Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Is failure to notice you’ve been hacked evidence of negligence? Certainly suggests poor security. (Will future AI systems steal DNA to create clone slaves?)
Hacked: 92 Million Account Details for DNA Testing Service MyHeritage
When you sign up to a website handling sensitive information, perhaps a medical service or social network, one of the basic things you’re probably hoping for is that the site can keep control of its users’ data. Unfortunately for customers of MyHeritage, a genealogy and DNA testing service, a researcher uncovered 92 million account details related to the company sitting on a server, according to an announcement from MyHeritage.
The data relates to users who signed up to MyHeritage up to and including October 26, 2017—the date of the breach—the announcement adds.
Users of the Israeli-based company can create family trees and search through historical records to try and uncover their ancestry. In January 2017, Israeli media reported the company has some 35 million family trees on its website.
In all, the breach impacted 92,283,889 users, according to MyHeritage’s disclosure.
… MyHeritage says it has no reason to believe other user data was compromised. Customer credit card information is processed by third-parties such as PayPal, and users’ DNA data is stored on systems separate to those containing customer’s email addresses, the company claimed.

“Because we need to know who is escaping?”
New Homeland Security system will bring facial recognition to land borders this summer
… In August, Customs and Border Protection will deploy a new system for scanning drivers’ faces as they leave the US, The Verge has learned. The pilot, called the Vehicle Face System (or VFS), is planned for installation at the Anzalduas border crossing at the southern tip of Texas and scheduled to remain in operation for a full year. The project is currently moving through the necessary privacy reviews, and it is set to be officially announced and submitted to the Federal Register in the coming months.
According to a Customs spokesperson, the purpose of the project will be “to evaluate capturing facial biometrics of travelers entering and departing the United States and compare those images to photos on file in government holdings.”
… The project is part of the broader Biometric Exit program, which seeks to physically verify visa-holders’ identities as they leave the country. The largest arm of that program has been the installation of facial recognition systems at airports, which are currently being piloted in New York, Los Angeles, and six other major cities. Enforcing biometric exit at land borders has been more challenging, but customs officials hope that more sophisticated cameras could allow similar facial recognition systems to be used at land borders.
… The Vehicle Face System will go further than those tests, aiming to capture a facial recognition-ready image for every passenger in every car in both the inbound and outbound lanes. Those images will be matched against visa and passport photos already on file with CBP, verifying travelers before they even reach the turnstile.

You have to vet your tools?
EU Court Says German Education Entity and Facebook Must Share the Blame for Privacy Gaffes
Barbara Leonard reports:
A German education entity that benefitted from Facebook’s collection of user data failed to persuade the EU’s top court Tuesday that it had no share in the blame.
Wirtschaftsakademie Schleswig-Holstein came under fire in its homeland seven years ago when a government agency dedicated to data protection ordered it to deactivate a fan page it administrated on Facebook.
Using a free tool called Facebook Insights, Wirtschaftsakademie was able to obtain statistical data on users who visited its page, but German regulators found that the page failed to disclose Facebook’s use of cookies for data-collection purposes.
Read more on Courthouse News.

You knew this was coming and you knew California would be the first to jump.
California Voters Likely to Consider Enacting GDPR-Like Privacy Law in November
David M. Stauss, Gregory Szewczyk, and Malia K. Rogers of Ballard Spahr write:
With more than double the number of required signatures well ahead of the verification deadline late this month, the citizen-initiated measure “The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018” appears headed for the statewide ballot on November 6. If approved by a majority of Golden State voters, the ballot measure would greatly expand right-to-know and opt-out requirements, subjecting covered businesses to increased costs for compliance and strict liability for any violations.
If enacted into law, the ballot measure will apply to companies that conduct business in California or collect California residents’ personal information. Small businesses, however, will be spared, as the measure only applies to businesses that have annual gross revenues over $50 million, annually sell (alone or in combination) the personal information of 100,000 or more consumers or devices, or derive 50 percent or more of annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.
Read more on National Law Review.

Have the Copyright Cops gotten soft or is Facebook just buying new users?
Facebook allows videos with copyrighted music, tests Lip Sync Live
Facebook users will no longer have their uploaded videos with copyrighted background music taken down thanks to a slew of deals with all the major record labels plus many indies.
Facebook is also starting to test a feature designed to steal users from teen sensation app Musically. Facebook’s new Lip Sync Live lets users pick a popular song to pretend to sing on a Facebook Live broadcast.
… When users upload videos with music with the new rules in effect, they’ll be quickly notified if that song is allowed via the deals and fine to share, or if their video will be muted unless they submit a dispute to the copyright holder who then okays it through Facebook’s Rights Manager tool. Facebook will compensate artists and labels whose music is used, but it wouldn’t disclose the rates or whether they’re calculated by upload or video view.

All is not roses in India?
Walmart-Flipkart deal in question as Indian trade bodies protest
Indian traders, workers and farmers have stepped up their campaign against U.S. retailer Walmart's proposed acquisition of India’s biggest e-tailer Flipkart, demanding that the government stop the $16 billion deal on the grounds that it will harm the nation’s economic and digital sovereignty and hit millions of jobs.
… The acquisition of Flipkart “is the latest step in a series of developments aimed at circumventing the existing FDI [foreign direct investment] cap in multi-brand retail by permitting foreign-owned online retail in India, and developing a digital stranglehold by foreign companies over India’s consumer goods value chain,” the organizations said in their statement, adding that allowing FDI in e-retail was “a backdoor entry” point for foreign players into multi-brand retail.
At present, up to 51% FDI is allowed in multi-brand retail, subject to certain conditions – one of which is that at least 30% of the value of procurement of manufactured/processed products purchased should be sourced from Indian micro, small and medium-sized industries. However, the rules on FDI in online retail lack clarity, and traders have long sought an e-commerce policy.

(Related) Never miss an opening…
Report: Amazon commits $2 billion to Indian market
Amazon is getting back in the game in India, reportedly investing $2 billion in the market, after it lost the acquisition of key local competitor Flipkart to Walmart in May. CNBC's Indian affiliate broke the news.
Why it matters: Amazon and Walmart are fighting for the upper hand in India, which is the fastest-growing e-commerce market in the world.

Perspective. Has Uber done half-a-billion dollars worth of damage to its reputation?
Uber to Spend Up to $500 Million on Ad Campaign
Uber plans to spend up to $500 million on a global marketing effort this year, according to a person familiar with the matter. It marks Uber’s first large-scale brand campaign and is part of an effort to repair the company’s image after last year’s scandals.
… The ads are controversial internally, people familiar with the matter said, both due to Mr. Khosrowshahi’s prominent role in them and the fact that they take a contrite tone, when some viewers might not even be aware of all of Uber’s missteps. Amid Uber’s challenges last year, Lyft launched a brand advertising campaign that cost tens of millions of dollars, The Information reported in September.

Clearly, this justifies investment in AI and Robotics.
There are now more job openings than people unemployed
The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there are now 6.7 million job openings in the U.S. and 6.35 million people counted as unemployed — making 2018 the first year on record that the U.S. has had more available jobs to fill than people looking for jobs.

A GitHub alternative?
GitLab’s high-end plans are now free for open source projects and schools
The fact that Microsoft is buying GitHub has left a lot of developers with a deep feeling of unease and a lot of them are now looking for alternatives. One of those is GitLab and that company has decided to strike the iron while it’s hot. To attract even more developers to its platform, GitLab today announced that its premium self-hosted GitLab Ultimate plan and its hosted Gold plan are now available for free to open source projects and educational institutions.
… The Gold and Ultimate offerings, however, would typically cost $99 per user per month and include virtually every feature you can think of, including all the basics you want from a code repository up to tools for publishing roadmaps, dependency and container scanning, Kubernetes cluster monitoring and, in the near future, tools for license and portfolio management.
One caveat here is that the free Gold and Ultimate plans do not include support. Developers and open source projects that do want support, though, can still buy it at $4.95 per user and month.
The other limitation is that this applies to schools but not individual students. “To reduce the administrative burden for GitLab only educational institutions can apply on behalf of their students,” the company says.

A “thing” for nerds and power users.
Firefox has a new side-by-side tab feature for multitaskers
Firefox is jazzing things up with a couple of new test features that should embolden multitaskers and those who like to tinker with aesthetics. Side View lets you view a pair of tabs side-by-side without needing to open a new browser window. Once you click the Side View button on your toolbar, you can pick which tab you want to see on the side. It can be one you already have open or a tab you recently closed. You can open a browser link in the sidebar too.

Alternatives to buying a car…
Uber Expands Electric-Bicycle Rentals With European Debut
Uber Technologies Inc. announced it would roll out its on-demand electric-bicycle service to Europe, as it seeks to expand its international offerings to include more environmentally-friendly forms of transportation.

Scoop: GV to lead $250 million round in scooter startup Lime

For my graduating students.
Bill Gates is giving away copies of his favorite book of the year to 2018 college graduates
Bill Gates recently revealed his five recommended books for summertime reading. Now, he’s giving away one of those five — his favorite book of the year so far — to this year’s college graduates.
The book is “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — And Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund. And all 2018 graduates, from any accredited college or university in the United States, can go to Gates Notes to download a complimentary copy (in .epub format). Graduates will need to sign up or log in as a Gates Notes Insider, and then select their university or college from a drop-down menu in order to download the book. The download will be available for about two or three days.

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