Chinese web firms 'bullying' customers with data, algorithms - consumer watchdog

Found on Reuters on Friday, 08 January 2021
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“Consumers are being squeezed by data algorithms and becoming the targets of technical bullying,” the association said.

China also warned its internet giants to brace for increased scrutiny, as it slapped fines and announced investigations into deals involving Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings.

Chinese state media have become increasingly vocal about infringement of consumer rights by tech companies.

Some articles you have to read twice to believe that China steps up for rights of the people.

SolarWinds’ shares drop 22 per cent. But what’s this? $286m in stock sales just before?

Found on The Register on Saturday, 26 December 2020
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The two firms owned 70 per cent of SolarWinds, which produces networking monitoring software that was backdoored by what is thought to be state-sponsored Russian spies. This tainted code was installed by thousands of SolarWinds customers including key departments of the US government that were subsequently hacked via the hidden remote access hole.

Infosec giant FireEye announced on Tuesday, December 8 that its systems had been hacked and its penetration tools exfiltrated. On Friday, December 11, as part of an investigation into that intrusion, FireEye started letting it be known that SolarWinds' updates had been tampered with.

Inside information has always meant extra money is about to be made.

It's official: Harrison Ford will return in a fifth 'Indiana Jones' movie

Found on CNN News on Wednesday, 16 December 2020
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Harrison Ford will be grabbing his whip and ramming on his hat for a fifth "Indiana Jones" movie, Disney has confirmed -- a mere 41 years after the first installment, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," was released.

"I was not an overnight success. I spent 15 years before I had any real, noticeable success," Ford told Parade in an interview earlier this year. "Persistence is certainly something I think I can credit myself for having."

Hopefully it will be as great as the old movies and not one of these bad Disney productions.

Encrypted messaging puts children at risk, commissioner warns

Found on BBC News on Saturday, 12 December 2020
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Encryption of online messages could make it harder to police child abuse and grooming online, the children's commissioner for England has warned.

Ms Longfield said the report "shows how vigilant parents need to be, but also how the tech giants are failing to regulate themselves and so are failing to keep children safe".

It's always the same old song: "think of the children". It is not the primary job of everybody to raise someone's children. That's the job of the parents. They need to educate their children, to teach them and to keep an eye on them until they are old enough to deal with problems correctly.

TikTok star Charli D'Amelio first to hit 100m followers

Found on BBC News on Friday, 11 December 2020
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In the first episode of her family's reality series, Dinner with the D'Amelios, fans claimed the star acted disrespectfully toward the personal chef who prepared them dinner.

Her profile both on TikTok and outside the platform, has rocketed in the last year. She became the first person to hit 50 million subscribers in April.

In other news, a sack of rice toppled over in China.

Your Computer Isn't Yours

Found on Sneak Berlin on Thursday, 19 November 2020
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It turns out that in the current version of the macOS, the OS sends to Apple a hash (unique identifier) of each and every program you run, when you run it.

This data amounts to a tremendous trove of data about your life and habits, and allows someone possessing all of it to identify your movement and activity patterns. For some people, this can even pose a physical danger to them.

New rules in macOS 11 even hobble VPNs so that Apple apps will simply bypass them.

@patrickwardle lets us know that trustd, the daemon responsible for these requests, is in the new ContentFilterExclusionList in macOS 11, which means it can’t be blocked by any user-controlled firewall or VPN.

Probably all that is only for "user experience" too.

Roblox game-makers must pay to die with an 'oof'

Found on BBC News on Friday, 13 November 2020
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The "oof" sound that famously accompanies the death of characters will temporarily be removed, following a copyright dispute.

When it is reinstated, game-makers will have to buy it, paying around around $1 (£0.76) or 100 in-game currency Robux.

Only players who build their own games for the platform will have to pay for the sound - for those just playing there will be no charge.

That's just ridiculous.

Can you trust that Amazon review? 42% may be fake, independent monitor says.

Found on Chicago Tribune on Sunday, 08 November 2020
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About 42% of 720 million Amazon reviews assessed by the monitoring service Fakespot from March through September were unreliable, up from about 36% for the same period last year. The rise in fake reviews corresponded with the stampede online of millions of virus-avoiding shoppers.

Based on past experience, Khalifah expects the volume of fake reviews to worsen as Amazon heads into the holiday shopping season, which will be busier than usual as shoppers continue to avoid stores amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases. “If it’s too good to be true,” he says, “it probably isn’t.”

It's been pointless to read reviews and ratings for years now. That's one of the reasons to avoid Amazon.

E.U. Says Veggie Burgers Can Keep Their Name

Found on The New York Times on Monday, 26 October 2020
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When is a burger not a burger? When it contains no meat. At least according to a divisive proposal that was in front of the European Parliament this week, part of a set of measures that would have banned the use of terms like “steak,” “sausage,” “escallop” or “burger” on labels for plant-based alternative products.

“Why change something to a ‘veggie disc’ or ‘tube’ instead of a sausage?” she said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Those in favor of the change said that labeling plant-based products with meat terms were misleading and could open the door for other confusing labels.

Why is it so important for these people to call their soy products sausages? It looks like an attempt to betray yourself and your desire for meat.

Amazon launches a program to pay consumers for their data on non-Amazon purchases

Found on Techcrunch on Saturday, 24 October 2020
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Amazon has launched a new program that directly pays consumers for information about what they’re purchasing outside of and for responding to short surveys.

Amazon claims it will delete any sensitive information from the receipts users upload, like prescription information. But it doesn’t delete users’ personal information, instead storing it in accordance with its existing Privacy Policy.

That's actually pretty easy to answer. Avoid Amazon as much as possible because it is the most useless shopping system.