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Facebook Suffers Huge Stock Crash After Cambridge Analytica Caught Using Stolen Data

Polipace Staff

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The world’s largest social media company Facebook suffered the biggest one-day drop of its stocks by seven percent on Wall Street Monday in four years following reported data leakage of its 50 million users for alleged political purposes, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The Facebook loss came after U.S. and British media reported that the data of more than 50 million Facebook users were inappropriately used by a British data analysis company, Cambridge Analytica, in activities allegedly connected with U.S. President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign.

Trump’s campaign reportedly used the firm’s data during the primaries but not during the general election, and Federal Election Commission numbers showed the firm collected 5.9 million U.S. dollars in 2016 from Trump’s campaign, California-based The Mercury News daily reported Monday.

The AP quoted Facebook as saying last week that Cambridge Analytica received user data from a Facebook app years ago that purported to be a psychological research tool, though the firm wasn’t authorized to have that information.

Facebook admitted that an estimated 270,000 people had downloaded the app and shared their personal details with it.

Last Friday, Facebook said in an official post that it had suspended “Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), including their political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica,” from its website.

It said the two companies had failed to delete user data acquired in 2015 in violation of Facebook rules.

Last Saturday, Facebook said that claim that this is a data breach is completely false, arguing that people knowingly provided their information.

“No systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked,” Facebook said in its official blog post.

Mercury News said Monday that a U.S. senator is demanding that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the abuse of user data for U.S. campaign activities.

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Crime

AG Whitaker Alleged to Have Served on Board of WPM

Polipace Staff

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The FBI is reportedly conducting a criminal investigation related to World Patent Marketing, a company that was shut down in 2017 after the Federal Trade Commission alleged that it operating “an invention-promotion scam” that tricked “thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars.”  According to recent reports, new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker served on its advisory board.

Alleged WPM Conduct

In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission charged the operators of an invention-promotion scam, World Patent Marketing, with deceiving consumers and suppressing complaints about the company by using threats of criminal prosecution against dissatisfied customers.  At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily halted the Florida-based scheme and froze its assets pending litigation.

“This case is about protecting innovators, the engine of a thriving economy,” said then Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.  “The defendants promised to promote people’s inventions and took thousands of dollars, but provided almost no service in return.  Then they added insult to injury by threatening people who complained.”

According to the FTC, consumers paid an individual and various corporate entities thousands of dollars to patent and market their inventions based on bogus “success stories” and testimonials promoted by the defendants.  But after they allegedly strung consumers along for months or even years, the defendants purportedly failed to deliver what they promised.  Instead, many customers allegedly ended up in debt or lost their life savings with nothing to show for it.

WPM Threats of Legal Action

The FTC also alleged that the defendants used various unfair tactics, including threats of legal action, to discourage consumers from publishing truthful or non-defamatory negative reviews about the defendants and their services.  According to FTC attorney Richard B. Newman, the agency reported that one customer who sought a refund and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau allegedly received a letter from the defendants’ lawyer.  According to the FTC, the letter stated that seeking a refund was extortion under Florida law and, “since you used email to make your threats, you would be subject to a federal extortion charge, which carries a term of imprisonment of up to two years and potential criminal fines.”

WPM Settlement Order

In 2018, the defendants agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that bans them from the invention promotion business.  Under the settlement order, the defendants are also banned from  misrepresenting any good or service, and suppressing the availability of truthful negative comments or reviews by consumers.  They are also prohibited from profiting from consumers’ personal information collected as part of the challenged practices, and failing to dispose of it properly.

A $25,987,192 judgment was imposed, which was partially suspended when $78,670 in frozen funds were transferred to the Commission and the individual defendant Cooper paid $976,330.

Whitaker’s Alleged Involvement

According to media reports, court filings indicate that Whitaker received regular payments of $1,875 from the company while serving as a member of its advisory board.  It has also been reported that Whitaker sent a strongly worded email to a former customer in 2015 that had complained about the company.  Whitaker is not a named as a defendant in the case against the company.

In a statement, a Justice Department spokeswoman said, “Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has said he was not aware of any fraudulent activity. Any stories suggesting otherwise are false.”  In fact,   FTC investigators did not obtain evidence or internal communications showing Whitaker knew about the company’s alleged bogus promises, according to those with firsthand knowledge of the matter.  The  receiver that oversaw the settlement confirmed, recently stating to The Washington Post that he has “no reason to believe that [Whitaker] knew of any of the wrongdoing.”

Richard B. Newman is an FTC defense lawyer at Hinch Newman.  Follow him on Twitter @ FTCLawDefense.

Attorney Advertising. These materials are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice, nor do they create a lawyer-client relationship. . Information on previous case results does not guarantee a similar future result. Hinch Newman LLP | 40 Wall St., 35thFloor, New York, NY 10005 | (212) 756-8777

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GOP

Mueller To Deliver Report Soon, Public May Never See

Polipace Staff

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US special counsel Robert Mueller could deliver the results of his investigation into whether there was collusion between members of US President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian Federation within the next seven days, according to sources within the DOJ.

Other possible Mueller targets with the “most exposure,” according to Vanity Fair’s sources, include political operative Roger Stone, whose role in the campaign was scrutinized in the special counsel probe over his correspondences with WikiLeaks.

“The possible exposure” in the case of Donald Trump Jr., according to the outlet, is that he may have perjured himself when he said that he had not alerted his father prior to his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in New York City’s Trump Tower, from which music publicist Rob Goldstone had promised there would be “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Three sources with connections to the president’s legal team told the outlet that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani is preparing a document to provide a counter-narrative to Mueller’s findings. “They don’t know what Mueller has, but they have a good idea, and they’re going to rebut it,” a Republican close to Giuliani said. Moscow denies interfering in the election and colluding with the Trump team.

According to POLITICO, the public, they say, shouldn’t expect a comprehensive and presidency-wrecking account of Kremlin meddling and alleged obstruction of justice by Trump — not to mention an explanation of the myriad subplots that have bedeviled lawmakers, journalists and amateur Mueller sleuths.

“That’s just the way this works,” said John Q. Barrett, a former associate counsel who worked under independent counsel Lawrence Walsh during the Reagan-era investigation into secret U.S. arms sales to Iran. “Mueller is a criminal investigator. He’s not government oversight, and he’s not a historian.”

Worse, the new acting AG Matt Whitaker tweeted approval of an NPR article suggesting that the public might never learn what special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation reveals because the attorney general might simply decline to release Mueller’s report.

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GOP

MAGA Bomber Cesar Sayoc, Jr Was Trump Rally Celebrity Despite Being Criminal

Polipace Staff

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Police have arrested a 56 year-old well-known #MAGA supporter  named Cesar Sayoc, Jr. on suspicion of being the MAGA bomber who sent 12 pipe bombs to Democrats and Donald Trump critics. He was a well known figure in Trump Rallies, and considered a bit of a celebrity amongst those who attend the Rallies.

Cesar Altieri Sayoc also has arrest history in Hennepin County, Minnesota 2005, besides criminal records in New York and Florida.

Sayoc was taken into custody close to an auto parts store in Plantation, a suburb of Miami, around 10:30 Friday morning. He was traced by DNA evidence.

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