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Curated top stories of the day
- Zuckerberg provides timeline of Cambridge Analytica case – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to increase protections on user data in his first public statement since news broke of data harvesting of Facebook users’ private information. Much of the statement outlined how Aleksander Kogan, a Cambridge University psychologist, and Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political consultancy firm, abused Facebook’s terms of agreement. Kogan told the BBC he was being used as a “scapegoat” by the social network and Cambridge Analytica. Kogan said he was assured by the company his work was “perfectly legal and within the terms of service.” However, Facebook says Kogan violated the site’s policies. Cambridge Analytica suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, on March 20 (New York Times), after he was featured in a broadcast on Channel 4 that appeared to show company executives discussing honey traps and potential bribery as part of political tactics. Cambridge Analytica denies any wrongdoing.
- A UK parliamentary committee asked Zuckerberg to attend the House of Commons and answer questions about protection of its users’ data. The committee chair said reports about Cambridge Analytica suggested previous information provided by Facebook executives was misleading.
- Cambridge Analytica contacted the UK’s ruling party, but its proposal wasn’t carried forward, Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament on March 21. “The Conservative Party has never employed Cambridge Analytica, or its parent company, nor used their services,” a Conservative Party spokesman added. The approach came during former leader David Cameron’s premiership.
Read WikiTribune’s coverage of the Cambridge Analytica fallout and help us report on how the company might have been employed around the world.
The only thing I did wrong was not to ask enough questions” says Aleksandr Kogan, the academic who collected the data of millions of Facebook users at the centre of the Cambridge Analytica row.
- Sex trafficking bill passes U.S. Senate, internet activists worry – The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), previously known as SESTA, holds websites legally responsible for sex trafficking material. The bill, which passed the Senate on Wednesday with an overwhelming 97-2 vote (The Hill), specifically targets Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which allows online forums to be protected from what users post. Along with internet activist groups, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who cast one of the two dissenting votes, argues the bill limits online speech and hinders small tech companies that won’t be able to afford to moderate their sites, opening them to lawsuits.
I fear the current bill will be another failure, I’m speaking out on the Senate floor about why #SESTA #FOSTA will do more harm than good for preventing sex trafficking: https://t.co/qHuupI9iKk
- U.S. to restrict investment in China – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the Trump administration could restrict American investment in China as early as Friday. The potential policy is aimed at protecting intellectual property theft and reducing the trade deficit between the two countries.
- Peruvian president resigns before he can be impeached – Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former Wall Street banker, submitted his resignation after allegations of corruption. Reuters reports it’s unknown if the opposition party will accept his resignation. Allies of the president were secretly taped offering money to political party members in exchange for votes. Kuczynski says the video was selectively edited.
- Trump congratulates Putin on election – Donald J. Trump defended his call of congratulations to Russian President Vladimir Putin despite allegations that the Russian election was rigged. In a tweet, Trump wrote that cooperation with Russia is geopolitically imperative for the United States. Senator John Mccain, a critic of the Kremlin, tweeted that the president’s congratulatory call legitimized a “sham-election.”
They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race. Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the “smarts.” Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy or chemistry (remember RESET). PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH!
- EU approves $62.5 billion Monsanto-Bayer deal – German company Bayer won European Union approval to purchase the U.S. agrochemical and biotech corporation Monsanto for $62.5 billion. It’s one of three mega-deals that will reshape the global farming industry (Bloomberg) and the buyout will create one big company that controls more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market. However, environmental and farming groups are concerned about the targeted power the deals could bring and have opposed all three deals.
- Texas bomber suspect identified – The suspect in Austin, Texas, serial bombings is dead after setting off an explosive device in his vehicle in a parking lot, the local police chief said. The 24-year-old white male was identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, according to two sources, as reported by The Washington Post. Austin has been targeted by four package bombings since March 2; two people were killed and four wounded in a chain of events that left the Texas capital terrorized for 19 days, reports CNN. Police said the suspect’s motives were unknown.
- Boko Haram releases schoolgirls, say witnesses – Boko Haram returned a number of the 110 schoolgirls it had abducted from a school in Dapchi, northern Nigeria, witnesses said. The jihadist militant group left an unknown number of girls in the center of the town, declaring “this is a warning to you all,” according to resident Ba’ana Musa as told to The Associated Press. In 2014, the organization abducted 276 schoolgirls from Chibok. Some of the Chibok girls escaped or were ransomed, but the location of more than 100 is still unknown. Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language. (Read WikiTribune‘s previous coverage of Boko Haram’s kidnappings.)
- French ex-president in second day of questioning – Former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a second day of questioning by anticorruption officers after being taken into police custody on March 20. Sarkozy faces allegations that he received funding from the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for his 2007 presidential campaign. The allegations came from a French-Lebanese businessman, Ziad Takieddine, and some former Gaddafi regime officials. Sarkozy, who was president between 2007 and 2012, has always denied receiving any illegal campaign funding and has called the Libyan allegations “grotesque.” Sarkozy spent the night at his Paris home before returning to a police station in Nanterre, northwest of the French capital, for questioning, an anonymous source told the Associated Press.
- In 2013 France opened an investigation into allegations that his 2007 campaign had benefited from illicit funds from Gaddafi.
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- This project on the impact of Cambridge Analytica and the extent of its impact just launched on WikiTribune. Help us answer questions on what elections Cambridge Analytica operated in, how it gathers data, and how the company measures its success.
What we’re reading and listening to
- This episode of The Guardian‘s podcast series “The Start”, that looks at the career beginnings of artists, takes a glimpse at novelist and journalist Will Self’s creative history. He shares how living in poverty inspired his first cartoon strip, Slump, and how that led him on to be the notable writer and commentator that he is. – Lydia Morrish
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