Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that helped Donald Trump get elected

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Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data it promised Facebook it had deleted, the company claims.

Facebook on Friday suspended accounts for Strategic Communication Laboratories, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm used by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The suspension was issued because Cambridge Analytica received Facebook data from hundreds of thousands of users in a way that violated Facebook’s guidelines, the company said Friday in a blog post.

The back story: In 2015, a third party app called “thisisyourdigitallife” used Facebook’s login API, which allows people to use their Facebook profile on third party apps instead of creating a new account, to collect data on 270,000 people, which is allowed under Facebook’s rules and guidelines.

The app, which was run by a University of Cambridge professor named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, then shared the data with Cambridge Analytica, which is against Facebook’s rules and guidelines.

Facebook found out about it, and demanded that both Kogan and Cambridge Analytica delete the data. They promised that the data had been deleted, but now Facebook says that “several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted.”

Why this matters: Cambridge Analytica, which The Washington Post describes as “specializing in using online data to create voter personality profiles,” was used by the Trump campaign during his run to the White House in 2016. The firm has been under scrutiny from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Back in December, Mueller requested that Cambridge Analytica pass along internal documents.

What this means for Facebook: The company says it’s still trying to get to the bottom of what happened. “Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted,” the company wrote in a blog post Friday. “We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made.”

Regardless, it puts Facebook in another awkward position as the company continues to try and determine what role it might have played in helping Trump get elected. We’ve already learned that Russian sources used Facebook to spread disinformation to millions of users, and even bought ads intended to create divisions between American voters. Now we’ve learned that Facebook data that was easily and appropriately collected under the company’s policies, may have been unknowingly used to help Trump’s advertising campaigns.

What we still don’t know is whether this data was used by the Trump Campaign, or if it was, what impact it might have had. While 270,000 people sounds like a lot, it’s a very small portion of Facebook’s user base, and would represent a very small portion of the potential U.S. electorate.

It’s also unclear if Cambridge Analytica is still working with the Trump White House, or is helping with his re-election campaign. Or what Cambrigde Analytica could do to be un-suspended from Facebook, or what Facebook would need to find in order to ban them entirely.

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Facebook suspends Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica

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Late Friday night, Facebook has announced it's suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) from its site. While you may not have heard of SCL, its political analytics firm Cambridge Analytica has made headlines in the last few years due to…
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Verizon launches connected vehicle management firm

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US telco Verizon has launched its own connected vehicle and mobile resource management firm in a bid to tap into a growing, billion-dollar market.

The tech giant has rolled three of its acquisitions, European automotive tech firms Telogis, Fleetmatic, and Movildata, into a single brand called Verizon Connect.

New offerings

Over the next few years, Verizon Connect aims to develop vehicle software that increases driver performance, productivity, and efficiency. The solutions will be aimed at “customers of all sizes, from large enterprises and SMEs through to individual consumers”, said the company in a written statement.

Verizon Connect said that it is also working on technologies that tap into areas such as mobile workforce management, efficiency, compliance, and productivity. Other solutions will include embedded OEM hardware, and a connected vehicle device that improves driver safety.

The new firm is supported by 3,500 professionals across telematics, mobile technology, and fleet management, said the announcement.

Verizon Connect will work with “unmatched network quality, reliability, and scale to develop solutions for the connected car market”, it added, explaining that the launch is the “culmination of more than $ 5 billion of investment in the technologies helping to enable vehicles’ connected future”.

Andrés Irlando, CEO of Verizon Connect, said his company is looking to transform the driving experience for businesses and consumers around the world. “One of the things we’re most proud of at Verizon Connect is the potential our current and future technologies have for massive societal impact,” he explained.

Irlando added that the firm will be “rerouting customers’ vehicles more efficiently to reduce emissions, monitoring vehicle diagnostics to improve fuel efficiency, and providing a gamification app that helps customers recognise and reward their safest drivers.

Internet of Business says

So far, 2018 has seen an unusual number of connected car IoT partnerships announced, along with a series of new applications aimed at resource management and helping drivers with a range of new services, especially for electric vehicles.

These innovative programmes don’t just help consumers, but also professional drivers across diverse fields, such as transport, logistics, the supply chain, and fleet management.

This, then, is the new normal: cars are getting smarter – as is transport generally. Smart, connected services, and the data that results from them, will be one of the major battlegrounds over the next few years, both among car makers and their technology partners.

Cars are massive data points, in terms of how they’re performing, how they’re being used, and how they relate to the organisations that manage them, and the world around them.

Read more: TomTom brings connected car services to Kia and Hyundai

Read more: Lamborghini teams with Vodafone on connected supercars


Read more: #MWC18: New partners rev up for SAP Vehicles Network

Read more: How the IoT, smart supply chains can avert a global food crisis

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Former Apple security engineer’s new firm claims it will unlock any iPhone – for $15,000

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iPhone Security

Just about a week ago, word emerged that the Israeli-based security firm Cellebrite had developed a tool which enables it to access any locked iPhone model running any iteration of iOS, including an iPhone X running iOS 11. In the wake of that revelation, Forbes relays that another security firm — a U.S. based company called Grayshift — has come up with an iOS 11 workaround of its own, albeit with some limitations.

Though not as widely known as Cellebrite or, say, the NSO Group, Grayshift is said to be staffed by “long-time U.S. intelligence agency contractors and an ex-Apple security engineer.” As for for the company’s iOS 11 hack, the report claims that the company is now advertising an unlocking tool which provides users with upwards of 300 passcode guesses for $ 15,000. A pricier $ 30,000 option provides users with an unlimited number of guesses. In effect, Grayshift’s tool is simply a means for users to gain access to a device through brute force.

Naturally, details surrounding the mechanics of Grayshift’s solution are hard to come by, though security researchers point to an attack on the Secure Enclave originally introduced on the iPhone 5s.

According to Ryan Duff, director of cyber solutions at Point3 Security, it appeared Grayshift had access to similar exploits as Cellebrite, namely a probable hack that targets Apple’s Secure Enclave, the isolated chip in iPhones that handles encryption keys. The Secure Enclave makes it especially time-consuming to carry out brute forcing by incrementally increasing the time between guesses, up to an hour for the ninth attempt onwards. But if it can be broken, the speed to guessing the right password can be improved.

Incidentally, it remains unclear if Grayshift’s solution works for every iteration of iOS 11, especially given that Apple has rolled out a few updates with a variety of security patches over the past few months.

Additional information about Grayshift can be viewed over here.

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Another Firm Says it Can Bypass Encrypted iPhones Running iOS 11

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Apple has made securing its devices one of the most important bullet point features for its products, which means there is a concerted effort on the other side of the coin to crack those devices. Continue reading
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American firm claims it can unlock encrypted iPhones running iOS 11 — for $15,000 and up

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Yet another security company is pitching high-paying customers on the ability to possibly crack iPhones running a version of iOS 11, Forbes reports. US-based firm Grayshift is reportedly advertising access to a $ 15,00o tool called GrayKey that offers 300 attempts to access data on encrypted iPhones, while a pricier $ 30,000 version offers unlimited attempts.



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Amazon acquiring smart home security firm Ring, HomeKit support still promised for Ring Pro and Floodlight Cam

In a surprise move, Amazon is reported to be acquiring Ring, maker of smart doorbells, cameras, and home security products. The deal is expected to be officially announced later today.



IoT firm unveils one of the world’s fastest LTE cards

Connected technology firm Telit has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first globally available, fully capable PCI Express Mini Card.

Designed for enterprise routers and appliances, the product supports 23 different network bands. It also enables LTE speeds of up to 1.2GBps and 5-band fallback to 3G when connectivity is weak.

The company said the product will roll out to global markets by the third quarter of 2018. It has already conducted a string of successful mobile network deployments of LTE Advanced Category 8 technology.

Accessible tech

This is the first product that brings Cat 8 connectivity to the mPCle form factor, according to the firm.

The new LM960 is being offered alongside the Cat 11 LM940, which also provides OEMs with the ability to integrate the latest networking technologies into their products.

Both devices can be used interchangeably, explained Telit. This gives manufacturers the opportunity to “create new products based on designs already using the LM940”, it said.

New opportunities

Telit said that IT hardware companies can “create product families in different grades of performance, based either on the LM960 for high end, or the LM940 for mid-market”.

LTE offers great opportunities in the IoT space, and Telit is looking to support router and gateway OEMs in accessing them. Benefits include high download bandwidth and near-instant network response times.

With these new LTE cards, OEMs have a way to tap into high speeds and greater reliability to enable the use of high-definition streaming services and digital signage.

Next-gen connectivity

Manish Watwani, a VP at Telit, claimed his company is bringing next-generation connectivity to its clients, but in an easy-to-access form. “By bringing 5G-like performance to the market with the LM960, we are making it easier not only for customers looking to innovate in the 1Gbps applications enabled by the new LM960, but also for customers across all industries and application areas,” he said.

Telit has also teamed up with Qualcomm to develop its latest LTE modem. Gautam Sheoran, senior director of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, said the partnership is about supporting OEMs.

“We are pleased to work with Telit to deliver the power and flexibility that OEMs need to address a broad range of commercial and industrial applications in an increasingly connected world,” he said.

“The Qualcomm Snapdragon™ X20 modem will power a variety of products to function in a diverse set of operator deployments worldwide, while maximising their global reach and scalability.”

Internet of Business says

As competition intensifies in the IoT space, it is good to see how speed and accessibility are ramping up in ever smaller devices. And as this Internet of Business report explains (below), the need now is to drive down costs even further.

Read more: IoT success demands radical cost reductions and minimal devices, say Cambridge Consultants

IoTBuild is coming to San Francisco, CA on March 27 & 28, 2018 – Sign up to learn all you need to know about building an IoT ecosystem.IoT Build

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Services firm integrates neural networking into B2B platform

Swedish technology firm IAR Systems, which makes tools for software developers, has integrated ARM’s new machine learning technology into its B2B platform.

Developers using the IAR Embedded Workbench platform can now access ARM’s neural network kernels, it said.

Called Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS), the system has been developed specifically for companies that use ARM Cortex-M processors.

The firm said the technology lets multicontroller developers simplify software reuse, reduce complex processes, and speed up the time it takes to bring new products to market.

CMSIS-NN is a powerful development tool that is presented as a library of neural network kernels. According to IAR, these can “maximise the performance and minimise the memory footprint of neural networks on ARM Cortex-M processor cores”.

Rise of edge tech

With the library, tech companies have an easier and quicker way to develop IoT edge devices. The use of neural networks is growing, in part due to their joint ability to improve efficiency and slash power consumption.

ARM’s machine learning technology is now a core part of AIR Embedded Workbench, which is described as a development toolchain for the Cortex-M series of microcontrollers.

Supporting more than 5,000 ARM devices, the system offers debugging and analysis tools for developers working on lower-power applications.

Machine versus man

Anders Lundgren, product manager of IAR Systems, said machine learning can help companies tap into the potential offered by IoT devices. “Neural networks and machine learning brings exciting new possibilities for embedded developers to move intelligent decisions down to the IoT devices,” he said.

“Developers making use of the powerful features of IAR Embedded Workbench and the ARM CMSIS-NN library will be able to use and maximise the power of embedded neural networks on microcontroller-based IoT edge devices.”

Tim Hartley, product manager of the machine learning group at ARM, said it has developed its latest machine learning technologies to give much-needed support to developers.

“ARM is committed to enabling industry-leading neural network frameworks and supporting leading toolchains, such as IAR Embedded Workbench, for optimising machine-learning applications on the smallest IoT edge devices,” he said.

“Deploying the CMSIS-NN libraries enables developers to achieve up to five times performance and efficiency improvements on Cortex-M processors for machine learning applications.”

Internet of Business says

The edge environment is emerging as a critical space in the development and spread of IoT devices and services, especially where embedded intelligence, modular and/or reusable technology, and lower power consumption are concerned.

High speed, low cost, smart: the targets that all developers need to hit.

Read more: Why you could soon have a neural network on your smartphone

Read more: Intel Movidius Stick puts neural AI on the edge


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