Daily Digest (8/3)

Fla. Teen Accused of Being ‘Mastermind’ Behind Twitter Hack of High-Profile Accounts; Australia to Make Facebook, Google Pay for News, in World’s First; Seattle Judge Orders Media to Share Unpublished Protest Photos with Police; Facebook Says Apple’s iOS 14 Changes Could Hurt Ad Targeting. Click “Continue reading” below.

Fla. Teen Accused of Being ‘Mastermind’ Behind Twitter Hack of High-Profile Accounts

A 17-year-old youth in Tampa, Fla., is in jail, facing 30 felony charges in being accused of being the “mastermind” behind a Twitter hack last month that caused limited access to the site and hit several high-profile accounts, according to news reports Friday.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren filed the charges against Graham Clark for allegedly “scamming people across America” in connection with the July 15 Twitter hack, WFLA-TV in Tampa reports.

The charges include one count of organized fraud, 17 counts of communications fraud, a count of fraudulent use of personal information with over $100,000 or 30 or more victims, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information and one count of access to computer or electronic device without authority.

Hillsborough County Jail records show Clark was booked shortly after 6:30 a.m. Friday.

Warren’s office said the scheme to defraud “stole the identities of prominent people” and “posted messages in their names directing victims to send Bitcoin” to accounts that were associated with Clark.

According to the state attorney, the scheme reaped more than $100,000 in Bitcoin in one day alone.

“As a cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is difficult to track and recover if stolen in a scam,” the state attorney’s office said.

Among the accounts hacked were those of former President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Twitter officials recently said that it had limited access to its internal tools after the high-profile hack.

“These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here,” Warren said, WFLA reports.

“This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida,” he added. “This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard — and we will not stand for that.”

According to the state attorney’s office, the FBI and U.S. Justice Department found the suspect in Hillsborough County after a “complex, nationwide investigation,” WFLA reports.

Two others have been charged in the hack, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California.

They are 22-year-old Nima Fazeli, a.k.a. “Rolex,” of Orlando, Fla., and Mason Sheppard, 19, a.k.a. “Chaewon,” of the United Kingdom, WFLA reports.

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Australia to Make Facebook, Google Pay for News, in World’s First

Australia will require U.S. tech giants Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay Australian media outlets for news in a landmark move to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world. 

Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Reuters.

“It’s about a fair-go for Australian news media businesses,” Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne on Friday. “It’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection, and a sustainable media landscape.

“Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake.”

The move comes as the tech giants fend off calls worldwide for greater regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook took a battering for alleged abuse of market power from U.S. lawmakers in a congressional hearing.

After an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the U.S. platforms, the Australian government late last year told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content. 

Those talks went nowhere, however, and officials said that if an agreement could not be reached through arbitration within 45 days, the Australian Communications and Media Authority would set terms on behalf of the government.

Google fired back, saying the regulation ignored “billions of clicks” that it sent to Australian news publishers each year, while Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Seattle Judge Orders Media to Share Unpublished Protest Photos with Police

A Washington state court judge in Seattle has ruled that local news outlets must hand over unpublished protest photos to the police — sparking widespread criticism from photojournalists across the U.S. — so they can use the images in investigations into the destruction of several police vehicles during the May 30 protests.

The legal battle began with a subpoena from the Seattle Police Department, which demanded that The Seattle Times and other local news outlets hand over photos and videos from the racial-justice protest, PetaPixel.com reports.

The protest in question turned violent, and police were seeking evidence to use against those who set five police cars on fire, heavily damaged another and stole at least two loaded weapons.

According to the Times, a Washington State shield law protects journalists from sharing unpublished materials with law enforcement in most cases — and local news outlets challenged the subpoena on these grounds.

However, King County Superior Court Judge Nelson Lee sided with authorities Thursday, ruling that the subpoena was enforceable, though he set limitations on how they could use the unpublished materials.

For instance, law enforcement only could use those images to identify those involved in the arson and theft, Lee ruled.

The photos and video could not be used to identify perpetrators of lesser crimes — and if so, that evidence would be ruled “illegally obtained,” according to the PetaPixel report.

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Facebook Says Apple’s iOS 14 Changes Could Hurt Ad Targeting

Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Wehner said that upcoming changes to Apple’s iOS 14 operating system could hurt the social network’s ability to target ads to users. 

With the update to its mobile devices, Apple is to ask users if they want to let app developers track their activity across other apps and websites, CNBC reports.

Apple has not said when iOS 14 will launch, but it’s expected to roll out this year.

“We’re still trying to understand what these changes will look like and how they will impact us and the rest of the industry, but at the very least, it’s going to make it harder for app developers and others to grow using ads on Facebook and elsewhere,” Wehner said Thursday. 

Until now, advertisers could use a device ID number called the IDFA to better target ads and estimate their effectiveness. In iOS 14, each app that wants to use these identifiers will ask users to opt-in to tracking when the app is first launched.

The change is expected to start affecting Facebook’s advertising in the third quarter, but it will have a greater effect in the fourth quarter, Wehner said. 

“Our view is that Facebook and targeted ads are a lifeline for small businesses, especially in the time of COVID,” Wehner said. “We are concerned that aggressive platform policies will cut at that lifeline at a time when it is so essential to small business growth and recovery.”

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— By DPN Staff