'Anonymous' Smartphone Location Data Isn't so Anonymous, Finds NYT Investigation
- NYT reviewed a database of 2017 information from a company that contained location data accurate to within yards and updated thousands of times a day.
- At least 75 companies receive precise location data from apps whose users enable location services, and several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million U.S. mobile devices — about half of all in use last year.
- Location data companies pay half a cent to two cents per user per month, the NYT reports.
- There is no federal law limiting the collection or use of such data, but apps that ask for access to users’ locations, while leaving out important details about how the data will be used may violate federal rules on deceptive business practices, Maneesha Mithal, a privacy official at the Federal Trade Commission, told the Times.
IRC.com outlines its initial IRC development roadmap
- With many existing implementations, tools and services, we want to be improving the existing IRC ecosystem to bring features that people expect from a modern messaging application today.
- The popular IRC servers have slowly been implementing new standards as set by the IRCv3 working group to introduce new building blocks to bring IRC features up to par with today’s alternative messaging apps and platforms.
- To speed this up we will put development resources into a well-used open source IRC server to develop, test and implement these new building blocks and to further the stability and scalability of the server to cope with larger networks with ease.
- A new IRC network will be launched under irc.irc.com using the bleeding edge IRC development to showcase what can now be done on the new server with a web client readily available to take advantage.
Google Translate Now Offers Gender-Specific Translations in Some Languages
- Google Translate can now show gender-specific translations for some languages, in an effort to reduce gender bias by the tool.
- Previously if you used Google Translate to translate a word that has feminine and masculine forms, you would only get one translation—and that translation would be based on the gender Google suspected you may be seeking.
- For instance, the service would always provide the masculine translation for “doctor” while “nurse” would be a feminine one, The Verge notes.
- Now, translating those words will result in translations for both gender forms so users can choose which one is appropriate for the particular situation.
- Currently, gender-specific translations are only available for a few languages: from English to French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
- For now, the gender-specific translations are only available on the web, and not mobile.
- Google says it’s also considering how to address non-binary gender in translations.
Google is fixing gender bias in its Translate service
- Google Translate has previously displayed signs of gender bias by assigning genders to certain adjectives and words describing occupations.
- Thankfully, the company’s rolling out an update to fix this.
- You can try out Google Translate on the web here to test the company’s claims.
- The search giant said that it’ll roll out these improvements to Translate’s iOS and Android apps soon.
- The Mountain View company noted on the blog that it’s determined to remove gender bias from its products, and it’s working on improving the auto-complete feature for search queries next.
- Recently, Google removed some auto-complete suggestions from Gmail, as they were leaning towards one gender.
- It’s good to see companies working on removing gender bias in technology products.
- While such biases are essentially a reflection of how humans use these tools, experts have warned that it can hardwire sexism in people – so it’s important to adjust for that and build technologies to serve humanity better.
The issues with discoverability, monetization, and retention, and how to solve them
- This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service.
- As voice platforms continue to gain footing in homes via smart speakers — connected devices powered primarily by artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice assistants — the opportunity for voice apps is becoming more profound.
- However, as observed with the rise of mobile apps in the late 2000s, any new digital ecosystem will face significant growing pains, and voice apps are no exception.
- Thanks to the visual-free format of voice apps, discoverability, monetization, and retention are proving particularly problematic in this nascent space.
- In this report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explores the two major viable voice app stores.
- It identifies the three big issues voice apps are facing — discoverability, monetization, and retention — and presents possible short-term solutions ahead of industry-wide fixes.
Google to simplify messaging strategy, will support only five messaging apps
- To cut down to five apps, Google will eventually shut down Hangouts and Google Allo, while Messages, Hangouts Chat, Hangouts Meet, Duo, and Google Voice would continue to be supported.
- Google's Scott Johnston—a product lead for three of Google's seven messaging apps—responded to the report on Twitter, calling it "shoddy reporting" and saying it "is only half the story." While Google does plan to shut down Hangouts eventually, Johnston said that Google was also opening up two of its enterprise-only messaging apps—Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet—to its consumer user base, and users of Hangouts would be transitioned to these two apps.
- The blog post reiterated that "Classic" Hangouts would eventually shut down while Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet would be opening up, but Google wouldn't shut down Hangouts until it could ensure a smooth transition between apps.
Privacy-Friendly Cryptocurrency Zcash Goes Live on Coinbase.com
- Following the launch of Zcash (ZEC) on Coinbase Pro last week, Coinbase has announced support for the cryptocurrency on Coinbase.com and on the crypto exchange’s Android and iOS apps, enabling users to buy, sell, send, receive, or store ZEC throughout the company’s platforms and services.
- At the moment, Zcash support is available to customers in most jurisdictions, with the exception of New York state and the United Kingdom.
- It will be recalled that following the price rise recorded after the initial Coinbase Pro integration last week, the cryptocurrency defied the so-called “Coinbase Effect” by falling 17 percent in a single day on November 30.
- The deployment of KYC for the purpose of trading ZEC, in theory, would contradict the spirit of the cryptocurrency by effectively exposing the identity of every customer who trades ZEC on Coinbase.
Apple puts third-party screen time apps on notice
- A number of app developers building third-party screen time trackers and parental control applications are worried that Apple’s increased scrutiny of their apps in recent weeks is not a coincidence.
- Though not all apps were getting the boot, it seemed, Apple did seem to have a problem with screen time apps that took advantage of mobile device management (MDM) and/or VPNs to operate.
- For example, the developer behind Kidslox had implemented a combination of MDM and a VPN for screen time and parental controls.
- After several rejections of updates to Kidslox’ year-old app, the developer finally took to the company blog to also call out Apple for what it believed was the “systematic destruction” of the third-party screen time management industry.
- Apple, of course, never intended for VPNs to be used for screen time tracking or parental controls, nor did it want the enterprise-focused MDM technology to be implemented in consumer-based apps.