Bezos Uber Alles? Homeland Security’s Biometrics Database Moves To Amazon’s Cloud

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09-05-20 07:53:00,

Authored by Aaron Boyd via NextGiov.com,

The Office of Biometric Identity Management released a privacy impact assessment as the program begins moving the nation’s biometric database to Amazon’s GovCloud…

The Homeland Security Department is in the midst of migrating its central biometric database – used to store, manage and disseminate biometric data on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals – to the Amazon Web Services GovCloud, the first step in a major overhaul of the decades-old legacy system.

With significant advancements in biometric technologies – like iris and facial scans – and computing technology, DHS decided it was time to upgrade its decades-old Automated Biometric Identification System, known as IDENT, originally developed in 1994. In 2015, the Office of Biometric Identity Management began work on the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology, or HART, system, which will introduce new capabilities and shift the entire system to the cloud.

OBIM officially began the shift from IDENT to HART this year, including finalizing a privacy impact assessment for the first phase: migrating existing data and functionality to the cloud. The impact statement was finalized and signed in February and subsequently published in May “to align with the completion of other system requirements,” a DHS spokesperson told Nextgov.

The HART system is being rolled out in four phases, or “increments,” each with its own timetable and privacy impact assessment to be published. Increment 1 focuses on the underlying infrastructure development and ensuring the data and applications used in IDENT make a smooth transition to the cloud.

“HART Increment 1 implements a new data architecture, which includes conceptual, logical, and physical data models, a data management plan, and physical storage of records where each associated record may have multiple associated biometric modality images,” the document states. That work is being done through a $95 million contract with Northrop Grumman.

The privacy impact assessment walks through how the system will be used and by which federal agencies and partners, as well as some of the basic underlying biometric technologies, such as the various forms of facial recognition.

Once the cloud migration is complete,

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Bezos And Other Corporate Execs Sold Billions In Stock Before COVID-19 Rocked Market

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26-03-20 08:50:00,

Jeff Bezos and other corporate executives across the country sold approximately $9.2 billion in shares of their own companies between early February and the end of last week, salvaging potential losses of up to $1.9 billion, according to an analysis of more than 4,000 regulatory filings by the Wall Street Journal.

The largest seller was the richest man in the world – Jeff Bezos, who sold $3.4 billion in Amazon shares the first week of February, right before the market peaked – which avoided paper losses of approximately $317 million through March 20. The sale constituted roughly 3% of his holdings – and was nearly as much stock as he sold during the previous 12 months.

And while there is no indication that executives sold shares based on inside information – and the Journal notes that executives often sell shares early in the year for tax purposes, the amount of stock sold by US execs was up around 1/3 vs. the same period from the last two years according to the report.

Other execs who sold include BlackRock’s Laurence Fink, and IHS Markit’s Lance Uggla.

While Mr. Bezos’s sales accounted for more than a third of the 2020 sales, thousands of other insiders sold stock. More than 150 executives and officers individually sold at least $1 million worth of stock in February and March after having sold no stock in the previous 12 months, the Journal analysis found.

Wall Street executives also sold large dollar amounts, including Laurence Fink, CEO of BlackRock Inc., who sold $25 million of his company shares on Feb. 14, pre-empting potential losses of more than $9.3 million and Lance Uggla, CEO of IHS Markit Ltd., a data and analytics firm, who sold $47 million of his shares around Feb. 19. Those shares would have dropped in value by $19.2 million if Mr. Uggla had retained them. A spokesperson said the shares were sold under a preset plan. –Wall Street Journal

A BlackRock spokesman said that Fink’s sales were a small percentage of his overall holdings (under 5% according to his latest filing),

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Bezos Reveals His Ugly Vision For The World He’s Trying To Rule

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12-05-19 12:00:00,

“Guess what the best planet is in this solar system?” asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a recent media event on his Blue Origin space program.

“It’s easy to know the answer to that question,” he continued. “We’ve sent robotic probes like this one to all of the planets in our solar system. Now, some of them have been fly-bys, but we’ve examined them all. Earth is the best planet. It is not close. This one is really good.”

Bezos then went on to discuss his plan to ship humans off of the best planet in the solar system and send them to live in floating cylinders in space.

Bezos claimed that the growing human population and growing energy consumption will force us to make a choice between “stasis and rationing” and “dynamism and growth”, and claimed that the latter item in his dichotomy is possible only by moving humans off the planet.

“If we’re out in the solar system, we can have a trillion humans in the solar system, which means we’d have a thousand Mozarts and a thousand Einsteins,” Bezos said. “This would be an incredible civilization. What would this future look like? Where would a trillion humans live? Well it’s very interesting, someone named Gerry O’Neill, a physics professor, looked at this question very carefully and he asked a very precise question that nobody had ever asked before, and it was, ‘Is a planetary surface the best place for humans to expand into the solar system?’ And he and his students set to work on answering that question, and they came to a very surprising–for them–counterintuitive answer: No.”

Bezos went on to describe how the limited surface areas, distance, and gravitational forces of the other planets in our solar system make settling on those planets impractical and cost-prohibitive, while constructing giant space cylinders closer to Earth which can hold a million people is far more practical. These cylinders would spin to replicate Earth’s gravitational pull with centrifugal force.

Here are some illustrations Bezos used in his presentation to show us what these “O’Neill colonies” might look like:

“These are really pleasant places to live,” Bezos said.

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Jeff Bezos Protests the Invasion of his Privacy as Amazon Builds a Sprawling Surveillance State For Everyone Else

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08-02-19 08:38:00,

The National Enquirer has engaged in behavior so lowly and unscrupulous that it created a seemingly impossible storyline: the world’s richest billionaire and a notorious labor abuser, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as a sympathetic victim.

On Thursday, Bezos published emails in which the Enquirer’s parent company explicitly threatened to publish intimate photographs of Bezos and his mistress, which were apparently exchanged between the two through their iPhones, unless Bezos agreed to a series of demands involving silence about the company’s conduct.

In a perfect world, none of the sexually salacious material the Enquirer was threatening to release would be incriminating or embarrassing to Bezos: it involves consensual sex between adults that is the business of nobody other than those involved and their spouses. But that’s not the world in which we live: few news events generate moralizing interest like sex scandals, especially among the media.

The prospect of naked selfies of Bezos would obviously generate intense media coverage and all sorts of adolescent giggling and sanctimonious judgments. The Enquirer’s reports of Bezos’ adulterous affair seemed to have already played at least a significant role, if not the primary one, in the recent announcement of Bezos’ divorce from his wife of 25 years.

Beyond the prurient interest in sex scandals, this case entails genuinely newsworthy questions because of its political context. The National Enquirer was so actively devoted to Donald Trump’s election that the chairman of its parent company admitted to helping make hush payments to kill stories of Trump’s affairs, and received immunity for his cooperation in the criminal case of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, while Bezos, as the owner of the steadfastly anti-Trump Washington Post, is viewed by Trump as a political enemy.

All of this raises serious questions, which thus far are limited to pure speculation, about how the National Enquirer obtained the intimate photos exchanged between Bezos and his mistress. Despite a lack of evidence, MSNBC is already doing what it exists to do – implying with no evidence that Trump is to blame (in this case, by abusing the powers of the NSA or FBI to spy on Bezos). But, under the circumstances, those are legitimate questions to be probing (though responsible news agencies would wait for evidence before airing innuendo of that sort).

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Jeff Bezos Earns More In 30 Seconds Than The Average Worker Makes In A Year

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09-12-18 09:16:00,

Have you ever wondered how long it takes for the world’s wealthiest captains of industry to earn what you make in a year? For many, the reality is too depressing to fathom.

But for any curious parties eager to learn the painful truth, ABC Finance has created a series of infographics that break down how much the world’s wealthiest people earn – and how it compares to the average salary for regular non-billionaire workers.

While millions of Americans no doubt enjoyed some degree of schadenfreude watching the correction in FAANG stocks wipe out nearly $1 trillion of value from the largest US tech firms: Mark Zuckerberg alone has lost nearly $100 billion of his personal wealth since the beginning of 2018, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has lost as much as $13 billion or more in a single day. But that doesn’t change the fact that the world’s billionaires enjoyed their highest-earning year on record in 2017 as their wealth increased by a combined $9 trillion.

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Helped by the asset-friendly policies of the world’s largest central banks, the wealthiest 1% of the world now owns nearly half the wealth. The 54 billionaires living in the 54 UK alone have an aggregate $160 billion in wealth, equivalent to over 6% of Britain’s GDP. Meanwhile, the average worker earns about $37,000 a year. Virgin CEO Richard Branson earns that amount in roughly 25 minutes.

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Even more galling, Facebook CEO earns the same sum every 60 seconds. Bezos earns the same sum every 28 seconds.

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Here’s how the distribution of billionaires breaks down for every continent:

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Curious to see how your own earnings stack up? ABC Finance has developed a comparison tool that can help determine how your wealth stacks up against the mega-rich.

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