Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook hasn’t felt ‘any meaningful impact’ in its usage or business in the wake of its privacy scandal

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Translation: Facebook will be fine.

People are really unhappy with Facebook and revelations that the company hasn’t been protecting user data the way it should. People just are’t unhappy enough to actually leave Facebook. At least that’s what CEO Mark Zuckerberg says.

During a conference call with reporters today, when Recode asked Zuckerberg if the backlash from the Cambridge Analytica fallout — including a #DeleteFacebook hashtag that has circulated online over the last few weeks — had hurt Facebook’s business or usage at all, he seemed to downplay concerns of a material shift.

“I don’t think there’s been any meaningful impact that we’ve observed,” he said. “But, look, it’s not good … It still speaks to people feeling like this was a massive breach of trust and that we have a lot of work to do to repair that.”

The idea that Facebook can go through this kind of backlash without a notable dent to its business is a testament to how big the service has become, and how consumers may not actually be as angry with the company around its privacy policies as it appears on the surface.

Still, investors have been concerned. Facebook stock is down more than 15 percent since the Cambridge Analytica drama came to light almost three weeks ago. The company is scheduled to report its first-quarter financial results on April 25.

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Facebook Details Several Privacy Changes Coming in the Wake of Cambridge Analytica Scandal

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Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Shroepfer today wrote a blog post outlining several changes that are being made to Facebook APIs to limit the amount of data apps can collect from Facebook users.

Changes are being made to the Events, Groups, and Pages API to cut down on what apps can see. With the Events API, for example, apps will no longer be able to access attendees or posts on the event wall, and the Groups API will no longer provide member lists or names associated with posts or comments.


Facebook will also now need to approve third-party access to both Groups and Pages APIs, and, as mentioned previously, all apps that access information like check-ins, photos, posts, and videos. Apps will no longer be able to see religious or political views, relationship status, education, work history, and tons more, all of which was previously readily available.

It is also no longer possible to search for a person’s phone number or email address to locate them on Facebook. Facebook says “malicious actors” have used this feature to “scrape public profile information” using data pulled from search and account recovery options.

For Android users, Facebook had been collecting call and message logs to enable Messenger features. Facebook says it will delete all logs older than a year and will upload less data to its servers going forward.

Starting next Monday, Facebook will also introduce a link at the top of the News Feed to let all users see what apps are installed and what information has been shared with those apps to make it easy for less technically savvy users to remove apps.

The Facebook privacy changes come in the wake of the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Cambridge Analytica used personal data acquired from Facebook in an illicit manner by a third-party app to create targeted political advertisements during the 2016 election.


Originally, Facebook said Cambridge Analytica was able to collect data on 50 million Facebook users, but today, Facebook clarified that it actually had access to the Facebook data from up to 87 million people, with 70 million of those in the United States.

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Facebook working to simplify privacy controls in wake of recent controversies

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It’s been a rough month for Facebook. Following news that millions of users’ personal data had been collected without permission by a third party, the social media giant caught some flak for the way it handled metadata collection on Android. In an effort to assuage public ill will, Facebook announced today that it’s making user settings—especially ones dealing with account data and privacy—easier to access and more transparent.

Historically, Facebook’s settings have been convoluted.

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Facebook working to simplify privacy controls in wake of recent controversies was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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In the wake of Facebook’s huge scandal, Apple calls for stronger privacy regulation

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Encryption and Privacy

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.

Apple – BGR

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Broadcom withdraws Qualcomm bid in wake of Trump block

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Broadcom’s efforts to acquire Qualcomm emerged as one of last year’s most controversial business moves in mobile tech. Already both major players on the semiconductor scene, the idea of them condensing down to one firm fueled fears of monopoly-building. Even as Qualcomm rejected Broadcom’s offers, the company didn’t back down, and earlier this month we learned of plans to stack Qualcomm’s board with some voices more amenable to the acquisition.

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Amazon’s Alexa Gains Follow-Up Mode for Back-to-Back Requests Without Repeating Wake Word

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Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant, built into dozens of different products, today gained a new “Follow-Up Mode” that’s designed to allow users to ask multiple questions in succession without the need to repeat the “Alexa” wake up word.

As noted by CNET, Follow-Up Mode allows Alexa to continue to listen for five seconds after an initial response to see if you have an additional request.

During this five second listening period, the blue ring on an Alexa device will light up to indicate that Alexa is listening. Anything else you say during this time period will not require you to add “Alexa” into the statement to wake up the Alexa device. If you don’t say anything else, your Alexa device will go back to sleep until the next time the “Alexa” wake word is uttered.


With Follow-Up Mode, Alexa cannot respond to multiple requests, like “Turn the lights on and set the thermostat to 70,” but you can ask two requests in succession. Asking “Alexa, turn on the lights” and then stating “Set the thermostat to 70” after the first “OK” from Alexa works, however.

According to Amazon, Follow-Up Mode is designed to make sure Alexa only responds if a legitimate request is spoken rather than simple background noise. A conversation with Alexa can also be ended immediately by saying “Thank you” or “Stop” after an initial request, and Follow-Up Mode won’t activate when listening to music, making a call, or listening to an audiobook.

The new Follow-Up Mode can be enabled in the Settings section of the Amazon Alexa app. Select a device and then scroll down to the new “Follow-Up Mode” toggle. Follow-Up Mode is available for all Amazon Echo devices and some third-party devices as well, but it is limited to US English at the current time.

The Alexa Follow-Up Mode, which seems like a useful new addition to Alexa, has no equivalent on Apple’s devices like the HomePod at the current time. On Apple’s speaker, you will need to activate it with a “Hey Siri” command before each request.

The addition of this new feature comes just a few days after Amazon implemented a fix for an issue that was causing Alexa-enabled devices to spontaneously laugh, creeping out some Alexa users. Amazon said the issue was caused by Alexa mistakenly hearing the phrase “Alexa, laugh,” which has now been changed to “Alexa, can you laugh?” to prevent accidental Alexa activations.

Tags: Amazon, Alexa

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CaptchaCatcher, Wake It Up, and other jailbreak tweaks to check out this weekend

If you’re jailbroken and searching for new and exciting add-ons to install on your pwned device, then you’ve come to the right place. This roundup will help you get up to speed on all the new jailbreak tweaks released during the week.

As we do every weekend, we’ll kick things off by discussing our favorite releases in detail and then outline the rest afterward…. Read the rest of this post here


CaptchaCatcher, Wake It Up, and other jailbreak tweaks to check out this weekend” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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This tweak brings Raise to Wake functionality to unsupported iPhones

Raise to Wake is easily one of my favorite features that comes stock on some of Apple’s latest handsets, so it’s a shame that the iPhone 6 and earlier don’t support it.

Fortunately, if you have a jailbreak, you can change that by installing a new free jailbreak tweak called Wake It Up by iOS developer XCXiao…. Read the rest of this post here


This tweak brings Raise to Wake functionality to unsupported iPhones” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Deep Learning Could Help First Responders Offer Critical Aid in the Wake of Disasters

Applied Deep Learning

From hurricanes to wildfires, 2017 brought the world a number of natural disasters — as well as some tech to deal with them. We have more information than ever following a disaster thanks to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sophisticated satellites that can capture images of disasters from the air, but we are still working on ways to process the data so it is valuable for relief efforts. That’s where deep learning comes in, says the World Bank in collaboration with WeRobotics and OpenAerialMap.

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On Jan. 10, 2018, World Bank issued an artificial intelligence (AI) challenge to explore how deep learning could be used in the wake of natural disasters. Deep learning  is what enables AI to recognize patterns in images, sounds, and other data using a neural network that mirrors our own grey matter. This deep learning software is what helps Alexa recognize speech patterns, Google Translate to interpret entire sentences, and Facebook’s AI labs to automatically identify and tag users in uploaded photographs.

AI could be used to catalog aerial images in the critical periods following disasters and help first responders and humanitarian aid agencies aggregate information. Sorting images quickly en masse would make it easier to assess which areas need immediate assistance, what the clearest paths in and out of a disaster site are, and where the most infrastructure damage is.

The AI challenge announcement by WeRobotics founder Patrick Meier focuses on Pacific Island countries, which are vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surges, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and droughts. In the last decade alone, major cyclones have caused millions of dollars of damage in hundreds of islands, including Fiji and Samoa, Meier wrote.

Identifying Trees and Roads

The World Bank’s UAVs for Disaster Resilience Program captured about 80 square km (31 square miles) of high-resolution aerial imagery in the island of Tonga. Now, the World Bank is challenging participants to develop machine learning algorithms that will analyze this imagery without human assistance. In future, that learning will be “applied to new imagery to speed up baseline analysis and damage assessments,” according to the announcement.

In 2013, a magnitude 8 earthquake and its aftershocks destroyed infrastructure in the Solomon Islands. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In particular, developers should focus on trees and roads. The algorithms need to identify all coconut, banana, papaya, and mango trees and their locations with at least 80 percent accuracy, since the loss of those critical food production trees would impact both food security for island residents and their economies following a disaster.

The automated imagery analysis should also assess road conditions, like whether they are paved and how many lanes they have. Road assessments for disaster area could allow first responders to plan which roads to use to transport aid effectively.

In an era of increased social media, tailored advertising, and big data, it’s easy to forget that AI can be used for more than just improving home technology and the user experience. This challenge from the World Bank and its collaborators is a welcomed reminder that deep learning could prove useful in humanitarian aid efforts as well.

The post Deep Learning Could Help First Responders Offer Critical Aid in the Wake of Disasters appeared first on Futurism.

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I tried out a sleep mask that emits light from the inside to wake you up naturally

Startup Dreamlight debuted a new sleep mask at CES that makes a number of promises, including the ability to lessen the effects of jet lag, recommend adjustments to your sleep habits based on your 23andMe profile, and, um, project infrared light to supposedly help with under eye circles.

Aside from some of these questionable claims, the Dreamlight mask does have concrete features that are unique and can help you get a more restful night’s sleep. I tried it for a night, and it does work. The Dreamlight is a heavily padded and contoured strip that wraps around your head and attaches with velcro. The design is meant to spread out any pressure applied to the face and block out as much light as possible. It also has an optical heart rate…

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