Parents of Uvalde Shooting Victims Sue Meta, AR-15, Call of Duty For Enabling Mass Shootings

Exactly two years after the Uvalde school massacre, families of victims Friday filed two (much needed) wrongful death lawsuits in California and Texas against social media giant Meta, Activision — the maker of the popular video game “Call of Duty” — and Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the AR-15 which the teen gunman used to kill 19 students and two teachers on May 24, 2022, in the Robb Elementary School massacre. The lawsuits were filed by the Connecticut law firm Koskoff Law, which in 2012 secured a settlement against the Remington Arms Co, the manufacturer of the weapon used in the Sandy Hooks massacre.

Friday’s lawsuits claim that Instagram, Activision and Daniel Defense have been “partnering…in a scheme that preys upon insecure, adolescent boys,” attorneys said in a news release. Meta and Activision “enabled and emboldened firearm manufacturers’ efforts to expand the market for their weapons by granting unprecedented, direct and 24/7 access to children.”

Call Of Duty, Instagram and Daniel Defense Liability

According to the lawsuits, the Uvalde gunman downloaded “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” in November 2021, and had been playing previous iterations of “Call of Duty” since he was 15 years old. The video game prominently features a model of the AR-15, known as DDM4V7, that was used in the shooting, the lawsuits allege.

“Simultaneously, on Instagram, the shooter was being courted through explicit, aggressive marketing,” attorneys said. “In addition to hundreds of images depicting and venerating the thrill of combat, Daniel Defense used Instagram to extol the illegal, murderous use of its weapons.”

The gunman, on his 18th birthday, purchased the AR-15 used in the Uvalde shooting because “he was targeted and cultivated online by Instagram, Activision and Daniel Defense. This three-headed monster knowingly exposed him to the weapon, conditioned him to see it as a tool to solve his problems and trained him to use it,” Koskoff said in a statement.

On April 27, 2022, attorneys say, the gunman created an account with Daniel Defense and added a DDM4V7 to his online cart. Then on May 16, 2022, just 23 minutes after midnight on his 18th birthday, he purchased the weapon — just eight days before the Uvalde shooting.

The same group of families also said Wednesday they are filing a $500 million federal lawsuit against nearly 100 state police officers who took part in the botched law enforcement response to the shooting, along with former Robb Elementary School principal Mandy Gutierrez and Pete Arredondo, the school district’s police chief who was fired months after the shooting.


I am entirely of the opinion that combat video games are responsible for mass shootings by minimizing, encouraging, promoting, and enabling gun violence, along with antisocial behavior to name a few.

In a statement provided to CBS News, an Activision spokesperson said the “Uvalde shooting was horrendous and heartbreaking in every way, and we express our deepest sympathies to the families and communities who remain impacted by this senseless act of violence. Millions of people around the world enjoy video games without turning to horrific acts.”

This argument shows exactly how the video game industry minimizes the fact that it has knowingly caused hundreds of mass shootings over the past few years, and no less than 26 mass shootings in 2023 alone, and keeps doing so. To them, everything is okay if there is no evidence yet that millions of people are turning into violent psychopaths. The video-game industry seems to have little respect for the life of a few thousand people, simply because by their own admission, they have no intention to stop promoting and enabling gun violence until at least a million people turn into mass shooters.

Instagram’s role is obvious and similar to the intentional encouragement of child pornography. Instagram is chasing ad revenue and won’t stop at anything to get it. Connecting criminals, psychopaths, and gun companies with vulnerable users such as children is precisely how Instagram achieves its business goals in an era where social media engagement is sharply dropping due to privacy violations and exploitation of users content for the purpose of training of AI without users consent.

So in a way, violent video-games are a form of mis and disinformation designed to rationalize mass-scale murder. Just like porn that was initially touted in the last century as a form of liberation, but in reality turned out to be an instrument of misogyny, incurable diseases, modern slavery, and promotion of nonconsensual content for profit.. video games too are promoting ideas that are disguised as an outlet of the imaginary need to act out violence, but in reality are a tool of intellectual and moral decay by diminishing the value of human life and providing ever more justification for violence. Not every user will turn into a psychopath, but looking at the rates of juvenile depression, it is safe to say that the damage is more far-reaching than we are told. Mass shootings are only the tip of the iceberg.

Rent Cartels By Algorithm Deepen Housing Crisis, Tenants Pay Millions of Dollars Above Fair Market Prices

Dozens of class actions filed since 2022 against the Texas based company RealPage, now consolidated into a single class action in Nashville, Tennessee, demonstrate the single most significant factor behind the last few years monumental rent increases and lack of affordable housing across the continent: widespread and unchecked anti-competitive rent price-fixing directed by shady algorithms.

Since the Propublica investigation in 2022 that put a spotlight on the issue, the situation has only worsened. Rent-fixing by algorithm has enabled and continues to enable landlords and real estate companies to do covertly and indirectly what they can’t do directly. As we speak, rents are being pushed into stratospheric heights, forcing many low earners into encampments.

RealPage’s software uses an algorithm to churn through a mountain of data during the night to suggest daily prices for available rental units. The software uses not only information about the apartment being priced and the property where it is located, but also private data on what nearby competitors are charging in rents. The software considers actual rents paid to those rivals—not just what they are advertising, the company told ProPublica.

Two district attorneys (Washington, Arizona) are suing Realpage and more than a dozen of the the largest apartment building landlords, accusing them of a scheme to artificially fix rental prices in violation of U.S. antitrust law, all while concealing their conspiracy from the public. RealPage has denied any wrongdoing in the earlier cases, and it said it would contest both cases.

Washington

Washington alleges that 14 landlords conspired to keep rental prices high using RealPage’s revenue management platform and seeks triple damages and other relief to restore competitive conditions. Landlords conspired to share information, limit supply, and drive up rents via RealPage’s software which forced tenants to pay millions of dollars above fair market prices.

“In a truly competitive market, one would expect competitors to keep their pricing strategies confidential — especially if they believe those strategies provide a competitive edge,” the lawsuit says.

In response, RealPage declared that there is no causal connection between revenue management software and increases in market-wide rents. The problem with denying causal connection, however, is a flagrant lack of algorithmic transparency and intentional concealment from the public. You can’t both have a secret algorithm and deny causation between the algorithm conduct and the obvious widespread result being artificial rent increase and illegal price-fixing. So that defense will fail.

Arizona

Arizona alleges that by providing highly detailed, sensitive, non-public leasing data with RealPage, the defendant landlords departed from normal competitive behavior and engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy. RealPage then used its revenue management algorithm to illegally set prices for all participants.

Moreover, RealPage’s conspiracy with the landlord co-defendants violate both the Arizona Uniform State Antitrust Act and the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

Arizona’s antitrust law prohibits conspiracies in restraint of trade and attempts to establish monopolies to control or fix prices. The State’s consumer fraud statute makes it unlawful for companies to engage in deceptive or unfair acts or practices or to conceal or suppress material facts in connection with a sale, in this case apartment leases.

The illegal practices of the defendants led to artificially inflated rental prices and caused Phoenix and Tucson-area residents to pay millions of dollars more in rent.  

Defendants conspired to enrich themselves during a period when inflation was at historic highs and Arizona renters struggled to keep up with massive rent increases.

The Class Actions

The private lawsuits by renter-plaintiffs accuse RealPage to collude with landlords to artificially inflate rents and limit the supply of housing, alleging that owners, operators and managers of large residential multifamily complexes used RealPage software to keep rental prices in many major U.S. cities above market rates and shared non-public, commercially sensitive information with RealPage as part of the conspiracy.

Two landlords have settled so far.

Amazon One Seems Ideal For Age Verification For Aylo Sites

Not sure why I am learning about this contactless biometric ID tool today (living in Canada for the past 4 years must be it) but the thing exists since 2020 as a payment method throughout the USA, being deployed in no less than 500+ Wholefoods locations. I am not trying to advertise for Amazon here, but palm recognition technology strikes me as a way more sophisticated approach than mobile pay, microchipping, or physical credit cards and paper ID.

I am frankly astonished that, during the pandemic, palm recognition wasn’t used to verify immunization status. I totally hated showing my QR code along with government issued ID to randos on a powertrip behind a plexiglas carefully studying my papers while I wanted to kill them. To the extent possible, I refused to comply, rushing past QR lines like a “distracted consumer” from hell, robust EDM blasting through my headphones, occasionally displaying a “talk to the hand” sign, shouting out “do not comply!” here and there to my alienated co-citizens… Who knew that “talk to the hand” would have been a literal solution. A palm scan would’ve totally saved me the humiliation (and subsequent PTSD). By 2022, I had entirely stopped going to venues and restaurants altogether and am still unable to return due to these painful memories.

And it sucks in a way because I love order and compliance, and all of a sudden I had no choice to boycott venues and intentionally behave like a dork contrary to my nature, because I couldn’t reconcile my law-abiding character with my absolute duty to oppose tyrannical bullshit (in my case it was the health status disclosure that broke the camel’s back, since I was cool with distancing and still am very much into it). For a minute I embraced the idea that I may be a conspiracy theorist, although I only got acquainted with such theories for the first time mid-2020 and in general I have very low opinion of politics. The rule of law is above politics and division, right (RIGHT!) Wrong. The rule of law never stood a chance next to an executive order that took 2 minutes to draft on toilet paper… now, how about a few hundred thousand of executive orders!

Although it’s too late to go back and fix that entirely avoidable fiasco, here we are 3 years later, the same government that brought us the privacy invading mandates is now suuuuper worried about the privacy of porn-consumers. I’m not here to judge, but we have a French Canadian proverb “tu ne peux pas avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre”. You can’t have it both ways, keep the butter and the money from the butter. Or can you!

The good news is that palm recognition is a win-win. When you register with Amazon One, you would link your palm scan (that also records your veins for a unique biometric configuration) with your credit card, ID and mobile number. This data is only available to Amazon One and purportedly not shared with third parties or law enforcement (unless there is a warrant).

To access Aylo material, all you’d need to do is hold your hand in front of your device camera to ascertain you are not a minor. No names, addresses, or any personal data whatsoever are ever disclosed or stored, nobody looks at government issued IDs, so that, privacy is fully shielded. A VPN will be useless in that respect, as would be Tor, as would be a fake ID. Palm recognition could also be used to block children from accessing social media and literally anything parents decide to block them from. On a side note, please don’t use Tor for porn, it slows it down for everyone else.

In the eventuality of a (cough) new pandemic, palm recognition would also contain your immunization status and I mean your entire vaccination track-record from childhood, dispensing with the need to show government issued ID QR codes and immunization booklets. It would facilitate and speed up visa issuing (i.e. you need 2xPolio, HepB, Dengue, etc for India). All you’d need to do is hover your hand over a scanner and get your visa, board a plane or train, or access whatever venue you need to go to.

And finally, if enough stores take up palm recognition, you wouldn’t need to carry a phone or physical wallet anymore.

Fuite de données personnelles d\’anciens employé(e)s d\’Olymel

Olymel affirme que les renseignements personnels d’employés actuels, d’anciens employés et de postulants ont pu être dérobés.

\”Les données concernées sont liées au dossier d’emploi et comprennent le nom, l’adresse, la date de naissance, le numéro d’assurance sociale et, dans certains cas, pour les travailleurs étrangers, des informations contenues dans leurs passeports.\”

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1769537/cyberattaque-olymel-loi-renseignements-personnels

3.2B Email and Password Pairs Leaked

CyberNews reports that a massive repository of individuals’ data has been posted online. Dubbed “Compilation of Many Breaches” (COMB) this may be the biggest-ever compilation of hacked user credentials ever posted online before, but it’s not the result of a new hack or data breach. Leaked user data combines a 2012 data breach at LinkedIn involving 117 million accounts, as well as stolen Netflix login data. This is the time to change passwords and it comes as a reminder for users to stop recycling user names and passwords across different services.

https://bgr.com/tech/data-breach-email-and-passwords-leaked-compilation-of-many-breaches-5904287/

Le télétravail exige une réforme ciblée

Selon le Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ), le projet de loi 59 censé moderniser le régime de santé et sécurité du travail souffre d\’une déficience majeure: il fait abstraction du télétravail.

https://www.tvanouvelles.ca/2021/01/26/projet-de-loi-59-un-syndicat-deplore-labsence-de-balises-encadrant-le-teletravail

CPRA Into CPAA, California Privacy Upgraded

The CPRA introduces amendments to the CCPA of existing provisions of Title 1.81.5 of the California Civil Code (currently known as the CCPA and codified at Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.100 et seq) and adds new provisions (related to the establishment California Privacy Protection Agency). It is unclear, however, whether Title 1.81.5 will continue to be known as the CCPA or will instead be known as CPRA effective Jan. 1, 2023.

The CPRA took effect on Dec. 16, 2020, but most of the provisions revising the CCPA won’t become “operative” until Jan. 1, 2023.

Here is a diagram breaking down the two statutes and outlining how the CPRA expands the CPAA.

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[For additional information, see Bloomberg Law\’s Glossary of Terms for Decoding CCPA/CPRA.]

The California Privacy Protection Agency is a new agency, created by the CPRA, which is vested with “full administrative power, authority, and jurisdiction to implement and enforce” the CCPA. The CPRA transfers rulemaking authority from the California Attorney General to the California Privacy Protection Agency effective July 1, 2021, with final CPRA regulations due by July 1, 2022.

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/bloomberg-law-analysis/analysis-california-privacy-reboot-puts-rights-in-spotlight

WhatsApp Controversy

In response to Apple’s new data disclosure requirements, WhatsApp informed users last week that certain data points, such as the user’s profile status, login activity, contact list, purchases, and financial information, may be shared with businesses and the third parties they use.

Unless you consent to totally unacceptable 3rd party data sharing of your personal and financial information, your account will be deleted anyway.

Therefore delete it before it deletes you.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90593066/whatsapp-facebook-privacy-ultimatum This article discusses one of the most unhinged antitrust defendants in the history of litigation.

The alternative to Whasapp is Telegram or Signal. The simple reason that big tech anti-trust defendants are backing Signal at the moment however should come as ared flag. Until all anti-trust lawsuits against Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Google, and FB are resolved, it is impossible to trust any company so heavily endorsed by social media tyrants.

Even Turkey\’s Erdogan has dropped Whatsapp urging journalists to use a Turkish app equivalent.


I maintain my position that government actors have absolutely no business to be on private social media networks. If you are a politician on Twitter, you are giving off an image of selling out your country to Big Tech.

It would be reckless to encourage your citizens to hand over their personal information to big tech giants for the privilege to follow you on private social media networks.

From a political standpoint, private companies have 100% the right and the power to pick and choose sides and ban whoever they want. Users are being tolerated as guests on these platforms and must behave by their code. If your opinion falls out of line, they can legally remove you.

Governments need to set up their own communication platforms. Otherwise, they call into question their legitimacy and raison d\’être. Governments that keep relying on private corporations to communicate hand government power to non elected private actors. It is like building your house on someone else\’s land. The landowner can kick you out at any time. As a government actor, you need a more stable alternative.


Twitter: The Great Detox. Keep it UP!

I am welcoming Twitter\’s initiative to suspend government and lawyers accounts. Ideally all political content should be taken down from the platform. Over the past 5 years, every politician on this planet has been imitating the US president who started this tweeting circus as the chief commander of most tweets per second.

This should\’ve happened long ago. The US president\’s phone should\’ve been confiscated the minute he was sworn in.

Every single politician, rather than working for the people, has been chasing after the user engagement leveraged by the US president who, being the most hated person in America, naturally has the most followers, beginning with mainstream media who are hooked on the president. They\’re already experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It shows.

Media outlets whose reporting has been almost entirely about the president\’s tweets now have nothing to show for 5 years of reporting!

Tweeting lawyers are another curious bunch. One thing you learn in litigation is to abstain from making predictions on evidence or outcomes, because even in the clearest of cases, stuff happens. Announcing what will happen is such a beginner\’s mistake.

Take them all down! All politicians should be banned from social media. ALL.


CBC is already embedding Parler declarations (or whatever you call them) authored by one of the president\’s lawyers who was banned from twitter. Withdrawal symptoms are kicking in… Imagine when cold turkey hits Parler too.

Lastly, have you noticed how representing certain clients never ends well for the lawyer! The idea that everyone is entitled to representation must be revisited. It is chilling how representing this president has annihilated so many lawyers. Some have landed in prison, forced to breach lawyer client confidentiality in exchange for a plea deal, others sued in defamation for billions of dollars, all systemically hit with disbarment complaints…

Is there a professional rule of conduct that warns against taking up a \”cursed client\”? We need one fast.

The idea of putting aside your own interest to fearlessly raise every legal argument, no matter how distasteful, so as to zealously represent a client appears to be the exact conduct that may send you to a disbarment hearing these days.


Update January 10, 2020. The other side of the coin

Nothing stops politicians to post on their own websites or create their individual platforms owned and controlled by government and politicians themselves. So long as they set up their own servers, they\’re good to go.

When it comes to the president, he was the actual \”talent\” on twitter. The app itself needs people like him to be profitable, it was losing money before allowing politicians in. If the president sets up his own platform, his followers (especially haters) will follow him wherever he goes. For obvious reasons, private corporations should never again be allowed to host government and state related information.

I welcome total decentralization of information

Since yesterday, I have discovered at least 50 websites I hadn\’t heard of before and counting. Nothing stops you from following the people who are permanently banned from twitter, simply by bookmarking their websites and set alerts.

Your search history belongs to you. Law enforcement authorities need a warrant to use your search history against you. Social media companies on the other hand have deals with law enforcement that are entirely out of your control. Your precious personal and engagement data on twitter and facebook is being traded and shared with countless other third parties without your knowledge or consent. The logic behind it is that you already consented simply by signing on the platforms, by accepting the terms and conditions. Nobody reads terms and conditions, therefore nobody really knows what they consent to.

To avoid unintended uses of your personal data, I strongly recommend to abstain from using social media apps on your phone. For advanced protection inspired from the country of the rising sun (Japan) is to give platforms fake information about yourself, not your real name. Create an online persona through an alternative email (not your main email) with completely different identifiers from your legal identifiers. For example set your birthdate to 1901 and choose a different gender. This is how it is done in Japan, you never mix your real persona with your online personas. It is the only way that your real persona won\’t suffer the consequences of fame caused by your online personas.

The people of China are many great examples on how to communicate through coded messages and entirely circumvent censorship. I have learned so much.

At the end of the day, there will always be dark forums operating on military browsers like Tor. I strongly recommend exploring those. I also anticipate other military communication methods to become mainstream through 2021.

Ontario Human Rights Code On Psychometric Tests At Hiring


En Ontario, administrer des tests psychologiques avant l\’embauche est considéré une violation de la vie privée et un motif valable de plainte pour discrimination. Le fait de ne pas être dotés d\’une codification équivalente au Québec ne veut pas dire que ces arguments ne se plaident pas ici. L\’Ontario est d\’ores et déjà une juridiction aux lois très étoffés et qui donne toujours plus d\’information et de ressources à ses citoyens en matière d\’accès à la justice.

http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/iv-human-rights-issues-all-stages-employment/6-requesting-job-related-sensitive-information

Quelques surlignés:

Au tout début de la page, on conseille aux employeurs de porter une attention particulière à la liste qui énumère les documents de nature confidentielle (dont les tests psychologiques), et de s\’assurer d\’avoir fait une offre d\’emploi valable avant d\’administrer de tels tests.

Sous la rubrique c) on discute de ces tests, mais je trouve intéressante aussi la partie b) pour des précautions relatives aux tests médicaux.

En ce qui concerne les tests psychométriques:

\”Tests should be tailored to actual job duties.\” = doivent être adaptés (faits sur mesure) pour les tâches de l\’emploi

\”Avoid testing that seeks to assess personal interests, attitudes and values. If these tests are legitimately needed to assess ability to perform a job, use them with great care to make sure they do not favour certain cultures or genders. Many such tests are outdated and may have been created based on stereotypes or biases relating to Code grounds.\”

il faut éviter d\’évaluer les intérêts personnels, attitudes et (surprise) VALEURS personnelles. Plusieurs de ces tests datent d\’un certain temps qui les rend incompatibles avec les sensibilités d\’aujourd\’hui, ou ils sont carrément bourrés de stéréotypes qui peuvent constituer des motifs de discrimination suivant le Human Rights Code (équivalent de la Charte des droits et libertés)

\”Even if a test is fair, an employer will need to put in place measures to minimize the impact of unintentional bias on the part of persons scoring candidates’ answers. One option is to have more than one person score each candidate.\”

même si le test n\’est pas discriminatoire (selon la bonne foi de l\’employeur), l\’employeur doit mettre en place des mesures de sécurité afin de minimiser l\’impact de préjugés non-intentionnels de la part des personnes qui évaluent le candidat (les 3rd parties)

Subsection 23(2) of the Code prohibits the use of an employment application form or a written or oral inquiry that directly or indirectly classifies an applicant on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination. This also applies to psychological profiles and testing. The validity of behavioural testing as a tool to predict on-the-job performance may be subject to a complaint under the Code.