Yeshiva World News

What T-Mobile Takeover Of Sprint Means For You

T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint could mean higher or lower phone bills, depending on whom you ask. A federal judge in New York ultimately took T-Mobile’s track record of aggressive competition into account in ruling Tuesday that the deal would be good for consumers. In doing so, he rejected a challenge by a group of states worried about reduced competition. Though the deal still needs a few more approvals, T-Mobile expects to close it as early as April 1. Here’s what a combined T-Mobile-Sprint company could mean for you and your phone bill: FOR MOST T-MOBILE AND SPRINT CUSTOMERS Sprint customers will get a T-Mobile bill, but that transition may take a few years. If you are a T-Mobile customer, you might not see many changes. However, because the goal of the takeover is to roll out a next-generation, 5G cellular network, subscribers of both are ultimately expected to get faster service. WHAT ABOUT PREPAID CUSTOMERS? As part of the deal, Dish will get Sprint’s prepaid Boost Mobile customers. Dish has committed to building its own cellular network, but it will use T-Mobile’s for now, so customers aren’t supposed to see service quality drop. HOW STRONG IS DISH? That has yet to be tested. Sprint is an existing company with more than 40 million customers. Dish would start from scratch building a network that will cost billions of dollars. It gets only 9 million customers from the deal and will have to fight to win more. As for the network, Dish already owns spectrum, or airwave rights, but hasn’t been using it. The deal would give Dish additional airwaves that travel far and work well in rural areas. Dish is supposed to put those to use in its own network, but it has to rely on T-Mobile’s network in the meantime. Dish says it will offer service to 70% of the U.S. population by 2023. But while it’s billed as 5G, Dish is promising speeds that are only slightly higher than what’s typical today. Dish co-founder Charlie Ergen said in a statement that the company is eager to start serving Boost customers, while bringing consumers lower prices, greater choice and more innovation. But it may take a while before Dish can challenge the bigger companies — if it ever does — the way T-Mobile developed a reputation as the “Un-carrier” by promoting consumer-friendly practices that shattered industry norms. Many public-interest groups have criticized the Dish solution, saying it is risky, as there is no guarantee Dish will succeed as a major competitor, and that it does not fill the hole left by Sprint. AND FOR VERIZON AND AT&T CUSTOMERS? T-Mobile was instrumental in pushing the more established players to be more consumer friendly, doing away with two-year phone contracts and offering unlimited data plans. T-Mobile has offered goodies for its customers like free or discounted Netflix and free international data. With just three major providers, the worry is that there would be less incentive to add services that consumers like or to compete on price. T-Mobile has promised not to raise prices for three years, but after that, it’s fair game. But T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that the company will continue to be the “Un-carrier” and keep Verizon, AT&T and others on their toes. “Look out Dumb and […]

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Equifax Hack Highlights China Interest In U.S. Personal Data

In 2014, the Obama administration accused five Chinese military agents of targeting Pittsburgh-area industrial companies including Westinghouse Electric, Alcoa and U.S. Steel. Since then, the number of companies allegedly targeted by Chinese hackers has only grown. Chinese President Xi Jinping assured th en-President Barack Obama in 2015 his military would stop stealing commercial secrets from U.S. companies. The evidence indicates that pledge was short-lived, if it was honored at all. The latest in a string of China-linked hacking incidents came with the Monday indictment of four members of the Chinese military for breaking into the credit-reporting agency Equifax in 2017. The motives, a s with several others hacks that preceded it, appear to be more about espionage t han stealing trade secrets, cybersecurity experts say. Among other things, experts who monitor the dark web say they have seen no evidence of data stolen in the Equifax hack — or in an earlier breach of Marriott — being sold to common criminals for ID theft and credit card fraud. The state-backed Chinese hackers allegedly vacuumed up billions of data points on Americans that could be used to cross-reference data and obtain deep insights into individual lives. The data could be used in the recruitment of spies, and the hackers may have seeded cover identities for Chinese agents inside Equifax’s databases, said Priscilla Moriuchi, a former NSA employee now at the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future. Here are the biggest cases of wholesale data theft blamed on Chinese agents. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT In a devastating blow to U.S. national security, the personal data of more than 21 million current, former and prospective federal employees was stolen. Although a first hacker was detected in March 2014, a second intruder went undetected until April 2015, by which time data on security clearances, background checks and fingerprint records had been extracted. A House inquiry said the hack was likely the work of “Deep Panda,” a group linked to the Chinese military. ANTHEM Hackers stole personal information on nearly 80 million current and former customers and employees of the Indiana-based health insurer over at least seven months ending in January 2015. Two members of a hacking group operating from China were later indicted in the biggest health care hack in U.S. history. Stolen data included Social Security numbers, birth dates, email addresses, employment details, incomes and street addresses. Anthem said it had no evidence that medical or financial information was taken or than any of the data stolen resulted in fraud. The security firm Symantec said the hack was believed to be the work of a well-resourced Chinese group it called Black Vine that had been conducting cyber-espionage targeting industries including aerospace, energy and health care. MARRIOTT Beginning in 2014, hackers extracted data including credit card and passport numbers, birth dates, phone numbers and hotel arrival and departure dates on as many as 383 million guests of the hotel chain. The breach went undetected for four years and affected hotels in the Starwood chain that Marriott acquired in 2016. Analysts noted that information from hotels — common venues of extramarital trysts and corporate espionage — could be used for blackmail and counterespionage. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr blamed the hack on Chinese agents. OTHER MAJOR CORPORATIONS AND AGENCIES Two hackers were indicted in December 2018 […]

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Former CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera said Tuesday she will run against U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, joining a dozen other candidates who have announced plans to challenge the high-profile freshman from New York City. Caruso-Cabrera told CNBC that she will run against Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary for the seat that includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. “I am the daughter and granddaughter of working class Italian and Cuban immigrants,” Caruso-Cabrera said in a statement. “I am so lucky to have had such a wonderful career and I want everybody to have the opportunity that I’ve had. That’s why I’m running.” Ocasio-Cortez stunned the political establishment when she defeated 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley in the 2018 Democratic primary and went on to win the general election. She has emerged since then as a standard-bearer for the Democratic Party’s left flank, calling for a “Green New Deal” and the elimination of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Representatives for Ocasio-Cortez did not return an email seeking comment. Eight Republicans and four other Democrats besides Caruso-Cabrera have announced plans to run against Ocasio-Cortez this year. The filing deadline for the June 23 primary is April 2. Caruso-Cabrera became a CNBC contributor when she left her full-time position at the network in September 2018. She served as chief international correspondent and as co-host of “Power Lunch” during her 20-year career at the network. A proponent of free markets, she is the author of a 2010 book titled “You Know I’m Right: More Prosperity, Less Government.” She will take a leave from her role as CNBC contributor during the campaign. (AP)

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Report: Iran, Other Hostile Countries May Have Accessed Israeli Intel Agents’ Info

Following the security breach in a Likud app which exposed the personal information of over 6 million Israelis to hackers, Iran and other foreign intelligence agencies may have already accessed the personal information of top Israeli intelligence figures, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday. Former Shin Bet cyber expert Harel Menashri told The Jerusalem Post that “many parties, like foreign intelligence agencies, may have access to top officials of the Likud Party, to the head of the Shin Bet, the head of the Mossad and others. There are also many private companies who will also want the information.” The personal information of 6,453,254 Israelis was leaked due to a security breach of the Elector application which the Likud uses on Election Day and on which the party uploaded the entire national voter registry. All Israeli political parties have access to the personal information of Israel’s voters prior to the elections, including names, phone numbers, addresses and identification numbers. The parties are responsible to protect the voters’ privacy and are not permitted to copy, erase or transfer the registry. Senior Verizon programmer Ron Bar Zik told Calcalist, an Israeli financial daily: “Every intelligence organization, foreign state or even business can access data on every person in Israel. I’ve seen many breaches in my life but I’ve never seen such a ridiculous breach like this which caused this much damage.” Menashri told the Post that the breach was “an embarrassment in terms of how bad it is. The real personal information of every citizen above the age of 18” was exposed. Israel’s Privacy Protection Authority stated on Monday night that it opened an investigation against multiple parties responsible for the leak, including Likud officials and third parties contracted by the party who were responsible to protect the data. The Authority added that anyone found to have violated privacy laws could face civil or criminal penalties. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Shuvu Banim Member: “There’s No Hope Of Seeing The Rav In The Near Future”

The members of Shuvu Banim, who have been closely following the developments following the arrest of their leader, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, on Sunday are gradually coming to the realization that the case won’t end any time soon. “The situation is very difficult, it’s not simple,” one of the Shuvu Banim followers is heard saying on a recording from the group’s telephone hotline. “There’s no hope that we’ll see the Rav in the near future l’fi derech h’teva – it’s a very very difficult situation.” “We believe that there’s koach to tefillos and therefore everyone should come to a gathering in Chevron,” the follower continued, adding that the talmidim are preparing for an atzeret tefillah in Chevron to recite Tehillim and the Tikun H’Klali on Wednesday – a day before Berland’s court hearing on Thursday morning. “Telephone each person to perform ‘pidyon shi’vuyim,” the follower said. “We’re now obligated in ‘pidyon shi’vuyim’ to free the neshama that all of Am Yisrael depends on.” Meanwhile, two of Berland’s associates were brought to Jerusalem’s Magistrate’s Court court for a second hearing on Tuesday regarding an extension of their detainment. The detainment of the first suspect, who apparently was a senior and central figure in the group’s leadership, was extended for eight days and the second suspect’s detainment was extended for six days. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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IDF To Demolish Home Of Terrorist Who Murdered Rina Shnerb In Dolev Terror Attack

The family of Kassem Shibli, currently on trial for his role in the Dolev terror attack in August that killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and wounded her father and brother, was informed by the IDF on Monday that their home will be demolished. The Shibli family has filed an appeal against the demolition. Shibli and four other terrorists involved in the attack were captured over four months ago and are currently standing trial in the Judea Military Court at Camp Ofer. The IDF is waiting for a Supreme Court decision regarding the demolition of the homes of the other terrorists involved in the attack. During the investigation into the attack that killed Sherb, the Shin Bet not only discovered the terrorists that carried out the Dolev attack but also uncovered a 50-member terrorist cell, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), including senior members. Israeli security forces arrested all the members of the cell and seized a large number of weapons. The terrorist cell was actively planning to carry out additional acts of terror, including kidnappings and shooting attacks. The Shin Bet said that had the cell’s planned attacks been carried out, many fatalities would have occurred. Furthermore, during the interrogation, security forces uncovered another bomb, which bomb sappers safely detonated. The explosive was found after one of the five terrorists, Samar Arbid, a senior PFLP member, the mastermind behind the attack and the one who prepared and detonated the bomb that killed Shnerb, was tortured by security forces out of an understanding that he was a “a ticking time-bomb.” Also, overnight on Monday, IDF combat soldiers, Shin Bet, Border Police and Israel Police arrested three wanted suspects of involvement in terrorist activities, nationalist terrorism, and violence against citizens and security forces. The suspects were transferred to security forces for interrogation. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Actor Jussie Smollett Faces 6 New Charges In Chicago

A grand jury returned a six-count indictment accusing actor Jussie Smollett of lying to Chicago police when he reported a racist and homophobic attack last year, a special prosecutor announced Tuesday. Smollett faces six counts of disorderly conduct, special prosecutor Dan Webb said in a statement. Smollett, who is black and gay, was originally charged with disorderly conduct last February for allegedly staging the attack and lying about it to investigators. The charges were dropped the following month with little explanation, angering police officials and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Tina Glandian, Smollett’s attorney, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday. Smollett told police he was walking home early on Jan. 29, 2019, when two masked men approached him, made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing. He said his assailants, at least one of whom he said was white, told him he was in “MAGA country” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Several weeks later, authorities alleged that Smollett had paid two black friends $3,500 to help him stage the attack because he was unhappy with his salary as an actor on “Empire” and wanted to drum up publicity for his career. A judge in August appointed Webb, a former U.S. attorney, as a special prosecutor to look into why the original charges were dropped. Webb also was looking into whether calls that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had with a Smollett relative and an ex-aide of former first lady Michelle Obama unduly influenced the decision to drop charges. Foxx recused herself from the case but continued to weigh in. The city has sued Smollett, seeking reimbursement of more than $130,000 for overtime paid to officers who were involved in investigating Smollett’s report. Smollett’s attorneys have said the city should not be allowed to recover costs from Smollett because it accepted $10,000 from the actor “as payment in full in connection with the dismissal of the charges against him.” Smollett’s case has become an issue in Foxx’s bid for a second term. Her opponents have pointed to the case as indicating she has bad judgment and favors the rich and powerful in deciding who will be prosecuted. (AP)

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4th Annual Educators’ Conference About 2Gs Expected to Attract Several Hundred Participants

Holocaust Educators’ Conference 2020 Deborah Schechter The children of Holocaust survivors are often known as 2Gs or second-generation survivors.  Nowadays, many in the 2G generation — the current bearers of the Holocaust legacy — have conscientiously accepted upon themselves the task of ensuring that the memory of the spiritual and physical courage of their survivor parents is not forgotten. Eli Wiesel once said in an interview,” ‘I believe a person who listens to a witness becomes a witness.” And yet, within our immediate communities, nobody has, to date, addressed the legacy, the contributions, and the experiences of 2Gs from the perspective of the melding of both the academic and the personal viewpoints. Generally speaking, it has always been one perspective, or the other. However, Project Witness thinks differently and recognizing the need to combine both perspectives, Project Witness decided to undertake an original project—a conference that would present the best academic researchers available who will share with the audience the latest research into the 2G phenomenon, cojoining with well-known social service professionals who will address the personal and the emotional aspects of life as a 2G or 3G. This unusual combination of the salient aspects of the intellectual roots and the personal worlds of the 2G will be evaluated in depth at the Project Witness Fourth Annual Educators’ Conference that will take place on February 16 and 17 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. Click to learn more! In recent years, many 2Gs have been questioning the extent of the how and the why by which they are defined by their parents’ experiences, even if they did not undergo them personally. Scheduled just a few weeks after the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, the conference will have many answers. It will offer educators, scholars, the children and grandchildren of survivors, and students two days of intensive academic and personal exploration of the topic “Two Gs —Witnesses to the Witnesses” a theme interconnected with the Holocaust and fading memories. Project Witness has prepared a rich program that will explore the latest research on the topic of 2Gs and more importantly, discuss the impact of the many contributions to our society made by 2Gs. Speakers at the conference include a stellar list of Torah and communal personalities, Holocaust researchers, scholars, and social services professionals. Those who attend will be privileged to hear Mrs. Ruth Lichtenstein, Dayan Chaim Kohn, Councilman Chaim Deutsch, Dr. Sharon Rais, Dr. Faye Zakheim, Dr. Hindie Klein, Dr. Toby Weiss, Dr. Natalia Aleksiun, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, Dr. Michal Shaul, Rebbetzin Esther Farbstein, Mrs. Shoshana Shenker, Dr. Irit Felsen, and Dr. Eva Fogelman. They will address a broad range of fascinating 2G-related topics designed to inspire us all (2Gs and non 2Gs alike) to accept the role of disseminating the legacy left to us by the valiant Holocaust survivors. While this is primarily a conference for educators, all topics that will be under discussion at the conference will most definitely be of consuming interest to 2Gs and 3Gs as well. Project Witness extends a warm invitation to children and grandchildren of survivors to join in this very special two-day event. We recommend early registration as a large audience is anticipated.  Click to learn more! In addition to the outstanding lineup of speakers, the two-day program […]

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Lone Soldier From US Critically Injured In Jerusalem Terror Attack Undergoes Surgery

The IDF soldier who was seriously injured in the ramming attack in Jerusalem last week is Ori Hamond, a lone soldier from San Diego who made aliyah last year and joined the IDF in November. Hamond was part of a group of Golani soldiers on an overnight heritage trip of Jerusalem ahead of their swearing-in ceremony at the Kosel on Thursday morning, when an East Jerusalem resident rammed his car into the group, injuring 12. Hamond’s father, who had flown in from the States to attend the swearing-in ceremony as a surprise for his son instead found himself rushing to his son’s bedside. Hammond’s mother, Chagit Cohen-Hamo, who teaches Hebrew at the San Diego Jewish Academy, also flew to Israel to be at her son’s bedside after hearing about the attack. A crowdfunding campaign to raise $1,800 for Cohen-Hamo’s traveling expenses to Israel to be with her injured son was closed after raising $10,000 in 24 hours, a Times of Israel report said. Immediately following the attack, Hamond was hospitalized in critical but stable condition in the ICU, unconscious and on a respirator. His condition has slowly improved and he was weaned off the respirator by Sunday. He also underwent surgery on Sunday to repair fractures in his jaw at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center. Dr. Itai Ze’evi, a maxillofacial surgeon at Hadassah Ein Kerem, reported that the surgery was successful and Hamond’s condition is good. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Egged to Bring New Bubble Public Transportation System To Yerushalayim and Haifa

A new style of public transportation called “Bubble” was piloted this past year in the Tel Aviv region. Bubble is a minibus service that works based on reservations and has a fluid route that is calculated in real-time to drive the shortest possible distance between requested destinations of all of the passengers. The new pilot was highly successful in Tel Aviv and now Egged will be running the same style of service in both Yerushalayim and Haifa. In Haifa, the system will work in tandem with the Moovit app, and in Yerushalayim, it will work with the Via app. The project is expected to begin in both cities sometime in March. The government ratified the allocation of 40 million NIS for the expansion of the project to the two new cities, which will result in 50 mini-buses that will be put on the road by May. Bubble has been in operation since last April in the greater Tel  Aviv region and is operated by Dan public transportation company. Currently, there are 100 vehicles in operation in the cities of Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan and Givatayim. The cost of operation is some 20 million NIS annually. In Tel Aviv, the system competes against taxis and existing bus lines. However, the Transportation Ministry has set different goals for Yerushalayim and Haifa where the service will complement the current public transportation system. In Haifa, it will mainly complement the train lines in areas where there are no current public transportation lines. In  Yerushalayim, the main goal is to connect the industrial zone of Har Hotzvim to the light rail and the inter-city train line. Whereas Taxi fares generally range from 40-50 NIS and bus fare cost 5.90 NIS in the city, the cost of a Bubble ride will be between 12-15 NIS similar to what it costs in Tel Aviv. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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US Regulators Probing 5 Tech Companies’ Acquisitions To 2010

Federal regulators are ramping up their investigation of the market dominance of giant tech companies, demanding detailed information on five companies’ acquisitions of smaller firms back to 2010. The Federal Trade Commission announced the move Tuesday, issuing orders to Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. Hundreds of takeovers of smaller companies are involved. FTC Chairman Joseph Simons said that as a result of the review, the government may require tech giants to unwind earlier acquisitions and divest their assets if it found violations of antitrust law. “All of our options are on the table,” Simons said in a conference call with reporters. “If there are some transactions that are problematic, then we have that opportunity and that ability to go back and challenge” them. Short of requiring divesting pieces of companies, other options could include putting assets into a separate company unit or mandating changes in how the companies conduct business, Simons said. The focus of the review is on acquisitions with a smaller value, about $100 million or less, that didn’t trigger government reporting requirements for the companies. But Simons said the regulators are interested in tech industry mergers of all sizes. The FTC staff also will look into whether companies may have manipulated the value of some acquisitions to evade the reporting requirements, he said. The FTC, the Justice Department and a House committee have been investigating the conduct of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple, and whether they aggressively bought smaller potential rivals to suppress competition and hurt consumers. Some critics have pointed to Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp, for example, as deals that should be questioned. The popular messaging services are among some 70 companies that Facebook has acquired over the past 15 years or so, giving it what critics say is massive market power that has enabled it to snuff out competition. The five FTC commissioners voted unanimously to issue the so-called special orders to the tech companies. The agency is asking the companies for information and documents on the terms, scope, structure and purpose of acquisitions made between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2019. A Republican commissioner, Christine Wilson, and a Democrat, Rohit Chopra, said in a separate statement that they supported the demand for information on the companies’ previous acquisitions. But they said the agency also should study how tech companies’ targeted advertising practices affect the collection, use and sharing of consumers’ personal data. Google faced antitrust scrutiny more than a decade ago over its acquisition of DoubleClick, a competitor in digital advertising. Apart from the government and congressional investigations, state attorneys general from both political parties are conducting antitrust probes of Google and Facebook. In the Google investigation, the attorneys general have asked the company for internal documents related to how it sells ads and tracks the behavior of people who use its search engine and other products. A spokesman for Facebook declined comment on the FTC action. Spokesmen for Google and Amazon said the companies had no immediate comment; spokesmen for Microsoft and Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple have said they’ll fully cooperate with the antitrust investigations by the government and Congress. In congressional testimony, their executives have pushed back against accusations that they operate as monopolies, laying […]

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Faulty App Exposes Millions Of Israeli Voters’ Data

A security breach in an app used by Israel’s ruling conservative party has exposed the personal information of nearly 6.5 million Israelis to hackers, a cybersecurity expert said Monday. The applications is used for campaign management by the Likud party, headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. News of the data breach comes just weeks before Israelis go to the polls for the third time in under a year. Netanyahu is seeking reelection for a fourth consecutive term as premier on March 2 after two elections in 2019 yielded inconclusive results. The Likud party acknowledged that it had “thwarted an attempt” to damage a digital platform used to recruit party supporters on election day. The party did not respond to inquiries about the data breach. The discovery is particularly embarrassing for the Likud party after it waged a smear campaign last year against Netanyahu’s main opponent, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, claiming the former army chief’s phone had been hacked by Iranian intelligence. The information included the names, addresses, ID numbers, and polling stations of eligible Israeli voters — and in some cases their phone number, gender and whether they were potential Likud voters. The voter roll data was exposed due to faulty security on an application the Likud Party used called Elector, which was designed by the Israeli software company Feedback. Noam Rotem, an Israeli security researcher who first revealed the data breach on his podcast “Cyber Cyber,” said he received an anonymous tip from a hacker, which he later confirmed independently. Rotem said that while it remained uncertain whether Israelis’ personal data had been exploited, “it is very likely to assume that we are not the only ones with access to this information.” “It was very easy to get the data. Anyone with a regular web browser could have done it,” he told The Associated Press. Israeli political parties receive the personal data of voters from the the Central Elections Committee ahead of elections for internal campaign purposes on condition that the data remains private. Neither Feedback nor Elector’s app designer Tzur Yamin responded to requests for comment. (AP)

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London Police Deploy Face Scan Tech, Stirring Privacy Fears

London police started using facial recognition cameras on Tuesday to automatically scan for wanted people, as authorities adopt the controversial technology that has raised concerns about increased surveillance and erosion of privacy. Surveillance cameras mounted on a blue police van monitored people coming out of a shopping center in Stratford, in east London. Signs warned that police were using the technology to find people “wanted for serious crimes.” Officers stood nearby, explaining to passers-by how the system works. It’s the first time London’s Metropolitan Police Service has used live facial recognition cameras in an operational deployment since carrying out a series of trials that ended last year. London police are using the technology despite warnings from rights groups, lawmakers and independent experts about a lack of accuracy and bias in the system and the erosion of privacy. Activists fear it’s just the start of expanded surveillance. “We don’t accept this. This isn’t what you do in a democracy. You don’t scan people’s faces with cameras. This is something you do in China, not in the U.K.,” said Silkie Carlo, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch. Britain has a strong tradition of upholding civil liberties and of not allowing police to arbitrarily stop and identify people, she said. “This technology just sweeps all of that away.” Police Commander Mark McEwan downplayed concerns about the machines being unaccountable. Even if the computer picks someone out of a crowd, the final decision on whether to investigate further is made by an officer on the ground, he said. “This is a prompt to them that that’s somebody we may want to engage with and identify,” he said. London’s system uses technology from Japan’s NEC to scan faces in the crowds to see if they matched any on a “watchlist” of 5,000 faces created specifically for Tuesday’s operation. The watchlist images are mainly of people wanted by the police or courts for serious crimes like attempted murder, said McEwan. London police say that in trials, the technology correctly identified 7 in 10 wanted people who walked by the camera while the error rate was 1 in 1,000 people. But an independent review found only 8 of 42 matches were verified as correct. Police are “using the latest most up to date algorithm we can get,” McEwan said. “We’re content that it has been independently tested around bias and for accuracy. It’s the most accurate technology available to us.” (AP)

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Alleged Founder Of “Rise Up Ocean County” Facebook Page Heading To Prison

The man who is alleged to be the vicious anti-semite behind the recently shutdown “Rise Up Ocean COunty” Facebook page is headed to prison. Richard Ciullo was sentenced to 60 days in jail for check fraud. It appears the 60 days will be served by weekends. Cioullo allegedly used his Facebook page to sow hatred and bash Jews for all types of fraud they never committed – including the very crimes he is now doing time for. In 2014 he was arrested for deceiving customers and passing bad checks at his advertising businesses out of $3,000. Just last week YWN reported that Facebook finally removed the hate page. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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WATCH: Ex-Convict Ehud Olmert Joins Abbas To Denounce Trump Peace Plan

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and former Prime Minister and convict Ehud Olmert held a joint press conference in New York on Tuesday where they denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. The televised address came just hours after Abbas said the U.S. initiative strengthens “the apartheid regime” during a fiery speech at the United Nations Security Council. Olmert and Abbas held negotiations during the former’s term as prime minister. Olmert was forced to resign a decade ago ahead of a corruption indictment that later sent him to prison for 16 months. In a nothing but laughable statement, Abbas said he “wishes to resume negotiations with you, Mr. Olmert, under the umbrella of the International Quartet.” Perhaps Mr. Abbas needs to be reminded, that Mr. Olmert is no longer a Prime Minister. Additionally, he might need a reminder that it was he (Abbas) that walked away from those negotiations. “The only partner in the Palestinian community that represents the Palestinian people and has manifested that he’s prepared to negotiate,” Olmert said at the onset of his speech. “Unfortunately, we didn’t reach an agreement,” he added, referring to the 2008 talks that ended abruptly after corruption charges against the former prime minister surfaced. “He [Abbas] is a man of peace, he is opposed to terror and therefore he is the only partner that we can build [peace] with.” Ambassador Danon issues the following video message in response: (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Judge Clears A Major Path To T-Mobile’s $26.5B Sprint Bid

A federal judge has cleared a major path to T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint, as he rejected claims by more than a dozen states that the deal would mean less competition and higher phone bills. Though the deal still needs a few more approvals, T-Mobile expects to close it as early as April 1. Once that happens, the number of major U.S. wireless companies would shrink from four to three. T-Mobile says the deal would benefit consumers as it becomes a fiercer competitor to the larger Verizon and AT&T. The deal would also create a new, but smaller competitor as satellite TV company Dish pledges to build a next-generation, 5G cellular network. A group of state attorneys general tried to block the deal, arguing that having one fewer phone company would cost Americans billions of dollars in higher bills. Consumer Reports said the three remaining companies would have fewer incentives to compete on prices and quality. Judge Victor Marrero in New York said Tuesday that the companies’ insistence that the deal would cut prices and the states’ insistence that the deal would raise prices “essentially cancel each other out.” Instead, he chose to rely on what wireless executives have done in the past and what they commit to doing in the future in an industry that is changing rapidly. T-Mobile has pushed in recent years such consumer-friendly changes as restoring unlimited data plans. Marrero said he found that T-Mobile executives were credible at trial in promising to continue competing aggressively with AT&T and Verizon. The judge also agreed with the companies that Sprint was “at best struggling to even tread water” and would not last as a national wireless competitor. He also said that he is persuaded that the U.S. Justice Department’s side deal with Dish, which sets up the satellite TV provider as a new wireless company, would reduce the threat to competition. Marrero’s decision comes after the Justice Department already approved the deal. Another judge still needs to approve the Dish settlement, a process that is usually straightforward but has taken longer than expected. A utility board in California also has to approve the deal. New York Attorney General Letitia James, one of the leading attorneys general in the case, said her office was considering an appeal. She said Tuesday’s ruling “marks a loss for every American who relies on their cell phone for work, to care for a family member, and to communicate with friends.” Gigi Sohn, a fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy, said that while consumers are often promised benefits from mergers, “what they are left with each time are corporate behemoths” that can raise prices and destroy competition. Sprint shares jumped $3.42, or 71%, to $8.22 in midday trading after the ruling came out. T-Mobile shares rose $8.64, or 10%, to $93.17. Verizon shares fell nearly 3% and AT&T nearly 1%. T-Mobile launched its bid for Sprint in 2018, after having been rebuffed by Obama-era regulators. T-Mobile CEO John Legere had seen President Donald Trump’s election and his appointed regulators as a good opportunity to try again to combine, according to evidence during the trial. T-Mobile, which promised not to raise prices for three years, repeated previous arguments that the combined T-Mobile and Sprint will be able to […]

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What To Watch In New Hampshire’s Primary On Tuesday Night

The Democratic presidential race is deeply unsettled heading into the New Hampshire primary. It may be up to the state to put some structure around the chaotic contest, with Iowa being unable to declare a clear winner. What to watch Tuesday night as the returns roll in: IS THERE AN ENTHUSIASM GAP? Only slightly more Democrats voted in Iowa’s caucuses last week than in 2016 and that has party operatives worried about voter enthusiasm going into November. Will New Hampshire’s Democratic voters surge to the polls or also stay home? New Hampshire’s secretary of state has predicted a healthy 292,000 Democratic voters, which would be about 40,000 more than voted in 2016. The turnout question hangs heavily over the field for two reasons. The start of Democratic voting in the long primary season coincides with a rise in anxiety among that party’s voters about the presidential election and an increase in confidence among Republicans. Low turnout would be a sign of Democratic weakness at the ballot box, at least for now. Second, the candidacy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is premised on the theory that his ultra-liberal platform will turn out new voters, but that didn’t happen in Iowa. Whether more voters cast ballots in New Hampshire may carry big implications for Sanders’ argument. DOES A CLEAR ALTERNATIVE TO SANDERS EMERGE? Sanders has consistently led the field in New Hampshire. He represents a neighboring state and won New Hampshire handily in 2016, and the state’s policies allowing non-Democrats to vote in the primary works well with Sanders’ base. Because he also did well in Iowa and is well positioned in Nevada, the next state to vote, more centrist Democrats are warning that Sanders could in position to blitz his way to the nomination. Polls show a majority of Democratic voters want someone other than Sanders right now, but it’s unclear who. The anti-Sanders vote is split among former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. And waiting for Super Tuesday states is former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who’s skipping the early states in favor of a massive ad campaign. The best-case scenario for Sanders would be for all the moderate alternatives to emerge clustered behind him in New Hampshire, so no one could block him as the contest moves to a broader, and more diverse, set of states. The worst case, other than a loss, would be a single moderate candidate emerging with a clear mandate to take him on. DOES WARREN HAVE A PLAN FOR ANOTHER POOR SHOWING? One more top-tier Democratic candidate is competing in New Hampshire — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Like Sanders, she represents a neighboring state, but unlike Sanders, she’s been stuck in a sort of political purgatory — not in dire enough shape that there’s speculation about the demise of her candidacy, but with few signs of momentum in a state where she was once viewed as a favorite. What happens to Warren on Tuesday night? As a liberal, she potentially has been pulling votes from Sanders. Does she do well enough to continue into the later states and Super Tuesday? Or does she continue to muddle along even in the potentially friendly terrain of New Hampshire, raising fresh questions about her viability? WHO […]

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Small New Hampshire Town Votes For Bloomberg In Primary

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is not even on the ballot, won the votes of a tiny New Hampshire community that barely hung onto its tradition of being among the first to make their picks in the presidential primary. Dixville Notch’s five residents cast their ballots just after the stroke of midnight Tuesday in the first 2020 presidential primary vote in the nation. Bloomberg received three write-in votes, one from a Republican and two from Democrats. The remaining votes went to Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders. Polls opened later Tuesday in the rest of the state, some as early as 6 a.m. The first-in-the-nation presidential primary follows last week’s Iowa caucuses, which was plagued by technical issues that left both Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg claiming victory. The small community, located near the Canadian border, had been in the spotlight for nearly 60 years for casting votes just after midnight in the country’s first presidential primary and in November general elections after latex balloon inventor Neil Tillotson bought the Balsams resort and arranged for the early voting at the hotel. The resort closed in 2011, but voting continued in a ski lodge or at a former culinary school nearby. “This is the first time I’ve ever picked up a Democrat ballot,” said Tillotson’s son Neil, who is the town moderator. ”I looked through the field of Democrat candidates and looked for someone that I could connect with on policies and could get things done. I believe Mike Bloomberg can win the presidency in November and get things done in a way I feel good about.” Bloomberg skipped New Hampshire and other early voting states to wait for Super Tuesday. For years, Dixville Notch attracted many political candidates and a lot of media. It is believed to have reached its peak voting population in 1988. In the general election that year, 34 residents voted for Republican George H.W. Bush, and three voted for Democrat Michael Dukakis. This time around, only U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, of Colorado, visited Dixville Notch prior to the vote. The lack of attention by 2020 candidates underscores the precarious situation the community is in. Last year, the attorney general’s office said Dixville Notch needed another official in order to hold a primary election after a person who previously held that role moved away. That left Dixville Notch with just four total residents. If the community couldn’t find a fifth person in time to fill a selectman vacancy, it would have needed to contact the secretary of state’s office for assistance in joining nearby municipalities in order to vote , according to the attorney general’s office. Last month, resident No. 5 became Les Otten, a developer who is working to expand and reopen the Balsams. “At the moment, the importance of the tradition of voting in Dixville seemed as though it was something that needed to be paid attention to,” he said last month. “It was something that was crying out for somebody to step forward and say, ‘I’ll be the fifth guy.’” Two other areas, Hart’s Location and Millsfield, offer midnight voting in New Hampshire. Hart’s Location, a small town in the White Mountains, started the early voting tradition in 1948 to accommodate railroad workers who had to be at work before normal voting […]

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