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Edward Snowden to internet users…Drop Dropbox!

In an interview with The New Yorker magazine, the world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden talked application encryption and user privacy rights. Snowden noted that many popular web services are failing to technically protect user’s privacy…pointing a finger at Dropbox, Google and Facebook.

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What’s the most insecure web service of them all? According to Edward Snowden, Dropbox wins the prize for most spy friendly storage. Google and Facebook do not fair much better either.
In an hour-long interview with The New Yorker magazine, Snowden dropped some bombs on dropbox and other Silicon Valley superstar companies for their lack of privacy protection, slack encryption, and BFF’ing with the NSA.

“We are no longer citizens, we no longer have leaders. We’re subjects, and we have rulers,” Snowden declared.
“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights – you don’t have to justify why you need freedom of speech.”

RT reports:

There isn’t enough investment into security research, into understanding how metadata could better be protected and why that is more necessary today than yesterday, he [Snowden] said.
The whistleblower believes one fallacy in how authorities view individual rights has to do with making the individual forsake those rights by default. Snowden’s point is that the moment you are compelled to reveal that you have nothing to hide is when the right to privacy stops being a right – because you are effectively waiving that right.
In that situation, it becomes OK to live in a world where one is no longer interested in privacy as such – a world where Facebook, Google and Dropbox have become ubiquitous, and where there are virtually no safeguards against the wrongful use of the information one puts there.
In particular, Snowden advised web users to “get rid” of Dropbox. Such services only insist on encrypting user data during transfer and when being stored on the servers. Other services he recommends instead, such as SpiderOak, encrypt information while it’s on your computer as well.
We’re talking about dropping programs that are hostile to privacy,” Snowden said.

While Dropbox was explicitly singled out as one of the worst privacy offenders by Snowden, Google and Facebook also received failing grades with regards to protecting user privacy.

The same goes for social networks such as Facebook and Google, too. Snowden says they are “dangerous” and proposes that people use other services that allow for encrypted messages to be sent, such as RedPhone or SilentCircle.
The argument that encryption harms security efforts to capture terrorists is flawed, even from a purely legalistic point of view, Snowden said, explaining that you can still retain encryption and have the relevant authorities requesting private information from phone carriers and internet providers on a need-to-know basis.
And the penchant for close, secretive cooperation with the government will only cost companies money and jobs, Snowden added, because no one would want to buy a phone made by a company that provides inherent backdoors for third parties to access your information.

Ultimately it us up to you an me, the consumers and users of these services, to demand our privacy and ultimately win it back. Only then will  corporations begin to address the need for better encryption and security. Snowden added…

“The same rights that we inherited our children deserve to inherit the same way.”
“But ultimately we have to remember that political reform in the United States is not going to solve the problem globally. Governments [everywhere] are going to have their own national laws. And these can be terrible governments… so, because of that, you have to use secure communications…the real key is that companies willing to collaborate with the government and compromise their products and services do not deserve to be trusted with your data. Because if they do it for one government, they’ll do it for another government.”
For consumers to retain trust in the services they use, they need to fight for the very idea of privacy, to keep the topic in focus, he said, adding: “I speak with computer scientists and cryptographers every day to try to figure out how we can create solutions” for metadata to be appreciated and viewed as someone’s own private business.
“There are solutions, there are ways forward, and we need to pursue them, to work toward them. And we need to say that this is an effort worth doing.”

Regarding his life in Russia and the charges he faces back home in the U.S. Snowden once again reiterated,

“I’ve told the government again and again in negotiations, you know, that if they’re prepared to offer an open trial, a fair trial in the same way that Dan Ellsberg got, and I’m allowed to make my case to the jury, I would love to do so. But to this point they’ve declined.”

References:
http://rt.com/news/195244-snowden-rid-dropbox-privacy/

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Edward Snowden’s advice to internet users…Drop #Dropbox! Stay away from #Facebook and #Google http://t.co/LlaqM2e9BK

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Arizona Senator Jeff Flake Opposes Vote on Kavanaugh Until Leftist Accuser Has Her Say

The end of the Republic inches closer as Identity Politics knows no bounds: Republicans join the fight to delay Brett Kavanaugh confirmation vote.

Alex Christoforou

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Via The Gateway Pundit


FLAKE OUT — ARIZONA SENATOR OPPOSES VOTE ON KAVANAUGH

Anti-Trump Senator Jeff Flake, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an interview Sunday evening that until he learns more about the sexual assault allegation regarding Brett Kavanaugh, he is “not comfortable voting yes” on Kavanaugh.

It’s Flakes last chance to poke President Trump and the country in the eye before he rides retires and likely finds a job in the liberal media.

Via Mike Cernovich:

Kavanaugh’s accuser is a far left anti-Trump activist.

Via Zerohedge


Over the past few days, what appeared at first to be a merely token resistance to the nomination of Trump SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh has morphed into something entirely more menacing. And for the first time since Kavanaugh’s name was first floated in June, his nomination may be in jeopardy.

After allegations of decades-old sexual improprieties first surfaced last week, it looked as if Kavanaugh would easily surmount this obstacle. But we have to give the Democrats credit: They have lined up their dominoes perfectly. And on Sunday, they set their plan in motion when the Washington Post published an in-depth interview with Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. The story detailed a blow-by-blow accounting of Ford’s allegations, as well as her explanation for why she neglected to share her experience until decades later. Tellingly, the story also noted that Democrats have been sitting on the story since July, and that Ford only decided to out herself after some unscrupulous members of the Judiciary Committee shared her identity with the press – or at least that’s what California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office alleges.

While the allegations are relatively tame by #MeToo era standards (the incident allegedly unfolded when Kavanaugh was 17), it has apparently been enough for Democrats and a handful of turncoat moderate Republicans to successfully shut down a planned Thursday vote of the Judiciary Committee. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake effectively shut down the vote last night when he revealed that he wanted to hear more from Ford before voting. Without Flake, the Republicans’ 11-10 majority on the Judiciary Committee shifts to a 10-11 vote in favor of the Democrats. While Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has said he’d like the vote to proceed as scheduled, media reports say he is quietly working to organize a private call involving Ford and curious Senators in an effort to help mitigate their concerns.

But looking further ahead, Republican leaders might have more difficulty as Tennessee Republican Bob Corker – who is not a member of the Judiciary Committee but could still hold up the final confirmation vote – said Sunday that he’d also like to see Thursday’s committee vote delayed.

Here’s more from Bloomberg:

“I’ve made it clear that I’m not comfortable moving ahead with the vote on Thursday if we have not heard her side of the story or explored this further,” said Flake, who has the power to stall consideration if all Democrats on the panel join him since Republicans only hold an 11-10 majority on the committee. Flake’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Corker of Tennessee, who isn’t a member of the panel but whose vote is critical to confirmation, also doesn’t want the committee to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation until Ford’s allegations can be heard, said his spokeswoman, Micah Johnson. The senator wants the allegations to be heard promptly, she said.

The backlash intensified late Sunday when Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski told CNN that Thursday’s hearing should be delayed.

“Well, I think that might be something they might have to consider, at least having that discussion,” Murkowski.

[…]

“This is not something that came up during the hearings. The hearings are now over. And if there is real substance to this it demands a response.”

However, at least one of the Senate’s reputed moderates has stood up to the Democrats in an interview with the New York Times, castigating them for withholding this information until so late in the process (remember: Feinstein justified this decision by saying she had referred Ford’s allegations to the FBI, who reportedly added them to his background check file).

“What is puzzling to me is the Democrats, by not bringing this out earlier, after having had this information for more than six weeks, have managed to cast a cloud of doubt on both the professor and the judge,” Collins told The New York Times.

Collins asked if Democrats believed Ford, “why didn’t they surface this information earlier,” and if they didn’t believe Ford, “why did they decide at the 11th hour to release it?”

“It is really not fair to either of them the way it is was handled,” Collins said.

Collins comments come after Ford spoke publicly about the alleged incident for the first time during an interview with The Washington Post that was published on Sunday.

On Monday, in the latest sign that Ford could appear at an embarrassing public hearing, Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, told “Today” that her client would be willing to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “She’s a credible person. These are serious allegations. And they should be addressed.”

The White House, for its part, is standing by Kavanaugh, and allowing the Senate to sort things out. According to Bloomberg, Kellyanne Conway said Ford should not be “insulted and ignored” in what appears to be an attempt to beat the Democrats at their own virtue-signaling game.

Still, according to a White House spokesperson, Trump isn’t giving an inch. Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim, citing WH spokesperson Kerri Kupec, reported that Judge Kavanaugh “categorically and unequivocally” denied this allegation: “This has not changed. Judge Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement,”she said.

In fact, as Axios reports, Senate Republicans could “play hardball” by calling on Ford to testify before Thursday’s scheduled vote. Though Republicans wouldn’t surprised if Ford holds a press conference or gives a TV interview, which Axios says “would raise the stakes considerably.” Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, has repeatedly called for an FBI investigation and a postponement of the vote

To be sure, the Democrats’ goals here are obvious. After Sen. Corey Booker’s “selfless” decision to release unauthorized documents about Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush Administration failed to even delay the process, Democrats have now played their Trump card – no pun intended. Their goal: Delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation at least until the Oct. 1 mark – the beginning of SCOTUS’s next term – to put a halt to any controversial decisions that could reverse important precedents. Of course, their ultimate goal is to stonewall the White House until after Nov. 6, when a few victories in the midterms might allow them to sink Kavanaugh’s nomination once and for all.

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University announces “White Awake” safe space for white students

The University of Maryland at College Park has set up a new diversity support group to create a “safe space” for white students to discuss their feelings.

Campus Reform

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Via Campus Reform:


Update: After publication of this article, University of Maryland-College Park changed the name of the group to “Anti-Racism and Ally Building Group,” along with a shorter description, which reads,  “Do you want to improve your ability to relate to and connect with people different from yourself? Do you want to become a better ally? Members will support and share feedback with each other as they learn more about themselves and how they can fit into a diverse world.”

In a statement provided to Campus Reform on Friday, the university explained the name change: “Our Counseling Center acknowledges that we did not choose the right words in raising awareness about this research-based initiative, and how this group has been perceived is counter to the values of inclusiveness and diversity that we embody. Therefore, we are renaming the group to better reflect our intention and values.”


The University of Maryland at College Park announced Friday a new diversity support group to create a “safe space” for white students to discuss their feelings about “interactions with racial and ethnic minorities.”

The support group, called “White Awake,” will help white students who may “sometimes feel uncomfortable and confused before, during, or after interactions with racial and ethnic minorities.”

“This group offers a safe space for White students to explore their experiences, questions, reactions, and feelings,” the description explains. “Members will support and share feedback with each other as they learn more about themselves and how they can fit into a diverse world.” The description asks students if they want to “improve [their] ability to relate to and connect with people different from [themselves]” or if they want to become a better “ally.” The new group is now one of four in the university’s “Diversity Issues” program series.The group is being led by Noah Collins, who works for the UMD Counseling Center, and will be held once a week. Collins specializes in group therapy and is interested “especially in the areas of racial and cultural awareness,” according to his faculty bio.The safe space has been met with harsh criticism from students on social media.

“I am ashamed over the execution of white awake nor do I fully understand its clause. ‘How they can fit into a diverse world’? Why do they need to attend therapy sessions on how to be a decent human being in society?” a UMD student wrote on Twitter. “Why do they need to have these sessions to learn how to coexist?”

“Just like classes. You can’t take one class and feel like you have all understanding over a certain subject,” the student added. “It takes practice, it takes problems, it takes more than one course, so ‘White Awake’ has good intention but I am skeptical over the fairytale result.”

Campus Reform reached out to Collins and UMD for comment but did not receive a response by time of publication. If and when a comment is received, the article will be updated.


Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Grace_Gotcha

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Harvard Prof: Merit-based admissions ‘reproduce inequality’

Professor Natasha Warikoo is displeased that students she interviewed are motivated by “self-interest” instead of social justice.

Campus Reform

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Authored by Toni Airaksinen of Campus Reform:


A Harvard University professor claims in a new academic study that merit-based admission processes at elite universities “reproduce inequality.”

Harvard education professor Natasha Warikoo draws on interviews with 98 white, native-born students at Harvard, Brown University, and the University of Oxford in “What Meritocracy Means to its Winners: Admissions, Race, and Inequality,” published in the journal Social Sciences.

During interviews Warikoo conducted between 2009 and 2011, these students were asked to sound-off on whether they felt their school had meritocratic admissions and if they supported affirmative action. Many answered the second question affirmatively and hailed the benefits of a diverse student body.

But Warikoo seems concerned with students’ responses. Analyzing data from these interviews years later, Warikoo points out that students’ approaches to diversity suggest that they’ve “internalized” the tokenistic rhetoric of the school admissions office, even if they had disagreed with policies like athletic recruitment or legacy admissions before coming to campus.

“Unlike in other campus domains in which there is a history of social protest among college students, in the realm of admissions, students seem to agree quite strongly with their universities, and come to even more agreement rather than critique upon arriving to campus,” she writes. “They suggest that most actors in elite institutions espouse views that reproduce their elite status, rather than engaging in symbolic politics or protest.”

According to Warikoo, “US students espouse a collective understanding of merit,” but only “value collective merit for its impact on themselves, not for social justice, or for the collective good of society.”

“They are not espousing, for example, a vision of multiculturalism that emphasizes group identities and the need to support ethnic and racial groups in society, as many scholars define multicultural state policies,” she elaborates.

Notably, Warikoo addressed the same issue in her 2016 book The Diversity Bargain, which criticizes white students for understanding “the value of diversity abstractly, but [ignoring] the real problems that racial inequality causes.”

White students “stand in fear of being labeled a racist, but they are quick to call foul should a diversity program appear at all to hamper their own chances for advancement,” Warikoo claims in that book, asserting for instance that white students “reluctantly agree with affirmative action as long as it benefits them.”

Her new study, too, criticizes white students for believing in meritocracy and supporting affirmative action, suggesting that white students only support affirmative action for selfish reasons.

One white student, Naomi, was criticized for saying “diversity is really how you learn here,” as Warikoo suggested that Naomi only valued diversity because it added to the “collective merit” of her cohort of students.

Warikoo also reports that “some students used the collective merit framework to express support for legacy admissions…even while lamenting the inequality legacy admissions engenders.”

She bemoans that, ultimately, the students she interviewed were more motivated by “self-interest” than a commitment to social justice.

“They value collective merit for its impact on themselves, not for social justice, or for the collective good of society,” she writes. “They are not espousing, for example, a vision of multiculturalism that emphasizes group identities and the need to support ethnic and racial groups.”

According to Warikoo’s interviews, students who attended elite high schools “no longer see a large number of their peers gaining admission to the likes of Harvard, Brown, and Oxford,” which they interpret “as evidence that the system is fair, even while ignoring the fact that students like them and their peers are vastly overrepresented at elite universities.”

The professor suggests that when the legitimacy of how they obtained seats at elite institutions gets called into question, students only become more convinced that they deserve to occupy those seats.

“This paper shows how admissions systems often reproduce inequality not only by how they select students, but also by defining ‘merit’ for admitted students in ways that will reproduce inequality in the future,” she concludes.

Warikoo claims that schools have “unequal” admission processes because black, working class, and first-generation students are underrepresented in student bodies. To fix this, Warikoo recommends that elite universities employ an “admissions lottery,” which the schools would use to randomly admit students who meet certain minimum standards.

“An admissions lottery would shift the meaning of selection from an absolute sense of merit—the best of the best—to an understanding that admission is somewhat arbitrary,” she predicts.

Warikoo’s study was published in the journal Social Sciences, which boasts of a “rapid peer-review” system. While most articles take months if not a year to be accepted, Warikoo’s article was accepted by reviewers in 48 days.

Though Warikoo initially agreed to answer a few questions by email, she ultimately did not respond to Campus Reform. Harvard University also did not respond.

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