for their files on me. One of the companies, Sift, which assesses a user’s trustworthiness, sent me a 400-page file that contained years’ worth of my Airbnb messages, Yelp orders and Coinbase activity. Soon after my article was published, Sift was deluged with over 16,000 requests, forcing it to hire a vendor to deal with the crush.

That vendor, Berbix, helped verify the identity of people requesting data by asking them to upload photos of their government ID and to take a selfie. It then asked them to take a second selfie while following instructions. “Make sure you are looking happy or joyful and try again” was one such command.

Many people who read the article about my experience were alarmed by the information that Berbix asked for — and the need to smile for their secret file.

“This is a nightmare future where I can’t request my data from a creepy shadow credit bureau without putting on a smile for them, and it’s completely insane,” Jack Phelps, a software engineer in New York City, said in an email.

“It just seems wrong that we have to give up even more personal information,” wrote another reader, Barbara Clancy, a retired professor of neuroscience in Arkansas.

That’s the unpleasant reality: To get your personal data, you may have to give up more personal data. It seems awful at first. Alistair Barr of Bloomberg called it “the new privacy circle of hell.”

But there’s a good reason for this. Companies don’t want to give your data away to the wrong person, which has happened in the past. In 2018, Amazon sent 1,700 audio files of a customer talking to his Alexa to a stranger.

The right to have access to personal data is enshrined in the new California Consumer Privacy Act. The law is modeled in part on privacy regulations in Europe, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or G.D.P.R. Soon after Europe’s law went into effect, in May 2018, a hacker gained access to the Spotify account of Jean Yang, a tech executive, and successfully filed a data request to download her home address, credit card information and a history of the music she had listened to.

Since then, two groups of researchers have demonstrated that it’s possible to fool the systems created to comply with G.D.P.R. to get someone else’s personal information.

One of the researchers, James Pavur, 24, a doctoral student at Oxford University, filed data requests on behalf of his research partner and wife, Casey Knerr, at 150 companies using information that was easily found for her online, such as her mailing address, email address and phone number. To make the requests, he created an email address that was a variation on Ms. Knerr’s name. A quarter of the companies sent him her file.

“I got her Social Security number, high school grades, a good chunk of information about her credit card,” Mr. Pavur said. “A threat intelligence company sent me all her user names and passwords that had been leaked.”

Mariano Di Martino and Pieter Robyns, computer science researchers at Hasselt University in Belgium, had the same success rate when they approached 55 financial, entertainment and news companies. They requested each other’s data, using more advanced techniques than those of Mr. Pavur, such as photoshopping each other’s government ID. In one case, Mr. Di Martino received the data file of a complete stranger whose name was similar to that of Mr. Robyns.

Both sets of researchers thought the new law giving the right to data was worthwhile. But they said companies needed to improve their security practices to avoid compromising customers’ privacy further.

“Companies are rushing to solutions that lead to insecure practices,” Mr. Robyns said.

Companies employ different techniques for verifying identity. Many simply ask for a photo of a driver’s license. Retail Equation, a company that decides whether a consumer can make returns at retailers like Best Buy and Victoria’s Secret, asks only for a name and driver’s license number.

The wide array of companies now required to hand over data, from Baskin Robbins to The New York Times, have varying levels of security expertise and experience in providing data to consumers.

Companies such as Apple, Amazon and Twitter can ask users to verify their identity by logging into their platforms. All three give a heads-up via email after data is requested, which can help warn people if a hacker got access to their account. An Apple spokesman said that after a request is made, the company uses additional methods to verify the person’s identity, though the company said it couldn’t disclose those methods for security reasons.

If consumers can’t verify their identity by logging into an existing account, Mr. Di Martino and Mr. Robyns recommend that companies email them, call them or ask them for information that only they should know, such as the invoice number on a recent bill.

“Regulators need to think more about the unintended consequences of empowering individuals to access and delete their data,” said Steve Kirkham, who worked on Airbnb’s trust and safety team for five years, before founding Berbix in 2018. “We want to prevent fraudulent requests and let the good ones go through.”

It is on regulators’ minds. The California law requires businesses to “verify the identity of the consumer making the request to a reasonable degree of certainty” and to have a more stringent verification process for “sensitive or valuable personal information.”

Mr. Kirkham said Berbix requested the first selfie to test whether a person’s face matched their ID; the second selfie, with a smile or some other facial expression, ensures that someone isn’t simply holding a photo up to the camera. Mr. Kirkham said Berbix ultimately deleted the data collected within seven days to a year, depending on the retention period requested by the company that hires the firm. (Sift deletes its data after two weeks.)

“It’s a new threat vector companies should consider,” said Blake Brannon, vice president of product at OneTrust, another company that helps businesses comply with the new data privacy laws. OneTrust offers the 4,500 organizations using its service the option to create several levels of identity verification, such as sending a token to someone’s phone or verifying ownership of an email address.

“If I’m requesting something simple or lightweight, the verification is minimal, versus a deletion request,” Mr. Brannon said. “That will require more levels of verification.”

Mr. Kirkham of Berbix said the verification process discouraged some people from making the data request at all.

“A lot of people don’t want to give more information,” Mr. Kirkham said. “Their assumption is that you will do something nefarious with it.”

He added: “But that’s the irony here. We require additional information from people to protect them. We want to make sure you are who you say you are.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Want Your Personal Data? Hand Over More

Westlake Legal Group 00datarequests2-facebookJumbo Want Your Personal Data? Hand Over More Science and Technology Privacy Law and Legislation General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Data Storage California

The new year ushered in a landmark California privacy law that gives residents more control over how their digital data is used. The Golden State isn’t the only beneficiary, though, because many companies are extending the protections — the most important being the right to see and delete the personal data a company has — to all their customers in the United States.

In the fall, I took the right of access for a test drive, asking companies in the business of profiling and scoring consumers for their files on me. One of the companies, Sift, which assesses a user’s trustworthiness, sent me a 400-page file that contained years’ worth of my Airbnb messages, Yelp orders and Coinbase activity. Soon after my article was published, Sift was deluged with over 16,000 requests, forcing it to hire a vendor to deal with the crush.

That vendor, Berbix, helped verify the identity of people requesting data by asking them to upload photos of their government ID and to take a selfie. It then asked them to take a second selfie while following instructions. “Make sure you are looking happy or joyful and try again” was one such command.

Many people who read the article about my experience were alarmed by the information that Berbix asked for — and the need to smile for their secret file.

“This is a nightmare future where I can’t request my data from a creepy shadow credit bureau without putting on a smile for them, and it’s completely insane,” Jack Phelps, a software engineer in New York City, said in an email.

“It just seems wrong that we have to give up even more personal information,” wrote another reader, Barbara Clancy, a retired professor of neuroscience in Arkansas.

That’s the unpleasant reality: To get your personal data, you may have to give up more personal data. It seems awful at first. Alistair Barr of Bloomberg called it “the new privacy circle of hell.”

But there’s a good reason for this. Companies don’t want to give your data away to the wrong person, which has happened in the past. In 2018, Amazon sent 1,700 audio files of a customer talking to his Alexa to a stranger.

The right to have access to personal data is enshrined in the new California Consumer Privacy Act. The law is modeled in part on privacy regulations in Europe, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or G.D.P.R. Soon after Europe’s law went into effect, in May 2018, a hacker gained access to the Spotify account of Jean Yang, a tech executive, and successfully filed a data request to download her home address, credit card information and a history of the music she had listened to.

Since then, two groups of researchers have demonstrated that it’s possible to fool the systems created to comply with G.D.P.R. to get someone else’s personal information.

One of the researchers, James Pavur, 24, a doctoral student at Oxford University, filed data requests on behalf of his research partner and wife, Casey Knerr, at 150 companies using information that was easily found for her online, such as her mailing address, email address and phone number. To make the requests, he created an email address that was a variation on Ms. Knerr’s name. A quarter of the companies sent him her file.

“I got her Social Security number, high school grades, a good chunk of information about her credit card,” Mr. Pavur said. “A threat intelligence company sent me all her user names and passwords that had been leaked.”

Mariano Di Martino and Pieter Robyns, computer science researchers at Hasselt University in Belgium, had the same success rate when they approached 55 financial, entertainment and news companies. They requested each other’s data, using more advanced techniques than those of Mr. Pavur, such as photoshopping each other’s government ID. In one case, Mr. Di Martino received the data file of a complete stranger whose name was similar to that of Mr. Robyns.

Both sets of researchers thought the new law giving the right to data was worthwhile. But they said companies needed to improve their security practices to avoid compromising customers’ privacy further.

“Companies are rushing to solutions that lead to insecure practices,” Mr. Robyns said.

Companies employ different techniques for verifying identity. Many simply ask for a photo of a driver’s license. Retail Equation, a company that decides whether a consumer can make returns at retailers like Best Buy and Victoria’s Secret, asks only for a name and driver’s license number.

The wide array of companies now required to hand over data, from Baskin Robbins to The New York Times, have varying levels of security expertise and experience in providing data to consumers.

Companies such as Apple, Amazon and Twitter can ask users to verify their identity by logging into their platforms. All three give a heads-up via email after data is requested, which can help warn people if a hacker got access to their account. An Apple spokesman said that after a request is made, the company uses additional methods to verify the person’s identity, though the company said it couldn’t disclose those methods for security reasons.

If consumers can’t verify their identity by logging into an existing account, Mr. Di Martino and Mr. Robyns recommend that companies email them, call them or ask them for information that only they should know, such as the invoice number on a recent bill.

“Regulators need to think more about the unintended consequences of empowering individuals to access and delete their data,” said Steve Kirkham, who worked on Airbnb’s trust and safety team for five years, before founding Berbix in 2018. “We want to prevent fraudulent requests and let the good ones go through.”

It is on regulators’ minds. The California law requires businesses to “verify the identity of the consumer making the request to a reasonable degree of certainty” and to have a more stringent verification process for “sensitive or valuable personal information.”

Mr. Kirkham said Berbix requested the first selfie to test whether a person’s face matched their ID; the second selfie, with a smile or some other facial expression, ensures that someone isn’t simply holding a photo up to the camera. Mr. Kirkham said Berbix ultimately deleted the data collected within seven days to a year, depending on the retention period requested by the company that hires the firm. (Sift deletes its data after two weeks.)

“It’s a new threat vector companies should consider,” said Blake Brannon, vice president of product at OneTrust, another company that helps businesses comply with the new data privacy laws. OneTrust offers the 4,500 organizations using its service the option to create several levels of identity verification, such as sending a token to someone’s phone or verifying ownership of an email address.

“If I’m requesting something simple or lightweight, the verification is minimal, versus a deletion request,” Mr. Brannon said. “That will require more levels of verification.”

Mr. Kirkham of Berbix said the verification process discouraged some people from making the data request at all.

“A lot of people don’t want to give more information,” Mr. Kirkham said. “Their assumption is that you will do something nefarious with it.”

He added: “But that’s the irony here. We require additional information from people to protect them. We want to make sure you are who you say you are.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

What to Expect from the House and Senate on Trump’s Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-whattowatch-facebookJumbo What to Expect from the House and Senate on Trump's Impeachment Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Pelosi, Nancy McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives

After a monthlong delay, the House is expected to vote on Wednesday to send two articles of impeachment to the Senate, setting in motion only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

The day will be filled with pomp and circumstance, including a vote on the House floor, a formal “engrossment” ceremony of the impeachment articles and a procession through the Capitol Rotunda to formally deliver the charges to the Senate.

What we’re expecting to see: Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to reveal whom she has chosen to serve as the impeachment managers to prosecute the case against President Trump in the Senate, and the House will vote to formally appoint them and transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

When we’re likely to see it: Ms. Pelosi is scheduled to announce her choice of impeachment managers at a news conference at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. The House is scheduled to vote on the managers from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., after a 10-minute debate. Ms. Pelosi and the managers will hold the engrossment ceremony at 5 p.m., and the managers will immediately march across the Capitol to deliver the charges.

How to follow it: The New York Times congressional team will be following all of the developments on Capitol Hill and reporters at the White House will get the latest on the next steps for President Trump and his allies. Come to nytimes.com throughout the day for live coverage.

Wednesday’s formalities will largely bring to a conclusion the House’s constitutional role in filing impeachment charges against the president, and ends the frosty standoff between Ms. Pelosi and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, over the outlines of the Senate trial.

Ms. Pelosi had hoped to force Mr. McConnell to commit to calling witnesses and allowing additional documentary evidence by withholding the two impeachment articles for several weeks. But the tactic largely failed after a handful of moderate Republican senators agreed with Mr. McConnell to delay the decision about witnesses and documents until after both sides presented their arguments and senators had an opportunity to ask questions. That could take two weeks or more.

The last time such a handoff took place, during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999, senators struck a bipartisan agreement on the trial rules, voting 100 to 0 to approve them. No such effort is being made this year; Mr. McConnell has said in recent days that he expects all 53 Republican senators to back a trial resolution that could pass without Democratic support.

While Ms. Pelosi will have no formal role in the trial, her hand-selected managers will be front and center, presenting the charges that Mr. Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals, and then obstructed congressional investigations of his actions.

The delivery of the impeachment articles sets in motion several weeks of uncertainty for the Senate.

The general outlines of the trial are clear: The House managers will present the case against Mr. Trump over several days, a team of White House lawyers will then present the president’s defense during an equal period of time, and then senators will be allowed to submit questions in writing to the chief justice.

But the details are still fuzzy — even to the senators themselves. The amount of time each side will get, when opening statements will start and how they will address the question of witnesses is not yet clear.

Mr. McConnell said on Tuesday that some of the answers could come early next week, when the Senate convenes the trial and votes on a Republican organizing resolution. But several Republican senators said that they still had not seen a draft of the resolution.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Smile for Your Data File!

Westlake Legal Group 00datarequests2-facebookJumbo Smile for Your Data File! Science and Technology Privacy Law and Legislation General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Data Storage California

The new year ushered in a landmark California privacy law that gives residents more control over how their digital data is used. The Golden State isn’t the only beneficiary, though, because many companies are extending the protections — the most important being the right to see and delete the personal data a company has — to all their customers in the United States.

In the fall, I took the right of access for a test drive, asking companies in the business of profiling and scoring consumers for their files on me. One of the companies, Sift, which assesses a user’s trustworthiness, sent me a 400-page file that contained years’ worth of my Airbnb messages, Yelp orders and Coinbase activity. Soon after my article was published, Sift was deluged with over 16,000 requests, forcing it to hire a vendor to deal with the crush.

That vendor, Berbix, helped verify the identity of people requesting data by asking them to upload photos of their government ID and to take a selfie. It then asked them to take a second selfie while following instructions. “Make sure you are looking happy or joyful and try again” was one such command.

Many people who read the article about my experience were alarmed by the information that Berbix asked for — and the need to smile for their secret file.

“This is a nightmare future where I can’t request my data from a creepy shadow credit bureau without putting on a smile for them, and it’s completely insane,” Jack Phelps, a software engineer in New York City, said in an email.

“It just seems wrong that we have to give up even more personal information,” wrote another reader, Barbara Clancy, a retired professor of neuroscience in Arkansas.

That’s the unpleasant reality: To get your personal data, you may have to give up more personal data. It seems awful at first. Alistair Barr of Bloomberg called it “the new privacy circle of hell.”

But there’s a good reason for this. Companies don’t want to give your data away to the wrong person, which has happened in the past. In 2018, Amazon sent 1,700 audio files of a customer talking to his Alexa to a stranger.

The right to have access to personal data is enshrined in the new California Consumer Privacy Act. The law is modeled in part on privacy regulations in Europe, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or G.D.P.R. Soon after Europe’s law went into effect, in May 2018, a hacker gained access to the Spotify account of Jean Yang, a tech executive, and successfully filed a data request to download her home address, credit card information and a history of the music she had listened to.

Since then, two groups of researchers have demonstrated that it’s possible to fool the systems created to comply with G.D.P.R. to get someone else’s personal information.

One of the researchers, James Pavur, 24, a doctoral student at Oxford University, filed data requests on behalf of his research partner and wife, Casey Knerr, at 150 companies using information that was easily found for her online, such as her mailing address, email address and phone number. To make the requests, he created an email address that was a variation on Ms. Knerr’s name. A quarter of the companies sent him her file.

“I got her Social Security number, high school grades, a good chunk of information about her credit card,” Mr. Pavur said. “A threat intelligence company sent me all her user names and passwords that had been leaked.”

Mariano Di Martino and Pieter Robyns, computer science researchers at Hasselt University in Belgium, had the same success rate when they approached 55 financial, entertainment and news companies. They requested each other’s data, using more advanced techniques than those of Mr. Pavur, such as photoshopping each other’s government ID. In one case, Mr. Di Martino received the data file of a complete stranger whose name was similar to that of Mr. Robyns.

Both sets of researchers thought the new law giving the right to data was worthwhile. But they said companies needed to improve their security practices to avoid compromising customers’ privacy further.

“Companies are rushing to solutions that lead to insecure practices,” Mr. Robyns said.

Companies employ different techniques for verifying identity. Many simply ask for a photo of a driver’s license. Retail Equation, a company that decides whether a consumer can make returns at retailers like Best Buy and Victoria’s Secret, asks only for a name and driver’s license number.

The wide array of companies now required to hand over data, from Baskin Robbins to The New York Times, have varying levels of security expertise and experience in providing data to consumers.

Companies such as Apple, Amazon and Twitter can ask users to verify their identity by logging into their platforms. All three give a heads-up via email after data is requested, which can help warn people if a hacker got access to their account. An Apple spokesman said that after a request is made, the company uses additional methods to verify the person’s identity, though the company said it couldn’t disclose those methods for security reasons.

If consumers can’t verify their identity by logging into an existing account, Mr. Di Martino and Mr. Robyns recommend that companies email them, call them or ask them for information that only they should know, such as the invoice number on a recent bill.

“Regulators need to think more about the unintended consequences of empowering individuals to access and delete their data,” said Steve Kirkham, who worked on Airbnb’s trust and safety team for five years, before founding Berbix in 2018. “We want to prevent fraudulent requests and let the good ones go through.”

It is on regulators’ minds. The California law requires businesses to “verify the identity of the consumer making the request to a reasonable degree of certainty” and to have a more stringent verification process for “sensitive or valuable personal information.”

Mr. Kirkham said Berbix requested the first selfie to test whether a person’s face matched their ID; the second selfie, with a smile or some other facial expression, ensures that someone isn’t simply holding a photo up to the camera. Mr. Kirkham said Berbix ultimately deleted the data collected within seven days to a year, depending on the retention period requested by the company that hires the firm. (Sift deletes its data after two weeks.)

“It’s a new threat vector companies should consider,” said Blake Brannon, vice president of product at OneTrust, another company that helps businesses comply with the new data privacy laws. OneTrust offers the 4,500 organizations using its service the option to create several levels of identity verification, such as sending a token to someone’s phone or verifying ownership of an email address.

“If I’m requesting something simple or lightweight, the verification is minimal, versus a deletion request,” Mr. Brannon said. “That will require more levels of verification.”

Mr. Kirkham of Berbix said the verification process discouraged some people from making the data request at all.

“A lot of people don’t want to give more information,” Mr. Kirkham said. “Their assumption is that you will do something nefarious with it.”

He added: “But that’s the irony here. We require additional information from people to protect them. We want to make sure you are who you say you are.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘The Conners’ stars Michael Fishman, Laurie Metcalf talk upcoming live political episode

Westlake Legal Group Michael-Fishman-Laurie-Metcalf 'The Conners' stars Michael Fishman, Laurie Metcalf talk upcoming live political episode Nate Day fox-news/person/roseanne-barr fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 67bd1765-ae83-567a-8645-b2f5b3103786

The cast of ABC’s “The Conners” has a storied history with politics, and it looks like they have no plans to change that.

The show, which focuses on a conservative-leaning working-class family, is a spin-off of “Roseanne.” (The original series was canceled after the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, sent a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett — a former aide to then-President Barack Obama — in 2018.)

Now, “The Conners” is set to air a live episode of the show on Tuesday, Feb. 11 — the night of the New Hampshire primary that kicks off the 2020 political season.

MARTIN SHEEN SAYS HE SUPPORTS ELIZABETH WARREN’S POLICIES

Star Michael Fishman hopes the politically-charged episode will inspire democratic action.

“In our country, voting is such a powerful thing and I don’t know that we always spend the time to encourage people to vote,” Fishman, 38, recently told Fox News at the ABC portion of the Television Critics Association (TCA) event in Pasadena, Calif. “So my hope is that what we do is we can show what real-life issues kind of revolve around some of the things that are going on in the debates and other things.”

Fishman said that in the show, people will see “how a family comes together and maybe disagrees about certain things, but that we all encourage people to vote and we can do something positive and bring some humor.”

‘JEOPARDY!’ CONTESTANT KEN JENNINGS ON ALEX TREBEK, JOINING ‘GREATEST OF ALL TIME’

Also present at the event was Laurie Metcalf, who starred in “Roseanne” and now in “The Conners” as Jackie Harris.

Metcalf, 64, revealed that her Tony Award-winning theater background won’t be much help for the special live episode.

“My stage background will not help at all, because even though stage is live, I’ve rehearsed the hell out of it and I know what I’m doing,” the actress said. “So in a live show, it’s going to have some wiggle room either the improv or, you know, something’s going to not stick to the script. That scares the s–t out of me.”

Metcalf also said that she’s putting “extra pressure” on herself for the important episode.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

At the TCA event, ABC announced that the episode will incorporate real-time election results into the plot, which will follow the Conners as they discuss the right to vote.

Westlake Legal Group Michael-Fishman-Laurie-Metcalf 'The Conners' stars Michael Fishman, Laurie Metcalf talk upcoming live political episode Nate Day fox-news/person/roseanne-barr fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 67bd1765-ae83-567a-8645-b2f5b3103786   Westlake Legal Group Michael-Fishman-Laurie-Metcalf 'The Conners' stars Michael Fishman, Laurie Metcalf talk upcoming live political episode Nate Day fox-news/person/roseanne-barr fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 67bd1765-ae83-567a-8645-b2f5b3103786

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