Daily Digest (8/24)

AG Barr ‘Vehemently Opposed’ to Pardoning Snowden; Poll Reveals Data Privacy Frustrations Among Americans; Facebook’s Zuckerberg Questioned in FTC Antitrust Inquiry; University of Utah Paid Hackers $457K After Ransomware Attack. Click “Continue reading” below.

AG Barr ‘Vehemently Opposed’ to Pardoning Snowden

Attorney General William Barr said Friday that he would be “vehemently opposed” to any attempt to pardon former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden; Facebook’s Zuckerberg Questioned in FTC Antitrust Inquiry;

Barr talked to The Associated Press on the issues just days after President Donald Trump said he would “look at” pardoning Snowden.

“He was a traitor — and the information he provided our adversaries greatly hurt the safety of the American people,” Barr told AP. “He was peddling it around like a commercial merchant.

“We can’t tolerate that,” Barr said.

Trump told reporters last week: “There are many, many people — it seems to be a split decision that many people think that he should be somehow treated differently — and other people think he did very bad things.

“And I’m going to take a very good look at it,” the president said.

Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act in 2013 with disclosing details of highly classified government surveillance programs after he disclosed that the NSA conducted widespread surveillance on U.S. citizens by gathering telephone and Internet records to ferret out potential terror plots, AP reports.

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg Questioned in FTC Antitrust Inquiry

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified under oath last week as part of the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into whether the company broke antitrust laws.

The interview was the first time regulators had questioned a CEO of one of the big-tech companies suspected of potential antitrust violations, The New York Times reports.

The Zuckerberg interview, according to the Times, is a potential sign that the case is moving forward or is in an advanced stage.

The trade panel and the Justice Department also are investigating Google, Apple and Amazon on similar accusations.

The FTC probe has focused on whether Facebook bought start-ups like Instagram and WhatsApp to quash competitors, the Times reports.

Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, told the Times, that the company was “committed to cooperating with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s inquiry and answering the questions the agency may have.”

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Poll Reveals Data Privacy Frustrations Among Americans

More than over 93% of Americans told a June survey that they would switch to a company that prioritizes their data privacy, while 91% said they would prefer to buy from companies that always guaranteed them access to their information.

The poll, conducted by the Transcend data-protection company in June, revealed that Americans were frustrated with the lack of control over their personal information and that they would rather use digital services that were transparent and responsible about data privacy, Axios.com reports. 

The poll also found that 88% of respondents were frustrated that they did not have more control over their data, while two-thirds said they wanted to choose what data companies could and could not collect.

“They’re pretty stark findings,” Transcend CEO Ben Brook told Axios, “and this first poll was conducted right in the middle of the pandemic.”

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University of Utah Paid Hackers $457K After Ransomware Attack

The University of Utah paid hackers nearly a half-million dollars after its College of Social and Behavioral Sciences was struck by a ransomware attack, the university said.

University officials said in a news release Thursday that hackers gained access to and encrypted about 0.02% of the data on the college’s servers and threatened to leak employee and student information if the ransom was not paid, KSL.com in Salt Lake City reports.

The university opted to pay the $457,059.24 ransom “as a proactive and preventive step to ensure information was not released on the internet.

“The university’s cyberinsurance policy paid part of the ransom, and the university covered the remainder,” campus officials said. “No tuition, grant, donation, state or taxpayer funds were used.”

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