WebMD Worries About Privacy?

Aside from the value WebMD provides by telling you a hangnail is a symptom of brain cancer, you can now read all about the privacy concerns from the site that is well above average … in terms of the number of ad tracking and third-party cookies.

I make a point not to visit the site as it has so many ads and such poor design that it can bring the fastest computer to a crawl. Thus it was ironic to see this headline:

Privacy Concerns Hindering Digital Contact Tracing — WebMD

Here’s what Blacklight, the Real-Time Website Privacy Inspector found about WebMD:

Nothing wrong with this picture, huh? Skip WebMD and just call your doctor.

Facebook Threatens To Leave Europe

They make it sound like Facebook going away is a bad thing.

Facebook has threatened to pack up its toys and go home if European regulators don’t back down and let the social network get its own way. From a report: In a court filing in Dublin, Facebook said that a decision by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) would force the company to pull up stakes and leave the 410 million people who use Facebook and photo-sharing service Instagram in the lurch.

Read the full article at tech.slashdot.org.

Facebook algorithm found to ‘actively promote’ Holocaust denial

I think the headline should read, “Facebook algorithm found to actively promote anything that generates revenue regardless of how vile, fake, racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic, etc.”

Last Wednesday Facebook announced it was banning conspiracy theories about Jewish people ‘controlling the world’.

Read the full article at www.theguardian.com.

These ‘Dark Patterns’ Trick You Into Spending More Money Online

Rather scary manipulation going on here. A new version of “read the fine print” is needed these days.

A 2019 study by researchers at Princeton and the University of Chicago shows that an overwhelming number of websites use deceptive design tactics, known as “dark patterns,” to coerce shoppers into spending more money.

Read the full article at www.popularmechanics.com.

The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It

If the capabilities of this technology doesn’t scare you enough, the idea that Peter Thiel is helping finance it should.

A little-known start-up helps law enforcement match photos of unknown people to their online images — and “might lead to a dystopian future or something,” a backer says. Until recently, Hoan Ton-That’s greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump’s distinctive yellow hair on their own photos.

Read the full article at www.nytimes.com.

Mobile Carrier Customer Service Ushers in SIM-Swap Fraud

It’s pretty ridiculous that you can do everything right to protect your account, but you cell carrier can’t ensure their staff are trained well enough to avoid social engineering. Or maybe they need to pay them enough so they’re not as open to bribes.

Weak challenge questions by customer service reps make it easy for fraudsters to hijack a phone line and bypass 2FA to breach accounts. Mobile carriers have left the door wide open to SIM-swap attacks, particularly when it comes to prepaid accounts, researchers have found.

Fun with Charts: Why Apple’s Services and Wearables are in the spotlight

Looks like the “iPhone company” is in trouble. 🤔

Every three months, we get to peer inside Apple’s business via the financial disclosures that are mandatory for American public corporations. (The company will reveal the specifics of its holiday quarter on January 28.)

Read the full article at sixcolors.com.

7 Problems Y2K Actually Caused

I remember having to cancel my plans to celebrate New Year’s in Sydney, Australia so I could stay at work on New Year’s Eve. After tons of hardware and software updates, I had to monitor the desktop computing environment for problems. There were none. I have yet to visit Australia, though.

Remember Y2K? In the relatively early years of computer programming, many systems were designed to categorize dates by the last two digits of a year, ignoring the “19” at the start of the number to save memory space.

Read the full article at www.mentalfloss.com.