"Regulators at the Federal Communications Commission issued the approval late Thursday, saying it was the first time the agency had approved a U.S.-licensed satellite operation using the broadband technology.SpaceX gains official approval to launch high-speed satellite Internet service - The Washington Post
The order comes weeks after SpaceX launched demo satellites, Tintin A and Tintin B, into orbit to test the concept. SpaceX's first satellites are expected to come online next year.
The proposed satellite network would differ from current satellite data technology, which is slow and expensive. Under Musk's plan, SpaceX's satellite fleet would orbit much closer to Earth than traditional communications satellites that stay in geostationary orbit high above Earth. That means data will travel to and from the satellite much more quickly — increasing the speed and reliability of the connection."
Friday, March 30, 2018
SpaceX gains official approval to launch high-speed satellite Internet service - The Washington Post
A mixed day for Elon Musk yesterday; also see Tesla Looked Like the Future. Now Some Ask if It Has One. (NYT)
Hard Questions: What is Facebook Doing to Protect Election Security? | Facebook Newsroom
Looks like Brad Parscale and his team will have to get considerably more creative for 2020; check the full post for details
"Today, we’re going to outline how we’re thinking about elections, and give you an update on a number of initiatives designed to protect and promote civic engagement on Facebook.Hard Questions: What is Facebook Doing to Protect Election Security? | Facebook Newsroom
There are four main election security areas that we are working on. They are:
- First, combating foreign interference,
- Second, removing fake accounts,
- Third, increasing ads transparency, and
- Fourth, reducing the spread of false news."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:03 AM No comments:
Microsoft Reorganizes to Fuel Cloud and A.I. Businesses - The New York Times
Earlier in the article: "The Windows era at Microsoft, long in eclipse, is officially history."
"Microsoft’s cloud business is powering its growth. In the most recent quarter, its Azure business grew 98 percent and its cloud-based Office 365 offering by 41 percent. By contrast, the division that includes the Windows PC software increased 2 percent.Microsoft Reorganizes to Fuel Cloud and A.I. Businesses - The New York Times
The formal relegation of the Windows franchise, said Michael Cusumano, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, “has been a long time coming.” And such a transition, Mr. Cusumano said, “probably had to be done by a second or third generation of leader.” Mr. Nadella succeeded Steven A. Ballmer, the longtime ally and friend of Microsoft’s co-founder, Bill Gates."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:55 AM No comments:
Facebook Falls From Grace, and Investors’ Stock Holdings Tumble Too - The New York Times
In other Facebook news, see Facebook, longtime friend of data brokers, becomes their stiffest competition (Washington Post)
"Since hitting its peak on Feb. 2, Facebook has lost an astonishing $100 billion in market capitalization. Its stock was trading midweek at close to $153 a share, a decline of nearly 22 percent. (It rebounded by about 4.5 percent Thursday and closed at $159.79.)Facebook Falls From Grace, and Investors’ Stock Holdings Tumble Too - The New York Times
With Facebook’s plunge, investor concerns have spread to other social media and internet stocks with lofty multiples, like the so-called FANG stocks — Facebook, Apple and Amazon, Netflix and Google — and Twitter. They accounted for more than 10 percent of the S.&P. 500 at their peak."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:45 AM No comments:
Trump Attacks Amazon, Saying It Does Not Pay Enough Taxes - The New York Times
For details on Brad Parscale's experience in deftly leveraging Facebook for disinformation and voter suppression, see How He Used Facebook to Win (New York Review of Books); also see Trump Is ‘Obsessed’ With Amazon Because He Wants to Crush the Washington Post (New York Magazine)
"Several current and former officials said that Mr. Trump regularly conflates Amazon with The Post. Mr. Bezos owns the paper privately, separate from his role at Amazon.Trump Attacks Amazon, Saying It Does Not Pay Enough Taxes - The New York Times
Brad Parscale, the president’s 2020 campaign manager, on Thursday channeled Mr. Trump’s anger about The Post in a tweet of his own, saying: “Do not forget to mention that @amazon has probably 10x the data on every American that @facebook does. All that data and own a political newspaper, The @washingtonpost. Hmm…”"
Posted by pbokelly at 6:35 AM No comments:
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Can Social Media Be Saved? - The New York Times
Perhaps there's a deeper set of problems to consider, e.g., in light of events such as Trump Rings Up Roseanne Barr After Her Show Is a Ratings Winner (NYT)
"But it would be a mistake to throw up our hands and assume that it has to be this way. The original dream of social media — producing healthy discussions, unlocking new forms of creativity, connecting people to others with similar interests — shouldn’t be discarded because of the failures of the current market leaders. And lots of important things still happen on even the most flawed networks. The West Virginia teachers’ strike and last weekend’s March for Our Lives, for example, were largely organized on Facebook and Twitter.Can Social Media Be Saved? - The New York Times
The primary problem with today’s social networks is that they’re already too big, and are trapped inside a market-based system that forces them to keep growing. Facebook can’t stop monetizing our personal data for the same reason that Starbucks can’t stop selling coffee — it’s the heart of the enterprise."
Facebook Could Be Fined Millions for Violating Consent Deal - Bloomberg
Likely institutional investor response to a potential Facebook fine of hundreds of millions: "Oh. Nevermind."
"The agency could fine Facebook up to $40,000 per violation per day -- which could add up quickly with millions of users involved -- if it finds the social media giant broke its earlier promises to protect user data, they say.Facebook Could Be Fined Millions for Violating Consent Deal - Bloomberg
“If I had to bet, they will find violations,” said Jessica Rich, a former head of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau.
“The penalty could potentially be huge,” because each user adversely affected could be considered a violation, said Rich, now vice president of consumer policy and mobilization for Consumer Reports. "The FTC is unlikely to get billions,” Rich said. “It could get hundreds of millions.”"
Posted by pbokelly at 7:18 AM No comments:
Soul-Searching From Ad Group That Lauded Cambridge Analytica - The New York Times
Perhaps destined to be a futile search...
""We’ve tended to assume that because you can do something, you should,” Scott McDonald, chief executive of the ad group, said in an interview on Tuesday. He added that advertisers had been more concerned with the accuracy and validity of data they received from technology companies than with asking whether they should be collecting that data and using it to target consumers in the first place.Soul-Searching From Ad Group That Lauded Cambridge Analytica - The New York Times
Mr. McDonald addressed the Cambridge Analytica situation and the need for new guidelines during a speech on Wednesday morning at the group’s annual convention in New York."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:09 AM No comments:
Facebook is cutting third-party data providers out of ad targeting to clean up its act - Recode
The succinct Facebook announcement: "We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook."
"Facebook is going to limit how much data it makes available to advertisers buying hyper-targeted ads on the social network.Facebook is cutting third-party data providers out of ad targeting to clean up its act - Recode
More specifically, Facebook says it will stop using data from third-party data aggregators — companies like Experian and Acxiom — to help supplement its own data set for ad targeting."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:01 AM No comments:
Apple CEO Tim Cook says Facebook should have regulated itself, but it’s too late for that now - Recode
"Cook made that point again today: “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.”Apple CEO Tim Cook says Facebook should have regulated itself, but it’s too late for that now - Recode
Swisher posed a question for Cook: What would he do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg? His answer: “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Cook’s interview with Swisher and Hayes is part of Revolution, a collaboration between Recode and MSNBC. The full interview is scheduled to air on MSNBC on Friday, April 6 at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT."
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Will Apple IBM Deal Let Watson Replace Siri For Business Apps? – Tech.pinions
Partnering to address a big market opportunity -- earlier in the post: "Depending on who you ask, iPhones have nearly 50% share in US smartphones in business, for example, which is several points higher than their share of smartphones in the overall US market."
"If you’re wondering why Apple would agree to creating this potential internal software rivalry, the answer is simple: legacy. Despite earlier efforts between the two companies to drive the creation and adoption of custom iOS business applications, the process has moved along slowly, in large part because so much of the software that enterprises already have is in older “legacy” formats that is difficult to port to new environments. By working with IBM more closely, Apple is counting on making the process of moving from these older applications or data sets to newer AI-style machine learning apps significantly easier.Will Apple IBM Deal Let Watson Replace Siri For Business Apps? – Tech.pinions
Another interesting aspect about the new Apple IBM announcement is the IBM Cloud Developer Console for Apple, which is a simple, web-based interface that lets Apple developers start experimenting with the Watson services and other cloud-based services offered by IBM. Using these tools, for example, lets you build and train your own models in Watson, and even create an ongoing training loop that lets the on-phone models get smarter over time. In fact, what’s unique about the arrangement is that it lets companies bridge between Apple’s privacy-focused policies of doing on-device inferencing—meaning any incoming data is processed on the phone without sending data to the cloud—and IBM’s focus on enterprise data security in the cloud."
Federal Circuit sends Oracle v. Google back for third trial - The Verge
From Oracle Wins Court Ruling Against Google in Multibillion-Dollar Copyright Case (WSJ): "The decision will have a “broad chilling effect” on software development for startups, said Pamela Samuelson, an intellectual-property law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. She expects a flood of new lawsuits over the unauthorized use of APIs, as well as raft of cease-and-desist letters from big tech firms seeking licensing fees to use their APIs."
"The Federal Circuit has ruled for a second time in Oracle v. Google, the software copyright lawsuit over Google’s Android platform. The new decision reverses the district court yet again and sends the case back for a third trial to determine damages for Oracle. In the last trial, Oracle sought almost $9 billion in damages.Federal Circuit sends Oracle v. Google back for third trial - The Verge
The litigation has been dragging on for about eight years now, bouncing up and down through appeals and two whole jury trials. It all started because Google wanted to make the Android platform compatible with apps written in the Java language. Rather than license the Java platform from Sun Microsystems, which would allow programs written in Java to run, Google instead chose to write its own version (also known as a clean room implementation). However, because of the way that code works, Android still shared some similarities with the Java platform."
Facebook Delays Home-Speaker Unveil Amid Data Crisis - Bloomberg
Perhaps not the best timing to introduce new Facebook data-collection devices, while the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook debacle makes surveillance capitalism a meme of the month...
"Facebook Inc. has decided not to unveil new home products at its major developer conference in May, in part because the public is currently so outraged about the social network’s data-privacy practices, according to people familiar with the matter.Facebook Delays Home-Speaker Unveil Amid Data Crisis - Bloomberg
The company’s new hardware products, connected speakers with digital-assistant and video-chat capabilities, are undergoing a deeper review to ensure that they make the right trade-offs regarding user data, the people said. While the hardware wasn’t expected to be available until the fall, the company had hoped to preview the devices at the largest annual gathering of Facebook developers, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal plans."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:41 AM No comments:
Apple Unveils New iPad to Catch Google in the Classroom - The New York Times
On a related note, Apple and Logitech announce $49 Crayon stylus and keyboard case that work with the iPad (The Verge)
"Apple said the new 9.7-inch iPad includes a faster processor and supports Apple Pencil, a stylus that previously paired with just its pricier iPads. The device costs $299 for schools and $329 for consumers, the same price as its previous version, and the Apple Pencil was priced at $89 for schools. The company also increased the amount of cloud storage for students to 200 gigabytes, from 5 gigabytes.Apple Unveils New iPad to Catch Google in the Classroom - The New York Times
In addition, Apple announced new software for the classroom. That includes Schoolwork, an app for teachers to create and track assignments, and updates to its productivity apps for education. The company also showed off a curriculum called Everyone Can Create that helps teach students skills in music, video, photography and art."
Waymo, a Google Spinoff, Ramps Up Its Driverless-Car Effort - The New York Times
In contrast, see Uber Won’t Renew Permit for Self-Driving Cars in California (NYT)
"The company said it planned to buy as many as 20,000 electric cars from Jaguar Land Rover and outfit them with the radars, cameras and sensors it has developed to enable the vehicles to drive themselves on public roads. The deal could be worth $1 billion.Waymo, a Google Spinoff, Ramps Up Its Driverless-Car Effort - The New York Times
It’s an audacious vision that goes far beyond even the most optimistic plans of its rivals. General Motors, for example, also intends to start a ride service that uses robotic cars that have no driver. But G.M. says its service won’t get off the ground until late 2019 — a time when Waymo said its fleet would be providing as many as one million rides a day."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:24 AM No comments:
Peter Thiel Employee Helped Cambridge Analytica Before It Harvested Data - The New York Times
The plot thickens... Also see Peter Thiel’s Palantir Says Rogue Employee Engaged With Cambridge Analytica (Bloomberg)
"The revelations pulled Palantir — co-founded by the wealthy libertarian Peter Thiel — into the furor surrounding Cambridge, which improperly obtained Facebook data to build analytical tools it deployed on behalf of Donald J. Trump and other Republican candidates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a supporter of President Trump, serves on the board at Facebook. “There were senior Palantir employees that were also working on the Facebook data,” said Christopher Wylie, a data expert and Cambridge Analytica co-founder, in testimony before British lawmakers on Tuesday."Later in the article:
"A former intern at SCL — Sophie Schmidt, the daughter of Eric Schmidt, then Google’s executive chairman — urged the company to link up with Palantir, according to Mr. Wylie’s testimony and a June 2013 email viewed by The Times."Peter Thiel Employee Helped Cambridge Analytica Before It Harvested Data - The New York Times
Posted by pbokelly at 6:09 AM No comments:
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
It's not just Facebook. Thousands of companies are spying on you (opinion) - CNN
From a Bruce Schneier perspective on surveillance capitalism
"Surveillance capitalism drives much of the internet. It's behind most of the "free" services, and many of the paid ones as well. Its goal is psychological manipulation, in the form of personalized advertising to persuade you to buy something or do something, like vote for a candidate. And while the individualized profile-driven manipulation exposed by Cambridge Analytica feels abhorrent, it's really no different from what every company wants in the end. This is why all your personal information is collected, and this is why it is so valuable. Companies that can understand it can use it against you.It's not just Facebook. Thousands of companies are spying on you (opinion) - CNN
None of this is new. The media has been reporting on surveillance capitalism for years. In 2015, I wrote a book about it. Back in 2010, the Wall Street Journal published an award-winning two-year series about how people are tracked both online and offline, titled "What They Know."
Surveillance capitalism is deeply embedded in our increasingly computerized society, and if the extent of it came to light there would be broad demands for limits and regulation. But because this industry can largely operate in secret, only occasionally exposed after a data breach or investigative report, we remain mostly ignorant of its reach."
Foxconn buys Belkin, Linksys, and Wemo - The Verge
Later in the article: "Foxconn has pledged to build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin, which could help it stay on the administration’s good side."
"The Taiwanese company known best for manufacturing iPhones, Foxconn, will soon be the company behind some of the best known routers and other computer accessories. A subsidiary of Foxconn, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, announced today that it would acquire Belkin, which also owns the brands Linksys and Wemo.Foxconn buys Belkin, Linksys, and Wemo - The Verge
Belkin, based in California, has been around for 35 years and is known today for creating an array of computer and phone accessories, including wireless chargers, laptop docks, and phone cases. Belkin purchased Linksys, which is well known for its home routers, in 2013. And it’s been running a smart home system called Wemo for more than five years now."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:06 AM No comments:
Microsoft, Twitter and Snap still allow cryptocurrency ads - Recode
Also see Bitcoin Hovers Near $8,000 Level as Investors Weigh Twitter Ban (Bloomberg)
"Twitter today confirmed that it too will be banning private ads for cryptocurrency sales and initial coin offerings. It joins Google, the world’s biggest online ad company, which announced earlier in March it would no longer show ads related to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. That move followed Facebook’s January ban on cryptocurrency and ICO ads, joining Chinese web giants Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, which haven’t allowed these kinds of ads for much longer.Microsoft, Twitter and Snap still allow cryptocurrency ads - Recode
That means companies like Coinbase or Gemini, which serve as marketplaces and exchanges for virtual currencies, and advertisers promoting an ICO or encouraging the purchase of a particular cryptocurrency, are effectively shut out of 70 percent of the world’s digital ad market."
New Leadership Has Not Changed Uber - The New York Times
A timely Uber reality check; see the full article for regulation recommendations
"The problem with Uber was never that the chief executive had created a thuggish “Game of Thrones”-type culture, as Susan Fowler, an engineer, described it in a blog post. The problem was, and still is, Uber’s business model: Its modus operandi is to subsidize fares and flood streets with its cars to achieve a transportation monopoly. In city after city, this has led to huge increases in traffic congestion, increased carbon emissions and the undermining of public transportation.New Leadership Has Not Changed Uber - The New York Times
Most customers who love Uber don’t realize that the company subsidizes the cost of many rides. This is likely a major factor in Uber’s annual losses surging from 2.8 billion in 2016 to $4.5 billion in 2017. This seemingly nonsensical approach is actually Uber’s effort to use its deep pockets to mount a predatory price war and shut out the competition. That competition is not only taxis and other ride-sharing companies, but public transportation."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:44 AM No comments:
Congress wants to drag Google and Twitter into Facebook’s privacy crisis - The Washington Post
They're going to need a very big room for the hearing if the scope is expanding to include all user profile/activity data-centric advertising-based apps/services
"It’s the third such request that lawmakers have made of Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to testify since it emerged earlier this month that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm hired by President Trump during the 2016 campaign, may have improperly accessed names, “likes” and other personal information from at least 30 million Facebook users.
But the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing spells the first time that congressional lawmakers have expanded their scrutiny to include Zuckerberg’s peers, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The result could be a hearing that exposes both of those tech giants – whose data is not known to have been taken by Cambridge Analytica – to uncomfortable questions about the extent to which they profit from their users’ most personal data, too."Congress wants to drag Google and Twitter into Facebook’s privacy crisis - The Washington Post
Posted by pbokelly at 6:30 AM No comments:
Monday, March 26, 2018
To Facebook — and Its Critics: Please Don’t Screw Up Our Internet (Whither News?)
An extensive and insightful Facebook reality check by Jeff Jarvis
"A post in three parts: First, I dissect a specimen of the current elitist media attack on Facebook and its users as a guidepost on the path to moral panic. Second, as a counterpoint, I admire a report about how the leaders of our tomorrow — the youth of Parkland — are using social media to change the world. Third, I will tell Facebook it is not doing nearly enough to fix itself and if it does not act more decisively, honestly, and quickly, it will invite short-sighted regulation that could ruin the net for us all."To Facebook — and Its Critics: Please Don’t Screw Up Our Internet
Posted by pbokelly at 11:43 AM No comments:
The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica apology tour continues, with full-page ads in major newspapers - Recode
One way to support print journalism...
"Today, the apology tour extended into print media: Facebook purchased full-page ads in several newspapers with apology letters attributed to Zuckerberg. The papers reached include the NYT, the Washington Post and the Observer, a British newspaper published by the Guardian that Facebook allegedly threatened with a lawsuit when its reporters were about to publish a story about Cambridge Analytica.The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica apology tour continues, with full-page ads in major newspapers - Recode
In the full-page ads, the company reiterates its messages of “we should have done more then” and “we’ll do better,” specifically pledging to “tell everyone affected” if and when it finds more examples of apps connected to its platform that made off with non-consenting users’ data."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:39 AM No comments:
Protect Your Data. Then Hope for a Tech Revolution. - Bloomberg
On a related note, see Apple's Tim Cook Calls for More Regulations on Data Privacy (Bloomberg)
"It's harder, however, to imagine this happening to search or to the strongest traditional publishers, capable of collecting both subscription and advertising revenue. That's where the Berners-Lee method -- pressure and regulation -- is probably the best. It would be fair to allow those users who don't want to give up data or see ads, targeted or otherwise, to pay a subscription fee -- the way they do on Spotify, for example -- and to have others actually sell their data by giving them a percentage of the ad revenue they generate. If platforms refuse to offer these opportunities, regulators can force them.Protect Your Data. Then Hope for a Tech Revolution. - Bloomberg
We don't have to be suckers or chattel in the internet economy. Berners-Lee's message is about clawing back our power. It is an important call to action in a world where true privacy is no longer possible."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:26 AM No comments:
Apple Goes to Hollywood. Will Its Story Have a Happy Ending? - The New York Times
"Producers and entertainment executives who have met recently with Apple executives said the company has been leaning toward programming in keeping with its bright, optimistic brand identity. In other words, it seems possible that Apple will shy away from projects that are gratuitously dark or heavy on social issues. They added that the company was targeting somewhere between March 2019 and the summer of that year to roll out its slate of new programming.Apple Goes to Hollywood. Will Its Story Have a Happy Ending? - The New York Times
Apple has two advantages over its potential rivals: cash — the company has more than $285 billion on hand — and the promise of working with one of the most successful companies on earth."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:15 AM No comments:
A First in Flight: Australia to the U.K., in 17 Hours - The New York Times
9,009 miles in 17 hours -- quite a nonstop flight
"Some passengers agreed to share data on their sleeping and activity patterns with researchers from the University of Sydney. They wore monitors that recorded data about their mental state, eating patterns and hydration levels.A First in Flight: Australia to the U.K., in 17 Hours - The New York Times
According to the airline, the “home style comfort food” menus for trips between Perth and London were designed to maintain hydration, aid sleep and reduce jet lag."
Help us report on data hoarding – WikiTribune
Another timely WikiTribune project
"Questions to explore:Help us report on data hoarding – WikiTribune
- What historical events and examples of personal data being collected, analyzed, or sold can be cited?
- Should historic precedent change our perspective on the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook data breach?
- Which private sector companies have bought databases of information for marketing, political, or other purposes?
- Why do people accept terms and conditions knowing their data may be compromised or shared?
- What protections are in place for users to protect their privacy?
- What percentage of the general public cares about their data being collected?"
Posted by pbokelly at 7:02 AM No comments:
DOJ renews push to require access to encrypted devices (Engadget)
Also see Justice Dept. Revives Push to Mandate a Way to Unlock Phones (NYT)
"None of the agencies involved have commented on the report, although the tipsters stressed that there weren't any imminent moves. The new conversations involved former Microsoft exec Ray Ozzie, former Intel security chief Ernie Brickell and UC San Diego professor Stefan Savage. The focus was on unlocking device data rather than trying to intercept messages.DOJ renews push to require access to encrypted devices
It's not certain which ideas would have sway. However, Ozzie has been working on a system where a device would generate a post-encryption key that would live on-device in a separately encrypted storage area. In theory, only the manufacturer could access that key and unlock the main partition at will. The Obama administration had explored a similar approach, but had been stuck on the possibility that crooks might find a way to delete access keys or to find firmware that didn't have the key (say, devices from other countries). The current DOJ is wondering if the solution really needs to be airtight, according to sources -- the key approach would be considered good enough for "ordinary" crooks who wouldn't have the know-how to delete the key."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:47 AM No comments:
Friday, March 23, 2018
Box stock falls on Dropbox IPO day (CNBC)
Also see Dropbox Shares Leap in I.P.O., and Silicon Valley Smiles (NYT)
"As Dropbox soared in its stock market debut on Friday, shares of cloud software rival Box went the other way, plunging 7 percent. At market close, Box stock was down about 8.2 percent.
Dropbox shares jumped as much as 50 percent from their IPO price of $21 to as high as $31.60, giving the company a stock market value of over $12 billion. At the end of the trading day, Box was valued at $2.8 billion."Box stock falls on Dropbox IPO day
Atlanta city government systems down due to ransomware attack [Updated] | Ars Technica
$51K in bitcoin, to be precise
"The city of Atlanta government has apparently become the victim of a ransomware attack. The city's official Twitter account announced that the city government "is currently experiencing outages on various customer facing applications, including some that customers may use to pay bills or access court-related information."Atlanta city government systems down due to ransomware attack [Updated] | Ars Technica
According to a report from Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA, a city employee sent the station a screen shot of a ransomware message demanding a payment of $6,800 to unlock each computer or $51,000 to provide all the keys for affected systems. Employees received emails from the city's information technology department instructing them to unplug their computers if they noticed anything suspicious. An internal email shared with WXIA said that the internal systems affected include the city's payroll application."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:47 AM No comments:
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Lone DNC Hacker’ Guccifer 2.0 Slipped Up and Revealed He Was a Russian Intelligence Officer (Daily Beast)
Perhaps a busy weekend ahead for Roger Stone
"Guccifer 2.0, the “lone hacker” who took credit for providing WikiLeaks with stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, was in fact an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU), The Daily Beast has learned. It’s an attribution that resulted from a fleeting but critical slip-up in GRU tradecraft.EXCLUSIVE: ‘Lone DNC Hacker’ Guccifer 2.0 Slipped Up and Revealed He Was a Russian Intelligence Officer
That forensic determination has substantial implications for the criminal probe into potential collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia. The Daily Beast has learned that the special counsel in that investigation, Robert Mueller, has taken over the probe into Guccifer and brought the FBI agents who worked to track the persona onto his team."
Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘fundamentally uncomfortable’ making content decisions for Facebook - Recode
Also see this Tim Berners-Lee tweet thread, which includes "I can imagine Mark Zuckerberg is devastated that his creation has been abused and misused. (Some days I have the same feeling #justsaying)"
"“What I would really like to do is find a way to get our policies set in a way that reflects the values of the community, so I am not the one making those decisions,” Zuckerberg said. “I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world.”Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘fundamentally uncomfortable’ making content decisions for Facebook - Recode
But then Zuckerberg said something else we haven’t heard before, which is that even though making these kinds of policy decisions make him uncomfortable, he may no longer have a choice.
“Things like, ‘Where’s the line on hate speech?’ I mean, who chose me to be the person that did that?” Zuckerberg continued. “I guess I have to, because we’re here now, but I’d rather not.”"
Posted by pbokelly at 6:34 AM No comments:
The music business had its second year in a row of big-time growth, thanks to streaming - Recode
Also see Spotify Saved Music. Can It Save Itself? (Bloomberg)
"For nearly two decades, the music business was in free fall. Now that’s over, thanks to streaming.The music business had its second year in a row of big-time growth, thanks to streaming - Recode
The music industry has known this for a while, but today we have another data point: U.S. music sales were up 14 percent when adjusted for inflation, to $8.7 billion last year, according to the labels’ trade group.
That’s the second year in a row that the industry has seen a significant leap in revenue, and that’s due entirely to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, which are more than balancing the decline in CD sales (people still buy CDs!) and download sales."
Dropbox Priced at $21 a Share in I.P.O., Valuing Company at $9.2 Billion - The New York Times
For an alternative-fact perspective, see Box CEO on Dropbox IPO: We’re like Salesforce, they’re like Netflix (MarketWatch)
"Founded in 2007 by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer science students, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, Dropbox sells software subscriptions that let users collaborate and share files online. Until now, it was financed by private investors — including venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners — who valued the start-up at $9.4 billion, according to the research firm CB Insights. That large valuation earned Dropbox the coveted “unicorn” designation, which applies to start-ups valued at more than $1 billion.Dropbox Priced at $21 a Share in I.P.O., Valuing Company at $9.2 Billion - The New York Times
The share sale on Thursday gave Dropbox a market value of about $9.2 billion. The shares are expected start trading Friday on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol DBX."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:16 AM No comments:
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Cutting ‘Old Heads’ at IBM (ProPublica)
Tbd if IBM still employs a sufficient number of extensively experienced lawyers to address this ~8,900-word report
"But when high tech suddenly started shifting and companies went global, IBM faced the changing landscape with a distinction most of its fiercest competitors didn’t have: a large number of experienced and aging U.S. employees.Cutting ‘Old Heads’ at IBM
The company reacted with a strategy that, in the words of one confidential planning document, would “correct seniority mix.” It slashed IBM’s U.S. workforce by as much as three-quarters from its 1980s peak, replacing a substantial share with younger, less-experienced and lower-paid workers and sending many positions overseas. ProPublica estimates that in the past five years alone, IBM has eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over, about 60 percent of its estimated total U.S. job cuts during those years.
In making these cuts, IBM has flouted or outflanked U.S. laws and regulations intended to protect later-career workers from age discrimination, according to a ProPublica review of internal company documents, legal filings and public records, as well as information provided via interviews and questionnaires filled out by more than 1,000 former IBM employees."
Posted by pbokelly at 8:18 AM No comments:
Google Is Working on Its Own Blockchain-Related Technology - Bloomberg
For another perspective in this context, see Terry Lambert's Quora answer to "If blockchain was truly revolutionary, why wouldn't top tech firms like Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple be doing more with it?"
"The Alphabet Inc. unit is developing its own distributed digital ledger that third parties can use to post and verify transactions, one of the people said. Although the timing of any product release is unclear, the company plans to offer this to differentiate its cloud service from rivals. It will also provide a white-label version that other companies can run on their own servers, the person added.Google Is Working on Its Own Blockchain-Related Technology - Bloomberg
The internet giant has also been acquiring and investing in startups with digital ledger expertise. Many of the deals haven’t been announced, the person said. Still, Alphabet was a leading corporate investor in the field last year, ahead of Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to research firm CB Insights."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:57 AM No comments:
YouTube Bans Firearms Demo Videos, Entering the Gun Control Debate - Bloomberg
Pornhub's firearms video policy tbd
"YouTube will ban videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories, including bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster. Additionally, YouTube said it will prohibit videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms. The video site, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has faced intense criticism for hosting videos about guns, bombs and other deadly weapons.YouTube Bans Firearms Demo Videos, Entering the Gun Control Debate - Bloomberg
For many gun-rights supporters, YouTube has been a haven. A current search on the site for “how to build a gun” yields 25 million results, though that includes items such as toys. At least one producer of gun videos saw its page suspended on Tuesday. Another channel opted to move its videos to an adult-content site, saying that will offer more freedom than YouTube."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:52 AM No comments:
Users Abandon Facebook After Cambridge Analytica Findings - The New York Times
Cher has left the network (see her related tweet for more details)...
"Debates over privacy have plagued Facebook for years.Users Abandon Facebook After Cambridge Analytica Findings - The New York Times
But the news that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm that worked on President Trump’s 2016 campaign, was able to gain access to private data through the social network has sparked an unusually strong reaction among its users.
The hashtag #DeleteFacebook appeared more than 10,000 times on Twitter within a two-hour period on Wednesday, according to the analytics service ExportTweet. On Tuesday, it was mentioned 40,398 times, according to the analytics service Digimind."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:25 AM No comments:
Trump on Cambridge Analytica
Remember when they were saying, during the campaign, that Donald Trump is giving great speeches and drawing big crowds, but he is spending much less money and not using social media as well as Crooked Hillary’s large and highly sophisticated staff. Well, not saying that anymore!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
Posted by pbokelly at 7:08 AM No comments:
Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for the Cambridge Analytica scandal - The Verge
Check the full post for a succinct summary of the CNN interview
"Earlier in the day, Zuckerberg wrote a Facebook post in which he said the company had made mistakes in its handling of the Cambridge Analytica data revelations. The company laid out a multipart plan designed to reduce the amount of data shared by users with outside developers, and said it would audit some developers who had access to large troves of data before earlier restrictions were implemented in 2014.Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for the Cambridge Analytica scandal - The Verge
Zuckerberg spoke with CNN senior tech correspondent Laurie Segall, with the segment airing during Anderson Cooper 360. The news came at a crucial moment for Facebook as it reels from the fallout of Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:57 AM No comments:
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Digital conversion: Church of England rolls out cashless donations | World news | The Guardian
Also see Heaven can't wait: Church of England offers faster way to pay (BBC)
"The C of E takes about £580m a year in donations, although most are from standing orders and fees rather than cash given in church. It began looking at cashless payment due to the declining numbers of people carrying cash.Digital conversion: Church of England rolls out cashless donations | World news | The Guardian
Its portable card readers can take payments from contactless bank cards, chip and pin, Apple Pay and Google Pay. A “merchant”, expected to be a church volunteer, is needed to input transactions, most likely at the start or end of a service or event. People booking churches and halls for events will also have the option of electronic payment. The technology firms SumUp and iZettle will provide the services."
Posted by pbokelly at 5:51 PM No comments:
“This Is a Slow Roll”: Silicon Valley Insiders Think That Facebook Will Never Be the Same After the Cambridge Analytica Scandal | Vanity Fair
2018 is going to be a very long year for Facebook...
"In the short term, the one saving grace for Zuckerberg is that the people who took advantage of the data manipulation and ad targeting to win office—namely Donald Trump, and various Republicans who support him, either by choice or political necessity—may not want to regulate a company that could, if left to its own devices, be used again in 2020 to retain the White House. Brad Parscale, the digital expert who had worked previously for Trump’s campaign, has bragged repeatedly since November about how his ability to micro-target people using Facebook, and a partnership with Cambridge Analytica, that got Trump elected in the first place. Given that Parscale is now running Trump’s 2020 re-election bid, he will presumably endeavor to ensure that the president of the United States doesn’t block his capacity to manipulate people on Facebook by tapping into the electorate’s hopes and fears."“This Is a Slow Roll”: Silicon Valley Insiders Think That Facebook Will Never Be the Same After the Cambridge Analytica Scandal | Vanity Fair
Posted by pbokelly at 9:58 AM No comments:
Readers have borrowed more than 1 billion digital books through OverDrive #PLA2018 - OverDrive Blogs
To which The Digital Reader adds: "A billion is a lot, but I think it's worth noting that OverDrive would have reached this milestone years ago if the major publishers had adopted reasonable policies on library ebooks."
"One billion. It’s a defining number that’s hard to fathom yet understood as a massive milestone. There are very few things that can use the number 1 billion to describe what they represent. Recently, digital library checkouts through OverDrive became one of them. On February 10, Team OverDrive watched as our all-time checkouts surpassed 1 billion, officially joining the three comma club.Readers have borrowed more than 1 billion digital books through OverDrive #PLA2018 - OverDrive Blogs
We’re proud of this accomplishment, but it’s not something we ever could’ve reached on our own. The librarians and staff at the 40,000 library and school partners we work with around the world deserve all the credit for spreading the word and evangelizing the joys of digital reading. Because of their tireless work, this isn’t the end of a journey, but rather the first step toward billions more moments of reading happiness. At PLA this week, we’ll be celebrating our Billion Book Bash with hundreds of our closest librarian friends. If you’ll be in Philadelphia for the conference, we hope you’ll join us."
Posted by pbokelly at 8:35 AM No comments:
Is deleting Facebook the answer? – Lance Ulanoff – Medium
Check the full post for some timely Facebook privacy setting tips
"What Facebook did was still legal, in the name of business and, yes, kind of shady, much in the way many money-making corporations are. A site that relies on user activity and advertiser dollars to make money is naturally going to do whatever it can to increase both. Facebook is not a charity. It was not designed for social good, and I’m stunned that people still believe that Facebook should have started with people’s best interests at heart.Is deleting Facebook the answer? – Lance Ulanoff – Medium
I am concerned that people want to tear the whole thing down, bring Facebook to its knees and start over. Facebook currently employs over 24,000 people. I doubt anyone wants to see all those people out of work.
Facebook is an important part of California’s economy and plays small part in local economies around the world. In some parts of the developing world, Facebook is, for better or worse, the only way people access the Internet. If it’s gone, something else will have to be built, and quickly, in its place."
Posted by pbokelly at 8:31 AM No comments:
IBM offers up Watson Assistant, its answer to Amazon’s Alexa - CNET
Watson, what's the departure gate for my flight to Toronto, USA?
"Don't expect to start saying, "Watson, what's the weather?" or "Watson, play They Might be Giants" to an IBM-branded speaker anytime soon. Instead, Watson Assistant will function as the behind-the-scenes brains for a variety of new digital helpers made by a variety of businesses for your home and in stores, airports, hotels and cars.IBM offers up Watson Assistant, its answer to Amazon’s Alexa - CNET
For example, Watson Assistant is already in use at Munich Airport to power a robot that can tell you directions and gate information. The assistant is in development by BMW for an in-car voice helper. Also, Chameleon Technology in the UK created a Watson Assistant-driven platform called I-VIE that helps people manage their energy usage."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:16 AM No comments:
Paul Ford: Facebook Is Why We Need a Digital Protection Agency - Bloomberg
Also see The Legitimisation of Have I Been Pwned (Troy Hunt)
"Given that the federal government is currently one angry man with nuclear weapons and a Twitter account, and that it’s futile to expect reform or self-regulation from internet giants, I’d like to propose something that will seem impossible but I would argue isn’t: Let’s make a digital Environmental Protection Agency. Call it the Digital Protection Agency. Its job would be to clean up toxic data spills, educate the public, and calibrate and levy fines.Paul Ford: Facebook Is Why We Need a Digital Protection Agency - Bloomberg
How might a digital EPA function? Well, it could do some of the work that individuals do today. For example, the website of Australian security expert Troy Hunt, haveibeenpwned.com (“pwned” is how elite, or “l33t,” hackers, or “hax0rs,” spell “owned”), keeps track of nearly 5 billion hacked accounts. You give it your email, and it tells you if you’ve been found in a data breach. A federal agency could and should do that work, not just one very smart Australian—and it could do even better, because it would have a framework for legally exploring, copying, and dealing with illegally obtained information. Yes, we’d probably have to pay Booz Allen or Accenture or whatever about $120 million to get the same work done that Troy Hunt does on his own, but that’s the nature of government contracting, and we can only change one thing at a time."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:04 AM No comments:
The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook Debacle: A Legal Primer - Lawfare
Final paragraphs -- on "What To Expect Next"
"If you’re Kogan, or Cambridge Analytica, expect lawsuits, public hearings and general regulatory hell. Maybe, in the extreme, jail time. If you’re Facebook, expect lawsuits, public hearings, and general regulatory hell. Maybe, in the extreme, the end of the firm as we know it.The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook Debacle: A Legal Primer - Lawfare
Facebook is hoping to pin this on two bad apples: Kogan and Cambridge Analytica. And bad apples they were. But this is a dangerous strategy. For Facebook, the claim that it was always upfront about how user data might end up in developer hands is a strategy that wins the battle but loses the war. If users and regulators decide that the firm did not do anything out of the ordinary—that this is just the way Facebook works—they may reasonably conclude that the firm itself is unacceptable. The EU’s top privacy regulator, Věra Jourová, announced on Monday that she had reached out to Facebook and that “From a European Union perspective, the misuse for political purposes of personal data belonging to Facebook users -- if confirmed -- is not acceptable." This does not sound like the kind of small-bore complaint about a one-off problem, but rather the threat of a major reckoning.
It sounds like the kind of thing that should make Facebook want to hire really good antitrust lawyers."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:40 AM No comments:
WhatsApp co-founder joins call to #DeleteFacebook as fallout intensifies | Technology | The Guardian
#awkward... Also see One WhatsApp founder says you should delete Facebook. The other uses it to share pro-Trump stories (Quartz)
'via Blog this'
"Facebook’s troubles entered a fourth day with a rising chorus of people – including the co-founder of WhatsApp – joining the #DeleteFacebook movement as the Federal Trade Commission was reported to be investigating the company’s handling of personal data.
Momentum gathered behind the #DeleteFacebook campaign, with several media outlets publishing guides to permanently deleting your Facebook account. One surprising voice to emerge was that of Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp, which was bought by Facebook for $19bn in 2014.WhatsApp co-founder joins call to #DeleteFacebook as fallout intensifies | Technology | The Guardian:
Acton, who left WhatsApp in late 2017, posted to Twitter: “It is time. #deletefacebook.”"
'via Blog this'
Posted by pbokelly at 6:01 AM No comments:
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Facebook Struggles to Respond to the Cambridge Analytica Scandal | WIRED
Final paragraphs from an extensive Facebook reality check
"Facebook will hold its all-hands today, and hope for that inevitable moment when something horrible happens elsewhere and everyone’s attention turns. But it also knows that things might get worse, much worse. The nightmare scenario will come if the Cambridge Analytica story fully converges with the story of Russian meddling in American democracy: if it turns out that the Facebook data harvested by Cambridge Analytica ended up in the hands of Putin’s trolls.Facebook Struggles to Respond to the Cambridge Analytica Scandal | WIRED
At that point, Facebook will have to deal with yet another devastating asymmetry: data from a silly quiz app, created under obsolete rules, fueling a national security crisis. But those asymmetries are just part of the nature of Facebook today. The company has immense power, and it’s only begun to grapple with its immense responsibility. And the world isn’t as forgiving of Silicon Valley as it used to be."
Posted by pbokelly at 5:40 PM No comments:
Amazon Vaults Ahead of Alphabet in Market Value - Bloomberg
Later in the article: "The surge also adds to the drama in the race to $1 trillion market value, with Apple remaining the front-runner at $889.2 billion. Still, Amazon has been the company to watch for the past three years, with market gains far outpacing Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft, making founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos the world’s wealthiest person."
"Amazon.com Inc. vaulted ahead of internet rival Alphabet Inc. in market value for the first time, a sign of growing investor optimism about the prospects for the world’s largest online retailer as it reaches into new markets such as groceries, health insurance and consumer devices.Amazon Vaults Ahead of Alphabet in Market Value - Bloomberg
Shares of the Seattle-based e-commerce giant rose 2.7 percent at the close in New York on Tuesday, giving it a market capitalization of $768 billion. That made it the world’s second-most valuable publicly traded company behind Apple Inc. Google parent Alphabet was little changed, putting its value at $762.6 billion."
Posted by pbokelly at 4:55 PM No comments:
Israel Warns Twitter of Legal Action Over Requests to Remove Content - Bloomberg
Also see Twitter drops sharply as social media falls under scrutiny (CNBC)
"Israel’s justice minister warned Tuesday that the government is considering taking “legal action” against Twitter Inc. for ignoring repeated requests to remove online content that was inciting or supportive of terrorism. The shares tumbled the most in eight months.Israel Warns Twitter of Legal Action Over Requests to Remove Content - Bloomberg
Ayelet Shaked accused the American social media firm at a Jerusalem conference of failing to contribute to the country’s fight against online incitement, according to an emailed statement Tuesday from her office."
Introducing Subscribe with Google (Google blog)
Subtly significant subscription search services -- if you opt to use Subscribe with Google; check the full post for details and The Google News Initiative: Building a stronger future for news (Google blog) for an overall Google + journalism update
"Paying for a subscription is a clear indication that you value and trust your subscribed publication as a source. So we’ll also highlight those sources across Google surfaces, beginning with a dedicated module on Search. When you search for a news topic for which your subscribed publication has relevant results, we’ll showcase these so they’re easy for you to see and access—without disrupting search ranking for the rest of the page."Introducing Subscribe with Google
Posted by pbokelly at 3:08 PM No comments:
Oracle's New Licenses Sales Drop While Revenue Meets Estimates - Bloomberg
Tangentially, see Billionaire Larry Ellison has a new consumer wellness company called Sensei (TechCrunch)
"The stock was hit with downgrades from a number of analysts following the results, with those at Bank of America Corp. shifting from Buy to Neutral. Oracle’s shares were down 8.4 percent at 6.46 a.m. during early trading Tuesday in New York.Oracle's New Licenses Sales Drop While Revenue Meets Estimates - Bloomberg
Under Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, who share the chief executive officer title, Oracle has bet its future on a new version of its database software that automates more functions and a growing suite of cloud-based applications. Last quarter’s results were a reminder that the company still faces stiff competition from cloud vendors including Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc.
“They missed the cloud number, which is the key to this transition story,” said Pat Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC. “Investors were expecting strength in new licenses, and that decreased. This is a quarter when Salesforce and Adobe told you that IT spending was strong, but Oracle hasn’t benefited from that.”"
Posted by pbokelly at 7:20 AM No comments:
Alex Stamos, Facebook Data Security Chief, To Leave Amid Outcry - The New York Times
On a related note, see Is It Time for More Adult Supervision at Facebook? (NYT)
"Mr. Stamos, who plans to leave Facebook by August, had advocated more disclosure around Russian interference of the platform and some restructuring to better address the issues, but was met with resistance by colleagues, said the current and former employees. In December, Mr. Stamos’s day-to-day responsibilities were reassigned to others, they said.Alex Stamos, Facebook Data Security Chief, To Leave Amid Outcry - The New York Times
Mr. Stamos said he would leave Facebook but was persuaded to stay through August to oversee the transition of his responsibilities and because executives thought his departure would look bad, the people said. He has been overseeing the transfer of his security team to Facebook’s product and infrastructure divisions. His group, which once had 120 people, now has three, the current and former employees said."
A self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian. Human drivers will kill 16 today. - Vox
Also see Uber's Self-Driving Car Just Killed Somebody in Arizona. Now What? (Wired)
"In the meantime, this tragedy will no doubt stoke fears about putting our lives in the hands of car computers. So let’s not forget that getting into, or walking or biking near, a car piloted by a human is one of the most dangerous activities we can do every day.A self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian. Human drivers will kill 16 today. - Vox
According to a report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, there were 5,997 pedestrian fatalities in the US in 2016 — or 16 each day. Globally, road traffic is the fifth leading cause of death in the world.
What’s more, driving a car and being a pedestrian are particularly dangerous undertakings in America, relative to other high-income countries. The US ranks 41st out of 52 high-income countries on road traffic deaths per population, with only a handful of countries — including Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Saudi Arabia — trailing behind."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:37 AM No comments:
Cambridge Analytica's Lies Shouldn't Wreck Data Collection - Bloomberg
Final paragraphs from a Cass Sunstein reality check; for another accentuate-the-potential-positive perspective, see Perspective, please (Jeff Jarvis)
"The U.S. government has faced, and solved, similar problems: Data.gov discloses a great deal of information, with more than 230,000 data sets involving health, safety, travel, energy, and the environment. Available apps, made possible by that information, are helping people to save money and to avoid health risks.Cambridge Analytica's Lies Shouldn't Wreck Data Collection - Bloomberg
For social media providers, including Facebook, the Cambridge Analytica fiasco underlines the need for more careful vetting of all developers who seek access to their data. But it would be a mistake to take the fiasco as a reason to keep treasure troves of information out of the hands of people who can provide immensely valuable services with it."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:27 AM No comments:
Facebook’s rules for accessing user data lured more than just Cambridge Analytica - The Washington Post
Also see The Facebook breach makes it clear: data must be regulated (The Guardian) and How Facebook’s Data Sharing Went From Feature to Bug (NYT)
"Facebook once appeared to acknowledge that some data collection by developers ran counter to the expectations of Facebook users. In a 2014 news release announcing new restrictions to its developer policies, a Facebook executive wrote, “We’ve heard from people that they are often surprised when a friend shares their information with an app.” That admission may indicate that people had not been given adequate understanding of how their data and their friends’ data were used by third parties.Facebook’s rules for accessing user data lured more than just Cambridge Analytica - The Washington Post
Facebook “goes into this endless hairsplitting that people should have known,” said Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit advocacy group that has brought privacy cases before the FTC. “No one could have known that their friends were disclosing their personal data on their behalf. It’s entirely illogical, and it breaks the consent law.”"
Monday, March 19, 2018
Cambridge Analytica CEO appears to talk about using bribes and sex workers to sway elections on secretly recorded news video - The Washington Post
I'm guessing few people will be surprised to learn that a company associated with Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer would resort to such tactics...
"A British television station broadcast video Monday apparently showing the head of the data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Trump’s 2016 campaign, talking about using bribes, traps involving sex workers and other unethical tactics to swing elections around the world.Cambridge Analytica CEO appears to talk about using bribes and sex workers to sway elections on secretly recorded news video - The Washington Post
The broadcast by Channel 4 News offered no evidence that such methods were used during Cambridge Analytica’s work for the Trump campaign, which paid the firm at least $6 million. But the broadcast sparked a fresh round of questions about a company already embroiled in controversy about its use of personal information from tens of millions of Facebooks users — the vast majority of whom had no idea their names, likes and work histories had been collected for political purposes."
Posted by pbokelly at 5:16 PM No comments:
Exclusive: 'Where can I buy?' - Google makes push to turn product searches into cash (Reuters)
Later in the article: "“Brands are looking at Google as the enemy of the enemy and that makes Google their friend,” said Guru Hariharan, CEO of retail technology firm Boomerang Commerce, referring to the competition between Amazon and chains like Walmart and Target." Also see New Google Shopping Actions: Google Paid from Organic Search Sales? (Search Engine Journal) and Help shoppers take action, wherever and however they choose to shop (Google Inside AdWords blog)
"“We have taken a fundamentally different approach from the likes of Amazon because we see ourselves as an enabler of retail,” Alegre said. “We see ourselves as part of a solution for retailers to be able to drive better transactions ... and get closer to the consumer.” For consumers faced with a surfeit of choices, the idea is to make online buying easier by giving them a single shopping cart and instant checkout – a core feature of Amazon’s retail dominance.Exclusive: 'Where can I buy?' - Google makes push to turn product searches into cash
Retail chains can also offer products through the Google Home voice shopping device, holding on to those who may be headed to Amazon for better deals and giving them personalized recommendations based on previous purchase history."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:12 AM No comments:
Cambridge Analytica and the Dangers of Facebook Data-Harvesting - The Atlantic
Time until this Facebook crisis expands to encompass all digital advertising tbd
"Facebook has tightened up some of its policies in recent years, especially around apps accessing friends’ data. But The Guardian’s reporting suggests that the company’s efforts to restuff Pandora’s box have been lax. Wylie, the whistleblower, received a letter from Facebook asking him to delete any Facebook data nearly two years after the existence of the data was first reported. “That to me was the most astonishing thing,” Wylie told The Guardian. “They waited two years and did absolutely nothing to check that the data was deleted. All they asked me to do was tick a box on a form and post it back.”Cambridge Analytica and the Dangers of Facebook Data-Harvesting - The Atlantic
But even if Facebook were maximally aggressive about policing this kind of situation, what’s done is done. It’s not just that the data escaped, but that Cambridge Analytica almost certainly learned everything they could from it. As stated in The Guardian, the contract between GSR and Strategic Communications Laboratories states, specifically, “The ultimate product of the training set is creating a ‘gold standard’ of understanding personality from Facebook profile information.”"
Posted by pbokelly at 7:00 AM No comments:
Roughly one in four Americans is online ‘constantly’ - Recode
See this Pew page for the full report
"New data from Pew Research Center found that 26 percent of American adults admit to being online “almost constantly,” and 43 percent go online “several times a day.” In 2015, roughly 21 percent of American adult admitted to being online “almost constantly.”Roughly one in four Americans is online ‘constantly’ - Recode
Unsurprisingly, young people are more likely to be internet-obsessed than the general population. About 39 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds reported going online “almost constantly,” compared to 36 percent back in 2015."
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach | News | The Guardian
Another busy week ahead for the Facebook PR and legal departments; also see Democrats call on Cambridge Analytica head to testify again before Congress (The Guardian)
"The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach | News | The Guardian
A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements."
Posted by pbokelly at 1:11 PM No comments:
Friday, March 16, 2018
Google just changed the name of Android Wear to Wear OS - The Verge
Perhaps a lot of iPhone users received
Android Wear OS watches as gifts. Also see Android Wear becomes Wear OS by Google—let's hope bigger changes follow (PCWorld)
"The Android Wear brand introduced in 2014 is going away and being replaced with a new name: Wear OS. A new area of Google’s website has officially confirmed the change. Wear OS even has a new slogan: “Make every minute matter.” For now, that’s really all the news there is; since it works on both Android and iOS, Google’s smartwatch platform is being given a more flexible moniker that doesn’t tie it to a specific mobile operating system. Apple’s software platform on the Apple Watch is called watchOS.Google just changed the name of Android Wear to Wear OS - The Verge
And even though Wear OS doesn’t give iPhone users all the same features as Android users, some iPhone owners are actually picking watches with Google’s software over the Apple Watch. “In 2017, one out of three new Android Wear watch owners also used an iPhone,” claims Google. Android users still make up the majority of customers, but it’s not as lopsided as you might think. Over 50 Wear OS watches have hit the market so far, and fashion brands have really gravitated to the platform. It can be a bit hard to tell some of their offerings apart at this point."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:21 AM No comments:
Airtable CEO Howie Liu interview on getting $52 million in funding - Business Insider
For an investor perspective, see Airtable: the application platform that’s redefining software (CRV)
"Airtable, a spreadsheet app that has become one of Silicon Valley's sleeper hits, has raised $52 million in new funding in a round led by Caffeinated Capital and CRV to bring its total to $62.6 million.Airtable CEO Howie Liu interview on getting $52 million in funding - Business Insider
When it was founded in 2012, Airtable was a small, business-focused spreadsheet program. It has since found new audiences, as companies like Tesla, Airbnb, and WeWork — as well as smaller teams and individual users — have come to rely on Airtable to organize their data.
The secret to Airtable's success, according to its CEO, Howie Liu, is that it makes it easy to make a custom app. Every cell of an Airtable spreadsheet can store anything, including photos and lists. Adding an interface on top can turn it into a simple but powerful app — without coding."
Posted by pbokelly at 7:07 AM No comments:
Elon Musk Embarrassed After Realizing He Proposing Idea For Thing That Already Exists ([sic] The Onion)
I'm guessing this satire may have something to do with Elon Musk Says He’s Formed a Media Company Called ‘Thud’ After Hiring Ex-Staffers of The Onion (Variety)
"“The most embarrassing part is that I’ve used it before, too, and I have been for years. That must be where I got the great idea in the first place. There’s even a website for it and everything. I was just so excited that I forgot to double-check that I wasn’t just rehashing something else and proclaiming it was original and visionary. God, people must think I’m just completely out of touch.” At press time, a sheepish Musk told reporters that he was going ahead with his idea anyway, no matter how many people would perceive it as an obvious imitation of the real thing."Elon Musk Embarrassed After Realizing He Proposing Idea For Thing That Already Exists
Posted by pbokelly at 6:56 AM No comments:
Microsoft’s Xbox Unit Seeks to Lure Game Makers to Cloud - Bloomberg
Article subtitle: "Software giant turns to gaming partners in hunt for Azure customers." On a related note, see Google, Amazon and Microsoft cloud businesses helped more than double spending on data centers last year (Recode) and Introducing Agones: Open-source, multiplayer, dedicated game-server hosting built on Kubernetes (Google Cloud Platform Blog)
"Kareem Choudhry, a 20-year company veteran, was named vice president in charge of the new unit, called gaming cloud. His group will be tasked with helping other game developers and and publishers use Microsoft’s cloud products and creating new services for the industry.Microsoft’s Xbox Unit Seeks to Lure Game Makers to Cloud - Bloomberg
More game developers and publishers are delivering titles and additional content via web download and subscription, instead of selling games off the shelf, and offering multiplayer modes that match gamers online. Microsoft sees the opportunity to sell these companies – some of them longtime Xbox partners – on cloud services from Azure, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said. In September, Spencer was promoted to report directly to Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, who asked him to find areas where Xbox could tie more closely to the rest of the company. Microsoft’s Azure, which is chasing marker leader Amazon Web Services in the cloud, was an obvious target, he said."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:36 AM No comments:
Bitcoin's ‘Death Cross’ Looms as Strategist Eyes $2,800 Level - Bloomberg
If you haven't done so yet, you might also want to Watch John Oliver explain Bitcoin using $15,000 Beanie Babies and rap videos (The Verge)
"The tea leaves don’t bode well for Bitcoin.Bitcoin's ‘Death Cross’ Looms as Strategist Eyes $2,800 Level - Bloomberg
Traders who look for future price direction in chart patterns are finding more indicators suggesting the world’s largest digital currency may have further to fall.
Bitcoin’s 50-day moving average has dropped to the closest proximity to its 200-day moving average in nine months. Crossing below that level -- something it hasn’t done since 2015 -- signals fresh weakness to come for technical traders who would dub such a move a "death cross." Another moving-average indicator of momentum has already turned bearish."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:32 AM No comments:
Banning Social Media Won’t Stop Hate Speech - The New York Times
Final paragraphs from a timely social media reality check
"There is no doubt that social media companies need to do more. While Facebook has hired Sinhala-speaking moderators to detect and remove hate speech, its ability to respond to complaints quickly and consistently is limited. Facebook also should not rely on users to report abuse. It should proactively identify and remove hate speech before it spreads widely enough to generate complaints.Banning Social Media Won’t Stop Hate Speech - The New York Times
But focusing too narrowly on one company or platform is a mistake. A foundation of mutual distrust and fear — not access to social media — is the necessary condition for the mobilization of violent mobs. Governments can’t dismantle that foundation alone. Media companies of all kinds must accept responsibility and deploy artificial intelligence and plain old elbow grease to the task. And people of good will must play their part by calling out falsehoods and reporting those responsible.
Banning social media after the mobs have started running is mere political theater."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:17 AM No comments:
Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says - The New York Times
In other Russia news, see Putin has finally gone too far (The Washington Post) and Russia changes the rules of warfare, perfecting ‘hybrid war’ (WikiTribune)
"The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will.Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says - The New York Times
United States officials and private security firms saw the attacks as a signal by Moscow that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities in the event of a conflict."
Thursday, March 15, 2018
How Amazon Became Corporate America’s Nightmare (Bloomberg)
From an extensive Amazon reality check; in other retail news, see Toys ‘R’ Us Says It Will Close or Sell All U.S. Stores (NYT)
"For many companies, perhaps what’s scariest is that Amazon has lots of room to grow, even in retail. In the U.S., more than 90 percent of all retail sales still happen in physical stores. In some big categories, including home furnishings, personal-care products, toys, and food, the brick-and-mortar numbers are even higher. As the share of online shopping continues to increase, Amazon seems likely to benefit the most. It’s responsible for roughly 44¢ of every dollar Americans spend online, and it’s now mixing in retail stores.How Amazon Became Corporate America’s Nightmare
Besides the 470-odd Whole Foods locations, since 2015 Amazon has opened more than a dozen bookshops and dozens of mall kiosks that sell Kindles and other branded gadgets. There are also 30 Amazon outposts on or near college campuses, offering snacks, phone chargers, other impulse items, and a central point to pick up packages. Some 238 cities entered bids for Amazon’s second North American headquarters. And the company is experimenting with a cashier-less convenience store as well as drive-through locations where people can grab groceries they purchased online."
It’s mostly older people who watch TV news. Can Netflix and Facebook change that? » Nieman Journalism Lab
Check the full post for links and additional details; on a related note, see NBC News plans online streaming service to attract younger viewers (Reuters), which includes "Despite its increased focus on digital, NBC News has no plans to bring any of its content back to Facebook Inc because it does not see it as a friendly environment to news organizations, despite its size, Lack said."
"But — young people have to get their hard news video somewhere, right? (Uh…right?) Enter Facebook and Netflix. Twin reports yesterday: Facebook is launching a hard news section on its Watch portal (as Campbell Brown had previously suggested at Recode’s Code Media conference). Axios’s Sara Fischer reported that “Facebook is in touch with both legacy and digital-first news publishers to test a daily video feature that would run for at least a year,” and content would need to be at least three minutes long.
Netflix, meanwhile, seems to be thinking something much longer than three minutes: It’s reportedly planning a “weekly news magazine show” to rival 60 Minutes and 20/20. “Netflix has spotted a hole in the market for a current affairs TV show encompassing both sides of the political divide and [is] seeking to fill it,” an unidentified source told MarketWatch."It’s mostly older people who watch TV news. Can Netflix and Facebook change that? » Nieman Journalism Lab
Posted by pbokelly at 6:03 AM No comments:
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Upgraded Raspberry Pi 3 delivers more power and faster networking (Engadget)
Later in the article: "The price remains the same too, meaning it'll cost $35/£30 at the usual suppliers."
"The key improvements on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ are its processor and networking capabilities. The Model B+ sports a 1.4GHz quad-core Broadcom BCM2837B0 processor (compared to the 1.2GHz BCM2837 chip in the Pi 3), which the company says has come as a result of improved power integrity and thermal design.Upgraded Raspberry Pi 3 delivers more power and faster networking
For projects requiring faster networking speeds, the Model B+ delivers dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless connectivity and gigabit ethernet over USB 2.0, which supports up to 300Mbps (three times the speed of previous boards). Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth Low Energy support make it easier for tinkerers looking to create their own IoT hubs or interact with other devices in their smart home."
A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal” - MIT Technology Review
Likely no money-back guarantee for this service
"So yeah. Nectome is a preserve-your-brain-and-upload-it company. Its chemical solution can keep a body intact for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, as a statue of frozen glass. The idea is that someday in the future scientists will scan your bricked brain and turn it into a computer simulation. That way, someone a lot like you, though not exactly you, will smell the flowers again in a data server somewhere.A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal” - MIT Technology Review
This story has a grisly twist, though. For Nectome’s procedure to work, it’s essential that the brain be fresh. The company says its plan is to connect people with terminal illnesses to a heart-lung machine in order to pump its mix of scientific embalming chemicals into the big carotid arteries in their necks while they are still alive (though under general anesthesia)."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:51 AM No comments:
Google Will Prioritize Stories for Paying News Subscribers - Bloomberg
One step closer to The Daily Me?
"Google users who subscribe to newspapers will find articles from those publications appearing higher in their search results, part of the tech giant’s efforts to help media companies find and retain paying readers, according to people familiar with the matter.Google Will Prioritize Stories for Paying News Subscribers - Bloomberg
The Alphabet unit will also begin sharing search data that show who’s most likely to buy a subscription, said the people, who asked to be anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Google executives plan to disclose specific details at an event in New York on March 20, according to the people. Google declined to comment."
Posted by pbokelly at 6:38 AM No comments:
Melania Trump will meet with tech giants including Facebook and Google to talk cyberbullying - The Washington Post
Perhaps she will implore them to delete all of her husband's accounts
"The meeting at the White House, slated for March 20, marks the first major policy push in the first lady’s long-ago announced campaign to combat cyberbullying. At the gathering, Trump plans to ask policy executives from tech companies to detail how they’ve sought to address digital ills plaguing Web users, such as the rise of online trolls and the spread of malicious content, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss her efforts on the record.Melania Trump will meet with tech giants including Facebook and Google to talk cyberbullying - The Washington Post
But the people said they don’t expect the first lady to unveil any policy proposals to combat cyberbullying — a term her team has sought to avoid, instead opting to focus on the need for kindness online."
Financial Services: New restricted financial products policy (June 2018) - Advertising Policies Help (Google)
Tangentially, see In 2017, Google removed 3.2B ‘bad ads’ and blocked 320K publishers, 90K sites, 700K mobile apps (TechCrunch)
"In June 2018, Google will update the Financial services policy to restrict the advertisement of Contracts for Difference, rolling spot forex, and financial spread betting. In addition, ads for the following will no longer be allowed to serve:Financial Services: New restricted financial products policy (June 2018) - Advertising Policies Help
- Binary options and synonymous products
- Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)"
Posted by pbokelly at 6:11 AM No comments:
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Microsoft Teams turns 1, advances vision for Intelligent Communications - Office Blogs
Check the full post for links and more details; also see Microsoft touts progress of chat app Teams in battle with Slack (Reuters)
"This week marks the first anniversary of the worldwide launch of Microsoft Teams. In that time, Teams has grown significantly in both new capabilities and customer usage. Today, 200,000 organizations in 181 markets and 39 languages use Teams, including A.P. Moller–Maersk, ConocoPhillips, Macy’s, NASCAR, Navistar, RLH Corporation, and Technicolor. General Motors is also now using Teams; read more about their story.Microsoft Teams turns 1, advances vision for Intelligent Communications - Office Blogs
Teams for Intelligent Communications and Collaboration
Over the last year, Teams has evolved to become the ultimate hub for teamwork. Built on the strength and scale of Office 365 with over 120 million users, Teams delivers chat-based collaboration, meetings, calling, and soon, full enterprise voice features. All of this is underpinned by the Microsoft Graph, allowing for rich AI capabilities. As part of Office 365, Teams uniquely delivers these capabilities at scale, with enterprise-grade security and compliance standards to meet the needs of a global business."
Posted by pbokelly at 8:21 AM No comments:
Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet | The New Yorker
From a ~7,700-word Reddit reality check
"Which Web sites get the most traffic? According to the ranking service Alexa, the top three sites in the United States, as of this writing, are Google, YouTube, and Facebook. (Porn, somewhat hearteningly, doesn’t crack the top ten.) The rankings don’t reflect everything—the dark Web, the nouveau-riche recluses harvesting bitcoin—but, for the most part, people online go where you’d expect them to go. The only truly surprising entry, in fourth place, is Reddit, whose astronomical popularity seems at odds with the fact that many Americans have only vaguely heard of the site and have no real understanding of what it is. A link aggregator? A microblogging platform? A social network?"Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet | The New Yorker
Posted by pbokelly at 8:13 AM No comments:
Watch John Oliver explain Bitcoin using $15,000 Beanie Babies and rap videos - The Verge
Check the source for the full video segment
"John Oliver is known for his eloquent explanations of complex topics like net neutrality. Now, he’s turning his attention to the internet’s favorite topic of the moment: Bitcoin. It’s “everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers,” quips Oliver, correctly.Watch John Oliver explain Bitcoin using $15,000 Beanie Babies and rap videos - The Verge
The 25-minute video uses $15,000 Beanie Babies, an interview with a man using chicken McNuggets as a metaphor for blockchain, a video of Brock Pierce (The Mighty Ducks child actor turned crypto-entrepreneur) talking about his unicorn wedding at Burning Man, and a HODLGANG rap music video to explain the phenomenon. (“Hodl” is a slang term used in the Bitcoin community meaning “hold on to” the cryptocurrency and not sell.)"
Posted by pbokelly at 7:53 AM No comments:
Larry Page’s Flying Taxis, Now Exiting Stealth Mode - The New York Times
"Now that project is about to go public: On Tuesday, Mr. Page’s company and the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, will announce they have reached an agreement to test Kitty Hawk’s autonomous planes as part of an official certification process. The hope is that it will lead to a commercial network of flying taxis in New Zealand in as soon as three years.
The move is a big step forward in the commercialization of this technology, which even the most optimistic prognosticators had recently bet would take another decade to achieve.Larry Page’s Flying Taxis, Now Exiting Stealth Mode - The New York Times
The decision to embrace the commercial use of flying taxis offers New Zealand an opportunity to leapfrog many developed countries in this area, and perhaps give it a head start over Silicon Valley, where much of the most innovative work has been taking place."
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