Congressmen: We can’t trust hacked federal agency to hold sensitive data

ted lieu
Congressman Ted Lieu, of California, doesn’t want the hacked federal agency OPM to house sensitive personnel records anymore.

Now that hackers have stolen millions of federal personnel records, two Congressmen say the government agency that lost them should no longer be trusted to protect sensitive documents.

Hackers stole 21.5 million personnel records from the government’s human resources department, the Office of Personnel Management. That included 5.6 million fingerprints on file.

OPM knew who had security clearances to know government secrets. Experts warned this could put American spies at risk and sure enough, the U.S. pulled spies from China after the hack.

U.S. Congressmen Ted Lieu and Steve Russell want to prevent that from happening again.

They say any list of who has security clearances — which Americans know state and military secrets — is itself sensitive information. And it belongs at a place that knows how to protect spies.

On Wednesday, the politicians laid out their suggestions in a letter. It was addressed to a special council, one put together by the Obama administration in the wake of the data breach to review how the government handles records.

CNNMoney obtained a copy of that letter.

It’s still unclear who did it. Some in law enforcement quietly point to China. Just last week, however, National Intelligence Director James Clapper said investigators still aren’t sure.

But what is clear now is

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AT&T turns on Wi-Fi Calling for iPhone users

att fcc fight

If you’re an ATT customer with an iPhone 6 or newer — you can now make calls over Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Fi Calling feature enables your phone to automatically switch to a Wi-Fi connection for regular calls when cell signals are low or unavailable, and Wi-Fi is available.

Your phone will also send text messages over Wi-Fi in the same situation.

You don’t have to use or log into any separate apps. You just have to make sure you’re running iOS 9.

To set it up, open Settings and click on Phone. Under the Calls section, turn on Wi-Fi Calling.

There is no additional cost to set this up, but Wi-Fi calls can only be made for free if they’re between U.S., Puerto Rico, or U.S. Virgin Island numbers. Fees apply for international calls.

Text messages sent over Wi-Fi also count toward any monthly service plan limits.

ATT (T, Tech30) turned on Wi-Fi Calling on Thursday.

T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) have had the feature on their networks for a couple of years now. The other two carriers also allow many more phones to use Wi-Fi calling than ATT.

T-Mobile has 19 compatible phones. And it comes standard on most of Sprint’s Android phones, as well as iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.

Related: iOS 9 has a Wi-Fi Assist

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Former Apple CEO on making of Steve Jobs movie

Fmr. Apple CEO reviews Steve Jobs movie

Former Apple CEO John Sculley is a long-time fan of Aaron Sorkin. So when the legendary screenwriter approached him for script research on “Steve Jobs,” Sculley was very happy to help.

Sorkin met with Sculley four times while making the film. The ex-CEO shared stories about Apple (AAPL, Tech30) history, his relationship with Jobs and Jobs’ relationships with others.

“[Sorkin’s] a brilliant screenwriter,” Sculley said. “While [the dialogue] may not have been the exact words that were spoken, it represented the kind of dialogue that said ‘yes, that’s that person.”

That includes himself, played by Jeff Daniels in the film. Sculley was very impressed with the way Daniels absorbed aspects of his personality.

“I couldn’t believe how … he actually captured how I was feeling going through some of the most intense scenes,” Sculley said.

Sculley visited the set and spoke with both Daniels and Michael Fassbender, who plays Jobs. He shared favorite memories with them, including a late night in the Mac lab with both Jobs and Bill Gates. Sculley, who had recently transitioned from a top job at Pepsi, was shocked by their focus entirely on “the noble cause,” as opposed to profit. Both Jobs and Gates were dedicated to the creation of the personal computer, and the possibilities it could

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On-demand economy like ‘Wild, Wild West’

good work code

Flexibility, livable wages and room for growth. These are just a few things that make up a “good” job.

That’s according to the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which wants to make sure the growing number of on-demand jobs are good jobs.

This week, it announced an initiative called the Good Work Code, which aims to set standards for on-demand firms.

As it stands now, companies like Uber, Handy and Alfred are giving workers unprecedented flexibility. But many of these firms rely on contract workers to perform services, which means workers don’t get minimum wage, overtime compensation, unemployment insurance or protection from workplace discrimination. They aren’t entitled to benefits and don’t have the right to join a union.

Some have said the current options (contract workers or employees) are too limited for this new workforce. Regulatory constraints keep companies from testing out what new models might look like.

The Good Work Code has eight foundational pillars: safety, stability and flexibility, transparency, shared prosperity, a livable wage, inclusion and input, support and connection, growth and development.

The goal is to get companies to “pledge” to think about workers’ rights early on — and create policies in their best interest.

“Silicon Valley leaders and employers want to do the right thing, sometimes it’s just not clear how exactly to do that,” said Palak Shah, social innovations director at NDWA.

Shah spent months consulting with tech companies

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Lyft battles Uber for drivers with new perks

Lyft drivers
Lyft drivers at the ride-hailing company’s headquarters on Thursday, October 8.

Lyft and Uber aren’t just competing for passengers. The ride-hailing companies are also in a fierce battle for drivers.

On Thursday, Lyft announced a number of new programs intended to woo drivers, including discounted rental cars and gas, and a way to get paid anytime.

The latest indication of the war?

Thirty minutes after Lyft emailed drivers inviting them to the press event in San Francisco, Uber also emailed its local drivers with an invite for the exact same time. It asked them to bring a friend to an Uber office to sign up as a driver in exchange for $300 and lunch.

Many drivers work for both Lyft and Uber. Lyft offers perks like optional tips, which it says have topped $40 million this year. Uber has its own bonuses, including gas rebates and offering new drivers $500 for 25 rides.

Both companies are currently being sued by drivers who think they should be classified as employees, not contractors. Employee status would mean drivers are eligible for a number of benefits and possibly reimbursement for expenses like gas.

“We keep the company afloat but we’re not even employees,” said one of the Lyft drivers attending Thursday’s event.

While Lyft didn’t announce any plans to change drivers’ employment status, it is trying very hard to keep them happy with everything but.

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Facebook adds ‘Reactions’ to Like button feature

Prime Minister Modi: All governments should use social media

The Facebook “Like” officially has company — but it’s not a “Dislike” button.

On Friday, Facebook users in Ireland and Spain will be able to express a fuller range of emotions online with a set of new expressions and animated emojis.

There’s a throbbing heart for “Love,” a fuming face for “Angry,” a teary-eyed “Sad,” a laughing “Haha,” a surprised “Wow” and an eyes-closed smile for “Yay.”

Facebook (FB, Tech30) unsurprisingly calls the new feature “Reactions.”

facebook reaction gif

“We studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun,” Facebook product manager Chris Cox said in an announcement Thursday.

“As you can see, it’s not a ‘dislike’ button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly,” he added.

About a month ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was close to testing a “Dislike” button, but didn’t specify what format it would take.

Zuckerberg said that although a “Dislike” button has been one of the most asked-for features, he didn’t want to turn Facebook into a place where people voted posts up or down.

The bigger goal, he said,

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Get this: Americans ARE spending their gas savings

gas savings

The average American driver saved $360 this year on gas — nearly a dollar a day. So what are people doing with that “extra” money?

Americans claim they have been saving it, but that may be a fib.

When the JPMorgan Chase Institute looked at people’s actual bank account records, they found that about 80% of that money is going out the door.

“Every time you’re driving down the street, you see those gas prices,” says Diana Farrell, president of the JPMorgan Chase Institute. “It’s a reminder you have extra money in your pocket.”

Apparently, people have been especially excited to dine out more. Restaurants have seen a 20% jump in spending this year. No other category is experiencing that kind of bounce, and it might explain why restaurant chains like Olive Garden have been doing so well lately.

Related: Save or spend your gas savings?

America ARE spending

This new research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute is a bit of a surprise. The conventional wisdom this year is that Americans have not been spending their gas savings. Government data, in particular, have not shown much of a boost to spending.

Many prominent economists, including Fed chair Janet Yellen, have been perplexed that spending hasn’t risen more in 2015 as the economy has improved and gas prices remained so low.

But Farrell says part of the problem

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The glass bottle that aims to make drinking water beautiful

bkr bottle
Bkr says its water bottles can be a fashion statement.

Can drinking water be beautiful?

Bkr, a San Francisco-based company, thinks so. The company specializes in luxury glass water bottles that aim to make the experience more enjoyable.

“Drinking water is the foundation to being healthy and gorgeous,” co-founder Kate Cutler said.

“Customers tell us this is the one thing that has gotten them to drink water,” Winter said. “One woman said this bottle ‘makes drinking water a joy.’ Another said she rotates through her bottles at the beginning of each week, depending on her mood — she has like 20.”

The glass bottles are available online and in over 1,000 other stores in 14 countries, including luxury retailer Neiman Marcus.

“We’re disruptive because our water bottles are being sold in the luxury beauty departments, which is a strategic choice,” Cutler said.

Related: Jessica Alba launches new ‘Honest Beauty’ line

The company started with 500mL bottles before launching a larger 1L bottle. This week the brand unveiled a new size — the 250mL “Teeny.”

“We’re really customer focused,” Winter said. “Our customers want to completely say no to a disposable lifestyle — that includes the tiny plastic water bottles that have become popular.”

The 250mL size comes in eight colors and retails for $28. On October 26, bkr will also release a “Teeny” line of bottles with hearts on them.


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College loses bid to change name for $20 million donation

sandford and joan weill
Joan Weill, on the right, serves on the board for Paul Smith’s College and offered to donate $20 million.

Paul Smith’s College, a tiny school in upstate New York, got some great news: Philanthropist Joan Weill, a friend of the college, was ready to donate $20 million.

The only catch was the school would have to be renamed Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College. The college’s leadership was ready to oblige, but it had a problem.

Decades ago, when local businessman Phelps Smith donated the land on which the school is built, he stipulated in his will that it be named after his father and “be forever known as ‘Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Sciences.'”

Facing the prospect of a $20 million windfall, the college administration recently went to court to seek permission to rename the school anyway.

But this week, a local judge denied the college’s petition — leaving the fate of the $20 million donation unclear.

Joan Weill, who is the wife of former Citigroup (C) CEO and chairman Sanford I. Weill, was not available for comment Thursday.

The college declined to comment on the status of the donation. President Cathy Dove said school officials are “disappointed” by the judge’s ruling.

“We look forward to working with faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders as we address the challenges that we along with many other colleges face in this

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Chanos got China right. Now he’s betting against Elon Musk

The China bear's victory lap: Jim Chanos

Jim Chanos was betting against China long before it became the trendy thing to do.

As early as 2009 Chanos correctly realized China’s debt-fueled economy wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Back then it was a lonely call for the man who famously predicted Enron’s downfall. China, with its explosive growth, was among the brightest spots in the world.

Today his call looks brilliant. China’s current economic slowdown is striking fear in the hearts of investors around the world. It is struggling mightily as it transforms from a manufacturing and infrastructure-fueled economy into one built on consumers.

“That transition will be a lot rockier than people think,” Chanos told CNN’s Poppy Harlow this week from a book-lined conference room at his midtown Manhattan office. For the interview, Chanos wore a pair of cufflinks made of yuan, China’s currency.

His aha moment

The “aha” moment for Chanos came in 2009 when his real estate expert told him China had a stunning 5.6 billion square meters of real estate under development. Surely that must’ve been a mistake, Chanos thought, because that amounted to over 60 billion square feet.

“We figured out that was a five-foot-by-five-foot office cubicle for every man, woman and child in Asia,” he said. Soon after, he made the decision to bet against China.

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