I attended an event recently and carried my laptop, which is sadly, very common. I brought the laptop for several reasons, but primarily to keep a work effort moving forward while I traveled. As I ate lunch in a large food court, a young man who sat near me approached. He pointed at the laptop and began a series of questions about the device, most of which seemed rather straightforward and obvious. In fact, he seemed to be winding up to something more pointed. And he was.
He pointed at the top of my laptop screen and simply asked, “And that – what is that?”
His curiosity and gaze were directed to a simple piece of vinyl electrical tape. The one-inch square is positioned over the lens of my laptop’s webcam.
What’s the solution? Regulation? Perhaps. However, I wonder if Facebook were to simply abandon the ad-driven model and go to a paid subscription model, what would happen? The issues with fraudulent accounts would be easier to address, age verification would be simple, and, you could get to what you want: sharing without the debris field of ads and weird news feeds. But, we’ve become accustomed to “free” web content, would the account holder be willing to exchange cash for a cleaner playing field? I don’t know.
There are many things that Facebook finds itself accused of on a regular basis. Unfairness to different groups, censorship of content, insensitivity, and endless problems surrounding its attitude to privacy and handling of user data. It seems that concerns about privacy were well-founded as a new report finds that the social network violated European law. Analysis carried out by the Belgian Privacy Commission and ICRI/CIR says that Facebook breaks the law in Europe in a number of ways. As well as placing too many expectations on users to be able to change settings for themselves.
For the last several months, cybersecurity experts have been warning Verizon Wireless that it was putting the privacy of its customers at risk. The computer codes the company uses to tag and follow its mobile subscribers around the web, they said, could make those consumers vulnerable to covert tracking and profiling.
This breach appears different from other recent celebrity “hacks” in that it used a near-zero-day vulnerability in an Apple cloud interface. Instead of using social engineering or some low-tech research to gain control of the victims’ cloud accounts, the attacker basically bashed in the front door—and Apple didn’t find out until the attack was over. While an unusual, long, convoluted password may have prevented the attack from being successful, the only real defense against this assault was never to put photos in Apple’s cloud in the first place. Even Apple’s two-factor authentication would not have helped, if the attack was the one now being investigated.
Facebook Inc. will let advertisers know where a promotion was first viewed and when it led to a purchase by tracking users between their electronic devices, a tool that may reignite privacy concerns.
Marketers will be able to see the number of users that clicked on an ad, whether they used a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer, and which device was used to buy a product, Menlo Park, California-based Facebook said in a blog post today.