There Are 210 Million Reasons Why You Should Expect More Amazon Brand Products

Amazon may call itself the “everything store,” but a growing chunk of that “everything” is now made by Amazon. A new report gives some idea just how much the online giant is making from its store brand products, and a hint at the potential market for everything from electronics through apparel.

According to a new report from analytics firm 1010data, Amazon’s many house brands — which include AmazonBasics, Amazon Essentials, Fire, Kindle, Echo, Goodthreads — are already bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars for the company.

How exactly 1010data gets this information is a bit of a mystery that it describes as, “a number of sources of consumer spending data representing millions of consumers to provide an accurate assessment of online and offline retail sales, market share, and more.” Okay.

What the company has been able to find out while watching what Amazon shoppers buy is that Amazon’s consumer packaged goods are growing steadily in popularity, and its recent proliferation of brands means that an even bigger proportion of the merchandise Amazon sells will be from its own products.

Only 2% of sales for now

The analytics firm also notes that around 2% of Amazon’s sales are normally its own branded products. That’s sure to grow as the brands increase their scope, from baby products to snacks to fashion. This year, house brands comprised about 12% of the company’s sales during the Prime Day shopping festivals.

It probably helped that the company discounted its voice-activated devices significantly on Prime Day. Speaking of electronics…

Gadgets lead the pack

The report shows how the Everything Store now wants to sell everything under its own brands, but most of the store-brand merchandise that it sells right now are electronics.

Specifically, the Fire TV is the top item, and Kindle and Echo products are also in the top ten. AmazonBasics, the company’s brand for commodity gadgets and accessories like smartphone cords and 48-packs of alkaline batteries, is the top brand by far, selling $210 million in the first half of 2017, compared to $120 million of the next most popular brand, Echo smart speaker products.

Fashion & Ampersands

Amazon fashion brands have proliferated in the last year. The “Amazon Essentials” brand is sort of the AmazonBasics of polo shirts, but otherwise, they have names that sound like real fashion brands, like “Lark & Ro” and “James & Erin,” or “Goodthreads.”

If you’re wondering what kind of growth these brands could be looking at, the children’s clothing brand Scout + Ro has been around for a few years, giving 1010data some past data to compare, and it showed that sales were up 542% from the first half of 2016 to the first half of 2017.


Source: Consumer Reviews

Walmart CEO Criticizes Trump Over Charlottesville Response; Does Not Plan To Resign From White House Advisory Board

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, has become the latest — and most high-profile — executive to distance himself from the White House following President Trump’s heavily criticized response to the recent tragic events surrounding a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA. However, unlike the other CEOs who have called out the President, McMillon is not planning to give up his seat on a White House advisory council.

“Respect for the individual is one of our core beliefs at Walmart,” wrote McMillon in an email to workers that was later published on Walmart’s website. “As we watched the events and the response from President Trump over the weekend, we too felt that he missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together by unequivocally rejecting the appalling actions of white supremacists.”

After the Charlottesville rally devolved into violence and reached a tragic pitch when an Ohio man drove his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters, injuring 19 people and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, President Trump spoke publicly to “condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides.”

That reportedly off-the-cuff “many sides” remark, coupled with the President’s decision to not explicitly mention the white supremacist, KKK, and neo-Nazi groups that supported the event, led to immediate rebuke by many, even within his own party.

President Trump spoke again on Monday, this time deliberately referencing the groups he’d omitted from his previous statement.

McMillon says that these second remarks “were a step in the right direction and we need that clarity and consistency in the future.”

While McMillon is publicly criticizing Trump’s remarks, a rep for Walmart tells the NY Times that the CEO will continue to serve on the President’s economic development advisory council.

“Representing a company with the largest and one of the most diverse groups of associates in the U.S., and an even more diverse customer base of tens of millions of customers, we believe we should stay engaged to try to influence decisions in a positive way and help bring people together,” concluded the CEO.

Four other high-profile execs have given up their seats at their respective White House advisory groups this week. Merck & Co’s Kenneth Frazier said he could no longer serve on the President’s manufacturing panel, leading the President to immediately attack the drug company exec on Twitter:

Frazier was followed by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who was already under pressure to exit the manufacturing council from some professional athletes who endorse the athletic apparel brand. Intel’s Brian Krzanich also stepped down from this group on Monday.

This morning, Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing announced his resignation from the manufacturing council, calling it “the right thing for me to do.”

This afternoon, President Trump responded to questions about why these executives are distancing themselves from the White House.

“Because they’re not taking their jobs seriously as it pertains to this country,” said Trump, according to a pool report. “They’re leaving out of embarrassment because they’re making their products outside” the U.S.

For the sake of fairness, it should be pointed out that Trump-branded products and clothing from Ivanka Trump’s brand are also made overseas.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously exited two White House advisory groups following Trump’s pledge to withdraw from the Paris Accords on climate change.

This afternoon, Trump made additional remarks about Charlottesville that are unlikely to quell any concerns among company executives.

“I think there’s blame on both sides,” said Trump, speaking at a press event in his namesake Manhattan tower. “And I have no doubt about it.”

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” added the President. “No one wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now: You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”


Source: Consumer Reviews

You Might Be Paying More For Avocados (Yes, Again)

If you’re already planning your end-of-summer barbecue, you might want to set aside a few extra pennies for that guacamole on the menu: The price of avocados has increased again. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that decrease in production from California avocados growers has sent prices for the fruit up by about 60%.

For instance, Sacramento-based Produce Express notes that typically in August the price of wholesale avocados hovers around $0.81 cents apiece. This year, however, that cost is more like $1.33 each.

“It’s very abnormal this time of year,” Jim Boyce, owner of Produce Express, tells the Times.

The Hass Avocado Board noted recently that production in the state during the first week of August was just 3.74 million pounds, about one-third of the typical 10.7 million pounds produced last year at the same time.

It’s The Heat & Sale

Growers suggest that the slower output of avocados this year is tied to the heat and drought in California — last year.

That’s because the avocados currently being harvested were maturing last summer. As a result of the weather, growers say they lost quite a bit of fruit that otherwise would have bulked up this year’s crop.

In addition to the less-than-stellar summer weather, the Times reports that many growers have simply been getting out of the business, selling their land for a larger profit than they make by growing avocados.

The California Avocado Commission estimates that production this year will drop 46% to 215 million pounds from 401 million pounds last year.

Increased Demand

While supplies might be running low on avocados, that doesn’t mean consumers’ taste for the fruit is waning. American’s per-capita consumption in 2015 was 6.9 pounds, compared to 3.5 pounds in 2006.

Despite the increase in demand and prices, many restaurateurs are trying not to pass along those costs to customers. Chipotle has noted several times that it wouldn’t increase the price of its guacamole.

The owner of a Mexican restaurant in California tells the Times that despite paying double for boxes of avocados, he’s kept prices the same.


Source: Consumer Reviews

American Apparel Is Back, Offers Choice Of American Or Non-American Apparel

After Canadian company Gildan Activewear bought the American Apparel brand and the company’s assets in a bankruptcy auction, it said it would likely move some manufacturing outside of the U.S., in a big step away from the company’s founding mission. But the brand is back online now, and it’s offering shoppers a choice: Buy “Made in the USA” clothing, or shell out a few bucks less for identical “Globally Made” items.

In May, Gildan announced that it was lining up outside companies to make clothes in the U.S. as part of a plan to sell both U.S.-made and foreign-made merchandise. Executives said at the time that the website would eventually return and offer customers the choice to buy American Apparel merchandise that was made in the U.S. or made abroad, with a price difference of about 25%.

Back in action

As of yesterday, AmericanApparel.com is back in business. In addition to an assortment of basics like T-shirts, shorts, and dresses — which are not made domestically — the new American Apparel offers a collection of eight styles that are manufactured stateside, and “have a globally made twin.”

While both are sweatshop-free and ethically made, they’re different in price. For example, the Made in USA fleece hoodie is $48, while the Globally Made twin is just $38.

Although it might seem somewhat odd for a company to seemingly undercut own brand, Gildan knows people outside this country don’t really care where the clothing is actually made.

“A lot of the growth that we will have with American Apparel will come from other markets outside the United States,” CEO Glenn Chamandy said in May, citing Europe and Asia as examples of markets where Gildan plans to take the brand, and where “Made in USA” is less of a priority.

Online only

While American Apparel is back online, it’s unlikely you’ll see physical stores popping up any time soon. Gildan had the chance to buy American Apparel’s retail locations when it purchased the brand and assets, but it didn’t.

“There are no plans for stores at this very moment, but we continue to evaluate all kinds of opportunities to bring this brand to more consumers globally,” a spokesperson for Gildan told Consumerist, noting that the company’s focus at the moment is on servicing the e-commerce store and wholesale business.

It’s worth noting that Gildan isn’t alone in offering shoppers a choice when it comes to how much they pay for items. Online-only retailer Everlane has a “Choose What You Pay” collection that features items with three different price points:

The cheapest price means 10% of what you pay goes to Everlane to cover costs for development and shipping to the warehouse; the middle price translates to a 20% cut for Everlane and covers the same as the lower tier, plus overhead to pay the company’s workers; and the most expensive price gives Everlane 30%, covers the same costs as the lower tiers, and also allows the brand to work on creating new products.


Source: Consumer Reviews

Dick’s Sporting Goods Hopes Discounted Prices Will Save It From Doom

Let’s take a moment to pay our respects to the dearly departed sporting good stores who have passed on in recent years: Sports Authority, Gander Mountain, Eastern Mountain Sports, Sport Chalet, Golfsmith and we’re probably missing a few. Dick’s Sporting Goods has fed on the bones of some of its former competitors, taking over their locations and inventory, but it still needs a plan to stave off the doom that consumed so many of its competitors.

That plan? More promotional pricing. At least that’s what Dick’s is saying after releasing quarterly financials showing stagnant, lower-than-expected sales figures.

Sales at stores open at least one year were up only 0.1%, lower than the company’s expected, modest growth of 2% to 3%.

CEO Edward Stack said on an investors call today that the company will “aggressively be promoting our business to drive market share to our stores and online.”

How’d We Get Here?

The second quarter’s flat sales are an about-face from Dick’s first quarter, when they increased 2.4%.

That figure was buoyed, however, by Dick’s taking advantage of Sports Authority’s demise and opening stores in new areas, as well as taking over some former Golfsmith locations after the golf chain filed for bankruptcy.

Still, the decrease wasn’t exactly a surprise: Stack had warned during the first quarter that he believed the troubles plaguing the sporting goods sector would continue. And they apparently are.

Making Changes

Stack noted on the call with investors today that the retailer would increase discounts in order to bring in more customers.

Specifically, the retailer will target marketing and pricing efforts in regions where there’s more competition.

“We’ve conducted extensive consumer research, and the customers have told us they feel our prices are not competitive in today’s environment,” Stack said. “Consequently, we have become more promotional and competitive.”

Additionally, the company will use its new “best price guarantee” tool to attract customers. Under the program, if a customer finds a product somewhere else for a lower price Dick’s will match that cost.

Stack noted on the call that the company also plans to “surgically invest” in the hunting and athletic apparel business.

To do so, Stack says Dick’s will work to “capture as much market share as possible that was left behind by Gander Mountain”, another retailer that closed many stores in recent months.

As for apparel, Stack says that the category has seen meaningful increases in distribution and promotion. To this end, the retailer will continue to focus on its private brands, which saw a 7% increase in sales during the second quarter.

These private brands are expected to bring in $1 billion in sales this year.

Going Online

Stack said during the call that the company will continue to support and promote its online division. The company plans to provide its e-commerce customers with a better experience, Stack said.

“Looking ahead, we are planfully investing in the online experience through faster delivery, better pricing, more targeted marketing, and continued improvements in our digital channels,” Stack said. “This is going to be a bit more expensive in the short-term, but it is what we need to do for the long-term benefit of the company and our shareholders.”


Source: Consumer Reviews

Why You Should Care About This Lawsuit Against A Data Company You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

The legal system has long taken a “no harm, no foul” approach to certain legal disputes: If you haven’t actually been injured by the other party’s actions, you’ll have a hard time convincing the court that your lawsuit shouldn’t be thrown out. But the internet, where incorrect information can be disseminated globally within seconds (and may never truly be erased), is causing courts to reconsider the question: When can you sue a company for an intangible harm?

One case — Spokeo Inc. v. Robins — has already been to the Supreme Court, and may get there again after today’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

To backtrack (cue the flashback music), Spokeo is a “people search engine,” aggregating publicly available data into a searchable database. In addition to making some of this information available for free, Spokeo markets its database to businesses, claiming that it provides “reliable,” “fresh and accurate” data gleaned from 12 billion records.

That’s not me

Nearly a decade ago, a man named Thomas Robins learned that his relevant Spokeo listing was neither reliable nor accurate. While it did have his correct name, address, and the names of his siblings, Spokeo also listed Robins as married father in his 50s, with a graduate degree and employed in a professional or technical field. The report described Robins’ economic health as “Very Strong” and placed him within the top 10% in terms of personal wealth.

Putting aside the fictional wife and children for a moment, Robins was more concerned about the possible implications of the education, employment, and wealth information. At the time, he was without a job and looking for work. Robins said he worried that potential employers who saw this profile might think him overqualified for the types of employment he was hoping to find.

Robins also felt that Spokeo had broken federal law by publishing and marketing this incorrect information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) sets strict requirements on “consumer reporting agencies.”

The most well-known consumer reporting agencies are the credit report companies, like Experian and TransUnion, but the FCRA actually has a generous definition that encompasses any person or company “which, for monetary fees… regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties.”

Spokeo has a disclaimer on its site stating that it is “not a consumer reporting agency” as defined by the FCRA and that Spokeo “should not be used to make decisions about employment, tenant screening, or any purpose covered by the FCRA.”

But just because you say you’re not something doesn’t make it true. For the purposes of the legal proceedings so far, the courts have assumed the Spokeo does indeed meet the agency definition.

Legal ping-pong

Robins sued Spokeo in federal court in 2010, only to have the case dismissed [PDF] because the judge found that Robins did not have sufficient standing to bring the lawsuit.

“Plaintiff only expresses that he has been unsuccessful in seeking employment, and that he is ‘concerned that the inaccuracies [in] his report will affect his ability to obtain credit, employment, insurance, and the like’,” wrote the District Court judge. “Plaintiff’s concern that he will be adversely affected by Defendant’s website in the future, is an insufficient injury to confer standing.”

This ruling was subsequently overturned [PDF] by the Ninth Circuit in 2014, saying that the law doesn’t require demonstration of actual harm if the plaintiff is alleging willful violation of the FCRA.

SCOTUS calls a mulligan

But that was far from the end, Spokeo appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court, and in 2016 the nation’s highest court ruled on the case without actually settling the important question.

Rather than determine whether or not Robins had standing to bring the lawsuit, the Supremes decided [PDF] to send the case back to the Ninth Circuit with the instruction that they address the question of whether the alleged injury was “concrete” in nature. At the same time, SCOTUS clarified that “concrete” does not necessarily mean “tangible.”

In some respects, the SCOTUS ruling was a minor victory for Spokeo and its supporters in the online and tech industry, as the court did say that not every minor error is sufficiently concrete to merit an FCRA claim.

“An example that comes readily to mind is an incorrect ZIP code,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito for the majority. “It is difficult to imagine how the dissemination of an incorrect ZIP code, without more, could work any concrete harm.”

Additionally, even though the language of the FCRA appears to indicate that plaintiffs can file lawsuits in certain cases without having to demonstrate actual harm, SCOTUS clarified that for a federal court to hear any legal dispute, the Constitution requires that there must be some sort of non-abstract harm involved.

One more time, with feeling

So the Spokeo case returned to the Ninth Circuit, which today ruled [PDF] that Robins’ claims do indeed meet the requirements set out by the Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel held that the intent of congress in creating the FCRA was to protect consumers’ concrete interests with regard to reports about their personal and financial information. Furthermore, the panel determined that if a credit reporting agency gets a person’s age, marital status, education, and employment history wrong, it could have a real, harmful effect on that person’s chances of getting a job.

Though this ruling isn’t as important as it would have been if the Supreme Court had reached the same conclusion, it may serve as a precedent in similar disputes. These sorts of cases — lawsuits over potential harm based on false information posted online — are only going to grow in number as we learn how to apply centuries of bricks-and-mortar legal thinking to an internet where everything can be simultaneously ephemeral and permanent.

For example, there’s the ongoing dispute involving health insurance provider CareFirst.

Customers of the company have been suing CareFirst over a 2015 data breach that compromised account information for more than 1 million people. These plaintiffs have largely not alleged specific harms that resulted from the breach, but contend that having their personal data out there in the hands of criminals is enough of a potential harm to justify the lawsuit.

At least two federal court judges have dismissed cases against CareFirst for lack of standing, but the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently breathed new life into one lawsuit, finding that the lower court judge had given “an unduly narrow reading” to the allegations.

What now?

This is far from the end for this dispute. The Ninth Circuit ruling says nothing about the actual merits of Robins’ claims, only that the allegations are sufficient for the case to continue.

There are two ways this could go: Spokeo could appeal this latest Ninth Circuit opinion to the Supremes since it would raise questions that weren’t answered in the previous SCOTUS ruling. Without that appeal, the case goes back to the District Court judge for further hearings, motions, and whatnot.

In a statement provided to Consumerist, it looks like Spokeo may be okay with this going back to the lower court, banking on the low likelihood that it will be certified as a class action.

Spokeo says it “disappointed” by the Ninth Circuit’s conclusion that Robins has standing to file the suit. The company adds that it will “not only vigorously defend the merits (including that its services do not violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act), but also seek to confirm Justice Kagan’s observation during the oral argument that ‘the class, as [Plaintiff] defined it, is not going to be certified.’”

Jay Edelson, an attorney for Mr. Robins, says he is very pleased with the decision, and that he believes today’s opinion will establish the “definitive decision” for what it takes to decide if a plaintiff has standing in such a case.

“Congress is allowed to define what constitutes an injury and pass a law, the violation of which can give rise to standing,” explains Edelson. “The Court firmly rejected the ‘something more’ doctrine that Spokeo has been pushing for years. As the Court explained, litigants need not show ‘additional injury’ beyond what Congress has articulated.”


Source: Consumer Reviews

Chick-Fil-A Customer Claims Her Chicken Sandwich Had A Dead Mouse Baked Into The Bun

Although you might like a nice crunch in your chicken sandwich, one Chick-fil-A customer claims there was an unexpected texture baked into the bun of her sandwich: A dead mouse.

Crunchy lunch

A woman who filed a lawsuit in a county court against a Langhorne, PA, Chick-fil-A location says she was taking a bite of a Chick-fil-A sandwich last November during her lunch break at work when she “felt something funny on the bottom of the bun,” reports Philly.com.

She turned it over, and told her coworker that it seemed the restaurant had burned her roll.

Her colleague tells Philly.com that the woman then threw the sandwich on the ground, at which point, she realized “it was a small rodent of some sort.”

“I could see the whiskers and the tail,” the coworker said.

As for the customer, she says “[I] basically lost my mind. I screamed.”

After going outside to get some air, she says she came back to take photos of the object, and then called the franchise’s owner — who, she claims, said, “Oh no, this can’t be good.”

She says she followed that call up by emailing him photos and the receipt, and then went to the hospital where she received intravenous medication for nausea. She continued to feel sick for a week afterward, and received prescriptions for anti-nausea medication as well as anxiety from her doctor.

Suing mad

The plaintiff’s lawyer says he filed the lawsuit because the franchise owner and the store have “stonewalled” any efforts to address the situation. He claims that laboratory analysis shows the object was a small “rat/mouse” that was apparently baked into the bottom of the bum.

The lawsuit claims the restaurant was negligent, and “failed to supervise employees who intentionally and/or knowingly served a sandwich to a customer with a dead rodent baked into the bun,” while also allegedly failing to have inspection procedures in place to keep this sort of thing from happening.

The customer is seeking more than $50,000 for physical and psychological injuries she claims she’s experienced since the alleged incident.

Both Chick-fil-A corporate and the franchise owner declined to comment on the lawsuit.

A familiar tail tale

While these claims are pretty gross, we’re not entirely surprised, as we’ve seen plenty of dead-rodent-in-food claims over the years.

• After a South Dakota man claimed he drank from a can of Coca-Cola that had a mouse sealed inside, Coke claimed it couldn’t be possible, as any mouse entombed in a can of soda would have been more decomposed than what he says he found.

• NYC health officials investigated a report of a fried rat head served at Popeyes in 2016.

• Across the pond, someone found a dead baby weasel in her salad. She was not pleased.

• A Subway customer once claimed to have received a free dead rat with his spinach-filled sandwich.

• In 2015, a bag of fresh spinach allegedly contained — a free dead mouse.

• A McDonald’s customer claimed in 2014 that he’d received a mouse in his coffee.

• A woman eating Kellogg’s crunchy nut cereal claimed there was an added crunch in her food by way of a dead rodent in 2014.


Source: Consumer Reviews

Would You Pay $10 For Unlimited Monthly Movie Theater Visits?

Almost two decades ago, Netflix offered an appealing option to fine-weary movie lovers: Unlimited DVD rentals that customers could keep for as long as they wanted. A company run by one of the founders of Netflix is trying a similar tactic to get movie fans back into theaters by letting customers have unlimited visits for a flat fee. The cost: $10 per month, and signing over your movie habits to Big Data.

How it works

MoviePass has been around since 2011, but you may not be familiar with it. Customers carry a card that they use like a debit card when buying tickets. The card pays the cost of one ticket for 2D, non-IMAX movies.

Theaters don’t have to join any networks or buy extra equipment: Instead, customers can supposedly just use the card at any movie theater that accepts debit cards, or around 91% of theaters nationwide, including independent theaters and the big chains like AMC, Cinemark, and Regal.

What changed today?

The previous MoviePass pricing scheme wasn’t a bad deal, starting at $15 and going up to $50 on a tiered plan according to your usage.

The price has fallen to $10 per month across the board because MoviePass has a new investor: Helios and Matheson Analytics, a firm that provides, in its own words, “big data, artificial intelligence, business intelligence, social listening, and consumer-centric technology.”

MoviePass is losing money now. CEO Mitch Lowe, who formerly helped found Netflix and ran Redbox, told Variety that its long-term plan is to prove how much the service boosts movie attendance, and share some of the proceeds with theater owners.

You are the product

It’s pretty obvious what Helios and Matheson gets out of this deal: you. Specifically, the viewing habits of the service’s users. In a press release, the companies note that after subscribing, MoviePass customers attended twice as many movies, and were much more likely to attend showings in the middle of the week.

“With our big data and artificial intelligence platforms and other technologies that we own, we will be able to bring a significant technological advantage to MoviePass,” Ted Farnsworth, Chairman and CEO at Helios and Matheson, said in a statement. “Our mission at HMNY is to continuously be innovating, and this blending is a natural fit to take us up to the next level and beyond.”

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Source: Consumer Reviews

DOJ Demands Company Turn Over Info On 1.3 Million Visitors To Anti-Trump Website

Since most of us aren’t looking at websites via a Tor connection, we’re leaving digital footprints all over the place. The sites you visit may have a surprising amount of information on you, even if you’re not logged in, and even if you went to that site inadvertently. That’s why the Justice Department is trying to compel a web-hosting company to turn over everything it knows about anyone who ever clicked on a site that is critical of President Trump. It’s also why that company is fighting against this demand.

The company hosting the site, DreamHost, explained in a blog post what was going on.

It’s very common for tech companies, including hosting services, to get requests for data from law enforcement. DreamHost, like its peers, has a legal team in-house that receives search warrants and other requests and decides how to respond.

In the case of “vague or faulty orders,” DreamHost writes, the legal team “rejects or challenges” the requests. Including this one.

What do the feds want?

The Justice Department has requested that DreamHost provide a list of the IP address of every single visitor to the website.

That’s not just content creators or subscribers; that’s everyone who ever typed the address into their browser or clicked the link on Facebook. And it’s a list that’s 1.3 million visitors long.

Along with the IP addresses, DreamHost says, the warrant also asks for the dates and times of the visits, along with browser and operating system information.

In short, the feds are asking the site host to send them all the information they need to peg down exactly who visited the site, when, and from where.

There can be times when site visitor log information is absolutely vital to law enforcement activity. For example, if someone is accused of trying to plant a bomb, having proof that the suspect accessed a certain site about bomb-making, from their home, one week before planting the bomb, would be valuable information.

Related: Without internet privacy rules, how can I protect my data?

But that’s not what this request is. This warrant asks for the identifying information of every single person who visited a website during a period of time, full stop.

Why are they asking?

The site in question is disruptj20.org, created to help organize one of many protests set against the backdrop of President Trump’s Jan. 2017 inauguration.

Hundreds of protests were held nationwide during the inauguration weekend, Jan. 20-22, including the massive women’s marches, largely without incident.

But the DisruptJ20 protest, which occurred on Inauguration Day, resulted in more than 200 arrests. Many of those arrested have since been indicted on, and are now facing, felony rioting charges.

Many of the cases are still ongoing, and in various stages of investigation and prosecution. Although DreamHost did not have access to the specific reason why they were served this search warrant, it seems very likely to be related to those cases.

The answer: Nope!

DreamHost, the company writes, found the request to be “a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority,” and so they challenged the warrant.

This, the company says, is its standard procedure. But “instead of responding to our inquiries regarding the overbreadth of the warrant,” DreamHost writes, the Justice Department filed a motion asking for a court order to compel the records.

DreamHost is fighting back. The company filed arguments opposing the court order, and both the company and the DOJ will be arguing it out at a hearing on Friday, Aug. 18.

“Internet users have a reasonable expectation that they will not get swept up in criminal investigations simply by exercising their right to political speech against the government,” DreamHost concludes. “We intend to take whatever steps are necessary to support and shield these users from what is, in our view, a very unfocused search and an unlawful request for their personal information.”

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Source: Consumer Reviews

Taco Bell Has Decided To Inflict Taco With Fried Egg Shell On The Entire Country

Earlier this spring, Taco Bell continued its assault on the definition of “taco” by testing a new breakfast item in Michigan that involved putting stuff inside a fried egg and calling it a Naked Breakfast Taco. Now, the fast food giant is taking the item nationally. 

Taco Bell announced today that the Naked Egg Taco will debut on menus across the country starting Aug. 31.

The new $2 breakfast item is created by flattening and frying an egg, then shaping it like a taco. Not unlike the way the fast food giant sculpted its fried chicken shells for the currently unavailable Naked Chicken Chalupa.

Once the egg shell is formed, Taco Bell stuffs it with diced potatoes, sausage crumbles or bacon, nacho cheese, and shredded cheddar.

For those less adventurous eaters, the Naked Breakfast Taco can be ordered “dressed,” or at least stuffed inside a flatbread.

To mark the new item’s debut, Taco Bell says it will allow customers in New York, Austin, Chicago, and Laguna Beach to reserve a table at select restaurants to taste the taco.

What’s A Taco?

Taco Bell has been working to redefine “taco” as “just taking one piece of food and wrapping it around some other pieces of food” for years.

“Shell innovation is at the core of where we experiment – and whether it’s crispy chicken, biscuits or waffles that wrap up menu item classics – we bring our fans craveable and unexpected food experiences that leave them wanting more,” Liz Matthews, Chief Food Innovation Officer at Taco Bell Corp., said in a statement.

In 2013, it began testing the Waffle Taco, which was really just a waffle folded over some breakfast food.

A year later, it said “hey, let’s try the same thing, but with biscuits!,” only to then move on to trying it all over again with croissants.

In February, the company dropped its fried chicken shell Chalupa on customers nationally. The Naked Chicken Chalupa was created by frying a piece of four-ounce breaded and seasoned white meat chicken into a shell that is then filled with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and avocado ranch sauce. The item was taken off the menu in March.

Prior to that, the company created the Doritos Locos Taco, using a shell fashioned out regular cheese Doritos, and eventually Cooler Ranch and Fiery Doritos. 


Source: Consumer Reviews