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Veritas News Network - Truth is Trending

Truth is trending on the Veritas News Network! VNN is an online publication featuring the news and is dedicated to in-depth investigative reporting with a consumer advocacy focus. Our Managing Editor is a veteran investigative journalist who has won dozens of awards.  Several categories of news are featured on the Veritas News Network include Citizen Journalism, Consumer News, Ripoffs & Scams, Consumer Advocacy, World News, US News, Crime, Economic News, Editorial & Opinion, Education, Health & Science, Human Rights, Investigative Reports, Investing, Legal News, Money, Personal Finance, Op-Ed, Politics, Technology, and Travel. Stories explored at depth on the Veritas News Network in our Citizen Journalism section include The New Democracy of News, Citizen Journalists: Rights, Risks, and Responsibilities, Whistleblower: The US Army and its Internal Culture War, Information Overload: Social Sharing and the Surrender of Privacy, and Unspoken Border Issues.  Topics investigated on VNN in our Consumer News section include Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CPFB) Tackles Mandatory Arbitration Clauses, State Farm Lloyd's to Refund $352 Million to Texas Homeowners, Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Frozen Water Pipes?, Appealing Arbitration Awards, Only 6% of Consumers Win Credit Card Arbitration, Before You Sign: Read the Fine Print, Arbitration: Attorneys General Speak Out, Changing Your Social Security Number, FTC Issues Follow-Up Study on Credit Report Accuracy, Online Payday Lending Companies to Pay $21 Million to Settle FTC Charges, and Operators of Scheme Targeting Hispanic Consumers Banned by Federal Trade Commission. Featured topics on VNN in our Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) section include The Secrets of Arbitration, The ABC's of Arbitration, The Fourth Estate: Media Ethics Disappear, Arbitration Undermines Homebuyers in Las Vegas Luxury Condos, Rolling Stone Raises Questions About Journalism Ethics, Immigration and Ferguson: A Country Divided, Tax Lien Investment Company PIP West Responds to Criticism, Is Your Local News A Scripted Fraud?, and Are Tax Lien Investments the Latest Real Estate Ripoff? Stories examined on VNN in our Investigative Reports section include Forced Arbitration: The End of Class Action?, Dying to Drink: College Binge Drinking Proves Fatal, Wrongful Convictions: The High Price of Justice Denied, Net Neutrality Sparks Protest, Facebook Claims Messenger 'Privacy Invasion' is False, Media Credentials: Crossing the Line, Student Loan Debt: Too Big to Fix?, No Legal Recourse for Lost Home: Texas Bar Dismissed Complaint, Citizen Journalism: Understanding the Freedom of Information Act, Arbitration: A Cheaper Alternative to Court?, Arbitration: An Unfair Advantage, Veterinarian Malpractice: Your Computer May Be Worth More Than Your Pet, Man Made Skies: Geoengineering for Climate Change?, Cyber-Stalkers: Online Predators Pose Offline Challenges, Protect Yourself Against ID Theft: The Laws May Not, The Fourth Estate: Shield Law, New Technology Beats Domestic Snooping, Gift Cards: Holiday Favorites But Susceptible to Scammers, Can the NCAA Adapt to Impending Change: Inside the Future of College Sports, NCAA: College Football's Supervisors Set to Collect Big on Bowl Games. Stories covered by VNN in our Human Rights Watch section include Citizen Journalism: Understanding Rights and Responsibilities, Raising the Shield: Free Flow of Information Act, From World's Policeman to Police State, Online Privacy in the Age of Everyday 'Big Brothers', Victims of Human Trafficking Hide in Plain Sight in Pennsylvania, Searching For Justice: Inmate's Death Caused by Jailers, Arbitration: Fair or A Scam Against The Public?, Officer Identified in Garner Killing: Death Ruled A Homicide, Lawsuit Alleges Southwest Airlines Secretly Records Calls. Topics explored on VNN in our Legal section include Civil Forfeiture: Policing For Profit Violates Civil Rights, Blind Justice: Arbitrators Have Immunity From Lawsuits, Herbalife Settles Class Action for $15 Million, Online Dating Service Fined by FTC for Fake Profile Scheme, New York Cracks Down on Portfolio Recovery Associates, Debt Collectors: Harassing the Elderly, FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges Against Snapchat, TracFone Settles FTC Complaint for $40 Million, Exoneration of the Wrongfully Convicted Reaches Record High, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Loan Officers Accused of Taking Kickbacks, Chimpanzee Loses Bid for Habeas Corpus, Sony Settles False Advertising Claim with the Federal Trade Commission, Civil Forfeiture: Bank Accounts and More At Risk, Municipalities Take Big Pharma to Court, Slander Suit Reinstated Against Boeheim and Syracuse University, Facebook Sues Paul Ceglia's Lawyers, Federal Trade Commission Halts Online Credit Score Scheme. Featured topics on VNN in our Education section include The Hidden Face of Student Loan Debt, College Crime Transparency Required Under Federal Law, Colleges Cut Student Work Hours to Avoid Healthcare Costs, No Easy Fix: Death, Taxes, and Student Loan Debt. Stories reported on VNN in our Investing, Ripoffs & Scams, Health & Science, and Money sections include New York Attorney General Sues Over Fraudulent Mortgage Scheme, Tax Lien Investing, R&J Consulting: Another Scam Debt Collector?, Arbitration 101: How it Impacts the Everyday Consumer, Phone Scammers Target Microsoft Users, Scammed Real Estate Investor Continues Fight for Justice, 43 Million Americans Strapped With Medical Debt, Feds Hope to Spur Struggling Housing Market, Monsanto Blamed for Decline of Monarch Butterflies, Obscure Law Shields Vaccine Manufactures from Liability: National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Pays Out Billions, Ebola: Playing the Race Card, House Republicans Call for Ebola Travel Ban, McDonald's Aims to Debunk Pink Slime, Plastic, and Rot-Fail Myths, New Jersey Issues Mandatory Ebola Quarantine for NBC News Crew, Stanford Researchers Unlock the Peanut Allergy in DNA, Smartphone Apps: The Future of Health, New Healthcare Law Redefines 'Insurance', New Nutrition Science Means New Food Labels, New Cholesterol Guidelines Take Aim at Heart Attacks and Strokes. Featured US News, Politics, and Tech stories on VNN include Dropbox Denies Breach: Claims Cloud Service Wasn't Hacked, DEA Sued For Creating Fake Facebook Account in Drug Sting, Brinksmanship Continues Between President Obama and GOP, Kmart Added to List of Data Breaches, American Arbitration Association Launches New Consumer Rules, Jimmy Johns and Dairy Queen Added to LIst of Data Breaches, Center for Immigration Studies: Immigrant Families Benefit Significantly from Obamacare, Dali Lama Protesters Take to New York City Streets, Is Uber Saving Lives?, Sales Tax Could Be Coming to Online Purchases, Runaway Afghanistan Soldiers Seek Asylum, Fighting the Penalty of Free Speech, Detroit Bankruptcy: Michigan Governor Testifies, Congress to Speaker Boehner: Cancel Recess, eBay Seeks to Dismiss Data Breach Lawsuit, Apple's Watch: Connecticut AG Questions Health Privacy, Hotel Owners Seek Ability to Block Guest WiFi Access, FCC to Vote on Net Neutrality, Dread Pirate Roberts: The Lord of the Silk Road Confounds Expectations, Wal-Mart Claims Tracy Morgan is Responsible For His Injuries. Apple Won't Turn Over Data for Most iPhones Even With Search Warrant. Concise 'News Briefs' on a diversity of topics include Presidential Plan to Raise Capital Gains Taxes, Hershey's Launches Chocolate Way on Britain, FCC Regulates Internet Service as a Utility, New Jersey Supreme Court Says Arbitration Terms Must Be Clear, Wal-Mart Settles NY False Advertising Case, Air Marshal Whistleblower Case Headed to Supreme Court, Casinos Crumbling: Grim News for Gamblers, Price-Fixing in the German Beer Industry, Can Obamacare Succeed Without Young Adults?, Judge Rules NSA Tactics Unconstitutional, Carnival Offers Glimpse Into Shipboard Crime, Israel Ready For Unilateral Action Against Iran, Gay Marriage Legalized in New Jersey, and $100 Million Charity Fraud Case Begins in Ohio. Storied featured in VNN's Economy & Investing category include Minimum Wage: Coming to a State Near You, Chinese Tycoon Fails to Buy the New York Times, Buying Social Media Credibility, Netflix CEO Salary Is Worth Every Penny, Fast Food Workers Demand Higher Pay, Twitter Goes Public With a High Profile IPO, SAC Capital Advisors Hit WIth largest Insider Trading Fine Ever, US Citizens Renouncing Citizenship in Record Numbers, and Lukewarm Bipartisan Budget Bill Nears Approval. Topics explored and investigated at depth on VNN include the American Arbitration Association, arbitration, arbitration clause, Ebola, Federal Trade Commission, Obamacare, arbitrator, Palms Place, Facebook, mandatory arbitration, data hacking, President Barack Obama, Target, data breach, social media, Apple, Twitter, FCC, ripoff, AAA, class action lawsuit, CDC, government shutdown, President Obama, Edward Snowden, scams, citizen journalism, student loan debt, NY, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Rolling Stone, FTC, Congress, China, tax liens, FBI, whistleblower, identity theft, illegal immigration, consumer rights, wrongful conviction, forced arbitration, Federal Arbitration Act, arbitration agreement, false advertising, Home Depot, IRS, UVA, John Boehner, Google, New Jersey, iPhone, Microsoft, government health care, smart watch, Samsung, Sony, Social Security, Affordable Care Act, McDonalds, expatriates, communist party, PIP Group, tax lien scam, PIP group scam, Amazon, minimum wage, climate change, NCAA, ESPN, college football, Bowl Championship Series, NSA, NBC, Netflix, health apps, YouTube, selfie, internet privacy, phishing, scammer, New York Times, Texas, Supreme Court, cyber security, First Amendment, 1st Amendment, JP Morgan Chase, DHS, shield law, CNN, mainstream media, privacy, real estate scam, income property investing, journalist, DHS, Department of Homeland Security, conflict of interest, arbitrators, Palms Casino, Palms Place condos, wrongful imprisonment, consumer protection, confidentiality clause, binding arbitration, arbitration fees, terms of service, FCC, Federal Communication Commission, broadband, Wal-Mart, New York State Attorney General, Las Vegas, House of Representatives, Washington State, Greenspun Corporation, Greenspun vs Stephens Media, Do Not Call Registry, privacy policy, public citizen, Jimmy John's, security breach, Kmart, Neiman Marcus, Amazon Prime, LP, White House, Dairy Queen, travel ban, West Africa, South Carolina Department of Health, New York State Court of Appeals, healthcare costs, civil forfeiture, journalism ethics, debt collection, payday loans, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB, net neutrality, Arizona State University, telemarketing scheme, JAMS, Construction SuperConference 2014, inheritance tax, Android, real estate, science, capital gains tax, property tax foreclosure, Washington DC, Tropical Storm Karen, Hurricane Karen, hurricane season, Gulf of Mexico, health care website, online health insurance enrollment, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Gravity, George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, box office, furlough, weight loss, eating disorders, charity fraud, US News, Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, nomination, HP, cloud computing, Speaker Boehner, debt ceiling, Mississippi, gay marriage, Governor Christie, Healthcare.gov, healthcare computer problems, Health and Human Services, convention, AMC series, zombie apocalypse, 3D Mapping, monument mapping, iPad Air, MacBook Pro, Mavericks OS, NSA leaks, cell phone surveillance, Charlie Crist, Florida, governor race, Democrat, Republican, Saudi Arabia, women driving, religious clerics, equal rights, Michael Jackson, Conrad Murray, Cuban Embargo, UN General Assembly, Blue Cross Blue Shield, John F. 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Now displaying: January, 2016
Jan 27, 2016

New York State has agreed to a major overhaul in the way solitary confinement is administered in the state’s prisons.

The move to significantly reduce the number of inmates held in isolation and improve living conditions is the result of a lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The state recently announced a five-year, $62 million agreement that is expected to result in a number of reforms.

Under the provisions of the agreement

New York state will immediately move roughly 1,100 inmates into alternative programs. There are approximately 60,000 inmates currently housed in New York prisons.

The state will also develop training programs for corrections officers designed to encourage the use of forms of discipline and security other than isolation. Prisoners still held in solitary for more than 180 days will receive additional counseling, social time, and access to telephones.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the changes “will result in a safer correctional system, as well as a fairer and more humane response for inmates who engage in misconduct.”

Around 4,000 New York state prison inmates are held in solitary confinement on any given day. The lawsuit alleged many are confined for 23 hours a day to their cells.

Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, said in a press release that it was “simply wrong to unilaterally take the tools away from law enforcement officers who face dangerous situations on a daily basis.”

Powers said prisons were overcrowded with violent offenders and that assaults by inmates on staff has almost doubled since 2012. “Any policy changes must prioritize the security of everyone who works and resides in these institutions.”

The agreement will need the approval of a federal judge before it can take effect.

Jan 20, 2016

Retail giant Amazon has filed a John Doe lawsuit against 1,114 freelancers who solicit customers on the website Fiverrs.com. The suit was filed on Washington state court Oct. 16, 2015.

Before filing the lawsuit, Amazon conducted an undercover sting operation by “purchasing ‘reviews’ for products and communicating directly with some of the defendants,” the complaint states. The reviewers who were sued are those Amazon claims sold fake reviews for as little as $5.00 each.

The John Doe lawsuit was necessary because Fiverr freelances use pseudonyms. The company’s name is derived from the fact the jobs, referred to as gigs, cost $5.

Despite the lawsuit, the offer for $5 reviews doesn’t appear to have slowed down. A search for “reviews” produced hundreds of results. While many offered reviews for Amazon, one Fiverr freelancer visibly posted that she would not do them.

 

For the consumer, it’s nearly impossible to tell a fake review from a legitimate one. Many of the freelancers on Fiverr request that the client write the review and they will post it. Some freelancers boast they have dozens of Amazon accounts with various IP addresses.

Those willing to pay for reviews aren’t always seeking a five-star rating. There are those who will pay for negative reviews to be posted against their competitors. For those looking to keep their hands clean in case legal action is taken that could reveal their identity, paid reviewers are the answer.

As the New York Times reported Dec. 15, in early November one business was hit with 200 one-star reviews, many posting in a matter of minutes.

As for the Amazon lawsuit, the company claims in court papers that “Most of the defendants offer positive or 5-star reviews for Amazon sellers’ products. Indeed, many encourage the Amazon seller to create the text for their own reviews.”

Amazon’s terms of use ban fake reviews, and it’s suing for breach of contract and violating Washington’s consumer protection laws.

At least one freelancer went to great lengths to make the paid review appear legitimate. “In at least one instance, the seller of a ‘Verified Review’ was willing to receive an empty envelop, not the product itself, simply to create a shipping record,” the lawsuit alleges.

This is the second lawsuit Amazon has filed over fake reviews.

The next step will likely be disclosure, and the court could require Fiverr to turn over the names and contact information for the 1,114 freelancers named in the suit.

Jan 13, 2016

A community in northern New York state is shocked, saddened and stumped by the recent disappearance of over a dozen dogs.

Dogs have been reported lost, stolen or missing from seven different townships in St. Lawrence County, near the Canadian border. The dogs vary in breed and include Pomeranians, Labrador retrievers and mixed breeds.

Officials there said there could be any number of reasons for the disappearances. They could be taken to be used for dog fighting, for resale or for breeding in puppy mills.

Dognapping has been on the rise and some experts say that it has become an organized, multimillion dollar business that they further claim few pay attention to until it happens in their own community.

According to the American Kennel Association, in 2013, the organization has tracked more than 590 pet thefts from news and customer reports, a 31 percent increase over 2012. Thefts range from tiny puppies being stuffed into purses at pet stores to most recently, purebred pets being snatched from cars in parking lots and shelters. The AKC offers the following advice to prevent your “best friend” from being a target of a crime:

In the Neighborhood

  • Don’t let your dog off-leash

Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves.

  • Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard

Dogs left outdoors for long periods of time are targets, especially if your fenced-in yard is visible from the street.

  • Be Cautious with information

If strangers approach you to admire your dog during walks, don’t answer questions about how much the dog cost or give details about where you live.

On the Road

  • Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked

Besides the obvious health risks this poses to the dog, it’s also an invitation for thieves, even if you are gone for only a moment. Leaving expensive items in the car such as a GPS unit or laptop will only encourage break-ins and possibly allow the dog to escape, even if the thieves don’t decide to steal it too.

  • Don’t tie your dog outside a store

This popular practice among city-dwelling dog owners can be a recipe for disaster. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.

It is also recommended that the dog be microchipped. The procedure is relatively painless and most microchips will last the life of the dog.

 

Jan 6, 2016

Lawyers for Rolling Stone magazine were granted a protective order aimed at limiting the amount of information and documents disclosed during the defamation case filed by University of Virginia Associate Dean Nicole Erano.

Eramo’s lawsuit stems from the November 2014 Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” that told of an alleged gang rape at a campus fraternity house and was later exposed as a fraud, primarily by the Washington Post.

Sabria Erdely, named as a defendant in the suit, authored the story.

The information the proposal secures confidentiality of includes unpublished news gathering materials and that of a personal or intimate nature regarding any individual.

Eramo is seeking $7.85 in damages. Another lawsuit, filed by three University of Virginia graduates and members of the fraternity who were portrayed in the debunked account of the gang rape, has each seeking $75,000 for each count

The story evolved around a woman only identified as “Jackie” who claimed she was gang-raped in 2012 at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. Erdely failed to contact those named in the story, according to those involved.

Rolling Stone subsequently issued an apology, as did Erdely.

The Charlottesville Police Department conducted an investigation and said it found no evidence to back the claims of “Jackie.”

A report published by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism earlier this year said Rolling Stone failed at virtually every step of the process, from the reporting by Erdely to an editing process that included high-ranking staffers.

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