What a Week Dec 30th, 2016

This year is finally ending, but I really don't know if that is good or not. We shall see.

On with it then, and what a week it was…

 


1.

I do so enjoy people continuing to be surprised by the levels of shadiness Facebook will go to in order to protect their core business (selling ads to you, not the social networking shit, that's an expense to them). So here's a great story about how Facebook not only collects mountains of data on you through your usage of Facebook, but also by buying up information about you from third party companies.

A lot of people see great value in Facebook, but there's increasing proof that Facebook has a negative impact on your mental health. There's also the simple fact that no one company should know that much about you — because Facebook may have never done anything which bugs you with that information to date, but you're only one bad decision by one of their thousands of employees away from being appalled.

2.

Speaking of companies with way too much data on people, but which are near impossible to avoid, Amazon found themselves in a a privacy dilemma. They were asked to hand over voice data from an Echo device as it might shed light on a murder case. Amazon refused. Good for them. Of course it would just be better if they hung on to no data and securely deleted the data after they processed it.

3.

Back to Facebook for a moment, because Germany is considering imposing a fine on social networks of $522,000 for each day a fake news story is left up. I love this and really hope they do this, and what's amazing is that it would be easy to finance with a fine that high and fake news this prevalent.

4.

There's a new report out talking about how hackers could steal fingerprint data from mobile devices. This is focused on Android right now, but that could only be the start of it. All of the computers I use have Touch ID as the means of securing the data on them, and this has been a troubling thought for me of late.

Is that secure enough?

I use it because it feels secure, and it's insanely convenient, but I am not sure it actually is secure. It wouldn't be very hard to force my finger to the sensor, but it would be much harder to force my password out of me. Those are extreme circumstances, but I actually think of it more in terms of me being unconscious. Should I have an accident, could the first responders quickly unlock my phone and thus take any data they want from it?

They likely could.

This system needs to be better thought out. I'd love two-factor login for my devices. Touch ID plus password if it has been more than X time since you last used the device. I don't know, maybe it's tied to the Apple Watch and that detects that you are fine and it should unlock the phone with just a fingerprint.

 


 

Have a great, and safe, New Year.

Ben

 
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