Sunday, July 26, 2015

Did they not test this? Did they not consider their users? Perhaps we need an e-version of “How to win friends and influence people.”
LinkedIn backtracks on removing contact list downloads after users protest
LinkedIn is reviving a tool that lets you download your contact list the day after it quietly removed it to the frustration of many users.
The site had shelved the feature on Friday and replaced it with a new option that bundles your contacts' emails with an archive of every other file in your profile and takes up to three days to request, Venture Beat first reported.
The switch was made to thwart third-party services who were able to use the tool to scrape mass amounts of user contact information
The site explained in a blog post on Saturday that it would turn the download back on until it was able to determine how to cut down the wait time for the profile archive bundle.

Remember in the movie “Day of the Jackal” when French security beat the name “Jackal” out of the bad guy they kidnapped?
French Constitutional Court Approves New Powers for Intelligence Services
France’s top constitutional court mostly upheld a new French surveillance law that would give intelligence services broad new powers to spy in France and abroad.
The court-backed provisions of the law allow a wide range of new surveillance techniques meant for the Internet age, including the collection of “metadata” about online traffic and the use of software that can monitor every keystroke on a computer. The court said intelligence services can use these tools without approval of a judge, though the government must still seek permission from an independent body created to oversee surveillance activities.

Sounds simple but the logistics for a small company are daunting.
Twitter is deleting stolen jokes on copyright grounds
Let's face it: coming up with a grade-A tweet isn't easy. That's why some people just copy good tweets from other people and act like they came up with the 140-character witticism on their own. This has been going on since the beginning of Twitter.
It now appears Twitter is using its legal authority to crack down on these tweet-stealers. A number of tweets have been deleted on copyright grounds for apparently stealing a bad joke.
… most of the accounts that were reusing her tweets without accreditation were "spam accounts that repost tons of other people's jokes every day." This also isn't the first time Twitter has complied with a request like this: Lexell tells The Verge that she's filed similar requests for other jokes. Twitter staffers typically remove the offending tweets "within a few days" without asking Lexell any follow-up questions.
… Twitter, like many companies that host content from users, has an entire system for handling claims of copyright infringement. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Twitter is provided "safe harbor" from copyright claims so long as it does not try to protect infringing material. Typically, claims concern embedded media like photos and videos, or they're for tweets that link to other websites that are illegally hosting copyrighted material, like movies. It's rarer for a DMCA request to involve the actual text of a 140-character tweet.

Interesting business model. First scare them. Then promise to protect them using technology they can't possibly afford our understand. (The FTC delivers “not so swift” justice.)
LifeLock shares tank after FTC says it doesn’t protect consumers data as it claimed
LifeLock, the company that aggressively advertises its identify theft protection service, came under fire from the federal government Tuesday for failing to protect the data of its customers – once again.
… The Federal Trade Commission said LifeLock has been falsely promising that it would protect personal data such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and bank accounts. It also did not alert its customers “as soon as” the company became aware of a problem.
Those failures violated a March 2010 settlement with the FTC and 35 states in which LifeLock agreed to repay customers $12 million and establish a program to protect its users’ most sensitive data.
“It is essential that companies live up to their obligations under orders obtained by the FTC,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “If a company continues with practices that violate orders and harm consumers, we will act.”
For ordinary consumers, the FTC's charges mark a jagged turn in the already complex data protection industry. When firms that pledge to secure personal financial data are called "deceptive," consumers trying to monitor their digital footprint and the data they trust to online companies are left bewildered, consumer advocates say.

Maybe there is a use for drones! Note that when he hovers, the drone seems remarkably stable.
Guy with drone scares the crap out of trespassing kids
Drone enthusiast Stephen Coyle was flying his DJI Phantom 3 near a school in Letterkenny, Ireland when he noticed a few kids up to no good on the school's roof.
But once the kids noticed the drone they immediately assumed that it was there for them and a hilarious chase ensued.
In the video's description, Coyle explains that the kids eventually ran into where he was piloting the drone, realized they weren't in trouble and asked that he put the video on YouTube.

Does the algorithm work? If so, we have a guide to success for our students.
Helen Warrell reports:
A week after students begin their distance learning courses at the UK’s Open University this October, a computer program will have predicted their final grade. An algorithm monitoring how much the new recruits have read of their online textbooks, and how keenly they have engaged with web learning forums, will cross-reference this information against data on each person’s socio-economic background. It will identify those likely to founder and pinpoint when they will start struggling. Throughout the course, the university will know how hard students are working by continuing to scrutinise their online reading habits and test scores.
Andrew Keen, author of The Internet Is Not the Answer (2015) — a critique of the digital revolution and the way in which big data are being used to “monetise” human activities such as education — says the safeguarding of students’ privacy is becoming “an enormous concern”.
Keen, who predicts an imminent “reality check” on the impact of technology on education, says users are particularly vulnerable when consuming free university content from “Massive Open Online Courses”, known as Moocs, offered by institutions such as Stanford and Harvard. “Any time these services are free, eventually it’s the user who ends up paying,” Keen says.
Read more on Financial Times.

Dilbert shows how not to do your pre-employment research.

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