Social Security, What Consumers Should Know

Social Security, What Consumers Should Know

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Social Security, What Consumers Should Know

Only 2 percent of men and 4 percent of women waited until 70 to claim benefits. — Jim McGuire/Getty Images
Do you know the best age for you to begin claiming Social Security retirement benefits?

People applying for benefits aren’t consistently given key information from the Social Security Administration that they might need to make better-informed decisions about when to begin taking retirement benefits, according to a new government report.

According to the GAO report, whether someone was applying for benefits online or face-to-face with a Social Security claims specialist, “claimants were sometimes provided information that could inadvertently influence them to claim earlier than they might have otherwise.”

For example, some individuals didn’t know that retirement benefits could be taxed or that their benefits could be temporarily reduced if they worked. Some were unaware that a wife or husband — even one who hasn’t worked — could be eligible for benefits based on the record of a working spouse. Some didn’t understand how benefits are calculated.  Read more…

 

How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/technology/nso-group-how-spy-tech-firms-let-governments-see-everything-on-a-smartphone.html“There’s no check on this,” said Bill Marczak, a senior fellow at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. “Once NSO’s systems are sold, governments can essentially use them however they want. NSO can say they’re trying to make the world a safer place, but they are also making the world a more surveilled place.”

The NSO Group’s capabilities are in higher demand now that companies like Apple, Facebook and Google are using stronger encryption to protect data in their systems, in the process making it harder for government agencies to track suspects.

The NSO Group’s spyware finds ways around encryption by baiting targets to click unwittingly on texts containing malicious links or by exploiting previously undiscovered software flaws. It was taking advantage of three such flaws in Apple software – since fixed – when it was discovered by researchers last month…Read more…