Facebook’s commitment to privacy is about to be tested
- The Justice Department is preparing to ask Facebook to slow down its plan to encrypt its messaging services across its platforms, setting up a possible standoff between Facebook and the federal government.
- Facebook has made this encryption a centerpiece of its corporate future, both as a business strategy but also as a way to position Facebook as friendly to its users amid new scrutiny from privacy activists and regulators.
- Attorney General Bill Barr on Friday is scheduled to release a letter asking Zuckerberg to ensure that this encryption will not impede federal officials from investigating possible crimes, according to BuzzFeed News.
- The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, but Facebook said in a statement that current law already requires them to cooperate with the US government “when they receive valid legal requests and does not require companies to build back doors.” And the company said that it has already been consulting with experts on concerns like child safety.
Here's how the largest and most powerful Wall Street banks are cautiously opening their doors to the potentially $80 billion US cannabis industry
- But even if the SAFE Banking Act passes, it will primarily free up state-chartered institutions like credit unions — who might be more willing to do business in riskier areas in order to grow more quickly — in states where cannabis is legal to serve the growing industry, experts say.
- Canaccord Genuity, with headquarters in Vancouver and Toronto, has so far dominated cannabis-related investment banking, but investor sentiment toward the industry has soured somewhat as Canadian Securities Exchange-listed cannabis companies that sell or cultivate THC in the US — known as multistate operators in industry parlance — have seen their share prices tumble and struggled to close M&A transactions.
Luxury real-estate developer Robert Shapiro just got sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding thousands of elderly people in a massive Ponzi scheme
- On Tuesday, a federal court judge sentenced Shapiro to that maximum, closing the criminal chapter on what has been a two-year-long saga surrounding the massive fraud perpetrated by Shapiro's now-defunct Sherman Oaks-based investment firm, Woodbridge Group of Companies.
- In all, more than 7,000 property investors were defrauded over five years until Woodbridge went under in late 2017 amid a wide-reaching federal investigation into the scheme, the government said in a release announcing the sentencing.
- The majority of the prison sentence — 20 years — is for defrauding those investors, and for committing wire and mail fraud.
- To raise money for the fraud, Woodbridge Group promised investors — many of them elderly — that the cash would go toward building and buying luxury properties that would yield high returns.
CBP Agent Rams Vehicle into Videographer
- I was (naively) hoping that between the Tohono O’odham Police Dept., the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Customs and Border Protection all ‘investigating’ the incident, the public would quickly be notified that the menace to society who so callously drove his agency-issued SUV (#M87864) into a human being and drove off without rendering assistance or even stopping, had been identified, removed from his job, arrested for aggravated assault and would be prosecuted for his crimes against the public in general and Remes in particular.
- One can only wonder what the response of agencies like the TOPD, FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and CBP would have been if the person intentionally struck by a vehicle was a Border Patrol agent and the person doing the striking wasn’t.
Jeff Bezos says Amazon is writing its own facial recognition laws to pitch to lawmakers
- The tech giant’s hope is that federal lawmakers will adopt much of its draft legislation.
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says his company is developing a set of laws to regulate facial recognition technology that it plans to share with federal lawmakers.
- In February, the company, which has faced escalating scrutiny over its controversial facial recognition tech, called Amazon Rekognition, published guidelines it said it hoped lawmakers would consider enacting.
- Bezos’s revelation comes a few months after Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, which sells the Rekognition software, told Recode’s Code Conference audience that he hoped federal regulation happened soon.
- Hundreds of Amazon employees, along with civil liberties groups and lawmakers, have called out AWS for marketing Rekognition to police, ICE, and other law enforcement agencies, over concerns that the powerful technology could be misused.
Joe Biden takes on Trump administration with plan to 'restore' government ethics
- The ethics plan comes a day after the former vice president's son, Hunter Biden, announced that he will resign at the end of the month from his board role in the management company of a private equity fund backed by Chinese state-owned entities.
- Hunter Biden has come under scrutiny from President Donald Trump and Republicans for his position on the board, as well as his previous ties to a Ukrainian energy company, which Trump wanted Ukraine's government to investigate -- a move that largely prompted a House impeachment inquiry into the President's conduct.
- On Sunday, Hunter Biden also pledged to not work for any foreign-owned companies or serve on their boards should his father be elected President, and his father told reporters that his family and associates would not work for foreign companies if he is elected president, saying he would have "build on the squeaky clean, transparent environment" in the White House reminiscent of former President Barack Obama's administration.
Prosecutors: Man walked more than 300 miles to have sex with a 14-year-old girl
- Instead, 32-year-old Tommy Lee Jenkins had been talking to a Winnebago County Sheriff's deputy working with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a statement from the US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Wisconsin said.
- He is charged with using a computer to attempt to persuade, induce or entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity, the office said, and faces 10 years to life in prison if convicted.
- The law enforcement officer was posing as a girl named "Kylee" who lived in Neenah, Wisconsin, with her mother, the attorney's office said.
- Jenkins accepted a friend request from Kylee's profile and soon began engaging in sexual conversations with her, asking her if she's had sex and requesting explicit pictures, a criminal complaint alleges.
- In early October, Jenkins began asking the girl if she wanted him to come to Wisconsin.
- Authorities arrested Jenkins when he arrived, the attorney's office said.
Rudy Giuliani tells CNN he's unaware he's under investigation for Ukraine involvement
- The New York Times reported Friday that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are looking into whether Giuliani violated foreign lobbying laws in his dealings with Ukraine.
- The Times reported Friday that the investigation into Giuliani was tied to that of two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were indicted this week for allegedly funneling foreign money into US elections.
- The story builds upon CNN's reporting from Thursday that investigators overseeing Parnas and Fruman's case are scrutinizing Giuliani's financial dealings with them.
- Behind closed doors Friday, Yovanovitch had detailed to Congress how Giuliani smeared her to Ukrainian officials and questioned whether Parnas and Fruman were looking to benefit financially from her removal.
- Giuliani told CNN that Parnas and Fruman had started in 2018 introducing him to former and current Ukrainian officials, who provided information that Giuliani claims is damaging to some of Trump's political enemies, including Biden.