Sunday, September 24, 2017

Convenience over security? I’ve got nothing to hide?
Moneycontrol reports:
WeChat has confirmed what has been rumoured all along i.e. it gives all user information to the Chinese government. The popular app in a privacy statement is now informing the users that virtually all the private user information will be disclosed to the authorities.
WeChat, owned by the Chinese firm Tencent, is a messaging app similar to the WhatsApp. With over 662 million users, the app, besides being the dominant messaging app in China, it is one of the largest in the world.

What we know about the 21 states targeted by Russian hackers
The Department of Homeland Security was short on details when it said Friday that it had notified 21 states of Russian efforts to hack their election systems in 2016. For one thing, the department didn't publicly identify the states. For another, it didn't say how many of the hacking attempts were successful — or to what degree.
Based on reporting by The Washington Post, Associated Press and other news outlets — plus statements issued by some state officials — we now have a complete list of the affected states. The Fix has mapped and categorized them, according to what we know about the success or failure of the cyberattacks.
Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams downplayed the hacking threat. “This was a scan, and many computer systems are regularly scanned,” he said in a statement. “It happens hundreds, if not thousands, of times per day. That's why we continue to be vigilant and monitor our systems around the clock.”

Perspective. An effective way to counter “fake news” on either side of the political spectrum? Is this really all it takes?
The mysterious group that’s picking Breitbart apart, one tweet at a time
Hardly anyone paid attention last November when a strangely named Twitter account, Sleeping Giants, sent its first tweet into the digisphere. “Are you aware that you’re advertising on Breitbart, the alt-right’s biggest champion, today?” read the tweet, aimed at a consumer lending outfit called Social Finance. “Are you supporting them publicly?”
Within 30 minutes, Social Finance replied, tweeting that it would stop running ads on Breitbart.
It was, it turns out, the start of an odd, and oddly effective, social media campaign against Breitbart, the influential conservative news site headed by Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former campaign chairman and ex-chief White House strategist.
Sleeping Giants is a mysterious group that has no address, no organizational structure and no officers. At least none that are publicly known. All of its leaders are anonymous, and much of what it claims is difficult to independently verify. A spokesman for the group wouldn’t identify himself in interviews for this article.
But the group does have a singular purpose, pursued as relentlessly as Ahab chasing a whale: It aims to drive advertisers away from Breitbart. “We’re trying to defund bigotry,” the spokesman says.
Sleeping Giants’ basic approach is to make Breitbart’s advertisers aware that they are, in fact, Breitbart advertisers. Many apparently don’t know this, given that Web ads are often bought through third-party brokers, such as Google and Facebook. The brokers then distribute them to a network of websites according to algorithms that seek a specific target audience (say, young men) or a set number of impressions.
As a result of such “programmatic” buying, advertisers often are in the dark about where their ads end up. Advertisers can opt out of certain sites, of course, but only if they affirmatively place them on a blacklist of sites.

The music business is growing again — really growing — and it’s because of streaming
Familiar song, new tempo: Music streaming is big, and getting bigger fast. Digital downloads are falling off a cliff.
Oh, and one more familiar refrain: The music industry loves the money it’s getting from subscription services like Spotify and Apple Music, but it wants YouTube to pay them much more.
… More than 30 million people are now paying for a subscription streaming service in the U.S., which pushed streaming revenue up 48 percent, to $2.5 billion, in the first half of the year. Streaming now accounts for 62 percent of the U.S. music business.
… Retail sales were up 17 percent, to $4 billion, and wholesale shipments were up 14.6 percent, to $2.7 billion.
Meanwhile, iTunes-style digital download sales continue to fall. They’re down 24 percent. Because why buy songs for a dollar when you can legally stream (almost) anything you want for a price that ranges between zero and $10 a month?

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