Daily Archives: March 31, 2018

Boycotting digital monopolies like Facebook is harder than it seems

You may have heard of the #DeleteFacebook campaign, but you, like me, are probably among the vast majority of Facebook’s nearly 2 billion users who probably won’t actually follow through. CEO Mark Zuckerberg even has the data to prove it, telling The New York Times yesterday that he hasn’t seen a “meaningful number of people” deleting their accounts.Amid the ongoing data privacy scandal surrounding the Trump-connected firm Cambridge Analytica, tech critics and users alike are revisiting the concept of leaving Facebook and extracting ourselves from one of the world’s most pervasive advertising empires. The decision to delete Facebook boils down to two questions: 1. Has Facebook lost the necessary trust to be a steward of our personal information? And 2. Is the company’s grip on online and offline life too great to ever reasonably walk away from?

Source: Boycotting digital monopolies like Facebook is harder than it seems – The Verge

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Facebook scraped call, text message data for years from Android phones

This past week, a New Zealand man was looking through the data Facebook had collected from him in an archive he had pulled down from the social networking site. While scanning the information Facebook had stored about his contacts, Dylan McKay discovered something distressing: Facebook also had about two years’ worth of phone call metadata from his Android phone, including names, phone numbers, and the length of each call made or received.

Downloaded my facebook data as a ZIP file

Somehow it has my entire call history with my partner’s mum

This experience has been shared by a number of other Facebook users who spoke with Ars, as well as independently by us—my own Facebook data archive, I found, contained call-log data for a certain Android device I used in 2015 and 2016, along with SMS and MMS message metadata.

Source: Facebook scraped call, text message data for years from Android phones

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Fake news is fake data, ‘which makes it our problem’, info-slurpers told

Data-hungry organisations have been advised to get a better grip on the data they control and work on building trust.

In a week when analytic technologies have had more press than ever, many of the discussions at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit, which ran in London from 19-22 March, focused on dealing with the data generated in recent slurp-happy years.

“Never has there been a moment [where] forces outside our world are so relevant to our industry… and vice versa,” said Gartner distinguished analyst Ted Friedman.

For instance, he argued that fake news is fake data, “which makes it our problem”. As such, gaining and retaining people’s trust should be “job number one for everybody in this room”.

Among ways to increase trust in data, he said, was making sure that data was better managed and recorded. This will be crucial if organisations are going to be able to offer explanations as to why a predictive model would treat one customer differently to another, he said.

Source: Fake news is fake data, ‘which makes it our problem’, info-slurpers told

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Police are unlocking iPhones with dead people’s fingerprints

Until now, there was only news of law enforcement agencies using fingerprints of a dead person to unlock iPhones for investigation purposes. However, according to a new report from Forbes, confirms this practice has been in use for a couple of years already by the police and law enforcement agencies.

FBI forensics specialist Bob Moledor told Forbes that the first known case of police using a deceased person’s fingerprints was in November 2016, when they tried unlocking the iPhone 5s model of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who had mowed down a group of people in his car, and gone on a stabbing spree with a butcher’s knife. He was later shot dead by a police officer on the grounds of Ohio State University. However, the legal officials couldn’t unlock Artan’s device with his lifeless fingerprint, and iPhone was later sent to a forensic lab to retrieve information.

“Unfortunately for the FBI, Artan’s lifeless fingerprint didn’t unlock the device (an iPhone 5 model, though Moledor couldn’t recall which. Touch ID was introduced in the iPhone 5S).

“In the hours between his death and the attempt to unlock, when the feds had to go through legal processes regarding access to the smartphone, the iPhone had gone to sleep and when reopened required a passcode,” Moledor told Forbes.

Source: Police are unlocking iPhones with dead people’s fingerprints

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What’s on Your Mind? Bosses Are Using Artificial Intelligence to Find Out

Human-resource departments are becoming a bit less human as companies turn to artificial intelligence for help with hiring and firing—and to learn how employees really feel about their bosses.

Every year at SPS Companies Inc., most of the steel processor’s 600 employees, from warehouse staffers to top executives, fill out a 30-minute confidential survey that asks, among other things, whether they feel micromanaged  and whether they feel their managers support their professional growth. One question challenges survey-takers to gauge how respected and valued they feel within the organization.

This year, for the first time, the Manhattan, Kan.-based company tapped an artificial-intelligence tool called Xander to analyze responses. Xander can determine whether an employee feels optimistic, confused or angry, and provide insights to help manage teams, the tool’s developers at Ultimate Software Group Inc. ULTI -0.82% said.

From a block of text, the software analyzes answers to open-ended questions based on language and other data, assigning attitudes or opinions to employees.

Source: What’s on Your Mind? Bosses Are Using Artificial Intelligence to Find Out

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11 Times Barack Obama Compared Slaves To Immigrants

This week, liberals savagely mocked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson for allegedly comparing slaves to immigrants. It looks like they’ve completely forgotten about all the times Barack Obama did the exact same thing.

While speaking to a group of employees at his department on Monday, Carson said: “There were other immigrants who came in the bottom of slave ships, who worked even longer, even harder, for less, but they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

His comment quickly ignited a firestorm among critics.

Source: 11 Times Barack Obama Compared Slaves To Immigrants

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Bitcoin’s Terrible Impact on Energy Consumption and Ecology

Bitcoin’s growth since its launch in 2009 has been incredible. From costing under $1 in 2010 to $19,000 in 2017, bitcoin has broken records no one thought it would. But amid the high growth rate, there have been numerous discussions about the digital currency’s impact on the environment. Unlike real money which is printed by governments, bitcoins are released into circulation through an energy-consuming process known as mining.

What is Bitcoin Mining?

Bitcoin mining is the process through which new bitcoins are introduced into circulation. It involves verifying transactions on the bitcoin network and adding them to the decentralized, public ledger known as the blockchain. The blockchain is one of the most popular inventions in the cryptocurrency industry. It was popularized by Satoshi Nakamoto after he launched bitcoin in 2009. While Satoshi’s real identity has never been revealed, the blockchain and bitcoin have kept his name popular ever since.

How is Energy Consumed while mining bitcoins?

The mining process does not just involve verifying transactions on a normal personal computer. It’s a more complicated process that involves the use of state of the art hardware. The hardware machines used are known as Application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). In addition to having the right ASIC machine, a miner must also have a software program to help solve specific math puzzles.

Source: Bitcoin’s Terrible Impact on Energy Consumption and Ecology » TechWorm

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How Brain Stimulation Can Boost Memory If Paired With Learning

Brain stimulation devices delivering low current to regions of the brain may help users from online video-gamers to professional athletes and people with depression. Yet cognitive neuroscientists are still working to understand just how much we can influence brain signals and improve cognition with these techniques.

Source: How Brain Stimulation Can Boost Memory If Paired With Learning

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Police Raid Multiple Catholic Church Properties In Sweeping Child Sex Abuse Scandal

On Thursday, the residents of Saginaw County looked on as dozens of police officers raided two Catholic Diocese of Saginaw properties and the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone. The raids were carried out as part of an ongoing investigation into apparently rife sexual abuse in the church—and their history of covering it up.

According to Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner, the police raids were necessary because the church was refusing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into a torrent of sexual abuse allegations.

“Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not,” Gaertner said. “Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants.”

Source: Police Raid Multiple Catholic Church Properties In Sweeping Child Sex Abuse Scandal

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