Facebook Social Data-Sharing & Surveillance Bans

Facebook and Instagram privacy policies are reported to have been updated with the intention of stopping developers and businesses from using the data they find there to provide surveillance tools.cctv surveilance camera

What’s Been Happening?

Facebook, which acquired Instagram in 2012, has reportedly been concerned, particularly in recent months, about how data posted by users of its social networks, such data posted by activists / protesters and other targeted communities, has been the subject of surveillance by developers, businesses and governments. Continue reading “Facebook Social Data-Sharing & Surveillance Bans”

Robots Helping The Elderly

In an age when people are living longer, healthcare systems and resources are being strained, with elderly people facing challenges like loneliness, more research is being carried out into how robots could bridge the care gap.

The Challenges

The global population is ageing. In the UK alone for example, people are having fewer children and living longer lives. By 2040, nearly one in seven people is projected to be aged over 75 (UK Government figures) and this will mean that public spending will need to increase, and already stretched care systems will be under unprecedented pressures. Meeting the caring and or nursing needs of the elderly, as well as addressing companionship issues, are likely to be major issues facing us all in years to come. Continue reading “Robots Helping The Elderly”

Timely Content … Or A Sneaky Advert?

Google recently removed an unprompted audio advert from its Google Home smart speaker / digital assistant system after accusations that the piece was simply an unrequested advert.Google Home Speaker

Beauty and the Beast

The controversial incident occurred when ‘Google Home’ users were played some unprompted, unrequested audio about the opening date of the new film Beauty and the Beast. The announcement about the film, which was broadcast just after the time and weather listings and the travel update, was reportedly regarded by many listeners to have resembled a short advert.

The 41 second video of the audio piece was posted on Twitter, and prompted accusations from other Twitter users that this could be an example of an attempt to ‘monetize’ the system, and that Google Home users could end up paying someone to advertise to them in the privacy of their own homes. Continue reading “Timely Content … Or A Sneaky Advert?”

Car Costs Could Skyrocket

If car manufacturers are given sole access your modern car’s digital data records (and not third party repair businesses), this could mean that manufacturers will recommend their own repair centres and spare parts, which would very likely mean higher bills and less choice for you.Car rain windshield

Argument

The argument between car manufacturers / manufacturer-owned businesses and independent / third party car repair and other businesses over who has access to your car’s data is now well under way.

What Data?

Today’s engines contain sensors and mini-computers (as required by European law) and they have an onboard diagnostic (OBD) port, which allows mechanics to plug in a cable and access the data stored in the car’s computer or electronic control unit (ECU). Continue reading “Car Costs Could Skyrocket”

£8M Funding For ‘Sell In 90 Days’ London Estate Agent

The innovative London-based Estate Agent start-up Nested, which guarantees to sell your house within 90 days, has raised a further £8 million in funding from investors.square house modern

Launched in January last year, the company has now raised a total of £11 million thanks to backing by venture capitalist groups and individuals.

The ‘Win-Win’ USPs

The big difference between Nested’s and other estate agent’s offerings is that Nested guarantees to sell a client’s house for 95-98% of market value within 90 days. It also says that, if it does achieve a higher sale price than the one it guaranteed/offered, either before or after the 90 days, it will split the difference, up to 70/30 in favour of the property owner. Continue reading “£8M Funding For ‘Sell In 90 Days’ London Estate Agent”

Criminal Charge For Sending Flashing Tweet To Epileptic

A man has been arrested after he alleged tweeted a flashing animated strobe-style picture, which triggered an epileptic seizure in the recipient.

women camera flashing

US police found (after searching sender 29-year-old John Rayne Rivello’s computer) that he had been researching the triggers of epileptic seizures online.

Part of a Planned Hate Campaign?

Further forensic searches of Maryland-based Mr Rivello’s computer by police found more evidence that the sending of the flashing image to the victim, Texas-based Kurt Eichenwald, appeared to be part of simmering and pre-planned hate campaign. Among the digital evidence, police discovered: Continue reading “Criminal Charge For Sending Flashing Tweet To Epileptic”

We-Vibe Tracked Customer Sexual Activity Via ‘Smart’ Sex Toy

security vulnerabilities in Internet enabled devices just reached a new level after We-Vibe was found to have been secretly tracking customers’ sex toys…

Big Turn-Off

Customers of start-up firm Standard Innovation, manufacturers of ‘We-Vibe’ products, have been left red-faced and angry after the company was judged by a court to have been guilty of covertly gathering data about how (and how often) customers used their Wi-Fi enabled sex toy. Continue reading “We-Vibe Tracked Customer Sexual Activity Via ‘Smart’ Sex Toy”

Amazon Drone Shot Down With Patriot Missile

At the recent Association of the United States Army (AUSA) symposium, General David Perkins told the audience about an incident where a close ally of the U.S. used a £2.5 million patriot missile to shoot down $200 drone purchased from Amazon.

Overkill

The incident, which has been described by commentators such as Justin Bronk of the Royal United Services Institute as “overkill”, was recounted to an audience of military personnel and military supply company representatives. News of the incident was used by the General in his speech in order to illustrate the kinetic / economic challenge facing military commanders (of all nations) where cheap technology is now being used by adversaries for attacks. Continue reading “Amazon Drone Shot Down With Patriot Missile”

BT to Separate From Openreach

Last week Ofcom (the telecoms regulator) announced that BT has agreed to legally separate from Openreach, which owns and operates the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

Why The Split?

Through Openreach, BT owns (and is responsible for providing) the vast majority of the UK’s telecoms network infrastructure, not just for itself, but also for any competitors such as TalkTalk, Sky, and Vodafone (and BT’s own retail arm). This has led to competition problems, and rivals have argued that, since BT has a third of the country’s broadband market, a company from its own group should not be providing the infrastructure Continue reading “BT to Separate From Openreach”

Google’s New Simpler Captcha

A new Captcha system, developed by Google, will secretly study how your interact with a web page rather than asking questions or setting puzzles in order to prove that you are a ‘human’ visitor.

Why Captchas?

‘Captcha’ is actually an acronym (dating back to 2000) for ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart’. Captchas are used to stop automated bots accessing and using websites and other online resources. If Captchas are not used, some of these bots can post spam comments in blogs, sign up for thousands of email accounts every minute e.g. on Yahoo, buy multiple tickets from ticket sites, gather email addresses (written in text) from web pages, distort online polls, and launch dictionary attacks on password systems. The use of Captchas can also offer full protection to pages that you don’t want indexed by search engines, and offer worm and spam protection. Continue reading “Google’s New Simpler Captcha”