tech, scams, voice clones, FTC warning
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That Panicked Call From a ‘Relative’ Could Be a Thief Using a Voice Clone, FTC Warns (Maria)

The author writes, “For years, a common scam has involved getting a call from someone purporting to be an authority figure, like a police officer, urgently asking you to pay money to help get a friend or family member out of trouble. Now, federal regulators warn, such a call could come from someone who sounds just like that friend or family member — but is actually a scammer using a clone of their voice. The Federal Trade Commission issued a consumer alert this week urging people to be vigilant for calls using voice clones generated by artificial intelligence, one of the latest techniques used by criminals hoping to swindle people out of money.”

A Florida-Sized Roadblock for the League of Women Voters (Russ)

From ProPublica: “The nonpartisan League of Women Voters has been facing a nationwide backlash after decades of going about its business of surveying candidates, registering voters, hosting debates and lobbying for its causes with little fuss. … This [month] the group found itself once again in the middle of a political controversy. This time it was in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis has sought to reshape a wide range of discourse. … The league revealed that it had been denied permission by the Florida Department of Management Services to hold an outdoor rally on the steps of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee under a new DeSantis administration rule requiring groups to first get sponsorship from a sympathetic state agency.”

January 6 Attendee Key Campaign Activist for Kelly (Al)

From Urban Milwaukee: “A right-wing activist who planned several ‘stop the steal’ protests and was on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack has spent the month of March in Wisconsin campaigning on behalf of conservative state Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly. Scott Presler, a Virginia native with a long history of right-wing extremism, called the Jan. 6 attack, ‘the largest civil rights protest in American history,’ and has posted on social media about coming to Wisconsin to campaign with several local Republican groups.”

Washington State School Board Approves Settlement With Coach Over On-Field Prayer (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The Bremerton School Board voted [last] Thursday to accept a nearly $2 million settlement with Joseph Kennedy, a high school assistant football coach who was placed on leave in 2015 for praying on the field with players. The unanimous approval by the five-member board comes after the Bremerton School District announced Kennedy would resume his old coaching role and return to the sidelines for the upcoming football season.”

Student-Loan Companies Illegally Collecting on Debt Discharged in Bankruptcy, Consumer Watchdog Says (DonkeyHotey)

From MarketWatch: “For years, borrowers have been going to court claiming that student-loan companies were illegally collecting on debt they had discharged in bankruptcy. Now, the nation’s top consumer watchdog says it agrees — and is ordering the firms to give consumers their money back. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that multiple student loan servicers violated the agency’s ban on unfair, deceptive or abusive acts and practices when they continued to collect on certain loans after borrowers exited bankruptcy proceedings, the agency announced [last] Thursday.”

Can a Fungus Cause a COVID-Style Pandemic? (Mili)

The author writes, “The television series The Last of Us describes a human pandemic with a mind controlling cordyceps fungus. When asked whether a COVID-19 pandemic with a pathogenic fungus is possible, my answer has generally been some variation of ‘yes, but it’s unlikely.’ Cordyceps fungi turn ants into zombies, establishing the precedent that this group of organisms can be pathogenic to animals. However, ants and humans are very different animals.” 

2 Escape Jail and Go to IHOP, Where Patrons Report Them (Dana)

The author writes, “Two inmates in a Virginia jail used primitively made tools to create a hole in the wall of their cell and escape, only to be found hours later at an IHOP restaurant nearby, a sheriff said. … A preliminary investigation found the men exploited a weakness in the jail’s construction design and used tools made from a toothbrush and a metal object to access rebars between the walls — and then used the rebar to further their escape, the statement said. After escaping their cell, they scaled a containment wall around the jail.”


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