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Tue, 12 Nov 2019
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Several popular 'camgirl' sites expose data of millions of users and sex workers, including plaintext logins

Camgirl sites data breach
© Pixar/Victoria Borodinova
Several popular "camgirl" sites have exposed the email addresses and other sensitive information of millions of users and sex workers after a backend was left wide open.

VTS Media, a company based in Barcelona, runs the affected sites, out of which amateur.tv is one of the most popular cam sites in Spain, according to traffic-ranking service Alexa. Others include placercams.com and webcampornoxxx.net.

This data exposure does not come at the hands of any sort of hack or exploit — instead, just an oversight by the company. The administrative backends were left open, without a password, for several weeks. This allowed anyone to access the network's database, which included usernames, email addresses, IP addresses, browser user-agents, private chat logs, login timestamps, and even failed login attempts, which stored attempted passwords in plaintext.

The backend also contained data related to the videos that registered users were watching and renting. Users who broadcasted sexual content to viewers on these sites also had some of their personal information revealed.

Che Guevara

'Smash the patriarchy!' Far-left squatters clash with police enforcing evictions in Berlin

squatter building
© kukuagami Instagram
The area of Friedrichshain is home to several buildings occupied by squatters.
A protest in support of squatters living in a Berlin neighborhood turned violent on Saturday, with masked demonstrators hurling rocks at police and breaking the windows of several cars.

Ruptly footage shows police surrounding a building in Friedrichshain currently occupied by squatters. The illegal residents, clad in black masks, are seen waving red flares from the balcony. Protesters also draped flags and banners on the side of the building. "Smash the patriarchy!" one placard read.

A demonstration in support of the squatters clogged traffic in nearby streets, as riot police hugged the side of the road. According to German media, the left-wing protesters lit tires on fire and threw stones at the police. Footage of the unruly march shows several cars that were vandalized by the protesters. The mayhem reportedly resulted in several injuries. The protest was in response to a lawsuit aiming to evict the squatters, identified by local media as members of the city's "left-autonomous" scene.


Popular gaming site may be asked to write about games without political bias, in favor of improved journalism

Kotaku gaming site
© kotaku.com
Should a niche site write about its field of expertise, or unload the political biases of its writers? Kotaku, one of the most popular gaming news websites, has been doing the latter, but changing that may be good for journalism.

Recently, the editorial director of Kotaku's parent company, G/O Media, issued a memo to the staff of Deadspin, its massively-popular sister sports blog, outlining that writers need to "stick to sports" since the company has "plenty of other sites that write about politics, pop culture, the arts, and the rest, and they're the appropriate place for such work."

Think of Kotaku and Deadspin as the CNN of gaming and sports, respectively. Both blogs take pride in reporting news subjectively, and the memo led to Deadspin writers leaving en masse.

It was around this same time that Kotaku's staff began tweeting out ominous premonitions. Its news editor and most-recognized face, Jason Schreier, expressed that he "doesn't know what's going to happen next," thanking Kotaku's long-time readers. Editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo called to his ability to "steer Kotaku through rough waters" in the past.


Forgiving student loan debt would only create a moral hazard and exacerbate existing problems

student loans college debt
Wiping out student loan debt would provide a modest bump to the economy, but could risk "moral hazard" which would eventually make the problem worse, according to Moody's Investors Service.

The opinion comes as Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren dangle the prospect of forgiving some or all of the $1.5 trillion in outstanding education debt. Both candidates have also proposed free free college.

Moody's, however, think the effects of wholesale debt forgiveness at a macro level would be fairly muted.

"In the near term, we would expect student loan debt cancellation to yield a tax-cut-like stimulus to economic activity, contributing to a modest increase in household consumption and investment," said William Foster, the firm's senior credit analyst. "The magnitude of the stimulus would depend on the size of the debt relief and income level of the beneficiaries."

Comment: Voices from the other side:

Take 2

Ultimate deadlock of the existing system': 'Joker' artistically diagnoses modern world's ills

Joker billboard in Los Angeles, CA
© Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
A billboard advertising the film "Joker" is pictured in Los Angeles.
Seen as a potential validation for violent glory seekers, the 'Joker' movie turns out to be not an incitement for violence but a judgement on the modern political system's flaws, philosopher Slavoj Zizek says.

The much acclaimed Todd Phillips movie starring Joaquin Phoenix has received its fair share of criticism from almost everyone, from the woke community to the US Army, who all believed it could prompt some "evil" people to commit acts of violence.

Yet, the film's critics have apparently overlooked the underlying message of the movie, Zizek, the senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, told RT, adding that it is not about some mentally-challenged person, but about the "hopelessness" of our "best ever" political order itself, which many still simply refuse to accept.

Daily life has become a horror movie

We should congratulate Hollywood and the viewers on two things: that such a film that, let's face it, gives a very dark image of highly developed capitalism, a nightmarish image which led some critics to designate it a 'social horror film', came out. Usually, we have social films, which depict social problems, and then we have horror films. To bring these two genres together, it is only possible when many phenomena in our ordinary social life become phenomena which belong to horror films.

Comment: For more analysis on the the 'Joker', listen to the SOTT editors discuss the movie on a recent episode of Mind Matters: MindMatters: The Value And Relevance of Joker

See also: Leading neurocriminologist Adrian Raine considers Joker "a great educational tool"


'For the love of men' — A Review

boys play fight
A review of For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity by Liz Plank, St. Martin's Press (September 2019) 336 pages.
"There is no greater threat to humankind," Liz Plank announces on the first page of her book For the Love of Men, "Than our current definitions of masculinity." A bold claim. "Toxic masculinity," Plank claims, underpins vast amounts of suffering across the globe.

Lest this introduction lead one to expect an anti-male screed, Plank is at pains to insist that many of the victims of "toxic masculinity" are men themselves. Who could claim that masculinity cannot be problematic? Men are undeniably responsible for most of the rape and murder in the world, and suicide claims a disproportionate number of male lives. The male bias towards camouflaging vulnerability — expressed, for example, in men's disproportionate unwillingness to address potential health problems, be they mental or physical — was more adaptive when familial life depended on men getting up to work and fight every day of every week, but it is less so in our more comfortable times.

Social conservatives, meanwhile, may be surprised to find some common ground with Plank's emphasis on the importance of fathers playing a role in the lives of their children. She scorns egoistic promiscuity, and she identifies loneliness as one of the great scourges of our time, even if, regrettably, she reduces it to male reticence and ignores family breakdown and the decline in social capital.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Massive fire ravages astronomy center in Ankara, Turkey

Ali Kuscu Astronomy Center
© YouTube / Filiz Karaagac; Facebook / Ali Kuşçu Gökbilim Merkezi
The popular Ali Kuscu Astronomy Center in the Turkish capital, Ankara, was hit by a massive blaze on Sunday, with videos from witnesses showing its iconic tower with a saucer-shaped tip completely burnt out.

The column of thick white smoke, emerging from the site of the disaster in the city's Mamak district, was seen from kilometers away.

Firefighters, who rushed to the scene, now say that the blaze is under control. There have so far been no reports of deaths or injuries. The reasons for the fire are yet unknown.


Were electricity shutdowns in California actually due to its dependence on wind energy?

Comment: A most interesting theory. If it's in the ballpark... oh the irony.

Wind turbines
© David McNew/Getty Images
Wind turbines in California
According to the official, widely reported story, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) shut down substantial portions of its electric transmission system in northern California as a precautionary measure.

Citing high wind speeds they described as "historic," the utility claims that if they didn't turn off the grid, wind-caused damage to their infrastructure could start more wildfires in the area.

Perhaps that's true. Perhaps. This tale presumes that the folks who designed and maintain PG&E's transmission system are unaware of or ignored the need to design it to withstand severe weather events, and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) allowed the utility to do so.

Ignorance and incompetence happens, to be sure, but there's much about this story that doesn't smell right — and it's disappointing that most journalists and elected officials are apparently accepting it without question.


Overcoming hostilities: The Israeli doctors who treat Gaza residents

palestinian hospital
Despite rockets, hostilities and high tensions between Israel and Hamas, there are some who put differences aside, providing Gazans with medical help. Physicians for Human Rights does exactly that, vowing to treat everyone who seeks medical attention.

On Friday night at least ten rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel's southern communities. The Iron Dome Aerial Defence System managed to intercept and eliminate nine of them. One was a direct hit, striking a house in Sderot, a town that lies just a kilometre away from the Strip.

Israel was quick to blame Hamas, an organisation that controls the Gaza Strip and that is considered terrorist by Israel, but Hamas refutes these allegations pointing the finger of blame towards rival group Islamic Jihad.

For Mahmoud Saeed, a volunteer psychologist from Physicians for Human Rights, an NGO that was established in 1988 and provides the Gaza Strip with medical help, one thing is clear: more hostilities towards Israel will push the country to retaliate and that will mean more work for doctors like him.

No Entry

Founder of Chinese smartphone company banned from travel for failing to comply with company court rulings

Luo Yonghao
The founder of China's smartphone maker Smartisan Technology has been barred from taking flights and high-speed railway trains due to the company's failure to comply with court rulings from a contractual dispute, a local court document showed.

Smartisan is a niche player in China's smartphone sector and is best known for its flamboyant founder Luo Yonghao, who made headlines in recent years with bold statements including a claim that he was planning to acquire Apple.

Luo is also barred from spending at higher quality hotels, night clubs and golf clubs, buying properties and high-premium insurance and sending his children to expensive private schools, under an order issued by the court of Danyang in eastern China.

The order was issued after the court found the company failed to comply with previous court rulings from a contractual dispute with a local electronic firm, the document said.

Smartisan's smartphone sales in China lag behind players like Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo. Chinese social media firm ByteDance earlier this year said it was developing a phone with Smartisan after acquiring a set of patents from it.

Comment: Too bad it's not Dorsey, Zuckerberg, Wojcicki, Pichai, etc!