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Category Archives: E-Mail

UK Investigation – Facebook allegedly offered advertisers special access to users’ data and activities

Washington Post: [see also Motherboard for coverage w/out payall]”A key British lawmaker alleged Wednesday that Facebook maintained “whitelisting agreements” that gave select companies preferential access to valuable user data several years ago, offering insight into how the company balanced concerns about user privacy with the business imperative of growing revenue. Damian Collins, chairman of a British parliamentary committee that has led a wide-ranging investigation into Facebook and its dealings with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, on Wednesday released a summary of findings drawn from documents from a lawsuit against the social network, along with more than 200 pages of documents, many of them labeled “Confidential.” Collins’ allegation echoes a key claim from the lawsuit, which was filed by an app developer in a California court. Facebook, which has long said it does not sell user data, on Wednesday denied that it used its data as a bargaining chip in exchange for advertising and other concessions, as the app developer, Six4Three, has alleged in its suit.

The documents released in Britain, part of a larger trove which long have been sealed in the lawsuit, affording a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one of the world’s most prominent and profitable companies during an uncertain time. The period covered by the documents was when Facebook, as a newly-public company, sought to reorganize around emerging mobile devices while seeking to manage persistent claims that it was cavalier with user privacy. Some of the companies mentioned in the newly-released documents include Airbnb, Netflix, Royal Bank of Canada, Lyft, Tinder and Badoo…”

  • See also Mark Zuckerberg’s response – “This week a British Parliament committee published some internal Facebook emails, which mostly include internal discussions leading up to changes we made to our developer platform to shut down abusive apps in 2014-2015. Since these emails were only part of our discussions, I want to share some more context around the decisions we made…”

Is WikiLeaks a Russian Front?

Consider the ramifications of this article, via The Atlantic – The idea that the putative transparency group served as a connection between Moscow and the president’s associates is starting to become clearer – if it is an accurate appraisal of an expanding exposure of corruption and malfeasance perpetrated by public and private citizens and groups… Continue Reading

UK Parliament seizes cache of Facebook internal papers

The Guardian – Documents alleged to contain revelations on data and privacy controls that led to Cambridge Analytica scandal – “Parliament has used its legal powers to seize internal Facebook documents in an extraordinary attempt to hold the US social media giant to account after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly refused to answer MPs’ questions.… Continue Reading

How to Tell if Your Account Has Been Hacked

Motherboard – How to check if your Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other accounts have been hacked. “Hackers routinely target high profile victims like politicians or wealthy cryptocurrency investors. But you could become a target too. Maybe an abusive former partner wants to stalk you, or a run-of-the-mill cybercriminal wants to get into your bank… Continue Reading

How to Track Specific Changes to Legislation with Email Alerts

In Custodia Legis – Congress.gov Search Tip – How to Track Specific Changes to Legislation with Email Alerts: “The Congress.gov team recently improved saved search alerts for legislation. This improvement applies to searches that are performed from the legislation homepage search form and the advanced search form. Initially, saved search alerts for legislation provided you with a… Continue Reading

Timeline to move users to new Google Contacts and shut down old Contacts

Another change announced by Google for Gmail users – via the Google Blog: “Over the next few months, we’ll completely replace old Google Contacts with new Google Contacts (also known as Contacts preview). We launched new Contacts in 2015 to provide a modern, smart, and quick contact management experience. We’ve added many features since then… Continue Reading

The Employer Surveillance State

The Atlantic – The more bosses try to keep track of their workers, the more precious time employees waste trying to evade them. “…In fact, electronic surveillance of employees, through technologies including not just video cameras but also monitoring software, has grown rapidly across all industries. Randolph Lewis, a professor of American Studies at the… Continue Reading

How to Disable Gmail’s Annoying New “Smart Compose” Predictive Typing Feature

Lauren Weinstein’s Blog: “It appears that at least some Gmail users are now getting an (apparently one-time) pop-up box giving the option to turn off “Smart Compose” when it first becomes active for them. This is definitely an improvement. However, if someone accepts that default (“Got it”) to try it out, there’s no clue provided… Continue Reading

Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information

Gizmodo: “…One of the many ways that ads get in front of your eyeballs on Facebook and Instagram is that the social networking giant lets an advertiser upload a list of phone numbers or email addresses it has on file; it will then put an ad in front of accounts associated with that contact information.… Continue Reading

Firefox Monitor arms you with tools to keep your personal information safe

“Your right to be safe from hackers starts here. Firefox Monitor arms you with tools to keep your personal information safe. Find out what hackers already know about you and learn how to stay a step ahead of them… Stay safe with Firefox Monitor protection. Sign up for Firefox Monitor. You’ll get a full report… Continue Reading

Google Says It Continues to Allow Apps to Scan Data From Gmail Accounts

WSJ [paywall] via MarketScreener [no paywall]: “Google Inc. told lawmakers it continues to allow other companies to scan and share data from Gmail accounts, responding to questions raised on Capitol Hill about privacy and potential misuse of the information contained in users’ emails.” “In a letter to senators, a top Google official said the company… Continue Reading

Imagining lost books in the age of Cambridge Analytica

Oxford University Press Blog: “Last spring, I—along with a substantial portion of my friends and acquaintances—followed some instructions I’d read online and successfully downloaded a copy of my Facebook data. Amongst other things, I was reminded of the fact that I had joined the social network on 21 February 2007 at 06:02 UTC and that… Continue Reading