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BREAKING: Foreign Firm Flagged By US Intelligence Got YOUR User Data For Horrifying Reason

This is not good

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Facebook user engagement has been in a freefall downward slide leaving the company scrambling to figure out new methods for boosting its user engagement since it came under fire for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Zero Hedge reported on Facebook’s recent “dirty trick” for trying to boost its user engagement numbers – using phone numbers provided for two-factor authentication to send users data they can “engage with” but didn’t sign up for receiving via text message. They told “the story of Gabriel Lewis, who tweeted that Facebook texted “spam” to the phone number he submitted for the purposes of 2-factor authentication. And no, he insists he did not have mobile notifications turned on.

What’s more, when he replied “stop” and “DO NOT TEXT ME,” he says those messages showed up on his Facebook wall.”

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Now in the latest bombshell revelation, we find that Facebook has also provided unrestricted access to user data to at least four Chinese electronics companies, including government-linked telecom giant Huawei.

These relationships were discovered and revealed as a part of a data sharing partnership program which included a minimum of 60 major device manufacturers, including but not limited to Apple, Amazon, Blackberry, Microsoft and Samsung. This data sharing partnership allowed these companies to integrate various Facebook features into their operating systems, thus giving them access to user data and that of the data of the users’ friends and family without their knowledge or consent.

Of particular concern is Huawei as lawmakers in Congress and top intelligence officials have previously raised red flags over whether or not the Chinese government might be able to demand access to data stored on Huawei devices or servers. Naturally, Huawei denies any such claims, yet the Pentagon chose to take definitive action and ban the sales of Huawei smartphones on U.S. military bases stemming from such concerns.

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According to the Washington Post – Facebook data was only ever stored on Huawei servers, only directly on devices. WaPo notes – “A spokesman for Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Facebook late Tuesday confirmed that it had worked with Huawei, as well as three other Chinese firms, Lenovo, OPPO, and TCL. Facebook said those arrangements were “controlled from the get-go — and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built.

Facebook’s statement followed a day of silence about its relationships with Chinese firms, which drew a sharp rebuke from Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va). Warner said in a statement Tuesday that Facebook’s relationships with Huawei and TCL raise ‘legitimate concerns, and I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers.'”

Amid the fallout from this most recent discovery, Facebook claims they plan to wind down their relationship with Huawei by the end of the week.

According to a New York Times report from Sunday evening, the data-sharing agreement allowed manufacturers to access information on relationship status, calendar events, political affiliations, and religion, among other things.

An Apple spokesman further revealed that the company relied on its private access to Facebook data to allow users to post on the social network without opening the Facebook app itself. This allowed manufacturers to access the data of users’ friends and family without their explicit consent.  This is all in spite of Facebook insisting to all and sundry that they would not and had not allowed outside companies to access user data.

The NYT reports – “Facebook’s view that the device makers are not outsiders lets the partners go even further, The Times found: They can obtain data about a user’s Facebook friends, even those who have denied Facebook permission to share information with any third parties.

In interviews, several former Facebook software engineers and security experts said they were surprised at the ability to override sharing restrictions.”

Despite significant public outcry and even Congressional interviews and the supposed winding down of these partnerships up to and including the posting capabilities used by Apple, Facebook continues to defend the data-sharing agreements.  They claim the data sharing agreements are in full compliance with the company’s privacy policies, as well as in compliance with a 2011 consent decree issued by the FTC.

Facebook officials claim they do not currently know of any cases where user information has been misused. “These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform,” said Ime Archibong, a Facebook vice president. Unlike developers that provide games and services to Facebook users, the device partners can use Facebook data only to provide versions of “the Facebook experience,” the officials said.

“These contracts and partnerships are entirely consistent with Facebook’s F.T.C. consent decree,” said Archibong.

Yet it seems former FTC official Jessica Rich fully disagrees with Facebook’s assessment of the situation, stating – “Under Facebook’s interpretation, the exception swallows the rule. They could argue that any sharing of data with third parties is part of the Facebook experience. And this is not at all how the public interpreted their 2014 announcement that they would limit third-party app access to friend data.”

Rich is now currently employed by the Consumers Union since leaving her position with the FTC.

The NYT further discovered that because Facebook does not consider the device makers to be outsiders, the data sharing partnerships go even a step further, allowing these companies to access user data of a Facebook user’s friends and family, even if they have previously denied Facebook permission to share their personal information with third parties.

Zero Hedge reports of this additional breach discovery – “The discovery of the manufacturer data-sharing agreements comes on the heels of a massive data harvesting scandal in which the social media giant allowed third-party apps to gather massive quantities of user information for various political and marketing purposes. In March, political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was revealed to have misused the private information of tens of millions of Facebook users.  The Cambridge Analytica ordeal shed light on the pervasive collection of data which has come under growing scrutiny since the scandal began in March.

Facebook’s partnerships with device manufacturers may prove to be a headache for the social media giant, as the Federal Trade Commission is already investigating the company for a string of privacy mishaps – which could at minimum result in significant fines if the agency finds further violations of consumer privacy.”

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Immigrants Living On Taxpayer Dime Got Rude Awakening Thanks To Trump’s ‘New Rule’

Immigrants just got a harsh wake-up call from President Trump!

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A new rule is being cooked up by the Trump administration that will send a rude awakening to immigrants living on the taxpayer dime. Trump’s new rule brings up the “public charge” in what the New York Times stated was a law that was about 100-years-old but was reworked in 1999. President Donald Trump’s new rule, which is in the works, not in action, could affect up to 1 million people in New York alone.

It has to do with immigrants using resources for welfare benefits and being listed in the realm of being a “burden” on the funds.

The New York Times stated: “But a new rule in the works from the Trump administration would make it difficult, if not impossible, for immigrants who use those benefits to obtain green cards.

New York City officials estimated that at least a million people here could be hurt by this plan, warning that the children of immigrants seeking green cards would be most vulnerable.

That’s because if applicants use any welfare benefits, even for children who are United States citizens, that could indicate they would be a burden on government resources. “What feels deeply concerning,” said Bitta Mostofi, New York City’s commissioner of immigrant affairs, “is the impact on the welfare of children, period.”

The spin they put on it makes it seem like this will leave families without food and that President Trump is going after immigrant children. What it should really be looked at is a rule that helps people become more motivated to get jobs and provide food for their families on their own, not live on the government dole while other people work 60 hours a week just to have funds for the welfare of others taken out of their check via taxes.

There are two ways to look at their new possible rules. The liberals will say it’s an attack on children and immigrants. The people with more common sense will say it’s about time that people started working for themselves. That brings up the classic debate that many of the working class are tired of hearing about – taxes and welfare. People who work for a living don’t like seeing their money given to people who refuse to work for a living.

Being on welfare because you have to is one thing. Some people are unable to work and need help. That’s different and most Americans are happy to help in that scenario. When people are on tough times, then sometimes they need a little bit of help, and that’s acceptable and nothing to be ashamed of. However, there are people who milk the system and refuse to work and that needs to be stopped at all costs. Being on welfare because you purposely choose not to work is a bad thing and any president that we have should be inclined to get people off the couch and back to being productive.

Just for reference, the public charge fact sheet states:

“Introduction

“Public charge has been part of U.S. immigration law for more than 100 years as a ground of inadmissibility and deportation. An individual who is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible to the United States and ineligible to become a legal permanent resident. However, receiving public benefits does not automatically make an individual a public charge. This fact sheet provides information about public charge determinations to help noncitizens make informed choices about whether to apply for certain public benefits.

“Background

“Under Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), an individual seeking admission to the United States or seeking to adjust status to permanent resident (obtaining a green card) is inadmissible if the individual “at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge.” If an individual is inadmissible, admission to the United States or adjustment of status will not be granted.

“Immigration and welfare laws have generated some concern about whether a noncitizen may face adverse immigration consequences for having received federal, state, or local public benefits. Some noncitizens and their families are eligible for public benefits – including disaster relief, treatment of communicable diseases, immunizations, and children’s nutrition and health care programs – without being found to be a public charge.

“Definition of Public Charge

“In determining inadmissibility, USCIS defines “public charge” as an individual who is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” See “Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” 64 FR 28689 (May 26, 1999). In determining whether an alien meets this definition for public charge inadmissibility, a number of factors are considered, including age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills. No single factor, other than the lack of an affidavit of support, if required, will determine whether an individual is a public charge.

“Benefits Subject to Public Charge Consideration

“USCIS guidance specifies that cash assistance for income maintenance includes Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and state or local cash assistance programs for income maintenance, often called “general assistance” programs. Acceptance of these forms of public cash assistance could make a noncitizen inadmissible as a public charge if all other criteria are met. However, the mere receipt of these benefits does not automatically make an individual inadmissible, ineligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident, or deportable on public charge grounds. See “Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” 64 FR 28689 (May 26, 1999). Each determination is made on a case-by-case basis in the context of the totality of the circumstances.

“In addition, public assistance, including Medicaid, that is used to support aliens who reside in an institution for long-term care – such as a nursing home or mental health institution – may also be considered as an adverse factor in the totality of the circumstances for purposes of public charge determinations. Short-term institutionalization for rehabilitation is not subject to public charge consideration.

“Benefits Not Subject to Public Charge Consideration

“Under the agency guidance, non-cash benefits and special-purpose cash benefits that are not intended for income maintenance are not subject to public charge consideration. Such benefits include:

  • Medicaid and other health insurance and health services (including public assistance for immunizations and for testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases, use of health clinics, short-term rehabilitation services, prenatal care and emergency medical services) other than support for long-term institutional care
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)- commonly referred to as Food Stamps, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program, and other supplementary and emergency food assistance programs
  • Housing benefits
  • Child care services
  • Energy assistance, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Emergency disaster relief
  • Foster care and adoption assistance
  • Educational assistance (such as attending public school), including benefits under the Head Start Act and aid for elementary, secondary or higher education
  • Job training programs
  • In-kind, community-based programs, services or assistance (such as soup kitchens, crisis counseling and intervention, and short-term shelter)
  • Non-cash benefits under TANF such as subsidized child care or transit subsidies
  • Cash payments that have been earned, such as Title II Social Security benefits, government pensions, and veterans’ benefits, and other forms of earned benefits
  • Unemployment compensation

“Some of the above programs may provide cash benefits, such as energy assistance, transportation or child care benefits provided under TANF or the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and one-time emergency payments under TANF. Since the purpose of such benefits is not for income maintenance, but rather to avoid the need for ongoing cash assistance for income maintenance, they are not subject to public charge consideration.

“Note: In general, lawful permanent residents who currently possess a “green card” cannot be denied U.S. citizenship for lawfully receiving any public benefits for which they are eligible.”

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Colorado Christian Cake Shop Owner Exonerated By Supreme Court Just Got Really Bad News

This is outrageous!

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Here we go again. I’m sure you are familiar with the Colorado Christian cake shop owner who just won a huge case in front of the Supreme Court this last June. Jack Phillips is the Christian baker who made history by prevailing in front of the High Court after he refused to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple on the basis of religious beliefs. Most of America celebrated with Phillips when he won the case and it provided a glimmer of hope for religious freedom once again here in the United States.

At the time of Phillips case, the Supreme Court admonished the state’s attorney who was standing against the baker for religious intolerance. He allegedly made a number of comments that gave the court pause on First Amendment grounds. The Supreme Court issued a powerful rebuke to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for its “religious hostility” toward Christian baker Jack Phillips. They were right to think that and it has been proven even more to be true this week as this baker just got really bad news. Phillips just filed a lawsuit in federal court late Tuesday against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. From what I am seeing he is being set up to be taken down in a different legalistic move… this time it involves gender issues.

Phillips and his attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom contend that the Commission has revived its campaign against him following June’s High Court decision, singling Masterpiece Cakeshop out for disparate treatment on the basis of their religious beliefs. It’s like deja vu all over again.

“The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs,” said Kristen Waggoner, who is an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney that represents Phillips. “Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him — something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do.”

The person allegedly behind all of this is an attorney named Autumn Scardina. She reportedly called Phillips’ shop the day the decision in his favor was rendered and asked him to make a cake celebrating a gender transition. The caller asked that the cake be blue on the outside and pink on the inside. Over several months after that, Phillips received requests for cakes featuring marijuana use, s******y explicit messages, and Satanic symbols. He’s convinced that Scardina was the one who made all of the requests to set him up for legal action.

From PJ Media:

“To forestall a second round of litigation, ADF filed suit against the commission in federal court. Jeremy Tedesco, ADF’s senior counsel and vice president of U.S. Advocacy and Administration, told PJ Media his firm would “preemptively file a lawsuit in federal court to try to stop what the commission is doing.”

“‘We think the circumstances are uniquely aligned to do that,” Tedesco explained.

“Especially since the Supreme Court ruled that the commission had treated Phillips unfairly on the basis of his religion, thus violating his right to free exercise, this follow-up round seems particularly noxious. “It seems like another round of targeting him and putting him through this very difficult process simply because he wants to be faithful in his business in what he creates through his art,” Tedesco said.

“The commission could have decided not to pursue this second case against Phillips. The ADF lawyer explained that, when a Colorado citizen thinks he or she has been discriminated against, they file a complaint with the Civil Rights Division, which then conducts an investigation and determines probable cause.

“When Autumn Scardina filed this complaint, Tedesco would have expected the civil rights commission to reject it. “After Masterpiece came down from the Supreme Court, we expected Colorado to take that into account and realize that it was a bad decision to keep targeting Jack for his religious convictions,” the lawyer explained. “Instead, they found probable cause.”

“‘He’s going to be fully investigated again, there will be hearings from an administrative law judge,” Tedesco said. “It’s restarting the entire scenario.”

“‘It’s appalling,” the lawyer declared. “It’s unconscionable that they would go after him again right on the heels of losing a case because they were openly hostile to his religious beliefs.'”

Scardina has now filed a complaint with the civil rights commission. She is alleging discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The complaint was held aside while the Supreme Court ruled in Phillips’ other case. Just three weeks after Phillips won his case, the commission issued a probable cause determination, finding there was sufficient evidence to support Scardina’s claim of discrimination. This sure looks as though it was all planned out this way. “Colorado has renewed its war against him by embarking on another attempt to prosecute him, in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling in his favor,” Phillips’ lawsuit states. “This lawsuit is necessary to stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips.”

The freedom of religion is sacrosanct in this nation as a First Amendment right. Weaponizing lawfare to take it apart is not only unconstitutional but unconscionable. I sincerely hope that Phillips prevails once more and that a more solid ruling by the Supreme Court puts an end to this form of religious bigotry.

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