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Curry vs. LeBron: Who Wins the Battle on Facebook?

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LeBron James v. Stephen Curry

 

(Wall Street Journal) – The 2015 NBA Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors is the culmination of many intricately woven plotlines from the regular season—all of which have to do with two players. LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

It’s safe to assume that a large chunk of the viewing public will tune in to Game 1 Thursday night because of these two men. But which player is America more obsessed with? According to data from Facebook, Curry still has some work to do if he wants to break James’s stranglehold on the national spotlight.

The social-networking site surveyed all its users in the 50 states to see which player was talked about more frequently since the playoffs began on April 18. Each state was divided by country and assigned a winner.

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#NNPA BlackPress

Another 100M Consumers at Risk from Capital One Data Breach

WASHINGTON INFORMER — A second major disclosure of major consumer data breach was announced on July 29 by Capital One Bank. That same day, the FBI arrested a suspect was charged with stealing the personal information on March 22 and 23. The apparent focus of the financial theft was credit card applications filed with the bank between 2005-2019.

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Photo by: Tdorante10 | Wikimedia Common

Charlene Crowell, Special to The Informer

A second major disclosure of major consumer data breach was announced on July 29 by Capital One Bank. That same day, the FBI arrested a suspect was charged with stealing the personal information on March 22 and 23. The apparent focus of the financial theft was credit card applications filed with the bank between 2005-2019.

Those most vulnerable are two types of consumers: small businesses whose company credit card applications included personal Social Security numbers, and other customers who linked ‘secured’ credit cards to other accounts

For these two developments to occur on the same day, suggests a tacit agreement between one of the nation’s 10 largest banks and the country’s top law enforcement agency.

But why did it take four months for consumers to learn their personal data has been at risk?

Ranked number 145 on the Fortune 500 company list, Capital One has 45 million customers in the states of Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia. In the second quarter of this year, the bank reported net income of $1.6 billion.

According to the bank, the data breach affects approximately 100 million consumers in this country and additionally 6 million Canadians. An estimated 140,000 Social Security numbers used for credit card applications and another 80,000 bank account numbers all place affected consumers in financial jeopardy.

“I sincerely apologize for the understandable worry this incident must be causing those affected and I am committed to making it right,” said Richard Fairbank, Capital One’s CEO. The bank has also pledged to provide affected customers with free credit monitoring and identity.

For consumer advocates, however, Capital One’s mea culpa was too little, and much too late.

“I wouldn’t say that consumers can or should “breathe a sigh of relief,” cautioned Aracely Panameño, the Center for Responsible Lending’s Director of Latino Affairs. “The latest data breach speaks to the lax cybersecurity systems currently in place at major financial institutions and national credit reporting agencies (NCRAs).”

Equifax, one of three NCRAs, waited two months to disclose its cybersecurity breach that occurred in July but was kept from the public until September that year. During that delay, 147 million unsuspecting consumers – the equivalent of 58% of the US adult population — did not know that their personal data – including federal income tax records, as well as employee records for government employees and those of Fortune 500 firms – was at risk. Nor did recipients of major government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security learn that they too were affected.

In response to Equifax’s massive cybercrime, a surge of 50 federal class action lawsuits were filed in at least 14 states and the District of Columbia in September 2017, following the public disclosure.

“This settlement is a slap on the wrist of Equifax,” Panameño said. “The restitution fund is up to $425M, which is equivalent to $2.89 per impacted consumer (147M); the initial restitution fund is only $300M. The average monthly cost for credit monitoring is $20. These 147 American consumers will have to worry about identity theft and financial fraud in perpetuity. Yet under the settlement agreement, consumers must request benefits by January 22, 2020.”

Similar reactions came from other consumer advocates.

“It’s disappointing but not unexpected that consumers face yet another breach of our sensitive financial information,” said Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC). “People should take the most effective measure to prevent identity theft involving new credit accounts by freezing their credit reports. It’s free as a result of a new law last year.”

According to NCLC, credit card customers are not liable for any unauthorized use of over $50. By contrast, consumers with bank accounts in most cases are not liable for unauthorized debit card or other electronic transactions so long as the fraudulent transaction are reported within 60 days of receiving their bank statement. Further, lost or stolen debit cards must be reported within two business day of learning of the loss or theft.

For Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. PIRG’s Federal Consumer Program senior director, answers to consumer questions were also a key concern.

“How did this happen?” Mierzwinski asked. “And how is Capital One going to prevent future breaches? We need answers to ensure that increasingly frequent, large breaches such as this, Equifax and others don’t become the new norm.”

Neither America, Canada the United Kingdom, or any other nation needs or wants yet another financial breach. Only time and additional investigations will reveal just how many more consumers may be affected by these or other delayed announcements.

“The hackers made out with all the data needed to wreak havoc in the lives of 147 million American consumers for the rest of their lives,” Panameño said. “They need remedies that are commensurate with that risk.”

Charlene Crowell is the Center for Responsible Lending’s Communications deputy director. She can be reached at charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org..

This post originally appeared in The Washington Informer.

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Charleston Chronicle

Home Telecom Partners with Berkeley County School District to Roll Out Free Internet to K-12 Student Households in Cross Schools

CHARLESTON CHRONICLE — Award-winning Lowcountry technology provider Home Telecom announces the rollout of free internet to households with school-age children in the Cross community this upcoming school year. As part of their partnership with the Berkeley County School District (BCSD) who has support from Google via a grant, Home Telecom will be making network improvements that make the free service available to households with children from kindergarten through 12th grade that are attending Cross Elementary or Cross High Schools.

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Berkeley County School District (Photo by: charlestonchronicle.net)

By The Charleston Chronicle

Award-winning Lowcountry technology provider Home Telecom announces the rollout of free internet to households with school-age children in the Cross community this upcoming school year. As part of their partnership with the Berkeley County School District (BCSD) who has support from Google via a grant, Home Telecom will be making network improvements that make the free service available to households with children from kindergarten through 12th grade that are attending Cross Elementary or Cross High Schools.

Previously, BCSD implemented the  One Berkeley Connects initiative by supplying students in the district with Chromebooks to be used in school and at home to assist in the learning process. In order to benefit from this initiative, it is important to have reliable broadband internet access in students’ homes. Access to the internet for the betterment of education is a priority for Home Telecom.

Home Telecom began a project in late 2017 to invest a significant amount of capital into making higher speed internet available to the Cross community. Currently, only 60% of homes with school-age children in that area have internet service. Additional capital is being invested by Home Telecom to improve the internet speed available, and to provide access to at least 95% of the remaining homes without internet access.

BCSD is partnering with Home Telecom to provide greatly discounted high-speed internet service with in-home WiFi to 365 addresses identified by BCSD as being occupied by Cross school students. Funding provided by a Google grant will allow internet service to be provided to these homes at no charge for the 2019-2020 school year.

BCSD has begun notifying eligible families and requesting they contact Home Telecom to begin the process to set up the free internet service in their homes. From now through August, Home Telecom technicians will be performing necessary construction and installations to ensure these homes are internet-ready by August 2019.

Residents in the designated area with school-age children who currently have Home Telecom internet services that are slower than 10Mbps may upgrade to 10Mbps in order to take full advantage of this program. Residents who are capable and desire to have speeds higher than 10Mbps will be able to upgrade at a discounted price.

This article originally appeared in the Charleston Chronicle

The Charleston Chronicle

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Black Voice News

California’s new Public Utilities Commission president must lead us to a gas-free future

BLACK VOICE NEWS — Everywhere you turn in California, clean energy technologies are winning out over gas. From Oxnard to Los Angeles and Glendale, to the Inland Empire and Bay Area, proposed and existing gas-fired plants are being scrapped in favor of cleaner options.

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(l-r) Gladys Limón And V. John White (Photo by: CALmatters)
By Gladys Limón and V. John White

Everywhere you turn in California, clean energy technologies are winning out over gas.

From Oxnard to Los Angeles and Glendale, to the Inland Empire and Bay Area, proposed and existing gas-fired plants are being scrapped in favor of cleaner options.

Clean energy is winning because it’s a safer and more affordable option.

This is critical for the communities who have been forced to live with gas plants in their backyard—often low-income communities of color who have disproportionately shouldered the pollution burdens of our state’s dependence on fossil fuels. For them, the shift to cleaner energy sources comes not a moment too soon.

As solar and wind costs plunge, energy storage technology such as batteries and large scale, pumped water, compressed air, and thermal energy storage are proving they can cost-effectively reduce our reliance on gas to meet local capacity and reliability needs.

Battery storage projects are now slated to replace gas-fired plants in Moorpark, Oakland and San Jose, to provide reliable energy when the sun is down and the wind isn’t blowing.

But getting to 100% clean and affordable energy is about more than closing gas plants.

It’s about enabling an entire suite of clean resources, from distributed generation, to local solar power that recharges energy storage systems, to demand response, time-of-use rates, and targeted energy efficiency to work together to balance the energy grid.

This is the hard work facing Marybel Batjer, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s newly appointed president of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Bringing these zero-emission resources on to the grid requires innovation, new ways of thinking and a strong dose of political will.

The Public Utilities Commission has shown a commitment to prioritizing communities bearing the highest pollution and socioeconomic burdens in the state.

In the California Environmental Justice Alliance’s annual agency scorecard assessing how California regulators have honored the principles of environmental justice in 2018, the Public Utilities Commission scored a B+.

Now, we must ensure that these communities gain access to the clean energy technologies they have been promised.

This is where we need visionary leadership from Batjer, because when we scratch beneath the surface, we find the Public Utilities Commission is in danger of moving in the opposite direction.

The commission must redesign its processes to allow clean energy technology to compete with gas, by being bundled together and strategically dispatched, so that they can provide the same services under the same contract terms as gas plants.

They must reform and update accounting rules to enable cost effective, zero carbon resources to compete to provide grid reliability services. The technology is available and cost effective, but is left out because of outdated requirements.

Instead, the commission is preparing to award multi-year contracts to gas plants and is failing to prepare and expand California’s portfolio of clean resources to meet our “resource adequacy” requirement.

Despite the direction of the Legislature to adopt a plan to acquire new large-scale storage projects, the Public Utilities Commission has stalled. Even more alarming, the commission is allowing Southern California Gas Company to pull more gas from the dangerous Aliso Canyon storage facility, instead of looking for strategies to honor Gov. Newsom’s promise to close the facility that poisoned thousands of people.

This business-as-usual thinking is a luxury we simply do not have.

We’re encouraged by Gov. Newsom’s appointment of Marybel Batjer. By appointing a leader who is not afraid of blazing new trails, Gov. Newsom is exhibiting his own bold leadership. As Batjer takes the reins, we look forward to seeing her exercise her expertise to seize the incredible opportunity before her.

Under her watch, the agency must prepare California to move beyond gas. Achieving that goal will require much greater integration within the agency, and dedicated coordination with other agencies and power providers.

Creating an equitable, safe and secure phase-out of gas in coming decades will be no small feat. That transition must be undertaken with a commitment to protecting working families, improving energy affordability, and avoiding saddling Californians with increasingly expensive gas energy.

Ms. Batjer has demonstrated she is not afraid of taking courageous action and shaking things up. This is exactly what the Public Utilities Commission needs.

The Public Utilities Commission’s power to help California’s communities thrive is undeniable. With Batjer exhibiting people-centered leadership that combines technical expertise and innovation, she can play a major role in leading California into a healthy and prosperous 100 percent clean energy future.

Gladys Limón is executive director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, glimon@caleja.org. V. John White is the executive director of the Center for Energy Efficient and Renewable Technologies, vjw@ceert.org. They wrote this commentary for CALMatters.

The author wrote this for CALmatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s Capitol works and why it matters.

This article originally appeared in Black Voice News.

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Government

Public Safety Committee Recommends Oakland Ban on Facial Recognition Software

OAKLAND POST — The Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee has recommended approval of Council President Rebeca Kaplan’s proposal to ban facial recognition technology, which a researcher with Microsoft has described as “toxic,” calling for it to “be banned for almost all practical purposes.”

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Photo by: postnewsgroup.com
By The Oakland Post

The Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee has recommended approval of Council President Rebeca Kaplan’s proposal to ban facial recognition technology, which a researcher with Microsoft has described as “toxic,” calling for it to “be banned for almost all practical purposes.”

On June 25, on the same day as Council President Kaplan introduced the ban at Public Safety, the United Nations called for a moratorium on surveillance technology to end abuses.

Said David Kaye, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, “Surveillance tools can interfere with human rights, from the right to privacy and freedom of expression to rights of association and assembly.”

Facial recognition systems rely on biased datasets with high levels of inaccuracy and lack standards around its use which has already lead to misidentification and manipulation of data, said Kaplan. The invasive nature of this technology has also resulted in government abuses including its use to persecute Muslims in China and police accountability activists in Baltimore.

“I welcome emerging technologies that improve our lives and facilitate city governance, but when multiple studies show a technology is flawed, biased, and is having unprecedented, chilling effects to our freedom of speech and religion, we have to take stand,” said Kaplan.  “It is important to build trust and good relationships between community and police and to remedy racial bias, however this flawed technology could make those problems worse. The right to privacy and the right to equal protection are fundamental and we cannot surrender them.”

Said Brian Hofer, chair for the Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission, “President Kaplan and the Oakland Public Safety Committee again unanimously recognized and supported its citizen privacy commissioners and constituent concerns regarding invasive technology. Face surveillance is unlike any other technology seen in our lifetime. It is incompatible with a healthy democracy, and like San Francisco, we hope the full Oakland council draws a line in the sand that this level of intrusiveness is creepy and inappropriate for Oakland.”

Data shows that this technology disproportionately misidentifies darker skinned women. In a 2018 report by the MIT Media Lab, the study concluded that face recognition systems worked best on white males and failed most often with the combination of female and dark-skin individuals with error rates of up to 34.7 percent In another test by the ACLU, Amazon’s recognition face surveillance software misidentified 28 members of Congress as criminals.

The misuse and lack of guidelines around the use of this technology has also landed some police departments in hot water. In May 2019, Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology (CPT) issued a report, detailing how some law enforcement agencies fed facial recognition software flawed data and warned that there are “no rules when it comes to what images police can submit to face recognition algorithms to generate investigative leads.”

“Facial recognition technology poses serious concerns, not only due to increased false positives correlating with the darkness of one’s skin, but also due to the chilling of free speech,” said Sameena Usman, Government Relations Coordinator for the SF Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Said Nathan “Nash” Sheard, Electronic Frontier Foundation, “It is encouraging to see Oakland lawmakers anticipating the surveillance problems on the horizon and taking this proactive step toward banning the use of this particularly pernicious form of surveillance. The very real impact this would have on Oakland residents safety, and ability to exercise our most fundamental freedoms greatly overshadows any potential benefits.”

Henry Gage III, Privacy commissioner, said, “Facial recognition technology is oppressive, coercive, and easily abused. We don’t need it to keep Oakland safe. Thanks to Council President Kaplan, Oakland is drawing a line in the sand, and standing up for Oaklanders’ privacy rights.”

On May 2nd at the Privacy Advisory Commission, Chairperson Brian Hofer introduced the amendment that categorically prohibits the use of facial recognition technology. The amendment passed unanimously.

This article originally appeared in the Oakland Post
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HBCU

Feds Give Morgan State U. $1.5M Grant for STEM Programs

WASHINGTON INFORMER — Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen announced Friday more than $1.5 million in federal grant funding for Morgan State University to foster its STEM-related programs. The grant, to be administered over a three-year period through the National Science Foundation, will fund innovative ways to train MSU faculty to better engage learning among undergraduate and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

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Courtesy of morgan.edu

Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen announced Friday more than $1.5 million in federal grant funding for Morgan State University to foster its STEM-related programs.

The grant, to be administered over a three-year period through the National Science Foundation, will fund innovative ways to train MSU faculty to better engage learning among undergraduate and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

The grant is also the latest federal support for the university’s STEM programs.

“STEM education is the key to Maryland’s modern innovation economy, and one of the best ways to expand the opportunities for students in STEM fields is by providing more chances for undergraduate students to receive hands-on learning,” said Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. “This grant award recognizes Morgan State’s record in educating African American students and will provide Morgan with the ability to deepen its range of already high-quality STEM offerings. Ongoing federal investments like these are critical to increasing the diversity of our nation’s STEM fields.”

Van Hollen said that in addition to hands-on learning being more fun for students, it’s proven to increase their retention and knowledge.

“This funding will help teachers across the country combine this proven technique with STEM education programs, and it will help better prepare our students for the jobs of the future,” said Van Hollen, member of the Senate’s budget and appropriations committees. “This is an exciting opportunity that puts Morgan State at the forefront of this work, which will benefit our students, our communities, and ultimately our economy. I will continue working to support STEM education and secure funding in Congress to prepare our children for future success.”

In May, the two Democratic senators also applauded the award of $1.25 million for MSU to broaden opportunities for African American students in STEM fields.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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Afro

Baltimore Black Engineers Celebrate 30 Years

THE AFRO — The chapter had a black tie gala fundraiser to support for their work to support collegiate and pre-collegiate students, as well as professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The event included an awards ceremony, which honored individuals and organizations recognizing outstanding achievement in various areas in support of the NSBE-BMAC mission.

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(L to R: Mrs. Steffanie B. Easter, Director, Navy Staff, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; Mrs. Earnestine Baker, Executive Director – Emerita Meyerhoff Scholars Program, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Legacy Achievement Award Honoree; Dr. Eugene M. DeLoatch, Dean Emeritus Morgan State University School of Engineering, Legacy Achievement Award Honoree; Dr. James E. West, Inventor, Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Legacy Achievement Award Honoree; Mr. William S. Redmond, III, President, NSBEBMAC) (Courtesy Photo)
By AFRO Staff

On June 22, nearly 200 people gathered at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture, in downtown Baltimore to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the National Society of Black Engineers Baltimore Metropolitan Area Chapter (NSBE-BMAC).

The chapter had a black tie gala fundraiser to support for their work to support collegiate and pre-collegiate students, as well as professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The event included an awards ceremony, which honored individuals and organizations recognizing outstanding achievement in various areas in support of the NSBE-BMAC mission.

Steffanie B. Easter, director of Navy Staff for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, was the keynote speaker.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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