Tag Archives: Caring For Others

Don’t Do This, You Gave NIMW It’s Start

.jpg photo of graphic of Google+ announcement of closing
Google announced that it will shut down the consumer version of Google+ following the discovery of a bug that it opted to keep secret.

Google+ to shut down following bug that
exposed 500K profiles

Google yesterday announced that it will shut down the consumer version of Google+ following the discovery of a bug that it opted to keep secret.

In a blog post, the search giant framed the decision as one that makes sense given that very few people actively use Google+—”90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds,” writes Ben Smith, a Google Fellow and VP of Engineering—and it doesn’t warrant the work required to keep tabs on developers.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports, the move comes after Google discovered a bug that left private user information open to developers in March, but declined to alert users for fear of regulatory scrutiny.

“A memo reviewed by the Journal prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger ‘immediate regulatory interest’ and invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica,” the Journal says.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly knew about the plan to forego notification.

In the blog post, Smith says Google discovered the bug in March as part of Project Strobe—”a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps’ data access.”

The bug, according to Google, meant that third-party apps had access to “profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public,” like name, email address, occupation, gender, and age. Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers, or G Suite content were not accessible.

“We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused,” Smith says.

The bug, which Google patched in March, affected about 500,000 Google+ users. Was yours one of those accounts?  Sorry, there’s no way to tell.

“We made Google+ with privacy in mind and therefore keep this API’s log data for only two weeks,” according to Smith.  “That means we cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug.”

According to Smith, the vulnerability didn’t rise to the level of requiring a notification.  “Every year, we send millions of notifications to users about privacy and security bugs and issues.  Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice,” he says.

It remains to be seen if regulators agree.  Uber kept a 2016 data breach secret, and that just resulted in a $148 million fine.

The Google+ shutdown, meanwhile, will occur over the next 10 months, so get your fill before August 2019.  If you use the service for work, though, Google+ is not going anywhere.

“Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network,” Smith says.  “Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization.  We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses.  We will share more information in the coming days.”

As part of the announcement, Google also promised to give users “more fine-grained control over what account data they choose to share with each app.”  If an app wants access to a Calendar and Drive documents, for example, you can opt to share one but not the other.

Google will also “limit the apps that may seek permission to access your consumer Gmail data,” while Google Play will limit which apps that can ask for a user’s phone (including call logs) and SMS data.

Need More Attorneys General Like TX And NM

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NM Attorney General Hector Balderas

New Mexico Attorney General wants to handle fatal Child Abuse cases

Attorney General Hector Balderas wants New Mexico lawmakers to expand his authority by allowing him to take over child abuse cases resulting in death without having to wait for a district attorney to decline to prosecute, dismiss the case or ask for his help.

Why?  Balderas said in a phone interview Friday that his office is well equipped to handle such cases and he wants to be able to step in and help children whenever its resources are needed, “like the Navy SEALs.”

“When prosecutors have referred complex, tragic cases to us, we’ve had above-average success rates,” Balderas said.

Balderas said his office is uniquely equipped to handle complicated child abuse cases because his staff includes victim advocates, investigators, lawyers and appellate attorneys, meaning he could handle all aspects of a case without having to rely on other agencies to bring a case to trail.

“In every community, there are sometimes unhealthy tensions between law enforcement, child protective agencies and the DA’s Office,” Balderas said.  “But we are one unit.  We collaborate at every stage.  We are always working together.”

Under current laws, Balderas said, he has to wait for the prosecutor in the judicial district where a case arises to either ask for his help, dismiss a case or decline to prosecute before the Attorney General’s Office can jump in.

“To me, that’s just not sound policy when we are in a child abuse crisis,” Balderas said.  “Now is the time to make the attorney general an equal partner.  I shouldn’t have to ask for permission.  It shouldn’t be a failure in the system that triggers our ability to intervene.”

Balderas said district attorneys usually work well with his office but sometimes don’t agree on the best way to attack a case.

He pointed to a recent high-profile child abuse death in the Taos area in which authorities say a 3-year-old boy abducted by his father from the child’s mother’s home in Georgia was found dead after being denied medications and instead subjected to Islamic prayer rituals for healing.  Balderas said that case is an example of one that could have benefited from his office’s expertise.

The attorney general said he offered 8th Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos his help at the outset of the Taos County case, but Gallegos didn’t consult with him until after a judge denied a motion to hold the defendants without bail while they await trial.

“I offered meaningful support and strategy so they could win and the community would get a timely and aggressive prosecution,” Balderas said.  “I don’t believe it’s collaboration when you are only calling after a loss or setback.”

Gallegos did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

In other cases, Balderas said, the state Children, Youth and Families Department has made investigative missteps that affected the outcome.

CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson said Friday she didn’t know enough about Balderas’ proposal to comment at length she welcomes the chance to partner with Balderas or any other law enforcement agency on improving front-end investigations to better protect the state’s children.  Jacobson added that her agency might not be affected if the law were changed because CYFD doesn’t participate in criminal investigations.

A spokesman for Second Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez in Albuquerque referred questions to New Mexico District Attorney’s Association President Dianna Luce.

Luce, a prosecutor in southeastern New Mexico, said in an email that Balderas had not contacted her organization about proposed legislation and that she cannot comment in her capacity as association president until she knows more.

“As the elected district attorney in the Fifth Judicial District,” she wrote, “I’m opposed to giving blanket authority to another entity outside of my district.  Our prosecutors have experience in prosecuting these types of cases and have successfully prosecuted child abuse resulting in death cases.”

In Santa Fe, First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna said in an email Friday he also hadn’t seen the proposed law change and wanted a chance to discuss it with Balderas and the District Attorney’s Association to see what exactly the attorney general proposes.

“I can’t speak for all district attorneys in our state,” Serna wrote, “but I would anticipate opposition to the Attorney General’s position, considering each DA is elected to their respective districts.”

Serna added that he has a “great working relationship” with Balderas’ office and will continue to request assistance or pull resources from the Attorney General’s Office when needed.

Balderas said he is working to draft legislation and find a legislative sponsor.

When Health And Safety Of Patients Do Not Matter

.jpg photo of TX Attorney General Logo graphic
Texas Attorney General Logo graphic.

AG Paxton Files Court Brief to Safeguard
Women’s Health and Protect the Unborn
in Texas

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton last night filed a motion in U.S. District Court asking for dismissal of Whole Woman’s Health’s lawsuit challenging almost all abortion laws and regulations in Texas.

“Whole Woman’s Health is attempting to circumvent the democratic process and use the courts to change dozens of laws passed by the people’s representatives in the Texas Legislature,” said Attorney General Paxton.

Whole Woman’s Health is challenging more than 60 individual state laws or regulations in 19 different categories, including the parental consent requirement for minors, 24-hour waiting period, ultrasound requirement, and criminal penalties for non-compliance.

Abortion clinics throughout Texas already comply with the current laws and, in some cases, they have been doing so for decades.  For instance, abortion facilities have been required to meet state licensing requirements and report certain data to the state since 1985.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld laws like many of those challenged.

Some of the challenged laws include the state’s requirement that abortion providers sterilize their instruments, provide patients access to their medical records, the opportunity to ask questions and the right to be free from discrimination in their treatment.

“The financial interests of abortion doctors or their profit margins should never take precedence over women’s safety and well-being,” said Attorney General Paxton.  “It’s shameful that Whole Woman’s Health no longer wants to comply with these common-sense regulations of abortion practice, many of which have previously been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Slaughterhouse Environment, HIV/AIDS, AntiChild Agenda

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Your Child Needs YOU, BEFORE It Is Too Late

Unsterilized Equipment, Unsecured
Drugs, Attempting To Remove Parental
Consent Requirement For Minors

There is a war being waged against Our Children, and they are grossly out numbered.

As all of us have already seen, Our Washington Law Makers as well as Our Liberal Judicial system sided against Our Children’s equal rights.

Now, as a Parent, what will you do if someone attempts to have the Law of Parental Consent For Minors Changed?

What are your thoughts on a medical provider that did not sterilize their instruments?

This issue isn’t just about Our Children’s rights, health, or Child Sex Trafficking, this is also about every woman’s rights and health.

Whole Woman’s Health Exposed

You will not want to miss my next post “When Health And Safety Of Patients Don’t Matter“.

Mothers And Meth

Meth-Addicted Mothers and Child Abuse

THE ATLANTIC SELECTS
Video by Mary Newman

In the United States, methamphetamine is making a comeback.  Following the legalization of medical marijuana in California, Mexican cartels pivoted to the production of pure liquid meth, which is brought across the border and crystallized in conversion labs.  There is more meth on the streets than ever before, according to William Ruzzamenti, a 30-year Drug Enforcement Administration veteran and the Executive Director of the Central Valley California HIDTA (High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area).  It’s also cheaper than ever—the average cost of an ounce of methamphetamine dropped from nearly $968 in 2013 to around $250 in 2016.

“I think a lot of people associate meth with the 1990s, and this comeback has gone largely unnoticed in the shadow of the heroin and opioid epidemics,” Mary Newman, a journalist at the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, told The Atlantic.

Newman’s short documentary, Motherhood and Meth, focuses on the drug’s frequently overlooked and arguably most vulnerable victims: children.  Although no scientific research has been conducted that directly correlates meth addiction to child abuse or neglect, many experts on the subject report a connection that Newman describes as “staggering.”  In her film, Newman interviews Dr. Philip Hyden, a child abuse specialist who has worked across the U.S. for more than 30 years.  Since 2010, Dr. Hyden has served as the medical director at the Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno, the poorest urban ZIP code in the state.  Fresno experiences a high incidence of child abuse, and Dr. Hyden attributes one cause to the high rate of methamphetamine addiction in the region.  He estimates that meth use is involved in over 70% of the 1,000 abuse cases the clinic sees each year.

“We see children that have been beaten or abused in many scenarios where the perpetrator was on meth at the time,” Dr. Hyden says in the film.  “We see things that are hard to believe that happen to kids.”

This abuse sometimes begins during pregnancy; an estimated 19,000 meth users in the U.S. are pregnant women.  In home environments where meth is manufactured, children almost always test positive for methamphetamine—often at levels as high as addicted users, according to an expert in the film.

To get a firsthand look at the effects of methamphetamine addiction on mothers and their children, Newman’s documentary follows law enforcement officers, professionals at treatment facilities, and mothers affected by meth addiction who admit to having neglected their kids.  Newman met many of these women at Fresno’s weekly free needle exchange.  She interviewed more than twenty women—some of whom agreed to participate, only to disappear once a shoot date was scheduled—before she found the subjects featured in the film.

“Once I built up some essential trust with women willing to share their struggles of addiction, I would ask if meth ever caused them or someone in their life to become violent,” Newman said.  “Everyone responded with an emphatic ‘yes.’”  Newman added that she heard “harrowing” stories about domestic violence, child abuse, and a generational cycle of meth addiction.  Many of the addicts she spoke to were either the child of a meth addict themselves or had experienced abuse early in life.

“The power methamphetamine has on a person’s life was the most surprising part of [reporting] this story,” Newman said.  “I would speak with people struggling with addiction and they would have a certain self-awareness that their decisions were derailing their life, but they would also describe a feeling of complete helplessness.” Newman said that several people—both addicts and experts—described meth as “evil” due to the sheer power over the people that use it.

“These kids are the ultimate victims,” says a police officer in the film.  “They didn’t ask for this.”