Big Tech

Censorship. Loss of Privacy. Thought Police.

Judicial Watch: Records Show Iowa State Officials Coordinated with Big Tech to Censor Election Posts

The records show communications between the Secretary of State’s office and representatives of Facebook and Twitter to Target Judicial Watch Posts.

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it received 624 pages of records from the office of the Secretary of State of Iowa, revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter and Facebook) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these records were emails from Iowa state officials to representatives of Big Tech pressuring these companies to remove Judicial Watch’s posts. The emails show how the state agency successfully pressured Facebook to censor Judicial Watch’s post about Iowa’s management of its voter rolls.  

Judicial Watch received the records as a result of a June 2020 Iowa Open Records lawsuit that was filed after the Iowa Secretary of State failed to comply with a February 2020 request for records and communications about a Judicial Watch report regarding the accuracy of the state’s voter registration rolls (Judicial Watch v. Iowa Secretary of State (No. 05771 EQCE085973)). Judicial Watch was represented by Iowa lawyer Alan R. Ostergren of Des Moines, Iowa.

The records show that officials in the Iowa Secretary of State office on multiple occasions contacted officials from Facebook and Twitter to try to have these companies remove Judicial Watch posts that raised concerns about Iowa’s failure to maintain accurate election rolls.

“These records are yet another example of state officials conspiring with Big Tech to deny Americans their First Amendment rights,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These records further show that Big Tech censorship is a government scandal: Iowa government officials worked with Facebook to remove posts they didn’t like, and Facebook bowed to this political pressure immediately. It should be disturbing to all Americans that government officials are working to censor speech they disagree with and that these behemoth companies often seem willing to roll over and censor free speech.”

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Facebook oversight board to reveal decision on Trump ban on Wednesday

Facebook’s “Oversight Board” said Monday that its decision on whether to keep former US President Donald Trump blocked from its social media platforms will come Wednesday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the decision to block Trump from Facebook and Instagram on Jan. 7, one day after a group of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in a bloody and deadly riot.

“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg wrote in the announcement.

In the same week, Twitter announced the decision to permanently ban Trump from its platform. Trump was also blocked from Snapchat and YouTube after the riot.

The bans ignited a debate about the role of social media giants in society and whether they should have the power to silence users without external policies that are clearly defined.

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Gray Television to be second largest broadcaster after $2.7B Meredith deal

Gray Television will spend $2.7 billion to buy the local TV stations of Meredith, a purchase that will make it the second-largest local broadcaster in the U.S., the company announced Monday.

In the deal, Gray will acquire Meredith’s Local Media Group, which owns 17 television stations in 12 local markets including Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Louis, Nashville, Kansas City and Las Vegas.

Gray expects the deal to close at the end of the year, after which it will own stations in 113 local markets and serve approximately 36 percent of U.S. television households, according to the announcement.

Nexstar is the largest U.S. broadcast company, with stations in 116 markets serving nearly 62 percent of U.S. television households, according to its website.

As part of the deal, Meredith will spin off its National Media Group into a separate company.

National media owns numerous magazine brands including People, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Gardens, InStyle, Allrecipes, Real Simple, Shape and Southern Living, as well as digital and marketing assets.

The Gray/Meredith deal is the latest of several significant media deals announced this year.

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Verizon Agrees to Sell Yahoo, AOL to Apollo for $5 Billion

Apollo Global Management Inc. agreed to pay about $5 billion to acquire Yahoo and AOL from Verizon Communications Inc. as the wireless company exits its ill-fated foray into the media business.

The private-equity firm is paying $4.25 billion in cash for a 90% share of the media assets. Verizon will keep a 10% stake and $750 million of additional preferred stock in the new company, called Yahoo, that will be formed to operate the business.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the potential sale of Verizon’s media assets to Apollo. Verizon Media, which mostly struggled to grow against Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., generated $7 billion in revenue last year.

Apollo’s strategy for the business revolves around getting more revenue from each of its 900 million active monthly users. Verizon’s positioning of the media business as a complement to its core mobile business—aimed at helping it add subscribers and reduce the number of people who quit—meant it hasn’t pursued some opportunities to maximize the value of each asset, executives at the private-equity firm

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Hubble Watches How a Giant Planet Grows

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is giving astronomers a rare look at a Jupiter-sized, still-forming planet that is feeding off material surrounding a young star.

“We just don’t know very much about how giant planets grow,” said Brendan Bowler of the University of Texas at Austin. “This planetary system gives us the first opportunity to witness material falling onto a planet. Our results open up a new area for this research.”

Though over 4,000 exoplanets have been cataloged so far, only about 15 have been directly imaged to date by telescopes. And the planets are so far away and small, they are simply dots in the best photos. The team’s fresh technique for using Hubble to directly image this planet paves a new route for further exoplanet research, especially during a planet’s formative years.

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Boeing fires dozens of employees for ‘racist’ behavior

Boeing fired 65 employees and disciplined 53 others for “racist, discriminatory or otherwise hateful conduct,” according to a report.

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British public now trust Amazon more than the Royal Mail

Britons now trust Amazon more than Royal Mail when it comes to deliveries (but we still have faith in its postmen!).

  • Royal Mail CCO Nick Landon sent an internal message to his 140,000 staff
  • He said ‘all of our pride should be dented by Amazon Logistics taking top spot’
  • The Royal Mail was privatised in 2013 and is still the biggest courier in the UK
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To be tracked or not? Apple Is now giving us the choice

By Brian X. Chen, The New York Times Company

If we had a choice, would any of us want to be tracked online for the sake of seeing more relevant digital ads?

We are about to find out.

On Monday, Apple released iOS 14.5, one of its most anticipated software updates for iPhones and iPads in years. It includes App Tracking Transparency, a new privacy tool that could give us more control over how our data is shared.

Here’s how it works: When an app wants to follow our activities to share information with third parties such as advertisers, a window will appear on our Apple device to ask for our permission to do so. If we say no, the app must stop monitoring and sharing our data.

A pop-up window may sound like a minor design tweak, but it has thrown the online advertising industry into upheaval. Most notably, Facebook has gone on the warpath. Last year, the social network created a website and took out full-page ads in newspapers denouncing Apple’s privacy feature as harmful to small businesses.

A big motivator, of course, was that the privacy setting could hurt Facebook’s own business. If we choose not to let Facebook track us, it will be harder for the company to see what we are shopping for or doing inside other apps, which will make it more difficult for brands to target us with ads. (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has disputed that his company’s business will be hurt by Apple’s policy.)

“This is a huge step in the right direction, if only because it’s making Facebook sweat,” said Gennie Gebhart, a director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights nonprofit.

But, she added, “One big question is: Will it work?”

Gebhart and other privacy experts said Apple’s new feature might not be enough to put an end to shady tracking on iPhones. It could simply push developers and ad-technology firms to find loopholes so they can continue tracking people in different ways, she and others said.

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Michael Collins, Apollo 11 Astronaut, Remembered By NASA | Video: 1 Minute 44 Seconds

Michael Collins was part of an extraordinary team of astronauts when most Americans were still looking forward filled with hope and optimism instead of looking back filled with hate and loathing. Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to land on the moon, a monumental achievement in human history. He was born October 31, 1930 and passed away on April 28, 2021.

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The Things We Don’t Know | “Buzz Aldrin Took Holy Communion on the Moon. NASA Kept it Quiet”

When Apollo 11‘s Eagle lunar module landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had to do something hard: Wait. They were scheduled to open the door of their lunar lander and step onto the unknown surface of a completely different world. But for now, their mission ordered them to take a pause before the big event.

And so Aldrin spent his time doing something unexpected, something no man had ever attempted before. Alone and overwhelmed by anticipation, he took part in the first Christian sacrament ever performed on the moon—a rite of Christian communion.

Aldrin’s lunar communion has since become shrouded in mystery and confusion, but the rite itself was relatively simple.The astronaut was also an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church, and before he headed into space in 1969, he got special permission to take bread and wine with him to space and give himself communion.

Men had already prayed in space, but Aldrin was about to go one step further—literally and figuratively. Part of his mission was not just to land on the moon, but to walk on it. To prepare, he took communion after the Eagle lunar module landed on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility during an hours-long downtime period designed to let the astronauts recover from their space flight and prepare for their moon walk.

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion. (Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion. (Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

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Below Is Foundational Information On Some Of The Issues With Big Tech

'Google’s China rapproachment has been spearheaded by Pichai, Google’s current CEO, a 46-year-old Indian-American who took the helm in October 2015. At a June 2016 conference in southern California, Pichai made his intentions clear. “I care about servicing users globally in every corner. Google is for everyone,” he said. “We want to be in China serving Chinese users.”' Google Employees have been warning us about China and Google under Pichai, for years. The censorship chickens have been coming home to roost ever since. Say hello to Dragonfly.

DRAGONFLY HAS COME TO AMERICA
Wondering Why Censorship Has Increased In America? Dragonfly, Censorship Through Algorithms and Human Surveillance, Has Landed Across All Platforms. “Many of us accepted employment at Google with the company’s values in mind, including its previous position on Chinese censorship and surveillance, and an understanding that Google was a company willing to place its values above its profits. After a year of disappointments including Project Maven, Dragonfly, and Google’s support for abusers, we no longer believe this is the case. This is why we’re taking a stand.”

FACEBOOK USERS ARE 'DUMB FUCKS'

~ Mark Zuckerberg

'In another exchange leaked to Silicon Alley Insider, Zuckerberg explained to a friend that his control of Facebook gave him access to any information he wanted on any Harvard student:
Zuck: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
Zuck: just ask
Zuck: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
Friend: what!? how’d you manage that one?
Zuck: people just submitted it
Zuck: i don’t know why
Zuck: they “trust me”
Zuck: dumb fucks'

Defense Department Technology used by ex-general against a sitting U.S. President.