💼 NewsNeat Weekend Read #1

Zoom Into Stories From: Saturday 7 April 2018 to Friday 13 April 2018

Welcome to this Newsneat Weekend Read #1 offering an indigenous + technology perspective on politics, current affairs and culture. - Ed: Kingi

Zuckerberg Faced the Hammer, but Thor was on Holiday

Unfortunately in the USA, Congress has no idea how Facebook, cybersecurity or the internet really works. What was touted to be a ‘big show down’, where Congress would deliver the proverbial hammer on Facebook (like Thor) ended up being as painful as watching an 80’s grand-parent trying to use a computer mouse.

Reason? The average age of House members is 59 and in the Senate it’s 63. It was evident that the grasp on cybersecurity and data collection was lacking, which begs the question; are these hearings actually beneficial? Are lawmakers asking the right questions? There’s no doubt that tech reporters and members of the public have a better grasp on how Facebook comports itself.

The most striking aspect of Zuckerberg’s testimony wasn’t his painful apologies or excuse-spinning, but his ability to spend nearly 10 hours saying almost nothing. Lets see how many of these requests Zuckerberg and Facebook actually follows up on. Here are some of the stories Facebook/Zuckerberg left behind:

Opinion: Zuckerberg Knows More Than He Lets On

By: Kingi Gilbert

Facebook as a platform makes it very hard to go private, it is difficult to delete posts or change privacy. There is no button that says "don't share any of my stuff with 3rd parties". Why so hard for such a simple thing?

Facebook needs as many people as possible to be integrated into their platform to deliver the scale, velocity and margin tied to their business model - selling advertising.

We should NOT allow Facebook to be a permanent fixture in the social infrastructure unless they start giving power to the people - that is, the ability change our privacy clearly and easily with meaningful effect

One thing Zuckerberg did admit is that the social media giant collects information on consumers who aren’t registered Facebook users, building “shadow profiles” - that's quite alarming too. 

The Proxy War: The Syrian government killed 43 people in bombings that witnesses say used chemical weapons

The attack took place in Eastern Ghouta, the rebel-held region near the capital that's been under attack by the Syrian and Russian military since February. The World Health Organization said that 43 people who died in the bombings showed symptoms of chemical weapons use, such as suffocation and foaming at the mouth. The fighting in the region over the past two months has killed 1,600 people.

The Syrian government denies using illegal chemical weapons. President Trump cancelled a trip to Latin America and said he plans to retaliate with missile attacks against Syria.  This region has long been a proxy war location for Russian and US interests.

​​The FBI seized documents from President Trump's personal lawyer in New York

Law enforcement raided the office, home and hotel room of Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer for President Trump who says he paid actress Stephanie Clifford $130,000 during the 2016 election to prevent her from talking about the extramarital affair she says she had with Trump. The action was approved by the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney in New York, and Cohen's lawyer said it was based in part on information uncovered as part of the special counsel investigation. The special counsel's office was not directly involved in the search and seizure.

A search of this kind requires the approval of a judge, who would require that investigators show probable cause that a crime may have been committed and that there was a risk of evidence being destroyed or hidden. The documents seized could include communication between Cohen and his clients, including Trump. That communication is protected by attorney-client privilege, but a judge can remove that protection if there's reason to believe a crime has been committed.

In Hungary, the conservative prime minister was re-elected to a third term

His party, which campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform, retained its two-thirds majority in parliament, which gives it broad power to change the constitution and rules of government. Over the past five years, the government has restricted press freedom and changed the electoral system to its own benefit, moving away from democracy toward a single-party system. 

Other popular stories of the week:

  • Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. It marks the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising.

  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will not run for re-election. His retirement opens a race for Republican House leadership and for his seat in Wisconsin.

  • Yulia Skripal, the daughter of a former Russian spy who was poisoned last month in the U.K., is out of the hospital. Doctors say they expect her father to recover. The U.K. and its allies say Russia's government poisoned them at their home in England with a substance that attacked their nervous systems.

  • In the Gaza Strip, protests against Israel have entered their second week.The Israeli military killed seven people near the border fence with Gaza this week.

  • The former president of Brazil started a 12-year prison sentence after a corruption conviction.

  • The former president of South Korea was sentenced to 24 years in prison. She was removed from office in 2017 after being convicted of accepting bribes.

  • New Zealand will stop issuing new permits for offshore oil drilling. The 22 existing permits will remain active.

  • The U.K. will ban all ivory sales, with the exception of some art that is more than 100 years old, in an effort to reduce elephant poaching.

  • Bill Cosby's retrial on sexual assault charges started this week. The previous trial ended in a mistrial.