Daily Archives: October 8, 2018

To Understand Christine Blasey Ford, Take a look at Palo Alto University

Report: Google Hid User Data Breach from Public out of Fear Congress Would Take Action

Report: Google Hid User Data Breach from Public out of Fear Congress Would Take Action

AP/Jose Luis Magan


Google Empty Chair at Senate

Google failed to inform its users about the exposure of their private data for fear of the news inviting regulation and comparisons to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage, according to people briefed on the incident and documents reviewed,” reported the Wall Street Journal, Monday. “As part of its response to the incident, the Alphabet Inc. unit plans to announce a sweeping set of data privacy measures that include permanently shutting down all consumer functionality of Google+.”

The incident, which exposed users’ names, email addresses, birthdays, genders, general locations, occupations, relationship statuses, and photos, was reportedly caused by a “software glitch” in Google+ which “gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue.”

Google’s legal and policy team, however, made it clear to the company’s executives that sharing information of the data exposure with the public would create “immediate regulatory interest” at a time when Google was, and still is, facing an increasing amount of calls for regulation from activists, politicians, organizations, and data experts.

The Wall Street Journal also claimed Google didn’t want to “invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica.”

In response to the story, BuzzFeed News tech reporter Ryan Mac declared, “The story here isn’t really the potential data breach (which may affected hundreds of thousands) or that Google is shutting down Google+. It’s that Google’s execs knowingly avoided disclosing an issue because they knew it’d invite gov scrutiny & bad PR.”

Last year, it was reported that Google was “scrambling” to stop regulation in the United States, while in February, a survey revealed that the majority of the American population is for the regulation of Big Tech companies like Google.

In August, President Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow claimed the Trump Administration was “taking a look” at regulating Google.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.


Facebook Security Breach Exposes Accounts of 50 Million Users

Facebook Security Breach Exposes Accounts of 50 Million Users

By Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel

One of the challenges for Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is convincing users that the company handles their data responsibly.

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook, already facing scrutiny over how it handles the private information of its users, said on Friday that an attack on its computer network had exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users.

The breach, which was discovered this week, was the largest in the company’s 14-year history. The attackers exploited a feature in Facebook’s code to gain access to user accounts and potentially take control of them.

The news could not have come at a worse time for Facebook. It has been buffeted over the last year by scandal, from revelations that a British analytics firm got access to the private information of up to 87 million users to worries that disinformation on Facebook has affected elections and even led to deaths in several countries.

Senior executives have testified several times this year in congressional hearings where some lawmakers suggested that the government will need to step in if the social network is unable to get tighter control of its service. On Friday, regulators and lawmakers quickly seized on the breach to renew calls for more oversight.

“This is another sobering indicator that Congress needs to step up and take action to protect the privacy and security of social media users,” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia and one of Facebook’s most vocal critics in Congress, said in a statement. “A full investigation should be swiftly conducted and made public so that we can understand more about what happened.”

In the conference call on Friday, Guy Rosen, a vice president of product management at Facebook, declined to say whether the attack could have been coordinated by hackers supported by a nation-state.

Three software flaws in Facebook’s systems allowed hackers to break into user accounts, including those of the top executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, according to two people familiar with the investigation but not allowed to discuss it publicly. Once in, the attackers could have gained access to apps like Spotify, Instagram and hundreds of others that give users a way to log into their systems through Facebook.

The software bugs were particularly awkward for a company that takes pride in its engineering: The first two were introduced by an online tool meant to improve the privacy of users. The third was introduced in July 2017 by a tool meant to easily upload birthday videos.

Facebook said it had fixed the vulnerabilities and notified law enforcement officials. Company officials do not know the identity or the origin of the attackers, nor have they fully assessed the scope of the attack or if particular users were targeted. The investigation is still in its beginning stages.

“We’re taking it really seriously,” Mr. Zuckerberg, the chief executive, said in a conference call with reporters. “I’m glad we found this, but it definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place.”

Critics say the attack is the latest sign that Facebook has yet to come to terms with its problems.

“Breaches don’t just violate our privacy. They create enormous risks for our economy and national security,” Rohit Chopra, a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, said in a statement. “The cost of inaction is growing, and we need answers.”

Facebook has been roundly criticized for being slow to acknowledge a vast disinformation campaign run by Russian operatives on its platform and other social media outlets before the 2016 presidential election.

Ms. Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, testified in a Senate hearing that month about what the company was trying to do to prevent the same thing from happening in midterm elections in November.

In April, Mr. Zuckerberg testified about revelations that Cambridge Analytica, the British analytics firm that worked with the Trump presidential campaign, siphoned personal information of millions of Facebook users.

Outside the United States, the impact of disinformation appearing on Facebook and the popular messaging service it owns, WhatsApp, has been severe. In countries such as Myanmar and India, false rumors spread on social media are believed to have led to widespread killing.

Facebook said the attackers had exploited two bugs in the site’s “View As” feature, which allows users to check on what information other people can see about them. The feature was built to give users move control over their privacy.

The company said those flaws were compounded by a bug in Facebook’s video-uploading program for birthday celebrations, a software feature that was introduced in July 2017. The flaw allowed the attackers to steal so-called access tokens — digital keys that allow access to an account.

It is not clear when the attack happened, but it appears to have occurred after the video-uploading program was introduced, Facebook said. The company forced more than 90 million users to log out early Friday, a common safety measure taken when accounts have been compromised.

The hackers also tried to harvest people’s private information, including name, sex and hometown, from Facebook’s systems, Mr. Rosen said. The company could not determine the extent of the attackers’ access to third-party accounts, he said.

Facebook has been reshuffling its security teams since Alex Stamos, its chief security officer, left in August for a teaching position at Stanford University. Instead of acting as a stand-alone group, security team members now work more closely with product teams across the company. The move, the company said, is an effort to embed security across every step of Facebook product development.

Part of that effort has been to gird Facebook against attacks on its network in preparation for the midterm elections. Facebook has spent months setting up new systems to pre-empt such attacks, and has already dealt with a number of incidents believed to be connected to elections in Mexico, Brazil and other countries.

Still, the recently discovered breach was a reminder that it is exceptionally difficult to entirely secure a system that has more than 2.2 billion users all over the world and that connects with thousands of third-party services.

“This has really shown us that because today’s digital environment is so complex, a compromise on a single platform — especially one as popular and widely reaching as Facebook — can have consequences that are much more far-reaching than what we can tell in early days of the investigation,” said April Doss, chairwoman of cybersecurity at the law firm Saul Ewing.

As the news of Facebook’s data breach spread quickly across Twitter, Google searches and other online sites, there was one place where it remained difficult to find some detailed reports: Facebook.

Users who posted breaking stories about the breach from The Guardian, The Associated Press and other outlets were prompted with a notice that their posts had been taken down. So many people were posting the stories, they looked like suspicious activity to the systems that Facebook uses to block abuse of its network.

“We removed this post because it looked like spam to us,” the notice said.

Follow Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel on Twitter: @MikeIsaac and @sheeraf.

Dianne Feinstein shows her true colors in the Kavanaugh fight

Peggy Grande: Dianne Feinstein shows her true colors in the Kavanaugh fight


Senator Dianne Feinstein has had a long and illustrious career with moments of great leadership, but in the recent Kavanaugh hearings, the California Democrat exposed herself as a standard partisan hack, leading the charge into an unnecessary, and losing battle. As a result, she showed that she and her party are desperate and power hungry, but are NOT champions for women.

Growing up in California I have known of Senator Feinstein all my adult life.  In fact, she had a condo in Los Angeles right across the street from where Ronald Reagan’s office was and where I worked for 10 years.  We crossed paths on several occasions and even though we are on different sides of the political aisle I always found her to be cordial, measured, a voice of reason and common sense that could be relied upon, even if her ultimate conclusion or vote was one I didn’t agree with or support.

What happened to THAT Dianne Feinstein?  After so many admirable years of public service, how did she drift so far out of the mainstream?  How did she lose the plot? Most Dems eventually do but I thought she was the exception to that.  I was clearly wrong and am deeply disappointed in her, as are many Californians.

But this Judicial Committee hearing was never about justice for Dr. Ford or about hearing and validating her claims. It was about creating a narrative of negativity against Judge Kavanaugh, fabricating a cloud of suspicion and doubt that would hopefully fog the room and make it impossible to distinguish fact from fiction and cause chaos to the point that the Judiciary Committee would throw up their hands and say, “it’s just not worth it – let’s go with someone else.”  Thank goodness they didn’t.

This was never about Kavanaugh either – it was about anyone Trump nominated that would potentially tip the court to the right.  Yet the Democrats wouldn’t have blinked an eye over appointing a 5th liberal judge if they had been give the chance.  They would have gloated that this is the process and the precedent and Republicans just need to accept it.  But that never works the other way.  This confirmation had to be derailed by the Democrats at any expense – even at the expense of a poor woman whose testimony was the center of a circus, not at the center of justice.

Regardless of who you believed or what your politics are, we all should celebrate the fact that the rule of law ultimately prevailed.  It was hanging precariously in the balance there for a while, but ultimately justice was served.  It came in the form of some surprising heroes – Senator Lindsay Graham for one, and Senator Susan Collins.  It came in the form of Senators like Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz who were verbally attacked in public yet refused to be bullied into silence or cave to the pressure or the fear.

Perhaps in the upcoming election my fellow Californians will realize Senator Feinstein is actually not a champion for women – or maybe not for anyone except herself and her party – and will choose to send someone else to D.C. to represent them.

A true champion for women would have handled the Christine Blasey Ford accusation entirely differently than Senator Feinstein did.  A champion for women would have afforded her the decency of privacy, to vet this claim behind closed doors, as is regularly done in confirmation cases, and as she personally had requested.

A champion for women would have handled this early and discreetly, at a place and time of Dr. Ford’s convenience, not allowing her to be used as a puppet in a political circus, herself unaware of all the ways she had been betrayed by those claiming to support her.

A true champion for women would be speaking out for the women who have accused Keith Ellison and Bill Clinton of sexual and physical misconduct. And she would also speak out for innocent bystanders caught in the crosshairs of this national charade – Mrs. Kavanaugh and her two young daughters.  They are among the truest victims and yet have not received her support, or her apology.

A true champion for women would celebrate the historic low unemployment that women all across the nation are experiencing and would be applauding our president for making that happen, regardless of party.

Is Senator Feinstein really a champion for women?  All women?  Or just those who fit into her political narrative, serve her political purposes and can be used by her and the political machine to amass additional power for the Democratic Party?

In an ironic twist it looks as though she may have actually become a pawn in her own scheme, doing the bidding of Chuck Schumer and the Democratic leadership and now taking the fall for them. She clearly crossed some ethical, and potentially even legal, lines in doing so.

Perhaps in the upcoming election my fellow Californians will realize Senator Feinstein is actually not a champion for women – or maybe not for anyone except herself and her party – and will choose to send someone else to D.C. to represent them.


Devin Nunes on Russia probe and FISA abuse

113,000+ ‘suppressed’ [new] views in less than 24hrs.


You Can’t Get Rich In Politics Unless You’re A CROOK!

FBI’s smoking gun: Redactions protected political embarrassment, not ‘national security’

FBI’s smoking gun: Redactions protected political embarrassment, not ‘national security’

To declassify or not to declassify? That is the question, when it comes to the FBI’s original evidence in the Russia collusion case.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI have tried to thwart President Trump on releasing the evidence, suggesting it will harm national security, make allies less willing to cooperate, or even leave him vulnerable to accusations that he is trying to obstruct the end of the Russia probe.

Before you judge the DOJ’s and FBI’s arguments — which are similar to those offered to stop the release of information in other major episodes of American history, from the Bay of Pigs to 9/11 — consider Footnote 43 on Page 57 of Chapter 3 of the House Intelligence Committee’s report earlier this year on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Until this past week, the footnote really had garnered no public intrigue, in part because the U.S. intelligence community blacked out the vast majority of its verbiage in the name of national security before the report was made public.

From the heavy redactions, all one could tell is that FBI general counsel James Baker met with an unnamed person who provided some information in September 2016 about Russia, email hacking and a possible link to the Trump campaign.

Not a reporter or policymaker would have batted an eyelash over such a revelation.

Then, last Wednesday, I broke the story that Baker admitted to Congress in an unclassified setting — repeat, in an unclassified setting — that he had met with a top lawyer at the firm representing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and received allegations from that lawyer about Russia, Trump and possible hacking.

It was the same DNC, along with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, that funded the unverified, salacious dossier by a British intel operative, Christopher Steele, that became a central piece of evidence used to justify the FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign in the final days of the election.

And it was the same law firm that made the payments for the dossier research so those could be disguised in campaign spending reports to avoid the disclosure of the actual beneficiaries of the research, which were Clinton and the DNC.

And it was, in turns out, the same meeting that was so heavily censored by the intel agencies from Footnote 43 in the House report — treated, in other words, as some big national security secret.

What makes this so extraordinary is that the FBI and the DOJ would have Americans believe that a contact with a lawyer for a political party during the middle of the election is somehow a matter of national security that should be hidden from the public.

Well, that argument was proven to be a lie by the very way the interview with Baker played out last Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Baker was not interviewed in a “SCIF” — a “sensitive compartmented information facility” routinely used to discuss super-secret, highly sensitive information. There was no claim of classification over any information he provided Congress that day.

So we can now say with some authority that the earlier redaction in Footnote 43 was done in the name of a national security concern that did not exist.

Which raises the question of what the real reason was that it was hidden from public view. I think the answer can be found in an earlier set of documents that DOJ and FBI fought hard to keep secret — the text messages of those FBI love-birds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. What we learned from their messages was that the investigation was a whole lot more about politics and and a whole lot less about verified intelligence.

There is now a concrete storyline backed by irrefutable evidence: The FBI allowed itself to take political opposition research created by one party to defeat another in an election, treated it like actionable intelligence, presented it to the court as substantiated, and then used it to justify spying on an adviser for the campaign of that party’s duly chosen nominee for president in the final days of a presidential election.

And when, nine months later, the FBI could not prove the allegation of collusion between Trump and Russia, unverified evidence was leaked to the media to try to sustain public support for a continued investigation.

That means the redaction of Footnote 43 had more to do with political embarrassment than with national security. And that should concern us all.

The Founding Fathers intended government to be open and transparent except when national security was at risk. They never intended national security to be used to hide old-fashioned politics. 

So, Mr. President, when you weigh those DOJ/FBI arguments against declassification, please don’t forget the ruse of the redaction that was Footnote 43.


John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.



You Don’t Hand Power to an Angry Left-wing Mob


You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t hand power to an angry left-wing mob. 

President Donald J. Trump  “Donald Trump in Kansas: Democrats an ‘Angry Mob’ — ‘You Don’t Hand Matches to an Arsonist’

We as conservatives believe in our God-given rights, and that puts an automatic emergency brake on our behavior.  We may dislike people ideologically, but the fact that God gave you and I rights prevents us from attacking them or anything like that.  The radical left has no emergency brake.  They are takers.  They need to take your money, your kid’s education, your health care…and to do that they need state power.  And when they lose state power, and they lose the courts, and they lose the presidency, and they lose governorships…then there is nowhere else to go, there is no emergency brake.

Dan Bogino “Fox and Friends” 10/7/18, 26:00 mark

Dan Bogino is quite right.  The far left, the radicals, seldom believe in God, so there is no ultimate accountability, nothing to tell them that they’ve crossed the line and gone too far.  There is no “too far” for them.  Are such people the sort you want to hand over the reins of power to?  Please God let it not be so.

I live in Florida and received my mail-in ballot for November’s election recently.  It served to remind me that November 6 will be here quickly, and how crucially important it is – definitely the most important mid-term election in my lifetime, and quite possibly in the history of our country.

I believe that the Republicans will do pretty well in the Senate, but if the Democrats, the Party of Crime, wins the House it will be national chaos.  We the People will go from making America great again to once more hanging on by our fingertips.  A bloody civil war will be all but unavoidable – in which case we best be prepared to toss our “emergency brakes” out the window.

Trump’s base knows all this in their bones, but there are too many voters who do not.  It is up to us to inform them in no uncertain terms that We the People are as close to losing it all this November as we were in 2016.

We need a red tsunami this November…and a red tsunami doesn’t happen by some fluke.  It is made up of each of us, one at a time, casting our vote for a Republican ticket.  And if enough of us do that a red tsunami will “magically” appear, but in order for a red wave to save us, each and every one of us must vote.  America hangs in the balance, it is ours to save or lose.


The 16 Year Plan To Destroy America

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