Microsoft says Iranian 'Phosphorus' Group Tried to Hack U.S. Presidential Campaign

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In a blog post today Microsoft says that Iranian hackers attacked a U.S. presidential campaign, current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran.

Four accounts were compromised as a result of these attempts; these four accounts were not associated with the U.S. presidential campaign or current and former U.S. government officials. Microsoft has notified the customers related to these investigations and threats and has worked as requested with those whose accounts were compromised to secure them.

No word yet on what time President Trump asked Iran to interfere with our elections.

If Elizabeth Warren Wins Mark Zuckerberg Will Sue the Government

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Mark Zuckerberg is scared of Elizabeth Warren over her plan to break up Big Tech monopolies, and a leaked audio recording reveals a rant in which he pledges to sue the government if she wins. You know, just your typical Tuesday stuff.

You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies … if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. … But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.

Facebook Refuses to Fact-Check Politicians

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Facebook moves to hold politicians to lower standards than the rest of us, saying that politicians will be exempt from its fact-checking system.

Facebook uses independent third-party fact-checking organizations to help identity fake news, misleading claims and misinformation. However, it said posts made by politicians would not be fact-checked. It said it did not want to be the “referee” in political debates or prevent politicians’ posts from reaching their intended audience. However, it did not define who it counted as a politician.

Mark Zuckerberg won’t fact-check politicians but he’ll gladly take their political advertising money.

This Real-Time Map Shows You the Amazon Forest Fires

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Ever since Jair Bolsonaro proclaimed that economic growth was more important than protecting the Amazon, there have been 74,155 fires. For the past three weeks, a giant fire has been blazing its way through the forest, and an interactive map lets you watch it.

Many of the fires are set by farmers to clear land. In early August, farmers in the Amazon self-declared a “fire day” to burn trees, emboldened by the fact that the government isn’t enforcing rainforest protections that are part of national law.

“It’s very rare to have fires starting naturally in the Amazon,” says Weisse. “And so almost everything that we’re seeing is a result of human activity, and it’s mostly happening along roads or in farms or where people are.”

How Much Does Your ISP Spend on Lobbying?

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Paul Bischoff gives us a breakdown of the top 25 lobbying spenders in 2018, and how much they spent.

2018 was the biggest year yet for ISP lobbying at $80 million. Top spenders include AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, which have amassed lobbying expenses of $341 million, $265 million, and $200 million, respectively since 1998.

Russian Network RT America Wants You to Distrust 5G Networks

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5G graphic (mesh)

Russian network RT America recently aired a segment called “A Dangerous Experiment on Humanity” to get people to distrust 5G. The segment links 5G to brain cancer, infertility, autism, heart tumors and Alzheimer’s disease, none of which are backed by scientific evidence.

Yet even as RT America, the cat’s paw of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has been doing its best to stoke the fears of American viewers, Mr. Putin, on Feb. 20, ordered the launch of Russian 5G networks in a tone evoking optimism rather than doom.

Russia is definitely not the first to attempt to link certain cellular frequencies to health problems, but a it’s an interesting new twist in the matter.

Silicon Valley Lobbyists Want to Limit California Consumer Privacy Act

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Silicon Valley lobbying groups are trying to gut the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

The California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, gives residents of California the ability to request the data that businesses collect on them, demand that it be deleted, and opt out of having that data sold to third parties, among other things. But last week, the California Assembly’s Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection advanced a series of bills that would either amend CCPA or carve out exemptions for certain categories of businesses.

I have a couple of opinions here. I think groups affected by a certain bill or law should have the right to voice their opinion. On the other hand I feel uneasy by corporate lobbying focused on donating or influencing political campaigns where there is a conflict of interest.

The Redacted Mueller Report is Here

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The Mueller Report has now been uploaded and released to the public, and it has been heavily redacted. It’s 448 pages long.

This report is submitted to the Attorney General pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 600.8(c), which states that, “[a]t the conclusion of the Special Counscl’s work, he…shall provide the Attorney General a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions [the Special Counsel] reached.”