Saturday, October 07, 2017

34.9 - For the Record: UN death penalty vote, IRS no-bid contract, Warren torches Equifax executive, Yahoo data breach growing

For the Record: UN death penalty vote, IRS no-bid contract, Warren torches Equifax executive, Yahoo data breach growing

Next up, we have one of our occasional features. This one is called For the Record, where we cover a few things quickly just to make sure the don't get ignored.

So first, For the Record: On September 27, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the death penalty. It called on countries "that have not yet abolished the death penalty" not to use it for "crimes" such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery, and consensual same-sex relations; to ensure that it is not applied in a discriminatory fashion; and not to apply it to persons with mental or intellectual disabilities or who are under 18 or to pregnant women.

That is, it didn't even call for an end to the death penalty but only that those nations that have it do not apply it unjustly. The resolution passed 27-13. The US voted no.

Note that homosexuality is illegal in over 70 countries. In 13 of them, the penalty is death.

For the record: On September 30, the IRS issued a $7.25 million no-bid contract for services to "verify taxpayer identity" and "assist in ongoing identity verification and validations" at the IRS.

The contract was given to Equifax.

For the record: As a natural follow-up that, at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on October 4. Sen. Elizabeth Warren scorched former Equifax CEO Richard Smith, who retired after the September disclosure of a massive security breach that exposed personal information of nearly 150 million Americans.

She forced Smith to admit that Equifax actually profits from data breaches because they create business opportunities for the company to sell services such as credit monitoring to people who now face increase risk of fraud and identity theft.

She was even able to quote Smith as calling fraud a "huge opportunity for us" and noted that Equifax's profits had gone up 80% since 2013 despite having admitted to four separate data breaches in that same time.

Smith didn't even try to refute Warren's argument, perhaps because he doesn't care: Despite being CEO at the time of the breach, he still will collect a $90-million retirement payout.

Finally, For the record: On the other hand, perhaps Smith could have tried to insist the breach was no big deal: After all, it only affected nearly 150 million people.

Meanwhile, the number determined to be affected by Yahoo's 2013 data breach keeps growing. It's now thought to encompass all user accounts, which brings the number of compromised accounts to something like three billion.

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