A Tool That Monitors How Long Kids Are in the Bathroom Is Now in 1,000 American Schools (Vice)
e-HallPass is the new rave in schools to track how long students are out of class, including places like the bathroom. This is another tool in the pocket of school administrators to try and surveil students. The tool promises "hall omniscience" to track students throughout the school. High school is supposed to be fun. Who cares if a kid needs to take a 20 minute dump or just decides to go on a walk during class. Give them a break.
Google promises to adjust search algorithm to favor 'people-first content' (The Register)
Google finally realized that its search results are slowly going down in quality. There have also been many other competitor search engines released that give much better search results for your query instead of the shitty SEO optimized websites riddled with ads Google feeds you.
Nonprofit Websites Are Full of Trackers. That Should Change. (EFF)
Nonprofits don't take threats to privacy as seriously as they should. Nonprofits sometimes will use marketing tools and software meant to collect data to be shared with 3rd parties for everyday use without the intention of sharing the data. This can be bad for nonprofits dealing with sensitive subjects like Planned Parenthood. Nonprofits still need to make money and sometimes rely on collecting data and selling it to advertisers, like Facebook or Google. While this may work for some nonprofits, others dealing with sensitive topics should revise their monetization strategy and marketing.
Oracle is reviewing TikTok's algorithm and content moderation to ensure the Chinese government has not influenced it in any way.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech conglomerate founded in 2010.
If you were not aware, businesses in the People's Republic of China have to legally give the Chinese government access to the collections, transmission, and storage of data. In other words, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a backdoor into all businesses, including tech companies like ByteDance, to access their data.
TikTok is sepraret from the Chinese version of the app, Douyin. The data for each service is separate and are stored in different servers based on the market where the app is available. So Douyin data is stored in China (Where the backdoor is for the CCP), and TikTok's data was stored in Singapore as well as the US (Which, theoretically, the CCP should not have a backdoor to), but is now transitioning all data to the US in Oracle's data centers, hence the audit.
But, the main reason this was kicked off was that US user data has been accessed from China by ByteDance employees multiple times. A TikTok executive said in sworn testimony that a US-based security team decides who gets access to this data. This has not been the case.
Let's hope tried and true Oracle will oil up its rusty gears and get them turning to find out if the inner workings of TikTok have been what they said it has.
Apple wants to show you more ads on your Apple devices after restricting 3rd party's access to targeted advertising on its platforms.
Last year Apple launched the ability for users of IOS devices to limit the amount of data 3rd party apps can collect across other applications and websites. This was used by marketers and advertisers to serve more relevant ads. This was a net good for privacy, as you were being tracked less across apps.
This was a big deal because the more relevant the ads, the more money they could generate. So less tracking equals less money made from ads.
This whole debacle seems a bit hypocritical on Apple's end. It is like they wanted to limit targeted advertising so that they could have it for themselves. Ads are already shown in some native apps on Apple devices, like the App Store, Stocks, and News apps, even if you have a News+ subscription.
The real kicker is that Apple leverages data from its other services and your Apple account to show you targeted ads. Even if you turn off the setting to disable personalized ads, Apple will still use information like your cell carrier, device type, and the things you read to target you with relevant ads.
This is ironic because it seems like Apple left a provision in its cross-app tracking restrictions to allow themselves to still do it. They get around this by saying the system "does not follow you across apps and websites owned by other companies". So Apple can still track you across all of its apps and services they own and use your data to target you with ads.
This doesn't seem as pro-privacy as Apple touts itself to be...
The American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) is at it again. This time, people are realizing that if the data governance of telecommunications companies changes from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it will strip the know all agency on telecom privacy of their power to protect consumer rights.
The FCC found out that telecom companies, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, were selling locations of customer's phones to the likes of bounty hunters and other third parties. One of those third parties allowed law enforcement officials to track the location of phones without a warrant.
The telecom companies mentioned above said they had stopped the sale of location data in response to investigations by the FCC. The FCC then found that the carriers broke the law by selling such data, which is where the $200 million dollar fines come into play.
So why would the government want to take away the experience that the FCC has to enforce the laws they created? The FTC already has a lot on its plate, and as Big Tech grows, so do the number of laws and regulations tech companies will break. Biden did propose an increase in the FTC budget, but it will not nearly be enough to keep up with Big Tech's complacency in following the law. Someone needs to hold them at least a little bit accountable.
This is another blunder for the ADPPA. It needs some serious revisions, and congress should listen to existing experts in the field about what to change to make it fair for states that already have stronger privacy provisions in place, like California, and what will be best for the consumer, not the companies that will be restricted by the law.
In Other News
- Google says it stopped the largest DDoS attack ever recorded in June (The Record)
- NASA's Nicole Aunapu Mann will be the first Native American woman to visit space (Engadget)
- For the first time ever, more people watched streaming TV than cable (ArsTechnica)
- The temperature threshold the human body can’t survive (Grist)
Windows 93 - Remember Windows 93? Yeah, well, it never existed until now. Check out the fictional, fantastical operating system of Windows 93. Also, was Half-Life 3 was released in 1993?
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House of the Dragon started off pretty good 🐉