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Category Archives: Economy

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 allows app developers to scan Gmail accounts, even though Google itself stopped the practice for the purpose of ad targeting last year. The company also disclosed that app developers generally are free to share the data with others, as long as Google determines that their privacy policies adequately disclose potential uses. “Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data,” Susan Molinari, the company’s vice president for public policy and government affairs for the Americas, wrote in the letter. She added that the company, a unit of Alphabet Inc., makes sure the relevant privacy policy is “easily accessible to users to review before deciding whether to grant access.” Using software tools provided by Gmail and other email services, outside app developers can access information about what products people buy, where they travel and which friends and colleagues they interact with the most. In some cases, employees at these app companies have read people’s actual emails in order to improve their software algorithms. Google’s letter, received by lawmakers in July, came in response to written questions from several lawmakers, including Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R., S.D.), following a Wall Street Journal report detailing how app developers frequently gain access to the contents of users’ Gmail accounts. Google’s letter likely will provide fodder for what could be a contentious Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday on data privacy practices of other internet platforms, as well as some telecommunications firms. In the letter, the company outlined the steps it takes to vet third-party email apps, including manually reviewing privacy policies and using computer tools to detect any significant changes to the behavior of the apps.”

Google handles 90% of the world’s internet searches, and it increasingly is promoting a single answer for many questions. Even subjective or unanswerable queries sometimes get seemingly definitive answers.”

Want to defend democracy? Start with your public library.

Washington Post Opinion: “In “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” the character Ron — channeling his friend Hermione — says to Harry Potter: “When in doubt, go to the library.” In the United States today, there is plenty to doubt. Complex arguments are being whittled down to 280 characters. And of course, the president… Continue Reading

The Future of Jobs Report 2018

World Economic Forum: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is interacting with other socio-economic and demographic factors to create a perfect storm of business model change in all industries, resulting in major disruptions to labour markets. New categories of jobs will emerge, partly or wholly displacing others. The skill sets required in both old and new occupations… Continue Reading

UK Serious Fraud Office trialling AI for data-heavy cases

naked security – sophos: “The BBC says it looks like a kids’ digital game: a mass of blue and green rubber balls bounce around the screen like they’re on elastic bands in a galaxy of paddle balls. It’s no game, however. It is a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool that connects, and then visualizes, the… Continue Reading

The Latest Course Catalog Trend? Blockchain 101

Wired: “On a clear, warm night earlier this year, several dozen University of California, Berkeley students folded themselves into gray chairs for a three-hour class on how to think like blockchain entrepreneurs. The evening’s challenge, presented by Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett, was to brainstorm how blockchain technology might be used to alleviate the city’s… Continue Reading

Potential Insurance Bill From Hurricane Florence Could Take Toll on Wallets Far From NC Coast

ProPublica – Insurance companies retreated from some communities amid stronger storms, leaving a “last-resort” plan to fill the growing gap: “For years, North Carolina has bet against a storm like Hurricane Florence. Even as nationally known insurance companies pulled out of the state’s coastal communities, development boomed along the shore, despite the threat from a… Continue Reading

The Marine Conservation Planning Database

The Conservation Planning Database: “Given international policy targets and growing recognition of a biodiversity crisis, the number and total extent of protected areas is set to increase significantly in the next few decades. To ensure this planned expansion is effective in halting biodiversity loss, it is critical that new protected areas (and other conservation actions)… Continue Reading

Costs of Government Interventions in Response to the Financial Crisis: A Retrospective, updated September 12, 2018

EveryCRSReport.com – Costs of Government Interventions in Response to the Financial Crisis: A Retrospective, updated September 12, 2018. “In August 2007, asset-backed securities (ABS), particularly those backed by subprime mortgages, suddenly became illiquid and fell sharply in value as an unprecedented housing boom turned into a housing bust. Losses on the many ABS held by… Continue Reading

Even in Better Times, Many Americans Are Farther Behind. Here’s Why.

The New York Times: “Americans’ household earnings are finally stretching back to their pre-recession heights. But feeling secure and comfortable isn’t only a measure of how much money you have. It’s also a measure of how much you have compared with others. For many, that is one reason that recent financial progress may seem overshadowed… Continue Reading

Ten years after Lehman’s collapse, these ten risks could cause the next crisis

Quartz: “On Sept. 15, 2008, a credit crunch turned into a full-blown crisis when New York-based investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed. The global recession that followed is still too fresh in many people’s memories to be considered history. But 10 years on, the state of the financial system suggests that the crisis has been relegated… Continue Reading

Secretary Zinke and the Great Public Lands Wholesale

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will offer up nearly 4 million acres of public lands for lease this year, much of it for dirt cheap “The United States is now likely the world’s largest oil producer. Even so, the Trump administration continues its sprint to lease the nation’s public lands to energy companies. From September through… Continue Reading

31 Highest Paying Companies

“Almost every day, nearly 112 million Americans wake up and go to work. The vast majority of them do so to put a roof over their head, food on the table, and otherwise support their chosen lifestyle. While full-time U.S. workers by definition clock in for at least 35 hours a week, the amount of… Continue Reading