Amid backlash from privacy advocates, Meta expands end-to-end encryption trial

Source: Ars Technica

“Meta is ever so slowly expanding its trial of end-to-end encryption in a bid to protect users from snoops and law enforcement. End-to-end encryption, often abbreviated as E2EE, uses strong cryptography to encrypt messages with a key that is unique to each user. Because the key is in the sole possession of each user, E2EE prevents everyone else — including the app maker, ISP or carrier, and three-letter agencies — from reading a message. … The company said it expects to make E2EE the default setting in Messenger by sometime next year. … The incremental expansion comes after police in Nebraska issued a subpoena to Meta for use in the prosecution of a 17-year-old who received an abortion. Meta said the subpoena did not mention abortion and that the company was legally compelled to comply.” (08/11/22)

Worst Productivity Drop Ever Means More Inflation

Source: Asia Times
by David Goldman

“July inflation was ‘only’ 8.5% year-on-year vs. 9.1% year-on-year in June, mainly because energy prices fell on the month. In the hope that fading inflation would slow the Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening, the 30-year US Treasury bond yield dropped – for about 10 minutes. Traders decided that the light at the end of the tunnel was probably the headlamp of the oncoming express, and the 30-year bond yield snapped back. A close look at the numbers suggests that resurgent inflation is far from under control. Rent inflation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reckons, is rising at a 6.1% annual rate. The Zillow index of rental costs, based on actual transactions made on its website, shows 15% rental inflation as of the end of June.” (08/11/22)

Kashmir: “Rebels” storm Indian army camp; five killed

Source: Seattle Times

“Three Indian soldiers and two suspected militants were killed Thursday after rebels stormed a military camp in disputed Kashmir, officials said. At least two assailants armed with guns and grenades attacked the camp in the remote Darhal area of southern Rajouri district early Thursday, said Mukesh Singh, a senior police officer. The soldiers responded to the attack, triggering a gunbattle that lasted for at least three hours, Singh said. A reinforcement of soldiers and counterinsurgency police encircled the camp as the fighting raged inside, officials said. In addition to the five deaths, two soldiers were injured in the fighting, Singh said. There was no independent confirmation of the incident.” (08/11/22)

Biden’s IRS “Reform” Is No Reform at All

Source: National Review
by Kevin D Williamson

“The IRS is a problem agency and long has been. (If memory serves, I was the first columnist to write about the targeting of conservative groups under Lois Lerner way back when.) But unless you have taken up the mantle of Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism — and one can certainly see its attraction! — the federal government is going to keep doing things, and having a Marine Corps and a Border Patrol and NASA costs money, oodles of it. That means that we need a revenue-collection agency. The fix for an overbearing and corrupt IRS isn’t a permanently hamstrung IRS — it is a reformed IRS. We should not minimize the problems at the agency — but we should put them into some context.” (08/11/22)

US CDC ends recommendations for social distancing and quarantine for Covid-19 control, no longer recommends test-to-stay in schools

Source: CNN

“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the nation should move away from restrictive measures such as quarantines and social distancing and focus on reducing severe disease from Covid-19. In new guidelines released Thursday, the agency no longer recommends staying at least 6 feet away from other people to reduce the risk of exposure — a shift from guidance that had been in place since the early days of the pandemic. The shift is a sign of how much has changed since the beginning of the pandemic more than two years ago. Nearly the entire US population has at least some immunity through vaccination, previous infection or, in some cases, both.” (08/11/22)

Government Surveillance Doesn’t Stop at Your Bank’s Door

Source: Cato Institute
by Jennifer J Schulp & Norbert Michel

“Warrantless surveillance may be novel for technology and media companies, but it is nothing new when it comes to the government’s surveillance of Americans’ financial activity.” (09/11/22)