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New iOS Security Feature Ripe for Defeat
July 11, 2018
A new feature in iOS 11.4.1, which Apple released earlier this week, is designed to protect against unwanted intrusions through the iPhone's Lightning Port. However, the protection may be weak at best. The feature, called "USB Restricted Mode," disables data transfer through the Lightning Port after an hour of inactivity. In some cases, the phone might not charge, according to Apple.
US Lawmakers Eye Apple, Alphabet Data Privacy Practices
July 11, 2018
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has written Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook demanding information on their companies' practices with regard to third-party access, audio and location data collection. "This is a huge issue," said Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson. "People are becoming aware of how much data about them is being sucked up by their smartphones."
Polar Flow Fitness App Exposes Soldiers, Spies
July 10, 2018
A popular fitness app provided a convenient map for anyone interested in shadowing government personnel who exercised in secret locations, including intelligence agencies, military bases and airfields, nuclear weapons storage sites, and embassies around the world. The fitness app, Polar Flow, publicized more data about its users in a more accessible way than comparable apps, investigators found.
EU Watchdog Accuses Facebook, Google of Privacy Shenanigans
June 29, 2018
Facebook and Google have manipulated users into sharing data using so-called "dark patterns," according to a report from the Norwegian Consumer Council. The practices nudged users toward accepting privacy options that favored the tech companies rather than themselves, the NCC found. Facebook and Google have no intention of providing users with an actual choice, the NCC has claimed.
Upcoming iOS Access Restrictions Could Stymie Law Enforcement
June 16, 2018
Apple plans to equip iOS 12 with USB Restricted Mode, which requires users to unlock their iPhone with their passcode before USB accessories can connect if the phone last was unlocked more than an hour earlier. The company included this feature in the developer versions of iOS 11.4.1 and iOS 12. Apple will release USB Restricted Mode publicly in a future software update, it confirmed this week.
The CLOUD Act's Dramatic Impact on International Privacy Laws
June 7, 2018
Just when the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, was about to go into effect, the United States Congress created the CLOUD Act. Without any public hearings, review or public comment, Congress passed the legislation as part of the $1.3 trillion government spending bill. The CLOUD Act changed the privacy provisions that previously were in effect.
Benioff Endorses GDPR for US
May 27, 2018
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff described Facebook as the "new cigarettes" in a recent appearance on the TV show CBS This Morning and called for the U.S. to adopt a national privacy law like the GDPR, which just went into effect in Europe. "Maybe this is a time where the government has to step in and regulate not just that product but really our industry," Benioff said, referring to Facebook.
Cloud Health Services, Part 2: Privacy and Security
May 23, 2018
Health services vendors have been partnering with various organizations to gain a foothold in the cloud and to test out their solutions. One of the cloud's major selling points is security -- but it is not as safe as it's made out to be. Google Cloud "recently announced a significant expansion in HIPAA compliance across our portfolio of cloud products," noted Google Cloud's Joe Corkery.
Rhino-Saving Tech Also Could Protect Kids and Borders
May 21, 2018
Cisco has reduced the poaching of endangered rhinos in Africa by a whopping 96 percent. This success comes at a time when kids appear to be increasingly at risk from rogue school shooters and the United States government seems deadlocked on gun control. The focus of Cisco's tech is on catching the poachers who kill around 1,000 endangered rhinos a year, rather than on taking away their guns.
Cloud Providers Look for Legal Loopholes to Protect Customer Data
May 17, 2018
U.S.-based providers of e-commerce resources, including cloud services, must release foreign-held customer information to law enforcement agencies under a new law. Providers have strongly objected to releasing customer information residing outside the U.S. for fear of violating the privacy laws of other countries. The providers noted a potential "staggering" loss of international customers.
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies, Part 2
May 15, 2018
Several countries -- including the United States, France and Germany -- have pointed a finger at Russia for meddling in their elections. Russia used social media as a big part of that effort. Facebook has been scrambling to win back the public's trust since the Russia and Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, it's not clear what exactly hostile nation states have been up to on social media.
Highly Sensitive Encrypted Email at Risk of Exposure
May 15, 2018
A newfound flaw in email clients that use PGP and S/MIME to encrypt messages can be exploited to expose the plain text of the missives, according to a new paper. By injecting malicious snippets of text into encrypted messages, attackers can use the flaw to make the email client exfiltrate decrypted copies of the emails, explained the authors, a team of researchers from three European universities.
Microsoft Invites Everyone Onto Its Azure Cloud
May 8, 2018
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has sounded a call for computing to empower everyone. "The world is becoming a computer," Nadella said in the opening keynote address at Build 2018, the company's premiere event for developers in Seattle. "Computing is getting embedded in every person, place and thing. That's the opportunity that we have. It's in some sense endless," he added.
Facebook's Clear History Privacy Option: Boon or Sop?
May 3, 2018
Facebook plans to offer members a tool that to prevent tracking of their online activity outside the network. The Clear History feature will allow users to see which websites and applications send Facebook information when they use them, delete the data and prevent Facebook from collecting and storing it in the future. It will take a few months to build the tool, Facebook said.
Fitbit's Health Alliance With Google Could Be a Risky Experiment
May 2, 2018
Fitbit and Google on Monday announced a new partnership on healthcare. Fitbit will develop consumer and enterprise health solutions that will use Google's new Cloud Healthcare application programming interface. Fitbit also will move to the Google Cloud Platform to innovate and advance its products and services. Fitbit will leverage Google Cloud's infrastructure and security features.
Could BlackBerry Displace Apple?
April 30, 2018
I spent a day with BlackBerry last week and it brought back memories of how Apple displaced the company around a decade ago. I, like a lot of folks, thought what Apple was attempting was impossible. However, after the fact, it didn't even look difficult. BlackBerry largely has completed its pivot to software and services, but a wave of new phones from its partners suggests new possibilities.
Gmail Privacy and Security Get Ruggedized
April 26, 2018
Google has rolled out a number of new features designed to make its G Suite collaboration and productivity apps more efficient and safer to use. G Suite currently has more than 4 million paying business customers. The updates include a new design, enhanced security and AI components, and better integration of G Suite apps -- including Gmail, which is getting a brand new look.
A Home Robot Could Be Amazon's Next Gamble
April 24, 2018
Amazon could bring a home robot to market as early as 2019. Codenamed "Vesta," after the Roman goddess of home and family, the project is several years old, but hiring for it recently has ramped up with an eye toward placing prototypes in employees' homes this year. The robot could be a mobile smart speaker. Some versions of the product apparently have cameras and computer vision software.
Facebook Rolls Out European-Style Privacy Protections
April 19, 2018
Facebook has unveiled a comprehensive series of privacy enhancements designed to extend protections required by the European Union's GDPR to all of the social media company's users around the world. The updates, which include major changes to the company's terms and data policies, fulfill promises CEO Mark Zuckerberg made to House and Senate members in Washington D.C., Facebook officials said.
Facebook and Google Could Be Nationalized in 5-10 Years
April 16, 2018
After I considered Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Senate and House committee hearings last week, it became very clear to me -- and I expect many in Congress -- that social media companies need to be regulated. However, I think this is only a step in the path that governments -- and I do mean more than the U.S. -- will take to ensure their effectiveness and protect their people.
The Internet Is Facing a Health Scare, Suggests Mozilla Report
April 14, 2018
Mozilla has launched the first full edition of its Internet Health Report. The report is "an open source effort to explore the state of human life on the Internet," said Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman. It consists of research and analysis about the Internet compiled by researchers, engineers, data scientists, policy analysts and artists in Mozilla's extended community.
Lawmakers Lean In on Facebook
April 13, 2018
Following two days of often contentious exchanges between members of Congress and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the focus in Washington and Silicon Valley has shifted from how Facebook plans to change its data practices to how to implement some of those plans. The company already has taken steps to give its 2 billion monthly active users more control over their data.
House Critics Grill Zuckerberg Over Political Bias, Privacy
April 12, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday endured a second day of congressional criticism during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His appearance followed an intense session with two Senate Committees a day earlier. Some members of the House committee questioned whether Facebook tracked users offline. Some blasted what they claimed were repeated instances of censorship.
Zuckerberg Bobs, Weaves at Senate Hearing
April 11, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that the company failed to inform the FTC that Cambridge Analytica had gained improper access to personal data belonging to millions of Facebook members, despite its 2011 settlement with the commission over earlier complaints of unauthorized data sharing. Zuckerberg made the admission at a joint hearing of the U.S. Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
Researchers to Put Facebook's Role in Elections Under Magnifying Glass
April 10, 2018
A group of nonprofits have agreed to fund an initiative to study Facebook's role in elections and democracy. The organizations will pay the expenses of researchers, and Facebook will give the scholars access to proprietary data that has met the company's new standards for heightened user privacy protection. "This is a critical first step," said Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation.
Mysterious Disappearance of Zuck Posts Rings Another Facebook Alarm Bell
April 9, 2018
Facebook reportedly allowed CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives to delete messages from recipients' inboxes and chat threads, but it did not disclose the practice or offer the same capabilities to users. Facebook began using the tool after the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures to protect executive communications. Facebook later said it would make the feature available to all users.
Facebook Comes Up With a New Data Access Plan
April 6, 2018
Facebook has announced an update to its policies for restricting data access on its platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also discussed some of Facebook's new efforts to shore up user privacy protections in a 45-minute long Q&A with members of the media on Wednesday. Facebook will implement nine changes, which will allow users to set privacy levels and limit automatic data sharing.
Facebook Declares Open Season on Russian Trolls
April 5, 2018
Facebook has taken down more than 270 pages and accounts operated by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday. IRA trolls and ads were involved in Russia's attempts to interfere with the 2016 United States presidential elections, and the trolls have published hate speech and incitements to violence on their Facebook pages.
4 Ways SMB Etailers Can Manage Facebook Fears
April 3, 2018
Many SMBs, especially etailers, conduct a substantial amount of their business on Facebook. Eighty percent of U.S. businesses with 250 employees or less use Facebook for marketing, suggest results of a G2 Crowd survey eMarketer cited in a report released last month. Seventy-one percent of 351 U.S. businesses with 500 employees or less used social media, a Clutch survey found.
Snapchat May Risk Connecting Apps, Despite Facebook Uproar
March 31, 2018
Snapchat soon may have a Connected Apps feature that is similar to the functionality at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica brouhaha, which has sparked congressional scrutiny and consumer backlash. The latest beta features a new tab within the setting page. The page displays the following text: "These apps are connected to your Snapchat account. Choose an app to control what it has access to."
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How does the tech industry compare to other industries when it comes to diversity?
Tech firms have been working much harder than others to achieve diversity.
Tech is rife with sexism, racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.
The tech industry would be more inclusive if there were more qualified applicants.
Tech firms have made superficial efforts but they're mainly for show.
The push for diversity is a cultural fad, and there is no real problem.