Headlines 

Here’s What It’s Like to Accidentally Expose the Data of 230M People

Steve Hardigree hadn't even gotten to the office yet and his day was already a waking nightmare. As he Googled his company's name that morning last June, Hardigree found a growing list of headlines pointing to the 10-person marketing firm he'd founded three years earlier, Exactis, as the source of a leak of the personal records of nearly everyone in the United States. A friend in an office adjacent to the one he rented as the company's headquarters in Palm Coast, Florida, had warned him that TV news reporters were…

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How Cambridge Analytica Sparked the Great Privacy Awakening

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. In his email, he suggested it was not: “I’m generally skeptical that there is as much data leak strategic risk as you think,” he wrote at the time. “I just can’t think of any instances where that data has leaked from developer to developer and caused…

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Co-parenting app raises privacy questions when courts get involved

CoParenter is a logistics and communication app for custody arrangements.Image: Vicky Leta / Mashable  Welcome to Small Humans, an ongoing series at Mashable that looks at how to take care of – and deal with – the kids in your life. Because Dr. Spock is nice and all, but it’s 2019 and we have the entire internet to contend with. Legally mandated app usage is officially now a thing.  Say hello to coParenter, an app designed to facilitate the often-fraught dealings of two non-married or separated individuals trying to jointly…

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This device is trying to replace your phone AND laptop

Image: Bridget Bennett/Mashable While CES sets the tech trends for the year, it rarely sets the tone. The giant-size tech carnival is a great place to see the latest TVs, smart home gadgets, and self-driving vehicle tech, but it’s also a bubble. Hype and excitement over mostly incremental upgrades is epidemic at the show, and it has very little to do with our real-world relationship with technology. If there was any doubt about that, it was made jarringly clear on Thursday when news broke that Amazon-owned company Ring, fresh from…

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Odds and Ends 

Google You Owe Us claimants arent giving up on UK Safari workaround suit

Lawyers behind a UK class-action style compensation litigation against Google for privacy violations have filed an application requesting permission to appeal against a recent High Court ruling blocking the proceeding. In October Mr Justice Warby ruled the case could not proceed on legal grounds, finding the claimants had not demonstrated a basis for bringing a compensation claim. The case relates to the so called ‘Safari workaround’ Google used between 2011 and 2012 to override iPhone privacy settings and track users without consent. The civil legal action — whose claimants refer to themselves as ‘Google…

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Odds and Ends 

Seven reasons not to trust Facebook to play cupid

This week Facebook has launched a major new product play, slotting an algorithmic dating service inside its walled garden as if that’s perfectly normal behavior for an ageing social network. Insert your [dad dancing GIF of choice] right here. Facebook getting into dating looks very much like a mid-life crisis — as a veteran social network desperately seeks a new strategy to stay relevant in an age when app users have largely moved on from social network ‘lifecasting’ to more bounded forms of sharing, via private messaging and/or friend groups…

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23andMe’s Pharma Deals Have Been the Plan All Along

Since the launch of its DNA testing service in 2007, genomics giant 23andMe has convinced more than 5 million people to fill a plastic tube with half a teaspoon of saliva. In return for all that spit (and some cash too), customers get insights into their biological inheritance, from the superficial—do you have dry earwax or wet?—to mutations associated with disease. What 23andMe gets is an ever-expanding supply of valuable behavioral, health, and genetic information from the 80 percent of its customers who consent to having their data used for…

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Security News This Week: Maybe Go Ahead and Make Your Venmo Private

This week started with a controversial, widely derided meeting between President Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and ended with… an invite for round two! And yes, all manner of craziness managed to happen in between. That includes yet more denials on Trump’s part that Russia interfered—and continues to—with US democracy, a stance that has serious repercussions, however many times he walks it back. The Putin press conference performance also prompted concern across the aisle, as senators Marco Rubio and Mark Warner cast it as a major setback in efforts…

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All the Ways iOS 12 Will Make Your iPhone More Secure

The annual iOS refresh is on the way—Apple has previewed it, beta testers have installed it, and the rest of us should get iOS 12 when iPhones arrive in September. While features such as winking 3-D emoji and screen-time limits for your apps might take much of the attention when the software arrives, iOS 12 is a major step forward in one other crucial area: smartphone security. It's something Apple has always prided itself on, with its tightly locked App Store and full device encryption, but iOS 12 is going…

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Facebook Bug Made Up to 14 Million Users’ Posts Public for Days

Facebook has found itself the subject of another privacy scandal, this time involving users' privacy settings. A glitch caused up to 14 million Facebook users to have their new posts inadvertently set to public, the company revealed Thursday. The bug, which reportedly occurred while Facebook was testing a new feature, went live on May 18. Facebook told CNN, which first reported the issue, that it began rolling out a fix on May 22. The bug was fully corrected by May 27. If some of your posts have been affected by…

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Apple Just Made Safari the Good Privacy Browser

Apple announced a slew of new software features at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, including an augmented reality upgrade and animojis that can stick out their tongues when you do. But the company's latest desktop and mobile operating systems contain a more subtle, yet more radical, innovation. The newest version of Apple's Safari browser will push back hard against the ad-tracking methods and device fingerprinting techniques that marketers and data brokers use to monitor web users as they browse. Starting with Facebook. The next version of Safari will explicitly…

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Data Protection Standards Need to Be Global

Whether it is Cambridge Analytica gaining access to private information on up to 87 million Facebook users, or the large-scale data breaches at Equifax or Yahoo, alarmingly loose standards for the use and protection of customer data continue to fuel a backlash against large tech companies. More importantly, these events demonstrate the need for a global set of consumer data principles. WIRED OPINION ABOUT Kai Keller (@kaimkeller) is a global leadership fellow at the World Economic Forum and leads the organization's work at the cross-section of innovation and financial stability. The…

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How private is your DNA? Police tap genealogy websites to find suspected ‘Golden State Killer.’

Do you know where your DNA data is?Image: Getty Images/Science Photo Library RM Think twice before you send companies your spit.  A suspected serial killer was caught when investigators compared his DNA to samples collected by ancestry websites. SEE ALSO: Facebook’s richer than ever, despite data privacy scandals Services like 23andMe and Ancestry have become popular by using DNA from users who want to learn more about their family history. But few people think the DNA samples they send in might be used by law enforcement.  On Tuesday, Joseph James…

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If Congress Doesn’t Understand Facebook, What Hope Do Its Users Have?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received a less than warm welcome in Washington, DC, where he testified before a joint hearing of two Senate committees Tuesday. Among the crowds of spectators lining up to watch Zuckerberg get grilled were members of the activist group CodePink, wearing oversized sunglasses with the words, "Stop Spying," written across them. Another group wore t-shirts with the hashtag #DeleteFacebook scrawled on them in red Sharpie. "What many young people feel about Facebook is they’ve kind of turned on us," said Emmanuel Sessegnon, as he waited to…

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Beyond Facebook: Its High Time for Stronger Privacy Laws

In the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica debacle, we’re hearing a lot of new and interesting ideas about how to solve the so-called Facebook problem: Let’s classify Facebook as a monopoly and break it up. Let’s declare it a public utility and regulate it like electricity or phone service. Let’s force Facebook to reveal exactly how its algorithm works so there’s greater transparency and accountability. WIRED OPINION ABOUT Jessica Rich is the vice president of advocacy for Consumer Reports and served as the director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau…

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