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“The King of Spamalot” (courtesy of MichelleMalkin.com)
According to The New York Daily News, last week President Obama brought his debt battle to Twitter and in the process, lost more than 40,000 Twitter followers. Apparently a significant number of social networkers didn’t appreciate being spammed, even if it was from the president. Actually, the spam was generated by Obama’s campaign staff, but hey, a rose by any other name is still a rose, right?
Obama, the political supernova, seems to have flamed out.
Twitterers like this one tweeted: “Honestly, @BarackObama, I’m going to have to unfollow you if you don’t stop filling up my Twitter inbox soon.”
And this one who tapped out: “Can’t believe I had to unfollow @BarackObama for spamming Twitter. Really, really strange behavior.”
According to the Daily News, “Obama asked Americans Friday to call, email and tweet Congressional leaders to “keep the pressure on” lawmakers in hopes of reaching a bipartisan deal to raise the nation’s $14.3-trillion debt limit ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline. Obama’s campaign staff used the @BarackObama Twitter account to post the Twitter handles of tweeting GOP leaders – “state by state, tweet by tweet.”
Whoa, wait a minute! Campaign staff pushing White House budget policy? What’s that about? New Obama motto: Yes we spam!
House panel approves broadened Internet snooping bill
Well, it made it through a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. Next step: a full House vote that would require Internet providers to keep logs of your activities for one year in case police want to review them in the future.
The House Judiciary committee approved the bill, 19-10, to broaden Internet snooping. According to a published report, the vote “represents a victory for conservative Republicans, who made data retention their first major technology initiative after last fall’s elections, and the Justice Department officials who have quietly lobbied for the sweeping new requirements, a development first reported by CNET.”
If the bill passes into law, what will Internet providers be mandated to collect and keep? Only your name, address, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers and temporarily-assigned IP addresses.
Democratic opposition to the bill was led by California Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who said the measure represents “a data bank of every digital act by every American” that would “let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.”
The measure that would create a database on every Internet user in the country deliberately was given an innocuous name: Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. Of course.
Committee wants details on FCC ‘Net Neutrality’ rulemaking
As one person put it, “Just to be straight here, the government, which is wanting desperately to find a way to tax every transaction on the Internet, is concerned about private companies tracking users for the purposes of driving sales. Hmmm…”
In yet another incursion into Internet control, the feds just can’t keep their hands and their noses out of it.
Now, under the guise of “protecting us” from advertisers who are tracking our movements across the Web, the Senate Commerce Committee is threatening Google, Microsoft, Apple and other tech companies with regulation. Does this interfere with the free market?
For once and all, do you think the federal government should stay out of our Internet business and let the market sort it out?
As another person commented, “All of those trackers I have listed are being blocked by Ghostery.” Ghostery and other software programs already take care of the business the feds want to get into.
The White House Cyberspace Policy Review
The Obama Administration is pushing the creation of an Internet identity program called the National Strategies for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC, a plan that would develop a federal online identity for every American. The idea is that a national ID will reduce Internet fraud, theft and make the Internet safer.
Good idea? Maybe. But there is concern that a federally issued Internet ID (the government is calling it a “Trusted Internet Identity”) will affect everything you do online and, in the wrong hands, could give the federal government full access to your private information, allowing it to monitor your Internet activity.
Howard Schmidt, White House-appointed Cybersecurity Coordinator stated, “It’s the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem.”
I didn’t know we needed one, did you? And do you agree that any sentence with the words “government” and “centralized” in it should sound out a red alarm (pun intended)?
The Department of Homeland Security is a key partner in the development of the strategy. The NSTIC, which is in response to one of the near term action items in the president’s Cyberspace Policy Review, was posted for comment through July 19 at www.nstic.ideascale.com but is no longer there for you to read.
However, you can see what they’re planning by reading the Obama Cyberspace Policy Review. After you’ve done that, call write, or visit your congressional representatives to tell them what you think of the “Trusted Internet Identity” program initiated by the “trusted” Obama administration.
New York Times reporter advises White House staff?
A published report pointed out that minutes after President Obama urged Americans to “tweet their support” for a Democratic debt-ceiling bill, a New York Times reporter prompted the White House to organize the effort with a special Twitter hashtag. Begging the question, was this reporter breaking rules by advising the White House?
Cell phone location tracking of Americans
A Wall Street Journal blogger is asking, “Is the government using cellular data to track Americans as they move around the U.S.?”
More to the point, does the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have the “right” to collect geo-info on where you are or have been?
The questions come after Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., on the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote a letter to Clapper asking whether the National Security Agency and the CIA, “have the authority to collect the geo-location information of American citizens for intelligence purposes.”
You might not like the answer. Where does your congressional representative stand on the matter?
Speaking of tracking and hacking…
The latest in the News Corp. scandal: British police are reportedly assembling a team to investigate allegations of computer hacking as a result of their investigation into News of the World Newspaper’s phone hacking.
“The current investigation, called Operation Weeting, is looking at allegations of phone hacking, but the new investigation, called Operation Tuleta, would look at the new claims, which included computer hacking,” reports Agence France-Presse. The related Operation Elveden is investigating the alleged bribery of police officers in the case.
Facebook, graphics and Hobbits, oh my!
We marvel at the creativity and sense of humor of some folks. When Arizona Sen. John McCain referenced a Wall Street Journal editorial calling tea partiers “Hobbits” (not withstanding the fact he and the WSJ got the analogy wrong), some folks decided they’d do him one better.
In a published piece, Florida tea partier Paula Helton wrote: “After the Wall Street Journal article, we in the Tea Party movement have decided to rally behind the Hobbit moniker, so thank you, WSJ, for comparing us to the admirable, freedom-loving people of the Shire. We now have a Facebook Page entitled “Hobbits Unite”.
The controversy prompted one online site to invite readers to create Photoshopped Hobbit political statements of their own.
Google reacts to accusations regarding web reviews
After a barrage of rivals’ complaints, and faced with the threat of attracting federal regulators, Google announced it will no longer carry on its Places pages parts of business reviews posted on other local web services. Competitors were accusing Google of stealing the reviews from their sites.
Avni Shah, director of product management at Google, wrote in a blog post, “Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages. Rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users.”
Google ‘Street View’ grabbed more than just phone locations
Cnet last week broke the story that “Google’s Street View cars collected the locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other Wi-Fi devices around the world, a practice that raises novel privacy concerns.”
In addition to collecting Wi-Fi access point locales, Google also “recorded the street addresses and unique identifiers of computers and other devices using those wireless networks and then made the data publicly available through Google.com until a few weeks ago.”
Cnet reported the confirmation comes as concerns about location privacy seem to be growing.
“Apple came under fire in April for recording logs of approximate location data on iPhones, and eventually released a fix. That controversy sparked a series of disclosures about other companies’ location privacy practices, questions and complaints from congressmen, a pair of U.S. Senate hearings, and the now-inevitable lawsuits seeking class action status.”
Here’s looking at you. Or not.
Facial recognition technology is a controversial issue, as Facebook knows. The social networking giant is now running ads on its 750 million users’ home pages giving them the option to “opt” out of technology that scans newly uploaded photos, compares faces with previous pictures, then tries to match them and suggest name tags, according to this published report.
‘Evil’ Australian trucker-hacker faces 49 charges
It seems there isn’t a week that goes by when we don’t have a hacking story to report. This time, hacking that could have caused damage to Australia’s national infrastructure was done by a 25-year-old unemployed truck driver with the online nickname “Evil.”
Special apps for our war wounded
More than 400,000 veterans who received mental health treatment last year were diagnosed with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Officials report that among troops still in the military, one in five are estimated to have suffered “acute stress, anxiety, depression or other mental problems from a war zone deployment.”
Now there’s help. Mobile phone apps have been designed by the Pentagon to help with PTSD and brain injuries.
“A half-dozen apps with names like ‘T2 MoodTracker,’ ‘PTSD Coach’ and ‘Breathe2Relax’ have been developed by the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department, but not to diagnose illness or replace psychiatric counseling. Rather, the apps offer at-your-fingertips information about what the military calls ‘invisible wounds’ of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and techniques for managing the symptoms,” claims a published report, which includes videos explaining more about this amazing advance in treating our war wounded.
The star of your own reality show
It is somewhat shocking to see how so many people spend so much of their time sharing so many details of their lives on Facebook. Why do they do it? The answer might be found in a published report that quotes Baroness Greenfield, professor of pharmacology at Oxford University, who says Facebook and Twitter have “created a generation obsessed with themselves, who have short attention spans and a childlike desire for constant feedback on their lives.”
Greenfield, the former director of research body at the Royal Institution, said: “What concerns me is the banality of so much that goes out on Twitter.” She believes the growth of Internet “friendships” – as well as greater use of computer games – could effectively “rewire” the brain.
“Why should someone be interested in what someone else has had for breakfast?” Greenfield asks. “It reminds me of a small child [saying]: ‘Look at me Mummy, I’m doing this,’ ‘Look at me Mummy, I’m doing that.'”
The Time Capsule
1990 – Iraqi forces invade Kuwait
Now playing at the Princess Theater in Urbana, Ill.
Congratulations to WND readers Joan Littleton of Oxford, Ind., and Bob Hill of Elkton, Md., who correctly guessed actor Richard Carlson in his portrayal of the character Geoff Montgomery in the film “The Ghostbreakers”.
The 1940 film starring Paulette Goddard, Bob Hope and Anthony Quinn, depicted a radio broadcaster, his quaking manservant and an heiress who investigate the mystery of a haunted castle in Cuba. The film was described by one reviewer as a successful blend of mystery, horror, chills and fine comedy.
The quote was: “It’s worse than horrible because a zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring.”
View scene with Bob Hope, which has been long considered one of the funniest movie scenes ever.
This week’s quote:”We’re all dying, aren’t we? We’re not teaching each other what we really know, are we?”
Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!