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FTC Settlement: Facebook Fined Five Billion Dollars for User Privacy Violations

Facebook just got slapped with a $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for failing to protect its users from misappropriation of private information garnered from third-party apps. Much of the basis of the fine is the result of Facebook’s failure to comply with a 2012 settlement agreement with the FTC beginning in 2012 and continuing at least until June 2018. Read the FTC complaint to get a glimpse of the scope of the deception.

While the fine is one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the U.S. government for any violation, it is still just a drop in the bucket for a company that brought in $55.8 billion in 2018.

Facebook will also have to submit to new restrictions and modify its approach to privacy with new corporate oversight that includes a privacy board committee that is not controlled by Facebook employees or Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

In a July 24 joint statement, FTC Chairman Joe Simons along with Commissioners Noah Joshua Phillips and Christine S. Wilson wrote, “We are extremely proud of the landmark penalty and conduct relief announced today. The size of the $5 billion penalty, as well as the percentage of profits it represents, will provide significant deterrence not just to Facebook, but to every other company that collects or uses consumer data. This penalty raises the bar for civil penalties in future matters involving privacy violations . . . . [T]his settlement represents an unprecedented victory for consumer privacy.”

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Microsoft Unveils New Push Toward ‘Gender-Inclusive’ Language

Through the use of its artificial intelligence-driven “Ideas” feature, Microsoft unveiled an upcoming fall version of its cloud-based Microsoft Word Online program that will make suggestions for users to revise any language not deemed “inclusive” or “gender-neutral.”

In a recent company blog post, under the heading “Better Word Documents,” Microsoft dedicates a small paragraph to highlight this new change: “Other intelligent suggestions include . . . advice on more concise and inclusive language such as ‘police officer’ instead of ‘policeman.’”

On the surface, this change might seem innocent, but Christians need to appreciate that the desire of many is to obliterate all distinctions between the two biological sexes.

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Some House Committees Ban Legislators From Video Streaming During Meetings

Live video streaming of proceedings by legislators using their personal smartphones is being prohibited by some of the committee and subcommittee chairs in the Tennessee General Assembly. And this prohibition could also extend to the House floor.

Said House Speaker Glen Casada’s Chief of Staff Cade Cothren, “The chairmen that are choosing to do this are choosing to do so in order to make the legislative process run more smoothly both for themselves and for the public.”

Apparently, some members were not just streaming the event, which is already being streamed over the Legislature’s website, but they were commenting and editorializing on what they were streaming, creating a distraction among their colleagues while trying to discuss the bill and listen to testimony.

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Planned Parenthood Adds AI Chatbot as Part of Radical Sex Ed

Planned Parenthood has paired with technology company Work & Co. to help teens age 13-17 find the “right” answers to questions about sex through its artificial intelligence chatbot called Roo.

Information given to inquisitive teens is based on what information the young person types in or chooses from a list of FAQs as well as which of the five available genders the young person chooses.

Why, with Google answering so many of these questions already, did the abortion giant decide to come up with Roo? Simple. The AI chatbot is billed as nonjudgmental and personalized, and of course, the answers would come from Planned Parenthood’s perspective.

Parents might want to be careful about their child’s use of an app that answers questions like “What is the right age to have sex for the first time?” and “When are you no longer a virgin?” with mushy answers that basically say it’s up to the teen to decide these things.

Interestingly, Roo is unable to process questions about when life begins and the personhood of unborn babies.

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Apple Bans Ministry App for Heralding Biblical Marriage

Apple removed an app from its app store that offers treatment for those with same-sex attraction because it deemed the app “homophobic.” Apparently, Apple was pressured to remove the app after the national gay rights group Truth Wins Out received a mere 365 signatures on its petition, calling the app “bigoted,” “hateful,” and “dangerous, homophobic garbage.”

Texas-based Living Hope Ministries, the Christian nonprofit that created the app, “proclaim(s) a Christ-centered, biblical world-view of sexual expression rooted in one man and one woman in a committed, monogamous, heterosexual marriage for life.”

The app, simply titled Living Hope Ministries, is still available for download on the Google Play store. It offers a selection of audio and video teachings, devotionals, and helps for family and friends.

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