Wednesday, April 25, 2018
News Roundup

FTC reaches settlement with companies over spying software loaded onto rental computers

washington

Tampa company part of spying software deal

The Federal Trade Commission said this week it has reached a settlement with several rental companies on charges they secretly loaded software onto computers they rented out that let them spy on customers. The software let the rental companies track, shut down and recover the computers if customers fell behind on payments. But the FTC said the software did much more: It also illegally took pictures of computer screens, captured key strokes, stole email and social media passwords, collected confidential financial and medical records and even took intimate webcam photos. The settlement was reached with seven companies including J.A.G. Rents LLC of Tampa, which served as a ColorTyme franchise. The owner of J.A.G. Rents could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. The settlement forbids the companies from illegally spying on customers and using their personal information to collect debts. The FTC is accepting public comments on the settlement until Oct. 25 at www.ftc.gov.

TAmpa

CentCom: Suspect is not in military

U.S. Central Command officials said Wednesday that Stephen Michael Governale, arrested and accused of trying to sexually entice a 17-year-old boy, is a civilian employee of CentCom's protocol office at MacDill Air Force Base. CentCom said Governale is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve and is not assigned to CentCom in a military capacity. Governale has worked at CentCom since 2008. An FBI arrest affidavit identified Governale as an active military officer assigned to CentCom. CentCom officials say they cannot comment on the case. Governale, 49, of Tampa, who was arrested Friday in Seminole County, is being held without bail pending a hearing Monday in Orlando federal court.

TAmpa

Man gets prison for pot charges

A Tampa man caught with 323 pounds of marijuana has been sentenced to more than six years in prison. Arianne Rodriguez, 29, was convicted June 20 of conspiring to possess and possessing with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. Prosecutors said Rodriguez and another man showed up at a Tampa shipping company on Dec. 9, 2011, with a delivery truck and picked up crates filled with pot. The men took the payload to Rodriguez's house, then federal authorities swooped in after the men had already opened one of the crates, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

clearwater

Arrest made in firebombing

A Clearwater man faces five charges of attempted first-degree murder and a charge of arson following his arrest Wednesday in connection with a Sept. 16 firebombing. Thomas Lewis Cservak, 29, threw an incendiary device into the living room of a house at about 2:45 a.m., according to a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office arrest report. People were asleep inside the house at the time, deputies said, but no one was injured in the ensuing blaze. Cservak believed he knew two of the people inside the house, officials said. Cservak is being held without bail at the Pinellas County Jail.

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A religious group has settled in a big pink house in Clearwater. Neighbors aren’t happy.

A religious group has settled in a big pink house in Clearwater. Neighbors aren’t happy.

CLEARWATER — The first thing John Trevena noticed about his new neighbors was the color of their house: Pepto-Bismol pink.It didn’t worry Trevena, a criminal defense lawyer who moved into the three-bedroom rental home next door in 2015."I knew it was...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pasco corporal who took down student on video now cleared (w/video)

Pasco corporal who took down student on video now cleared (w/video)

LAND O’LAKES — Kayla Peña filled up her water bottle then returned to her lunch table at Sunlake High School when she heard a commotion in the cafeteria on Tuesday afternoon.A female student was riled up, walking back and forth, Peña said, screaming ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago
Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

TAMPA — Seeking to show that Hillsborough County school officials waste money that could go to teacher raises, union director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins talked about highly paid administrators. She talked about legal fees paid to outside firms when in-...
Updated: 2 hours ago
For senior week, Lakewood High School must mourn a senior

For senior week, Lakewood High School must mourn a senior

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood High School principal Erin Savage has never planned a candlelight vigil. But this week, Savage must learn how to do so as her school mourns the tragic death of one of its graduating seniors.Bryson Welton-Williams, 18, died T...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

A St. Petersburg waste-to-energy plant now under construction has been billed for years as an environmentally friendly money saver. Now it looks more like a boondoggle, with the cost and mission changing on the fly. It’s yet another example of a city...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Senator wants to put a tighter leash on airline rules for service animals

Senator wants to put a tighter leash on airline rules for service animals

WASHINGTON — Congress will consider tightening the rules on service animals allowed to accompany passengers on airliners under legislation introduced this week.Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has introduced an airline bill that would align the definition ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays bring Jonny Venters back to majors

Rays bring Jonny Venters back to majors

UPDATE, 5:34: Venters, understandably, was humbled and happy to make it back. "It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling," he said. "It's been an emotional day."Venters was in uniform in the Durham clubhouse during rain delay when he got called in ...
Updated: 4 hours ago