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Uber and Lyft instead of news programs

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Whether you want it or not you may now forget about a quiet comfortable trip in Uber or Lyft cars. The thing is that the other day a green light was given to Vugo company, which wants to place advertisements in cars owned by Uber, Lyft and the like.
Vugo now has all the rights to display ads on special advertising boards inside a taxi. Every passenger, whether he wants it or not, will be able to find out the latest news about services, new companies and new products in New York.
Vugo places entertaining and informative content as well as digital content-ads in rideshare services all over the country. In 2015, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission prohibited advertising in all taxi cars except for medallions or street-hail liveries. Vugo decided to sue. The other day, a decision was made in favor of the company. In the ruling it was of course noted that New Yorkers consider this type of advertising to be very annoying.
“There is no basis for concluding that advertisements in the exempted vehicles are somehow less annoying or that those passengers are any less vulnerable”, U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams stated.
According to the ruling, New York City has some rights to regulate the time and content of advertisements. This decision is being reviewed by a spokesperson for the New York City Law Department. A similar lawsuit is being under consideration in Chicago.

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Cambridge Analytica-linked researcher wants to stop the next data scandal

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Aleksandr Kogan helped get Facebook in its Cambridge Analytica mess. Now he has suggestions on how to stop the next one from happening.

The University of Cambridge professor, who testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Tuesday, said Facebook’s issues with Cambridge Analytica were “inevitable” because of how much data digital marketing harvests from people online.

“They give us technological products and services, not in exchange for money, but in exchange for intimate details about ourselves that we are willing to share,” Kogan said. “We became the product.”

The psychologist then criticized Terms of Services for providing blanket consent. Kogan called for opt-in consent, giving people the right to choose how much data they hand over to companies.

He said getting “informed consent” was the key to “avoiding a future Cambridge Analytica situation.”

Aleksandr Kogan

Kogan is in a unique position to make these comments, since he created the quiz app that harvested a majority of the data used by Cambridge Analytica to create targeted political ads, setting off a massive scandal that has overwhelmed Facebook. The hearing comes as lawmakers and people are becoming much more aware of their data privacy, and how much information companies like Facebook are collecting on them.

 

That realization has lead to changes, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg welcoming regulation. In May, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation introduced sweeping changes to privacy and tech companies.

“Facebook has embarked on an apology tour, but it is in fact, reaching a turning point,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said in his opening remarks. “My hope is that Facebook will be more forthcoming, that we will expose through these hearings the full range of its activities that may infringe on privacy.”

 

Facebook didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Facebook has been dealing with the fallout from privacy issues after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica obtained data on 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

 

While the “thisisyourdigitallife” app was supposed to tell people about their personality, it ended up siphoning data from anybody who took it, along with data on their friends, without their explicit consent. Cambridge Analytica had worked with multiple political campaigns during the US presidential election, including the Trump campaign.

Kogan noted that while Facebook approached him to audit his app, he told the committee that Facebook never followed up. “They just went away,” he said.

 

But in Kogan’s opening statement (PDF), he denied the impact of Cambridge Analytica’s data on US politics.

“People may feel angry and violated to the extent that their data may have been used as part of a mind-control effort,” Kogan said. “I believe there is almost no chance this data could have been helpful to a political campaign — and I still have not seen any evidence to indicate that the Trump campaign used this dataset to micro-target voters.”

Kogan said he regretted not understanding privacy concerns when he created the quiz, calling the backlash an “understandable emotional reaction.” Kogan said at the time, the data-harvesting program did not strike him as invasive — given the way

 

that Facebook and many other data brokers worked at the time.

He called the decision a mistake, and opened his testimony with an apology.

“We thought collecting people’s data was normal, and accepted,” he said.

But he also pointed his finger at the way Facebook runs its network.

“The Facebook platform is run in a way that runs counter to getting true, informed consent,” Kogan said.

While only 300,000 Facebook users actually took Kogan’s quiz, because of the social network’s rules at the time, it was able to collect data from millions of other people who never even saw the personality test.

He’s not optimistic that companies will adopt this suggestion, as it would greatly reduce how much data they could gather.

“The current way tech companies get people’s consent is fundamentally broken,” Kogan said.

 

BY
ALFRED NG

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Google’s Android Messages for web now rolling out: Here’s how to use the featurerder as outrage grows

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Android Messages users will have to open the site on their desktop, scan a QR code from their phones to get started.

 

Google has confirmed that it will be rolling out Messages for web, allowing users to send and receive text as well as RCS (Rich Communication Services) messages from their computers. Now, Android Messages website has gone live, spotted by 9to5 Mac. The service can be setup in a way similar to WhatsApp Web. Android Messages users will have to open the site on their desktop, scan a QR code from their phones to get started. The move is aimed to take on Apple’s iMessages with a new desktop client for Android Messages, called Messages for Web.

Do note that only the website is currently live and the set-up method is yet to be enabled within the mobile app. To enable the feature, people need to open Android Messages app on their smartphone, tap the “More options” menu and select “Messages for web”. In addition to sending text, users can send stickers, emoji, and attach images on Messages for the web.

 

Android Messages website is supported on Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge browsers. Though users can pair their Messages account on multiple devices, only one will be active at a time, as per a Google support page. Keep in mind that if people do not use their Messages account for 14 days, they will automatically be signed out. According to the company, the user’s latest conversation threads, contacts, and other settings will be encrypted and cached on their browser.

Alongside Messages for the web, Google has also announced several new features for the Messages app. For instance, users can now tap the ‘+’ button on the left hand side of the compose bar to search for GIFs. The Smart Reply feature suggests quick text, emoji responses to a user’s messages when they’re texting, to save time. The support for an inline preview of links in conversion has been added as well. One-time password or code can be directly copied from the message with a tap.

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New York Times CEO: Facebook Shouldn’t Be ‘World’s Editor in Chief’, Censoring Fake News ‘Not the Right Answer’

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The CEO of the New York Times slammed Silicon Valley giants yesterday, at an event hosted by the left-leaning Open Markets Institute to discuss the effects of big tech on news and publishing. Warning that Facebook is setting itself up as the “world’s editor in chief,” he also revealed that Mark Zuckerberg had told the Times that they could expect to do “very well” in their rankings of “trusted” news sources.

Despite Facebook’s recent attempts to curry favor with the establishment media, which include biasing their newsfeed algorithm towards establishment sources like CNN and away from independent and alternative media, as well as directly paying establishment outlets for exclusive news content, the corporate media warned that the tech giant was giving itself too much power and responsibility.

“We face an immediate threat” warned New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, “which is that Facebook’s catalogue of missteps with data and extreme and hateful content will lead to a naive attempt to set itself up as the world’s digital editor-in-chief, prioritizing and presumably downranking and rejecting content on a survey and data-driven assessment of whether the provider of the content is ‘broadly trusted’ or not.”

Thompson revealed that Mark Zuckerberg told him that the New York Times could expect to “do very well in such a ranking.”

Nevertheless, Thompson said that the concept of “broadly trusted” sources was a “sinister one.”

“Democracy depends in part on unbounded competition between different journalistic perspectives, and the clash of different judgments and opinions. History suggests that mainstream media organizations frequently get it right, but that not infrequently, the outliers should be listened to.”

“The process of citizens making up their own mind which news sources to believe is messy, and can indeed lead to fake news being believed, but to rob citizens of that ability [and replace it] with a centralized ‘trust’ algorithm will not make democracy healthier but damage it further.”

Instead of “censoring fake news”, Thompson said social media companies should be “giving people enough information to figure out for themselves what to believe and what not to believe.”

Thomspon’s comments highlighted a trend that has also been identified by Breitbart Tech: that Facebook is installing itself as the arbiter of what news sources are “broadly trusted,” usurping power from users in the process. Increasingly, Facebook’s algorithms aren’t designed to promote what its users “like” or follow, but what company executives have decided their users should like.

Thomspon also attacked social media companies for the opacity of their algorithms. “We do not know … how the algorithms of the major platforms sort and prioritize our content, nor can we reliably predict or influence changes in those algorithms, nor in any sense hold the companies to account for those changes.”

“The underlying danger of the agency of editors and the public alike being usurped by centralized algorithms and algorithmic control is present with every digital platform where we do not fully understand how the processes of editorial selection and prioritization take place, which right now means all of them, thus the urgent need for transparency.”

Not everyone at the Open Market Institute’s event, dominated by left-leaning and establishment figures, was in favor of giving power back to users — Mark Zuckerberg’s mentor, for example, told Breitbart News reporter Amanda House that “leaving it to the audience” to decide what counts as fake news is a mistake, and that users believe “sensation over substance.”

 

from breitbart website

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