dave ungar

How Much Black Licorice Does It Take To Overdose?

The trinity of divisive Halloween candies is made up of candy corn, marshmallow peanuts, and of course black licorice — perhaps the treat most likely to elicit either only joy or rage when it’s put into one’s candy sack. But there’s one thing that even those who stand firmly on the “love” side of this unbridgeable, anise-flavored chasm should know: When it comes to black licorice, there is such a thing as too much. [More]

bikeoid

Everything You Need To Know To Get Started With Obamacare Open Enrollment

Despite repeated Congressional and Executive branch efforts, the full Affordable Care Act is still in place. That means insurance-shopping season is nearly upon us: Open Enrollment begins Nov. 1 (and ends Dec. 15). But there’s less money being spent on advertising and outreach this year, which means even the basics can be hard to get solid information about. So here’s our when-and-where of getting yourself covered for 2018. [More]

Wade Morgen

5 Things Experts Say You Should Know About Obamacare Open Enrollment

If anything is true of 2017, it is this: Confusion reigns. And nowhere do we see that more than in healthcare, where failed repeal attempts, executive orders, sudden, out-of-the-blue policy changes, and general unpredictable chaos have dominated the news.

But the fact remains that Americans still need access to medical care, and for those who don’t have insurance through their employer or the government, the 2018 Open Enrollment period for individual insurance plans officially begins on Nov. 1. So what are the things everyone should know, but which may have been overlooked amid the maelstrom? [More]

Chris Wilson

White House Declares Opioid Crisis Is Public Health Emergency. Now What?

It’s pretty clear to anyone who has been paying attention that the opioid abuse epidemic in America has reached emergency status. But it’s one thing for people to casually use that term and another for the White House to actually declare a “Public Health Emergency.” Here’s why. [More]

Mike Silva

Congress: No, We Totally Might Mess With Your 401(k) In This Tax Plan

Even though President Trump recently promised that your 401(k) retirement accounts would not be negatively affected by the ongoing effort to cut taxes, the folks in Congress who are actually deciding what tax laws will be changed say that putting limits on retirement plans is still a distinct possibility. [More]

FCC

FCC Votes To Let Phone Companies, Cops Identify Anonymous Callers Behind Bomb Threats

There are many legitimate reasons to hide or mask your Caller ID information but there are an increasing number of people who abuse this ability, not just for prank calls or telemarketing, but to phone in bomb threats or make other menacing calls — particularly to schools and religious centers. In an effort to make it easier for law enforcement respond to these threats, the Federal Communications Commission has approved a proposal that will allow phone companies to share certain Caller ID information with the police. [More]

What Can Voice-Activated Device Makers Legally Do With Recordings Of Kids’ Voices?

What Can Voice-Activated Device Makers Legally Do With Recordings Of Kids’ Voices?

From your watch to your TV to your crockpot to your kids’ toys, the products we use in our home are increasingly voice-activated. Unlike previous generations of devices, these newer ones are listening, getting smarter, adapting to multiple users with different accents and cadences. To do that, they listen to, record, and often transmit recordings, of everyone in earshot of the device — including kids, whose private details are specifically protected by federal law, but who sometimes end up ordering hundreds of dollars worth of cookies. So how can Amazon, Google, Apple, or any tech company legally make an always-on device that doesn’t violate your little one’s privacy? [More]

Steven Depolo

Trump Promises Tax Overhaul Will Not Include Cuts To 401(k) Plans

The Republican tax outline currently calls for large scale cuts to some taxes but has not yet provided much in the way of detail about how some of the government would offset some of those revenue losses. Recent reports said that the GOP was looking at lowering the maximum amount you can contribute to your 401(k) retirement savings — a proposal that chafed more than a few Americans. Now, President Trump is claiming that the tax plan will not touch your 401(k). [More]

Tom Raftery

Twitter Puts Timeline On Curbing Hateful Abuse; For Real This Time. No, Seriously

Ever since it gave birth to its first anonymous, hateful egg, Twitter has been promising to do something to repair its reputation as a verbal battle royale of vitriolic threats and malicious dog-piling. After a decade of half-steps (and steps back, in some cases), Twitter has now given an actual timeline for when it will implement what it hopes are policy changes that will result in a less menacing social media platform — but can Twitter actually stuff its nasty genie back in the bottle? [More]

frankieleon

Will Republican Tax Cuts Mean Lower Limit On 401(k) Contributions?

Some people with 401(k) retirement plans will put as much money into it as they can, but there are whispers that the tax cuts being drafted by Republicans in Congress could reduce the maximum amount of money you contribute to your retirement savings each year. [More]

Brad Clinesmith

Frontier Still Overbilling Some Customers More Than A Year After Aquiring Them From Verizon

In 2015, Frontier announced it would be acquiring Verizon’s old-school, copper-wire landline networks in California, Florida, and Texas for a cool $10.54 billion. The transition took place in early 2016, but some subscribers say that 18 months later, they’re still having trouble with the handoff. [More]

Louis Abate

Patent Trolls, Big Pharma Try To Use Native Tribes To Skirt Patent Review

There are always patent lawsuits and challenges happening around the country. But the new trend in patent suits — from major, established drug companies to fly-by-night outfits alike — seems to be an attempt to get a leg up by using tribal sovereignty to avoid certain parts of the process. [More]

Brad Clinesmith

Trump Changes Mind, Comes Out Against Bipartisan Obamacare Stabilization Bill

If you feel like you’re getting whiplash just from trying to follow the healthcare policy debate in Washington, you’re not alone; the hits in this saga have been coming seemingly nonstop. After saying the federal government would no longer pay certain subsidies that make the insurance marketplace work, President Trump at first seemed to support a bill that would create short-term stability. But that was yesterday. Today, he’s apparently changed his mind and is now against it.
[More]

Norwegian Consumer Council | YouTube

The Many Ways In Which Your Kid’s Smartwatch Can Be Hacked

Most of us aren’t going to spend hundreds of dollars on an Apple Watch for our kids, but there are many less-expensive, kid-targeted smartwatches available. Unfortunately, a new report claims that your young one’s tiny screen may also be a huge privacy risk. [More]

Facebook

Facebook May Go For LinkedIn’s Jugular With New Resumé Features

While Facebook is, by far, the dominant “social” networking site, it’s rarely used for professional networking. Instead, people go to places like Microsoft’s LinkedIn when it comes time to look for a job or just put their resumés out there. But in Facebook’s quest to be all things to all users, it is testing new features that mimic much of what you’d see on LinkedIn. [More]

Geoff Myers

Researchers Discover WiFi Vulnerability Affecting Basically Every Device On Earth

Well, there’s cheerful news to start off the week: Researchers have discovered and disclosed a massive WiFi vulnerability that puts everyone’s private data at risk. How massive? Basically, if you can read this story, congratulations — you’re almost certainly affected. [More]

opacity

Increased Use Of Machine Learning, Facial Recognition Outs Sex Workers’ Real Names

If you operate a video-sharing site with millions of user-uploaded clips, it sounds like a great idea to use software that is smart enough to identify some of the faces in those videos. The clips would be indexed more accurately, you might be able to more readily identify copyrighted content, but you could also be risking the privacy — and maybe the physical well-being — of those identified by the software. [More]

Equifax Takes Part Of Its Website Offline Over Concerns About Malware

Equifax Takes Part Of Its Website Offline Over Concerns About Malware

Following a report that its consumer-facing website may have been serving up malware to visitors, Equifax — the credit bureau that seems intent on finding every way possible to ruin your day — has pulled some of its web pages offline. [More]