Facebook data row: Cambridge Analytica academic a ‘scapegoat’

Facebook data row: Cambridge Analytica academic a 'scapegoat'

An academic who created an app which harvested data from 50 million users says he has been made "a scapegoat" for Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Dr Aleksandr Kogan completed work for Cambridge Analytica in 2014, but said he had no idea the data would be used for Donald Trump’s election campaign.

The psychology academic told the BBC he wanted the data so he could model human behaviour through social media.

Facebook says Dr Kogan violated the site’s policies.

The Cambridge University researcher developed a personality survey called This is Your Digital Life.

About 270,000 users’ data was collected, but the app also collected some public data from users’ friends.Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie said that, as a result, the data of about 50 million users was harvested for the analysis firm.Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook deny any wrongdoing. The story so far How to protect your Facebook data Facebook’s biggest challenge yet Dr Kogan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was "stunned" by the allegations made against him as he was advised the app was entirely legal.He said: "The events of the past week have been a total shell shock, and my view is that I’m being basically used […]

Mothercare Appoints KPMG For Crunch Talks With Banks

Mothercare Appoints KPMG For Crunch Talks With Banks

Retail chain Mothercare has appointed KPMG to advise on a refinancing of the firm as it holds crunch talks with lenders, it has emerged.

The group – whose shares slumped 14% on Monday – has called in KPMG to help it secure waivers to its financial covenants as it looks at “additional sources of financing”.

Details of the appointment come amid mounting speculation that it may yet breach the terms of its banking agreements.

Mothercare’s lenders include HSBC and Barclays.

The group has been hammered on the stock market after warning over profits twice since the start of the year and revealing that talks with its banks were under way.

On the KMPG appointment, Mothercare said: “We are working with our financing partners with respect to our financing needs for full-year 2019 and beyond.“We are also exploring additional sources of financing to support and maintain the momentum of our transformation programme.“All of these discussions are ongoing and we will update the market on developments as required.”Carpetright also suffered hefty share losses on Monday after it emerged the embattled flooring firm was considering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) that would allow it to jettison loss-making stores. New Look is braced for store closures and job […]

Jennie Formby Named As New Labour Party General Secretary

Jennie Formby Named As New Labour Party General Secretary

A union official has been appointed Labour’s new general secretary, becoming only the second woman to hold the post.

Jennie Formby, South East regional secretary of Unite, was chosen by Labour’s national executive ahead of her only rival for the job – Christine Blower, former leader of the National Union of Teachers.

The job became vacant after the resignation last month of Iain McNicol, who said he was standing down to pursue new challenges after serving for a “tumultuous seven years”.

Ms Formby has been a Labour Party member for 40 years and has served on the national executive for the past seven years. Ms Formby with the man she will succeed, Ian McNicol (Stefan Rousseau/PA) Jennie Formby said: “I am honoured to be appointed Labour’s new general secretary. I would like to thank my predecessor, Iain McNicol, for his tireless dedication to the party over the past seven years.

“Last year’s general election showed the strength of our movement when we are united, challenging this Government’s failed and damaging policies and campaigning for real change, in the interests of communities across the UK.

“Labour is preparing for government and I look forward to working with Jeremy Corbyn, our party’s staff, Members of Parliament, […]

MSPs Pass ‘Landmark’ Scottish Forestry Bill

MSPs Pass ‘Landmark’ Scottish Forestry Bill

Opposition MSPs have united to block plans to bring forestry under the direct control of the Scottish Government.

While Holyrood approved landmark legislation devolving control of the sector – which is worth almost £1 billion a year to Scotland – they also backed Labour amendments requiring ministers to set up a single agency or two agencies to take over the work of the Forestry Commission.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said while this was not the approach he favoured he accepted that “Parliament has legislated for ministers to establish two Scottish Government executive agencies to deliver their functions”.

Conservative MSP Peter Chapman had stated: “We did not want to see the Scottish Government take all of these functions into central government.”

He added that the amendments made to the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill would ensure that “all agencies remain outwith government and at arms length”. Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing (Andrew Milligan/PA) Meanwhile Labour’s Colin Smyth said it had been “vital” to change the Bill to “address the concerns of key stakeholders who fear that taking powers currently with the Forestry Commission and passing them to a government department was simply more centralisation”.

Mr Smyth added: “It was also clear that SNP […]

Event celebrates LGBT Pride at Lowestoft school

Event celebrates LGBT Pride at Lowestoft school

Students chat to LGBT+ support organisations at Ormiston Denes Academy’s Pride Event. PICTURE: Julie Mayo Ormiston Denes Academy celebrated LGBTQ+ people with their second annual Pride event.

The LGBT+ flag flies at Ormiston Denes Academy. PICTURE: Julie Mayo The event at the Lowestoft school on Friday, March 16, was organised by students of the school and was supported by local support services for young people, offering advice, information and support to all of the academy’s students.

Organisations and institutions in attendance included Norfolk LGBTQ+, Terrence Higgins Trust, Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind, Lowestoft Sixth Form College, East Norfolk Sixth Form College, Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum, UEA Mentoring and One Life Suffolk.

The day included a raffle which saw individuals winning prizes donated by the community including the star prize of a ‘Brick’ bluetooth speaker, donated by Hughes Electrical.

The Pride event followed two other events at the school last week including a spelling bee and a visit from a group of Polish students. The winners of the Ormiston Denes Academy Primary School Spelling Bee. PICTURE: Julie Mayo The spelling bee, on Monday, March 12, saw primary school pupils from across the region take part in heats and finals, with students […]

Texas Prisons to Update LGBT Policy After Lawsuit from Transgender Inmate Who Was Beaten, Raped

Texas Prisons to Update LGBT Policy After Lawsuit from Transgender Inmate Who Was Beaten, Raped

This story was originally published by The Texas Tribune.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a transgender woman who was beaten and raped in a Texas prison for men has ended with a monetary settlement and an updated LGBT policy at the state’s prison system, according to an LGBT rights legal group.

Lambda Legal announced Thursday that it had settled with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the case of Passion Star, a 34-year-old black transgender woman who sued the department claiming that prison officials didn’t protect her from sexual and physical abuse while incarcerated in male prisons. She said that when she complained, officials told her to stop “acting gay” to prevent future assaults.

“For years, I was raped and beaten in prison and when I asked for help I was ignored,” said Star, according to the group’s announcement. “I was hurt, scared and thrown in solitary [confinement] in hopes that I would be forgotten, but today I can be proud that I never gave up.”

In Texas, transgender prisoners are housed according to their sex at birth.

The department’s spokesman, Jeremy Desel, said in a statement Thursday evening that the department was in full compliance with federal law and already […]

C-Suite talks HR: Alim Dhanji, COO at The LGBT Foundation

C-Suite talks HR: Alim Dhanji, COO at The LGBT Foundation

Equality in the workplace is about more than just hiring diversely and fulfilling inclusive quotas – it’s a shift in mindset that needs to come from the very top.

We spoke to Alim Dhanji, chief operating officer at The LGBT Foundation – who revealed how authentic diversity inspires innovation and explained how being ‘out’ in an inclusive atmosphere helped his leadership skills.

So, what is The LGBT Foundation? According to Dhanji, it’s a community which strives for global equality.

“By harnessing the power and potential of blockchain technology and other technological innovations, the Foundation will foster greater acceptance of the LGBT community, drive positive social change for the community’s benefit, and protect vulnerable community members,” added Dhanji.

“By tokenizing the Pink Dollar, the Foundation will empower the LGBT community to exert its considerable economic might, provide a safe and secure environment to access cryptocurrencies and other products and services, and enable members to verify and protect their identities as required.”

We asked Dhanji how important he thinks diversity is in business at the moment, to which he replied “critical”.“Now, more than ever, diversity in all forms is imperative for businesses to nurture innovation, gain a competitive edge, create a progressive workplace culture to attract […]

Why there is hope for the LGBT community despite Russia and Qatar World Cups

Why there is hope for the LGBT community despite Russia and Qatar World Cups

Last month, Argyle Pride were invited to an event at Wembley in conjunction with LGBT History Month.

Hosted by the Chairman of the FA, Greg Clarke, the purpose of the evening was to highlight a multitude of good work done by the 41 current LGBT+ fan groups as well as give Greg Clarke the chance to show what he and his colleagues are doing in preparation for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022.

The host nations for the next two World Cups are far from ideal for LGBT fans wanting to support England in a hopeful yet ultimately disappointing national tournament.

This summer’s World Cup is being hosted by Russia; famed for it’s “LGBT propaganda" laws followed by Qatar in 2022 – one of a handful of nations where homosexuality is punishable with the death penalty.

Naturally, as official representatives of clubs from across the country, we are concerned for the safety of our fans at these tournaments.

The most immediate issue we face is staying safe in Russia this summer.While many people would ask, “Why do you even want to go?”, the bigger question is, “Why shouldn’t we?”The eyes of the world will be on Russia and they will be keen not to attract […]

Phil Anschutz donates $1m to Elton John LGBT Fund

Phil Anschutz donates $1m to Elton John LGBT Fund

AEG chairman Phil Anschutz has donated US$1 million to the Elton John Aids Foundation’s LGBT fund , which supports LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) people in need in sub-Saharan Africa.

Anschutz – who has previously come under fire for donating money to allegedly anti-LGBT organisations in the US – says the grant is “intended to emphasise that we support freedom of all people to live their lives peacefully, without interference from others”, and expresses his regret if his money has previously gone towards working against LGBT rights.

“Sexuality is among the most personal of issues, and it has never been my intent to weigh in on people’s private lives,”Anschutz (pictured) says in a statement to Variety . “I support the rights of all people and oppose discrimination and intolerance against the LGBTQ community. “I see this as a matter of basic human rights” “I see this as a matter of basic human rights. Our foundation supports a broad range of philanthropic causes. I regret if any money given to a charity for other purposes may have indirectly worked against these values. That was not my intention, it does not reflect my beliefs and I am committed to making sure our […]

DCF supports bills letting adoption agencies refuse LGBT couples on religious grounds | The Wichita Eagle

DCF supports bills letting adoption agencies refuse LGBT couples on religious grounds | The Wichita Eagle

The Kansas agency that oversees adoption and foster care supports legislation that would let organizations refuse placements with families — including gay and lesbian couples —based on religious beliefs.

The legislation would also prohibit Kansas Department for Children and Families and other parts of state government from denying contracts to agencies that refuse placements on religious grounds.

"By passing this bill, it is an opportunity for additional (child placement agencies) that have had concerns of working in Kansas in the past, to come along side DCF to locate and maintain homes in which to place Kansas’ children," DCF Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel said in a statement.

Meier-Hummel’s support for the bills came amid legislative hearings Tuesday. In written comments, she said that with more than 7,000 children in DCF custody, it is imperative the agency advocates for policies and law that encourage more child placement agencies, not fewer. Never miss a local story.

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SUBSCRIBE NOW "This bill addresses possible barriers that may be keeping CPAs from coming to Kansas to work with DCF," Meier-Hummel said.The legislation’s proponents contend faith-based adoption agencies would be forced to close if ever required […]