8.24.2022

Twitter Whistleblower, Student Loans, and America's New Giant Moth Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Wednesday, Aug. 24, and we're covering allegations of privacy failures at Twitter, a potential announcement on student loans, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

 

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Twitter Whistleblower 

Twitter's former security chief, Peiter Zatko, is accusing the social network of failing to protect sensitive user data and deceiving federal regulators about security issues. Zatko, a hacker known as "Mudge," who once warned Congress he could shut down the internet in 30 minutes (see background), filed a whistleblower complaint last month to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department, and the Federal Trade Commission.

 

Zatko, who joined Twitter in 2020 and was fired in January, alleges Twitter violated a 2011 settlement with the FTC over its safeguarding of user data and ignored lapses in privacy and security. Zatko further alleges Twitter prioritized user growth over reducing spam accounts, rewarding company executives with bonuses of as much as $10M for daily user growth. See the complaint here

 

The development comes amid Twitter's legal battle with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who seeks to end a $44B agreement to buy the company, claiming Twitter made false statements about fake accounts on its platform. 

Conviction in Whitmer Plot

Two men were found guilty yesterday by a federal jury for plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in 2020. The pair were part of a group tied to the Wolverine Watchmen militia, reportedly motivated in part by anger over the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

Adam Fox, 39, and Barry Croft Jr., 46, were two of 14 suspects originally arrested in the plot. As one of the highest-profile domestic terrorism cases in recent memory, the initial April trial saw two men acquitted while the jury could not reach a consensus on Fox and Croft. Among other issues, authorities were accused of using undercover agents to unduly influence the group into acting on their plans. 

 

Fox was portrayed as the ringleader of the plot, while prosecutors showed Croft had an extensive history of online threats—both face up to life in prison. See a timeline of the scheme here.

(Partial) Student Debt Cancellation 

The Biden administration is reportedly set to announce today it will cancel up to $10K in federal student loan debt for some borrowers while extending a two-year freeze on loan repayments. The White House has been deliberating for months on how to fulfill Biden's campaign pledge ahead of a self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline. 

 

Tens of millions of borrowers would receive relief from the program at the cost of at least $300B. A large portion of eligible borrowers would have their funds removed automatically within a few months; others would have to apply through a government website. Reports suggest those making less than $125K annually will be eligible for the program.

 

Close to 75% of those with federal student loan debt owe more than $10,000, though almost two-thirds of borrowers owe less than $40K.

 

The plan would add to $32B of debt previously canceled by the administration for certain groups, including public service workers and borrowers defrauded from certain universities. 

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> NBA superstar Kevin Durant will return to the Brooklyn Nets next season after previously requesting a trade (More) | NCAA women's basketball 2023 championship game to air on ABC for first time (More)

 

> "Game of Thrones" prequel "House of the Dragon" hauls in 10 million viewers, an HBO series premiere record (More) | "Curb Your Enthusiasm," 51-time Emmy-nominated series, renewed for 12th season (More)

 

> Meghan Markle launched her "Archetypes" podcast yesterday, two years after she and Prince Harry signed an exclusive deal with Spotify; Markle's first guest was Serena Williams (More)

Science & Technology

> Scientists show tau proteins, believed to play a key role in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, also play a role in normal memory formation (More)

 

> Skull analysis suggests much of the ancient interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals was regionally concentrated, occurring in North Africa and present-day Near East (More)

 

> Binance executive Patrick Hillmann alleges hackers successfully used an AI-generated hologram to impersonate him on video calls with cryptocurrency firms; scheme was meant to trick firms into diverting listing fees to the hacker group (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with Blendid

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.2%, Dow -0.5%, Nasdaq -0.0%) for third day in a row (More)

 

> Retailers Nordstrom and Macy’s reduce annual earnings expectations on lower consumer demand; shares fall in after-hours trading (More)

 

> Hyundai and Kia recall over 280,000 US vehicles as faulty wiring can lead to fires (More)

From our partners: What do Jamba, Walmart, and Sodexo have in common? They’re all working with Blendid, the company making autonomous robotic smoothie kiosks. Blendid is on a mission to make much-desired fresh food options more accessible and affordable. They already have 500+ kiosks in contract with brands like Love’s Travel Stop, plus the potential of 70,000+ new locations in high-traffic areas like malls, gas stations, airports, and many more. Check out the Blendid investment opportunity ahead of their planned nationwide expansion.

Politics & World Affairs

> Ex-Louisville, Kentucky, police officer Kelly Goodlett pleads guilty to falsifying a search warrant and report related to the March 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor; it is the first conviction in the case (More) | Prosecutors drop charges against Atlanta officers in June 2020 fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks (More

 

At least one person is dead after record-breaking rainfall brought flash floods to the Dallas-Fort Worth area this week; a state of disaster has been declared for 23 counties (More) | See photos of the aftermath (More)

 

> Former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R) and his chief of staff arrested for federal corruption charges, including bribery, kickbacks, and money laundering (More) | Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), pleads guilty to DUI charges in California (More)

ALL BARK AND NO BITE

 

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ETCETERA

 

NASA captures the spooky sounds from a black hole.

 

A massive atlas moth spotted in the US for the first time.

 

The most popular cocktail in each state.

 

Why women are posting dancing videos in support of Finland's prime minister. 

 

Archaeologists in England uncover medieval pub.

 

Watch over 150 dinosaurs hit the racetrack in the 2022 T. Rex Race. (via YouTube)

 

Loyola Chicago’s Sister Jean receives a train stop for her 103rd birthday.

 

Meet Jett and Jax, cousins who are also genetically brothers.

 

Clickbait: Fan creates an innovative way to drink beer at baseball game.

 

Historybook: Mount Vesuvius erupts, killing up to 15,000 (79); Thomas Edison files patent for the Kinetoscope, an early motion-picture viewer (1891); Dave Chappelle born (1973); Windows 95 released (1995).

 

"Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration."

- Thomas Edison

Why 1440? The printing press was invented in the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. Guess what else? There are 1,440 minutes in a day and every one is precious. That’s why we scour hundreds of sources every day to provide a concise, comprehensive, and objective view of what's happening in the world. Reader feedback is a gift—shoot us a note at [email protected].

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