WORDPRESS getting sued for $100M for censorship efforts to shill political candidates and competitors
By Andrew Conger
WordPress makes itself out in the media as an “open tool for freedom-of-information” but if you post anything bad about Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, DNC-controlled WORDPRESS will not even pause one second before violating the United States Constitution.
WordPress bosses are hands-on involved in the massive censorship efforts and those bosses and executives are being personally named in the lawsuit. This means that they can lose their homes, stock, bank accounts and Tesla’s in one quick court order… as Gawker’s AJ Delaurio discovered.
While a hundred million dollars may sound like a big demand, it is tiny compared to the billions of dollars that WordPress political backers pocketed last year.
Thousands of website owners have invested years of work in their WordPress blog efforts but, as the elections approach, they got their sites terminated and deleted. Their ability to import XML files was cut off. The importing of XML files was frozen. The ability to upload PDF files, or any files was terminated. They were totally, brutally and ILLEGALY censored because they dared to mention suspected misdeeds that a Democratic politician may have engaged in.
While the “TOS” argument is as thin as the smoke and mirrors “rogue staff” or “we didn’t know” BS that Google and Facebook tried to get away with, the take-downs are overt. They are 100% related to the exposure of complaints or crimes that DNC politocs are charged with. While the DNC refers to Trump as a “Hitler”, what is more Nazi than just deleting all of the news that is inconvenient.
WORDPRESS shot themselves in the foot with this effort. While they accomplished their immediate goal and drove content creators to other sites, they have inscribed undeniable hard evidence of their censorship in the digital records. It will not be possible for them to escape the jury award or the wrath of the voting public.
By trying to wrest control of the truth from the airwaves via Nazi-like book burning tactics, WORDPRESS has only served to point the light of transparency on it’s executives, individually. WORDPRESS has put those executives assets at risk and shown it’s true colors. I hope WORDPRESS has an extra $100 Million bucks sitting around that it does not need. This Constitutional law battle will be epic. I hope the conniving WORDPRESS staff can afford to have everything of value taken away from them by the Court like Gawker did. WORDPRESS kids do not have immunity clauses and zillion dollar indemnification agreements.
Any blogger that has had WORDPRESS censor their site can also sue WORDPRESS for First Amendment violations and fraudulently soliciting folks that WORDPRESS than damaged and interfered with. A public site like WORDPRESS is now regulated as a “Public Utility” and the Constitution is, well, the Constitution. Nobody likes people that screw with the Constitution like WORDPRESS is doing with their hubris-ridden censorship campaign.
You too can join a class-action lawsuit against WORDPRESS. Visit: http://www.martindale.com/ and type “CLASS ACTION” in the search field. Write each law firm that appears in the results and email them to see if they will either 1.) Take your case as an individual or 2.) Let your join a group case against WORDPRESS. You can collect the money you are owed for your damages and for the violation of your civil rights.
This Is Scary: Google Censors Average Monthly Search Volume
If this election taught me anything, it’s that I can never trust Google again. And before you call me dramatic, I want to show you that Google censors average monthly search volume, and it didn’t before. What does this shift mean for the average user? Not much. But for anyone working in search engine optimization, it’s a tectonic shift.
Once upon a time Google AdWords accounts could discover search frequency via Google keyword planner. The data was freely accessible. Now this data is hidden from all but ‘elite’ accounts.
In the above images you see how easily accessible this information was. Now we are only granted access to a 1M – 10M range.
We can no longer gauge term popularity. “Hillary Clinton” may have 1.3M monthly searches and “Donald Trump” may have 9.7M. Or the reverse could be true. Google won’t tell you either way.
Now this exclusive data is only available to the highest bidder. Google isn’t just misleading data-curious journalists — they’re flipping the bird to small time SEOs worldwide.
You may be wondering what the minimum spending threshold is to gain access to the detailed data report. According to reports, Google has yet to release specific spending requirements to gain exclusive access:
“Unfortunately for SEOs and low budget advertisers, a Google spokesperson confirmed that they are not sharing information on what that spend threshold is.”
How convenient. Search popularity isn’t an absolute indicator as to who will win come election day — but data matters. I personally believe Google search data is more accurate than traditional polling.
Now that Google censors relevant data behind a paywall taller than The_Donald’s wallbot — Google search data is no longer a reliable source. I wonder if my popular article about Google Trends influenced Google’s policy shift. If so I apologize to my fellow SEOs.
SourceFed clarified Google works with the Clinton campaign so it makes sense that average Joe is now left in the dark.
Google: you should be ashamed of yourself. You have no justified reason to manipulate our election. What the hell happened to “Don’t Be Evil?”
Fortune Magazine Explains Why The Obama Department of Energy Will Do Anything To Sabotage Hydrogen Energy
By Milo DeMouth
“A little context is useful to understand the blood feud between EVs and hydrogen. For one, it didn’t start with Elon Musk. (He only financed and doubled down on it) Indeed, it first emerged in 2001. After coming to office, George W. Bush axed a Clinton administration effort to help automakers develop super-efficient cars called the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, or PNGV and replaced it with something called Freedom Car. The most notable element of Freedom Car was a shift away from batteries toward hydrogen fuel cells. Bush also used federal authorities to block California’s efforts to promote battery electric vehicles.
But when Obama took office, battery-powered cars again became a priority for Washington. And with that, the die was cast: hydrogen crystalized as the Republican’s fuel of the future, and lithium ion the Democrat’s.
Hydrogen and lithium ion both deliver exactly the same thing: Electrical power. There is exactly nothing different that squirts out the back end of the gadget. It is 100% DC electrical energy in both cases.
The only difference is who owns the stock market certificates!
All of the Silicon Valley billionaires, along with Elon Musk, own the lithium ion industry. Google’s cars are lithium ion, Apple’s car projects are lithium ion. The Obama White House staff and Obama Department of Energy Officials own stock in lithium ion mining. Obama financier: Goldman Sachs own’s lithium mining companies. Obama’s War: The Afghan War, is rumored to be about the trillions of dollars of lithium in Afghanistan. Steven Chu, the notorious head of the Energy Department, works for and owns lithium interests. The steal taxpayer cash from exclusive secretly pre-arranged payola “grants” and “loans” from the Energy Department, NASA and the Department of Transportation
Lithium ion blows up in hoverboards, cell phones, airplanes, Tesla’s, Fiskers, jets.. pretty much everything. The Democrats like to cover that up.
The chemicals in lithium ion batteries cause cancer, brain damage, liver damage, neurologival damage and mutate fetuses. If your baby gets born with a third eye, thank Tesla Motors. This is not theory. U.S. Government documents, from before the DNC ordered them hidden, say this is a fact. Panasonic, who makes many of the lithium ion batteries says that all of these dangers are true. Every fire department in the world says that these dangers are true in their traing manuals. The FAA and The U.S. Post Office asks you to keep lithium ion batteries away from them. The entire United Nations body issued a new law called “Directive UN 38.3”. It, specifically, states that lithium ion batteries are an extreme danger. Each factory worker that helps build lithium ion batteries gets poisoned. Tens of thousands of factory workers have died from the lithium ion factory poisonings in Asia. Entire villages have been poisoned from nearby battery factories. The Democrats like to cover all of those things up!
There are a vast number of reasons why lithium ion batteries are deadly, toxic non-green things and a vast number of reasons why hydrogen energy from water and domestic organic waste is a good thing.
You will never about those facts because the Democrats spend over 12 billion dollars a year using Google, Facebook and automatic blogging engines to search for every occurrence of the word “hydrogen” in order to flood anti-H2 troll comments into every blog that mentions it. The DNC uses Palantir, Google, and other software to look for the phrase and delete it, mask it, obfuscate it and nay-say it the second it appears on the web.
It is entirely about greed and corruption!
Because the Democrats own the dead-end lithium ion mining industry, Remember the name Frank Giustra?) and it blew up in their faces, literally, they are sabotaging all competing options. They are sabotaging other options in order to line their pockets and they are doing it without concern for voter’s energy futures.
Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz were hired by the Obama Administration to do only one thing at the Department of Energy: “Protect The DNC’s Corrupt Lithium Ion mining deals – PERIOD!”
They have done a great job running the DNC Cartel. They have shut down every single hydrogen and fuel cell commercialization effort that has come across their desk. For show, they have given a few cents to out-of-the-way “demonstration projects” buried in the back-ass field of some desert military sites. No hydrogen fuel cell commercialization projects that were competitors of theirs have been allowed through.
XP Vehicles notoriously sued the Department of Energy over such corruption..and they started out as Democrats! After XP, and all of the other sabotaged Hydrogen energy users figured out the scam that the campaign billionaires were running, they most likely became “independents” after their own Senator turned out to be their business competitor and a weasel.
Now, with all of the leaks, things like the Panama Papers prove that Google, Tesla, Kleiner Perkins and the rest of the DNC “kick-back kids” rigged the energy industry in their favor. They pocketed over a trillion dollars of crony corruption dollars from their rigging effort.
This leaves American citizens with a monopolized set of options in a world where geopolitics have made foreign mined lithium ion the biggest security risk to the USA. The lithium ion incursions in the Middle East are partially responsible for creating ISIS! Thanks for that DNC!
One case came to light after relatives of a deceased man received a note congratulating him for registering, Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst said Thursday.
“His family members were very distraught,” said Garst, who confirmed the existence of the FBI and police investigation but said she could provide few details because the case is ongoing.
All 19 were initially registered as voters in the Shenandoah Valley city of Harrisonburg, although a clerk double-checking the entries later raised questions about one. She recognized the name of Richard Allen Claybrook Sr., who died in 2014 at age 87, because his son is a well-known local judge. She happened to recall that the judge’s father had died.
“He was a retired Fairfax County elementary school principal and had fought in World War II,” said his son, retired Harrisonburg General District Court Judge Richard Allen Claybrook Jr. “So our family is very disgusted that they would pick his name because he was such a law-abiding citizen devoted to public service.”
All of the forms had been submitted by a private group that was working to register voters on the campus of James Madison University, according to the Harrisonburg registrar’s office. The group was not identified. No charges have been filed.
Republicans in the state House of Delegates, who in recent years have supported tighter voter ID laws, held a conference call with reporters to call attention to the investigation.
“Oftentimes we hear our Democratic colleagues suggest that voter fraud doesn’t exist in Virginia, or it’s a myth,” House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) said. “This is proof that voter fraud not only exists but is ongoing and is a threat to the integrity of our elections.”
House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) said the case was not proof of voter fraud since no one had actually managed to cast a vote in the names of the dead.
“First of all, there was no voter fraud — they caught him,” Toscano said. “Nobody cast a vote. … There’s still no evidence of that going on in the state. But there is evidence every time you turn around that the Republicans are trying to make it more difficult for citizens to vote in elections.”
Obama top financier: Wells Fargo, CEO John Stumpf is running “a criminal enterprise” and should be fired or even jailed, several members of Congress claimed.
Rep. Michael Capuano on Thursday said the Wells Fargo (WFC) scandal and the people who lead the bank reminded him of “the guys who ran Enron,” evoking a company that was found guilty of massive financial fraud.
Capuano said Stumpf is “clearly and unequivocally guilty” of a range of crimes, including conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft and racketeering.
Stumpf sought to defend his bank in front of a very hostile audience of members of the House Financial Services Committee. However, Stumpf wasn’t able to get much of a response in beyond his prepared remarks apologizing for the scandal.
Stumpf was seeking to rebound from a disastrous appearance before the Senate, a hearing that was highlighted by Senator Elizabeth Warren’s epic takedown, that quickly went viral on social media and got laughs on late-night television.
He was repeatedly cut off by members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, who pummeled him by comparing him to an actual bank robber and calling Wells Fargo a “school for scoundrels” with a “broken culture,” among other things.
Stumpf’s appearance comes as calls for his resignation have gotten more strident. Several House members repeated those demands.
“I recognize we could have done more earlier,” Stumpf said. “I try to lead with courage and conviction, but of course we make mistakes.”
Stumpf is defending a scandal that shocked the nation, where it was revealed that his bank opened as many as 2 million fake accounts and fired 5,300 workers since 2011. Questions mount on how he allowed it to happen for so long. Workers pin the blame on a Wells Fargo pressure-cooker culture and wildly unrealistic sales goals set by top management.
Some former Wells Fargo workers were also present at the dramatic hearing. The House committee continues to gather thousands of pages of documents and plans to interview Wells Fargo executives.
“I will not hesitate to issue subpoenas. We will do what is necessary to get to the bottom of this,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Republican chairman of the House committee, said on Thursday.
Stumpf said Wells Fargo has “begun” contacting customers that have open credit cards identified by a PricewaterhouseCoopers review that were potentially unauthorized. He said that after reaching out to more than 20,000 customers, fewer than 25% said they either did not apply or cannot recall. Stumpf said Wells Fargo is closing accounts of those who don’t want their cards and informing credit bureaus.
Rep. Gregory Meeks accused Stumpf of running “basically a criminal enterprise” that reflects poorly on the rest of the banking industry. “You should be fired, because the buck stops with you,” he said.
Rep. Maxine Waters, whose district includes Los Angeles, said she now believes Wells Fargo should be broken up because it’s “too big to manage.”
Waters, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said Wells Fargo has “refused” to turn over the documents and information lawmakers have requested.
“It is in your best interest to come forward with those documents,” warned Waters, who called the scandal “some of the most egregious fraud we have seen since the foreclosure crisis.”
Wells Fargo first characterized the fake account scandal as a problem that began in 2011. However, last week the bank extended its search for unauthorized accounts by two more years, to include 2009 and 2010.
Former Wells Fargo workers have told CNNMoney the problem goes back even further. One branch manager in Arizona said she was first pressured to instruct employees to open fake accounts in 2007. On Thursday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney also presented Stumpf with evidence from a court case in Montana that showed Wells Fargo workers were fired for opening unauthorized debit accounts in 2007.
Despite what Maloney called “clear evidence” of a problem in 2007, Stumpf declined multiple requests from the Congresswoman to expand Wells Fargo’s review before 2009.
Maloney also accused Stumpf of “very suspicious” sales of $13 million worth of Wells Fargo stock in October 2013, the largest such sales during his nine years as CEO. Stumpf has said he first learned of the unauthorized account problem in 2013 — though he’s sketchy on precisely when and who told him.
“Did you dump $13 million of Wells Fargo stock through your family trust right after you found out that your bank had been fraudulently opening hundreds of thousands of scam accounts?”
Stumpf insisted the stock sales were made “with proper approvals and no views about anything going on about sales practices.” The CEO also said he owns four times as many shares as required today.
“It seems very, very suspicious that it happened right after your bank was turned into a school for scoundrels,” Maloney said.
Rep. Stephen Lynch took things to an even more serious level, suggesting Wells Fargo could be prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the statute known as RICO that has been applied against FIFA as well as members of the Mafia.
Several lawmakers suggested the House expand the hearing to include the CEOs of other banks. Rep. Brad Sherman said he wants to ensure the “cross-selling mania that has afflicted Wells Fargo” is not found elsewhere.
Wells Fargo has taken additional steps in recent days to try to quell the firestorm, including launching a new investigation by the company’s independent directors and scrapping the controversial sales goals earlier than previously planned.
Stumpf told the House it was his “recommendation” for the board to claw back his $41 million in his stock awards and to forfeit a 2016 bonus and salary during the investigation.
Under pressure from Warren and others, Wells Fargo has also agreed to claw back $19 million in stock awards from Carrie Tolstedt, the executive who led the division that created the fake accounts and has since left the bank.
Hackers Infect Army of Cameras, DVRs for Massive Internet Attacks
Hacking shows vulnerability of internet devices, security experts say
A CCTV security system. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sept. 29, 2016 4:03 p.m. ET
Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks last week, prompting fresh concern about the vulnerability of millions of “smart” devicesin homes and businesses connected to the internet.
The assaults raised eyebrows among security experts both for their size and for the machines that made them happen. The attackers used as many as one million Chinese-made security cameras, digital video recorders and other infected devices to generate webpage requests and data that knocked their targets offline, security experts said.
Those affected include French web hosting provider OVH and U.S. security researcher Brian Krebs, whose website was disabled temporarily.
“We need to address this as a clear and present threat not just to censorship but to critical infrastructure,” Mr. Krebs said.
“We’re thinking this is the tip of the iceberg,” said Dale Drew, head of security at Level 3 Communications Inc., which runs one of the world’s largest internet backbones, giving it a window into many of the attacks that cross the net.
The proliferation of internet-connected devices from televisions to thermostats provide attackers a bigger arsenal of weapons to infiltrate. Many are intended to be plugged in and forgotten. These devices are “designed to be remote controlled over the internet,” said Andy Ellis, security chief at network operator Akamai Technologies Inc., some of whose clients were affected. “They’re also never going to be updated.”
Level 3 identified cameras and video recorders made by Chinese manufacturer Dahua Technology Co. as the sources of a large share of the recent attacks, but Level 3 said other devices are being roped into a new attack network currently being assembled. Hackers often hijack the machines through computers that are already infected or poorly protected Wi-Fi routers.
‘There are tens and tens of millions of these embedded devices out there.’
—Roland Dobbins, Arbor Networks
A Dahua spokeswoman said on Thursday the company is still reviewing Level 3’s research. She cautioned that malware could succeed in attacking older devices that have outdated software.
“We strongly recommend users to upgrade the firmware of devices” and set a strong password to reduce risks, she added.
Dahua, which claims it is one of the world’s biggest makers of security cameras and digital recorders, sells directly to consumers and businesses through its website and retailers like Amazon.com Inc. It also lists 71 technology partners on its U.S. website, from startups like AngelCam to better known firms like Canon Inc.
Many of Dahua’s cameras and recorders are used by small businesses for security systems. Level 3 said H.264 DVRs made by Dahua were especially prevalent, though security researchers said other brands were affected. In some cases the devices weren’t protected with passwords or had generic passwords, Mr. Drew said.
“I suspect that a lot of people have been caught by surprise by how soon” the attacks happened, said Akamai’s Mr. Ellis. His company said it was blindsided by one of last week’s attacks.
Mr. Ellis said traffic on Sept. 20 reached 700 gigabits a second—equivalent to 140,000 high-definition movies streaming at once—on his company’s network, twice the size of the previous biggest stream.
Arbor Networks Inc., a security firm that defended several websites affiliated with the Rio Olympics against similar attacks this summer, found cable set-top boxes and home routers used to bombard the websites with data. Those attacks reached as much as 540 gigabits a second, Arbor said.
“There are tens and tens of millions of these embedded devices out there,” said Roland Dobbins, Arbor’s principal engineer. “But they ship by default with very poor security.”
Denial-of-service attacks—so-called because they flood websites with unwanted data crashing the sites and denying access to legitimate users—are nothing new. In prior iterations, hackers have exploited weaknesses in the operating systems of personal computers hijacking them to carry out these actions. Microsoft Corp. for decades has been playing a running game of Whac-A-Mole to patch each flaw in its Window’s operating system as it arises.
“It’s going to be very difficult to convince consumers to patch their refrigerator,” said Matthew Prince, chief executive of security provider CloudFlare Inc. “Where the security is more likely to be placed is in the network.”
BuzzFeed recently published a presidential preference poll for their readership to take part in. A day or so later, they felt the need to “update” it because they felt the results “no longer accurately reflects the opinions of real people.”
Take three guesses as to what the results were showing.
Polls are something that many media outlets do. They’re a quick thing that will catch people’s attention during a heated presidential cycle and will hopefully get the public to click on the outlet’s website. Undoubtedly, BuzzFeed also did this figuring that the “poll” would have a strong showing for Hillary Clinton, showing given the site’s tendency to openly criticize her opponent. That, however, didn’t turn out to be the case. Here are the results:
As you can plainly see, Republican nominee Donald Trump is dominating in the “poll” with 11.5 million votes, followed up by “Other” at 161,000 votes, “I still haven’t decided” at 152,500 votes, and finally Clinton in dead last at 70,300 votes.
Now to be very, very clear to all the liberals already pounding away at their keyboards, I’m in no way insinuating that this is a scientific poll by any stretch of the imagination. It’s clearly just a gimmick that is used by BuzzFeed and plenty of other outlets to get their readership more engaged and drive more clicks to their website.
It is funny, though, that BuzzFeed felt it was totally necessary to put an update right above the “poll,” saying it “no longer accurately reflects the opinions of real people.”
The FBI director said the investigation was carried out without giving Clinton special treatment
“You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels,” James Comey said
(CNN)FBI Director James Comey’s agents aren’t weasels, he told lawmakers Wednesday.
Comey was defending his agency’s actions regarding a federal probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The investigation drew criticism from Republicans for not recommending charges against the Democratic presidential nominee.
“You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels,” he told the House Judiciary Committee. “We are not weasels, we are honest people and we did this in that way.”
He added that the investigation was carried out without giving Clinton special treatment, with the bureau adhering to strict policies while conducting the probe.
“We do not carry water for one side or the other. That’s hard for people to see because so much of our country we see things through sides,” he said. “We are not on anybody’s side. This was done exactly the way you would want it to be done. That said, questions are fair, feedback is fair.”
TRUE STORY: GORILLAS IN SPACE STATIONS CAUSE INTERNATIONAL CONTROVERSY:
Should taxpayer dollars be used to glorify Elon Musk’s hubris or send vaudeville acts into space?
When your making a conversation on iMessage you’re not fully secured. Appleis keeping that data into their servers and sharing that data with law enforcement. And you’re thinking your having a safe conversation which your not!
According to new The Intercept reveled documents, Apple store your log into their servers and sort them according to date/time and locations. It even record which phone numbers your typing into message for conversations and track your location with IP address. When you type message on your iPhone if the iMessage is enabled. It route a given message over the iMessage system.
End-to-end encryption doesn’t mean that your message are secured enough to hide from everyone. But now Apple not even store your information for there use it even now share your information with Law Enforcement via court orders.
The Intercept reports.
“Apple records each query in which your phone calls home to see who’s in the iMessage system and who’s not,”
Apple Logs your IP Address
It’s hard to believe that Apple itself positioned as a staunch defender of its user privacy by refusing federal officials to provide backdoors into their devices, over its users information on iMessage contacts under such warrants. The report also points out that keeping logs of users IP address that could be used to reveal one’s actual location is contrary to Apple’s 2013 claim that the company “do not store data related to customers’ location.”
If you have enabled iCloud Backup on your Apple devices to keep a backup of your data, the copies of all your messages, photographs and every important data stored on your device, are encrypted on iCloud using a key controlled by Apple, and not you.
So your still vulnerable by Apple, they can still read your message’s and everything even through End-to-end encryption.
Wells Fargo & Co., reeling from weeks of pummeling over fraudulent customer accounts, was sanctioned by the Justice Department over improperly repossessing cars owned by members of the military.
Federal authorities are punishing the San Francisco-based lender for as many as 413 alleged violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, according to a statement Thursday from the Justice Department, which said the bank agreed to pay more than $4 million to compensate borrowers involved in unlawful repossessions spread over seven years. The bank’s regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, also fined the company $20 million for a decade of transgressions, the agency said in a statement.
“Wells Fargo Bank unlawfully repossessed hundreds of servicemembers’ cars without the proper process, and the bank will now rightfully pay for its violations,” Bill Baer, the Justice Department’s No. 3 official, said in a statement. The department “is committed to protecting our country’s servicemembers as they continue to fight for our freedom.”
The enforcement actions against the bank follow a $185 million settlement over more than two million unauthorized accounts that may have been opened to meet sales goals. The matter has sparked weeks of sharp criticism, congressional hearings and the forfeit of tens of millions in bonuses for top executives.
Wells Fargo’s stock declined 1.5 percent to close at $44.37 after Bloomberg News reported on the car-seizure sanctions Thursday afternoon — at the same time that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf answered questions in a House hearing on the accounts scandal.
Wells Fargo, which doesn’t admit or deny the allegations, is accused of engaging in “a pattern of unlawful repossessions” from 2008 to 2015 in the DOJ settlement, which still needs approval in federal court in Los Angeles. In most cases, firms must obtain court orders before seizing vehicles from soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are delinquent on their loans. The investigation started when the bank took back a Ford Escape from a soldier getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan.
The Justice Department got a complaint that Wells Fargo grabbed the Ford from an Army National Guard soldier in North Carolina, according to court records and the department’s statement. The bank shed the vehicle in an auction before demanding $10,000 in an unpaid balance from the soldier — a situation that raised a red flag for a military lawyer helping with his debt counseling.
The OCC said the duration and frequency of violations contributed to its action, which also requires the bank to repair deficiencies in its compliance with the servicemembers law.
“In those instances where some servicemembers did not receive the appropriate benefits and protections, we did not live up to our commitment and we apologize,” Catherine Pulley, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo, said in an e-mailed statement. She said the company has been notifying and compensating customers and has “enhanced our efforts to identify eligible service members.”
Shielding soldiers from financial stress has been a priority for lawmakers, and the Justice Department has recently stepped up enforcement actions against banks for taking assets illegally. Banco Santander SA’s U.S. unit agreed to pay $9 million last year over allegations that it improperly confiscated more than 1,000 vehicles from military members, the largest settlement ever obtained in a case involving repossessions of automobiles with delinquent loans.
Wells Fargo — which was the world’s most valuable bank before the account scandal hurt its stock price — has branches on eight U.S. military bases, including Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Dix in New Jersey and Hill Air Force Base in Utah. On its website, the bank says it has “a history of making banking easier for our servicemen and servicewomen.”
The bank has previously been accused of not adhering to the military lending law, which Congress approved decades ago to protect soldiers from legal hassles while they’re on active duty. Wells Fargo agreed to compensate borrowers as one of five mortgage servicers sanctioned for improper home foreclosures, paying $28 million for so-called non-judicial foreclosures that didn’t pass through courts and $59 million for those handled in the judicial system, according to statements issued by the Justice Department last year. The bank didn’t admit or deny the allegations.
In the Santander case, the Justice Department was tipped off by the U.S. Army’s legal assistance program that vehicles might have been repossessed illegally. In one allegation, the bank was said to take a soldier’s car in the middle of the night after being told that he was at basic training. Santander didn’t admit or deny the department’s claims.
More recently, the Justice Department fined HSBC Holdings Plc $434,500 last month in a small case involving the improper repossessions of 75 cars. And in 2012, Capital One Financial Corp. agreed to pay $12 million over a wider range of allegations that also included improper vehicle seizures. The bank acknowledged that it might not have been in compliance with the law.
A frequent problem in investigations involving asset repossessions is that lenders don’t understand servicepeople’s eligibility for protections. While the Department of Defense maintains a database accessible to banks, studies by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that loan servicers often didn’t check military status. Thousands of people haven’t received proper benefits under the law and oversight by regulators “has been limited,” the GAO has said.
If someone has physical access to your computer with secure documents present, it’s game over! ORWL is designed to solve this as the first open source physically secure computer. ORWL (pronounced or-well) is the combination of the physical security from the banking industry (used in ATMs and Point of Sale terminals) and a modern Intel-based personal computer. We’ve designed a stylish glass case which contains the latest processor from Intel – exactly the same processor as you would find in the latest ultrabooks and we added WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity for your accessories. It also has two USB Type C connectors for any accessories you prefer to connect via cables. We then use the built-in Intel 515 HD Video which can output up to 4K video with audio.
The physical security enhancements we’ve added start with a second authentication factor (wireless keyfob) which is processed before the main processor is even powered up. This ensures we are able to check the system’s software for authenticity and security before we start to run it. We then monitor how far your keyfob is from your PC – when you leave the room, your PC will be locked automatically, requiring the keyfob to unlock it again. We’ve also ensured that all information on the system drive is encrypted via the hardware on which it runs. The encryption key for this information is managed by the secure microcontroller which also handles the pre-boot authentication and other security features of the system. And finally, we protect everything with a high security enclosure (inside the glass) that prevents working around our security by physically accessing hardware components.
Any attempt to get physical access to the internals of your PC will delete the cryptographic key, rendering all your data permanently inaccessible!
We’ve created ORWL for anybody who wants to keep their information private. This obviously includes people who have a formal obligation to protect the data in their care: people such as lawyers and people in healthcare fields. It’s also true of people who create valuable data such as photographers and videographers, musicians, authors, and many others. But it’s also true of everyday PC users: those of us who just have online banking credentials, medical records, or family photos or videos on their computers, and who want the peace of mind that if their PC is stolen they won’t see those files on the Internet next week. It also is the first PC in the world that is truly an appropriate base for storing the private keys of any block-chain based currency you may own, rather than keeping them with a third party. It maybe goes without saying, as we have plenty of pictures to communicate the point, that anybody who values the aesthetics of a beautifully designed appliance may well want an ORWL just because it’s vastly nicer to look at than a beige or black box!
ORWL comes with Ubuntu, Windows 10, or Qubes OS pre-installed, but users can install and run any modern 64 bit Intel-compatible operating system. Ubuntu is our preferred choice of system as it provides a very strong balance of features. It is noted for it’s installation scripting and default system configuration working well with a wide variety of modern hardware and is reliable and stable. Ubuntu offers all the following ease-of-use features that people like in Windows, but with the code auditability that security conscious users like in Linux-based operating systems.
With the code being auditable, it makes them leaders in cryptography as an OS, which is a vital component to our project. As the more people are able to fully understand the details of how the product works, the more secure we can make it.
And to see a demo of ORWL, view this short 2-minute video below!
Plus to learn more about their CrowdSupply campaign, see here.
The huge amount of data that Facebook collects on every one of its users has been exposed. And all it takes is a small Chrome extension.
The site’s ad tracking uses a huge amount of information about its users to provide marketing that it thinks will be both useful and successful. The algorithms that power that work are what has made Facebook such a huge success – but they remain mostly secret.
They are built from a huge set of different inputs. The site can watch, for instance, for people liking a particular status and then decide what sort of films they might be into. They might tag photos at a particular place, write their favourite music on their profile, comment on an article about a politician or change their relationship status – and each of those pieces of information are logged as ways of knowing more about a person.
And that information doesn’t necessarily need to come from Facebook. The Like buttons that are on almost every website can track for what people are looking at. And information on other apps like Instagram and WhatsApp are added to Facebook’s trove of data, meaning that people don’t necessarily need to use the Facebook app to controbute to their dossier.
Some of the data doesn’t even come from your interaction with Facebook at all. ProPublica reports that the company “buys data about its users’ mortgages, car ownership and shopping habits from some of the biggest commercial data brokers”, meaning that even if a user has done their best to stay unknown then Facebook’s dossier might be full of information.
For that reason, the site ProPublica built a special Chrome extension that allows a person to see everything that Facebook says it knows about its users. Some of it is highly specific – including the size of a person’s house or how many credit cards they have – and all of it is collected through the various interactions that people have with the site.
McDonald on Deutsche Bank: Similar dynamic to Lehman 4 Hours Ago | 02:19
German officials could be about to find themselves in an uncomfortable position: Being called on to show they’re ready to rescue a bank in a part of the world where such operations are considered taboo.
In a broad perspective, the move would represent a minor dent in Deutsche’s derivatives clearing business. Barry Bausano, chairman of Deutsche’s hedge fund business, told CNBC on Thursday that while there have been some outflows, there have also been inflows, which he said is “part of the typical ebbs and flows” of the prime brokerage business.
But at a time when investors are fearing what the future holds for the highly leveraged institution, such news is enough to cause ripples. Shares tumbled more than 7 percent in mid-afternoon trading. The plunge took the broader market down as well.
Consequently, market talk intensified that it’s becoming time for the German government step in and assure investors that it will be at the ready to stabilize both Deutsche and the broader system — much along the lines of what U.S. officials had to do during the 2008 financial crisis.
“They’re going to probably have to say that they would be willing to put funds into the bank,” said banking analyst Christopher Whalen, senior managing director and head of research at Kroll Bond Rating Agency. “It’s exactly like what (former Treasury Secretary Henry) Paulson did with Citi … It’s a very analogous situation. Hopefully, the German government will take a page from that particular book and look at how the U.S. responded.”
Kai Pfaffenbach | Reuter
In a statement, Deutsche Bank pointed out that it is financially stable: “Our trading clients are amongst the world’s most sophisticated investors. We are confident that the vast majority of them have a full understanding of our stable financial position, the current macro-economic environment, the litigation process in the U.S. and the progress we are making with our strategy”
As Citigroup teetered in late-2008 and early-2009, Paulson’s Treasury stepped in with two cash injections to keep the financial contagion from spreading after Lehman Brothers failed on Sept. 15, 2008. The highly unpopular bailouts kept Citi afloat as fear spread about further implosions in the financial system.
However, the European corporate culture is different, particularly when it comes to banking. Bailouts are considered anathema, and German officials in recent days have signaled an unwillingness to step in.
“The Germans have to stop talking about this publicly unless they say, ‘Yep, we got ’em, there is no issue here,'” Whalen said. “The concern is that the statements they did make were not helpful.”
The situation conjured dark images of the 2008 financial crisis — with the important caveat that the overall risks are nowhere near as great now as they were then.
“After being there I am literally sitting here with chills coming down my spine because we’re in a very similar dynamic,” Larry McDonald, head of global strategy at ACG Analytics, said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” “Deutsche Bank is not Lehman in terms of the overall global risk, but the political situation is almost identical.”
“The politicians in Germany aren’t in position right now to do anything ahead of the election,” he added. “The beast in the market, the serpent in the market, knows this, and the market will push and push and push until they break the politicians in Germany to come up with public funds.”
In the meantime, market angst builds.
Millennium Partners, Capula Investment Management and Rokos Capital Management are among the 10 hedge funds that have pulled cash and cut positions at Deutsche, according to the Bloomberg report, which noted that most of the 200 firms that conduct derivatives clearing with Deutsche have not altered their positions. Rokos declined comment to CNBC and the other firms did not respond to requests.
Bloomberg cited a company statement in which the bank expressed confidence that most of its clients understand the path Deutsche is taking toward resolving its issues. The bank is in the midst of negotiating a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over mortgage-backed securities. Reports indicate a figure of $14 billion is on the table, which would hit Deutsche hard.
The bank has about about $16 billion in equity and some $160 billion in debt.
“The thing that people forget is the EU has very, very strict rules on the book. The whole thing is no state assistance,” Kroll’s Whalen said. “The Germans have let this situation with banks fester for years, and unfortunately the guys at Deutsche have waited to settle their outstanding issues. They’ve always been this way.”
—CNBC’s Wilfred Frost and Patrick Allen contributed to this report.