Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Earthquake rocks north Philippines; no damage

Updated 11/29/2011 10:13 PM ET E-mail | Save | Print

MANILA (AP) — An official said an earthquake with a magnitude of 6 shook the capital and parts of the northern Philippines. There are no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

Foreclosure fraud whistleblower found dead

A notary public who signed tens of thousands of false documents in a massive foreclosure scam before blowing the whistle on the scandal has been found dead in her Las Vegas home.

NBC station KSNV of Las Vegas reported that the woman, Tracy Lawrence, 43, was scheduled to be sentenced Monday morning after she pleaded guilty this month to notarizing the signature of an individual not in her presence. She failed to show up for her hearing, and police found her body at her home later in the day.

It could not immediately be determined whether Lawrence, who faced up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000, died of susicide or of natural causes, KSNV reported. msnbc

Tracking the U.S. Government’s Response to #Occupy on Twitter

It’s no exaggeration to say that Occupy Wall Street first started on Twitter. As the New York Times reported Monday, the #occupywallstreet hashtag was conceived in July, a full two months before the first tent was pitched at Zuccotti Park.

As it grew from a single camp into a movement, Twitter was essential for getting real-time updates out as events unfolded, for both supporters and local government.

Particularly in the last month, some city officials have used Twitter as a tool to keep people informed. Even as they were dismantling camps, the mayors of New York City and Portland, Oregon were posting real-time updates and responding to citizens directly.

While city officials have actively communicated their positions, the response from the federal government has been muted, at best. The Occupy movement’s concerns are much larger than city politics, with most proposed demands requiring cooperation from Washington.

So far, official statements are isolated and infrequent — an early endorsement from the president, a couple of statements from the White House press secretary, and a range of opinions from individual members of Congress.

But maybe the situation’s different online? Twitter is much more casual and conversational, and social media-savvy federal agencies often respond directly to queries and complaints from their followers. It’s possible that federal employees are addressing questions and concerns about Occupy on Twitter instead.

I decided to find out.

Continue reading ‘Tracking The U.S. Government’s Response to #Occupy on Twitter‘ …

Facebook privacy practices get FTC shakeup

Facebook privacy practices get FTC shakeup


The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Facebook said today that they have reached an agreement to settle a complaint about privacy concerns that includes a promise that the popular social network will get express permission before overriding users' privacy settings and disclose what information is shared with third parties.

"The FTC alleges numerous violations of the FTC Act, which prohibits deceptive or unfair acts or practices," Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC, said in a conference call. "The most important thing is to ensure consumer privacy going forward, and we believe this order does that."

A seemingly contrite Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted making mistakes. "Overall, I think we have a good history of providing transparency and control over who can see your information," wrote in a blog post. "That said, I'm the first to admit that we've made a bunch of mistakes. In particular, I think that a small number of high profile mistakes, like Beacon four years ago and poor execution as we transitioned our privacy model two years ago, have often overshadowed much of the good work we've done."

Although Facebook has agreed to change its privacy practices, it did not acknowledge that it violated any law and the settlement notes that the company "expressly denies" the FTC's allegations.
The eight-count complaint alleges that Facebook "deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public," the agency said in a statement.

For instance, the complaint says Facebook made changes in December 2009 that exposed to the public information users previously set to private, such as "Friends List," without warning users that the change was coming or getting their approval in advance. Facebook also represented that third-party apps would have access only to user information that the app needed to operate when in fact the apps could access nearly all of the users' personal data, the FTC said. Also, Facebook told users they could restrict data sharing to certain groups of people, such as "Friends Only," but then allowed the information to be shared with third-party apps friends used, according to the complaint.