Category Archives: News and Views

Facebook uploaded millions of users’ contacts without their knowledge | Fast Company

Another day, another Facebook data scandal. This time the scandal involves Facebook uploading the complete address books of 1.5 million new users without their consent. Facebook said these new users’ contacts were “unintentionally uploaded” since May 2016, reports Business Insider.

Here’s why Facebook says this mistake happened. Prior to May 2016, Facebook offered an option for new users to verify their email account and upload all their contacts from that email account at the same time. The uploading of contacts was so Facebook could see who you knew and make friend recommendations based on your contacts.

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The government is about to permanently bar the IRS from creating a free electronic filing system | TechCrunch

Thanks to pressure from tax preparation industry, Congress is getting ready to ban the Internal Revenue Service from ever building a free electronic tax filing system.

As ProPublica reports, the effort is a bipartisan one. The House Ways and Means Committee, led by Massachusetts Democrat, Richard Neal, passed the Taxpayer First Act.

The bill would make changes to the IRS and is sponsored by Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis and Mike Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania.

One of its stipulations would make it illegal for the IRS to create its own online system for tax filing. That’s right, members of Congress are prohibiting a branch of the federal government from providing a much-needed service that would make the lives of all of their constituents much easier.

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A New Breed of ATM Hackers Gets in Through a Bank’s Network | WIRED

OVER THE PAST few years, scammers have increasingly siphoned cash off of digital payment networks, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars so far. Not only is the problem hard to contain; new findings show that it’s evolving and maturing, with new types of ATM malware on the rise.

Researchers at the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit in Singapore are presenting findings on Wednesday about a new wave of payment system scams. Beyond so-called jackpotting attacks, which cause individual ATMs to spit out money, hackers are manipulating ATM networks and the digital authentication checks in the machines to cash out fraudulent transfers they initiate around the globe.

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The FDA Is Investigating a Possible Link Between E-cigarettes and Seizures | Live Science

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a possible link between e-cigarette use and seizures, the agency announced today (April 3).

The FDA said that, between 2010 and 2019, there were 35 reported cases of people who had seizures shortly after they used e-cigarettes. Most of these reports involved teenagers or young adults.

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Google Starts Deleting Social Network Accounts After 52 Million Users Thought Exposed To Privacy Bug | Forbes

Google+ never really emerged as the social network contender to beat the likes of Facebook and Twitter that Google had hoped it would be. Now, less than eight years after launching, Google+ has officially ceased to be. Google has stated that, starting today, content in Google+ consumer accounts will start being deleted. There are many reasons that could be plucked from the reasons for closure hat, not least that it was a wasteland rather than a thriving network, but the straw that broke this social camel’s back was actually a coding bug with user privacy implications.

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Mission Accomplished? Killing the Pixelbook Could Be Good News for Chromebooks | Digital Trends

The fancy Google Pixelbook painted a rosy picture for the future of the Chromebook when it launched. Yes, it was a bit too expensive given the limitations of Chrome OS, but the software has evolved quite a bit over the past couple of years. Now there was some premium hardware to match.

But if you believe the recent reporting around the matter, we may never see a true follow-up to the high-end Chromebook. Google has never been afraid to kill projects, and its Chrome OS hardware might be next. And that might not be as big a blow as you may think.

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Zeus raises $24M to make you a living-as-a-service landlord | TechCrunch

Cookie-cutter corporate housing turns people into worker drones. When an employee needs to move to a new city for a few months, they’re either stuck in bland, giant apartment complexes or Airbnbs meant for shorter stays. But Zeus lets any homeowner get paid to host white-collar transient labor. Through its managed ownership model, Zeus takes on all the furnishing, upkeep, and risk of filling the home while its landlords sit back earning cash.

Zeus has quietly risen to a $45 million revenue run rate from renting out 900 homes in 23 cities. That’s up 5X in a year thanks to Zeus’ 150 employees. With a 90 percent occupancy rate, it’s proven employers and their talent want more unique, trustworthy, well-equipped multi-month residences that actually make them feel at home.

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Toyota doubles down on Nvidia tech for self-driving cars | TechCrunch

Toyota is deepening its relationship with Nvidia as the automaker, and its research arms in Japan and the U.S., ramps up its autonomous vehicle development program.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced Monday during his keynote at the 2019 GPU Technology Conference that Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development — the automaker’s Japan-based research arm — is using the chipmaker’s full end-to-end development and production to develop, train and validate its autonomous vehicle technology. The partnership builds on an ongoing collaboration with Toyota and is based on development between engineering teams from Nvidia, TRI-AD in Japan and Toyota Research Institute in the United States.

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Third Brexit vote must be different – Speaker | BBC News

Speaker John Bercow has thrown the UK’s Brexit plans into further confusion by ruling out another vote on the PM’s deal unless MPs are given a new motion.

In a surprise ruling, he said he would not allow a third “meaningful vote” in the coming days on “substantially the same” motion as MPs rejected last week.

With 11 days to go before the UK is due to leave the EU, ministers have warned of a looming “constitutional crisis”.

The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 29 March.

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The People Trying to Make Internet Recommendations Less Toxic | WIRED

THE INTERNET IS an ocean of algorithms trying to tell you what to do. YouTube and Netflix proffer videos they calculate you’ll watch. Facebook and Twitter filter and reorganize posts from your connections, avowedly in your interest—but also in their own.

New York entrepreneur Brian Whitman helped create such a system. He sold a music analytics startup called The Echo Nest to Spotify in 2014, bolstering the streaming music service’s ability to recommend new songs from a person’s past listening. Whitman says he saw clear evidence of algorithms’ value at Spotify. But he founded his current startup, Canopy, after becoming fearful of their downsides.

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