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Opinion Editorials

How to sue Equifax if you’re into that sort of thing

(OPINION EDITORIAL) If you’ve been affected by the Equifax hack, you’ve got a few options if you’re aiming to take action.

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EQUIFAX OF LIFE

How many of you have felt personally victimized by Equifax? The credit-reporting agency’s security breach revealed information of 143 million customers in the U.S., with over 200,000 credit card numbers leaked, and identifying information of another 182,000. Several Canadian and U.K. customers were affected as well, but this number has not been disclosed.

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If you were one of the millions whose personal information was exposed in the breach, you have plenty of options to fight back. Lifehacker kindly compiled a handy list of suggestions if you’re in the mood to sue.

SETTLE IT ON THE COURT

Small-claims claims court is the best place to start if you want to personally sue Equifax, but if you’re not familiar with legal processes, the paper work can seem discouraging.

Luckily, there’s a chatbot to help you out, because of course there is.

Startup Do Not Pay’s chatbot usually spends its time fighting parking tickets. Now the site’s homepage happily offers to “automatically sue Equifax for up to $25,000.”

However, this amount depends on your state, defaults to $10,000, and the service is currently limited to New York and California. While the bot can’t sue Equifax for you, it can help you fill out the paperwork required for a lawsuit. You’re still responsible for showing up in court and proving your damages, though.

GET PAID KIND OF

You’re also required to pay to file a case in small-claims court. But hey, another startup has come to your rescue. Legalist is offering to cover the cost of filing by mailing checks to anyone who signs up with them.

They’ll also provide a pre-filled legal complaint you can send to the court, but require a 30 percent cut if you win.

Legalist is hoping that if enough people file small claims cases, Equifax won’t be able to properly represent itself since they would have to send out employees to each courtroom where a case was filed. However, Equifax may have the option to consolidate the small claims cases into a larger state or federal court.

CLASS IS IN SESSION

You can also join a class-action suit, or hope to get absorbed into one. When class-action cases are certified by the court, everyone affected by the case is automatically included and notified. Whoever files the case that becomes certified is the Lead Plaintiff, and represents everybody involved.

To get certified, the Lead Plaintiff and their attorney must prove they have a solid legal claim against Equifax that includes a large group of people similarly affected, and that there’s a plan to fairly represent everyone involved. Right now, there are at least 23 different class-action suits filed against Equifax in the United States.

These cases could also be consolidated and still include everyone affected. If there’s a settlement, you probably won’t have to take any action as an individual to get part of it. So you can add to the mix by starting your own case, or hope enough other people have already done so that you’ll end up part of a class-action suit.

#SueIfYoureIntoIt

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Opinion Editorials

If Reddit goes IPO, will it have to shed its soul?

(EDITORIAL) Reddit is known as a firebrand, a bastion of free speech, but if they go public, will they be able to remain as they are now?

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Reddit, the eighth-most popular website on the Internet, is reportedly considering an IPO. As a site valued at over 1.8 billion dollars, this is great news for the company itself – but how much of Reddit will remain if the IPO goes through?

Reddit’s history is steeped in controversy, from minor incidents such as invasion of privacy and a few creepily quirky community members to allegations of child pornography and egregious hate speech. While Reddit’s policy has allowed it to tighten posting restrictions regarding the latter two, the fact remains that Reddit – for all its usefulness – is viewed by many as a ticking time bomb.

An IPO would certainly lend back to Reddit a degree of credibility not seen since its inception, but the problem is that Reddit itself (the haven of free speech and original content that made it so popular in the first place) might not survive the offering. Given the platform’s controversial past, many believe it likely that stakeholders would move to tighten further the restrictions on the platform, ultimately ending a significant era in Reddit’s history.

Admittedly, Reddit has come a long way since its early days of supporting user-created content regardless of persuasion: this past year saw entire subreddits shut down for violating the terms of use regarding hate speech, and the platform certainly has cracked down on illegal and abusive content. Unfortunately, the history might be too much to shake off going forward, which is why we think that Reddit’s branding won’t be a part of the final IPO.

The platform’s developers’ dedication to free speech and truth-seeking is what makes Reddit so fantastic, and that’s not liable to change – it’s the most marketable aspect of the site, after all – but perhaps the rationale behind going public lies in a sense of duty rather than routine. 2017 has seen some of the most reprehensible instances of false reporting and deliberate misguidance in recent history; maybe Reddit’s team feels that they can provide a stable news platform at the cost of some personality.

At any rate, the IPO itself isn’t set in stone, and is unlikely to take place for quite some time. As the situation develops, it will be interesting to see if Reddit embraces its past, or sheds it altogether.

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Opinion Editorials

‘Follow your passion and the money will follow’ is bulls**t advice

(EDITORIAL) Following your passion can create success, though it may not be financial. So should you really just “do what you love” and hope for the best?

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If you asked anyone who knows me, they would tell you that I’m a strong advocate for people following their passion. However, when I encourage people to pursue their dreams, this comes with a big asterisk.

I recently heard someone use a phrase along the lines of, “if you do what you love, the money will follow.” Um… no.

While it’s great that you’ve found something you’re passionate about, that’s only a trillionth of the battle. You need to be willing to work your ass off and be willing to sacrifice everything in order to make that enthusiasm into a success.

Most people that have started their own business will tell you that it took a while into the process to begin paying themselves. Again, if it truly is your passion, this is all worth it in the end. But if you like food and shelter, it might not be.

Say, for example, your passion is acting and your goal in life is to become a famous movie star. Now, you can’t pull a Tobias Funke and simply say, “I’m an actor” and then expect everything to miraculously fall into place.

Like any other passion, you need to invest in yourself. You’ll need to get headshots, take acting classes, and find a flexible day job that allows you to go on auditions. Cutting corners on any of this in order to expedite the process or save a few bucks will end up hurting you in the long run.

For the sake of this article, let’s define “passion” as loving something so much you couldn’t imagine doing anything else… you would even do it for free. And, as there is no correlation between having passion for something and money, you just might.

While doing what you love is admirable, be aware that it may take an incredibly long time to see results in the form of numbers. Because of this, it’s wise to always have a back up plan to support yourself financially and pursue passion with a strong business plan in tact.

It is never wrong to want to follow your passion. I personally think that everyone should give it at least something of a shot during the course of their career so that you never ask “what if?” But following passion because you read a cliche statement can lead to major financial and emotional losses, so put on your business hat before blindly chasing dreams.

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Opinion Editorials

Tech CEO tweet ruins years of a young designer’s hard work

(EDITORIAL) With a tweet here and there, thoughtless questions have potentially bullied a young Asian woman in tech out of her career.

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It’s hard enough for women, particularly women of color, to make it in the world of tech, without rude jerks questioning if you literally exist.

Sadly, that’s what happened to Naomi Wu, also known as “SexyCyborg,” a 23-year old cyberpunk superstar from Shenzhen, China who has amassed a huge following for her 3D printing experiments and other techie pursuits. Wu has 140,000 followers and millions of views for her YouTube channel, where she shows off her experiments and provides educational tutorials.

Unfortunately, some rude dudes from America can’t seem to imagine that a young Asian woman is capable of the feats that Wu has accomplished.

Dale Dougherty, CEO of the DIY magazine Maker (and an official schmuck), has cyberbullied Wu so badly that it is said to have damaged her career. He tweeted, “I am questioning who she really is. Naomi is a persona, not a real person. She is several or many people.”

This despite the fact that Wu says that she has actually spoken to Dougherty, and that he knows she is real. “For Westerners who don’t understand the important of reputation in China it seems like a very minor thing,” says Wu, “it is everything here and there’s no repairing this.”

Wu has even lost a sponsorship deal from a 3D printer company over the accusations that she isn’t who she says she is.

Dougherty eventually apologized, but Wu says that “the damage had been done” at that point, and that Dougherty knew the accusations would be “devastating” to her “reputation and professional prospects.”

Wu says that the attack is motivated by white male entitlement to tech spaces.

She says that she can’t imagine Dougherty attacking “a white lady from San Francisco.” Wu has been an advocate for diversity in tech and maker spaces. “I kept pushing for more inclusion – not just me, other underrepresented people,” she says. “They didn’t like being pushed. This is payback.”

We stand behind Wu as she continues to push the edge in tech spaces, and say shame on you to bullies who won’t make space for women and racial minorities. Sorry you’re not as cool as SexyCyborg, but that’s on you and you need to get over it.

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