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Twitter Warned By Government For Security Breaches

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

So it's not just Facebook that's full of holes and privacy issues. Twitter has been warned by the Federal Trade Commission for their "serious lapses in data security".

The FTC had originally accused the social media service of making private tweets and the login credentials of users easily available to "hackers" between January and May of 2009. During that time, someone was able to gain administrative access to Twitter's system (and therefore access to thousands of user accounts, passwords, direct messages, and more) simply by using password-guessing software. That user reset numerous user passwords, allowing others to access those accounts.

As is always the case, when not required to provide adequate security or privacy, most companies will do what they can get away with and no more. If there's no penalty for doing a bad job, don't be surprised when they don't.

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FreeCreditReport.com Class Action Suit!

This totally made my day:

A Wisconsin college student filed a class-action complaint against Experian this week, claiming that the company's ubiquitous ads for FreeCreditReport.com led her to believe she could use the site to get a no-cost credit report.

Go figure! Someone believed that FreeCreditReport means you can get a free credit report? What are the odds!?

How this has gone on this long I'll never know. Even after 11,000 Better Business Bureau complaints the most that's been done to date was the very cool FTC spoof videos making fun of FreeCreditReport's TV ads where they did everything short of calling them crooks.

It's such an exquisite pleasure to watch this bogus company go down; let's hope this suit sticks.

Update June 2010:

It's probably been a month or two (or three or four) since this happened, but as a result of the lawsuit, the FTC has required them to put a giant banner on the top of their website saying essentially that they're full of it. Granted, the site should just have been shut down, but it's still nice to see.

Hard to sell your supposedly free reports now isn't it?

Looking back from 2019:

The FTC filed their own lawsuit and won, but the measly ~1 million fine was so much less than the $72 Million they could afford just for theirdeceptive ad campaign, it just goes to show that founding a company in fraud is a solid business strategy. But I suppose it's not all bad… there was brand new legislation passed as a result of their scam:

The advertising practices of FreeCreditReport.com were specifically addressed in the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Now any company who advertises a 'free credit report' on TV or radio must include the statement: "This is not the free credit report provided for by Federal law." The law also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to issue new rules that will force free credit report advertisers to inform consumers that the only place for a free credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com.

On a lighter note, the Federal Trade Commission was so fed up with Freecreditreport.com, they made these awesome spoof videos:

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H1N1 (Swine Flu) Myths, Facts, and Governement Negligence

Swine Flu!

The CDC says swine flu is everywhere. A CBS investigation says it's not. How do you know who's telling the truth? Well, try looking at the evidence.

According to Dr. Mercola of mercola.com:

  • The CDC has stopped testing for Swine Flu so how would they know how wide-spread it is?
  • The CDC has a long history of conflicts of interest between makers of vaccines and regulators of vaccines.
  • "the U.S. government has granted vaccine makers total legal immunity from any lawsuits that result from the new swine flu vaccine"

And a little more detail on that last one:

The most problematic aspect of the PREP Act is that it removes all financial incentive to make a safe product.

In fact, vaccine makers now have a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct!

As long as they can prove they "didn't know" of any problem, they will not be liable for damages. Hence it's in their best interest to know as little as possible about the adverse reactions it might cause.

Before you get hyped up about this "pandemic" and rush out to get the vaccine, maybe you should do a little more research. I'm not suggesting there's some conspiracy theory here, just that if what the article says is true, we already know that poor regulation leads to tragedies and abuse and the Swine Flu issue may be just one more example.

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Every Bank Abuses You With Credit

One hundred percent of credit cards offered online by the leading bank card issuers continue to include practices that will be outlawed once legislation passed in May takes effect next year.

What this hardly surprising bit of news is saying is that every single bank, because they've been allowed to thus far, uses abusive and deceptive credit practices. It just boggles my mind when people say the market can "regulate itself". I wonder why several hundred years of abuses isn't enough evidence of just how wrong that is.

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Watch What You Post or Find Your Facebook Used Against You

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Here's another example of how someone's Facebook profile was used against them (First example here).

"If you are alleging that, as a result of an accident, you have not been able to enjoy life the same way and there is a photo taken after the accident showing you skiing or exercising … that could be relevant," the civil litigation and intellectual property lawyer said in an interview yesterday.

Well duh. If there are cases where people's personal diaries have been subpoenaed, I guarantee you an online record like Facebook is fair game.

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New York Cop’s Online Persona Used Against Him In Court

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

Whether or not the officer in question really did use excessive force, the main point here is that the things you write about online can come back to haunt you in the most unexpected ways.

Officer Ettienne said he is now being careful to mask his identity on the Web and that he has curbed his tongue because of the acquittal. "I feel it's partially my fault, he said. It paints a picture of a person who could be overly aggressive. You put that together, it's reasonable doubt in anybody's mind."

Even your "private" Facebook or Myspace account isn't so private under the force of a subpoena.

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Judge Supresses Report on Voting Machine Insecurity

(Image is in the Public Domain)

Just great.

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Wide-spread Drinking Water Contamination

Water contamination is no bueno
(Image is in the Public Domain)

Just another example for why we need federal monitoring and regulation of certain industries and services. Stuff like this would go on all the time if there wasn't oversight and corresponding accountability. Just look at the presidential administration for an example.

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Sue a Big Company In Small Claims Court

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

The Consumerist has an article about a reader who has taken big companies to small claims court several times to get resolution to his problem. His average cost is about $24 and 45 minutes of time.

See, in all cases, he hasn't even had to go to court: the company calls him up the day before the court date and gives him a settlement. It seems they prefer to do that then pay to fly a company representative who isn't fully versed on all the facts to court.

See the original article for the full story of how he does it.

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