Posts Tagged ‘breach of trust’

Facebook Could Be Fined Millions for Violating Consent Deal — Possible breach of 2011 settlement — FTC can ‘turn the screws’ on Facebook

March 29, 2018




By Todd Shields

  • Former FTC officials see possible breach of 2011 settlement
  • Agency has power to ‘turn the screws up’ against Facebook
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FTC Says It’s Investigating Facebook

Former Federal Trade Commission officials say that Facebook Inc. appears to have breached a 2011 consent agreement to safeguard users’ personal information and may be facing hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.

The agency could fine Facebook up to $40,000 per violation per day — which could add up quickly with millions of users involved — if it finds the social media giant broke its earlier promises to protect user data, they say.

“If I had to bet, they will find violations,” said Jessica Rich, a former head of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau.

“The penalty could potentially be huge,” because each user adversely affected could be considered a violation, said Rich, now vice president of consumer policy and mobilization for Consumer Reports. “The FTC is unlikely to get billions,” Rich said. “It could get hundreds of millions.”

The FTC is probing how data from 50 million Facebook users was obtained by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm that consulted on President Donald Trump’s campaign, and whether the transfer violated pledges the company made to settle an earlier privacy case. Investigators can also consider whether Facebook misled users or violated rules governing data shipments between Europe and the United States.

“The agency has a fair amount of latitude to turn the screws up,” said David Vladeck, the former head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection who signed the consentorder which binds Facebook for 20 years.

Earlier: Facebook Fallout Spreads With Product Delay, Privacy Overhaul

“This is in my view a serious breach of the FTC’s consent” agreement, Vladeck, now a Georgetown University professor, told Bloomberg TV. “There will be serious consequences from this violation.”

Facebook is struggling to respond to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has prompted an outcry from lawmakers, investors and privacy advocates. The crisis comes just a few months after revelations that Russia exploited Facebook’s platform to influence the U.S. presidential election. Congress is seeking to bring Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to Washington for public testimony.

The scandal has caused Facebook to delay the unveiling of new home products and redesign its privacy settings. The stock has lost almost $100 billion in market value and is no longer among the top five most valuable companies in the world. The shares closed up 0.53 percent Wednesday at $153.03.

Facebook’s 2018 net income is projected to rise 20 percent this year to $21.8 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

2011 Case

In the 2011 case, the agency alleged in an eight-count draft complaint that Facebook had broken its promise that users could keep their information on Facebook private. Facebook had assured users that third-party applications only had access to data required for them to function, while, in fact, the applications had access to almost all of a user’s personal information.

Under the settlement, Facebook agreed to get consent from users before sharing their data with third parties. It also required Facebook to establish a “comprehensive privacy program,” block access to a user’s account within 30 days of it being deleted and barred it from making any deceptive claims about its privacy practices.

Facebook says it didn’t violate the consent decree. It has suspended Cambridge Analytica from its network and said in a blog post that the British company had received user data through an app developer in violation of Facebook policy.

For More About the Earlier Decree: Facebook Settles Privacy Complaints of U.S. Regulator

“We remain strongly committed to protecting people’s information,” said Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer at Facebook. “We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have.”

Zuckerberg said in newspaper ads March 25 that a quiz app “leaked” data in 2014. “This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time,” he said.

Cambridge Analytica had received data from some 50 million Facebook users as it built a election-consulting company that boasted it could sway voters in contests all over the world. While 270,000 users had authorized an academic to use their data for research purposes, according to reports, the researcher allegedly violated privacy rules when he handed the data off to Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook on Wednesday said it’s moving to untangle its often bewildering array of privacy options, consolidating choices in one place on mobile devices, rather than sending users to some 20 different screens.

Rich, the former FTC consumer chief, said the investigation could take a year and would likely explore whether Facebook should have reacted more vigorously in 2015, when it received assurances from Cambridge Analytica that the data it received had been destroyed. Instead, not all data was deleted, Facebook acknowledged in a March 17 blog post. “There could be a failure of oversight,” said Rich.

Vladeck, the Georgetown professor, see he expects “some sort of an agreement between the FTC and Facebook which will call for very serious financial civil penalties, and a new consent decree that will ratchet up the restrictions on the way Facebook gathers information.”


Israel: Could Netanyahu Survive Corruption Scandal? — “Dead man walking” — Three possible outcomes….

February 22, 2018


Despite the media describing him as a lame duck, the Israeli PM still has several options as he deals with the avalanche of corruption allegations against him

.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the opening of an ER in Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the opening of an ER in Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon.\ Ilan Assayag

At first, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked as if he might ride out the corruption storm raging around him (at least temporarily). After the police recommendations last Tuesday that he be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two of the corruption cases involving him, he initially stood strong, issuing a defiant statement.

Politically, he maintained strong support within his Likud party, with no one daring to even speculate on who might take over in a post-Netanyahu world. Similarly, his key governing coalition partners said they would adopt a wait-and-see approach, committing to stand by him at least until the attorney general made his final decision on whether the prime minister would face criminal charges.

But the cards were reshuffled Tuesday with two bombshells: the first, that a confidant (aka henchman) of Netanyahu’s was suspected of offering the job of attorney general to a former judge, in exchange for her killing a case against the premier’s wife, Sara Netanyahu.

But potentially more significant was the news that Shlomo Filber, the former director general of the Communications Ministry, had turned state’s evidence and would share what is presumed to be highly damaging testimony regarding Netanyahu’s role in what is known as Case 4000. This case involves the Israeli telecom giant Bezeq, whose controlling shareholder is Netanyahu’s friend Shaul Elovitch.

If Filber testifies that Netanyahu directed him to make decisions benefiting Bezeq, and acknowledges that the positive news coverage of the Netanyahu family on a Bezeq-owned news site was a quid pro quo – many pundits are saying the bribery case against Netanyahu appears to be open-and-shut.

What happens to Netanyahu now? 3 possible scenarios
Ofer Vaknin
Netanyahu has been declared, depending on the preferred metaphor of any given TV talking head, a “dead man walking” or a “lame duck” – officially running the country, but drained of any real authority.

The atmosphere is reminiscent of the United States during the Watergate era (1973-74), with every day bringing new revelations. So what are the possibilities facing the prime minister moving forward?

Netanyahu government falls: New elections are held

The most dramatic scenario would occur if one or more of Netanyahu’s coalition partners – possibly one of the parties headed by a leader who aspires to replace him in the Prime Minister’s Office – decides to quit the government.

If none of the parties currently in the opposition steps up to replace them and save the coalition – and that seems highly unlikely given the current circumstances – the government would officially dissolve. New elections would be called as soon as possible, presumably in the spring or early summer.

Several political parties are already scrambling in preparation for this eventuality. Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay – whose party is currently the second largest in the Knesset – sent a letter to party members on Tuesday, declaring that “the Netanyahu era is over. We must prepare for an election soon.”

Netanyahu steps down but Likud-led government remains

If Netanyahu’s grip on Likud slips far enough, and coalition parties are sufficiently reluctant to give up their positions of power, a deal could be struck between these parties and Likud – with or without Netanyahu’s participation. In such a scenario, Netanyahu would step down from the Likud leadership but the Likud-led coalition would remain in place, with the same parties heading the same ministries and a new prime minister chosen from within Likud.

The move could be framed as either permanent or temporary – an idea to which Netanyahu might be more amenable. Interestingly, while this solution has not been publicly discussed by any members of the coalition, it has been floated by prominent opposition leaders. Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid (who provided key testimony in one of the cases against Netanyahu) has proposed that Netanyahu take a “leave of absence” and “step aside” until the situation is resolved, even if there are no plans for new elections.

Netanyahu hangs on

Some of the party leaders in Netanyahu’s coalition have ridden out their own corruption scandals – ministers like Avigdor Lieberman and Arye Dery. This could make them sympathetic enough to maintain a “wait and see” approach, even in the face of the ever-widening and worsening list of suspicions and accusations against Netanyahu.

They are also very comfortable with their jobs heading powerful ministries, and it’s far from certain whether a new Knesset election would grant them the level of support needed to keep them there. For example, in the most recent poll about how the public would vote if an election were held tomorrow, Dery’s Shas party would not even garner enough votes to gain Knesset representation.

Another volatile factor that might keep the current government in place is the fragile security situation.

Any major military conflict – on the northern front with Lebanon and Syria, or in the Gaza Strip with Hamas – could push elected officials and the general public to “circle the national wagons,” and put political divisions aside in order to project a stronger and more stable image to Israel’s enemies.

Within Likud itself, Netanyahu has worked hard for years to make sure he has no natural successor. There is no figure within the party perceived as being able to fill his shoes.

More importantly, he has a powerful base of party loyalists who believe he is such a strong and effective figure that they are prepared to overlook any alleged personal foibles – be they cigars and champagne, or favors to wealthy media barons in exchange for positive coverage for his family.

Much like the acquiescence of the Republican Party to Donald Trump, potential aspirants to the Likud leadership are afraid that a direct attack on Netanyahu will alienate that loyal base and harm their own political futures. For that reason, they would prefer to see prosecutors and judges bring Netanyahu down than do it themselves.

As long as that fear persists, Netanyahu has a chance of holding onto power by his fingernails – as the nation watches and waits for his fate to be decided by the judiciary.

Police recommend Israel PM Netanyahu be indicted for bribery, breach of trust

February 13, 2018

Following year-long corruption probes, investigators believe they have collected enough evidence to take PM to trial on a series of serious corruption charges

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on February 11, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / RONEN ZVULUN)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem on February 11, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / RONEN ZVULUN)

Police officials informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday evening they are recommending he be indicted for bribery and breach of trust in both of the corruption investigations against him.

The prime minister’s lawyers were informed of the impending police announcement to this effect.

Police are set to formally announce the recommendations at 8.45 p.m.

Netanyahu, who has denied any wrongdoing, has informed news stations that he will give a live, 10-minute-long statement to press at 8.47 p.m.

In the so-called Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, reportedly including hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne from the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

Arnon Milchan (center) with Shimon Peres (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu, March 28, 2005. (Flash90/File)

Police have also recommended Milchan and Moses stand trial for bribery, according to Hebrew media reports.

The recommendations were presented to the State Prosecution earlier Monday for consideration by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who alone has the power to bring charges against a sitting prime minister.

Minutes before the police announcement, the force released a statement saying that there was “no truth” to reports that Mandelblit tried to prevent them from publishing recommendations.

“There is close cooperation between the police commissioner, the head of the investigations unit, the State Prosecution and the attorney general, as always,” a police spokesperson said.

The statement from the police is expected to be followed in the next few days by a more detailed explanation from the State Prosecution, which will lay out each proposed charge against the prime minister.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit speaks during a farewell ceremony for outgoing Supreme Court chief justice Miriam Naor in Jerusalem on November 6, 2017. (Flash90)

The recommendations conclude two year-long investigations into alleged corruption by Netanyahu that have seen numerous leaks to media outlets. Netanyahu has been questioned in the cases seven times.

The core of the Case 1000 has focused on whether Milchan’s gifts were given merely out of generosity and friendship, as the Netanyahus have claimed, or whether prime minister used his position to provide reciprocal favors to the Hollywood mogul.

Leaked reports of the investigation indicated that Milchan spent some NIS 400,000-600,000 ($100,000-150,000) on champagne and cigars for the Netanyahus over the better part of a decade.

Milchan reportedly told Israeli police under questioning that the Netanyahus demanded the champagne and cigars that he has allegedly been supplying them.

The Netanyahus reportedly used the code words “pinks” and “leaves” to demand more champagne and cigars, and these items were then purchased through people working for Milchan and delivered to the prime minister and his wife by Milchan’s chauffeurs.

Sara Netanyahu also reportedly had Milchan buy her expensive jewelry and then complained when she did not receive the full set that she had requested.

Netanyahu is said to have told police that gifts from the Milchans were presents from their “best friends.” The families meet up “all the time,” he reportedly claimed, even providing photos of their year-long relationship to prove it.

One of the possible instances of a quid pro quo favor given to Milchan in return for the gifts is Netanyahu’s help in securing the Hollywood producer with a US visa. Netanyahu has admitted to asking US Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene to restore of a 10-year US visa for Milchan but has claimed it had nothing to do with the gifts and that he has made similar gestures for others.

Australian billionaire James Packer, chairman of Crown Limited, one of Australia’s largest entertainment and integrated resort groups, has also been a central figure in the case and is also believed to have sent lavish gifts of his own to the Netanyahus over the years.

Milchan reportedly told police he had asked Packer, who is a mutual friend of his and of the Netanyahus, to help shoulder the cost of the gifts and that Packer paid a quarter of the value.

Packer is also said to have lavished Netanyahu’s college-aged son, Yair, with gifts that included extended stays at luxury hotels in Tel Aviv, New York, and Aspen, Colorado, the use of his private jet and dozens of tickets for concerts by Packer’s former fiancée, Mariah Carey.

Similar to the allegations surrounding Milchan, police reportedly investigated whether Netanyahu tried to help Packer gain residency in Israel. Packer bought a home next to Netanyahu in the upscale coastal city of Caesarea and reportedly sought residency status for tax purposes.

Several other billionaires and multimillionaires have been linked to the case, and some interviewed by police, including British-Israeli businessman Chaim “Poju” Zabludowicz, US businessman Spencer Partrige, British-American Leonard Blavatnik, Canadian-Israeli Nathan Jacobson, and head of Indian mega-conglomerate Ratan Tata.

In Case 2000, under the alleged agreement between Mozes and Netanyahu — which was not implemented — the prime minister said he would advance legislation to curb the circulation of Israel Hayom if Mozes instructed his reporters and op-ed writers to change their often negative stance towards him.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Noni Mozes (composite image: Flash90)

Yedioth, once the country’s largest tabloid, is often seen as critical of Netanyahu.

In August, Israeli police explicitly said for the first time that a number of corruption investigations involving Netanyahu deal with “bribery, fraud and breach of trust.”

Day’s later, Ari Harow, a former chief of staff and aide to Netanyahu, signed a deal to turn state’s witness in the investigations.

Harow has been under investigation since mid-2015 on suspicion of using his ties to Netanyahu to advance his private business interests. Police have recommended he be indicted for bribery and breach of trust in the case, but the attorney general has yet to file formal charges.

It was the investigations into Harow that sparked Case 2000, after investigators uncovered recordings on Harow’s computer of meetings between Netanyahu and Mozes in late 2014 and early 2015.


Catalan Mayors Exercise Right to Remain Silent in Referendum Questioning

September 19, 2017

BARCELONA — The first of hundreds of Catalan mayors summoned to answer questions on why they have backed a banned Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain appeared before the state prosecutor on Tuesday amid cheers and chants from supporters.

The first three mayors to declare exercised their right to remain silent, the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) said.

Years of separatist feeling in the industrial northeastern region will come to a head in less than two weeks as the fiercely pro-independence regional government calls a referendum on splitting from Spain.

Madrid has declared the referendum illegal and the Constitutional Court has suspended the vote that was approved by the regional government earlier this month.

So far, 745 of 948 municipal leaders have said they will provide venues for the referendum.

“Voting is not a crime,” said Marc Solsona, mayor of the town of Mollerussa, one of nearly 750 mayors facing charges of civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds, as he left the state prosecutor’s office in Barcelona.

“I’m just the mayor and I have to serve my people. I am committed to the people being able to vote on Oct. 1 in accordance with the law passed by the Catalan parliament and what happens to me is not important,” he said.

Solsona smiled, kissed and gripped hands with dozens of clapping supporters gathered outside the state prosecutor’s office as he entered to chants of ‘You are not alone’

“We consider ourselves privileged to have a mayor who represents the townspeople above any other interests – political or financial,” said 63-year-old pensioner Angel Tena, who had traveled to Barcelona to support the mayor.

Separately, police continued their search for ballot boxes, voting papers and campaign leaflets on Wednesday, raiding the offices of Spain’s biggest private delivery company Unipost in the Catalan city of Terrassa, Spanish media reported.

Neither the police nor the Interior Ministry could confirm the raid, but footage showed dozens of people gathered outside the company’s offices chanting ‘Out with the occupying forces,’ handing out voting papers and laying carnations on police cars.

Unipost confirmed the raid without giving further details.

Although polls show less than half of Catalonia’s 5.5 million voters want self-rule, most in the wealthy northeastern region want the chance to vote on the issue.

(Additional reporting by Sonya Dowsett and Inmaculada Sanz in Madrid; Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Angus Berwick and Janet Lawrence)

Spain police launch graft probe in Catalan president’s fiefdom

September 19, 2017


© AFP | Tuesday’s police raid comes amid mounting tensions as Catalan leaders press ahead with preparations for an independence referendum on October 1

GIRONA (SPAIN) (AFP) – Spanish police carried out searches on Tuesday across Girona, a fiefdom of Catalonia’s pro-separatist president Carles Puigdemont, as part of probe into suspected graft at a local water company, police said.The operation comes amid mounting tensions as Catalan leaders press ahead with preparations for an independence referendum on October 1 despite Madrid’s ban and a court ruling that deems it illegal.

Spain’s Guardia Civil police force said it was carrying out searches at 15 places in Girona, a city some 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Barcelona where Puigdemont served as mayor between 2011 and 2016.

The searches are part of a probe into “suspected illegal activities which could involve the crimes of fraud and breach of trust regarding the awarding of a water supply contract,” police said in a statement.

The operations centres on the activities of Girona water supply company Salt i Sarria, it added.

The probe concerns the activities of the water company when Puigdemont was mayor of Girona, according to conservative daily newspaper La Razon which splashed the investigation on its front page.

Meanwhile police were also searching for referendum material at private courier company in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat near Barcelona, a police spokesman said.

Prosecutors have demanded that police seize all materials which could be used to stage the referendum such as ballots, ballot boxes and posters and fliers promoting the vote.

They have also opened a criminal probe into the over 700 Catalan mayors who have offered to help stage the referendum.

About 40 mayors have been formally summoned to be questioned as part of this investigation, three of them on Tuesday.

Polls show Catalonia’s roughly 7.5 million residents are deeply divided on independence.

A survey commissioned by the regional government in July showed 49.4 percent of Catalans were against independence while 41.1 percent were in favour.

Netanyahu Aide Says Israeli Leader Calm in Face of Charges — PM’s camp calls accusations a “witch hunt” — Opposition smells blood and wants to force Netanyahu out

August 6, 2017

JERUSALEM — A close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is relaxed and confident amid reports of the slew of corruptions charges against him.

Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev says Sunday she has full confidence in the prime minister and denounced what she called a media campaign to topple him.

Netanyahu himself did not address the latest developments at his weekly Cabinet meeting.

Israeli police recently announced that they suspect Netanyahu of being involved in bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a pair of cases. Netanyahu’s former chief of staff and longtime confidante has agreed to turn state witness and testify against his former mentor. This has raised speculation that Netanyahu could be indicted shortly.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and calls the accusations a witch hunt.



With Indictment in Question, Likud Comes Swinging for Netanyahu

–Barak compares Netanyahu to Mafia boss
–Is this the end for Netanyahu?

The prime minister’s corruption probes may be coming to a breaking point.
Image may contain: 3 people

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem May 21, 2017.. (photo credit:EMIL SALMAN/POOL)

Likud ministers and members of Knesset took to the media Sunday morning in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following a weekend of dramatic developments in the police case that has him suspected of corruption and other criminal activities. Their main message to the press and the public is that the prime minister has done nothing wrong and that calls for his ousting are politically motivated and an unlawful attempt to depose the government by non-democratic means.

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Netanyahu is currently being investigated in three separate cases, nicknamed cases 1000, 2000, and 3000 by the press. He faces possible charges for accepting gifts from a wealthy friend in exchange for political favors, colluding with Yediot Aharonot’s publisher for favorable coverage, and for involvement in a corruption case surrounding the purchase of German submarines.

Netanyahu’s situation was complicated last week by the fact that his former chief of staff, Ari Harow, signed a state’s witness deal. By doing so, Harow is protecting himself – evading possible jail time to instead complete 6 months of community service and pay a 700,000 NIS fine – but also suggesting Netanyahu’s guilt.

Tzachi Hanegbi, a Likud MK and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of national security and foreign affairs, shared his doubts about the indictment process. In an interview on army radio, he said that the court’s reaching of a decision that would theoretically remove Netanyahu from office could take three or four years, meaning that it could come after the next elections take place in 2019.

Gil Hoffman @Gil_Hoffman
There wont be an indictment of @netanyahu b4 the next elex bc legal system in #Israel works very slowly, @Tzachi_Hanegbi tells @GLZRadio

Yisrael Katz, Minister of Transportation and Intelligence, as well as a member of the security cabinet, put out a statement in support of the prime minister.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be allowed to fulfill his duties in accordance with the mandate he received from the public, in a state of law and democratic rule, not to dismiss a prime minister based on media headlines, opposition demonstrations or partial investigative procedures. I trust the law enforcement system will carry out its work with the professionalism and responsibility required to enable the State of Israel to continue to deal adequately with the complex challenges it faces.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) on Saturday also stated that Netanyahu could stay in office even if he’s indicted.

“From the legal perspective, if there’s an indictment, the prime minister doesn’t have to resign,” Shaked explained on Channel 2’s Meet the Press. “There is the side of values, and that is a question that coalition parties will have to ask themselves if we reach that day, but we aren’t there. There’s still a long process.”

Shaked called for “letting the government and the prime minister do their jobs.”

Politicians from the opposition, meanwhile, take it as a given that Netanyahu should leave his post, some saying such a move has been long overdue. Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay told Army Radio Sunday that he believes the public has tired of leaders tainted by corruption and wrongdoing, but that he had few expectations from Netanyahu’s allies to stand up for the rule of law since it doesn’t serve them politically at the moment.

The Israeli public also had their say with two protests taking place near Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s home in Petah Tikva for the 37th consecutive Saturday night. One of the protests, attended by some 2,000 people, called for Mandelblit to indict the prime minister, while the other was a pro-Netanyahu counter-demonstration organized by coalition chairman David Bitan and fellow Likud lawmakers, which was attended by some 150 people.

Lahav Harkov and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.


Israeli Police: PM Suspected of Breach of Trust, Bribes

August 3, 2017

JERUSALEM — An Israeli police document says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of crimes involving breach of trust and bribes in two corruption cases.

The document released to media outlets Thursday night says the cases involving Netanyahu deal with suspicion of “bribes” and “breach of trust.” Police put a gag order on reporting any additional details.

Police have been questioning Netanyahu for months over corruption allegations for allegedly receiving gifts from high-powered Hollywood and business figures and separately over secret talks with the publisher of Yediot Ahronot, a major Israeli newspaper, for positive coverage in exchange for diminishing the impact of a free pro-Netanyahu daily in 2014.

Netanyahu denies wrongdoing, portraying the accusations as a witch hunt against him and his family by a hostile media opposed to his political views.

1.6 Million Patients’ Medical Records Shared With Google by Britain’s National Health Service (NHS)

May 4, 2016
“There are existing and strong processes for doing safe medical research using data; but this project seems to have followed none of them.”
By Siobhan Fenton
The Independent.

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS)  has given the medical records of 1.6 million patients to Google, it has been revealed.

The records have been shared with Google as part of a data-sharing agreement between the technology giant and the NHS, revealed by The New Scientist.

The records relate to patients of three London hospitals which form the Royal Free Trust; Barnet, Chase Farm and Royal Free Hospital collected over the course of the last five years. An estimated 1.6 million patients attend the hospitals every year.


Google says it intends to use the data as part of its group DeepMind to develop a health app which can help recognise kidney injury. However, campaigners have expressed concerns that the data-share is a breach of trust and not in patients’ interest.

Phil Booth, coordinator of medConfidential which campaigns for confidentiality in healthcare, told The Independent that the data-share was “not in the spirit of the NHS.” He said: “There are existing and strong processes for doing safe medical research using data; but this project seems to have followed none of them. To ensure patient confidence, properly run projects require transparency on what is being done, and why. That is to protect patients from the confusion about what this data will be used for.” Google has denied this, stating that it is following strict HSCIC information governance rules.

Google has been criticised in recent times for perceived privacy breaches due to the amount of data which it holds on individuals. In 2014, 38 US states sued Google when it was alleged that the cars with which the company takes Google Street View photographs had also been collecting data from computers inside the homes they drove past.

The company has also been accused of sifting through information on messages sent by users through its system to sell the byproducts to advertisers and not making it sufficiently clear to customers that it is able to read wifi passwords.

Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman told The Independent: “We are working with clinicians at the Royal Free to understand how technology can best help clinicians recognise patient deterioration- in this case acute kidney injury (AKI). We have, and will always, hold ourselves to the highest possible standards of patient data protection. This data will only ever be used for the purposes of improving healthcare and will never be linked with Google accounts or products.”

A spokesperson for The Royal Free London told The Independent: “Absolutely no patient-identifiable data is shared with Deep-Mind. All information sent to and processed by this app is encrypted and is only decrypted once returned to the clinician’s device. Patients can opt out of any data-sharing system by contacting the Trust’s data protection officer.”

Ann Romney slams ‘breach of trust’ between Americans, government

May 30, 2013
By KEVIN  ROBILLARD | 5/30/13 9:15 AM EDT

Ann Romney on Thursday said there had been a “breach of trust” between  Americans and their government after the trio of controversies that have hit the  White House in recent weeks.

“I think it’s hard with what the country is going through right now,” Romney  said on CBS’ “This Morning.” “There’s been a breach of trust that we, as all  Americans, feel with our government.”

Read more and see video:

Romney, the wife of failed 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, hadn’t been directly  asked about the president or the scandals before making her comments.

“If we look at the three scandals that are going on right now, and in  particular, I saw the polling numbers with how people are upset with the IRS  scandal,” she said when asked to explain her comment. “We have to have trust in  our government. We have to believe that they’re doing right for us. When we feel  like they’re breaking our trust, it’s deeply troubling.”

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