Connect with us

Business

“Could a Tweet Start a War?” – Implications of the 2020 Twitter Hack

Published

3 minute read

On July 15, 2020, the social media world received a shock as a number of high-profile Twitter accounts were hacked in what Twitter referred to as a “social engineering attack”. Among the targets were the verified accounts of billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, as well as major political figures Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The coordinated attack has been identified as an elaborate Bitcoin scam, with the hacked accounts all sharing a variation of a similar message promising the public doubled funds in return for sending $1,000 Bitcoin within a 30 minute window. 

Twitter responded rapidly, removing the false tweets and suspending activity on a number of verified accounts while launching a full investigation. However, the incident has raised a number of concerns regarding cyber security and the potential dangers of a significant social platform with a major public following being turned into a forum for a personal political agenda.

With debates surrounding the Coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter movement continuing to dominate the social and political spheres around the world, social responsibility for celebrities and influencers remains at an all time high. In a digital world where the line between fact and fiction is often blurred and information travels entire continents in the blink of an eye, the Internet does not forgive, and it never forgets. In this reality, social channels such as Facebook and Twitter carry significant political weight. Statements by influential public figures absolutely have the power to fuel controversy, incite public action, bring people together or deepen the divide. 

According to Brandwatch, a total of 1.3 billion accounts have been created since Twitter’s inception, and there are approximately 330 million active monthly users, with 145 million users active daily. The combined public reach of the impacted accounts is extensive, with some of the largest audiences including Barack Obama’s 120.6 million followers and Bill Gates 51.2 million. 

With this kind of reach, the potential for the rapid dissemination of false information, negative narratives and damaging statements is untold. Although President Donald Trump was not among the accounts accessed, users have highlighted the dangerous possibilities if ever hackers were to gain access to Trump’s account for more malicious purposes than a Bitcoin scam. 

Twitter user @DotDotDot_John says, “A hacker could take over his account and say ANYTHING damaging both foreign and domestically. The possibilities are endless. The ramifications could be catastrophic.”
Another user, @Jar0fGhosts asks, “What if @realDonaldTrump’s account had been hacked, and a message was posted that the US is launching an attack on China, Russia, or North Korea? What would be their immediate response? Could a tweet start a war?” 

As Twitter works to contain the situation and undo the damage of yesterday’s incident, the public continues to debate the frightening potential of social media as a political weapon, adding #twitterhacked to 2020’s already outrageous timeline. 

For more stories, see Todayville Calgary.

International

‘Really, Really Difficult’: Bureaucrats Worry Behind Closed Doors They’ll Be Sent Packing Under Trump

Published on

From Heartland Daily News

“He’s going to get people in place that are more intelligent and are more loyal to him,” a park service employee said. “Now I think he could do a lot of damage.”

Government workers are reportedly in a state of panic over the prospect of former President Donald Trump winning another term in office, according to E&E News.

Bureaucrats up and down the federal hierarchy are concerned that a second Trump administration could cost them their jobs and put an end to liberal programs they worked to implement under President Joe Biden, E&E News  reported.  Trump has, if elected, pledged to implement reforms that would allow him to fire up to 50,000 civil servants at will, with the former president singling out workers who are incompetent, unnecessary or undermine his democratic mandate.

“The first rendition of the Trump administration was really, really difficult, and we saw a mass exodus of employees retiring,” a National Park Service employee told E&E News. “If we do have an administration shift, other employees will also reconsider their positions and move to the private sector. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing.”

Of the civil servants that didn’t exit during Trump’s first term, many worked internally to deliberately obstruct his agenda, according to Miles Taylor, who served as chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019 and admitted to engaging in such behavior. Bureaucrats are worried that Trump may seek to appoint administrators who agree with his agenda this time around.

“He’s going to get people in place that are more intelligent and are more loyal to him,” a park service employee said. “Now I think he could do a lot of damage.”

To replace large numbers of federal employees, Trump would reclassify them as Schedule F employees, allowing him to fire them at will. The Biden administration finalized a rule in April that would prevent their status from being changed involuntarily, however, allies of the former president have shrugged off the rule by pointing out that a Trump administration could simply reverse it, according to The New York Times.

Amid fear that Trump’s plans may come to fruition, bureaucrats are making moves to ensure the Biden administration’s policies are as hard to repeal as possible, a senior employee at the Interior Department told E&E News.

“The concern hasn’t been focused on who the Democratic nominee is as much as concerns about Trump winning and what that would mean,” they said. “From everyone’s perspective it is get as much done as possible. Also trying to bury into the agency programs [like environmental justice] so they can survive a Trump administration.”

Conservatives are increasingly optimistic about Trump’s chances of defeating Biden in November as the president lags behind Trump in the polls and the Democratic Party grapples with internal disputes regarding whether or not he should be their nominee.

“The mood is somber and incredulous,” one long-time employee of the Department of the Interior told E&E News. “The hope is we will not suffer through another term with the prior leadership, but the fear [is] that if we do, they will target employees they don’t like, make things up to justify whatever punishment they want and just cripple the good work we are doing.”

Staff at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meanwhile, are also upset and agitated, the president of a union representing some of the agency’s employees told E&E News. “So many of our members lived through the absolutely disastrous first Trump administration and his attempted dismantling of EPA,” she said.

Originally published by The Daily Caller. Republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Agriculture

While Europeans Vacation, Denmark Attacks Livestock Farmers With Cow Tax

Published on

From Heartland Daily News

By Andrew Weiss

Economics aside, this policy will have no effect on global temperatures. Even if the entire European Union halted all emissions (including livestock) the global temperatures would be reduced by only 0.12 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, assuming the highest climate sensitivity to carbon.

As Europeans generate greenhouse gas emissions by driving or flying off on their long summer holidays, Denmark is trying to lower those emissions by taxing cow burps and flatulence to combat climate change.

The Danish government believes that taxing methane produced by animals will improve the lives of citizens by lowering global temperatures. Therefore, beginning in 2030, livestock farmers will be taxed $17 per ton of carbon dioxide-equivalent emitted by their livestock. That tax will increase to $43 by 2035.

The average cow emits the CO2 equivalent of about three tons per year in methane, so each cow will cost farmers $50 in 2030, reaching about $125 by 2035.

Other livestock such as sheep and pigs are also subject to the methane tax, but they emit less methane because of differences in the chemistry of their digestive systems.

But two professors—William A. van Wijngaarden of York University in Canada and William Happer of Princeton University—argue that restrictions on methane emissions are “not justified by facts.”

CO2 currently makes up about 420 ppm (parts per million), which is 0.042% of the atmosphere. Methane is a much lower 1.9 ppm, or about 0.0002% of the atmosphere.

Methane is increasing in the atmosphere at a rate of about 0.0076 ppm per year, while CO2 is increasing at a rate 300 times faster, or 2.3 ppm a year.

The methane molecule is about 30 times better at trapping heat than the carbon dioxide molecule. Therefore, methane contributes about one-tenth the warming of CO2.

Effect on the Economy

Denmark’s new animal tax will raise food prices. Prices for beef and milk will go up, percolating throughout the nation’s economy. Denmark’s economy contracted 1.8% last quarter and the inflation rate is 2.1%, but expect to see inflation increase with the new animal tax. The tax will disproportionately affect middle-income earners and the poor.

At the same time, farmers will see smaller profit margins. Some farmers will reduce their numbers of cows and shift to other animals or grain. Others might sell their farms and change occupations.

In America, the majority of beef farms are run by small operations. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 54% of farms with beef cattle had fewer than 20 cows. On such a farm, raising a cow costs about $900 per year.

A U.S. methane tax identical to Denmark’s would be the same as an additional 15% tax on cattle. This would be devastating to small ranchers who are already pinched by increased overhead costs.

The Danish policy taxes carbon at $43 per ton. This so-called social cost of carbon is priced even higher here in America, and is an easily manipulated price tag that the government puts on carbon emissions.

Last fall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed $190 per ton as the social cost of carbon to make its policies seem worth the regulatory burden. If taxed at this price level, a 20-cow operation would owe Uncle Sam an additional $11,000 per year.

Effect on Carbon Emissions

All 1.5 million cows in Denmark account for about 0.1% of the European Union’s annual 3.6 billion tons of greenhouse emissions.

The chart below compares greenhouse gas emissions by Danish cattle to emissions in all of Denmark and in the entire European Union.

When it comes to the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, CO2 emitted in Denmark is no different than CO2 emitted anywhere else in the world.

If Danish lawmakers are concerned about CO2-caused climate change, the cost of the tax policy needs to be weighed against the global effect on emissions.

In 2022, India emitted 189 million metric tons more than it did in 2021. This is more than four times the entire carbon footprint of Denmark.

Effect on Global Climate

Economics aside, this policy will have no effect on global temperatures. Even if the entire European Union halted all emissions (including livestock) the global temperatures would be reduced by only 0.12 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, assuming the highest climate sensitivity to carbon.

These numbers are calculated using The Heritage Foundation’s climate calculator, which uses a government climate model. (You can use the calculator for yourself here.)

From Denmark to California

Although such policies may seem unlikely to take hold in freedom-loving America, similarly intrusive regulations already have been implemented across multiple sectors. These regulations affect everything in the U.S. from large-scale power plants and the automotive industry to everyday household items such as gas stoves, water heaters, and lawn equipment.

In some states, including New York and California, building codes now prohibit gas hookups in many new construction projects, denying residents the right to decide for themselves what energy sources to use.

As of Jan. 1, it became illegal to buy gas-powered lawn equipment such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers, or chainsaws in California. This law will cost landscaping businesses over $1 billion and raise the price of landscaping services, causing some to lose their jobs and business closures.

It is time to stop perpetuating the fairy tale that taxing cow burps will reduce global temperatures. Such regulations only increase food costs and inflation in general, making poverty even worse.

Andrew Weiss is a research assistant for domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Originally published by The Daily Signal. Republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Trending

X