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Tesla’s Elon Musk wants to show you his ‘snake’

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When it comes to revving our electric engines, Elon Musk sure knows where to stick it.

The Tesla billionaire unveiled a prototype of a strange, snake-like charger that slithers its way into the charger port of a Model S sedan.

Tesla tweeted a mesmerizing — OK, pervy — video of the several-foot-long, metal robo-snake in action on Thursday.

Musk couldn’t resist tweeting a joke in response:

 

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Mark Zuckerberg responds to Trump’s accusation that Facebook has always been ‘anti-Trump’

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Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg responded to accusations from President Trump that the social network has always been “anti-Trump,” defending the company he founded while acknowledging that he shouldn’t have shaken off concerns about Facebook’s influence.

Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday that Facebook and news media — including The Washington Post — had always been opposed to him. Zuckerberg said that the fact that Facebook fields criticism from Trump as well as liberals shows it’s a “a platform for all ideas.”

Many people raised concerns with Facebook about the impact that its platform played in spreading false information — concerns apparently bolstered by recent revelations that Russian operatives used Facebook advertisements to influence American voters. During and after the election, Zuckerberg played down those concerns — even when they came from President Barack Obama.

Now, Zuckerberg said, he wishes he’d responded differently. “After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea,” Zuckerberg said, referencing a previous denial that Facebook could have

Yet despite those regrets, Zuckerberg said he still believes Facebook’s greatest influence in the election was a positive one: raising awareness to get out the vote, connecting candidates and constituents and distributing legitimate ads that were “1000x more than any problematic ads we’ve found.”

The debate over how much influence false information on Facebook’s network had over the election continues. Facebook last week turned over thousands of politically themed advertisements to Congress. Zuckerberg had previously opposed turning over the records on privacy grounds but said in a Facebook Live stream that the company decided that it could share the ads without comprising user privacy. “Facebook’s mission is all about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together. Those are deeply democratic values, and we’re proud of them,” he said. “I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for.”

influenced voters. “Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive.”

Democratic lawmakers are also calling for new legislation that would require transparency disclosures for political ads placed on networks including

 

© 2017, Paul Umoh. All rights reserved.

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Equifax says 2.5 million more may have been swept up in massive data breach

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An additional 2.5 million consumers may have been affected by the massive data breach at Equifax, the company said in a statement Monday, bringing the new total of potentially affected consumers to a staggering 145.5 million.

“I was advised Sunday that the analysis of the number of consumers potentially impacted by the cybersecurity incident has been completed, and I directed that the results be promptly released,” said interim chief executive Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. “Our priorities are transparency and improving support for consumers. I will continue to monitor our progress on a daily basis.”

Mandiant, the cybersecurity firm hired by Equifax to investigate the breach, has completed its analysis of affected consumers and did not find evidence of another attack or newly accessed databases, Equifax said.The announcement comes as Equifax braces for several rounds of extensive questioning from lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Former chief executive Richard Smith is slated to testify in front of four congressional committees this week, and frustrated lawmakers are expected to grill him on the company’s cybersecurity practices, its immediate response to the hack and reports of insider trading.

In prepared testimony published Monday, Smith said that he “was ultimately responsible for what happened” on his watch and that Equifax let consumers down.

Earlier this month, the credit reporting company announced that crucial, identifying information belonging to nearly half the country may have been compromised, including birth dates, home addresses and Social Security numbers. In addition to the hearings, the hack has prompted state attorneys general and several federal agencies to examine the data breach and the company’s response. Security experts have warned that the long-term consequences of the hack will be difficult to fully discern. But Equifax is

offering free credit-monitoring services for one year and will unveil a new service next year allowing consumers to freeze and unfreeze their credit information at no charge for life.

© 2017, Paul Umoh. All rights reserved.

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This is a travesty’: Lawmakers grill former Equifax chief executive on breach response

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Lawmakers hammered former Equifax chief executive Richard Smith Tuesday with extensive rounds of questioning during the first congressional hearing since the disclosure of the massive data breach.

Representatives from both parties questioned Smith for nearly three hours on his role at the credit reporting agency and indicated that tighter data security st

Smith confirmed at the hearing that intruders accessed the company’s network by exploiting a known vulnerability that Equifax had failed to patch. But Smith said the employee responsible for assigning a correction to that vulnerability failed to do so, even though that person knew the patch was needed.

Smith also fielded questions concerning reports that his former colleagues sold an unusual amount of stock after the breach was discovered but before it was disclosed to the public. Smith said that at the time, Equifax knew only that suspicious activity had been detected and not that personal information had been stolen from the company. “To the best of my knowledge they did not know,” Smith said.

When asked several times about whether Equifax suspects a nation state was involved in the breach, Smith did not give a direct answer. “I have no opinion,” he said. Smith emphasized that the FBI is involved.

Later in the hearing, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) told Smith that Equifax appears to collect far more data than is needed to determine creditworthiness, and questioned why companies should not be obligated to pay consumers for failing to protect their information. “I think it’s time at the federal level that we put some teeth into this,” he said, referring to data security legislation.

Since the hack was disclosed last month, several members of Congress have seized on Equifax’s missteps, and the widespread public outrage, to advance bills designed to protect consumers from data breaches and identity theft. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J). recently reintroduced the Secure and Protect Americans’ Data Act, which would create enforceable data security standards and require companies to notify consumers in the event of a breach. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with a dozen other lawmakers, introduced the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act, which would force credit reporting agencies, such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, to allow consumers to freeze and unfreeze their credit free of charge.

Perhaps to preempt such legislation from gaining momentum, Equifax said last week it would offer a new service starting next year that would let consumers lock and unlock their credit information for life. During the hearing, Smith described this move as part of a “new paradigm” at Equifax, of giving consumers control over their information. But according to Warren, who will question Smith at a hearing Wednesday, Equifax’s remedy falls short. It’s unclear, she said, if Equifax will continue to sell a consumer’s information even if their credit information is locked, and if the company would be liable for mistakes during a “lock.” Warren added that Equifax’s service wouldn’t apply to the other credit agencies, which would still leave consumers vulnerable, and that Equifax’s commitment could change in the future.

Under the proposed legislation, “Once a customer submits a freeze the credit reporting company cannot pull a credit report, cannot sell customer data, and will be liable for data if it fails to follow through,” she said. “This law makes sure that it has all the right elements, that the protection will last forever, and that it applies to all credit reporting agencies.”

Also at Tuesday’s hearing, several representatives took issue with not having a current Equifax executive testifying. Smith is retired, after announcing last week that he would step down as chief executive. Lawmakers said they would like to hold another hearing with Equifax’s current chief legal officer, John Kelley, and the chief information officer, Mark Rohrwasser, who is serving in an interim role.Smith will go before the Senate Banking Committee, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee and the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday and Thursday.

© 2017, Paul Umoh. All rights reserved.

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