Privacy Tools Used By Growing Percentage of the Global Online Population

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Afraid that Facebook knows everything about you? It probably does. And there’s good reason to believe you’re being monitored by many other sites and platforms you would never suspect such spy activity from.

“Last weekend, the New York Times revealed that data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica misused data from as many as 50 million Facebook profiles to aid messaging tied to the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election,” phys.org reports. “The Federal Trade Commission has since opened an investigation into Facebook, but the entire incident has left social media users concerned about their own privacy online and how their information is being used.”

Without question, consumers are undoubtedly catching on to the practice of data-hungry social networking sites and apps. And they’re taking steps to safeguard their data, privacy, and online browsing habits in massive numbers.

Recent reports show that Internet users are taking more and more steps to safeguard their privacy and that fully 25% of all Internet users worldwide are now using Internet privacy tools to protect their personal information from being recorded or tracked in some way.

A report to which MMW was privy estimates that 28% of Internet users are now using tools that “cover their online tracks” when using the internet. A corresponding survey also found that 56% of internet users are under the impression that their personal privacy is being eroded by Internet use.

Interestingly, the huge increase in privacy tools used in China shows that the number of people using Facebook and Twitter is much higher than previously thought. It was estimated that among the Chinese, 34% were somehow hiding their online identity. The reason, as far as the study shows, is to use YouTube (60%) and to gain access to social networks as previously mentioned (55%).

“Everybody is focusing on Facebook right now because it’s been in the news, but the way every social media platform makes money is by selling your data,” the phys.org report adds. “It’s important to be aware that most apps you use have some type of tracking software built in. Some of it can be controlled by restricting the data you make available to social network platforms, but only to the extent that the platforms have privacy settings limiting how they can share that data.”

As a direct result of mounting concerns, a large segment of the population is striving to mask their IP addresses when surfing online. “The reasons why you might want to mask your IP address may include: Hiding your geographical location, preventing Web tracking, avoiding a digital footprint, or to bypass any content filters, bans or blacklisting,” a leading authority on the matter reports. To learn more, try this site.

As for what’s next for Facebook, that much isn’t yet clear, beyond the looming investigation.

“The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook,” said Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a CNN report. “Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.”

The post Privacy Tools Used By Growing Percentage of the Global Online Population appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.


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Friday briefing: The Pacific’s undersea garbage patch weighs 79,000 tonnes, and it’s growing

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Growing New Veins Could Make Life Better for People on Dialysis

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The journey awaiting kidney patients in need of a transplant is often long and painful, and can lead to weekly stints undergoing uncomfortable dialysis treatment. A new device, which helps patients grow new veins that make it easier to filter the blood, could mean the world to those who have to endure the procedure every few days for months or even years.

As kidneys fail, they stop cleaning the blood from the impurities that the body normally gets rid of via urine. Although kidney disease can sometimes have few symptoms, it can be fatal, unless doctors intervene and perform the kidneys’ job outside the body, through the process known as dialysis. During dialysis, patients have their blood pulled out, purified and put back in on a regular basis. The tedious procedure keeps them alive as they wait for a transplant, but it has some serious side effects, including damage to the veins.

Long-term dialysis users have a plastic tube implanted into their arm to facilitate the removal and injection of blood, because human veins are too fragile to endure the procedure every week for a long time. The tiny plastic tubes are meant to protect the veins while also making it easier to extract the blood.

However, “when you leave plastic implants in the body, they tend to occlude [block] quite easily,” explained Silvére Lucquin, CEO of the company Aditlys, to Engadget. His company’s research indicates that these blockages occur in 50 percent of patients within the first year of therapy. For this reason, Aditlys wants to equip patients to better cope with prolonged periods of dialysis, by helping them grow blood vessels that connect more easily to the machine.

They plan to do so by installing a hollow artificial implant into a patient’s veins. Over time, this polymer-based vessel will supports the growth of new tissue that shapes around it. While the implant slowly dissolves, the new veins will form a natural link for the dialysis tube.

Compared with a plastic implant permanently stuck in the arm, the natural junction protects patients from the infections that are very common in this type of procedure. Aditlys plans to use a combination of advanced medical technologies, building on a process of endogenous tissue restoration introduced by a company called Xeltis. While Xeltis mainly worked on restoring heart valves, Lucquin and his team will be focusing on blood vessels.

The idea is still in its early stages, and it still has a long way to go before hitting the market. Yet given that one in three American adults risk getting kidney disease at some point, every improvement that can make their life easier has the potential to make a massive impact.

The post Growing New Veins Could Make Life Better for People on Dialysis appeared first on Futurism.

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Movies Anywhere adds FandangoNOW to bolster its growing library

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Back in October last year, we heard about a new service from Disney that would offer a one-stop digital library for movie content you had already bought. Movies Anywhere combines your purchases from iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and Vudu. The platform just announced its latest expansion, adding FandangoNOW to its list of connected retailers.

The library now has almost 7,500 film titles to choose from, including Star Wars: The Last Jedi which has just become available.

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Movies Anywhere adds FandangoNOW to bolster its growing library was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Lyft says it passed $1 billion in revenue last year — and is growing faster than Uber

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Uber is still much bigger — but Lyft is still alive.

Lyft, the main U.S. ride-sharing rival to Uber, says today that it passed $ 1 billion in revenue in 2017. And it says its revenue grew 168 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017, almost three times faster than Uber’s reported 61 percent growth.

Uber, of course, is still much larger than Lyft — it generated a reported $ 7.5 billion in revenue last year and operates in many more cities and countries. While its fourth-quarter growth may have been smaller than Lyft’s percentage-wise, it was still almost certainly many times larger dollar-wise. Both companies are still unprofitable.

But the big-picture reality is that despite Uber’s head start, its early dominance, ability to raise massive amounts of financing, aggressive (often allegedly illegal) growth tactics, faster move into self-driving cars and everything else in its favor, it has not been able to destroy Lyft.

Instead, Lyft capitalized somewhat on Uber’s missteps and unsavory reputation, raised another $ 2 billion last year, gained market share, launched its first international market last year (Toronto) and seems poised to exist for the foreseeable future.


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Apple HomePod sales ‘underwhelming,’ AirPods still growing, analyst says

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Sales of Apple’s first smartspeaker, the HomePod, have so far been "underwhelming," according to a Barclays analyst, citing a week-long trip his team spent meeting companies in Apple’s Asian supply chain.
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Cyber Warfare Is Growing. We Need Rules to Protect Ourselves.

An Urgent Call

Cyber warfare is as real as it gets; the flurry of cyber attacks that made headlines and disrupted industries in 2017 alone attests to that. If it was up to United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the globe would already have international rules to minimize damage to civilians from cyber attacks, or to prevent them altogether.

Guterres delivered his appeal during a speech at the University of Lisbon, his alma mater, on February 19. “Episodes of cyber warfare between states already exist,” he said, according to Reuters.

These attacks can range from accessing otherwise confidential files to hijacking entire network systems. There are also so-called ransomware attacks, where hackers use malware to gain access to a computer and lock the user out until they pay for access. 

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A rather silly version of these attacks was recently featured in the TV series Homeland, but the reality could be far worse — like in the case of the WannaCry security hack in May last year, which crippled over 200,000 businesses, governments, and even hospitals. The United States alone has lost some $ 1.3 billion due to cyber crime in 2016, a recent report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) finds.

“What is worse is that there is no regulatory scheme for that type of warfare, it is not clear how the Geneva Convention or international humanitarian law applies to it,” Guterres said.

Indeed, cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a complex issue, with hackers able to commit cyber crimes seemingly without consequence.

What Rules Can(t) Do

Existing cybersecurity regulations, particularly those in the U.S., simply mandate that institutions protect themselves from cyber attacks. These rules are obviously defensive in nature, and as recent incidents have proven, are not quite sufficient enough to bar hackers from accessing computer systems.

It’s difficult to say what kind of rules Guterres has in mind in place of current regulations. He did suggest the role the U.N. could have in all of it: serving as a platform for experts to work with governments “to guarantee a more humane character” to these rules, and to keep the internet as “an instrument in the service of good.”

Experts have suggested that, with internet access considered a basic human right — although not without controversy — cybersecurity should also be a guaranteed right. At the very minimum, they say, the right to privacy should extend online just as it does offline. To the average folk, this perhaps is the most important point to consider: that their access to the internet is assured while, at the same time, they are kept safe and secure.

The difficulty comes in ensuring that these rights are upheld by governments everywhere. Perhaps the best hope for this future is that technology becomes more robust in the face of cyber threats. That, however, can also be quite tricky. In the same way that many see quantum encryption to be a buffer for hackers, it could just as well become a tool for hacking. Cyber warfare could simply end up becoming a race for a better technology.

Guterres’ plea becomes all the more urgent when viewed with an eye for the future: “I am absolutely convinced that, differently from the great battles of the past, which opened with a barrage of artillery or aerial bombardment, the next war will begin with a massive cyber attack to destroy military capacity… and paralyze basic infrastructure,” the U.N. Secretary-General warned.

The post Cyber Warfare Is Growing. We Need Rules to Protect Ourselves. appeared first on Futurism.

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Global LTE has not gotten much faster on average, but its reach keeps growing

OpenSignal regularly releases reports of how well US carriers are performing against each other based on millions of crowd-sourced data points collected from the app of the same name. Today, OpenSignal released a report that analyses the state of LTE on a global scale, measuring average LTE speeds availability on a per-country basis. According to the report, average LTE speeds have pretty much plateaued toward an average of 50Mbps. This means that the growth of average speeds has slowed down (if that makes sense) and in the past several months, networks have succeeded in expanding LTE…

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Night in the Woods isn’t about growing up, but becoming an adult

It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our new biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend, and since it’s a long weekend in the US this one is a little longer than normal.

Night in the Woods is the story of Mae, a 20-year-old college sophomore, returning home for the first time in almost two years after deciding to drop out of school. It was originally released last February on PC and PlayStation 4, after a successful Kickstarter in 2013. I picked it up recently when the enhanced version, called Night in the Woods: Weird Autumn, came to the Switch earlier this month. At a time when there is constant news of…

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