IRS to Monitor Facebook, Twitter for Tax Cheats

Via: RT

Published time: April 08, 2013 23:00

Is the IRS about to get too close for comfort? New reports brought to light by one privacy and data security expert suggest that this tax filing season the Internal Revenue Service may be monitoring social media for any clues of tax cheats.

According to Kristen Mathews, a partner attorney at law firm Proskauer Rose LLP who specializes in privacy and data security, there are reports that the IRS will be checking into individual Facebook and Twitter accounts for improprieties.

Though the agency says that it will only conduct such monitoring if a tax form raises a red flag, it is somewhat unclear to what extent it will be capable of delving into social media accounts.

Social media tools used by marketing companies, for example, are capable of conducting widespread searches for certain keywords, and though they can often take advantage of small “loopholes” in Facebook privacy settings, they are generally limited to publicly divulged information.

Data mining is now widespread on social media, as companies often use Twitter buzz and comments left on Facebook to measure consumers’ thoughts on particular products, or to get ahead of a potential public relations issue.

In regards to government monitoring of social media, there are already plenty of instances where information collected through both Twitter and Facebook has been used to file criminal charges against individuals. Just last week, New York officials announced the indictment of 63 East Harlem gang members, whose movements were tracked with the help of clues they left behind on their social media accounts.

Read more: here

Anything you do can and will be used against you…
Does this bother anyone?
-Moose

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Genetically Modified Crops Protected By New Budget Bill

Via: Last Resistance

by Dave Jolly

Genetically modified crops are not just those that have been selectively bred, but they have had their DNA modified in some way as to make them more pest resistant and produce better yields. In many cases genes from other plants or even bacteria have been added to the DNA of a specific plant.

This process has caused great concern among some that question whether the plants with modified genes are safe for human consumption or if there may be any long-term effects from the continual eating of these plants. There have been numerous challenges to the use of genetically modified crops in the marketplace.

Companies such as Monsanto often control the patents on these genetically modified crops, but like pharmaceutical companies do on their name brand drugs. In 2011, the genetically modified seed also known as biotech seeds business generated over $13 billion. Needless to say it has become a major player in the agricultural world, and these companies are starting to exert their influence in Washington DC.

Political Action Committees working on behalf of biotech seed companies have been making significant contributions to politicians in the last few years. According to one report, the contributions since 2009 have been:

7.5 million for current members of Congress

$372,000 to members of this Senate Appropriations Committee

$71,000 to Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Appropriations Committee member received more than any other member, and the second-most received by any senator.

Monsanto alone has contributed $540,000 towards campaign funds. American Crystal Sugar reportedly has contributed $3.3 million. Other biotech companies contributing to PAC’s include: Archer Daniels Midland, American Farm Bureau, Cargill, Minn-Dak Farmers Coop, National Cotton Council, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Southern Minnesota Beat Sugar Coop, and Syngenta Corp.

That influence is so great that in the newly passed 2013 Continuing Resolution, which funds the federal government through the end of September, there contained a rider to protect companies like Monsanto. The rider known as the Monsanto Rider protects all genetically modified crops from any court order issued against their use. In other words if legal challenge to the safety of the use of any biotech seeds were to be raised in court, companies like Monsanto would be automatically issued a permit from the USDA allowing them to continue selling, cultivating, and planting the genetically modified crops in question.

Basically that means there is nothing that can legally be done to stop the biotech companies from producing, cultivating, and selling genetically modified crops that could be harmful to humans.

Read more: here

The best system money can buy…
Does this bother anyone else?
-Moose