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Zuckerberg To Spend $1 Billion On Video Content

September 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Facebook spending big for propaganda framework

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is poised to spend $1 billion on creating original video content for the social media platform through next year, according to a report.

The social media giant is willing to spend $1 billion through 2018 to quickly expand its reach and influence through original video content, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Zuckerberg hinted last year that video would soon dominate social media.

“We’re entering this new golden age of video,” Zuckerberg said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video.”

Read the FULL STORY at NEWSWARS.COM

Former Facebook executive says Google, Facebook are ‘surveillance states’ and risk more regulation

September 16, 2017 Leave a comment
  • Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya says Facebook and Google are like “surveillance states” and are inviting a government crackdown.
  • The former Facebook executive is bullish on Amazon, and thinks it will have a longer runway before the government tries to intervene.

Even though he was once an executive at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings, favors investing in Amazon instead, he told CNBC’s “Fast Money: Halftime Report” on Thursday.

President Donald Trump has been a critic of Amazon, tweeting his disdain for coverage from The Washington Post, which is a personal holding of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. But Palihapitiya said he thinks that Facebook and Google face more regulatory risk, given the many retailers that compete with Amazon.

“Amazon is a microscopic portion of global consumption today, so ultimately I think it has more room to grow before it invites regulatory overview,” Palihapitiya said. “On the other hand, Facebook and Google effectively are surveillance states. And they have so much personal, private information about so many citizens of so many countries.”

Google has already had a tussle with regulators in Europe, after the company was slapped with a record fine in one investigation.

“It’s already beginning,” Palihapitiya said. “Because it’s part and parcel to them realizing that there’s too much power unbounded.”

Palihapitiya noted that many big technology companies have seen their stocks soar, making it tempting to take gains. Palihapitiya’s holding company, which also includes former Twitter executive Adam Bain, hit the public markets Thursday.

But Palihapitiya said he thinks investors should reframe the way they think about the long-term trajectories of the companies.

For instance, Amazon is competing against Wal-Mart, which has acquired e-commerce companies like Jet.com and Bonobos. But with tools like Alexa, robots and cloud, Amazon’s technology could lead it to victory over “laggard competitors,” Palihapitiya said.

“It is competing against fundamentally impaired companies, including Wal-Mart, quite honestly,” Palihapitiya said. “That don’t have the technical savvy, they don’t have the capabilities, specialty retailers, an entire overhang of cost structure that [Amazon doesn’t] have to deal with.”

Facebook, Google and Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New Facebook Messenger Scam Tricks You Into Sending Virus Infected Links To Your Friends

September 4, 2017 Leave a comment

If you use Facebook Messenger, be careful clicking the links your friends send as it could make you vulnerable to cyber criminals.

David Jacob, an IT security researcher, says cyber criminals have devised a new scam that tricks users to send out virus-infected hoax messages to their friends. Each message includes the recipient’s name, the word ‘video’ and a shocked emoji, followed by the link, adds Jacob.

 

Users who click on the malicious link are directed to different malicious sites depending on their browser. For example, Google Chrome users who click on the link are taken to a fake YouTube channel that is baited with adware, while Firefox users on Windows and Mac are taken to a page offering a fake Flash Player installer, which infects the user’s device with adware. Jacob explains:

“The link points to a Google Doc. The document has already taken a picture from the victim’s Facebook page and created a dynamic landing page which looks like a playable movie.

“When the victim clicks on the fake playable movie, the malware redirects them to a set of websites which enumerate their browser, operating system and other vital information. Depending on their operating system they are directed to other websites.”

If downloaded, the malicious software will infect the user’s device, causing it to automatically send a hoax message and link out to the user’s Facebook Messenger contacts. The software can also trick the user to download more adware, which will fill up the user’s device with spam adverts.

Some victims have reported that the software has tracked their infected smartphone’s keyboard activity, reports The Daily Mail.

Stay vigilant. If you fall victim to this scam, cyber criminals could steal your banking details and make away with your money.

Don’t click any suspicious link from your friends. Instead, reach out to them and inform them that their accounts may have been compromised. You can also report the malicious links to Facebook.

Social Media is A Tool of the CIA: “Facebook, Google and Other Social Media Used to Spy on People”

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

A CBS news article published in 2011 entitled “Social Media Is a Tool of the CIA. Seriously”  reveals the “unspoken truth” which the mainstream media including CBS have failed to address. 

The CIA is  “using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people.”

This article published by CBS refutes the lies of the MSM (and CBS). It confirms the insidious relationship between the CIA, the Search Engines,  Social Media and major advertising conglomerates: “You don’t need to wear a tinfoil hat to believe that the CIA is using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people. That’s because the CIA publishes a helpful list of press releases [link inactive] on all the social media ventures it sponsors, via its technology investment arm In-Q-Tel. … “

The report acknowledges that “privacy” is threatened by the advertisers, yet at the same time these advertisers are “in bed with the CIA”,  acting on behalf and in liaison with US intelligence.

Screenshot of CBS article

The Privatization of Spying

Spying on individuals is a highly profitable undertaking for private companies on contract to the CIA, NSA, Homeland Security. The CBS report suggests in no uncertain terms that the personal information pertaining to millions of Americans collected by one of the World’s largest ad agencies is sold to the CIA. 

According to an earlier Wired News July 2010 report by Noam Schachtman:

THE INVESTMENT ARMS of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future.

The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”

Screenshots of Wired News report

Freedom of Expression

Social Media and Search engines are being used to Spy on Americans! But not only on Americans. The process of personal data collection is worldwide.

What is at stake, however, is not only the issue of “Privacy”. The online search engines also constitute an instrument of online media censorship.  

Google has introduced algorithms intended to downgrade independent and alternative media. In this regard, the Guardian reported (December 2016) on “How Google’s search algorithm spreads false information with a rightwing bias. 

Screenshot of Guardian article

Independent online media is targeted. Freedom of Expression on internet based news outlets is being routinely shunted by Google:

“New data compiled by the World Socialist Web Site, with the assistance of other Internet-based news outlets and search technology experts, proves that a massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by a cumulative 45 percent decrease in traffic from Google

Below are excerpts of the CBS News 2011 article, to read the entire article click here:

The world’s largest database on individuals

One of the main threats to privacy comes from advertisers, who want to track everything consumers do on the web and scrape their online accounts for personal information. It shouldn’t be surprising, therefore, to learn that the CIA and the worlds largest ad agency network, WPP (WPPGY), have been in bed together on a social media data-mining venture since at least January 2009. WPP currently claims to own the world’s largest database of unique individual profiles — including demographic, financial, purchase and geographic histories. WPP’s Visible Technologies unit took an investment from In-Q-Tel in fall of 2009. Visible Technologies develops tools that can scan social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. …

Google and CIA: old friends 

Are you seeing a trend yet? Google (GOOG) has been a partner with the CIA since 2004 when the company bought Keyhole, a mapping technology business that eventually became Google Earth. In 2010, Google and In-Q-Tel made a joint investment on a company called Recorded Future, which has the Minority Report-style goal of creating a “temporal analytics engine” that scours the web and creates curves that predict where events may head.

Google is already helping the government write, and rewrite, history. Here, from its transparency report, are some stats on the amount of information it has either given to the government or wiped from the web based on requests by U.S. agencies:

  • 4,601 requests from U.S. government agencies for “user data
  • Google complied with government requests for user data 94% of the time.
  • 1,421 requests for “content removal
  • Google complied with content removal requests 87% of the time.
  • 15 requests were from “executive, police etc.”
  • 1 was a national security request.

emphasis added. To Read the complete CBS News article by Jim Edwards click here  

 

Some users aren’t able to access Facebook By Mark Hensch

August 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Mark Hensch

The app and website versions of Facebook seemingly stopped working for some users Wednesday, according to The Independent.

The Independent reported that people visiting either version of the social media platform were incapable of viewing it, apparently due to a technical problem.

Users could reportedly force their computers to fix the issue by holding down shift and then refreshing the page.

Down Detector, which logs outages on websites like Facebook in real time, reported Wednesday that 758 people reported problems with the platform in the last 24 hours.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said a “total blackout” was to blame, while 37 percent cited struggles with their “log in” and 9 percent said their “pictures.”

Down Detector’s live outage map, meanwhile, showed the majority of users reporting problems originating in northern Europe and the United Kingdom.

Significant trouble reports emanated worldwide, however, including Australia, Japan and the United States.

The Independent speculated that time zones may factor into the regional problems, with more people being online in Europe due to the current time there.

Users who struggled with Facebook Wednesday reported seeing an error page stating the site “might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new address.”

Some Twitter users on Wednesday voiced alarm over the possible outage, while others offered tips for fixing Facebook issues.

Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook in 2004 and now serves as the company’s CEO and chairman.

Facebook reported having 1.94 billion monthly users earlier this year at the end of the March quarter, according to CNN Money.

The social media platform reported 1.86 billion users in the quarter before that and 1.65 billion in the same period the previous year.

The social revolution sparked by Facebook’s launch is dramatized in the 2010 movie “The Social Network,” which stars actor Jesse Eisenberg portraying Zuckerberg.

Facebook: Your Face Belongs to Us

August 1, 2017 1 comment

Jared Bennett, Center for Public Integrity

The company it will never sell users’ data, but privacy advocates says it’s uniquely aggressive in opposing any limits on its increasingly intrusive facial recognition technology.

When Chicago resident Carlo Licata joined Facebook in 2009, he did what the 390 million other users of the world’s largest social network had already done: He posted photos of himself and friends, tagging the images with names.

But what Licata, now 34, didn’t know was that every time he was tagged, Facebook stored his digitized face in its growing database.

Angered this was done without his knowledge, Licata sued Facebook in 2015 as part of a class action lawsuit filed in Illinois state court accusing the company of violating a one-of-a-kind Illinois law that prohibits collection of biometric data without permission. The suit is ongoing.

Facebook denied the charges, arguing the law doesn’t apply to it. But behind the scenes, the social network giant is working feverishly to prevent other states from enacting a law like the one in Illinois.

Since the suit was filed, Facebook has stepped up its state lobbying, according to records and interviews with lawmakers. But rather than wading into policy fights itself, Facebook has turned to lower-profile trade groups such as the Internet Association, based in Washington, D.C., and the Illinois-based trade association CompTIA to head off bills that would give users more control over how their likenesses are used or whom they can be sold to.

That effort is part of a wider agenda. Tech companies, whose business model is based on collecting data about its users and using it to sell ads, frequently oppose consumer privacy legislation. But privacy advocates say Facebook is uniquely aggressive in opposing all forms of regulation on its technology.

And the strategy has been working. Bills that would have created new consumer data protections for facial recognition were proposed in at least five states this year—Washington, Montana, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Alaska—but all failed, except the Washington bill, which passed only after its scope was limited.

No federal law regulates how companies use biometric privacy or facial recognition, and no lawmaker has ever introduced a bill to do so. That prompted the Government Accountability Office to conclude in 2015 that the “privacy issues that have been raised by facial recognition technology serve as yet another example of the need to adapt federal privacy law to reflect new technologies.” Congress did, however, roll back privacy protections in March by allowing internet providers to sell browser data without the consumer’s permission.

Facebook says on its website it won’t ever sell users’ data, but the company is poised to cash in on facial recognition in other ways. The market for facial recognition is forecast to grow to $9.6 billion by 2022, according to analysts at Allied Market Research, as companies look for ways to authenticate and recognize repeat customers in stores, or offer specific ads based on a customer’s gender or age.

Facebook is working on advanced recognition technology that would put names to faces even if they are obscured and identify people by their clothing and posture. Facebook has filed patents for technology allowing Facebook to tailor ads based on users’ facial expressions.

But despite the relative lack of regulation, the technology appears to be worrying politicians on both sides of the aisle, and privacy advocates too. During a hearing of the House Government Oversight Committee in March, Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who left Congress on June 30, warned facial recognition “can be used in a way that chills free speech and free association by targeting people attending certain political meetings, protests, churches or other types of places in public.”

Even one of the inventors of facial recognition is worried. “It pains me to see a technology that I helped invent being used in a way that is not what I had in mind in respect to privacy,” said Joseph Atick, who helped develop facial recognition in the 1990s at Rockefeller University in New York City.

Atick, now an industry consultant, is concerned that companies such as Facebook will use the technology to identify individuals in public spaces without their knowledge or permission.

“I can no longer count on being an anonymous person,” he said, “when I’m walking down the street.”

Atick calls for federal regulations to protect people’s privacy, because without it Americans are left with “a myriad of state laws,” he said. “And state laws can be more easily manipulated by commercial interests.”

Facial recognition is here

Facial recognition’s use is increasing. Retailers employ it to identify shoplifters, and bankers want to use it to secure bank accounts at ATMs. The Internet of things—connecting thousands of everyday personal objects from light bulbs to cars—may use an individual’s face to allow access to household devices. Churches already use facial recognition to track attendance at services.

Government is relying on it as well. President Donald Trump staffed the U.S. Homeland Security Department transition team with at least four executives tied to facial recognition firms. Law enforcement agencies run facial recognition programs using mug shots and driver’s license photos to identify suspects. About half of adult Americans are included in a facial recognition database maintained by law enforcement, estimates the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown University Law School.

To tap into this booming business, companies need something only Facebook has—a massive database of faces.

Facebook now has 2 billion monthly users who upload about 350 million photos every day—a “practically infinite” amount of data that Facebook can use to train its facial recognition software, according to a 2014 presentation by an engineer working on DeepFace, Facebook’s in-house facial recognition project.

“When we invented face recognition, there was no database,” Atick said. Facebook has “a system that could recognize the entire population of the Earth.”

Facebook says it doesn’t have any plans to directly sell its database. “We do not sell people’s facial recognition template or make them available for use by developers or advertisers, and we have no plans to do so,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in an email.

But Facebook currently uses facial recognition to organize photos and to support its research into artificial intelligence, which Facebook hopes will lead to new platforms to place more focused targeted ads, according to public announcements made by the company. The more Facebook can recognize what is in users’ photographs using artificial intelligence, the more the company can learn about users’ hobbies, preferences, and interests—valuable information for companies looking to pinpoint sales efforts.

For example, if Facebook identifies a user’s face and her friends hiking in a photo, it can use that information to place ads for hiking equipment on her Facebook page, said Larry Ponemon, founder of the Ponemon Institute, a privacy and security research and consulting group.

“The whole Facebook model is a commercial model,” Ponemon said, “gathering information about people and then basically selling them products” based on that information.

Facebook hasn’t been consistent about what it plans to do with its facial data. In 2012, at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, then-Chairman Al Franken (D-MN) asked Facebook’s then-manager of privacy and public policy, Rob Sherman, to assure users the company wouldn’t share its faceprint database with third parties. Sherman declined.

“It’s difficult to know in the future what Facebook will look like five or 10 years down the road, and so it’s hard to respond to that hypothetical,” Sherman said.

And in 2013, Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan told Reuters, “Can I say that we will never use facial recognition technology for any other purposes [other than suggesting who to tag in photos]? Absolutely not.” Egan added, though, that if Facebook did use the technology for other purposes, the firm would give users control over it.

BIPA

Nearly a decade ago, when facial recognition was still in its infancy, Illinois passed the Biometric Information and Privacy Act of 2008, after a fingerprint-scanning company went bankrupt, putting the security of the biometric data the company collected in doubt.

The law requires companies to obtain permission from an individual before collecting biometric data, including “a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scan of hand or face geometry.” It also requires companies to list the purpose and length of time the data will be stored and include those details in a written biometric privacy policy. If a business violates the law, individuals can sue the company, a provision that no other state privacy law permits.

“The Illinois law is a very stringent law,” said Chad Marlow, policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. “But it’s not inherently an unreasonable law. Illinois wanted to protect its citizens from facial recognition technologies online.”

That may include, possibly, Facebook’s Tag Suggestions application. First introduced in 2010, Tag Suggestions allows Facebook users to label friends and family members in photos with their name using facial recognition. When a user tags a friend in a photo or selects a profile picture, Tag Suggestions creates a personal data profile that it uses to identify that person in other photos on Facebook or in newly uploaded images.

Facebook started quietly enrolling users in Tag Suggestions in 2010 without informing them or obtaining their permission. By June 2011, Facebook announced it had enrolled all users, except for a few countries.

That’s what upset Licata, who works in finance in Chicago. In the lawsuit against Facebook, which names two other plaintiffs, Licata alleges that every time he was tagged in an image or selected a new profile picture, Facebook “extracted from those photographs a unique faceprint or ‘template’ for him containing his biometric identifiers, including his facial geometry, and identified who he was,” according to the lawsuit. “Facebook subsequently stored Licata’s biometric identifiers in its databases.”

The other plaintiffs also claim that by using their data to build DeepFace, Facebook deprived them of the monetary value of their biometric data. The statute carries penalties up to $5,000 per violation, which potentially could include thousands of Illinois residents.

Licata declined an interview request through the law firm representing him, Chicago-based Edelson PC, which specializes in suing technology companies over privacy violations. The firm’s founder, Jay Edelson, is a controversial figure. Some technologists and colleagues view him as an opportunist—a “leech tarted up as a freedom fighter”—according to a New York Times profile.

Facebook declined the Center for Public Integrity’s requests to comment on the lawsuit specifically but said in an email that “our work demonstrates our commitment to protecting the over 210 million Americans who use our service.” Facebook told The New York Times in 2015 that the BIPA lawsuit “is without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Facebook says users can turn off Tag Suggestions, but critics say the process is complex, making it likely the feature will remain active.

And many Facebook users don’t even know data about their likenesses are being stored. “As a person who has been tagged, there should be some agreement at least that this is acceptable” before Facebook enrolls users in Tag Suggestions, said privacy researcher Ponemon. “But the train has left the station.”

In 2016, just 21 days after the judge in the Licata case ruled against a Facebook motion that the Illinois law only applies to in-person scans, not images or video, an amendment to BIPA that would have defined facial scans just that way was offered in the state Senate. After consumer groups such as the World Privacy Forum and the Illinois Public Interest Research Group wrote letters of opposition, the measure was withdrawn by its sponsor, state Sen. and Assistant Majority Leader Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills). Link did not respond to requests for comment.

Facebook has expressed support for the amendment but won’t confirm or deny its involvement in the attempt. The effort fits a pattern, said Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University.

“Their approach has been, ‘If you sue us, it doesn’t apply to us; if you say it does apply to us, we’ll try to change the law,’” Bedoya said. “It is only laws like Illinois’ that could put some kind of check on this authority, so it is no coincidence that [Facebook] would like to see this law undone. This is the strongest privacy law in the nation. If it goes away, that’s a big deal.”

Facebook’s hidden lobbying

Facebook started lobbying the federal government in earnest around 2011, when it reported spending nearly $1.4 million. By 2016, the amount grew more than five times, to almost $8.7 million, when Facebook lobbied on issues such as data security, consumer privacy, and tax reform, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Facebook spends much less to influence state lawmakers. According to reports compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, it spent $670,895 on lobbying in states in 2016, a 64 percent jump from $373,388 in 2014. Facebook has an active presence in a handful of states—primarily California and New York—but it only hired its first lobbyist in Illinois for this year’s session.

Facebook prefers to work through trade associations to influence policy. Sources in the Illinois Legislature told the Center for Public Integrity that the BIPA amendment attempt, which would have redefined facial recognition, was led by CompTIA, a trade group that bills itself as “the world’s leading tech association.” CompTIA declined to comment in detail but confirmed that Facebook is among its members.

Facebook declined to comment about whether it was behind the amendment. When Edelson lawyers asked for information about Facebook’s lobbying related to BIPA, Facebook’s lawyers successfully requested the court to seal those records, keeping the information private.

On its website, Facebook says it is a member of 56 groups and 108 third-party organizations that it works with “on issues relating to technology and Internet policy.” CompTIA, despite acknowledging Facebook is a member, isn’t on the list.

At the Facebook annual shareholders meeting in Redwood City, California, last month, more than 90 percent of the shares voted were opposed to a proposal that would have required the company to provide more information about its political associations, including grass-roots lobbying.

CompTIA, which absorbed the Washington, D.C.-based tech advocacy group TechAmerica in 2015, employs one permanent lobbyist in Illinois and contracts with the Roosevelt Group, one of Illinois’ “super lobbyists,” which last year represented lobbying powerhouses AT&T Illinois, payday lender PLS Financial Services, and the influential Illinois Retail Gaming & Operators Association.

In August 2016 CompTIA published a blog post about the practical applications of biometrics, and labeled BIPA “problematic” because terms such as “consent” and “facial recognitions” are vaguely defined and it “invites an avalanche of litigation.”

CompTIA made political contributions to just two non-candidate groups in 2016—in the two states with the strictest privacy laws, Illinois and Texas, according to the National Institute of Money in State Politics. CompTIA gave $21,225 last year to the Illinois Democratic Party.

CompTIA also gave $5,000 to the Republican Party in Texas, where Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is charged with enforcing the state’s biometric privacy regulations, according to the institute. Texas has enacted one of the stricter biometric privacy laws in the nation. Signed in 2009, the law requires companies to obtain an individual’s permission to capture a biometric identifier such as a facial image. But unlike Illinois’ law, it doesn’t allow state residents to sue and leaves the enforcement authority solely with the attorney general.

The Texas attorney general’s office declined to comment on whether it has pursued lawsuits on biometric privacy violations. There’s no indication that Paxton’s office has ever completed an investigation, according to a review of records.

‘They will descend on you’

Alaska, Connecticut, Montana, New Hampshire, and Washington proposed biometric privacy laws this past legislative session, but all failed except for a weakened version that survived in Washington. Two other states—Arizona and Missouri—proposed narrower bills that provide privacy protections just for students, but both fizzled out in committee. Illinois tabled a proposed amendment to BIPA that would have strengthened the law by barring companies from making submission of biometric data a requirement of doing business.

Facebook, along with Google Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and trade groups like CompTIA, had a hand in blocking or weakening the biometric privacy bills in Montana, Washington, and Illinois, according to a Center for Public Integrity review.

What happened in Montana is typical. Katherine Sullivan, a small business owner and intellectual privacy lawyer turned privacy advocate, helped write a biometric privacy bill that Democratic Rep. Nate McConnell introduced this year in the Montana Legislature.

“Everyone I talked to as a citizen thought it was a good idea,” Sullivan said.

Still, Sullivan said she was warned that lobbyists representing powerful companies would come out against the law. “‘They will descend on you,’” Sullivan said she was told.

The Montana bill was introduced Feb. 17 and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Only one hearing on the bill was held, on Feb. 23. Lobbyists from Verizon, the Internet Coalition, which represents Internet and ecommerce companies including Facebook, and the Montana Retail Association showed up in opposition to the bill.

At the hearing, Jessie Luther, a lobbyist from Verizon, read a letter signed by CompTIA; the Internet Coalition; TechNet, a network of chief executives from technology companies; and the State Privacy and Security Coalition, a group of major internet communications, retail, and media companies. All three count Facebook as a member.

The letter, addressed to state Rep. Alan Doane, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, warned that the proposed legislation “would put Montana residents and businesses at much greater risk of fraud, as well as open the door to wasteful class action lawsuits against Montana businesses that receive biometric data.” It also warned that the bill would prevent using biometrics for “beneficial purposes” such as accessing and securing personal accounts.

Doane said in an interview he doesn’t remember the letter but agreed with many of its points. On Feb. 27, the bill was tabled in committee.

The ‘NRA approach’

Tough privacy legislation that would have prohibited the collection of biometric information without prior consent and allow individuals to sue companies that violate the law also fizzled out in New Hampshire and Alaska. A weaker bill in Connecticut that would have prohibited brick-and-mortar stores from using facial recognition for marketing purposes died in committee.

Washington’s law requires companies to obtain permission from customers before enrolling their biometric data into a database for commercial use and prohibits companies from selling, leasing, or otherwise handing the data over to a third party without consent. But it does not allow individuals to sue companies directly.

More important, some privacy advocates say, the law exempts biometric data pulled from photographs, video, or audio recordings, similar to the amendment CompTIA had lobbied for in Illinois as a way to weaken BIPA, which would exempt Facebook’s Tag Suggestions.

Earlier versions of the law won the approval of big tech companies such as Google and Microsoft Corp., and the privacy advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But in 2016, EFF pulled its support when the bill was amended to omit “facial geometry,” which Adam Schwartz, a senior staff attorney at EFF, said would cover facial recognition.

Schwartz said the final statute is weaker than BIPA because the law’s language is written in such a way that it may allow companies to capture facial recognition data without informed notice or consent.

The statute “appears to have been tailored to protect companies that are using facial recognition,” Schwartz said.

Democratic state Rep. Jeff Morris, one of the bill’s sponsors, disagrees. Morris said the law covers any data that can be used to identify a person by unique physical characteristics, including applications that use “precise measurements between the bridge of your nose and your eyes.”

But Morris said that while most of the big tech companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google supported the bill in its final form, Facebook remained opposed.

Facebook’s hired lobbyist in Washington—Alex Hur, a former aide to state Speaker of the House Frank Chopp—was “lobbying quite ferociously on the bill,” Morris said. Facebook objected to the bill, he said, because it included as protected data “behavioral biometrics,” which refers to data on how a person moves, including an individual’s gait as recorded in videos.

Hur did not respond to requests for comment.

One of the trade groups working on Facebook’s behalf in Washington was the Washington Technology Industry Association. At a hearing on the legislation in February, Jim Justin, a WTIA representative, argued tagging services like Facebook’s should be exempt from the law.

“Given facial recognition, that data should be protected,” Justin said, “but if you are tagging someone on Facebook and simply using their name, we don’t think that falls under what should be protected, given that that person provided consent.”

A CompTIA lobbyist also spoke at the February hearing, asking lawmakers to take a “limited approach” to biometric privacy.

Morris said CompTIA adopts what he calls the “NRA approach” to lobbying. “They basically say, ‘You’ll take our innovation out of our cold, dead hands,’” he said.

“This is a pretty common public-affairs tactic,” Morris added, “an association that does the dirty work so your company isn’t tarnished.”

‘Didn’t know they existed until…’

State legislatures are beginning to recognize that many personally identifying technologies may require additional regulatory attention—and technology companies such as Facebook and their trade groups are gearing up to fight them.

Lawmakers in Illinois formed a committee this year to discuss technology issues such as data privacy. The CyberSecurity, Data Analytics and IT committee in the Illinois House of Representatives held its first hearing in March.

The formation of the committee brought national attention to Springfield.

“It has brought in groups from D.C.,” like the Internet Association, said Rep. Jaime Andrade Jr. (D-Chicago), the committee’s chairman.

CompTIA also has been “very active,” he said.

“I didn’t know they existed until the committee” formed, Andrade added. “As soon as the committee was created they came in and introduced themselves.”

New Patent Will Allow Facebook to Secretly Spy on You – Here’s How to Stop It

June 27, 2017 1 comment

The new patent allows Facebook to monitor your facial expressions and study your mood.

The social media giant that everyone loves is contemplating secretly watching you or possibly even recording your emotions through your smartphone’s camera or your computer’s webcam – according to the new patent filed by Facebook.

facebook
Image Source: The Sun – CBI Insights found a patent granted in May which lets Facebook determine your emotion using pictures through your smartphone camera.

The information from the patent highlights how the social media giant will use this technology to only monitor your emotions when you see something on Facebook.

Once they have your emotional image(s) they will then use the information to keep you scrolling on the website for long periods of time.

facebook
Image Source: The Sun – A patent from 2015 reveals Facebook’s plans to watch you read content on its social network and analyse your reaction

For instance, if you were looking at a video of someone doing something that you liked, and if you smiled looking at it, then the new algorithm will notice and provide you with similar content.

However, the patent also states that if you were looking at an advertisement and you seemed interested, which was shown by your facial expressions, than the company will also target you with similar advertisements.

facebook
Image Source: The Sun – It’s most recent patent aims to add emotion to your messages based on typing speed and location.

The concerning part of this is that the patent was submitted three years ago and was published in 2015; however, it has only recently caught the attention of alternative media.

According to Facebook’s office, the company has filed for many technology patents, but this doesn’t mean they’ll use them all. Facebook representatives went on to say that patents should not be taken as if they are going to be the future plans of the company.

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Image Source: The Sun – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in his home with wife Priscilla and baby Max.

However, if you remember Facebook back in 2014 conducting an experiment(s) where it controlled almost all of its users’ news feeds, checking to see if it impacted on the emotions of their users, they failed to disclose their ethics.

Facebook later said they were unsuccessful in telling the people clearly, as to why and under what ethics they practiced when toying with a user’s emotions.

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Image Source: The Guardian – Mark Zuckerberg celebrates 500 million monthly active users on Instagram – but he also revealed a lot about himself by leaving his laptop in the background.

An image of Facebook’s founder made a big highlight when he was seen covering his computer’s webcam and microphone with  tape while he celebrated the success of Instagram. The internet went crazy over this, and this particular patent will only add fuel to the fire.

The documents also reveal that there is a new application that will judge your emotions based on how hard you are pressing your touch screens for typing so its algorithm can analyse your emotions.

How Can You Stop This

For iPhone users, you need to go into your SETTINGS and then find the Facebook application. Tap on it. Once in, you will find SETTINGS again. From there you will see the option of ALLOW FACEBOOK TO ACCESS. Along with other options, you will be able to see CAMERA and MICROPHONE – toggle these to off. Also toggle off LOCATION for added protection.

The same goes for Android users: go into you SETTINGS then from there go to APPS. Once you are in, search for FACEBOOK. From there look for PERMISSION, tap on it for your options to present. Toggle CAMERA and MICROPHONE off.

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