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Twitter Admits Flaw ‘Exposed Private User Data’ of over 5.4 Million Accounts

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In the battle of  Tesla CEO Elon Musk and giant media tech Twitter, the billionaire could also receive an investigative journalism award for the content that is being exposed.

Twitter was recently forced to admit “that a vulnerability in its code led to the exposure of data of anonymous users on the platform. Private user data on more than 5.4 million accounts was accessed before the company patched the bug that let malicious actors into the system” reports Breitbart News.

Engadget reports that Twitter has confirmed a vulnerability in its code that led to the exposure of anonymous users’ data. In a blog post published on Friday, Twitter stated that a “malicious actor took advantage of a zero-day flaw in its code before it became aware of the issue and patched it in January 2022.”

The beloved blame game. Sounds awfully familiar. Breitbart continues:

The vulnerability was noticed by a security researcher who contacted Twitter via its bug bounty program. Twitter initially said that there was “no evidence” to suggest that the flaw had been exploited, but an individual told Bleeping Computer last month that they had taken advantage of the bug and obtained data on more than 5.4 million accounts.

Twitter stated that it is unable to confirm whether users were affected by the exposure. The vulnerability allows the hacker to determine whether an email address or phone number was linked to an existing Twitter account. The hacker was then able to determine who owned the Twitter account.

“We are publishing this update because we aren’t able to confirm every account that was potentially impacted, and are particularly mindful of people with pseudonymous accounts who can be targeted by state or other actors,” Twitter said. “If you operate a pseudonymous Twitter account, we understand the risks an incident like this can introduce and deeply regret that this happened.”

Twitter stated that it would notify all account owners that it could confirm were affected by the exposure. “The company recommends that users attempting to hide their identity not link a publicly known phone number or email address to an account and to enable two-factor authentication” adds Breitbart.

Breitbart News recently reported on Musk’s countersuit, which just became public:

“Twitter played a months-long game of hide-and-seek to attempt to run out the clock before the Musk Parties could discern the truth about these representations, which they needed to close,” the countersuit alleges. “The more Twitter evaded even simple inquiries, the more the Musk Parties grew to suspect that Twitter had misled them.”

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WSJ: Corporate Dirty Pool in Washington’s Senate Race

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The Wall Street Journal’s,  Kimberly A. Strassel wrote a piece identifying how the Democrats are so worried about Washington Senator Patty Murray’s re-election “that Seattle’s corporate heavyweights are playing dirty pool on her behalf.”

Murray, a leftwing progressive, has faced little competition while in office; until now. Tiffany Smiley, a Republican nurse and entrepreneur “is pummeling Ms. Murray from every direction and laying out her own detailed reform agenda” adds the WSJ.

A RealClearPolitics average has Ms. Murray winning by 8 points. Another poll has Smiley within 2 points. Regardless, It’s close enough that “Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently transferred $500,000 of his own campaign cash to Ms. Murray’s campaign.”

Money from Schumer isn’t the only liberal panic dough. “Starbucks, the Seattle Times and the Seattle Seahawks—are actively attempting to sabotage the Smiley campaign, albeit in a distinctly underhanded fashion” writes the WSJ. “Their targets are two effective Smiley campaign ads.”

At the center of the fight are two of Smiley’s ads: “Game Day” and “Cup of Coffee.”

Strassel reports:

In “Game Day” the Republican is in a kitchen preparing to watch a football game, hitting Ms. Murray and Democrats for the spiraling cost of food. In “Cup of Coffee,” she stands in front of a derelict building. Barely visible at the top, and seen backward, is the store’s faded Starbucks sign. Ms. Smiley hits Ms. Murray for rising crime, while the ad flashes two Seattle Times headlines, one of which reads: “Starbucks to Close 5 Seattle Stores Over Safety Concerns.”

“Game Day” hit the airwaves Sept 1. Five days later, according to documents I obtained, the Smiley campaign received a terse email from the Seahawks claiming a trademark violation. The ad briefly shows Ms. Smiley’s husband, Scotty—a retired U.S. Army Ranger who was blinded by shrapnel in Iraq—expressing alarm that “even beer” prices are rising. You only see his shoulders above a tall couch—and if you get a magnifying glass you might make out a letter or two from the word “Seahawks.” The letter insisted the Smiley campaign “immediately cease” its “unauthorized commercial use.” Nothing like your local sports franchise dumping cease-and-desist orders on wounded veterans.

“Cup of Coffee” went live on Sept. 20. The next day, the Seattle Times sent an email to the “Jane Smiley” campaign—apparently without running it past its fact-checking desk—accusing it of “unauthorized use of The Seattle Times logo and two headlines” in violation of the paper’s “copyright and trademark.” It demanded the campaign remove any references to the paper not only in its own ad, but in an NBC News article about the ad’s launch.

Two days later, Starbucks sent a certified letter saying the campaign was appropriating its intellectual property, and complaining it might “create an unfounded association in the minds of consumers between Starbucks and your campaign.” It insisted the campaign either pull the ad or alter it to strip both the (barely visible, backward) sign and the Seattle Times headline referencing Starbucks.

One such letter may be the product of an overzealous lawyer, but three in a row looks like more than a coincidence. One might even wonder if some Murray staffer was putting bugs in Seattle business leaders’ ears. And while corporate political-action committees routinely play politics by making donations, it’s something else for individual companies to go to bat for a candidate via behind-the-scenes threats based on tenuous legal claims. These letters were bound to cost the Smiley campaign money and headaches and might have pushed it off the airwaves.

The campaign didn’t roll over. It made a painless accommodation to the “Game Day” ad, blurring the jersey colors to obscure anything distinct. In a legal letter sent Thursday to Starbucks, the campaign rebutted the company’s infringement claims, running through political speech protections and noting that no reasonable person would ever think a factual ad about shuttered Starbucks stores amounted to a coffee-chain endorsement. It suggested Starbucks focus on its own problems, like its recent union woes.

The Seattle Times also received a letter refuting its claims, but it got something in addition. The Smiley campaign on Thursday filed a Federal Election Commission complaint, charging the paper with providing the Murray campaign a prohibited in-kind contribution. It turns out that Ms. Murray has also used a Seattle Times headline in her ads. Her “First 2016 Ad” sports the newspaper’s logo under the headline: “Patty Murray’s and Paul Ryan’s Teamwork Is a Model for Congress.” It seems the Times has a different legal standard for candidates it endorses.

As the FEC complaint notes, the Smiley campaign would have to spend an estimated $5,000 to remove and update the ad—“costs that Patty Murray does not have to accrue.” It cites FEC regulations that provide “if a corporation makes its resources available for free, it must do so for all candidates.”

Don’t expect the Seattle corporate set to do anything on behalf of Ms. Smiley soon. But it shouldn’t be too much to ask that they do their politicking straight—and out in the open.

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