Facebook is suing a Ukrainian hacker it alleges scraped 180 million user IDs and phone numbers.
The company accuses the programmer, Alexander Alexandrovich Solonchenko, of selling the data online.
Facebook wants Solonchenko barred from using the site and selling its data, a trial, and damages.
Facebook is suing a Ukrainian hacker it alleges scraped and sold publicly available data from 178 million of its users on a forum.
The company filed a lawsuit against Alexander Alexandrovich Solonchenko on Thursday, alleging he broke the company’s “Terms of Service” and “Platform Terms” agreements which prohibits its users from doing anything unlawful with its data, obtaining data using automated means, and submitting its “platform data” onto any directory with its approval.
According to Facebook’s complaint issued in the Northern District of California, the company claims Solonchenko used an automated method to scrape the user IDs and phone numbers from approximately 178 million Facebook users between 2018 and 2019.
Evidence presented by Facebook’s attorneys shows Solonchenko’s history of selling leaked data from other companies on Raid Forums, a website where users buy and sell leaked and stolen datasets. In a screenshot from the site provided by Facebook, an account that purportedly belongs to Solonchenko offhandedly offered to sell the scraped data.
“I also have some other DBs, consumers lists, B2B dbs all over the world, phone dbs, non-public FB data (180m for USA),” Solonchenko wrote. “Please PM me your contact if interested.”
In its complaint, Facebook asked the federal court for a jury trial, injunctions preventing Solonchenko from using its products or selling any data obtained from it, and an undisclosed amount for damages.
A Texas state agency removed online LGBT resources after Gov. Abbott’s challenger mocked the site.
Emails obtained by the Houston Chronicle reveal the webpage was taken down in response to the criticism.
The website remains offline as a review is “ongoing.”
A Texas state agency disabled a website that included a suicide hotline and resources for LGBT youth after Gov. Greg Abbott’s primary election opponent accused the lawmaker of advocating “for transgender ideology,” records obtained by the Houston Chronicle show.
Don Huffines, a businessman and former state senator, is running against Abbott for the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nomination as Abbott sinks to the lowest approval ratings of his career.
In late August, Huffines published a video on Twitter attacking the governor for allowing Texas Youth Connection, a division of the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, to host a suicide prevention hotline and other resources meant to help queer kids on its website, including a section of the site titled “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.”
“These are not Texas values, these are not Republican Party values,” Huffines says in the video. “But these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values.”
Hours after Huffines’ video began gaining traction on social media, first, the “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation” webpage was deleted.
Shortly thereafter, the entire Texas Youth Connection website was also disabled. The website for Texas Youth Connection is an offshoot of Family and Protective Services. It aims to help kids prepare for life after foster care and included resources for housing and education, in addition to LGBT identity, according to the Chronicle.
The website has since been replaced with a message that reads, “The Texas Youth Connection website has been temporarily disabled for a comprehensive review of its content. This is being done to ensure that its information, resources, and referrals are current.”
Nearly two months later, employee emails obtained by the Chronicle through a public records request reveal that Department of Family Protective Services employees discussed removing the “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation” webpage on the Texas Youth Connection website as a direct response to Huffines’ video, right before the page was taken offline.
According to the outlet, the agency’s media relations director Marissa Gonzales emailed a link of Huffines’ video to the department’s communications director Patrick Crimmins 13 minutes after it was posted.
“FYI. This is starting to blow up on Twitter,” Gonzales reportedly wrote.
Crimmins then reached out to the agency’s web and creative services director saying, “we may need to take that page down, or somehow revise content,” the Chronicle reported.
The entire Texas Youth Connection website remains “temporarily disabled” as of Tuesday.
In a statement to the Chronicle, Huffines took credit for the site’s removal.
“We aren’t surprised that state employees who are loyal to Greg Abbott had to scramble after we called their perverse actions out,” Huffines told the newspaper. “I promised Texans I would get rid of that website and I kept that promise.”
Crimmins, who serves as the department spokesman, told Insider that a content review “is still ongoing,” but did not answer specific questions about why the site had been taken down.
This is not the first time Abbott and the state government have been pressured to restrict resources for the transgender community in 2021.
Miffed after the state legislature failed to pass a law restricting transgender children from accessing transition-related care, the governor pledged to find an alternative route in July.
The governor also acquiesced and added plans to create a law restricting transgender kids from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity after hounding from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
President Joe Biden’s polling slump has gotten worse.
While there are many contributing factors, two in particular stand out.
Pandemic expectations got out ahead of him, and independent voters keep souring on him.
Coming off a tumultuous summer, President Joe Biden has yet to turn around his sinking approval rating.
The US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the prospect of the US defaulting on its debt payments, his infrastructure bill being stalled in Congress, inflation, and other policy issues like immigration have presented problems for his administration.
He’s in a predicament close to what former President Barack Obama found himself in during his first term, but the COVID-19 pandemic and a diminished standing among voters unaffiliated with a party are unique to Biden.
Biden’s two biggest polling problems are pandemic expectations and appealing to independent voters.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is banned from Trump properties, according to The Daily Beast.
The ban came directly from former President Donald Trump, per The Daily Beast.
A high-profile Republican donor accused Lewandowski of stalking and grabbing her in Las Vegas.
Corey Lewandowski, a campaign manager for President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential run, is banned from Trump’s properties and events, according to a report from The Daily Beast.
According to the report, the request came at the behest of Trump himself after a Republican Party donor, Trashelle Odom, publicly alleged that Lewandowski “stalked” her and grabbed her “legs and buttocks.”
If Lewandowski is seen at a MAGA event or Trump property, The Daily Beast reported that Trump associates are supposed to alert security or personally shoo him away themselves.
In text messages and an email, Trump confidantes were told to “remove Lewandowski (at least for now) from invitations and emails for upcoming GOP and MAGA festivities,” according to the report.
In 2016, Lewandowski had a similar falling out with Trumpworld after being seen on video grabbing a Breitbart reporter by her arm. Charges were later dropped by Palm Beach County prosecutors in Florida.
Lewandowski did not respond to Insider’s request for comment and has previously denied Odom’s allegation through an attorney.
A representative for Lewandowski sent a statement to The Daily Beast denying the report.
“Neither Mr. Lewandowski nor anyone on his legal team has received any communication consistent with the claim that he has been asked not to go to any Trump property,” they said in the statement. “Absolutely none.”
Trump’s press office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. The Daily Beast did not receive a response from Trump’s spokesperson, but did reach someone “who answered a call to a phone number for Eric Trump” but “denied being Eric Trump. Asked about Lewandowski, the man hung up.”
The reported Trumpworld rift with Lewandowski resulted in the formation of a new PAC outside of the former campaign manager’s control, described in a recent press release as “the ONLY Trump-approved super PAC,” according to The Daily Beast.
Major players in the airline industry, medical industry, and education system have each threatened to fire employees who refuse the COVID-19 vaccination. So far, the vaccine mandates have been a rousing success at boosting vaccination numbers.
And while it’s easy to get caught up on headlines about dozens or hundreds of employees fired from a large company for not abiding by vaccine mandates, it’s more important to look at the larger proportion of employees who were not fired and abided by the rules in the first place.
For example, Houston Methodist, one of Houston’s largest medical systems, announced it fired 153 of its employees for failing to get the jab by June. And while a group of its fired employees has been outspoken about the decision, likening Methodist’s vaccination requirements to Nazi concentration camps, the vast majority of its employee base have been vaccinated: The 153 fired employees make up less than one percent of Methodist’s 24,947 employees.
Houston Methodist isn’t alone.
Novant Health, a North Carolina hospital system, previously announced similar vaccination requirements for its employees. While the company said it’s fired 375 of its workers, that’s still a minuscule amount for Novant Health as a whole: according to the system’s spokesperson, that’s just around 1% of the company’s overall workforce.
At the behest of the Biden Administration, several airlines have also begun to roll out a vaccine mandate for their employees, but United Airlines was the first to actually fire employees who were out of compliance with the rule. While United Airlines originally said it planned to fire 600 of its workers, it ultimately ended up firing just 320, or less than one-half of one percent of its 67,000 employees.
Vaccine mandates are also beginning to take hold in local educational systems. As of Monday, public school teachers in New York City will be required to be vaccinated in order to work and have offered little resistance.
New York’s Department of Education said approximately 95% of its employees have already been vaccinated with the United Federation of Teachers saying the number could be as high as 97% of the city’s 78,000 teachers, meaning there are less than 3,000 teachers in the city that are out of compliance.
Mandates present an inherent risk of staff shortages
Company-wide vaccine mandates have proven to increase the organization’s vaccine numbers but can come at a cost: if enough workers hold out, it can be deleterious for the company or industry’s ability to function.
While United Airlines has had little difficulty in ensuring its workers are vaccinated, the American Pilots Association recently warned that the industry could see shortages if there are no “alternate means of compliance,” such as regular testing.
School districts are also at risk when mandating vaccines. However, New York City at least is already on top of that: New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said on Friday that the system has more than enough vaccinated substitute teachers at the ready to account for any unvaccinated full-time employees.
Despite high rates of vaccinated employees, the decision for medical systems to mandate COVID-19 vaccines comes with major risks: Many healthcare facilities are already facing staffing shortages due to burnout, violent patients, and poor working conditions, leading to fewer available patient beds and longer wait times for patients.
Medical staff shortages were already happening before the vaccine mandates began, meaning access to quality healthcare may become even more difficult if enough firings occur and exacerbate the shortage.
President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal employees, contractors, and businesses with more than 100 employees begins on November 23, leaving ample time for unvaccinated workers to get vaccinated before any repercussions are doled out.
The US is averaging approximately 741,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered each day, according to the New York Times’ vaccination tracker. Approximately two-thirds of adults in the country are fully vaccinated.
A group of eight Michigan poll challengers is suing Dominion Voting Systems after the company sent them cease and desist letters.
First reported by The Daily Beast, the group is being led by a former “Stop the Steal” attorney, Kurt Olsen, who attempted to convince the US Department of Justice to file a lawsuit regarding the 2020 election to the Supreme Court as part of an effort to undermine President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Famed Democratic attorney and former lawyer for President Donald Trump, Alan Dershowitz, is also a part of the group’s counsel. He told The Daily Beast he’s an “adviser and consultant on the First Amendment issues of this case.”
Eight of the state’s challengers from the 2020 presidential election said they received cease and desist letters from Dominion after they inquired about potential irregularities in the election despite never mentioning Dominion in their formal challenges.
In the letters, Dominion instructed the challengers to stop speaking about Dominion and to preserve any communications with members of the Trump campaign, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and other Trump attorneys.
The company has sent over 200 cease and desist letters in total to people challenging the company’s integrity and quality of its election services. Other than changing the name of the person the letters are addressed to, each of the cease and desist letters provided as evidence in the new lawsuit appears to be identical and fails to mention any of the election challenges brought forth by any of the plaintiffs.
While the challengers were never sued by Dominion itself, they allege the cease and desist letters instilled a sense of fear for their businesses, safety, and even an unborn child.
“After being threatened and in fear of her life and that of her unborn child while working at the TCF Center, this letter exacerbated all of those feelings,” the lawsuit says regarding one of the plaintiffs, Kathleen Daavettila. “Why was she being threatened with a lawsuit? How would this affect her family?”
The lawsuit claims that Dominion violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, more commonly known as the “RICO Act,” which allows for the prosecution against organized crime, though is notoriously difficult to prove in the court of law.
The group also claims Dominion violated the Equal Protection Clause, acted as a part of a civil conspiracy, and deprived the poll watchers of their First Amendment Rights.
As a private company, Dominion traditionally cannot be found liable under the Equal Protection Act or First Amendment, however, the lawsuit claims the company acted as a “state actor” because it was tasked by the government to run elections using its machines and software.
The poll watchers demand a trial by jury and are looking for Dominion to pay for damages and attorneys fees. No hearings have been set for the lawsuit as of yet.
Dominion did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Kari Lake, a former journalist for Fox 10 News in Phoenix, has risen to prominence by attacking the media, railing against vaccine mandates, and echoing Trump’s false claims of election fraud during the 2020 election – Trump narrowly lost the state to President Joe Biden by just over 10,000 votes.
“She is strong on Crime, will protect our Border, Second Amendment, Military, and Vets, and will fight to restore Election Integrity (both past and future!),” Trump said in a statement on Tuesday. “She is against Covid lockdowns, Cancel Culture, and will end ‘woke’ curriculum in our schools. She will do a far better job than RINO Governor Doug Ducey–won’t even be a contest!”
Despite a cozy relationship before the election, Trump’s feud with Ducey began after he certified the election for Biden in November 2020 – Ducey ignored a phone call from the president while signing the official paperwork.
“Arizona will not forget what Ducey just did,” Trump said to a crowd in Arizona just after Ducey certified the vote.
After months of toiling away in secret, Arizona’s election audit has come to a close. Cyber Ninjas, the group leading the audit, is set to announce its findings on Friday and Insider obtained a draft copy of the audit results. They show no significant discrepancies between the official Maricopa County tally and Cyber Ninjas’ recount.
According to the 110-page report, Cyber Ninja’s audit actually found that former President Donald Trump received 261 fewer votes than the official Maricopa County canvass and found 99 more votes for Biden.
A spokesperson for the audit, Randy Pullen told KJZZ Phoenix the draft was “not the final report, but it’s close.”
Republicans in Arizona’s state senate commissioned Cyber Ninjas to helm the audit in April 2021 after Biden became the first Democrat to win in Maricopa County since President Harry S. Truman won in 1948.
“What has been found is both encouraging and alarming,” the report’s executive summary read. “On the positive side there were no substantial differences between the hand count of the ballots provided and the official canvass results for the County. This is an important finding because of concerns ahead of the audit.”
The summary went on to say that the bulk of the Cyber Ninjas’ concerns were due to Maricopa County’s decision not to “cooperate with the audit.”
Cyber Ninjas’ audit was marred by a lack of transparency, leading outside experts to warn that its findings ultimately “should not be trusted.” The company is not federally accredited by the US Election Assistance Commission to test voting systems.
Both Republicans and Democrats have been critical of the unorthodox and sub-standard ways in which the audit had been conducted.
In May, critics lambasted the group after it was revealed they were testing around 40,000 Biden ballots for “bamboo fibers” to prove a far-fetched theory that votes had been flown in from Asia.
Maricopa County Board Chairman Jack Sellers, who has been a long-time critic of the audit, told AZCentral, “the tabulation equipment counted the ballots as they were designed to do, and the results reflect the will of the voters.”
“This should be the end of the story,” he continued. “Everything else is just noise.”
Inspired by Arizona’s audit, Trump demanded Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday to push for an audit of Texas’ election despite winning the state by more than 5 percentage points.
Cyber Ninjas did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. The Arizona senate president, Karen Fann, also did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Abbott recently called a third special legislative session into action in the hopes of redrawing the state’s congressional map, restricting transgender students from participating in school sports teams that align with the gender they identify, and adding legislation regarding COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
The Texas legislature passed a new voting law during the second special legislative session that restricts the use of drive-through voting, adds additional ID requirements for absentee votes, and adds additional protections for partisan poll watchers among other changes. The second special session did not, however, include any provisions about an audit of the vote count.
As noted in his release, Trump defeated Biden in the state of Texas by over 5 percentage points – more than 600,000 votes – in the 2020 election. An audit of the state’s votes would not change the election’s outcome, especially after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was unable to find any concrete proof of election fraud despite offering up a $1 million reward.
The call for an investigation into Texas’ 2020 presidential election comes just one day before the group behind Arizona’s flawed audit releases its findings.
The partisan review in Maricopa County, Arizona, commissioned by Republicans in the state Senate, has been marred from the beginning by a lack of transparency and professionalism, with outside experts saying the final product “should not be trusted.”
The group leading the effort, Cyber Ninjas, is itself led by a conspiracy theorist, Doug Logan, who claimed the 2020 election was “rigged” months before ever counting any ballots.
Maricopa County Republicans – who audited the results and certified President Joe Biden’s victory last year – have themselves opposed the review, which has been subsidized by some $5.7 million in support from right-wing donors and seen volunteers scan ballots for bamboo fibers in an apparent effort to prove they were made in China.
The process, which began in April, has even been described to Insider by the state Senate’s “liaison” to the review, former GOP Secretary of State Ken Bennett, as “very odd.”
The night shift nurse recalled how the police had to remove the man’s son-in-law from the hospital after he told her, “If you don’t do this, I have a lot of ways to get people to do something, and they’re all sitting in my gun safe at home,” according to BuzzFeed News.
Ivermectin is a deworming drug popularly used in animals that the FDA has warned against using in COVID-19 patients. The drug has become widely promoted among conspiracy theory circles as a treatment for COVID-19 – often by those who refuse to get vaccinated.
The nurse, Ashley Carvalho, told BuzzFeed News that hostility to healthcare workers and a new surge of COVID-19 cases are taking their toll, adding that she’s more anxious now than she was before vaccines were available.
“I think it’s just kind of a hopeless feeling,” she said.
Healthcare workers across the US have seen a rise in violent threats
The threat against Carvalho is a part of a larger trend of violence against medical staff during the pandemic.
Karen Garvey, the vice president of patient safety and clinical risk management at Parkland Health & Hospital System, told the Texas Tribune in March that her hospital has seen a rise in violent threats since the pandemic began.
Garvey said there have been “people being punched in the chest, having urine thrown on them, and inappropriate sexual innuendos or behaviors in front of staff members.” She also said medical staff have been called names and racial slurs in addition to getting broken bones and noses.
Natalie Higgins, a nurse at CoxHealth in Springfield, Missouri, told KYTV that the number of physical and verbal assaults in her hospital rose in 2021 as the pandemic raged on.
“The first time I got verbally attacked by a patient, I was like ‘Oh, my gosh.’ Like I expected it, but not to the extent we see it every day,” Higgins said. “The first time someone lunges at you, even still today, when they lunge at you, it’s terrifying.”
Higgins said CoxHealth has installed panic buttons on each staff member’s ID badge to alert security when staffers are in danger.