HC Wake-Up Call: Biden Considers Naming Abrams As Running Mate, New Zealand Proposes New Gun Laws & Facebook Employees Had Access to Unprotected Passwords

Good morning, Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Joe Biden Considers Naming Stacey Abrams As Running Mate

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s advisers are reportedly considering naming former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as his running mate should he plan to launch a presidential bid.

Axios reported Thursday that Biden’s aides think that pairing him with Abrams, a rising Democratic star who gave the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union and fought a tough gubernatorial campaign in Georgia, would help to show that he is not “just another old white guy.”

The speculation comes after Biden and Abrams had a private sit-down earlier this month, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And, it was reported last week that Biden is considering an early vice presidential selection and has discussed the possibility with his advisers and top party officials.

Sources close to Biden have told Fox News that he is likely to announce his presidential bid next month. Over the past two weeks, Biden has strongly hinted that he would be running for president.

Adding Abrams to the ticket could add diversity to the ticket and add excitement to the campaign. But there could also be downsides as well. According to Axios, Biden’s advisers expressed concern that announcing Abrams as his running mate could be seen as a “gimmick” and open Biden up to criticism that he overlooked his fellow Democratic candidates as potential running mates.

Abrams, however, has been pondering her own political career, saying earlier this month that she had previously considered 2028 to be the earliest that she would run for president, but now says that 2020 is “definitely on the table.”

New Zealand Proposes New Gun Laws

Just six days after the horrific mosque shootings in Christchurch that killed 50 people, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday that the country will ban military-style semi-automatic weapons.

“Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles. We will also ban all high capacity magazines,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference Thursday. “We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military style semi-automatic weapon.”

Ardern said sellers should halt sales of banned weapons immediately and warned sellers to return their stockpiles to suppliers, ABC News reports.

“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned,” Ardern said. A gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, killing 50 and injuring dozens more. According to Ardern, the gunman used two legally purchased semi-automatic rifles that were modified with high-capacity magazines, “turning them into military-style semi-automatic weapons.” The gunman, a white supremacist, has since been arrested.

The exceptions to the ban, however, would include semi-automatic .22-caliber firearms, as well as semi-automatic shotguns with magazines holding a maximum of five rounds, which Ardern said are both commonly used for hunting and pest control.

According to The Huffington Post, parliament will also be creating a buy-back scheme, in which gun owners would be compensated for surrendering their weapons. The program could cost between $100 million to $200 million, “a price that we must pay for the safety of our community,” Ardern said.

Under the new laws, residents that are caught with the banned guns will face penalties, including fines of up to $4,000 and/or three years in prison, but Ardern said these penalties could increase.  

Police Minister Stuart Nash said Thursday that “owning a firearm is a privilege and not a right in New Zealand.”

The ban is also being supported by the opposition party in New Zealand.

The prime minister said she expects the new gun laws to be passed by the end of a “two-week sitting session” that ends on April 11th, ABC News reports.

Ardern added that her Cabinet will meet Monday to consider more changes to gun laws, including licensing, registration and storage.

Facebook Employees Had Access to Millions of Unprotected Passwords

In a blog post Thursday entitled “Keeping Passwords Secure,” Facebook announced that it had stored “hundreds of millions” of users’ passwords in plain text accessible by its employees.

The social media giant told Krebs on Security, which first reported the data breach, that an internal investigation did not find any evidence of employees abusing access to the data.

“There is nothing more important to us than protecting people’s information, and we will continue making improvements as part of our ongoing security efforts at Facebook,” Pedro Canahuati, Facebook’s vice president for engineering security and privacy, wrote in the blog post.

The company did not specify how many users were affected by the data exposure, but did say it would be notifying the “hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users.”

The internal investigation revealed that anywhere between 200 million and 600 million users had their passwords exposed in a database accessible to more than 20,000 Facebook employees, and that some passwords had been stored in plain text since 2012, BuzzFeed News reports.

The latest security mishap comes as the company has grappled with continuous criticism surrounding its privacy breaches and scandals. Facebook recently announced it would rebrand with a “privacy focused” vision, and would work on encrypted private messaging, The Hill reports.  

What to look out for…

Today is National Goof Off Day!