Clinton Dodges Question About How to Screen Syrian Refugees

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The Syrian refugee crisis is turning into a gigantic mess for all of the countries in Europe that are involved. Now, the terrorist attacks in Paris bring to the forefront the need to properly screen refugees before they can enter a country. Considering that the United States is one of the countries committed to taking 200,000 refugees, knowing how to screen them is extremely important. Hillary Clinton had the opportunity to tell us all how she would do it and she decided against doing so.

Here’s a video that we made discussing this issue followed by the transcript if you’re one of those who prefer to read it (of if you just don’t like my voice):

As a conservative, it’s easy for me to watch the Democratic debates and shake my head with nearly every answer that is given. That’s the nature of divisive politics today as both sides tend to love what their candidates say and hate what their opponents say. With that said, I heard a question on the CBS News debate that caught my attention and actually made me excited to hear the answer.

Following the Islamic State’s terrorist attacks in Paris, CBS rightly changed the direction of some of their questions to address the important issue. A question came in from Twitter that I’d love to get an answer on from everyone, Democrat or Republican. The only candidate who got this question was Hillary Clinton and she answered it in a very Clintonesque way. Here’s the question:

Pretty straight forward. As one post I read pointed out, this was really an opportunity for her to knock it out of the park. It was practically designed for her with her experience at the State Department and it’s the type of question that President Obama must answer immediately. It may be the first time in two decades that I really wanted to hear something of substance from Clinton. I should have known better.

“I think that is the number one requirement. I also said that we should increase numbers of refugees. The administration originally said 10. I said we should go to 65, but only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine, whatever resources it takes.”

Okay, so now it’s getting a little scary. Whenever a Democrat invokes their favorite catchphrase of “whatever resources it take,” that means that they’ll take as many resources, AKA tax dollars, as they can get their hands on and still figure out a way to squander it. Nevertheless, at this point I braced for the substantive answer to this extremely important question.

“I do not want us to in any way inadvertently allow people who wish us harm to come into our country. But I want to say a quick word about what Senator Sanders and then Governor O’Malley said.”

Wait, what? Seriously? Did Hillary Clinton just invoke the bait and switch to effectively not answer the question she was given but rather change gears to a talk track that she had practiced with her campaign team? What about screening the Syrian refugees? That’s a very current and very important immediate need for this country.

The defense budget, which she’s about to discuss, has been set until the Presidential election is over and done with. We need to figure out right now how to prevent the tragedy in Paris from happening in an American city. She dodged it. She shamefully dodged a question that could have very easily been her defining moment in the debate. I guess in a way, her inability to answer it did become her defining moment in this debate as well as being a prelude to her Presidency if the American people chose to buy in to her rhetoric and misdirection. Let’s finish with her military babble response.

We do have to take a hard look at the defense budget, and we do have to figure out how we get ready to fight the adversaries of the future, not the past. But we have to also be very clear that we do have continuing challenges. We’ve got challenges in the South China Sea because of what China is doing in building up these military installations. We have problems with Russia. Just the other day, Russia allowed a television camera to see the plans for a drone submarine that could carry a tactical nuclear weapon. So we’ve got to look at the full range and then come to some decisions about having more streamlined and focused defense budget.

Look, I understand that there’s a lot of pressure being on stage and in front of a television audience of millions of people and she didn’t have weeks to memorize a canned response since the refugee crisis came back to center stage the night before, but certainly she could have offered some solution. She’s been doing this for three decades, including four years as Secretary of State. If any Democrat had the credentials to give us a real screening process that would address this issue, it should have been her.

Oh well.

As I said before, I’m a conservative, but I’d like to give some free advice to my progressive listeners out there. I don’t agree with Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley’s policies, but both of them are exponentially more trustworthy and honorable than Clinton and at least in the case of Sanders he’s much more intelligent and better prepared to handle the role of President of the United States. Hillary Clinton is an ethical mess and has demonstrated complete incompetence in her time as a politician. While part of me is foaming at the mouth at the prospects of her being the opponent in the general election, the honorable part of me hopes that you will all wake up and realize that she is not the person you want representing your party in any form or fashion. Thank you for listening.

Syrian Refugee Children

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Google Dodges Class Action Lawsuit Regarding Email Privacy While Marketing Questions Arise

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U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh denied a broad-based class action lawsuit against Google on March 18, 2014, which could have potentially cost Google billions of dollars in settlements. The controversy revolves around user assertions that Google is gathering data from private emails and using this information to craft personalized marketing campaigns. Koh decided to drop the class action lawsuit because the individual complaints seemed to be too divergent.

Privacy Concerns

It’s no wonder that class action lawsuits against large companies like Google are hitting the news, especially in the wake of privacy activists like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Multiple tech companies and governmental departments have been accused of illegal wiretapping and privacy breaches. So, it seems almost like an odd twist of fate that Google came out with better encryption to protect against NSA scrutiny in March 2014, the same month that their battle regarding email marketing and confidentiality was dropped. Private email content doesn’t seem so private anymore, if you believe Google has been analyzing your messages for marketing strategy ideas. Even if the system is automated, it’s possible for that data to be intercepted, stolen, or misused by the wrong parties.

What This Means for the Plaintiffs

The plaintiffs will not be able to reopen the lawsuit now that it has been denied. Basically, these individuals are now left with the option of taking legal action on a much smaller basis. Since their efforts have been splintered, it will become extremely difficult for users to pursue reparations for future privacy issues with Gmail. Taking individual action against Google also puts individuals at further risk for high legal fees and drawn-out legal battles.

This win for Google does send an alarming message to users who want to contend with the email giant in the future. Those who wish to place broad-based class action lawsuits in the future will need to find ways to demonstrate the similarity of their privacy and livelihood concerns.

What Companies Must Ask Themselves

When should you draw the line between someone’s personal data and your marketing plans? Email is an integral part of our lives, and over 500 million users rely specifically on Gmail to send and receive information. Companies are learning that they must tread lightly —  consumers are not taking privacy breaches lightly. This might require a certain amount of coordination between IT departments and marketing leaders to ensure that proper accountability is in place.

If your online service will be using customer data for marketing purposes, make sure that your user terms of service makes this completely transparent. Do your customers understand that they will be receiving promotional materials, and do they understand how ads are tailored to their liking?

Ultimately, security leaks and privacy misunderstandings can lead to costly legal battles that Google might be able to afford, while most small businesses cannot. It’s in most companies’ best interest to start reassessing the ways customer data is used for marketing. Doing so builds trust between brands and their customers.

Protecting Customer Privacy

In the wake of the Gmail controversy, businesses have started to rethink their approach to customer confidentiality and privacy. Many are starting with the CAN-SPAM Act, which is a federal law that regulates the use of commercial messages online. According to email marketing service provider GetResponse, “There are three basic requirements for any CAN-SPAM complaint footer: Unsubscribe link, privacy policy link, and physical street address.”

In addition to these CAN-SPAM parameters, there are other ways for organizations to secure client data:

  • + Use rotating passwords so that your accounts can’t be easily breached.
  • + Include passcode locks on any devices used for work, including mobile phone or tablets.
  • + Store data on encrypted storage devices that are located off-site.
  • + Set up encrypted, private Internet networks for employee use.
  • + Avoid using any customer data for actions that fall outside the scope of the user agreement or your company’s rules.
  • + Be as transparent as possible regarding collection and use of customer data.

This is by no means a comprehensive list for protecting customer data; however, these tips can get most businesses started. The integrity of data security can speak volumes to prospective customers.

The bullet that Google dodged last month is causing quite a stir among many startups and online service providers. Just when, exactly, has a company gone too far? Before companies start peeking into their own customers’ data, they need to consider the legality of correspondences, data collection, and marketing tactics.

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter at @LarryAlton3 and LinkedIn.

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