COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY

Mar 29 09:02

Victim Of Fatal Model X Crash Complained About Tesla Autopilot

Bad goes to worse for Tesla, as recent victim who died in a Tesla crash had complained previously about the company's auto-pilot feature, ABC News reports.

Mar 29 08:56

Brit cloud slinger iomart goes TITSUP*, drags Virgin Trains and Parentpay with it

The outage has hit organisations thoughout the UK, with Virgin Trains East Coast customers facing worse than normal service thanks to being unable to book or collect tickets due to the failure.

Mar 29 08:48

Internet of insecure Things: Software still riddled with security holes

Pradeo Security put a representative sample of 100 iOS and Android applications developed to manage connected objects (heaters, lights, door-locks, baby monitors, CCTV etc) through their paces.

Researchers at the mobile security firm found that around one in seven (15 per cent) applications sourced from the Google Play and Apple App Store were vulnerable to takeover. Hijacking was a risk because these apps were discovered to be defenceless against bugs that might lend themselves to man-in-the-middle attacks.

Four in five of the tested applications carry vulnerabilities, with an average of 15 per application.

Around one in 12 (8 per cent) of applications phoned home or otherwise connected to uncertified servers.

Mar 29 08:47

Running Drupal? You need to patch, patch, patch right now!

Anyone running a website built with Drupal should stop whatever they are doing right now and install critical security patches.

The organization behind the open-source software today put out an urgent security patch to address a remote code execution vulnerability in "multiple subsystems" of its content management system software.

The holes could allow hackers to attack a Drupal-powered website in a number of different ways and that "could result in the site being completely compromised." In other words, it's really bad.

A hacker will be able to hack your site from any webpage, the Drupal project warned, and it doesn't require them to login or have any privileges, meaning that a completely anonymous miscreant can take over your vulnerable site as well as access, delete, and change non-public data.

Mar 29 08:45

Six months on, and let's check in on those 'stuttering' Windows 10 PCs. Yep, still stuttering

A long-running glitch affecting some Windows 10 PCs continues to annoy gamers more than half a year after it was supposedly fixed.

An anonymous Reg reader alerts us to this ongoing thread on Nvidia's support forums. Our tipster says they and others who have installed the latest versions of Windows and Nvidia drivers continue to see the performance of their games lagging behind what they had before those updates.

Similar threads can be found on other gaming forums as well.

Specifically, the users claim, the 'stuttering' problem encountered when trying to play certain games at high frame rates (that had previously been achieved before the updates) is still being encountered.

Mar 29 08:43

Details of 600,000 foreign visitors to UK go up in smoke thanks to shonky border database

The details of 600,000 foreign visitors have slipped through the cracks of the Home Office's database thanks to its "shambolic" exit checks system.

A report (PDF) by the chief inspector of borders and immigration, David Bolt, examined the department's Initial Status Analysis (ISA) system database and how ISA-produced data had been used by the Home Office and other agencies.

It found that as of 31 March 2017, there were no departure records of 88,134 non-EU visa nationals with ISA "identities" – whose visas typically last six months – nor for 513,088 identified non-visa nationals.

Staff told the inspector they lacked confidence in the system, which they said had been "mis-sold", while an airline official described it as "shambolic".

Mar 29 07:17

They've got your money and your data. Now hackers are coming to destroy your trust

Nation-state attackers are attempting to undermine trust in critical services -- so how do we go about stopping them?

Mar 29 07:17

China Poised To Overtake U.S. In Artificial Intelligence Race

The U.S. has led the world in technology for a long time, and while it’s still the definitive leader in the artificial intelligence space, China has stepped onto this stage determined to overtake its American rival. Whoever manages to dominate this ultimate technological end game will, in the words of Vladimir Putin, rule the world.

Mar 29 07:16

"We Find The Morons For You" - Facebook's Microtargeting Ad Pitch Exposed

Under the direction of CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook built tools to help the world's largest brands target ads to consumers with data-enhanced precision.

Then the company stood idly by as scammers hijacked those tools and used them to sell sham products and services to gullible consumers.

Shortly before news broke this morning that Zuckerberg would testify before at least two Congressional committees - while shunning lawmakers in the UK, Bloomberg published a detailed feature about the world of scammers, charlatans and hucksters who use Facebook's marketing tools to sucker unsuspecting Facebook users into buying their shoddy wares.

Mar 29 07:15

The US Government Just Destroyed Our Privacy While Nobody Was Paying Attention

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD) “updates the rules for criminal investigators who want to see emails, documents and other communications stored on the internet,” CNET reported. “Now law enforcement won’t be blocked from accessing someone’s Outlook account, for example, just because Microsoft happens to store the user’s email on servers in Ireland.”

Mar 29 07:11

Theresa May promises to 'DEFEAT RUSSIA' after 'attack' with new CYBER WARFARE initiative

THERESA May has promised to “defeat” Russia following the Salisbury attack with a new cyber warfare initiative entitled the Fusion Doctrine that will aim to tackle the threats imposed by cyber warfare, it has emerged.

Mar 29 02:23

If They Can’t Get Traffic Lights to Sync…

They can’t even get automated traffic lights to work – to sync the green/red cycles in order to smooth the flow of traffic – but we’re supposed to believe that millions of automated cars are going to sync perfectly, whizz along at 100 MPH in tight formation, without a hitch – just like the Blue Angels, the Navy’s precision flying demonstration squadron.

In the rain and snow. The heat of high summer, the bitter cold of January. Dirt, sand, potholes. 24/7, year ’round – for year after year after year, ongoing. Mechanical and electrical components will never wear out – or crap out, unexpectedly.

Really?

Mar 28 18:10

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange’s Internet Shut Down Again

By Aaron Kesel

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been disconnected entirely from the Internet at the Ecuadorian embassy where he is arbitrarily detained, and has been forbidden visitations by the order of Ecuador’s new president Lenin Moreno. “He cannot tweet, speak to the press, receive visitors or make telephone calls,” WikiLeaks tweeted out...

Mar 28 16:38

Academics Discover New CPU Side-Channel Attack Named BranchScope

Academics say that BranchScope is the first side-channel attack that targets "direction prediction" and that the technique can also be used to retrieve content stored inside SGX enclaves, secure areas of Intel CPUs, previously thought to be untouchable.

The research team also tested their technique in field tests and said they successfully retrieved data from three recent Intel x86_64
processors — Sandy Bridge, Haswell, and Skylake. The team said the attack can be launched from user space (no admin rights) and has an error rate of less than 1%.

Researchers also say that because this is a novel attack, there are no mitigations currently in place for BranchScope attacks. Spectre patches (meant to fix TBT-based attacks) are ineffective against BranchScope, they said. Patching BranchScope shouldn't be a problem, though, as researchers say that both software and hardware-level mitigations can be applied, both detailed in their work.

Mar 28 16:27

Boeing hit by WannaCry virus, fears it could cripple some jet production

Boeing was hit Wednesday by the WannaCry computer virus, raising fears within the company that it could cripple some vital airplane production equipment.

Mike VanderWel, chief engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplane production engineering, sent out an alarming memo calling for “All hands on deck.”

“It is metastasizing rapidly out of North Charleston and I just heard 777 (automated spar assembly tools) may have gone down,” VanderWel wrote, adding that he’s concerned the virus will hit equipment used in functional tests of airplanes ready to roll out and potentially “spread to airplane software.”

Mar 28 16:23

Facebook's first response to its data leak scandal ignores two of its big products: Instagram and WhatsApp

Facebook announced new privacy features on Wednesday, but they aren't enough.

The changes should help current Facebook users learn more about what data Facebook has, and make it easier to delete that data. The moves were a response to reports that a third party quiz app collected data on more than 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge, then passed this data to political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica against Facebook policy.

But Facebook also owns two other highly popular applications: Instagram, with more than 800 million monthly users as of September and WhatsApp, with more than 1.5 billion monthly users as of January.

The company didn't mention any changes to those apps today, and did not immediately respond to a question about whether the company was planning to update their privacy settings.

Mar 28 09:14

EMAILS LINK PETER THIEL'S PALANTIR AND ERIC SCHMIDT'S DAUGHTER TO FACEBOOK'S CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA FIASCO

Both Peter Thiel's data-mining company Palantir and a daughter of the former Google chairman Eric Schmidt had connections to Cambridge Analytica's misuse of Facebook user information, according to documents seen by The New York Times.

Mar 28 09:13

Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you

This information has millions of nefarious uses. You say you’re not a terrorist. Then how come you were googling Isis? Work at Google and you’re suspicious of your wife? Perfect, just look up her location and search history for the last 10 years. Manage to gain access to someone’s Google account? Perfect, you have a chronological diary of everything that person has done for the last 10 years.

This is one of the craziest things about the modern age. We would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us. But we just went ahead and did it ourselves because – to hell with it! – I want to watch cute dog videos.

Mar 28 07:52

Goldman Slashes iPhone Sales Estimates Due To "Demand Deterioration"

Goldman joined the Apple skeptics this morning, warning that iPhone demand expectations for March and June quarters are already weak but early Q1 demand indicates "even lower actual numbers than consensus is modeling."

Mar 28 07:51

Playboy Pulls Out, Deactivates Its Facebook Page

"There are more than 25 million fans who engage with Playboy via our various Facebook pages, and we do not want to be complicit in exposing them to the reported practices..."

Mar 28 07:04

Microsoft's Windows 7 Meltdown fixes from January, February made PCs MORE INSECURE

Microsoft's January and February security fixes for Intel's Meltdown processor vulnerability opened up an even worse security hole on Windows 7 PCs and Server 2008 R2 boxes.

This is according to researcher Ulf Frisk, who previously found glaring shortcomings in Apple's FileVault disk encryption system.

We're told Redmond's early Meltdown fixes for 64-bit Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 left a crucial kernel memory table readable and writable for normal user processes. This, in turn, means any malware on those vulnerable machines, or any logged-in user, can manipulate the operating system's memory map, gain administrator-level privileges, and extract and modify any information in RAM.

Ouch!

Mar 27 17:35

Whistleblower: Facebook Able to Listen to You at Home and Work

“On a comment about using audio and processing audio, you can use it for, my understanding generally of how companies use it… not just Facebook, but generally other apps that pull audio, is for environmental context,” Wylie said. “So if, for example, you have a television playing versus if you’re in a busy place with a lot of people talking versus a work environment.” He clarified, “It’s not to say they’re listening to what you’re saying. It’s not natural language processing. That would be hard to scale. But to understand the environmental context of where you are to improve the contextual value of the ad itself” is possible.

Mar 27 17:04

Amid Facebook scandal, anti-privacy CLOUD Act becomes law without Congressional debate as Trump signs omnibus spending bill

“Decisions that affect the future of the Internet should never be made behind closed doors or snuck into law through budget proceedings.

It’s outrageous that Congress would rush to enact legislation that undermines Internet privacy while the entire Internet is in uproar over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The CLOUD Act exposes the sensitive information that we entrust with big tech companies by granting police in the US and other countries new powers to access our information without judicial oversight or warrant requirements.

It creates an end-run around the Fourth Amendment and endangers all internet users’ basic right to privacy, security, and free expression.

Congress has failed time and time again to rein in corporate and government surveillance and privacy invasions. It’s time for Internet users to organize en masse to demand change.”

Mar 27 16:58

Facebook Is ‘Rotten,’ Privacy Is Its ‘Kryptonite,’ Says Ex-FTC Advisor

There’s something “rotten” in the state of Facebook, and it’s tied directly to the company’s core business model, according to a former Federal Trade Commission advisor.

Professor Tim Wu of Columbia Law School, who helped the FTC settle its dispute with Facebook over its handling of user privacy in 2011, said the social network is busy serving “two masters” — advertisers and its massive audience. The disconnect between the two has made user privacy an afterthought in Facebook’s efforts to build an advertising behemoth, according to Wu.

“The fact is that privacy, it’s like kryptonite to their business model,” Wu told NPR on Tuesday. “[Facebook has] to be able to promise their advertisers they have the goods on everyone and they have the power to manipulate people. So if they’re tight on privacy, that tends to throw a wrench into the machine.”

Mar 27 16:52

Firefox extension keeps Facebook from tracking you on the web

Facebook Container, an extension for Mozilla's Firefox web browser, essentially stops these trackers from working outside of the Facebook website, Mozilla said.

It's a new step in browsers becoming more assertive on behalf of everyone who uses them to protect privacy a little better. That's a notable change after the industry's Do Not Track effort failed to let us tell websites when we don't want to be tracked.

Mar 27 16:47

Zuckerberg Hits Users with the Hard Truth: You Agreed to This

Over the weekend, Android owners were displeased to discover that Facebook had been scraping their text-message and phone-call metadata, in some cases for years, an operation hidden in the fine print of a user agreement clause until Ars Technica reported. Facebook was quick to defend the practice as entirely aboveboard—small comfort to those who are beginning to realize that, because Facebook is a free service, they and their data are by necessity the products.

In its current iteration, Facebook’s Messenger application requests that those who download it give it permission to access incoming and outgoing call and text logs. But, as users discovered when prompted to download a copy of their personal data before permanently deleting their Facebook accounts, a certain amount of data was covertly siphoned without explicit permissions.

Mar 27 15:36

Android's lax app permissions may have 'allowed' Facebook to collect users' call logs and text messages without their knowledge

A Google spokesperson told CBS that they couldn't say how many apps may have access to call logs or how many users' call logs had been transmitted to app developers.

The answer seems to be that Google, like Facebook, can attribute much of its value to the massive treasure trove of user data it oversees.

Also like Facebook, Google uses its vast collection of user data to serve up advertisements tailored to users' interests.

It's possible that Android wanted to catch up to Apple's App Store by building a bigger library of apps, CBS said.

One way to do that is to have lax permissions rules for developers.

Mar 27 15:12

"Want To Freak Yourself Out?" Here Is All The Personal Data That Facebook/Google Collect

And as Twitter user Dylan Curran pointed out in a comprehensive twitter thread examining his own data cache, the extent and bulk of the data collected and sorted by both companies is staggering.

Google, Curran said, collected 5.5 gigabytes of data on him - equivalent to some 3 million Microsoft Word documents. Facebook, meanwhile, collected only 600 megabytes - equivalent to roughly 400,000 documents.

Another shocking revelation made by Curran: Even after deleting data like search history and revoking permissions for Google and Facebook applications, Curran still found a comprehensive log of his documents and other files stored on Google drive, his search history, chat logs and other sensitive data about his movements that he had expressly deleted.

What's worse, everything shown is the data cache of one individual. Just imagine how much data these companies hold in total.

Mar 27 14:56

U.S. Officials Demand Al Jazeera Register as Propaganda ‘Agent’

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate whether Al Jazeera, the news outlet connected to the Qatari government, should register with the Justice Department as an agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This will have broad implications for the First Amendment, our access to dissenting opinions, and even how the rest of the world views us.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This attempt to muzzle Al Jazeera, for having had the "male attributes" to look seriously at AIPAC, and it's strangle hold over US foreign policy, smells to high heaven.

It is bloody well time for Americans to see precisely what Israel and AIPAC has cost this country, in blood and money spent, and how much it intends to cost this country, in terms of future wars it is cheerleading the American government to greenlight.

Mar 27 14:08

MICROSOFT TO BAN ‘OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE’ & MONITOR YOUR PRIVATE ACCOUNT

Microsoft is cracking down on what people say while using their services online. According to a new services agreement written by the company, the tech giant is planning to ban accounts that use “offensive language” and will go through your private data to “investigate” users.

Mar 27 13:50

BIG BROTHER IS COMING: CHINA’S DYSTOPIAN FUTURE?

China has announced it will bar people with poor social credit from planes and trains. People who have committed so-called misdeeds could be prevented from these modes of transport for up to one year. These things include spreading false information about terrorism, causing a nuisance on planes, smoking in trains or traveling on expired tickets.

Mar 27 11:58

FCC wants Chinese tech out of US phones, routers

U.S. officials are discouraging U.S. telephone and internet companies from purchasing Chinese technology that could be used for surveillance, Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai announced Monday.

“Threats to national security posed by certain communications equipment providers are a matter of bipartisan concern,” Pai said. “Hidden ‘back doors’ to our networks in routers, switches — and virtually any other type of telecommunications equipment — can provide an avenue for hostile governments to inject viruses, launch denial-of-service attacks, steal data, and more.”

Mar 27 11:19

Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Claims Israeli Firm Black Cube Was Hired to Hack African Election

Christopher Wylie claims the controversial company engaged the services of Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube and that his predecessor was likely poisoned in Kenya

Mar 27 10:51

Surveillance State? Nah, Can’t Happen…Because it Happened Already

That being mentioned, as they craft their narratives and lie openly upon the television, radio, and within the newspapers, there is a subtle, devious operation going on right before your eyes:

The emplacement of a complete surveillance state of cameras and listening devices, all a part of the “wondrous internet of things.”

Mar 27 10:46

This video will haunt Zuckerberg til the end of his days

Mar 27 09:04

Facebook logs SMS texts and calls, users find as they delete accounts

As users continue to delete their Facebook accounts in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a number are discovering that the social network holds far more data about them than they expected, including complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages.

The #deletefacebook movement took off after the revelations that Facebook had shared with a Cambridge psychologist the personal information of 50 million users, without their explicit consent, which later ended up in the hands of the election consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I just tried to download my info from Facebook, and the option to download has been removed form the General Account Settings page!

Mar 26 11:57

REVEALED: How Facebook logs ALL your phone calls and texts - but the social media giant insists the function has always been ‘opt-in only’

The Facebook data scandal deepened last night after users found the social network had harvested information including call logs and text messages.

Some users discovered the Silicon Valley giant had been storing complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

Others reported that data such as contacts in their address books, social events in their calendars and even friends' birthdays had been stored.

One user, Dylan McKay, reported that from October 2016 to July 2017 his logs contained 'the data of every [mobile] call I've made, including time and duration' and 'data about every text message I've received or sent'.

The discoveries came after some Facebook users tried to delete their profiles over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Mar 26 11:20

Cambridge Analytica accused of violating US election laws in new legal action

Amid mounting accusations that data firm Cambridge Analytica misused the Facebook data of up to 50 million user profiles, the U.K.-based firm and its top executives are now also under fire for alleged violations of U.S. election laws.

Government watchdog group Common Cause Monday filed a pair of legal complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Department of Justice accusing Cambridge Analytica LTD, its parent company SCL Group Limited, CEO Alexander Nix, SCL co-founder Nigel Oakes, data scientist Alexander Tayler, and former employee-turned-whistleblower Christopher Wylie of violating federal election laws that prohibit foreigners from participating directly or indirectly in the decision-making process of U.S. political campaigns.

The defendants are all non-U.S. citizens, according to the complaints.

The Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica nearly $6 million for services during the 2016 election cycle, according to data from the FEC.

Mar 26 11:14

The Cambridge Analytica files: the story so far

The data analytics firm used personal information harvested from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without permission to build a system that could target US voters with personalised political advertisements based on their psychological profile, according to Christopher Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica contractor who helped build the algorithm. Employees of Cambridge Analytica, including the suspended CEO Alexander Nix, were also filmed boasting of using manufactured sex scandals, fake news and dirty tricks to swing elections around the world.

Mar 26 11:12

Pressure grows on PM over Brexit Cambridge Analytica scandal

The Cambridge Analytica scandal engulfing the official Brexit campaign reached No 10 on Sunday, as campaigners wrote to Theresa May demanding an investigation into what members of her cabinet and her own staff knew.

The letter from the anti-Brexit group Best for Britain came after a whistleblower told the Observer that Vote Leave channelled money through another campaign to a firm linked to the controversial data company Cambridge Analytica in a potential breach of electoral law.

The allegations immediately put pressure on the foreign and environment secretaries, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, who were leading members of Vote Leave.

Mar 26 09:30

The War on the People-Silencing The Truth

New Eastern Outlook has been subjected to a series of DDOS attacks, denial of service attacks, for the past week and are attempting to restore their site. They issued a statement today, March 25th, but service is still being interrupted and so people may not be able to see it so I have decided to publish it here. People should be spreading the word on what has happened to New Eastern Outlook, one of the important journals that allows western and eastern writers to express their points of view and counter western propaganda. I am one of them. This attack is an attack on all of us, on freedom of expression, freedom of association, of our rights to know the truth about the world. We do not live in a democracy or free society in the west. We live in a prison we have to break out of, a prison of the mind that they are building around us. If this can happen to NEO, it will happen to Global Research, Counterpunch, Off-Guardian, and many other journals that deserve mention.

Mar 26 08:37

Facebook Plunges After FTC Probe, German Sanctions Headlines

Facebook shares, which plunged into correction territory last week, collapsed further on the news.

And it's not helping that Mark Zuckerberg is dumping his shares into this freefall...

Mar 26 08:22

U.K. to Order Facebook, Google to Redo Data Policies, Times Says

The U.K. government will direct Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Twitter Inc. and other tech companies to simplify their data management policies for consumers after disclosures about recent breaches, the Sunday Times reported.

Matt Hancock, the U.K. digital, culture and media secretary, told the newspaper that the digital powerhouses were failing to provide users with clear and concise terms and conditions for how personal data is used. His goal is to get the information onto one page.

Mar 26 08:15

Sonos Is Pulling All Of Its Advertising from Facebook — Effective Immediately

Looks like Sonos is sending a very clear message about Facebook’s privacy breaches — and potentially sparking a mass exodus by prominent advertisers. According to details confirmed ahead of the weekend, Sonos is actively removing its advertisements for its speaker systems from Facebook’s massive network.

And yes, that includes Instagram.

Mar 25 16:41

Facebook is complicit, not a victim, in the abuse and misuse of personal data

Make no mistake, this is a Facebook data breach that was sanctioned “in-house.” The profit was enormous. The surging Cambridge Analytica humiliation is about personal data and its misuse for financial gain. No matter how Team Zuckerberg attempts to duck this perfidy. No matter how the hooded bots attempt to abrogate blame. No matter how deftly they dodge criticism or responsibility in Menlo Park, the fact remains — this is a data breach, and Facebook is complicit.

Mar 25 16:40

Facebook says warning to Guardian group 'not our wisest move'

Issuing a warning to the Guardian Media Group ahead of its publication of an exposé of mass Facebook data harvesting was not the wisest move, one of the social networking giant’s senior executives has said.

Addressing the FT Future of News conference, Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, said: “If it were me I would have probably not threatened to sue the Guardian,” adding it was “not our wisest move”.

Mar 25 16:37

Facebook fell 13 percent this week to below $160, the stock's worst week since July 2012

After the week's losses, Facebook is more than 18 percent off its 52-week high of $195.32

Mar 25 16:27

Facebook logs texts and calls, users find as they delete accounts

Facebook makes it hard for users to delete their accounts, instead pushing them towards “deactivation”, which leaves all personal data on the company’s servers. When users ask to permanently delete their accounts, the company suggests: “You may want to download a copy of your info from Facebook.” It is this data dump that reveals the extent of Facebook’s data harvesting – surprising even for a company known to gather huge quantities of personal information.

One user, Dylan McKay, reported that for the period October 2016 to July 2017 his logs contained “the metadata of every cellular call I’ve ever made, including time and duration” and “metadata about every text message I’ve ever received or sent”.

Many other users reported unease at the data they had discovered being logged, including the contacts in their address books, their calendars, and their friends’ birthdays.

Mar 25 16:26

Polls show Facebook losing trust as firm uses ads to apologize

Fewer than half of Americans trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday, while a survey published by Bild am Sonntag, Germany’s largest-selling Sunday paper, found 60 percent of Germans fear that Facebook and other social networks are having a negative impact on democracy.

Mar 25 14:12

ARE CORPORATIONS POISED TO OVERTAKE COUNTRIES?

It's a question to which many world thinkers adamantly answer "yes." In this bold vision for the future, national borders gradually wither away as transnational companies become ever more powerful, leading governments by the nose in pursuit of perfect supply chain efficiency. For advocates of this vision, the prevailing trends throughout the world, large companies' growing influence, the giant cash piles of companies like Apple and diminishing trade barriers all point to the coming predominance of the corporation.

Mar 25 10:17

SERVICES THAT DELIVER THE SAME FUNCTIONS AS FACEBOOK, FOR AFTER YOU #DELETEFACEBOOK

This week's On the Media presents an excellent series on Facebook and the media coverage, and I was especially interested in Clay Shirky's point that Facebook isn't successful because it's so good at hosting group message-boards; rather, its magic lies in finding people to form groups with. If you have a rare disease, Facebook can help you find people in the same situation to trade tips and support with.

Mar 25 09:35

Forget Privacy, the REAL Big Tech Scandal Concerns Ad Fraud

As we noted in mid-2017, Big Tech is in BIG trouble.

There are multiple scandals brewing in this space. And the invasion/ selling of/ handing over of private data is one of the more minor ones.

That larger scandal concerns fraudulent online advertising.

Companies like Facebook and the like generate a significant portion of their sales from online advertising. In this business model, clients pay Facebook for online advertising space, the pricing of which is based on web traffic.

However, it now appears that robots not humans are generating a major percentage of web traffic. Put another way, advertising costs (what Facebook and others charge their clients for advertising space) are based on FRAUD.

Last September, a story broke that Facebook was overestimating viewing time on its video ads by as much as 60%-80%.

Mar 25 09:35

The Digital-Military-Industrial Complex Exposed

Apparently, the age of the old-fashioned spook is in decline.

What is emerging instead is an obscure world of mysterious boutique companies specializing in data analysis and online influence that contract with government agencies.

As they say about hedge funds, if the general public has heard their names that’s probably not a good sign. But there is now one data analysis company that anyone who pays attention to the US and UK press has heard of: Cambridge Analytica. Representatives have boasted that their list of past and current clients includes the British Ministry of Defense, the US Department of Defense, the US Department of State, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and NATO. Nevertheless, they became recognized for just one influence campaign: the one that helped Donald Trump get elected president of the United States. The kind of help the company offered has since been the subject of much unwelcome legal and journalistic scrutiny.

Mar 25 09:31

How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool

The algorithm at the heart of the Facebook data breach sounds almost too dystopian to be real. It trawls through the most apparently trivial, throwaway postings –the “likes” users dole out as they browse the site – to gather sensitive personal information about sexual orientation, race, gender, even intelligence and childhood trauma.

A few dozen “likes” can give a strong prediction of which party a user will vote for, reveal their gender and whether their partner is likely to be a man or woman, provide powerful clues about whether their parents stayed together throughout their childhood and predict their vulnerability to substance abuse. And it can do all this without a need for delving into personal messages, posts, status updates, photos or all the other information Facebook holds.

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