Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Yahoo’

RNC Building Database of Obamacare Cancellation Victims.


Republican National Committee data scientists are building a list of the millions of Americans who lost their insurance policies through Obamacare in hopes of aiming campaigns at those people this year and in the 2016 presidential election, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said.

“Getting that information and having good data as to who votes, who doesn’t vote, voter registration, party affiliation, consumer characteristics, cross-referenced with that kind of information, I think, is important for us to have,” Priebus told the Washington Examiner  after participating in a Conservative Political Action Conference panel talk on Saturday.

Priebus said the RNC has not had difficulty finding tech staffers, and has brought in some top engineers from sites like LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Facebook to work on the data projects.
The cancellations stand to play a key role in this year’s midterm elections, with many Democratic Party leaders urging candidates to talk openly about Obamacare issues while offering their own solutions to fix them.

The new approach, Democrats say, is based on polls such as a CBS News survey in January, which showed people agree the healthcare law has some good aspects, but changes are needed to make the law better.

In Colorado, where Fox News reported late last year that 250,000 people received cancellation notices, Obamacare is expected to make a huge impact on elections.

Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in November, and Udall has been arguing about whether the figures are valid, The Denver Post reports.  But Jo Donlin, director of external affairs for the state insurance division, insisted the figures are right, saying many people have renewed policies, but “regardless, they received cancellation notices.”

The Obama administration also eased some election pressure on Democrats about a week ago when it announced a directive allowing insurers to keep offering health plans that did not meet minimum Obamacare coverage requirements, reports The Hill.

Without the delays, another wave of health insurance cancellations would likely have hit this fall, just before voters headed to the ballots in November.

“I don’t see how they could have a bunch of these announcements going out in September,” one consultant in the health insurance industry said. “Not when they’re trying to defend the Senate and keep their losses at a minimum in the House. This is not something to have out there right before the election.”

Related Stories:

 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

NSA Fallout Testing Obama Relationship With Technology Companies.


Image: NSA Fallout Testing Obama Relationship With Technology CompaniesPresident Barack Obama meets with technology executives, including Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo!, left, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Dec. 17.

Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 06:36 AM

Share:
A    A   |
   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
Copy Shortlink
  • 1
    inShare

Technology company executives left a meeting with President Barack Obama with no commitment to limit government snooping on Internet traffic, according to an industry official briefed on the session.

The group included executives from seven companies, including Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! Inc. and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook Inc., that are pressuring the administration and Congress to restrict the National Security Agency’s scooping up of their users’ data.

Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive officer and an Obama donor, warned the president that backlash over U.S. spying may splinter the Internet as countries adopt different standards to thwart surveillance, according to the industry official, who asked not to be named because yesterday’s discussion was private.

Obama’s relationship with Silicon Valley is being tested by the damage from disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the government’s collections of Internet and phone data. Obama has said he wants a solution that balances national security with privacy interests of U.S. citizens. Also at stake is whether his broader policy agenda gets sidetracked by the furor over spying.

For the companies, it’s a matter of the bottom line.

“They see real risk to their market share,” said James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “You’ve got German, Chinese even Russian companies saying ’Hey, buy from us, that way you won’t be at risk.’ It’s crazy. That’s what this has become — an opportunity for commercial advantage as well as an uproar over privacy.”

Costing Business

Reports about U.S. spying abroad may cost U.S. companies as much as $35 billion in lost revenue through 2016 because of doubts about the security of their systems, according to the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a policy research group in Washington.

Yesterday’s meeting occurred a day after a U.S. district judge ruled that collecting the bulk phone records — such as numbers dialed and call durations — of millions of Americans is probably unconstitutional, and four days after an advisory panel gave Obama recommendations for changes. Obama is set to make public his proposals for reining in NSA surveillance next month.

Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt discussed five principles the companies favor for changing the NSA programs, including limiting collections and being free to tell the public and their users what data the government is seeking from them, the official said.

Company Letter

The principles are posted on the Internet. They were part of a Dec. 9 letter to the president and members of Congress from Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Twitter Inc., LinkedIn Corp. and AOL Inc. All except AOL were represented at yesterday’s meeting.

In the letter, the companies said the U.S. must “ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight.”

Obama didn’t commit to a course of action to address the companies’ concerns, the official said. The White House said in a statement that the president promised to “consider their input as well as the input of other outside stakeholders as we finalize our review of signals intelligence programs.”

Lawmakers are poised to act as well.

‘Wake-Up Call’

The meeting “should be a wake-up call to government leaders that the law must keep up with technological advances in a way that protects the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans and the competitiveness of U.S. companies,” Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and critic of the NSA’s operations, said in a statement.

Also at the meeting, according to the White House, were: Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., Dick Costolo, chief executive officer of Twitter; Brad Smith, general counsel at Microsoft; Erika Rottenberg, vice president and general counsel of LinkedIn; Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy Inc.; Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix Inc.; Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox Inc.; Burke Norton, chief legal officer of Salesforce.com Inc.; Mark Pincus, chairman of Zynga Inc.; Shervin Pishevar, co-CEO of Sherpa Global; Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast Corp. and Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T Inc,

The White House first sought the meeting with the tech leaders to discuss fixing the federal health-care website and government information-technology stumbles. It was requested before the Dec. 9 letter was released, according to an administration official familiar with the details, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Setting Agenda

The technology leaders held out for a guarantee that an NSA discussion would be on the agenda, according to another person who asked not to be named because the negotiations were private.

“This really comes down to people beginning to take seriously the reputational crisis we’re in, both for the U.S. government but also for these companies directly,” said Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation in Washington.

A White House advisory committee, in a report to Obama last week that hasn’t been made public, said the government should continue collecting bulk records on every U.S. phone call with new restrictions to protect privacy, according to an administration official familiar with the report.

Divided Views

“What has been leaked of the review group’s recommendations are incredibly modest changes that are extremely unlikely to restore global trust,” Meinrath said.

The fact the review group recommended continuing with practices a federal court said are probably unconstitutional “reflects the remarkable divide that exists right now,” Meinrath said.

Public and political momentum is building for limiting the spying, Ed Black, president and chief executive officer of the Computer and Communications Industry Association in Washington, said.

“There’s no doubt that there’s an evolution and a greater appreciation of the harm caused by overly zealous surveillance collection,” said Black, whose association represents Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google.

The companies want to be allowed to disclose the number and types of orders they receive to give the government information about their users. They also have called for reforms to spy programs, without offering specific proposals.

Full Understanding

It’s difficult for the companies to specify changes they want because they don’t fully understand all the surveillance activities taking place, Black said.

They support prohibiting the government from collecting phone records or e-mails in bulk, Black said.

Most Americans say they’re unhappy about at least some aspect of the government mining phone records. The revelations have eroded their trust in government and may have contributed to Obama’s declining approval rating.

Just 22 percent of Americans said they approved of Obama’s handling of the NSA’s surveillance programs, while 64 percent disapproved, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted Dec. 6-9.

Surveys in June for CBS News and Fox News showed only about one-third of Americans approved of collecting phone records, even to limit the chance of terrorist attacks. Last month, 39 percent said phone and internet surveillance programs have made the U.S. safer from terrorism, according to a Pew Research poll.

Approval Ratings

Obama’s approval ratings have continued to fall. After reaching a three-year high of 56 percent in a Bloomberg National poll in February, it fell to 53 percent in June and a new low of 46 percent this month. The drop comes after a botched debut of the healthcare.gov website, while there’s a surge in stock prices and a turnaround in the housing market.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama’s approval rating wouldn’t hurt his agenda to rewrite U.S. immigration law, push measures to address climate change or increase the minimum wage.

He pointed to a two-year budget deal making its way through Congress as one of the “glimmers of hope” for getting something done.

“There’s at least the possibility of greater cooperation and progress on a range of issues,” Carney said.
© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Obama Meets Tech Execs Pushing to Limit Surveillance.


Image: Obama Meets Tech Execs Pushing to Limit Surveillance

President Barack Obama met with a group of technology executives including Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Yahoo! Inc.’s Marissa Mayer as the administration is under pressure to curb broad government spying on communications.

Heading into the White House meeting, the executives intended to press Obama to act on the changes to surveillance policies proposed in a letter sent to the president and lawmakers last week, according to a representative of one of the companies, who asked not to be identified because the meeting plans aren’t public.

Neither the White House nor the companies released statements immediately following the closed-door discussion in the Roosevelt Room. Cook described the meeting as “great” as he left the White House grounds afterward. He didn’t comment further.

Apple and Yahoo were among the companies that signed the letter, which said the U.S. should take the lead in changing government surveillance practices after revelations that the National Security Agency gained access to phone and Internet data networks to conduct spying.

The companies asked in the letter that the U.S. “ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight.”

The meeting was convened as the NSA’s sweep of Internet and telephone data is coming under increased scrutiny from Congress and the courts, and as Obama is weighing new limits on such surveillance. Technology companies are dealing with the loss of billions of dollars in overseas business, stricter regulations and erosion of consumer trust as a result of revelations about the NSA’s surveillance.

A federal judge yesterday ruled the NSA’s collection of telephone metadata is probably illegal, allowing a lawsuit claiming it violates the U.S. Constitution to proceed. It marked the first time a district court ruled on the program.

The White House initially sought out the executives to discuss progress in fixing the health-care website and government information-technology stumbles, according to a person familiar with the invitation, who asked for anonymity to discuss private communications. The company leaders didn’t agree to the meeting, which was arranged in the past few days, until the White House included the NSA surveillance on the agenda, the person said.

“For our part, we are focused on keeping users’ data secure — deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks, and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope,” the companies said in their Dec. 9 letter.

Obama has defended the NSA’s work as necessary to prevent another terrorist attack, while also saying he will propose some limits to guard against unwarranted snooping in Americans’ private affairs.

Documents leaked by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA collects bulk phone records, such as numbers dialed and call durations, on billions of people worldwide, as well as data moving across the Internet.

The documents also show that the agency gained access to the customer accounts of technology companies, circumvented encryption, and tapped fiber-optic cables as part of its surveillance programs, according to reports in the Washington Post, the New York Times and Guardian newspapers.

The president on Dec. 13 received a classified report from an advisory committee that recommended the government continue collecting bulk records on every U.S. phone call with new restrictions to protect privacy, according to an administration official familiar with the report.

The panel also suggested the imposition of stricter standards before allowing the government to search the data, which it said should be retained by telecommunications companies or a third-party organization instead of the NSA.

Also at the meeting, according to the White House, were: Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google Inc.; Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc.; Dick Costolo, chief executive officer of Twitter Inc.; Brad Smith, general counsel at Microsoft Corp.; and Erika Rottenberg, vice president and general counsel of LinkedIn Corp.

The companies also signed the statement on curbing government surveillance.

“This summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide,” the companies wrote in their statement.

“Recent revelations about government surveillance activities have shaken the trust of our users,” Mayer said in the joint statement. “And it is time for the U.S. government to act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world.”

In a Dec. 5 interview with MSNBC, Obama said will propose “some self-restraint on the NSA and to initiate some reforms to give people more confidence.” He didn’t give specifics.

Others who met with Obama include Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy Inc.; Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix Inc.; Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox Inc.; Burke Norton, chief legal officer of Salesforce.com Inc.; Mark Pincus, chairman of Zynga Inc.; Shervin Pishevar, co-CEO of Sherpa Global; Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast Corp. and Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T Inc, according to a list provided by the White House.

The White House said the president also had on his agenda a discussion about how the government can work with technology companies to bolster economic growth.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Outrage over N.5 million church burial levy, commercialisation of funerals.


church

This weekend, it was a time of bashing for churches, both orthodox and Pentecostal, over the commercialisation of funerals, which ordinarily should be a time of sorrow and the offering of condolences to the bereaved.

Writing on her Facebook wall, Maero Ozako, a Lagos-based writer and newspaper columnist, expressed shock over the new practice by some orthodox churches to charge as much as half a million naira before they agree to bury a dead member.

“I have asked…Oh, it is true that when you lose any parent or relative who were members of the orthodox churches, you are called to a meeting where you are given a levy, as low as 500k…No pay, no burial. We really should be ashamed,” she wrote yesterday.

Elsewhere on some of the Yahoo! communities, members were expressing outrage over the commercialisation of funerals by the Pentecostal churches. The issue became topical due to what happened during the funeral of Nigeria‘s late number two man, Rear Admiral Mike Akhigbe (retd.).

Vin Modebelu, writing from vin.modebelu@yahoo.com, brought the issue before members of nigerianworldforum@yahoogroups.com, writing:

“Bishop collect monies from mourners..!!!!

“It pains me to point out that some of these churches have gone to far on money affairs.

the Funeral of Gen Ahigbe….still going on..but a few minutes ago…on NTA TV..live.

People got up …

“Headed to the front to drop HUGE monies in the front.

“The sad part..is that they were busy navigating around the CASKET making left to bend down and drop off their heavy loads .

“Crowding out the Casket….for people to see them.

“The BIG boys of Nigeria are all there ..seeing all these things.

“I think these bishops and church elders must be corrected on this hunt for monies when ever the see the opportunity

“They gave communion around the casket.

Funeral Service should be Funeral service…nothing more..nothing less.

“It is about the dead person in front of them.

“Not a Fund raising services.

“I do not think that I am the only person who saw this dismay.

“This is more than a state funeral and the Bishop saw the window to collect monies from mourners ..!!!!

“This is very sad.

“They say that they need the monies to expand.

“They buy jets to do it.

“they build houses and buy great ones in places were the poor are contributing to their riches.

“We should stop contributing that much.”

Responding to the post, Ezeana Igirigi Achusim, wrote from pachusim@yahoo.com, saying: “But who are the guys unloading the cash? Their conscience could be bothering them. And they really believe that the good Lord will forgive them all their sins if they unloaded part of their loot the first chance they get to be in any church under any circumstances. In other words, they were performing sacrifices and the church cannot stop them.

“Under some domestic religious practices I know of, the priest will not accept a sacrifice unless the sucker explained why. And the first demand by the priest would be how to make full restitution to the victim. But the imported religion? They grab the loot and bless the looter and forget the victims. And the looter goes out to loot some more so he can give more to the bishop so all can be forgiven so he can loot some more. It is a mind game.”

On his part, Abraham Madu (abraham.madu@yahoo.com) wrote: “I mourn for what we as a race have become. I mourn the slow manner we love money than giving respect to the dead in our society. But then I stop mourning because death is equalizer, their days will come. What goes up, must come down.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Reports: Katie Couric Leaving ABC News for Yahoo!.


ABC newswoman and popular daytime talk show host Katie Couric is negotiating a deal with Yahoo Inc, a source with knowledge of the discussions said on Friday.

The negotiations would not affect her daytime talk show “Katie,” which is currently in its second season at the Disney-owned television channel, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the talks had not concluded.

No further details were available. Yahoo did not respond to requests for comment.

The Hollywood Reporter said on Friday Couric was negotiating an exit package with ABC, where she has a role as a special correspondent for ABC News in addition to her daytime show.

While ABC would not confirm Couric’s move, an executive familiar with the situation did say she had an opportunity and alluded to a link-up with Yahoo.

“Katie is an incredible journalist and this was an opportunity that she couldn’t pass up,” the executive said.

“Thanks to the powerful association between ABC News and Yahoo we know that Katie will continue to work closely with us and welcome her on our air anytime.”

Couric joined ABC less than three years ago after anchoring the evening news at CBS, following a long stint at NBC’s “Today” show.

The Hollywood Reporter said Couric is expected to finish her daytime talk show’s second season and a decision about her future will not be made until December, when November ratings are in.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, hoping to revive growth at the struggling Internet company, has been trying to attract Internet traffic to the company’s many sites, partly by paying top-dollar for premium content. In August, the AllThingsD website reported that Mayer was personally orchestrating a Web interview show featuring Couric.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

NSA Powers Restored after Obama Request to Secret Court.


The power used by the National Security Agency to spy on Americans‘ phone calls and e-mails was actually blocked during the Bush administration but overturned after Barack Obama took office through a secret court order, the Washington Post reports.

The Obama administration won permission in 2011 from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on Americans without a warrant and to keep the information it collected for six years, according to interviews and declassified documents obtained by the Post.

The NSA has been intercepting more than 250 million Internet communications a year, 91 percent of which came from U.S. companies like Google and Yahoo.

The spying operation was exposed by Edward Snowden, who has since sought asylum in Russia to avoid prosecution for the leak.

Robert S. Litt, general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed to the newspaper that the Obama administration asked the court to lift the ban so the government could more quickly learn about terrorist plots.

“We wanted to be able to do it,” Litt said, referring to the searching of Americans’ communications without a warrant.

The court ruling also appears to be the basis of cryptic criticism from within Obama’s own party on Capitol Hill that the federal government had found a “back-door search loophole” to spy on Americans.

Chief among those critics were Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, who also tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation prohibiting the searches of Americans’ communications without a court warrant.

“Our founders laid out a roadmap where Americans’ privacy rights are protected before their communications are seized or searched — not after the fact,” Udall said in a statement to the paper.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Audrey Hudson

White House Reporter Says Obama Born In Kenya.


20130623-082824.jpg
In April 2011, Barack Obama, president of the United States, took the extraordinary step of releasing the long-form version of his birth certificate. As the New York Times wrote at the time, the idea behind the move was “to finally end a long-simmering conspiracy theory among some conservatives who have asserted that he was not born in the United States and was not a legitimate president.”

The certificate proved that Obama was born in Hawaii.

Rachel Rose Hartman, a White House reporter for Yahoo! News, couldn’t possibly have missed the “birther” story. It was unavoidable, after all, for an unhealthy chunk of the president’s first term.

Yet: In her story yesterday on Obama’s Africa trip, Hartman managed to say that “he won’t be stopping in the country of his birth.” From the context of the story, it’s clear she was referring to Kenyasource – Washington Post

by NTEB News Desk

Tag Cloud