Is Instagram Making Your Photos and Messages Public? (Hint: No.)

US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was among the public figures who re-posted a fake message warning about a purported privacy policy change at Instagram. It was a hoax in 2012 and it’s still fake in 2019. August 22, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Will Instagram make all your photos and messages public as part of a privacy policy change? No. That didn’t stop a number of celebrities and US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (you know, the guy responsible for the nukes) from falling for a years-old hoax that falsely claims Facebook’s photo-sharing app will change its rules so that Instagram “can use your photos” starting today. “Everything you’ve ever posted becomes public today. Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed,” the post reads. Related: 10 Instagram Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow The fake message claims that posts and messages can be used […]

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Facebook Users Can Sue Over Facial Recognition, Court Rules

Facebook users in Illinois claim the tech giant violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires companies to obtain consent when collecting their biometric information. August 9, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PC Mag A federal appeals court is allowing a group of users to sue Facebook on claims the social network collected their facial data without consent. On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected Facebook’s efforts to dismiss the ongoing class-action lawsuit, which could potentially require the company to pay billions in compensation. The lawsuit dates back to 2015 when three Facebook users living in the state claimed the tech giant had violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires companies to obtain consent when collecting their biometric information. Since 2010, Facebook has been using its own facial-recognition technology for photo-tagging purposes. It works by generating a digital template from your photos, […]

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Facebook Experiments With Mind-Reading Tech to Control VR

It involves using infrared light to measure brain activity to translate thoughts into computer commands. July 31, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Being able to control a computer with your mind remains in the realm of science fiction. But Facebook is working on an approach that would do it without drilling holes into your brain. On Tuesday, the company provided an update on its plans to create a “brain computer interface,” which it teased back in 2017. Although the technology could take a decade to develop, Facebook is finding some promise in using infrared light to measure brain activity and thoughts into computer commands. “Like other cells in your body, (brain) neurons consume oxygen when they’re active. So if we can detect shifts in oxygen levels within the brain, we can indirectly measure brain activity,” the company wrote in a blog post. To detect those shifts, Facebook is […]

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Netflix Lost 123,000 U.S. Subscribers After Price Hike

It’s also facing new competition in the video streaming space later this year from Disney and Apple. July 18, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Netflix reported a rare drop in U.S. subscribers following a price hike announced back in January. In the second quarter, Netflix lost 123,000 U.S. subscribers, which totaled at 60.1 million. The company’s international subscriber count also failed to reach Netflix’s forecasts, going up by only 2.8 million, as opposed to the projected 5 million. In total, the company’s subscriber count reached 151 million. “Our missed forecast was across all regions, but slightly more so in regions with price increases,” Netflix said in its shareholder letter. In January and in the following months, Netflix began raising the price for its different subscription packages. The standard plan — the company’s most popular offering, which offers HD quality — went up from $11 per month to $13. The basic […]

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Like It or Not, You’re Getting Twitter’s Redesigned Website Soon

The redesign makes the site look a lot more like the company’s mobile app. But if you don’t like it, you’re out of luck. July 16, 2019 4 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Twitter’s major redesign to its desktop website is slated to soon replace the old interface for good. The redesign, which began rolling out on Monday, makes the site look a lot more like the Twitter mobile app. You’ll notice large swaths of white space, bigger fonts, and no more profile bio indicting your follower count on the homepage. Expect the site to also be “faster, easier to navigate, and more personalized,” according to Twitter. Woah, what’s this? A shiny new https://t.co/q4wnE46fGs for desktop? Yup. IT’S HERE. pic.twitter.com/8y4TMzqBGa — Twitter (@Twitter) July 15, 2019 If you don’t like the redesign, you’re out of luck. As Mashable noted, Twitter plans to retire the old user interface for the new […]

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Amazon to Invest $700 Million to Retrain 100,000 Workers for New Jobs

‘There is a greater need for technical skills in the workplace than ever before. Amazon is no exception,’ the company said. July 11, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag With automation looming, Amazon is investing $700 million to retrain 100,000 U.S.-based workers for new jobs. The goal is to shift one-third of Amazon’s workforce by 2025 into in-demand jobs at the company that focus on software engineering, data sciences, robotics, and coordinating logistics to ship products. Still, the company says its free retraining programs will help employees get “highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.” “The American workforce is changing. There is a greater need for technical skills in the workplace than ever before. Amazon is no exception,” the company said in the announcement. The investment comes as the e-commerce giant is increasingly relying on robots to help fulfill orders, including experimenting with delivery drones. The coming […]

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iPhone Designer Jony Ive to Leave Apple to Start His Own Firm

June 28, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Jony Ive, the major designer behind the iPhone, is leaving Apple later this year to start his own company. Ive’s new firm will also focus on design and count Apple as among its primary clients. “Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects,” company CEO Tim Cook said in the announcement. Ive has been at the company since 1992 and he currently serves as Apple’s chief design officer. “While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come,” Ive told The Financial Times in an interview. “This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change.” For almost three decades, Ive has been Apple’s main hardware designer on the major products, including the iPod, the iPad and MacBooks, […]

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Florida City to Pay $600,000 to Hackers After Ransomware Attack

The attack occurred on May 29 when a police department employee reportedly opened an email containing the malicious code. June 20, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag A city in Florida has decided to pay $600,000 to the hackers behind a ransomware attack that’s locked down the local government’s data. On Monday, the city council of Riviera Beach voted unanimously to let the city’s insurer pay 65 bitcoins to the hackers. Why the council authorized the payment wasn’t discussed at the emergency hearing. But the city is hoping to recover municipal files the hackers encrypted during the ransomware attack. According to The Palm Beach Post, the attack occurred back on May 29 when a police department employee opened an email containing the malicious code. The attack quickly spread to the rest of Riviera Beach’s IT systems, taking them all offline. In response, Riviera Beach has already spent $941,600 in upgrading the city’s […]

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LinkedIn Profile With AI-Generated Pic Tried to Schmooze With DC Insiders

The profile attempted to network with former government officials. June 14, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Spies may be using AI-generated photos to create harder-to-detect fake profiles on LinkedIn. Bogus accounts on social networking services are nothing new. But on Thursday, the Associated Press reported on the curious case of “Katie Jones,” a redheaded woman on LinkedIn who claimed to work at a top think tank in Washington D.C. According to the AP, the profile is not just a fake. The headshot of the woman may have been created by an AI-powered program. The evidence can be found in small, but noticeable inconsistences in the image. Last month I my attention was drawn to something suspicious: A fake LinkedIn profile connecting to Washington think tank types and senior US officials. Even weirder: Her face itself appeared to be fake. https://t.co/yvZbK8RoQt pic.twitter.com/CY85RRznk8 — Raphael Satter @ RightsCon (@razhael) June […]

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Vuzix to Equip Smart Glasses With Facial Recognition

The technology probably won’t sit well with privacy advocates. June 11, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag For better or worse, a U.S.-based maker of smart glasses will merge its technology with a facial-recognition system in Dubai to help law enforcement in the Middle East catch criminals. About 50 Vuzix Blade smart glasses will be outfitted with facial-recognition technology for use in “security operations” in the region. The resulting system will let the wearer “easily and discretely screen a crowd to match faces against a database of violators, missing people or suspects,” according to the company’s press release. Vuzix’s partner on the project is NNTC, a Dubai-based software developer that developed a facial-recognition system called iFalcon Face Control, which it’s been selling to law enforcement and security firms. The system is fast enough to detect up to 15 faces per video frame in under one second. It also doesn’t […]

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Amazon’s New ‘Prime Air’ Drone Can Morph From Helicopter to Plane

The redesigned Prime Air drone is a ‘hybrid’ craft, which can take off and land like a helicopter, but also glide through the air like a plane. June 6, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Amazon expects to start delivering packages via air-based drones “within months,” it said on Wednesday. But the upcoming Prime Air program will likely start off as a small-scale trial. At a company conference in Las Vegas, the tech giant unveiled its latest attempt to build a flying drone that can carry goods to Amazon customers. The new “hybrid” craft can take off and land like a helicopter and also glide through the air like a plane. “Our newest drone design includes advances in efficiency, stability and, most importantly, in safety,” the company said in a blog post, which also includes a video of the drone in action. As you can see, the craft transitions […]

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Developers File Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple over App Store

The Supreme Court recently ruled that both iPhone owners and iOS developers can bring antitrust lawsuits against Apple over its app store practices. June 5, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Two iOS developers have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple on claims the company’s App Store is a monopoly. The lawsuit from California resident Donald R. Cameron and Illinois-based Pure Sweat Basketball is demanding an end to Apple’s control over the iOS ecosystem as the only official provider for iPhone apps. “There is no reason to believe that other reputable vendors, including Amazon, for example, could not host an app store and provide a trustworthy app-distribution system if Apple were to open up its system to other providers,” claims the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for northern California. The legal complaint arrives weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that both iPhone owners […]

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The North Face Is Sorry for Hacking Wikipedia Photos to Promote Brand

The company and its ad agency did this to take advantage of Google’s search algorithms. May 31, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag The North Face is apologizing for secretly changing photos on Wikipedia pages to promote the brand’s products. The scheme involved The North Face and its ad agency, Leo Burnett Tailor Made, snapping pictures of people donning company gear at popular locations across the world and then planting the photos on the editable Wikipedia pages for the different sites. The companies did this to take advantage of Google’s search algorithms, which tend to rank Wikipedia entries first on the image results. As a result, the pictures containing North Face gear were able reach top billing on Google without paying any cost. “We hacked the results to reach one of the most difficult places: The top of the world’s largest search engine,” The North Face […]

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Our Security Efforts Will Suffer if Facebook Is Broken Up

‘The amount of our budget that goes toward our safety systems I believe is greater than Twitter’s revenue for this whole year,’ Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told journalists. May 24, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Mark Zuckerberg is countering calls to break up Facebook, saying that doing so would only diminish his company’s billion-dollar attempts to fix the social network. “The amount of our budget that goes toward our safety systems I believe is greater than Twitter’s revenue for this whole year,” Zuckerberg told journalists on a press call on Thursday. Zuckerberg made the comment in response to co-founder Chris Hughes’ call to break up Facebook. According to Hughes, the Federal Trade Commission made a grave mistake in letting Facebook buy WhatsApp and Instagram, which helped the company gain control over the social networking market. Zuckerberg disagrees. During the press call, he pointed to competing products […]

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U.S. Senator Seeks to Stop Loot Boxes in Video Games Like ‘Fortnite’

‘When a game is designed for kids, game developers shouldn’t be allowed to monetize addiction,’ said U.S. Senator Josh Hawley. May 9, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag A U.S. senator wants to ban loot boxes in video games directed at children, claiming they can promote addiction. On Wednesday, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) said he plans on introducing legislation cracking down on loot boxes and other “pay-to-win” mechanics, such as microtransactions that can unlock new content. His goal is to bar video game makers from ever using the practices on minors under the age of 18 “When a game is designed for kids, game developers shouldn’t be allowed to monetize addiction,” he said in a statement. “And when kids play games designed for adults, they should be walled off from compulsive microtransactions. Game developers who knowingly exploit children should face legal consequences.” Video game companies are using […]

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After a Rough Year, Facebook Is Giving Privacy a Try

‘This isn’t just about a few new features. This is a big change in how we’re building these products and running our company,’ Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says at F8. May 1, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Longtime Facebook watchers might be skeptical of the social network’s new commitment to digital privacy, but according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company is in it for the long haul. “The future is private,” Zuckerberg said at the company’s F8 annual developer conference today, later adding: “This isn’t just about a few new features. This is a big change in how we’re building these products and run[ning] our company.” What will a privacy-focused Facebook look like? Expect a lot of encryption. At F8, Zuckerberg confirmed that end-to-end encryption will become the default standard on Facebook Messenger, as The New York Times reported in January. Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images “We’re going to enable 2 billion people […]

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Amazon to Make One-Day Shipping the Standard on Amazon Prime

Amazon plans on spending $800 million in this year’s second quarter to build out the needed infrastructure. April 26, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag The standard delivery time for your Amazon Prime orders will eventually take one day, not two. “We’re currently working on evolving our Prime free two-day shipping program to be a free one-day shipping program,” Amazon’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said in a Thursday earnings call. According to Olsavsky, Amazon plans on spending $800 million in this year’s second quarter to build out the infrastructure needed to make the one-day delivery times possible. Already, the company’s Amazon Prime program has been offering one-day, same-day, and two-hour shipping times, but only in certain zip codes and for a limited number of products. However, in recent months the company has been expanding the number of zip codes and items eligible for the one-day shipping times, Olsavsky said. […]

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President Trump Meets With Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey After Blasting Platform for Bias

‘They don’t treat me well as a Republican,’ Trump said in tweet on Tuesday morning. ‘Very discriminatory.’ April 24, 2019 4 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag President Donald Trump held a face-to-face meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the White House on Tuesday mere hours after he accused the social media platform of discriminating against conservatives. “Great meeting this afternoon,” Trump said in a tweet about the meeting. “Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!” Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue! pic.twitter.com/QnZi579eFb — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019 However, earlier in the day, Trump was more critical of the platform. “They don’t […]

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Google Dissolves AI Advisory Board Amid Employee Protest

They were protesting the appointment of conservative think tank president Kay Cole James to the advisory council over her alleged ‘anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ’ views. April 5, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag The controversy over Google naming a conservative thinker and alleged “anti-trans, anti-LGBT” supporter to a company advisory board has ended with the whole project scrapped. On Thursday, the tech giant announced it had dissolved the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council, which was intended to bring outside experts together to help inform Google’s views on developing artificial intelligence. However, the company decided to end the whole project after a group of Google employees began to protest the appointment of conservative think tank president Kay Cole James to the council. More than 2,300 Google staffers have now signed a letter calling for her removal over claims James is “vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant.” “It’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC (the advisory […]

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New TSA Scanning Tech Will Let You Keep Laptops in Your Bag

The Transportation Security Administration will start installing the new X-ray scanning systems in U.S. airports this summer. April 3, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag New technology coming to U.S. airports will let you keep your laptop inside your carry-on luggage when you go through a security checkpoint. The Transportation Security Administration will install the new X-ray scanning systems across all U.S. airports in the coming years, starting with a $97 million contract it awarded to a supplier, a TSA spokeswoman told PCMag. Existing baggage scanners only work in two dimensions. However, the new computed tomography or CT scanners can make out the electronics that sit inside your baggage by rendering the X-rayed images in 3D, which can then be rotated 360 degrees. According to the TSA, the same scanners are also smart enough to detect explosives and other threats that might be hiding inside. Some passengers may […]

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