Facebook named State Department legal adviser and Patriot Act architect Jennifer Newstead as its general counsel on Monday.She joins as the social network faces US government probes and Europe's GDPR data privacy law in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Bloomberg noted.Her time at the Trump administration's State Department began in 2017, when Buzzfeed News highlighted her role in crafting the controversial Patriot Act.That legislation, signed into law by President George W. Bush in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, gave the government broad surveillance and detention powers.Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh highlighted Newstead's role in 2002, The Hill reported."Her enhanced leadership duties and her excellent service on a range of issues -- including helping craft the new U.S.A. Patriot Act to protect the United States against terror -- have earned her this important distinction.
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Another day, another Facebook flub.This time, the company is having to explain how it came to upload the email contacts of 1.5 million users as they signed up to the social networking service.The collection of contacts was amassed over the last two years, according to Business Insider, though Facebook said it was done “unintentionally.” It’s now in the process of deleting the contacts from its servers.The news outlet noticed earlier this month that in some instances during Facebook’s sign-up process, the company would ask you to verify your identity by entering your email password.If you did so, a message would appear on the screen indicating that Facebook was importing your contact list — without requesting prior approval from the user.Facebook hasn’t said how many contacts it uploaded, but even at, say, 50 per sign-up, that would equal 75 million contacts added to its servers, allowing it to further expand its network of user connections and improve recommendations for existing members to add as friends.
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Facebook "unintentionally" harvested the email contacts of about 1.5 million of its users during the past three years.The activity came to light when a security researcher noticed that Facebook was asking users to enter their email passwords to verify their identities when signing up for an account, according to Business Insider, which previously reported on the practice.Those who did enter their passwords then saw a pop-up message that said it was "importing" their contacts – without first asking permission, BI reported.A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that 1.5 million people's contacts were collected in this manner since May 2016 to help build Facebook's web of social connections and recommend other users to add as friends."Last month we stopped offering email password verification as an option for people verifying their account when signing up for Facebook for the first time," a Facebook spokesperson said."When we looked into the steps people were going through to verify their accounts we found that in some cases people's email contacts were also unintentionally uploaded to Facebook when they created their account.
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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey spoke about harassment and misinformation on his platform at TED 2019 on Wednesday.A day earlier, the reporter who broke the Cambridge Analytica scandal criticized Dorsey, among other tech moguls, for allowing abuse to spread on social media.Dorsey said Twitter is working to address the issue, but acknowledged that "the system makes it super easy to harass and abuse others."Dorsey said if he could conceive of Twitter again, he wouldn't count people's "likes," which don't encourage "healthy" content.Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took the stage at TED on Tuesday, just a day after enduring criticism for abuse and misinformation on his social media platform.Read more: The woman who blew open the Cambridge Analytica scandal says Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are 'handmaidens to authoritarianism'
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An investigation by Wired reveals how Facebook employees were asked to monitor a CNN camera crew during an interview with Mark Zuckerberg after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.These employees were told to follow the crew to the bathroom and treated them as "potential spies" during the encounter, Wired wrote.Facebook said this was not company protocol.A bombshell report from Wired, investigating 15 months from hell for Facebook, reveals how the company reacted to the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal in March 2018.According to Wired, Facebook descended into complete chaos after former Cambridge Analytica employee, Christopher Wylie, blew the whistle on a data breach that Facebook said impacted 87 million users.It took Facebook five days to properly respond to these reports.
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On the same day that she became a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her work bringing the Cambridge Analytica scandal to light, journalist Carole Cadwalladr took the stage at TED to “address you directly, the gods of Silicon Valley.”Cadwalladr began her talk by recounting a trip she took after the Brexit referendum, back to her hometown in South Wales.She recalled feeling “a weird sense of unreality” walking around a town filled with new infrastructure funded by the European Union, while being told by residents that the EU had done nothing for them.Similarly, she said they told her about the dangers of immigration, even though they lived in a town with “one of the lowest rates of immigration in the country.”Cadwalladr said she began to understand where those sentiments were coming from after her story ran, and someone contacted her about seeing scary, misleading ads about Turkey and Turkish immigration on Facebook .Cadwalladr, however, couldn’t see those ads, because she wasn’t targeted, and Facebook offered no general archive of all ads that had run on the platform.
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Facebook has in the past year doubled the amount of money it is spending on the personal security of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.Regulatory filings have revealed that Facebook now spends $22.6 million on bodyguards and other security for the boss, up from $9 million in the previous year.The increased spending on safeguarding Zuckerberg comes after his company spent much of the time mired in controversy and scandal, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal and having to make numerous appearances before lawmakers around the world.Facebook’s regulatory filing also revealed that besides the annual personal security spend of $22.6m, Mark Zuckerberg continues to draw a base yearly salary of just $1, like he has for the past three years.The $22.6m security spend is listed as his “other” compensation.However Zuckerberg also received $2.6m for his personal use of private jets.
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2018 was by all means a very rough year for Facebook .The company, which spent the year reeling from the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a general bubbling-up of public anger, also had to deal with animosity towards the company’s founder and gave the executive a lot of cash to handle a full security detail for himself and his family.While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes a $1 annual salary and does not earn an annual bonus, he gets millions in “other compensation” largely related to security costs.In an SEC document published this afternoon, the company reveals that Zuckerberg earned more than $22 million in “other compensation” in 2018, up from more than $9 million in 2017.About $2.6 million of the 2018 figure is compensation for Zuckerberg’s personal travel on a private jet, but nearly $20 million of that figure is related to Zuckerberg’s personal security costs.He was awarded $9,956,847 in pre-tax 2018 income for security related to his personal travel and residential protection.
In a bid to keep the European Commission off its back social media giant Facebook is admitting to its users that they’re the product.Despite this being the media business model since the first newspapers were printed, the EC seems to think making Facebook spell out its business model represents some kind of progress.Those few users that even care will now be able to find some kind ‘digital media for dummies’ guide buried somewhere in their Facebook details.This is probably a product of all the faux outrage expressed when it was revealed that politicians can use Facebook for targeted advertising before elections.This thrilling new section of Facebook will also clarify the nature of the implicit contract users enter into with Facebook when they post stuff, as well as clarify the rules for removing posts and suspending accounts.Facebook has vowed to be a bit more reasonable when it comes to unilaterally changing its Ts and Cs, and to admit its liabilities when it comes to things like Cambridge Analytica.
What just a few years ago seemed like a benevolent and cool tech giant is often now cast in a negative light, largely due to the lingering effects of controversies like the Cambridge Analytica scandal.But Facebook is working hard to show that that its expertise in A.I.has a valuable role to play as a force for good in the world.experts and data scientists at Facebook have today shown off the world’s most accurate population density maps yet created.Building on work that dates back to 2016, the company has unveiled maps covering the majority of the African continent.This will allow humanitarian agencies to determine how populations are distributed even in remote areas; opening up new opportunities for healthcare and relief workers to be able to distribute aid where necessary.
Facebook has agreed to amend its terms and conditions under pressure from EU lawmakers.The new terms will make it plain that free access to its service is contingent on users’ data being used to profile them to target with ads, the European Commission said today.“The new terms detail what services, Facebook sells to third parties that are based on the use of their user’s data, how consumers can close their accounts and under what reasons accounts can be disabled,” it writes.Although the exact wording of the new terms has not yet been published, and the company has until the end of June 2019 to comply — so it remains to be seen how clear is ‘clear’.Nonetheless the Commission is couching the concession as a win for consumers, trumpeting the forthcoming changes to Facebook’s T in a press release in which Vera Jourová, commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, writes:Today Facebook finally shows commitment to more transparency and straight forward language in its terms of use.
Researchers at the cybersecurity firm UpGuard have discovered two troves of unprotected Facebook user data sitting on Amazon’s servers, exposing hundreds of millions of records about users, including their names, passwords, comments, interests, and likes.The datasets had been uploaded to Amazon’s cloud system by two different Facebook app developers.This data leak is just the latest illustration that Facebook has no control over where the data it shares with third parties ends up or how securely it’s stored.After that story made headlines, Facebook vowed to crack down on data access and audit app developers that ever had access to mass quantities of data.As the researchers put it in a blog post, “The data genie cannot be put back in the bottle.”According to UpGuard, one of the exposed databases belonged to a Mexican company called Cultura Colectiva, which used Amazon cloud services to store some 146 gigabytes of data, including 540 million different records.
Data on more than 540 million Facebook users was left exposed on public servers by app developers.The social network's lax data policies meant that for years developers could easily harvest users' sensitive data — and now it's leaking out.Facebook has since tightened up the data the user data accessible to app developers, especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but at least some damage has already been done."Data about Facebook users has been spread far beyond the bounds of what Facebook can control today," said UpGuard, the security firm that found the leak.More than 500 million Facebook users' personal data was left exposed on public servers by app developers.Researchers at security firm UpGuard found that the user data, which had been harvested from Facebook by third-party app developers, was sitting without any password protection on public Amazon servers it had been uploaded to.
TechRadar Pro spoke with Symantec's Director of Product Management for Security Response, Kevin Haley to learn more about the firm's latest report and how businesses and consumers can better protect their privacy online.Sure this is a report we've been doing for 20 years.It's our look back at the year and what happened in the threat landscape and it gives us an opportunity to understand what happened and get insight as to what's going to happen next.What are some of the newest targets revealed in the report?Well we're seeing a huge focus by attackers on IoT devices.But things that may not register as a huge number are things like industrial control systems, satellite systems and telecoms.
Amid heightened public concern over data privacy, Google is contemplating a number of changes to its consumer- and advertiser-facing tools, with potential changes that could have far-reaching implications for how online media is monetized.A number of different working groups across the organization have been tasked in recent months with exploring how advertising will evolve within Google’s industry-leading web browser, Chrome, as well as the ubiquitous Google Marketing Platform, sources with direct knowledge told Adweek.Representatives on these internal working groups span a multitude of disciplines with some focused specifically on the end-user experience and others concerned with how potential changes would impact advertising, with public policy teams also privy to such conversations.All this comes at a time when different businesses inside Google see varying perspectives on the role of advertising, which accounted for $32.6 billion in fourth-quarter revenue.These internal discussions also follow the implementation of third-party tracking restrictions on Apple’s web browser, Safari, and similar moves from Mozilla’s Firefox and Brave’s offering in recent months.Although the various businesses within Google advocate similar measures, the breadth of the company’s interests (i.e., the dominance of its Chrome browser and ad-tech stack) make its decision-making process more complex.
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The Guardian and the New York Times revealed that the British political consulting firm had been able to harvest the personal data of millions of Facebook users without permission.Cambridge Analytica had to file for insolvency just a few months after the scandal, but most of the outrage fell on Facebook, which was dragged over the coals for allowing this to happen.The social media company’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was hauled in front of politicians in the US and Europe, and Facebook has been working relentlessly to fix its reputation and restore public trust.To mark the occasion, I asked several tech experts to weigh in on the incident, and how it has affected not just Facebook, but the entire tech industry.Note that this wasn’t technically a data breach.“This came down to a lack of disclosure,” he explains.
Facebook has recently bemoaned the decline in US local news sources, but a major reason for this has been the collapse in media advertising revenues.As digital replaced analogue as the primary way of consuming media, advertising moved to the main online content aggregators, specifically its dominant search engine and its dominant social media service.Not only did this suck revenue away from traditional media, it forced many media to resort to low-quality ‘clickbait’ journalism in order to drive the volumes of traffic its remaining advertisers increasingly demanded.By definition aggregators don’t produce their own content and are entirely reliant on a steady flow of third party to keep its users active and the revenues it makes on the back of their searching and sharing flowing.This model is, therefore, intrinsically parasitic and comes with the major problem that parasites eventually kill their hosts.Despite this, however, Facebook yesterday was moved to lament the existence of ‘news deserts’ in the US and is contributing to research to find out what is the cause of them.
After years of escalating scandals, Congress is looking for ways to crack down on the size and power of tech companies like Facebook and Google.Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, has emerged as a surprising Republican voice on those issues.The youngest working lawmaker in the Senate, Hawley has taken a lead on the ongoing investigations into Facebook, joining with Sens.Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in February for a letter probing the company’s teen data collection practices, and penning legislation with Democrats that would extend more rigorous privacy protections for children.I think that the whole gamut should be on the table for what it looks like.Just last month, the FTC penalized the app Tik Tok with a record-setting $5.7 million fine for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
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WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton appeared as a speaker at a class at Stanford University earlier this week, where he spoke about the decision to sell the company to Facebook, and urged students to delete their Facebook accounts.According to Buzzfeed News, Acton spoke during an undergraduate course called Computer Science 181 alongside another former Facebook employee, Ellora Israni, founder of She++.During the class, Acton spoke about why he sold Whatsapp to Facebook in the first place, and why he left, and criticized the drive to prioritize monetization over user privacy.During his talk, he noted that major social media companies like Apple and Google have struggled to moderate their content.“These companies are not equipped to make these decisions,” he said.“And we give them the power.
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On October 27, 2012, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote an email to his then-director of product development.For years, Facebook had allowed third-party apps to access data on their users’ unwitting friends, and Zuckerberg was considering whether giving away all that information was risky.“I just can’t think of any instances where that data has leaked from developer to developer and caused a real issue for us.”If Zuckerberg had a time machine, he might have used it to go back to that moment.Who knows what would have happened if, back in 2012, the young CEO could envision how it might all go wrong?At the very least, he might have saved Facebook from the devastating year it just had.
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