Facebook wanted banks to fork over customer data passing through Messenger

Found on The Verge on Wednesday, 19 September 2018
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A new report from The Wall Street Journal today indicates that Facebook also saw its Messenger platform as a siphon for the sensitive financial data of its users, information it would not otherwise have access to unless a customer interacted with, say, a banking institution over chat.

In some cases, companies like PayPal and Western Union negotiated special contracts that would let them offer many detailed and useful services like money transfers, the WSJ reports. But by and large, big banks in the US have reportedly shied away from working with Facebook due to how aggressively it pushed for access to customer data.

Facebook has learned nothing at all from the past scandals. On the other hand, the question is who to blame: Facebook itself, who does all that because it can get away with it, or the userbase who does not care at all. Maybe Zucky wasn't so wrong when he called the users "dumb fucks".

Google Wants to Kill the URL

Found on Wired on Wednesday, 05 September 2018
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"People have a really hard time understanding URLs," says Adrienne Porter Felt, Chrome's engineering manager. "They’re hard to read, it’s hard to know which part of them is supposed to be trusted, and in general I don’t think URLs are working as a good way to convey site identity. So we want to move toward a place where web identity is understandable by everyone—they know who they’re talking to when they’re using a website and they can reason about whether they can trust them. But this will mean big changes in how and when Chrome displays URLs. We want to challenge how URLs should be displayed and question it as we’re figuring out the right way to convey identity."

URLs are a simple concept. Clueless developers however mess it up because they stuff everything into it instead of using cleaner approaches, like ajax or websockets. It's also possibly a safe bet that the URL replacement from Google will allow them to track users even better.

20 years on, Google faces its biggest challenges

Found on CNet News on Tuesday, 04 September 2018
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The company, the world's largest digital advertiser, is being criticized more and more for its vast data-collection practices, which feed its powerful ad targeting. Misinformation runs rampant on YouTube. Employees are raising ethical concerns about the company's work in developing artificial intelligence for the US military and its reported efforts to create a censored search engine in China.

The now removed "Do no evil" mantra had been ignored when the money started to roll in. Money still corrupts.

We've found another problem with IPv6: It's sparked a punch-up between top networks

Found on The Register on Wednesday, 29 August 2018
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In a report this month by Qrator Labs, researchers dug into what they are calling national internet reliability: the ability of a country's internet to handle a loss of connectivity from one or more ISPs.

The report notes that in 86 per cent of countries, IPv4 connectivity is significantly more reliable than with IPv6. IPv6 is, of course, supposed to be the internet's next-generation technology. There is nothing wrong with the protocol: it's triggering disputes between connectivity providers.

So just stick with IPv4 and learn to live with a limited number of addresses.

Internet chat system IRC turns thirty

Found on University of Oulu on Saturday, 25 August 2018
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IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was born at the Department of Information Processing Science of the University of Oulu 30 years ago. Jarkko Oikarinen developed the internet chat system back in 1988 in addition to his summer job. Today, people are still using IRC.

Jauhiainen likes to use IRC because it’s a versatile media of communication and can be customized. “IRC is not dependent on any device. You can use it on your phone, computer or even video game console, if you like. Of course also tradition has it’s effect,” he says.

Happy Birthday!

Facebook gives users trustworthiness score

Found on BBC News on Wednesday, 22 August 2018
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The tech firm says it has been developed to help handle reports of false news on its platform, but it has declined to reveal how the score is calculated or the limits of its use.

"This is yet another example of Facebook using people's data in ways they would not expect their data to be used, which further undermines people's trust in Facebook," said Ailidh Callander, a solicitor at Privacy International.

All is better as long as you do not trust Facebook and nullroute their domains.

Gmail now lets you send self-destructing 'confidential mode' emails from your phone

Found on ZD Net on Monday, 20 August 2018
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Google promotes the Gmail feature as a way to protect sensitive information by allowing users to set an expiration date for individual messages or revoke access to messages already sent.

The feature also prevents recipients from forwarding, copying, printing or downloading its content and allows users to require recipients to enter a one-time code sent via SMS to view the email.

Its main criticism is that Gmail isn't an end-to-end encrypted service, so Google could read your email.

Like that's going to work. As soon as emails are sent to a 2rd party, and/or downloaded with a real email client, it will stay there forever. Gmail is just trying to promote a "feature" nobody needs or wants.

Facebook flat-out 'lies' about how many people can see its ads – lawsuit

Found on The Register on Friday, 17 August 2018
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"Based on a combination of publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, among 18-34 years-olds in Chicago, for example, Facebook asserted its Potential Reach was approximately 4 times (400 per cent) higher than the number of real 18-34 year-olds with Facebook accounts in Chicago," the complaint states.

What's more, the court filing contends that former Facebook employees, described as confidential witnesses, have acknowledged that Facebook is fine with inflated numbers.

A second former Facebook employee is said to have observed that "Facebook does not care about the accuracy of information related to the number of users so long as advertising revenue is not negatively affected."

Not much of a surprise actually. The entire online advertising industry is pretty much full of scams and lies.

ICANN Loses Yet Again In Its Quixotic Quest To Obtain A Special Exemption From The EU's GDPR

Found on Techdirt on Thursday, 09 August 2018
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The Appellate Court pointed out that ICANN could hardly claim it would suffer "irreparable harm" if it were not granted an injunction forcing EPAG to gather the additional data. If necessary, ICANN could collect that information at a later date, without any serious consequences. ICANN's case was further undermined by the fact that gathering administrative and technical contacts in the past had always been on a voluntary basis, so not doing so could hardly cause great damage.

Maybe it's time for ICANN to comply with the EU law like everybody else, and for it to stop wasting money in its forlorn attempts to get EU courts to grant it a special exemption from the GDPR's rules.

Obviously there is no valid reason for collecting this data, so the courts have all ruled correctly so far. ICANN need to get over it and realize that the law applies to them too and nothing will change.

After Threats, Austin Founder Shut Down Browser Firm Authenticated Reality

Found on Xconomy on Thursday, 02 August 2018
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Users would have to sign up for an account—scanning their driver’s license and taking a photo—in order to download the browser, which would sit “on top” of the Internet, said Chris Ciabarra, Authenticated Reality’s co-founder, in an interview last year. “Everybody knows who everybody is,” he said.

In addition to the personal visits, Ciabarra said, the company received “hundreds” of harassing e-mails, all of which he said was reported to law enforcement. Ciabarra said the company returned nearly all of the $1 million it had raised to its investors. “I just realized we have to turn it off,” he said.

There is no way this will catch on. After all these problems with the theft of identities, this company expect users to hand over personal documents. Not only would this turn into a big problem once the authenticated browser gets into the wrong hands, but it also makes tracking users online even easier.