Vermont couple files $20M lawsuit against Disney Cruise Line over toddler’s alleged sexual assault

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According to reports, a Vermont couple is suing the Disney Cruise Line for $20 million, after alleging that workers at a ship’s daycare center failed to stop the sexual assault of their 3-year-old daughter. 

The anonymous couple claims that their toddler, identified as R.V., was restrained and sexually assaulted by an older child while in the care of staff at a kids’ activity center aboard the Disney Fantasy ship in January 2020. 

They claim that Disney is at fault for understaffing their Oceaneer Club daycare, allowing the alleged assault to happen outside of their supervision.

The lawsuit also claims that Disney should have separated children by age group to avoid the situation they describe. The lawsuit claims that staffers at the Youth Club’s Media Lounge, where children three through 12 can frolic in themed playrooms, then “failed to recognize” the assault and allowed the “ongoing abuse” to continue.

The young girl was allegedly assaulted by a 12-year-old child. The girl’s parents allege that cruise workers didn’t notify them of the assault and didn’t have adequate staffing, which left R.V. and other kids unsupervised. 

The lawsuit does not indicate how the girl’s parents learned of the alleged assault. According to an attorney representing the Vermont couple, the accused child has not been identified to the family.

Attorney Michael Winkleman said R.V., who had been potty-trained, starting having accidents following the abuse and tried to re-enact the attack with her father. Winkleman said in a statement:

“It’s easy to say this is a parent’s worst nightmare. They went on a Disney cruise, they put their child in basically the daycare of Disney. This is about the last thing that they would ever imagine would happen.”

Winkleman said that the young girl suffered “mental anguish and trauma” from the assault. She has responded to treatment, but the 5-year-old will be dealing with the aftermath for years.

He added that the staff’s failure to act shows a “clear issue” with their ability to recognize sexual assaults, adding that additional training is needed. Representatives for Disney called the case baseless and said that the matter had already been investigated by local authorities.

Disney Cruise Line spokesperson Cynthia Martinez said in a statement:

“The plaintiffs’ first allegations were reported to the FBI and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office investigated them and determined them to be unfounded.

The plaintiffs have now come back with a different story, which is equally unfounded, that another young female child acted inappropriately with their child. We will vigorously defend this case in court.”

According to reports, the case raises five counts against the Disney Cruise Line are:

Negligence for Sexual Assault;
Negligent Supervision;
Negligent Mode of Operation;
Negligent Hiring and/or Retention; and
Negligent Failure to Warn.

Fox News reported that the parents further alleged that their child was “excessively groped” while cruise staff entered the room, but failed to recognize what was happened. The parents also allefed that the incident happened in plain view in front of a Disney crew member and that other staff members failed to notify the parents of the assault.

As of Wednesday, October 13th, case records from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office were not available. 

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Google accused of promoting game to kids where players sexually assault sleeping stepsister

September 28th, 2021

According to a report from the New York Post, Google has been accused of allegedly advertising a game where players are encouraged to sexually assault a sleeping woman to children.

While the game has since been removed from Google’s Play Store, the game still was downloaded millions of times and has some concerned how frequently the ad was shown to children.

The game causing the controversy is called “LUV”, which the genre of the game lives in the realm of branching decision-based story games.

Characters somewhat controlled by the player are presented with various scenarios where they’re faced to make a decision that then alters the outcome of the game’s story.

And an advertisement for the game “LUV” portrayed one of these decision-based scenarios, depicting a sleeping woman and a male character standing beside the bed, which the male character has a text box appearing that reads:

“My stepsister passed out after the party…”

The player is then presented with one of two choices: “Don’t disturb her”, or “Help her undress.”

The ad continues from there, with the ad showing the option of “Help her undress” being selected.

It gets worse from there, with the ad showing the woman from an above perspective where player can tap on items of clothing that vanish.

When it comes to the bra of the woman being tapped and removed, she suddenly wakes up – and then delivers a sort of seductive look as though the aforementioned was desirable.

Michael McWhorter took to Twitter after receiving the video of the ad from an acquaintance, saying the following about the unsettling objective outlined in the advertised game:

“So once again, the goal is to get her naked without waking her. But the message is if you do wake her, don’t worry, she’s into it. Google, how the fuck is this game available in your apps store?

And then being advertised on other games – a game that my son could easily be playing. What do you think this teaches young preteen boys about how women should be valued and treated?”

According to Google’s Inappropriate Content policy, any “apps that contain or promote sexual content or profanity, including pornography, or any content or services intended to be sexually gratifying,” is supposed to be prohibited from being available on the app store.

While Google has this policy in existence, a simple search on their app store for the term “sex games” reveals quite a bit of games that can be downloaded from the app store that promote the aforementioned.

However, the message was apparently heard loud and clear regarding the game “LUV”, as XDA reported that the game was removed from the app store and that the developer of the game has had their Google account suspended in light of the controversy.

But XDA also noted in their reporting that the removal of this one game is tantamount to cutting off the head of the Lernaean Hydra – one game gets removed, and another of a similar nature crops right back in its place:

“In any case, this certainly won’t be the last time we’ll hear about games like this.

There’s no shortage of low-effort, exploitative games out there that take advantage of lapses in app store policing to garner tens of thousands — and in this case, millions — of downloads before being removed. Once one app is removed, the same developers — or a copycat — can rinse-and-repeat the process.”

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Class action lawsuit filed over accusations that Apple and Google are recording users without their knowledge

(Originally published September 6th, 2021)

According to reports, a recent lawsuit alleges that the virtual assistants of big tech companies like Apple and Google are listening in on users even when they are not supposed to.

A judge has ruled that Apple will have to fight a lawsuit brought by users in federal court in California which alleges that Apple’s voice assistant Siri is improperly recording users’ conversations. 

The Washington Post reported that the judge ruled that the lawsuit would continue despite Apple’s many attempts to have the suit thrown out. 

Judge Jeffrey S. White of the federal district court in Oakland did dismiss one element of the lawsuit, which involved users’ economic harm.

However, he did finally rule that the plaintiffs could continue pursuing allegations that Siri activated without prompting and recorded user conversations that it shouldn’t have.

The lawsuit also alleges that the data was then passed on to third parties, thus violating user privacy. This recent lawsuit, which aims to gain class-action status, is just one of many brought against Google, Apple, and Amazon over the companies’ voice assistants.

As of this writing, the tech giants have denied that their voice assistants are spying on conversations and only listen in for “wake words” and to receive commands.

Reuters reported that Judge White said the plaintiffs could try to prove Siri routinely recorded their private conversations because of “accidental activations,” and that Apple disclosed those conversations to third parties, such as advertisers. Voice assistants typically react when mobile device owners use “hot words” such as “Hey, Siri.”

One Siri user said his private discussions with his doctor about a “brand name surgical treatment” caused him to receive targeted ads for that treatment, while two others said their discussions about Air Jordan sneakers, Pit Viper sunglasses, and “Olive Garden” caused them to receive ads for those products. White wrote:

“Apple faults plaintiffs for not alleging the contents of their communications, but the private setting alone is enough to show a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

The Oakland, California-based judge said the plaintiffs may pursue claims that Apple violated the federal Wiretap Act and California privacy law, and committed breach of contract. He dismissed an unfair competition claim.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said that Amazon only stores user audio when a wake word is used and even then only a “small fraction” of user audio is manually reviewed. A similar suit to the one recently filed against Apple has been taken against Google.

That suit is also going through the federal court system in California. On July 1st, another federal judge in California said users of Google’s Voice Assistant, represented by the same law firms as in the Apple case, could pursue a similar lawsuit against Google and its parent Alphabet Inc.

In seeking dismissal of that suit, Google said the plaintiffs failed to show they were harmed or that it broke any contractual guarantees. The big tech company said:

“Google never promises that the Assistant will activate only when plaintiffs intend it to.”

The proposed class seeking unspecified damages includes U.S. purchasers of Google Assistant-enabled devices since May 18, 2016.

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman wrote in her 37-page decision that the plaintiffs showed they used Google Assistant-enabled devices often enough to have had a reasonable expectation of privacy when speaking.

She added that while Google disclosed in its privacy policy how it collects information for targeted advertising, “it does not sufficiently apprise users that it will use recordings made in the absence of manual activation or a hot word utterance.”

According to eMarketer, it is estimated that 128 million people in the United States use a voice assistant on a monthly basis. This means that potential privacy issues could cause major complications for big tech companies.

Breitbart News has also reported on privacy issues relating to Amazon’s Alexa and the sheer amount of voice data recorded by those devices.

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Google “diversity” chief reassigned after anti-Semitic posts revealed – here’s what he said about Jewish people

(Originally published June 4th, 2021)

SILICON VALLEY- Well this is ironic. The New York Post reports that Google’s so-called “diversity chief” has been reassigned over a 2007 blog post came to light in which he wrote that “Jews have an insatiable appetite for war and killing,” as well as saying they had an “insensitivity” to people’s suffering.

Kamau Bobb has been removed from his position, however, has not been removed from the company. The Post notes that Bobb still has the title “Global Lead for Diversity Strategy and Research at Google on his biography. Google said in a statement that Bobb “will no longer be part of our diversity team going forward and will focus on his stem work.”

The blog post surfaced at a time when anti-Semitic attacks have exploded across the United States, a fact which Google noted in its statement, noting that discovery of Bobb’s since-deleted blog post, “If I Were a Jew” comes “at a time where we’ve seen an alarming increase in antisemitic attacks.”

“We unequivocally condemn the past writings by a member of our diversity team that are causing deep offense and pain to members of our Jewish community and our LGBTQ+ community,” Google said. “These writings are unquestionably hurtful. The author acknowledges this and has apologized.”

Google did not explain what the LGBTQ+ community has to do with Bobb’s anti-Semitic writings.

Bobb was removed from his post just days after the Washington Free Beacon outed his previous blog post.

In the blog post, Bobb told how the Middle East conflict should be viewed from a Jewish perspective while slamming Israel’s actions in Gaza and Lebanon at that time. He was then a research associate in technology at Georgia Tech.

Forbes said in the piece, Bobb also wrote at the time that Jews had “increasing insensitivity to the suffering of others.”

The piece was posted following the 2006 Lebanon War in which the Israel Defense Force engaged with the militant terrorist group Hezbollah; a conflict that left over 1,000 people dead.

“Self defense is undoubtedly an instinct, but I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering (of) others. My greatest torment would be that I’ve misinterpreted the identity offered by my history and transposed spiritual and human compassion with self-righteous impunity.”

His piece went on:

“If I were a Jew today, my sensibilities would be tormented. I would find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the long cycles of oppression that Jewish people have endured and the insatiable appetite for vengeful violence that Israel, my homeland, has now acquired,” he wrote.

“This reconciliation would be particularly difficult now, in November, 79 years after Kristallnacht—the Night of Broken Glass,” Bobb went on.

Bobb went on to criticize Israel in light of the Holocaust, asking how “the vicious eruption of cruelty in the mid-twentieth century has influenced the shape of my identity as a Jewish person and our collective identity as Jewish people.”

He continued to criticize Israel’s leaders, writing, “I don’t know how I would reconcile that identity with the behavior of fundamentalist Jewish extremists or of Israel as a nation. The details would confuse me.

“I wouldn’t understand those who suggest that bombing Lebanon, slaughtering Lebanese people and largely destroying Beirut in retaliation for the capture of a few soldiers is justified,” Bobb wrote.

It was reported that Bobb had apologized to the “Jewgler” Employee Resource Group at Google.

“My blog is a place for my personal reflection on a number of complex issues spanning years. Reading it again and seeing the pain it’s caused, I would like to respond directly and honestly,” he wrote in an email which was obtained by the Post.

“Let me first apologize. What I wrote crudely characterized the entire Jewish community what was intended as a critique of particular military action fed into antisemitic tropes and prejudice. I think we can all agree, there is no easy solution to this situation. But that’s beside the point. The way I expressed my views on that conflict were hurtful,” Bobb wrote.

The apology went on for a few more paragraphs with Bobb closing by apologizing for his words.

When Bobb’s piece became public, the Jewish human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center called for his dismissal from Google, however Google merely reassigned him.

In a series of tweets, Michael Dickson, executive director of Stand With Us, which fights anti-Semitism slammed both Bobb and Google.

Bobb holds a Ph.D. in science and technology policy from Georgia Tech and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. That explains a lot.

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