Zoom meetings, user privacy, $85M preliminary settlement, Zoombombing, security boost
Photo credit: © Ppe/DDP via ZUMA Press

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Zoom Reaches $85M Tentative Settlement on User Privacy, ‘Zoombombing’ (Maria)

The author writes, “Zoom Video Communications agreed to pay $85 million and bolster its security practices to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated users’ privacy rights by sharing personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, and letting hackers disrupt Zoom meetings using a practice called ‘Zoombombing.’ A preliminary settlement filed on Saturday afternoon requires approval by US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.”

Georgia Republicans Take First Step to Fulton Elections Takeover (DonkeyHotey)

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Georgia Republicans have taken the first step on their freshly blazed path toward a possible takeover of Fulton County’s elections. A letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows two dozen state senators support a performance review of Fulton elections chief Richard Barron. The letter was written Tuesday, the very same day a front-page AJC story examined the prospect of a takeover of elections in Fulton, home to a tenth of all Georgians. ‘We’re asking them to simply correct a record they say is easily corrected. Is it or isn’t it? The people of Georgia deserve answers,’ wrote Republican Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, who signed the letter.”

$110,000 of Dried Cherries: One of the Ways PACs Ramp Up Spending on Seattle Mayor’s Race (Reader Steve)

From The Seattle Times: “Here’s a sign that the Seattle mayoral race has juice: A political action committee involved in the contest just spent more than $110,000 on fruit. Essential Workers for Lorena, an independent PAC bankrolled by unions that represent hotel and supermarket workers, recently bought 20,345 pounds of 1-ounce packets of dried cherries for mailers, according to a campaign finance report filed this week, underscoring the extraordinary amount of cash now being spent to sway voters ahead of the city’s Aug. 3 primary election.”

Republicans Refuse to Reckon With January 6 (Sean)

The author writes, “Shortly after January 6, Donald Trump’s allies spun up a story accusing antifa of infiltrating the mob and instigating the assault. In May, the GOP lawmaker Andrew Clyde of Georgia described the riot that threatened the lives of his colleagues as a ‘normal tourist visit.’ … A contributor to the far-right American Greatness magazine characterized the testifying officers as ‘crisis actors,’ playing victims for liberal political ends. Republicans would like nothing more than to stop talking about this day.” 

Simone Biles Was Abandoned by American Olympic Officials, and the Torment Hasn’t Stopped (Dan)

The author writes, “The trouble with the phrase ‘mental health’ is that it’s an abstraction that allows you to sail right straight over what happened to Simone Biles and, in a way, what is still happening to her. To this day, American Olympic officials continue to betray her. They deny that they had a legal duty to protect her and others from rapist-child pornographer Larry Nassar, and they continue to evade accountability in judicial maneuvering. Abuse is a current event for her.”

AI Deepfakes of Anthony Bourdain’s Voice Are Only a Taste of What’s Coming (Russ)

The author writes, “The most important thing about a documentary deepfaking Anthony Bourdain’s voice isn’t that it happened, but that it happened and almost nobody noticed. Director Morgan Neville faced skepticism and outright revulsion on social media this month when it was revealed he used artificial intelligence to create a model of Bourdain’s voice for 45 seconds of narration in the new documentary ‘Roadrunner,’ about the life and 2018 death by suicide of the beloved chef and journalist.”

Washington State County Is First in US to Ban New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure (Nick)

The author writes, “A county in Washington state has become the first such jurisdiction in the US to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, following a lengthy battle over the impact of oil refineries on the local community. In a vote [last week], Whatcom county’s council unanimously passed a measure that bans the construction of new refineries, coal-fired power plants and other fossil fuel-related infrastructure. The ordinance also places new restrictions on existing fossil fuel facilities, such as a requirement that any extra planet-heating gases emitted from any expansion be offset.”

Rats Prefer to Help Their Own Kind; Humans May Be Similarly Wired (Mili)

The author writes, “A decade after scientists discovered that lab rats will rescue a fellow rat in distress, but not a rat they consider an outsider, new research pinpoints the brain regions that drive rats to prioritize their nearest and dearest in times of crisis. It also suggests humans may share the same neural bias.”

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