Sound bites: British Airways could be fined $300 million • Jeffrey Epstein is back in court for sex trafficking charges • Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has admitted defeat • the Ontario government announced $28 million in funding for midwifery services.
BIG DATA, BIG PROBLEMS
British Airways could get fined a whopping $300 million for not doing enough to protect customer data after a breach hit its website back in 2018.
Some background, please.
Here’s what went down: hackers infiltrated the airline's website, linked customers to a fake website, then stole their credit card numbers. The hack impacted bookings between August and September 2018, though it may have started as early as June. Half a million customers were affected, and Britain’s Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, thinks the company didn’t do enough to protect its customers’ data. The fine would be the largest placed under the country’s newer (read: tougher) data laws. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) gives EU residents more control over their data and also forces companies to do their part in protecting that data – and if they don’t, wave bye, bye to some big bucks.
I guess British Airways better pay up.
Not so fast. The company that owns British Airways – International Airlines Group – isn’t about to say bon voyage to all that money. Instead, it’s going to fight the proposed fine. And speaking of data breaches, this news came on the same day Canadian Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer requested an emergency committee meeting in the House of Commons to help the 2.9 million members of Desjardin Group who had their social security numbers stolen last month.
Multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges yesterday. The 66-year-old businessman was arrested on Saturday in New York for allegedly operating a sex trafficking ring and sexually abusing underage girls. He's facing 45 years in jail.
Who is this guy?
Epstein is a rich hedge fund manager with friends in high places. Think President Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Prince Andrew. In 2008, he struck a secret plea deal to avoid sex trafficking charges by pleading guilty to two prostitution charges instead. Under the deal, led by then-Miami U.S. Attorney and now-Trump Labour Secretary Alex Acosta, Epstein only served 13 months in prison and had to register as a sex offender.
What are the new charges about?
Yesterday’s charges are in response to a Miami Herald report released last year that details allegations against Epstein and how his 2008 case was handled. I.e. Not well. Between 2002 and 2005, Epstein allegedly paid hundreds of dollars to girls as young as 14 to have sexual encounters with him at his New York home. He also paid them to recruit other girls to his house. Prosecutors argue that victims were not made aware of the plea deal in 2008 and as a result, did not get justice. Epstein’s defence says this case is a done deal and shouldn’t be tried again.
FAILURE TO LAUNCH
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has admitted defeat and killed a bill that led to weeks of protests in the Chinese territory. Reminder: a controversial new law was proposed last month intended to extradite (transfer) people from Hong Kong to be put on trial in China. It sparked huge and at times violent protests. Demonstrators argued the bill goes against the two-systems, one-country policy – which basically says that Hong Kong can operate under its own political, social, and legal system. Hong Kong residents feared that if the bill passed into law, it would leave people vulnerable to arrests by Chinese police. FYI, the Chinese justice system has been accused of human rights abuses. The Hong Kong government eventually suspended the bill and Lam apologized for proposing it in the first place, but protesters continued to demonstrate outside the parliament building. Finally, Lam admitted that the recent crisis over the extradition bill was a total failure and said the bill was dead.
Midwives in Ontario are about to get more support. Yesterday, the Ontario government announced $28 million in funding to support midwifery services across the province. FYI, midwives are trained professionals who help women during and after labour. The money will support 90 new midwifery grads, expand Indigenous programs, and update technology in clinics. Health Minister Christine Elliott also said that midwives will soon be able to prescribe more medication. Currently, midwives have to consult a doctor in order to get some medicines prescribed. In total, the Ontario government has supported midwifery services with $178 million in funding this year.
Instagram is adding a new tool to its platform to help fight social media trolls. Using AI as a means to detect offensive content, Insta plans to flag inappropriate comments and ask users if they’re sure they want to post them in the hopes of getting online bullies to rethink their decisions. Instagram will also be testing a feature that lets a user “shadow ban” a bully-user by making the bully's comments only visible to them. It also won’t allow the bully-user to see when the account owner is active or when they've read their DM.
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