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Facebook says it didn’t Violate user Privacy

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Facebook says it didn’t violate user privacy. But its definition of ‘permission’ is loose - National
Facebook gave companies such as Apple, Amazon and Yahoo extensive access to users’ personal data, effectively exempting them from the company’s usual privacy rules, according to a New York Times report .

Facebook enabled partners to offer services that tap into Facebook accounts and features. For example, Spotify was able to offer a feature that lets a user share song lists with his or her Facebook friends. But to do that, Facebook had to give Spotify the user’s list of Facebook friends.

Facebook says it didn’t violate its users’ privacy in doing any of this. But Facebook has a history of playing fast and loose with the word “permission.” That appears to be the case here, too.

A look at the claims:

Facebook: “To be clear: none of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission.” — from a blog post late Tuesday by Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, the company’s director of developer platforms.

The facts: In this case, the company says that its “integration partners” — such as Amazon, BlackBerry or Microsoft — had to get authorization from people to turn on these features. Users would have done this by using their Facebook account to log in to the other services, which, technically, counted as giving permission. But people may not have realized just what they were granting permission for.

In addition, according to the Times report, Facebook from its early days formed key data-sharing partnerships with companies, sometimes giving them special access to data — without asking for users’ permission.

For example, according to the report, the company used contact lists from “partners” such as Amazon, Yahoo and China’s Huawei to suggest potential Facebook friends to users. Facebook argues that its partners are essentially an extension of itself, as service providers, and thus they don’t need to get permission from users as long as they limit data use to providing Facebook-related services.

In all, the report says, more than 150 companies benefited from Facebook’s data-sharing practices. While most were technology companies, there were also automakers and media organizations. Some, the Times notes, were still in effect this year.

The permissions issue came up earlier this year, when Facebook was found to have been collecting call and text histories from Android users. The company said at the time that it got permission from users to do this. Nonetheless, many users, including the New Zealand man who discovered the practice after downloading his Facebook data in March, were surprised that the company was logging this data.

According to internal emails made public as part of a lawsuit , the company was aware that the Android data collection could look bad. A product manager, Michael LeBeau, wrote in a February 2015 email that the permissions feature — which prompted users to grant access to call logs and text-message history — is “a pretty high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective.” But, he added, “the growth team will charge ahead and do it.”

Facebook: “Nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC,” or Federal Trade Commission. — from the same blog post.

The facts: As part of the settlement, Facebook is required to obtain people’s “affirmative express consent” before making changes that override their privacy preferences. This could apply to sharing the content of private messages, friends’ lists and other information that Facebook gave its partners access to.

Thus, Facebook’s assertion that most of its data-sharing partnerships were exempted is on shaky ground.

The FTC’s former chief technologist, Ashkan Soltani, and three former employees of its consumer protection division told the Times that the data-sharing deals probably violated the agreement. One said the partnerships seemed to give third parties permission to harvest data without users being informed of it or giving consent.

Facebook argues that it subjected those partners to its own rules about data use. But the Times report raises questions about how well Facebook managed those partners’ access.

The matter could ultimately be decided by the FTC. The agency said in March it was looking into whether Facebook engaged in unfair acts that might have violated the decree.

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Pearl Harbor survivors gather on 80th anniversary of attack

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Pearl Harbor survivors gather on 80th anniversary of attack

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — A few dozen survivors of Pearl Harbor and other veterans gathered Tuesday at the site of the bombing 80 years ago to remember those killed in the attack by Japan that launched the U.S. into World War II.

The USS Chung-Hoon, a guided missile destroyer, passed in front of the pier with its sailors “manning the rails,” or lining the ship’s edge, to honor the World War II veterans present.

David Russell, a 101-year-old from Albany, Oregon, who survived the attack while on the USS Oklahoma, stood to salute to the destroyer on behalf of the veterans.

Herb Elfring, 99, said he was glad to return to Pearl Harbor considering he almost didn’t live through the aerial assault.

“It was just plain good to get back and be able to participate in the remembrance of the day,” Elfring told reporters over the weekend.

Elfring was in the Army, assigned to the 251st Coast Artillery, part of the California National Guard on Dec. 7, 1941. He recalled Japanese planes flying overhead and bullets strafing his Army base at Camp Malakole, a few miles down the coast from Pearl Harbor.

Elfring, who lives in Jackson, Michigan, said he has returned to Hawaii about 10 times to attend the annual memorial ceremony hosted by the Navy and the National Park Service.

About 30 survivors and about 100 other veterans of the war joined him this year. Veterans stayed home last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and watched a livestream of the event instead. Most attendees this year wore masks.

They observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the same minute the attack began decades ago.

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro recounted in his keynote address how Petty Officer 1st Class Joe George tossed a line to the USS Arizona that six men trapped by fire in the battleship’s control tower used to cross to his ship, the USS Vestal. Five of the six survived. Among them was Donald Stratton of Red Cloud, Nebraska, who died last year. Del Toro said he recently met with Stratton’s family.

“We sometimes talk about our victory in World War II as though it was inevitable. Only a matter of time. But there was nothing inevitable about one sailor’s decision to toss that line,” Del Toro said.

He said it took millions of individual acts of valor and courage at home and overseas to get the nation through the war.

The bombing killed more than 2,300 U.S. troops. Nearly half — or 1,177 — were Marines and sailors serving on the USS Arizona.

David Dilks, 95, traveled to Hawaii from Hatfield, Pennsylvania, with his son-in-law. Dilks enlisted out of high school in 1944, going from playing basketball one day to serving in the Navy the next.

Dilks said his battleship, the USS Massachusetts, bombarded targets like Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Philippines during the war.

He recalls one day in March 1945 when he and his shipmates were watching the movie “Stage Door Canteen” on the ship’s fantail when a loud noise interrupted the film. They then saw a Japanese kamikaze plane crash into the USS Randolph aircraft carrier next to them.

“We never had a movie up topside after that,” he said.

Sitting at Pearl Harbor on the 80th anniversary of the attack, he said he’s thinking in particular about those that died.

“All of the sailors and soldiers who fought here — you should be proud of them. But more proud of those who didn’t make it,” he said.

Several women who helped the war effort by working in factories have come to Hawaii to participate in the remembrance this year.

Mae Krier, who built B-17s and B-29s at a Boeing plant in Seattle, said it took the world a while to credit women for their work.

“And we fought together as far as I’m concerned. But it took so long to honor what us women did. And so of course, I’ve been fighting hard for that, to get our recognition,” said Krier, who is now 95. “But it was so nice they finally started to honor us.”

This year’s ceremony took place as a strong storm with extremely heavy rains hit Hawaii, flooding roads and downing power lines. The ceremony was conducted under a pier with a metal roof. Skies were overcast but it was not raining during the ceremony.

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Denver weather: Will it finally snow this week? Here’s what to expect.

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Denver weather: Pleasant Saturday, windy Sunday, chance for snow Tuesday

It’s been a long time coming but Denver may finally get its first snow of the season. Although it’s very late and we’ve waited nearly a record number of days in between accumulating snows, the streak could come to an end this week.

The weather this season has been concerning. The overall lack of snow and precipitation, in general, is enough to have sent Denver back into severe drought. While the upcoming storm isn’t going to be a blockbuster, it is at least something and any kind of moisture is very much needed.

Denver as of Tuesday has gone 231 days without seeing measurable snow. The only year with a longer span between measurable snows in Denver was all the way back in 1887 when the city went 235 days without accumulating snow. With the way this forecast may pan out, it’s possible we could get a tenth of an inch of snow Thursday, which would snap the streak at 233 days. It is more likely Denver will receive measurable snow Friday, meaning we will fall one day shy of the all-time record. Regardless of when snow officially happens, it has been a very long time since Denver has seen snow.

The record latest date of the first snow in Denver has come and gone and is almost a distant memory at this point.

Latest first snow dates in Denver

1) 2021 — TBD
2) 1934 — Nov. 21
3) 1931 — Nov. 19
4) 2016 — Nov. 17
5) 1894 — Nov. 16

FORECAST

A cold front associated with this system will push across the region late Thursday night into Friday morning. Above-average temperatures are expected Thursday before the cold front moves in, so we have nice weather expected until then.

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Avalanche leads NHL in scoring but ranks 27th in defense. “We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net”

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Avalanche leads NHL in scoring but ranks 27th in defense. “We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net”

NEW YORK — Jared Bednar’s demeanor after Monday’s 7-5 victory at Philadelphia bordered on somber. The Avalanche had just improved to 2-1-1 on its five-game road trip, but its head coach wasn’t too thrilled for the third time in four games.

Sure, the high-scoring Avs can score goals. They lead the NHL at 4.14 goals per game and have reached seven goals a league-high four times. But they rank 27th in goals-allowed (3.45) and they’ve given up more goals (20) than they’ve scored (19) on the trip, which concludes Wednesday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

“I know what we’re selling in the locker room,” Bednar said of defensive structure. “I think our team has a real good idea on what we have to do to have success long-term, but it just doesn’t seem like we’re following through on it for 60 minutes.”

The structure appears off, with the Avs allowing far too many opportunities on their send of the ice so far this season. Colorado had a league-low 25.4 shots against average last season. Currently, it is allowing 30.3, tied for ninth.

Goaltending could also be part of the problem, although Bednar didn’t acknowledge that. Throughout the trip, Colorado has used two guys who were pegged to begin the season in the minors (Jonas Johansson and rookie Justus Annunen) while Darcy Kuemper recovers from an upper-body injury and Pavel Francouz completes his minor-league conditioning assignment.

Johansson has a .884 save percentage in eight appearances and Annunen is at .892 in two. Kuemper (.903) isn’t much better and Francouz has yet to play in the NHL this season after suffering a lower-body injury in the preseason.

“We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net,” Bednar said.

Avs players realize the problem — particularly the two defensemen who spoke at the post-game news conference in Philly.

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