Posts tagged with "Reuters"

Handcuff illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Facebook × Child Predators

SURVIVOR OF FACEBOOK-FACILITATED CHILD PREDATOR ABUSE TELLS SHAREHOLDERS TO “DELAY END-TO-END ENCRYPTION” UNTIL PLATFORM CAN ADEQUATELY PROTECT CHILDREN

Searing Testimony Shows Danger Facebook Poses to Young Children and How Ill-Conceived Steps Justified on Privacy Grounds Would Only Hurt More Children.

A survivor of child abuse and exploitation who was approached on a Facebook platform urged shareholders today at the company’s annual meeting to delay plans to move ahead with end-to-end encryption that would see Facebook “become one of the world’s most dangerous ’playgrounds’ for children.”

That warning was delivered today by Sarah Cooper, who was approached as a teenager through Facebook Messenger, met a predator in Boston and New York City, and was sold into sex slavery.

The following is Sarah Cooper’s full statement: 

“My name is Sarah Cooper and I am a member of the Survivor’s Council of ECPAT-USA, the leading anti-child trafficking organization in the United States.

I am here this morning to present resolution #6 asking the Board to report on the risk of increased sexual exploitation of children as the Company develops and offers additional privacy tools such as end-to-end encryption.

One year ago, I told my personal story publicly for the first time, of being groomed and trafficked by a predator that I met on Facebook. He seemed to be my age but was actually decades older. I was groomed starting when I was 15 until just after my 18th birthday. It seemed innocent enough at the beginning. I received a Facebook friend request from someone I didn’t know.  

We exchanged messages back and forth and after some time I sent photos to my predator, then more images to him. He groomed me for over two years.   I thought he was a friend, someone I could trust. I didn’t really know anything was wrong until I met him in person, and saw his face, I finally realized he was closer to 40 than 18.  Once I stepped into his car it was too late… When I was trafficked, given drugs, sold into sex slavery and held against my will at gunpoint… my instinct was to survive.  I was lucky enough to have been rescued by a friend and thankfully survived my ordeal, some are not as lucky and never make it home.

For years, I was unaware of the dangers lurking on the internet, until I myself became a target.  Today, as an advocate working to prevent child sex trafficking, I’ve come to understand that law enforcement in the field relies extensively on tips from Facebook to bring predators to justice.  But what will happen when you go to end to end encryption on the Messenger app? 

Facebook admitted that in going forward with implementing end-to-end encryption it will not be able to see child sexual abuse materials online, and the number of these reports will go down.  Therefore, the number of children’s lives that could be saved or helped, will be less.

Facebook made nearly 21 million reports of child sexual materials last year, and it has been estimated that 75% of these will become invisible once it applies end-to end encryption.

Those reports are not just ‘reports’ – they are children. Children who are scared and hurt, children who need our help, children who believe Facebook would never hurt them. They are someone’s daughter, sister, grandchild and neighbor. 

Facebook needs to immediately improve age verification, increase human monitoring of content, work in tighter cooperation with law enforcement – and it should absolutely delay expanding encryption on its platforms until it can protect children.

Privacy is important, but we need a balance of privacy and protection of the most vulnerable members of society, our children.  

Facebook is a great platform, but it is not a safe platform. And with encryption it will become one of the world’s most dangerous ’playgrounds’ for children.

Thank you.”

Ms. Cooper spoke in favor of Proposal 6 at the Facebook annual meeting, which calls on Facebook to conduct a study of its central role in online child abuse and  “assessing the risk of increased sexual exploitation of children as the Company develops and offers additional privacy tools such as end-to-end encryption.”  The resolution was filed by Proxy Impact, Lisette Cooper, the Maryknoll Sisters, the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, NJ, and the Stardust Fund. In 2020, the same resolution attracted the support of 43 percent of non-management shares of the company that is tightly controlled by Mark Zuckerberg.

How bad is the child abuse and exploitation problem at Facebook? And how much worse could it get? 

Kael Felix illustrates Joe Biden for 360 Magazine

BIDEN WINS

By Payton Saso

THE OVERWHELMING UNCERTAINTIES

As four years of uncertainty may be coming to a close, there is not the expected sigh of relief we could hope for. As election day takes way, it is hard to ignore all the uncertainties that still loom over America. 

The nation we are living in is something many young voters have not seen before. As big cities board up businesses in preparation for the salient threat of riots and protests following election results, COVID-19 cases are on the rise and the fear amongst Americans is palpable.

Reuters analysis of state and county reports showed that COVID cases have risen 18% and deaths have risen 3%. While 3% may not seem exponential, “Nationally, nearly 5,800 people died of the virus in the seven days ended Nov. 1,” they reported.

The election follows the week in which Amy Coney Barrett [ACB] was confirmed to serve her life-long term on the Supreme Court, making some voters even more concerned regarding the outcome of the election and the fate of their human rights.

In its first hearing since ACB was confirmed, the Court will start its hearings in a case regarding the Catholic Social Services in Pennsylvania. The case follows the suing of the City of Philadelphia by the CSS for not allowing children to be placed in foster care with organizations like the CSS who exclude same-sex couples from being fosters, according to the local news stations NBC 10 Philadelphia.

Originally facing the Supreme Court’s docket when the late Justice Ginsburg still served, the new outcome of the case is truly up in the air. With the addition of ACB, who is conservatively Catholic, it is unclear whether she will side with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in their claims that their First Amendment rights are being violated. 

It is clear that how ACB votes on this case, will set the precedent for her term and quite frankly how she will vote if President Trump objects to the outcome of the election. 

Which is an evident possibility, seeing that the G.O.P. in Texas has already attempted to get 127,000 votes from Harris County. The county, which is largely Democratic, instilled drive-through ballot drop locations throughout by Harris County clerk, Chris Hollins, the New York Times stated.

Though the case was rejected by the Texas Supreme Court, those in the lawsuit claimed that the locations were illegal and favored Democrats. However, it seems that this is a tactic of voter suppression in hopes to throw out Democratic votes. 

Similarly in Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court ruled last month to reject “Republican request for a stay on a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that would allow ballots to be counted up to three days after Election Day,” Politico reported.

This attempted block is another attempt to threaten the validity of mail-in votes to which President Trump has been very vocal about opposing. The use of these absentee ballots; however, are just to yield some relief on the growing pandemic numbers to ease traffic at the polls today.

As of 12:17 EST, the US Elections Project gathered data that 100,611,070 Americans have voted early. With a mass number of votes already cast, it is clear this election will be historical in every way.

BIDEN CAMPAIGN WON’T STOP

Regularly dressed to the nines with his signature Aviator sunglasses, Biden has had to add another signature accessory to this fit, a mask. But that hasn’t stopped him from emanating the vibe of the cool Uncle Joe. His recent Twitter post for one of his campaign videos shows that.

Using the iconic Eminem song “Lose Yourself” from the “Eight Mile” soundtrack, the black and white video was Tweeted alongside the words by Biden, “ We have one shot. One Opportunity. One moment. Don’t miss the chance — vote.”

Appealing to those of all ages, “Lose Yourself” has become a song of triumph relished by sports teams, boxers and just the average joe in need of a confidence boots. The Grammy Award winning song was licensed to the Biden-Harris campaign which, Variety says, is a song rarely allowed by Eminem to be used.

It is no surprise that Eminem is one of the celebrities endorsing the Biden-Harris ticket. In 2017, he rapped a freestyle for the BET Awards that tore into Trump as president and as a human. He then released an album entitled “Revival” that year in which he continued to criticize Trump more. His song “Framed” on the track led the Secret Service to investigate the rapper.

While the Secret Service would not confirm this, “documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request confirmed that they did,” Rolling Stone claimed.

However, “One Shot,” regardless of the artist’s own personal hits at the President, encompasses the feeling of the American people in this time. The video depicts everyday people, our essential workers, nurses, doctors, those waiting in the long lines of the polls, and every other demographic Biden says he will work for. 

The power and importance of this election reigns true with the words ‘we only got one shot’ to make a promising change in America.

TRUMP PROMOTES THE AMERICAN DREAM

With the final push for votes occurring, both candidates are Tweeting out new campaign videos in hopes to still appeal to undecided voters.

President Trump Tweeted today a video that appeals to the masses who are patriotic and believe American is the greatest country. Playing to the idea of the American Dream, which he has made a prominent stance on, the video shows masses of Americans rallying together waving Trump flags and signs.

The images of American Flag sliced into images of the Armed Forces cheering and standing at attention, are overlaid with the words of President Trump. “America is the place where anything can happen. America is the place anyone can rise,” Trump asserts. 

The immensely patriotic video comes the day after President Trump announced his American Dream Plan. “President Trump recently released the American Dream Plan to reaffirm his commitment to fight for Hispanic prosperity and opportunity for all to achieve the American Dream,” The White House announced.

This final appeal to voters goes along with Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” where he says he will create a country completely independent of China, create job opportunities and create an environment where the American Dream can be accomplished. 

This video is in contrast to his opponent’s, Joe Biden, recent campaign video by using B-roll and music that is simple and might appeal to older voters, while Biden’s campaign used music and video editing that might appeal better to younger voters. 

Regardless of who the candidates are trying to appeal to, hopefully these campaign videos help some undecided voters to choose who they believe is best for our country.

ELECTION PREDICTIONS

The results of this election are being awaited anxiously by Americans everywhere. Because of so many people using mail-in ballots, the final results may take longer than usual to be confirmed. Many predictions have been made about who the winner may be.

Primary Model predicts that Trump will take the win and gives him a 91% chance of doing so. They predict Trump will get 362 electoral votes while Biden will only get 176. Since Primary Model was created in 1996, they have correctly predicted all but one presidential election.

It is predicted that voter turnout will surge this year. “The intensity of the electorate is without recent precedent,” Tom Bonier, the CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political-data firm, said in The Atlantic. It was predicted last year that 150 million Americans would vote this fall.

A historian and professor at American University, Allan Litchman, has predicted every presidential election correctly since 1984. Litchman explained on Fox News his prediction model called “The 13 Keys to the White House.” He explained Trump was in the lead to win until the coronavirus pandemic hit America.

“My prediction is that Donald Trump will become the first sitting president since George H. W. Bush in 1992 to lose a reelection bid, and Joe Biden will become the next president of the United States,” said Litchman.

Henry Olson also gave his prediction in The Washington Post. He predicted that Biden would win the popular vote with 52.5% of votes. He believes Biden will conclude with 350 electoral college votes while Trump will conclude with only 188.

AFTER ELECTION NIGHT

It is no surprise that results for this election are taking longer to finalize. With more early and mail-in votes due to the pandemic, some states are still counting ballots on November 4.

As of 3 pm on November 4, Biden is in the lead with 237 electoral college votes compared to the 213 Trump has. Six states are still undecided including Alaska, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia. Michigan and Nevada are currently leaning blue while the other remaining states lean red.

President Donald Trump seems dissatisfied with the fact that ballots are still being counted. “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” tweeted Trump at 12:49 am on November 4.

He also tweeted, “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!” The Trump campaign has also filed a lawsuit to stop vote counting in Michigan.

Candidate Joe Biden has been more positive on his Twitter account. At 1:03 am on November 4 he tweeted, “We feel good about where we are. We believe we are on track to win this election.”

THE WAIT FOR A WINNER

As of Friday morning, Biden has taken over Georgia and Pennsylvania. Georgia is 99% reporting and Biden is winning with just over 1,000 votes. Pennsylvania is 98% reporting and Biden has a slightly greater advantage than in Georgia.

The last time a Democrat won Georgia was almost 30 years ago when Bill Clinton won over his opponent George H.W. Bush in 1992. Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, has already announced there would be a recount due to the small margin.

Nevada is at 84% reporting and Biden remains in the lead. Trump is leading in North Carolina and Alaska.

The Trump campaign continues to protest the results. They plan to sue in Nevada and claim that votes are being counted for people that have moved or died. According to Daily Mail, Trump plans to sue every battleground state that Biden has won.

This election is being compared to the 2000 election where George W. Bush and Al Gore had an incredibly tight race. This election lead to the supreme court decision to stop the recount known as Bush v. Gore. Bush ended up winning Florida by only 537 votes. In 2000 the winner wasn’t determined until December 12th and Americans everywhere are strapping in for what could be another long battle for the election results.

Joe Biden has passed 270 votes as of Saturday morning. Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris posted on her Twitter in celebration.

To keep up with the most recent election results click here.

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Conspiracy illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

‘Wayfairgate’

By Mina Tocalini

Wayfair Conspiracy irrupts over Twitter and Reddit with #wayfair, accusing the company of being involved in a child trafficking scheme. The trend sparked after Reddit user, PrincessPeach1987, posted a speculation on the conspiracy subreddit last Friday. The post expressed concern over the high prices of cabinets found on Wayfair, and contemplated whether it was a front for the sale of missing children.

Conspiracy Claims:

Counter Claims:

  • Wayfair stated the high prices were accurate for commercial grade products, but the descriptions and images provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the price.
  • Wayfair explained to Reuters that the company’s algorithm uses first names, geographic locations and common words for naming purposes.
  • Newsweek reported that SKUs did not return images of a single child and the same results were presented using a random set of numbers.
  • The Wayfair employee walkout protested contracts with ICE, but no complaints were made regarding posting missing children for sale

Social media’s effective dissemination of information is a clear strength, but we must also acknowledge the fact that it has the power to sensationalize rumors without consequence. The 2016 ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy accused a Washington D.C pizzeria of being linked to a child trafficking ring run by the Democratic Party. Specifically, it targeted Hillary Clinton, the Presidential candidate for the 2016 election and was yet another attempt to discredit her. ‘Pizzagate’  was widely debunked, but continues to be believed by social media users till this day. The Wayfair Conspiracy expresses similar concerns and is based on the inferences and connections derived from little and inaccurate evidence. Furthermore, its claims can be

considered to be a distraction from more concrete searches for missing children. Like any conspiracy, its influence lies more in faith. Regardless, we each have the right to our opinions. Considering the effect this may have on the welfare of the company and its employees, will you debunk the claims made? Or defend the possibility of children being trafficked?

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

Gates – COVID-19 Vaccine

By Jason Tayer

As the Black Lives Matter movement joined the COVID-19 pandemic in serving as two of the world’s most pressing current crises, they have undoubtedly merged in terms of their effects and implications on each other. The core issue driving the BLM movement deals with inequity and disproportionate treatment of black people compared to other populations in the U.S. In light of this notion, the coronavirus has been disproportionately affecting black populations across the country, and resembles a clear example of how we need mass social change.

Bill and Melinda Gates spoke out about how to better treat black communities in terms of handling the spread of COVID-19. According to Reuters, there have been several posts claiming that Melinda wants to test the vaccine on black communities. However, deeper analysis has shown that this was a misinterpretation and that she meant to communicate that once the vaccine is safe to distribute, healthcare workers and black populations should be first priority recipients of the vaccine since they have both been unequally affected by COVID-19 cases. For instance, the state of Illinois recorded that 30% of its COVID-19 cases were held by black people when they only make up 14.6% of the population.

TIME Magazine states that since there has been a lack of ties to international health agencies within this country, Bill Gates announced that the Gates Foundation will give $1.6 to the Vaccine Alliance. This effort to bring forth an appropriate vaccine as soon as possible compliments the intentions to equitably distribute the vaccine to particularly impacted communities once it is made available.

coffee, mug, plate, cocoa, green, white, brown, 360 Magazine, illustration

Tech x Press Freedom

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Reporters Committee urged a federal court on Friday to deny the Trump administration’s request for an emergency order that would block the publication and distribution of a highly anticipated memoir written by former National Security Adviser John Bolton. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Reporters Committee argued that the requested injunction amounts to an unconstitutional prior restraint. “Such an extraordinarily broad injunction would be a clear prior restraint that violates long-settled constitutional law,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “The court must reject this effort to censor the free flow of information to the public about government activities.”

In addition to Trump’s response to Bolton’s published memoir, several journalists were targeted in a large-scale hacking operation. After a journalist contacted The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto in 2017 about a suspicious phishing attempt, researchers recently uncovered a huge hack-for-hire operation, dubbed “Dark Basin,” that targeted thousands of people in journalism, business, banking, law, and especially the nonprofit sector.

Researchers linked Dark Basin to BellTroX InfoTech Services, an Indian tech firm owned by Sumit Gupta. Gupta, who in 2015 was indicted on federal hacking charges in California, denied the allegations in an interview with Reuters.

Dark Basin targeted a range of organizations and, in several cases, the journalists connected to them. For example, hackers attempted to infiltrate American environmental advocacy groups, including the Rockefeller Family Fund, Greenpeace, and 350.org, as well as “multiple major US media outlets” who covered the groups’ work on the #ExxonKnew climate change campaign. The hackers also targeted Free Press and Fight for the Future, organizations that advocate for open internet policies.

Despite the danger, a recent report by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism found that many journalists are not particularly careful with their digital security. In newsrooms short on time and money, digital security may seem like an unnecessary burden, and some journalists believe as long as they are not covering “sensitive” topics they will not be targeted. Often newsrooms that adopt security protocols do so informally, with some journalists becoming trainers for others.

LA LOCKDOWN EXTENDED

Home to the largest university system in the USA (with over 500,000), California has decided to extend their lockdown until July (or in some areas maybe August). Thus, major universities are beginning to cancel their Fall sessions.

According to Reuters, Barbara Ferrer, LA County Health Director, explicitly stated that many of the area’s shelter in place rules will apply for much of the summer.