Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info

Found on The Register on Saturday, 17 November 2018
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The dossier's authors found that the Windows goliath was collecting telemetry and other content from its Office applications, including email titles and sentences where translation or spellchecker was used, and secretly storing the data on systems in the United States. That's a no-no.

The investigation was jumpstarted by the fact that Microsoft doesn't publicly reveal what information it gathers on users and doesn't provide an option for turning off diagnostic and telemetry data sent by its Office software to the company as a way of monitoring how well it is functioning and identifying any software issues.

One example: if you use the backspace key several times in a row – suggesting you aren’t sure of the spelling of a particular word – or look up or translate a word through its system, then Microsoft stores the sentence before and after that event.

Sweet. Microsoft consequently ignored requests and inquiries from users about its extensive data collection habits. Even if they replied, it was only to downplay and sugarcoat everything. Now Microsoft will hopefully get a very hefty bill for violating the privacy of the users and for not giving them an option to truly opt-out. Let's hope for a penalty of 4 percent of the company's total worldwide annual sales.

Facebook fined £500,000 for Cambridge Analytica scandal

Found on BBC News on Thursday, 25 October 2018
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The fine is the maximum allowed under the old data protection rules that applied before GDPR took effect in May.

"Facebook also failed to keep the personal information secure because it failed to make suitable checks on apps and developers using its platform."

Sadly, that's just pocket change for Zuckerberg.

Federal Court Dumps Another Lawsuit Against Twitter For Contributing To Worldwide Terrorism

Found on Techdirt on Wednesday, 10 October 2018
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The lawsuits against social media companies brought by victims of terrorist attacks continue to pile up. So far, though, no one has racked up a win. Certain law firms (1-800-LAW-FIRM and Excolo Law) appear to be making a decent living filing lawsuits they'll never have a chance of winning, but it's not doing much for victims and their families.

The problem that continues to be talked around in these lawsuits is that you cannot hold a social media platform responsible for the actions of its users. If the plaintiffs drop the ATA arguments, they're just going to run into Section 230 immunity. While the acts of terrorism were horrific and drastically affected the lives of the families of those killed, suing Twitter, Facebook, et al over these acts doesn't do anything for the plaintiffs but take time and money away from those who've already lost loved ones.

In other words, shady lawyers swindle money out of victims with false promises. Probably nobody will be surprised by that.

CBS Shuts Down Stage 9, a Fan-Made Recreation of the USS Enterprise

Found on Torretfreak on Thursday, 27 September 2018
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The people behind the two-year-old project tried to reason with CBS, offering to make changes to keep their dream project alive, but the broadcasting giant wasn't interested in discussion.

“This letter was a cease-and-desist order,” Scragnog explains. “Over the next 13 days we did everything we possibly could to open up a dialog with CBS. The member of the CBS legal team that issued the order went on holiday for a week immediately after sending the letter through, which slowed things down considerably.”

CBS said that the project could not continue in any form, no matter what changes were made.

That sure reduces the interest to watch CBS productions. Fans are a huge reason for the ongoing success of the Star Trek universe, but lawyers and accountants are working hard to anger and annoy this important fanbase.

Cloudflare Ordered to Expose YTS, Showbox, and Popcorn Time Site ‘Operators’

Found on Torrentfreak on Monday, 24 September 2018
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Instead of taking a proactive stance, Cloudflare maintains its position as a neutral service provider. If copyright holders want it to take action, they have to follow the legal process.

This is exactly what a group of movies companies, including Bodyguard Productions, Cobbler Nevada, Criminal Productions, Dallas Buyers Club, and Venice PI, recently did through a federal court in Hawaii.

You can think what you want about CF, but at least this is the correct way of doing things; instead of teaming up with whoever to avoid any legal processes.

Woman who crashed her Model S and broke her foot sues Tesla

Found on ArsTechnica on Thursday, 06 September 2018
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Attorneys for Heather Lommatzsch, the plaintiff, wrote on Tuesday that she "understood" that the car’s "safety features would ensure the vehicle would stop on its own in the event of an obstacle being present in the path of the Tesla Model S."

In the aftermath of the May 2018 accident, police in South Jordan, Utah, said in a statement that the woman told them that she "was looking at her phone prior to the collision" and that she reportedly "did not brake or take any action to avoid the collision."

She should be sued for being dangerously stupid. Seriously, people like that makes one hope that evolution really separates the wheat from the chaff.

Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

Found on The Register on Friday, 24 August 2018
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Facebook's refusal to hand over the data it holds on users' web activity is to be probed by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner after a complaint from a UK-based academic.

Facebook slurps information about your device, the websites you visited, apps you used and ads you've seen via Facebook business tools and plug-ins, such as the Like button, on partner sites.

"Facebook simply does not have the infrastructure capacity to store log data in Hive in a form that is indexed by user in the way that it can for production data used for the main Facebook site," Zuck's minions said.

Then the solution is rather simple and easy: rm -rf hive

PETA roasts Impossible Burger for rat tests, suggests patties cause cancer

Found on Ars Technica on Sunday, 12 August 2018
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In a blistering blog post, PETA claimed the testing was “voluntary” and that Impossible Foods conducted the test after “disregarding advice from a PETA scientist who said that there’s no need to hurt and kill animals to test its burger.” To further scorch the burger’s name, PETA made the dubious suggestion that the burger could increase risks of cancer in consumers.

Researchers have indeed linked excessive iron (aka iron overloads) to risks of cancer. But it seems rather implausible to achieve such levels by simply eating an Impossible Burger, or a hundred. For one thing, healthy people typically don't accumulate excessive levels of iron.

PETA turned into nothing but a big failure over the years, and with ridiculous claims like this one, or the fight for selfie rights of animals, it won't get better. They should just rename themselves to PITA.

PayPal told customer her death breached its rules

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 10 July 2018
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PayPal wrote to a woman who had died of cancer saying her death had breached its rules and that it might take legal action as a consequence.

It said that Mrs Durdle owed the company about £3,200 and went on to say: "You are in breach of condition 15.4(c) of your agreement with PayPal Credit as we have received notice that you are deceased... this breach is not capable of remedy."

Well how does she dare to die before paying every cent back to PayPal first? Honestly, it's better to stay away from that bank company and keep a safe distance.

Facial recognition trial in London results in zero arrests, Metropolitan Police confirm

Found on Independent on Saturday, 07 July 2018
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Scotland Yard had hailed the pilot in Stratford, which The Independent revealed to be one of several planned across London this year, as a method of identifying wanted violent criminals and cracking down on attacks.

Opponents argue that the software currently being used by British police forces is “staggeringly inaccurate” and has a chilling effect on society, while supporters see it as a powerful public protection tool with the ability to help track terrorists, wanted criminals and vulnerable people.

Let's not forgot that London is the most observed place, with cameras everywhere. If there are good chances for finding a needle in a haystack, it should be there.