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United States

GamerGate Critic Brianna Wu To Run For Congress (cnn.com) 511

"If you look at what our Congress is doing for tech, it's failing. It's putting all of us in danger," game developer Brianna Wu told CNN, adding "It's so imperative that people of my generation, native to technology, that we step up and make our voices known." An anonymous reader quotes CNN's report: Wu says she is running for Congress in 2018. The co-founder and head of development at games firm Giant Spacekat hasn't announced which district she wants to represent in the U.S. House of Representatives to prevent alerting her potential opponent while she prepares. Wu, a Massachusetts Democrat, told CNNMoney she's building up a team of advisers and figuring out campaign logistics before announcing her candidacy next month... She said the election of President-elect Donald Trump spurred her to consider entering politics...
Wu "says her extensive technical knowledge and experience fighting the alt-right and harassment and will be advantageous for a Congressional representative."
Government

US Fails To Renegotiate Arms Control Rule For Hacking Tools (go.com) 31

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ABC News: The Obama administration has failed to renegotiate portions of an international arms control arrangement to make it easier to export tools related to hacking and surveillance software -- technologies that can be exploited by bad actors, but are also used to secure computer networks. The rare U.S. move to push for revisions to a 2013 rule was derailed earlier this month at an annual meeting in Vienna, where officials from 41 countries that signed onto it were meeting. That leaves it up to President-elect Donald Trump's administration whether the U.S. will seek revisions again next year. U.S. officials had wanted more precise language to control the spread of such hacking tools without the unintended negative consequences for national cybersecurity and research that industry groups and lawmakers have complained about for months. Critics have argued that the current language, while well meaning, broadly sweeps up research tools and technologies used to create or otherwise support hacking and surveillance software. As one of those 41 member countries of the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement, which governs the highly technical world of export controls for arms and certain technologies, the United States agreed to restrict tools related to cyber "intrusion software" that could fall into the hands of repressive regimes. The voluntary arrangement relies on unanimous agreement to abide by its rules on export controls for hundreds of items, including arms such as tanks or military aircraft and "dual-use" technologies such as advanced radar that can be used for both peaceful and military means.
Republicans

Electoral College Elects Donald Trump As President (nbcnews.com) 1069

mi writes: The drama is over, Donald J. Trump passed the 270 electoral votes necessary to become President. A few electors dissented, resulting in their prompt dismissal and replacement per their state's laws. Ironically, more dissenters turned on Clinton than on Trump... The sky may not be falling yet, but the Earth is already in peril.
IBM

IBM Employees Protest Cooperation With Donald Trump (theintercept.com) 600

Reader Presto Vivace shares a report on The Intercept: IBM employees are taking a public stand following a personal pitch to Donald Trump from CEO Ginni Rometty and the company's initial refusal to rule out participating in the creation of a national Muslim registry. In November, Rometty wrote Trump directly, congratulating him on his electoral victory and detailing various services the company could sell his administration. The letter was published on an internal IBM blog along with a personal note from Rometty to her enormous global staff. "As IBMers, we believe that innovation improves the human condition. ... We support, tolerance, diversity, the development of expertise, and the open exchange of ideas," she wrote in the context of lending material support to a man who won the election by rejecting all of those values. Employee comments were a mix of support and horror. Now, some of those who were horrified are going public, denouncing Rometty's letter and asserting "our right to refuse participation in any U.S. government contracts that violate constitutionally protected civil liberties." The IBMPetition.org effort has been spearheaded in part by IBM cybersecurity engineer Daniel Hanley, who told The Intercept he started organizing with his coworkers after reading Rometty's letter. "I was shocked, of course," Hanley said, "because IBM has purported to espouse diversity and inclusion, and yet here's Ginni Rometty in an unqualified way reaching out to an admin whose electoral success was based on racist programs."
Earth

US Scientists Scramble To Protect Research On Climate Change (cnn.com) 534

Long-time Slashdot reader ClickOnThis quotes CNN: Some scientists and academics are embarking on a frenzied mission to archive reams of scientific data on climate change, energized by a concern that a Trump administration could seek to wipe government websites of hard-earned research... The chief concern: publicly available climate change data and research found on government websites would be wiped clean or made otherwise inaccessible to the public. Some worry the information could only be retrieved with a taxing Freedom of Information Act request.
One associate professor at the University of Texas tells CNN, "There is a very short window for when the new administration will come in and that's why there's a lot of anxiety. There's a lot of information to save."
United States

President Obama Threatens Retaliatory Actions Against Russia Over Hacks (nytimes.com) 531

An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times: [President Obama] said he was weighing a mix of public and covert actions against the Russians in his last 34 days in office, actions that would increase "the costs for them." Mr. Obama said he was committed to sending the Kremlin a message that "we can do stuff to you," but without setting off an escalating cyberconflict... "Some of it we will do in a way that they will know, but not everybody will," he said...

[T]he president was clearly wrestling with what he said the hacking affair and the reaction to it revealed about the state of American politics. Citing a recent poll that showed more than a third of Trump voters saying they approved of Mr. Putin...the president appealed to Americans not to allow partisan hatred and feuds to blind them to manipulation by foreign powers. "Unless that changes," Mr. Obama said, "we're going to continue to be vulnerable to foreign influence because we've lost track of what it is that we're about and what we stand for."

President Obama pulled Putin aside at a September meeting of the G20 to discuss Russian hacking, according to the article, telling Putin "to cut it out, there were going to be serious consequences if he did not."
Government

White House Supports Claim Putin Directed US Election Hack (bbc.com) 715

The White House is suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in a hacking operation aimed at interfering with the U.S. presidential election. BBC reports: Ben Rhodes, adviser to President Barack Obama, said that Mr Putin maintains tight control on government operations, which suggests that he was aware. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest added that it was "pretty obvious" that Mr Putin was involved. "Everything we know about how Russia operates and how Putin controls that government would suggest that, again, when you're talking about a significant cyber intrusion like this, we're talking about the highest levels of government," Mr Rhodes said. "And ultimately, Vladimir Putin is the official responsible for the actions of the Russian government." NBC reported that the U.S. had evidence that Mr Putin personally directed how information hacked by Russian intelligence was leaked. The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence also released a statement asserting Russia had orchestrated the hack, including breaches on the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The contents of those hacks, passed to Wikileaks and posted online, were embarrassing to the Democrats and shook up the presidential campaign. The NBC report, which cited two unnamed senior officials, said the hacking campaign began as a "vendetta" against Mrs Clinton before becoming "an effort to show corruption in American politics and split off key American allies." Mr Putin is said to have been furious when Mrs Clinton, as secretary of state, questioned the integrity of 2011 parliamentary elections in Russia. He publicly accused her of encouraging street protests.
Businesses

Businesses May No Longer Sue Customers Over Negative Reviews (thenextweb.com) 98

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: A few months I wrote about the Consumer Review Fairness Act. In a nutshell, this offers legal protections to consumers who leave negative reviews on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. You can now call out the restaurant who gave you food poisoning, or a bed-bug infested hotel without the risk of being dragged into a civil court. The long-overdue bill explicitly bans non-disparagement clauses in contracts between businesses and patrons. Over the years, there's been a rash of people getting sued after speaking their mind online. Today, President Obama signed off on the Consumer Review Fairness Act. It's now law. As great as this is for consumers, it's even better for the likes of TripAdvisor and Yelp, whose business model relies on people being able to speak their minds.
Social Networks

Facebook Is Clamping Down On Fake News, Partners With Fact Checkers To Flag Stories (slate.com) 415

After weeks of criticism over its role in spreading fake news during and after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Facebook said today it is taking concrete steps to halt the sharing of hoaxes on its platform. From a report on Slate: The company announced on Thursday several new features designed to identify, flag, and slow the spread of false news stories on its platform, including a partnership with third-party fact-checkers such as Snopes and PolitiFact. It is also taking steps to prevent spammers and publishers from profiting from fake news. The new features are relatively cautious and somewhat experimental, which means they may not immediately have the intended effects. But they signal a new direction for a company that has been extremely reticent to take on any editorial oversight of the content posted on its platform. And they are likely to evolve over time as the company tests and refines them. First, it's trying to make it easier for users to report fake news stories. The drop-down menu at the top right of each post in your feed will now include an explicit option to report it as a "fake news story," after which you'll be prompted to choose among multiple options, which include notifying Facebook and messaging the person who shared it.
United States

Donald Trump To Tech Leaders: 'No Formal Chain Of Command' Here (cnbc.com) 488

A confab of tech titans had a "productive" meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on Wednesday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told CNBC, as Trump moved to mend fences with Silicon Valley before taking office in January. Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Intel, Oracle, IBM, Cisco and Tesla were among the C-suite executives in attendance, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk expected to get private briefings, according to transition staff. From the report: "We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation," Trump said. "There's no one like you in the world. ... anything we can do to help this go along, we're going to be there for you. You can call my people, call me -- it makes no difference -- we have no formal chain of command around here." At the meeting, Trump introduced billionaire Wilbur Ross, his Commerce secretary pick, and Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, his choice for director of the National Economic Council. "They're going to do fair trade deals," Trump said. "They're going to make it easier for you to trade across borders, because there are a lot of restrictions, a lot of problems. If you have any ideas on that, that would be great."
Republicans

Twitter Cut Out of Trump Tech Meeting Over Failed Emoji Deal, Says Report (politico.com) 551

According to Politico, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was "bounced" from Wednesday's meeting between tech executives and President-elect Donald Trump in retribution for refusing during the campaign to allow an emoji version of the hashtag #CrookedHillary. Trump's adviser Sean Spicer denied the report, saying "the conference table was only so big." Politico reports: Twitter was one of the few major U.S. tech companies not represented at Wednesday afternoon's Trump Tower meeting attended by, among others, Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, and Tesla's Elon Musk -- an omission all the more striking because of Trump's heavy dependence on the Twitter platform. Trump's campaign also made a $5 million deal with Twitter before the election, in which the campaign committed "to spending a certain amount on advertising and in exchange receive discounts, perks, and custom solutions," the campaign's director of digital advertising and fund raising, Gary Coby, wrote in a Medium post last month. So the campaign objected when the company refused to allow the anti-Clinton emoji. Coby wrote that Dorsey personally intervened to block the Trump operation from deploying the emoji, which would have shown, in various renderings, small bags of money being given away or stolen. That emoji would have been offered to users as a replacement for the hashtag #CrookedHillary, a preferred Trump insult for his Democratic opponent. Spicer also objected to the company's refusal, telling the Washington Examiner in October that "while Twitter claims to be a venue that promotes the free exchange of ideas, it's clear that it's leadership's left wing ideology literally trumps that." POLITICO's source said Spicer, who's also the Republican National Committee spokesman, was the one who made the call to refuse an invitation to Dorsey or other Twitter executives to Wednesday's meeting.
Government

Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Will Advise Trump On Business Issues (theverge.com) 244

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick have joined President-elect Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, which will regularly meet with the soon-president to advise on business issues, the Trump transition team said in a statement. From a report on The Verge: The now 19-member council, established earlier this month, also includes Disney CEO Bob Iger and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. Members will "share their specific experience and knowledge as the President implements his economic agenda," according to the transition statement. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi also joins today. The announcement suggests a new link between the president-elect and Silicon Valley, which has been generally wary of the Trump presidency, with the notable exception of Facebook board member and Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who supported Trump despite controversy and has been working as an adviser for the transition team.
Businesses

IBM Promises To Hire 25,000 Americans As Tech Executives Set To Meet Trump (reuters.com) 244

IBM Chief Executive Ginni Rometty has pledged to "hire about 25,000 professionals in the next four years in the United States" as she and other technology executives prepared to meet with President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday. Reuters reports: IBM had nearly 378,000 employees at the end of 2015, according to the company's annual report. While the firm does not break out staff numbers by country, a review of government filings suggests IBM's U.S. workforce declined in each of the five years through 2015. When asked why IBM planned to increase its U.S. workforce after those job cuts, company spokesman Ian Colley said in an email that Rometty had laid out the reasons in her USA Today piece. Her article did not acknowledge that IBM had cut its U.S. workforce, although it called on Congress to quickly update the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act that governs federal support for vocational education. "We are hiring because the nature of work is evolving," she said. "As industries from manufacturing to agriculture are reshaped by data science and cloud computing, jobs are being created that demand new skills -- which in turn requires new approaches to education, training and recruiting." She said IBM intended to invest $1 billion in the training and development of U.S. employees over the next four years. Pratt declined to say if that represented an increase over spending in the prior four years.
Communications

Feds Unveil Rule Requiring Cars To 'Talk' To Each Other (thehill.com) 292

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: The Obama administration released a long-awaited rule on Tuesday requiring all new vehicles to have communication technology that allows them to "talk" to each another, which officials say could prevent tens of thousands of crashes each year. The proposal calls for all new light-duty cars and trucks to eventually be equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology, a safety system that enables cars to send wireless signals to each other, anticipate each other's moves and thus avoid crashes. The rule would require 100 percent of new vehicle fleets to have V2V technology within four years of the final rule's enactment. The proposal will be open for public comment for 90 days. The connected vehicle rule builds on previous work by the outgoing administration to accelerate the deployment of innovative safety technology. The Department of Transportation released the first-ever federal guidelines for driverless cars in September. "We are carrying the ball as far as we can to realize the potential of transportation technology to save lives," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "This long-promised V2V rule is the next step in that progression. Once deployed, V2V will provide 360-degree situational awareness on the road and will help us enhance vehicle safety." Officials say V2V has the potential to mitigate 80 percent of non-impaired crashes and can interact with other crash avoidance systems, like automatic braking. V2V uses dedicated short-range radio communications to exchange messages about a car's speed, direction and location. The system uses that information from other vehicles to identify potentials risks and warn its driver. A pair of Democratic senators called on the agency to ensure that vehicles have "robust" cybersecurity and privacy protections in place before automakers deploy V2V.
Government

Energy Department Refuses To Give Trump Team Names of People Who Worked On Climate Change (businessinsider.com) 858

The Department of Energy said Tuesday it will reject the request by President-elect Donald Trump's transition team to name staffers who worked on climate change programs. Energy spokesman Eben Burnhan-Snyder said the agency received "significant feedback" from workers regarding a questionnaire from the transition team that leaked last week. From a Reuters story, syndicated on BusinessInsider: The response from the Energy Department could signal a rocky transition for the president-elect's energy team and potential friction between the new leadership and the staffers who remain in place. The memo sent to the Energy Department on Tuesday and reviewed by Reuters last week contains 74 questions including a request for a list of all department employees and contractors who attended the annual global climate talks hosted by the United Nations within the last five years. "Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of (the Energy Department) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people," Eben Burnham-Snyder, Energy Department spokesman said. "We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department," he added. "We will be forthcoming with all publicly available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team."

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