The 21st Century Privacy Coalition doesn’t really care about your privacy

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Originally posted on PandoDaily:

21st-century-privacy-coalitionYou could be excused for mistaking a group with a grandiose name like the 21st Century Privacy Coalition for being fierce advocates for better privacy standards.

You’d be wrong though.

On a surface level, yes, the 21st Century Privacy Coalition — a pack of seven major US telecommunications companies, Verizon, Comcast and AT&T and their ilk, alongside industry groups — talks a grand game about acting in the consumer’s interest. It wants one privacy standard for all communications companies, be they phone company or search engine, overseen by the FTC.

The trick here though is that the FTC’s authority over privacy practices is not great. For example, if a website has a privacy policy and we as consumers agree to it than anything is fair game. In contrast, under the thumb of the FCC, what companies like Verizon and Comcast can do with sensitive customer information is governed strictly by laws…

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New Policy All But Bans The Intelligence Community From Speaking To The Press

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Originally posted on TechCrunch:

A new policy put in place this March effectively bans members of the U.S. intelligence community from speaking to the media, even when discussing unclassified matters.

The new rules have sparked outcry from many outside the government, given that the policies as detailed in the directive further clamp down on interaction between the public and intelligence denizens.

The rules are similar to a proposal that died in the Senate in 2012 over concerns regarding their overzealousness. The ACLU’s Gabe Rottman stated in response to the directive that James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, “is trying to do by decree what he couldn’t secure through our elected representatives.”

Here’s the key line from the directive, forcing members of the intelligence community to receive permission to speak to anyone in the media:

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Failure to follow the new rules can lead to the loss of classified access, or even termination:

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So what about whistleblowing…

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David Einhorn Just Cried Bubble And Let Slip The Shorts Of War

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Originally posted on TechCrunch:

David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager worth north of a billion dollars, isn’t bullish on technology stocks. In a letter to his investors sent today, Einhorn described the current market environment as the “second tech bubble in 15 years.”

Calling today an “echo of the previous tech bubble,” Einhorn notes that there are currently “fewer large capitalization stocks and much less public enthusiasm” this time around. This means that the current bubble, such as it is, is smaller, and when it does deflate — how rapidly we’ll have to see — there will be less carnage — blood, red ink, or otherwise.

It’s worth our time to walk through Einhorn’s arguments concerning tech stocks and accounting practices.  Here are a few “indications” that demonstrate, according to Einhorn, that “we are pretty far along” in the current bubble:

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Valuing companies not based on their current profitability, and reasonable expectations of their future profitability…

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