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The Attorney General Investigates the Investigators

Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Attorneys General, Barr, William P, Durham, John H, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department, Presidential Election of 2016, Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates, Trump, Donald J, United States, United States Politics and Government | 0 comments

William Barr has tapped a United States attorney, John Durham, to look into whether the F.B.I. acted improperly during the Russia investigation.
Source: New York Times

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A brief history of Uber’s bumpy road to an IPO

Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Alphabet, Anthony Levandowski, Arizona, California, carsharing, Colorado, Commuting, driver, Emil Michael, equal employment opportunity commission, executive, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, Google, Lyft, pandodaily, Sarah Lacy, self-driving car, TC, transport, Travis Kalanick, Uber, Uber Startup, waymo | 0 comments

It’s been nine years since UberCab made its first appearance on the WordPress pages of this website. In the ensuing years, the startup has grown from an upstart looking to upend the taxi cab cartels, to a juggernaut that has its hands in every form of transportation and logistics service it can think of.

In the process, Uber has done some things that might give (and in fact has given) some shareholders pause.

From its first pitch deck to this historic public offering, TechCrunch has covered the über startup that has defined the post-financial-crisis era of consumer venture investing.

Here are some of the things that shouldn’t get swept into the dustbin of Uber’s history as the company makes its debut as a public company.

  • In 2014 Uber used a tool called “God View” to track the movements of passengers and shared those details publicly.At the time, the company was worth a cool $18.2 billion, and was already on the road to success (an almost pre-ordained journey given the company’s investors and capitalization), but even then, it could not get out of the way of its darker impulses.
  • A former executive of the company, Emil Michael, suggested that Uber should investigate journalists who were critical of the company and its business practices (including PandoDaily editor Sarah Lacy).
  • As it expanded internationally, Uber came under fire for lax hiring practices for its drivers. In India, the company was banned in New Delhi, after a convicted sex offender was arrested on suspicion of raping a female passenger.
  • Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission opened an investigation into the company for gender discrimination around hiring and salaries for women at the company. Uber’s problems with harassment were famously documented by former employee Susan Fowler in a blog post that helped spur a reckoning for the tech sector.
  • Uber has been forced to pay fines for its inability to keep passenger and driver information private. The company has agreed to 20 years of privacy audits and has paid a fine to settle a case that was opened by the Federal Trade Commission dating back to 2017.
  • While Uber was not found to be criminally liable in the death of an Arizona pedestrian that was struck and killed by a self-driving car from the company’s fleet, it remains the only company with an autonomous vehicle involved in the death of a pedestrian.
  • Beyond its problems with federal regulators, Uber has also had problems adhering to local laws. In Colorado, Uber was fined nearly $10 million for not adhering to the state’s requirements regarding background checks of its drivers.
  • Uber was also sued by other companies. Notably, it was involved in a lengthy and messy trade secret dispute with Alphabet’s onetime self-driving car unit, Waymo. That was for picking up former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski and some know-how that the former Alphabet exec allegedly acquired improperly before heading out the door.
  • Uber even had dueling lawsuits going between and among its executives and major shareholders. When Travis Kalanick was ousted by the Uber board, the decision reverberated through its boardroom. As part of that battle for control, Benchmark, an early investor in Uber sued the company’s founder and former chief executive,  Travis Kalanick for fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Uber’s chief people officer, Liane Hornsey was forced to resign following a previously unreported investigation into her alleged systematic dismissals of racial discrimination complaints within Uber.
  • Lawsuits against the company not only dealt with its treatment of gender and race issues, but also for accessibility problems with the ride-hailing service. The company was sued for allegedly violating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Disabled Persons Act.
  • The ride-hailing service also isn’t free from legal woes in international markets. Earlier this year, the company paid around $3 million to settle charges that Uber had violated local laws by operating in the country illegally.
  • Finally, the company’s lax driver screening policies have led to multiple reports of assault by drivers of Uber passengers. Uber recently ended the policy of forcing those women to engage in mandatory arbitration proceedings to adjudicate those claims.
  • Not even the drivers who form the core of Uber’s service are happy with the company. On the eve of its public offering, a strike in cities across the country brought their complaints squarely in front of the company’s executive team right before the public offering, which was set to make them millions.

Source: The Tech Crunch

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Tor pulls in record donations as it lessens reliance on US government grants

Posted by on Jan 11, 2019 in android, brave, Brendan Eich, carnegie mellon, censorship, censorshit, DuckDuckGo, Edward Snowden, Federal Bureau of Investigation, firefox, Mozilla, TC, tor, U.S. government, United States | 0 comments

Tor, the open-source initiative that provides a more secure way to access the internet, is continuing to diversify its funding away from its long-standing reliance on U.S. government grants.

The Tor Foundation — the organization behind the service which stands for “The Onion Router” — announced this week that it brought in a record $460,000 from individual donors in 2018. In addition, recently released financial information shows it raised a record $4.13 million from all sources in 2017 thanks to a growth in non-U.S. government donors.

The individual donation push represents an increase on the $400,000 it raised in 2017. A large part of that is down to Tor ally Mozilla, which once again pledged to match donations in the closing months of the year, while an anonymous individual matched all new backers who pledged up to $20,000.

Overall, the foundation said that it attracted donations from 115 countries worldwide in 2018, which reflects its importance outside of the U.S.

The record donation haul comes weeks after the Tor Foundation quietly revealed its latest financials — for 2017 — which show it has lessened its dependence on U.S. government sources. That’s been a key goal for some time, particularly after allegations that the FBI paid Carnegie Mellon researchers to help crack Tor, which served as a major motivation for the introduction of fundraising drives in 2015.

Back in 2015, U.S. government sources accounted for 80-90 percent of its financial backing, but that fell to just over 50 percent in 2017. The addition of a Swedish government agency, which provided $600,000, helped on that front, as well as corporate donations from Mozilla ($520,000) and DuckDuckGo ($25,000), more than $400,000 from a range of private foundations, and, of course, those donations from individuals.

Tor is best known for being used by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden but, with governments across the world cracking down on the internet, it is a resource that’s increasingly necessary if we are to guard the world’s right to a free internet.

Tor has certainly been busy making its technology more accessible over the last year.

It launched its first official mobile browser for Android in September, and the same month it released TorBrowser 8.0, its most usable browser yet, which is based on Firefox’s 2017 Quantum structure. It has also worked closely with Mozilla to bring Tor into Firefox itself as it has already done with Brave, a browser firm led by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich.

Beyond the browser and the Tor network itself, which is designed to minimize the potential for network surveillance, the organization also develops a range of other projects. More than two million people are estimated to use Tor, according to data from the organization.

Source: The Tech Crunch

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Michael Cohen, Trump’s Ex-Lawyer Who Implicated Him in Hush-Money Scandal, Faces Sentencing

Posted by on Dec 12, 2018 in Cohen, Michael D (1966- ), Federal Bureau of Investigation, Manhattan (NYC), Mueller, Robert S III, Presidential Election of 2016, Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates, Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel), Trump, Donald J | 0 comments

The sentencing, at 11 a.m. in Manhattan, will cap a startling fall for Mr. Cohen, who is a central figure in the payments to a porn star and a former Playboy model.
Source: New York Times

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Michael Flynn Asks Judge for Leniency for Lying to F.B.I.

Posted by on Dec 12, 2018 in Federal Bureau of Investigation, Flynn, Michael T, Lying, Turkey | 0 comments

President Trump’s former national security adviser will be sentenced next week after admitting he lied to the F.B.I. when he was questioned in the Russia investigation.
Source: New York Times

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Agents Tried to Flip Russian Oligarchs. The Fallout Spread to Trump.

Posted by on Sep 1, 2018 in Deripaska, Oleg V, Espionage and Intelligence Services, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department, Manafort, Paul J, Ohr, Bruce, russia, Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates, Steele, Christopher (1964- ), Trump, Donald J, United States Politics and Government | 0 comments

American officials hoped they could persuade some of Russia’s wealthiest men to help with U.S. investigations. It didn’t work.
Source: New York Times

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What’s Behind the F.B.I. Corruption Inquiry Shadowing the Florida Governor’s Race?

Posted by on Sep 1, 2018 in Corruption (Institutional), DeSantis, Ron, Elections, Governors, Ethics and Official Misconduct, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Florida, Gillum, Andrew, Politics and Government, Tallahassee (Fla) | 0 comments

Andrew Gillum says he’s not a target of an investigation of alleged corruption in Tallahassee. But it’s likely to shadow his run anyway.
Source: New York Times

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What Will Mueller Do? The Answer Might Lie in a By-the-Book Past

Posted by on Aug 25, 2018 in Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department, Mueller, Robert S III, russia, Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates, Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel), Trump, Donald J, United States Politics and Government | 0 comments

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has approached law enforcement consistently for decades: leading aggressive investigations marked by adherence to precedent and higher office.
Source: New York Times

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How the U.S. Is Fighting Russian Election Interference

Posted by on Aug 3, 2018 in computer security, Cyberwarfare and Defense, Elections, House of Representatives, Elections, Senate, Elections, State Legislature, Espionage and Intelligence Services, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Department, Justice Department, Midterm Elections (2018), Presidential Election of 2020, Rumors and Misinformation, russia, Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates, States (US), United States International Relations, United States Politics and Government, voting machines | 0 comments

Russia is trying again to spread disinformation to exploit American division, using social media campaigns as well as more traditional tradecraft, officials said.
Source: New York Times

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‘I Just Simply Did What He Wanted’: Sexual Abuse Inside Immigrant Detention Facilities

Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in Assaults, Asylum, Right of, Civil Rights and Liberties, Deportation, Executive Orders and Memorandums, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Guatemala, Honduras, Hutto (Tex), Hutto, T Don, Residential Center, Illegal Immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (US), Immigration and Emigration, Immigration Detention, Prison Guards and Corrections Officers, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Sex Crimes, Suits and Litigation (Civil), texas, United States, United States Politics and Government, Witnesses, Women and Girls | 0 comments

Immigrant detention is expanding under the Trump administration, increasing the risk of sexual assault in a system where abuse is not uncommon. Two women told us their stories of being sexually abused by guards while under the custody of ICE.
Source: New York Times

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