NHS gives Amazon free use of health data under Alexa advice deal

Found on The Guardian on Tuesday, 10 December 2019
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The material, which excludes patient data, could allow the multinational technology company to make, advertise and sell its own products.

An NHS spokesperson said: “No patient data is being provided to this company by the NHS, which takes data privacy extremely seriously and has put appropriate safeguards in place to ensure information is used correctly.”

For now. First you start with a little step where you can assure that no personal data is handed over, to make people accept such a headline. In another step, you add patient data and the outcry will be small because most people will mix it up with what happened before.

'Grinch bots' are here to ruin your holiday shopping

Found on NBC News on Tuesday, 03 December 2019
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Up to 97 percent of all online traffic to retailer login pages this holiday shopping week comes from bots, largely operated by organized gangs of cybercriminals, according to estimates by cybersecurity firm Radware.

The bots fill out online forms and navigate retail sites faster than a real person can, and try to swiftly purchase limited supply gifts before you’ve even filled up your cart. The items are then sold for a higher price on third-party sites.

On a normal shopping day, humans outnumber bots on login pages by two to one. On the days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, bots outnumber humans by 20 to 1.

Capitalism at its finest. The holiday season has turned into nothing but a compulsive consumerism.

Apple changes Crimea map to meet Russian demands

Found on BBC News on Saturday, 30 November 2019
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The region, which has a Russian-speaking majority, is now shown as Russian territory on Apple Maps and its Weather app, when viewed from Russia.

But the apps do not show it as part of any country when viewed elsewhere.

Vasily Piskaryov, chairman of the Duma security and anti-corruption committee, said Apple had complied with the Russian constitution.

Google, which also produces a popular Maps app, also shows Crimea as belonging to Russia when viewed from the country. The changes happened in March.

When it comes to propaganda, you always have to make sure that those who can influence lots of people are acting the way you want them to.

Boeing seems upset with NASA’s inspector general

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 18 November 2019
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For the first time, the report also published an estimate of seat prices that NASA will pay Boeing for crewed Starliner missions to the International Space Station alongside prices the organization will pay for SpaceX's Dragon vehicle: $90 million for Starliner and $55 million for Dragon.

Boeing's response takes issue with several parts of NASA's report. But the company appears especially exercised about the claim that NASA overpaid Boeing for seats on the third through sixth Starliner missions, payment over and above what was originally agreed upon as part of the company's fixed price contract with the space agency.

That's the free market for you.

Uber CEO compares pedestrian death to murder of Saudi journalist, saying all should be forgiven

Found on The Register on Tuesday, 12 November 2019
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He downplayed the murder of an innocent man, calling it a “mistake”, then compared it directly to his own company’s “mistake” when it ran down and killed a pedestrian in a self-driving car. He then argued that everyone should be forgiven, and defended the Saudi government’s investment in Uber - all while being given multiple opportunities to backtrack.

It was an unbelievably bad response and one that makes you think about an oft quoted study by Australia’s Bond University and a researcher from the University of San Diego that found 21 per cent of senior professionals in the US had a “clinically significant” level of psychopathic traits. Which is roughly the same percentage as professional criminals.

There's really nothing more to add...

Massive Facebook document leak gives ammunition to investigators

Found on Ars Technica on Sunday, 10 November 2019
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The piles of leaked documents, which directly reference the company's questionable position on competition, are likely to be extremely helpful to the dozens of entities currently investigating Facebook on antitrust grounds.

The documents seem to confirm two long-held, popular suspicious about Facebook. First, it treats user privacy as an afterthought at best. And second, it works hard to prevent competitors from getting too powerful.

Ignoring privacy and attacking competition: just what everybody already knew.

Jane Fonda: 'I worry about climate activist Greta Thunberg'

Found on BBC News on Sunday, 03 November 2019
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"They handcuff you with plastic things, not the old good metal ones. They hurt more," Fonda says of her most recent arrest.

But she says: "I don't want to go to prison.

"The police are figuring out what to do. I was told if I keep getting arrested every week I may be put in the slammer. I may not get arrested every week because I have to start filming Grace and Frankie (her series for Netflix)."

People are beginning to realize that when you get arrested, then going to jail is inconvenient? One would assume that being "inconvenient" is the main idea behind jailtime.

Blizzard president gives vague apology for Hong Kong protest response

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 02 November 2019
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In the wake of the Blitzchung decision, Blizzard was forced to cancel a public promotional event and belatedly punish a college Hearthstone team for a similar on-stream protest. The company faced both a brief employee walkout and admonishment from a bipartisan group of US legislators.

How that accountability will manifest, and what if any changes were in store for the company, was less clear from Brack's statement. The executive only offered a vague promise to "do better going forward."

Typical management talk, meaning nothing. It's just an attempt to reduce damage after they kowtowed to China.

Why passwords don't work, and what will replace them

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 29 October 2019
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Facebook admitted in April that the passwords of millions of Instagram users had been stored on their systems in a readable format - falling short of the company's own best practices, and potentially compromising the security of those users.

And Yahoo! recently settled a lawsuit over the loss of data belonging to 3 billion users, including email addresses, security questions and passwords.

"People tend to use passwords that are easy to remember and therefore easy to compromise."

Because companies cannot handle the data given to them and users are too lazy to come up with good passwords does not mean that the concept of passwords is insecure. If implemented correctly, it's safe; and if you replace one authentication method with another one, the bad guys will just focus the new one.

Australia wants to use face recognition for porn age verification

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 28 October 2019
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"Home Affairs is developing a Face Verification Service which matches a person’s photo against images used on one of their evidence of identity documents to help verify their identity," the government agency wrote in a recent regulatory filing. "This could assist in age verification, for example by preventing a minor from using their parent’s driver license to circumvent age verification controls."

"The Face Verification Service is not yet fully operational," the government acknowledges. "Whilst it is intended to be made available to private sector organizations in future, this will be subject to the passage of the Identity-matching Services Bill 2019 which is currently before Parliament."

Sure, there could be nothing wrong with the government being able to monitor which websites you visit.