The UK invents Big Brother and Big Mother! Scumbag AT&T gives data priority to their own content. Trump and the conflicts of interests plus a recipe for disaster. WikiLeaks publishes HBGary emails as Barrett Brown is paroled. San Fran MUNI was hacked and you’ll never guess what happened next! World’s youngest billionaire is the co-founder of payment processor Stripe. Ethereum state clearing complete. The dangers of Bitcoin mining in Venezuela.
All this and more on the Neocash Radio podcast, episode 184 -- Wednesday November 30th, 2016!
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AT&T, the company that spied on it’s users for-profit? They are at it again in the race to be the worst company in the world. AT&T owns DirecTV, and has announced that its streaming service—DirecTV Now—will be “zero rated,” so watching DirectTV content won’t count against customer’s data usage caps. This is the first step of a one-two punch set to knockout the free internet; “zero rating” is a way for broadband ISPs to establish a class system of content. This gives DirectTV privileged access to AT&T’s wireless users, and if competitors like Netflix and Hulu wanted their videos to not count against customers’ data usage caps, they will have to pay AT&T a bribe for this so-called “sponsored data.” T-mobile has been using this same model for a while: give zero rating to your apps, services and content... then start ratcheting up the cost for data. Customers will either pay too much for data or use your services rather than hit the data cap prematurely. Yes, big companies like Netflix and YouTube can afford to pay for “sponsored data,” but independent and not-for-profit media producers would undoubtedly struggle to compete. AT&T is a super massive company and for them to start this tiered system of data costs will have ripples throughout the web. Add in the fact that AT&T is actively working to acquire Time Warner—which of course includes CNN, TNT, HBO, the Warner Bros. TV/film studio, and the rights to the Game of Thrones and Batman franchises—and you can see where this is going. Imagine a future where you have only one Cable Provider and if you choose to use any websites not owned by them or not part of their “affiliate” program, you will have to pay substantial amounts so that the page loads in less than 30 seconds or so that your video won’t keep pausing to buffer or that your video game doesn’t freeze up right in the middle of a big battle. Free video might sound nice, but in the end, AT&T is fragging the open internet.
many conflicts of interest between the Clinton Foundation and foreign governments while Hillary served as Secretary of State, but now the world is wondering what will come of Trump’s global business empire. Trump tweeted today that he will be holding a press conference on December 15 to announce how he will be taken “completely out of business operations” so as to remove any appearance of conflict between professional and government dealings. It’s not clear whether he’ll be selling his stake in his company or if he’ll be handing it over to family members, but even if he removes himself from the company on paper, the waters will still be cloudy and difficult to navigate. Besides listing several great examples of existing Trump conflicts of interest in places like the Philippines, Brazil, India, Turkey, Ireland, and Scotland, the New York Times also raises important questions about potential future conflicts:
“Even if Mr. Trump and his family seek no special advantages from foreign governments, officials overseas may feel compelled to help the Trump family by, say, accelerating building permits or pushing more business to one of the new president’s hotels or golf courses.”In just a few weeks since the election, Trump has already raised concerns about a golf course of his in Scotland with a British politician, and he and his family have hosted real estate partners from India and the Philippines in his office, and Ivanka—in charge of planning and development for Trump Organization hotels—has been busy calling world leaders from Turkey, Argentina, and Japan. The Trump Organization has also been urging diplomats to consider staying in the new Trump hotel—just a few convenient blocks from the White House—when in Washington to meet the president or his team. What conflicts of interest?
‘Sniffers & taps on journalists’: WikiLeaks publishes HBGary emails as whistleblower Barrett Brown is paroledTo commemorate whistleblower Barrett Brown’s early release on parole, WikiLeaks has published a searchable database of over 60,000 emails reportedly leaked from former U.S. cybersecurity contractor HBGary. Barrett Brown is a Texas-based journalist who spent nearly two years locked in a federal prison cage for his reporting on the HBGary emails hacked by Anonymous in 2011 and the 2012 hack of private intelligence company Stratfor. Brown was one of the earliest reporters to shed light on the shadowy U.S. corporate surveillance industry, revealing how government agencies and private “intelligence firms” work together to spy on people with little to no oversight. Emails from the HBGary hack showed proposals and plans to spread disinformation and create messages to “sabotage or discredit” organizations like WikiLeaks and to go after individual journalists. One presentation created in collaboration with Palantir—Peter Thiel’s big data analysis company—stressed that WikiLeaks “would fold” without support from writers like Glenn Greenwald and proposed smear campaigns as a way to silence them, arguing that “ultimately most [writers] if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause.” Brown’s house and his mother’s house were raided by the FBI and Brown was hit with felony charges for “obstruction of justice, threatening a federal officer and being an accessory after the fact” and was sentenced to 63 months in jail.
“A review of more than a dozen Bitcoin wallets this criminal has used since August indicates that he has successfully extorted at least $140,000 in Bitcoin from victim organizations. [...] The vast majority of organizations victimized by this attacker were manufacturing and construction firms based in the United States, and most of those victims ended up paying the entire ransom demanded — generally one Bitcoin (currently USD $732) per encrypted server.”
consensus bug with the Geth client caused it to hard fork from the rest of the network. A fix was found and Geth users need to update to 1.5.3. The bugged chain has about 165 abandoned blocks.