Cookies track you across the internet. Google wants to phase them out.

Found on NBC News on Thursday, 16 January 2020
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Google has announced plans to limit the ability of other companies to track people across the internet and collect information about them, a significant change that has widespread ramifications for online privacy as well as the digital economy.

“We are looking to build a more trustworthy and sustainable web together, and to do that we need your continued engagement,” Schuh wrote.

Read it again: "to limit the ability of other companies". Yes, of other companies. Not of Google. So you will still be tracked (even better than before because the browser will report directly to Google), but Google will make your profiling data more valueable because others get cut off.

Facebook: Star Wars' Mark Hamill deletes account over political ads

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 14 January 2020
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In a tweet, the celebrity accused the firm's chief Mark Zuckerberg of having valued profit over truthfulness.

By contrast, Twitter opted to ban all political adverts from its platform in October. The company's chief executive Jack Dorsey tweeted that he believed "political message reach should be earned, not bought".

Facebook puts profit before truth? Well, it always has. Nothing new there.

Facebook to ban 'deepfakes'

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 07 January 2020
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Facebook said it would remove videos if it realised they had been edited in ways that weren't obvious to an average person, or if they misled a viewer into thinking that a person in a video said words they did not actually say.

"There are people who engage in media manipulation in order to mislead," wrote Monika Bickert, vice president of global policy management at Facebook in the blog.

So Facebook will delete all the videos and images where people used various software tools to make themselves look better in order to mislead viewers into thinking that they are beautiful? That actually sounds good.

Internet shutdowns used to be rare. They're increasingly becoming the norm in much of the world

Found on CNN on Monday, 30 December 2019
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At the start of this year, as Zimbabwe cut off internet access across the country following anti-government protests, the internet pressure group Keep It On warned that such "shutdowns must never be allowed to become the new normal."

An ongoing internet blackout in Indian-controlled Kashmir is now the longest ever in a democracy -- at more than 135 days -- according to Access Now, an advocacy group that tracks internet freedom. Only the autocratic governments of China and junta-era Myanmar have cut off access for longer.

Silencing people has always been a mechanism of control. So it is not surprising that governments apply this to the internet. Some do it without being afraid of the publicity it causes, while others do it more secretly.

Facebook Messenger now requires a Facebook account to join

Found on Tech Input on Sunday, 29 December 2019
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If you want to sign up for Facebook Messenger, you can no longer escape Big Blue — you’ll need an account from now on. The company has stopped allowing new users to join using a phone number.

Facebook is working on unifying its suite of messaging apps including Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, with the idea being that users will be able to message their friends no matter which app they’re using.

FB just keeps breaking promises it made in the past, so the best solution is never to sign up with it a all. There is nothing of value to be lost.

Report: 267 million Facebook users IDs and phone numbers exposed online

Found on Comparitech on Sunday, 22 December 2019
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Comparitech partnered with security researcher Bob Diachenko to uncover the Elasticsearch cluster. Diachenko believes the trove of data is most likely the result of an illegal scraping operation or Facebook API abuse by criminals in Vietnam, according to the evidence.

Facebook’s API is used by app developers to add social context to their applications by accessing users’ profiles, friends list, groups, photos, and event data.

While you may blame the criminals behind it, the main problem is that Facebook collects all this data and offers it to everybody who gets a developer account. So your information is practically available for everybody.

What's that? Encryption's OK now? UK politicos Brexit from Whatsapp to Signal

Found on The Register on Saturday, 21 December 2019
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Like WhatsApp, Signal has end-to-end encryption baked in, preventing a foreign power or individual from accessing sensitive conversations. In addition, it also includes settings, which, when enabled, self-destructs messages after a period of time.

Unfortunately, Signal doesn't allow group moderators to block individuals from taking screenshots, which would frustrate the process of leaking a conversation to the press.

Also, Signal source-code is available on Github, so with the proper knowledge you can compile your own client to ignore self-destruct requests. That aside, it seems rather strange for a software that emphasizes security and privacy to require your phone number for registering an account when it could simply generate its own random internal user-id.

LogMeIn agrees to be acquired by Francisco Partners and Evergreen for $4.3B

Found on Techcrunch on Thursday, 19 December 2019
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Bill Wagner, president and CEO at LogMeIn said in a statement that the price reflects the high value of the company and will give stockholders a meaningful return. As you would expect, he also was optimistic that the partnership with Francisco and Evergreen will help the company going forward.

It has a variety of other products, including remote access tools. It raised $30 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase data, before it went public in 2009.

Nobody should be retarded enough to manage access to systems via a 3rd party.

Verizon reportedly blocks archivists from Yahoo Groups days before deletion

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 09 December 2019
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An ad-hoc group scrambling to archive as much content as possible from Yahoo Groups ahead of the site's final demise next week is running into trouble as more than a hundred volunteer archivists say Yahoo's parent company, Verizon, has banned their accounts.

The Verizon representative said the 128 volunteers from Archiveteam.org, who joined groups with the intent of archiving them, were banned for violating the Verizon Media terms of service and would not be able to have their accounts reinstated.

The Organization for Transformative Works—the nonprofit best known for running the decade-old, Hugo-winning fanfiction site Archive of Our Own—has joined the chorus calling on Verizon to postpone the deletion date by six months, until May 14, 2020, in order to allow volunteers to archive more material.

Yahoo could do a nice PR move and just hand over the archives to the team, instead of kicking them out for trying to preserve information.

Social media platforms leave 95% of reported fake accounts up, study finds

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 07 December 2019
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About a month after buying all that engagement, the research team looked at the status of all those fake accounts and found that about 80 percent were still active. So they reported a sample selection of those accounts to the platforms as fraudulent. Then came the most damning statistic: three weeks after being reported as fake, 95 percent of the fake accounts were still active.

Why should they remove them? It only reduces the number of total accounts they can go advertising with.