Hopefully your day isn't as busy as yesterday was for Facebook. We'll explain what the social network is up to now, plus take a look at the first of many powerful-and-light gaming laptops on the way.
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This story continues at The Next Web
This story continues at The Next Web
Facebook has a four-part plan to protect its platform from malicious attacks during the 2018 US midterm elections, company executives said today. In a conference call with reporters, representatives from Facebook’s security, product, and advertising teams laid out their strategy for preventing the kinds of problems that plagued it during the 2016 campaign. While most bad actors are motivated by profits, executives said, state-sponsored attackers continue in their efforts to manipulate public opinion using posts on Facebook.
Here’s Facebook’s plan to shore up its security over the next several months.
1. Fighting foreign interference. Executives pointed to the FBI’s creation of a task force to monitor social media as an important step to…
Speaking on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook for its mishandling and commercialization of consumer data, and again concedes that the time may be past for self-regulation of how companies handle personal information.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News
Apple is still very committed to both user privacy and strong encryption, especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations.
In an interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook asked for “well-crafted” regulation when it comes to user privacy. Separately, Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi reiterated Apple’s stance on the need of having strong encryption, the kind that can’t have any backdoors like the US government asks for.
Cook made his remarks at the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday, Bloomberg reports, which came at the end of a rough week for Facebook.
“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook replied when asked whether the use of data should be restricted.
“The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.”
“We’ve worried for a number of years that people in many countries were giving up data probably without knowing fully what they were doing and that these detailed profiles that were being built of them, that one day something would occur, and people would be incredibly offended by what had been done without them being aware of it,” Cook added. “Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once.”
Encryption is one critical way of protecting user data. That includes encrypted services, but also encrypted devices. The US, and other governments around the world, would love Apple, Google, and others to include backdoors in their devices and services, so that law enforcement agencies could access data tied to active investigations.
Apple has always opposed adding backdoors to iOS, and nothing has changed, even though the Justice Department is looking at ways to force device makers to unlock phones part of criminal investigations.
According to The New York Times found out that the FBI and Justice Department officials have been quietly meeting with security researchers who have been working on backdoors for encrypted devices. That’s called “extraordinary access” to encrypted devices. But, whatever they call it, it’s still a feature that reduces the security of a device.
Federighi stressed the importance of strengthening security for iPhone, not weakening it.
“Proposals that involve giving the keys to customers’ device data to anyone but the customer inject new and dangerous weaknesses into product security,” the exec said in a statement. “Weakening security makes no sense when you consider that customers rely on our products to keep their personal information safe, run their businesses or even manage vital infrastructure like power grids and transportation systems.”
Security researchers have been considering ways that would allow law enforcement to unlock smartphones. One idea that’s gaining steam would be that encrypted devices would also hold special unlock keys that could be used to unlock a device of interest. The process would still involve a court order, and only the phone’s maker would be able to unlock it. Therefore, the keys would not be handed to law enforcement. However, this universal unlock solution would be at risk of leaking, as multiple people inside a company would have to be able to access it to help with requests from law enforcement.
Facebook hasn’t yet woken up from the ongoing PR nightmare brought on by Cambridge Analytica, and it may already be facing yet another: an Ars Technica investigation found that Facebook collected and stored data on Android phone users’ calls and texts, including phone numbers and length of calls.
The thing is, it doesn’t yet appear that Facebook broke any laws or used data without permission; rather, the data seems to have come by way of another unclear permission opt-in for Facebook apps. It’s shady, for sure, but the method may not be illegal or even nefarious (Facebook says it’s all aimed at improving users’ experience).
But the fact that we’re once again talking about it shows how far our trust in Facebook has fallen.
Cambridge Analytica was able to scrape data from millions of users because Facebook’s privacy rules at the time allowed its app to gather information not just from users, but also from their friends (of course, most Facebook users didn’t know that at the time).
Facebook was able to store call and text data from Android phones (but not other models) through a similar loophole, Ars Technica‘s investigation suggests. If Android users downloaded Facebook apps, like Messenger, in 2015, they granted those apps permission to access their contacts, and included call and message logs by default. Though Android later changed this permission structure, Facebook and other apps could continue to access calls and texts by specifying that they were written to the earlier software. That loophole stayed open until October 2017, when Google updated the way Androids stored their data.
Android users could purge that data, but they first had to know it was being collected. What’s more, Ars Technica found that even when they did so, contacts remained in the Facebook app’s contact management tool.
In a blog posted on March 25, Facebook retorted with a “fact check” of these claims, stating that call and text logging is only an opt-in feature that Android users have to specifically agree to when they install Messenger or Facebook Lite.
Yet Ars Technica states that this contradicts users’ experiences. Reporter Sean Gallagher notes that he never installed Messenger on his Android device, only the Facebook app, and that he never opted into call or SMS collecting. Yet there are still call logs from the time that Facebook was installed. That seems to be because opt-in was the default mode when those apps were installed.
Thanks to the Cambridge Analytica debacle, Facebook’s stock has already fallen dramatically. Users already feel negatively about Facebook, and other social media companies are becoming less popular with it. This suggests that social media users not longer trust Facebook, and that trust won’t be easy to regain — especially since yet another data collection scandal is dogging the company.
These back-to-back scandals also hint at something much more unsettling: that there could be more Cambridge Analyticas, more violations of users’ trust.
We haven’t yet learned about just how much data Facebook has collected — or is still collecting — about its users using sketchy privacy agreements. Indeed, the Federal Trade Commission announced on March 26 that it is opening an investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices, which could signal there are more reveals about the social media company ahead.
If you’re thinking of taking a break from social media for a while, you’re not the only one.
The post Facebook’s Phone-Scraping “Scandal” Just Shows How Little We Trust the Company appeared first on Futurism.