Protecting Against HSTS Abuse
- Well, the HSTS standard describes that web browsers should remember when redirected to a secure location, and to automatically make that conversion on behalf of the user if they attempt an insecure connection in the future.
- Because using HSTS in this way does not benefit legitimate use cases, but does facilitate tracking, we revised our network stack to only permit HSTS state to be set for the loaded hostname (e.g., “https://a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.example.com”), or the Top Level Domain + 1 (TLD+1) (e.g., “https://example.com”).
- We modified WebKit so that when an insecure third-party subresource load from a domain for which we block cookies (such as an invisible tracking pixel) had been upgraded to an authenticated connection because of dynamic HSTS, we ignore the HSTS upgrade request and just use the original URL.
Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica, a controversial data-analysis firm the Trump campaign used during the 2016 election
- According to Grewal's statement, a University of Cambridge professor who had developed a personality prediction app for Facebook users called "thisisyourdigitallife" improperly passed user information to other parties including Cambridge Analytica and SCL in 2015.
- President Donald Trump's campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in June that year to help target ads using voter data gathered from some 230 million adults.
- It also raised questions about whether Trump associates had cooperated with Russia's broader election-meddling activity, because Russian operatives capitalized on detailed user data to deliver targeted ads and content on Facebook and other social-media platforms.
- Worries about whether the Trump campaign collaborated with the Kremlin arose in part because the content touted by Russian state actors was highly specific, and targeted to competitive US voter precincts — details that some experts have said would not have been known to a foreign entity.
Facebook suspended Donald Trump’s data operations team for misusing people’s personal infromation
- Facebook said late Friday that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies around data collection and retention.
- The companies, which ran data operations for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, are widely credited with helping Trump more effectively target voters on Facebook than his rival, Hillary Clinton.
- Kogan passed the data to SCL and a man named Christopher Wylie from a data harvesting firm known as Eunoia Technologies, in violation of Facebook rules that prevent app developers from giving away or selling users’ personal information.
- It’s not clear to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped (Parscale denied that Cambridge was of any use in a recent 60 Minutes interview), but we do know that Trump’s digital operation was shockingly effective.
Augmented reality is shaping the future of finance
- Like Salesforce’s primary offering the computation takes place in the cloud; business users need only the headset and their data.
- The result is an immersive 3D augmented environment that lets users interact with data streams intuitively — it’s technically VR more than AR, but the mixed reality future will likely lean AR for apps like this, especially when the smartglasses problem is resolved.
- Building on the company’s history of technological disruption — CitiBank is the company that brought the world the ATM — it’s aimed at traders working within financial institutions, not consumer traders.
- It’s already finding applications including data analysis, client meetings, consumer services and banking.
- Meanwhile, business finance tech users will leverage low-cost interfaces and cloud computing power to grasp and comprehend the data provided by big data and AI.
ProtonMail is being blocked in Turkey
- Because of ProtonMail’s unique mission to protect online freedom and ensure freedom of speech in the digital age, we have long anticipated that certain governments who act contrary to these values will be interested in denying access to ProtonMail and ProtonVPN.
- VPNs remain one of the best ways to bypass censorship, and ProtonMail provides ProtonVPN for free in order to ensure people around the world can have access to an uncensored internet.
- The Turkish government has also been trying to ban Tor, but using Tor Bridges has so far still been an effective method of circumventing online censorship.
- ProtonMail will continue to fight censorship on all fronts, and our commitment to this cause is the reason why we operate ProtonVPN, the only completely free VPN service that has no bandwidth limitations and does not sell or exploit user data.
Investors share their predictions for AI and machine learning in 2018
- Generally, we see the core machine learning tools and building block services maturing, and now we are most interested in companies that are “moving up” the stack toward vertical applications, “moving down” the stack toward purpose-built hardware, and “moving out” of the data center toward intelligence at the edge.
- For example, training “at the core” in a data center will likely be the predominant mode of training models, so the cloud providers will have a strong incentive to build special-purpose hardware in order to improve performance, reduce their reliance on suppliers, and have a higher level of control on margins.
- Two of the primary approaches we have seen in startups tackling the problem of improving understanding and user experience is to either narrow down the potential universe of requests and responses to a particular use case or to include humans in the loop to augment the machine learning system.
Celebrities keep hurting Snap’s stock price — this time over an inappropriate ad
- For the second time in the past month, a popular celebrity has torched Snap’s stock with a public complaint.
- Last month, it was Kylie Jenner who tweeted that she “[does] not open Snapchat anymore,” an admission that some believe caused Snap’s stock to drop more than 6 percent.
- The damage was done, though: Snap stock is down almost 5 percent on the day.
- The first is that celebrities seem to have an incredible impact on Snapchat’s business.
- These celebrity comments, while not happening in a vacuum, also seem to have a disproportionate impact on Snap’s stock.
- But there is also a legitimate issue here with Snapchat’s ad content: The quality of the ads isn’t always very high.
- This is usually what happens when you sell ads programmatically, or through software programs that don’t always require human moderation.
Quick Notes On Spotify’s April 3rd Direct Listing
- The music-powered firm is going public using a direct listing, a method of flotation that will not see the company sell new shares in its debut.
- Regardless of how well the direct listing goes, the market will have a new data point regarding unicorn debuts.
- The goal of the speeech seemed to be to establish the company not as some sort of upstart, but instead the leading player in music streaming, a market category that Ek noted was driving growth in the music business after years of decline.
- Spotify’s massive user base creates huge stacks of data which power consumer features like playlists, and also help artists learn from their fan base.
- Free users help Spotify generate more data than it could with just paying users, allowing it to build a more intelligent service for both music fans and artists, thus creating a better service, enticing those same free users to become paying subscribers.
City guide startup Cool Cousin tops out private ICO ahead of its upcoming public offering
- One entrant is Cool Cousin, a platform that offers curated city guides created by locals, which is in the process of converting its offering to use blockchain technology and its currency, the Cuz token.
- Today, Cool Cousin announced its private token sale has sold out, and it won’t be accepting any additional investors ahead of its public crowd sale, which begins April 3, 2018.
- By tokenizing the platform, Cool Cousin won’t remove fiat from the system, but it will offer incentives to its community in the form of Cuz tokens for verifying content, among other things.
- Cool Cousin currently has over 1,000 cousins live on the platform, and the company claims it has another 6,000 in the pipeline.
- So what does converting to blockchain technology specifically offer its users?
Cryptocurrencies and the Distribution of Power in the Age of Google and Facebook
- Although Bitcoin has been able to prove it is possible to exchange value without the need for the centralization of money production and validation, cryptocurrencies have a long way to go.
- If you think about it, despite how many other technologies will influence, accelerate and improve the overall quality of living, like AI, VR, AR and machine learning, none can compare with cryptocurrency in terms of basic influence on people’s lives.
- If only companies actually cared about people, the outcome of so many strategies would be so different.
- When you hear a company is blocking certain ads, behaviours, actions, posts, whatever it is, the reasons are most likely competitive ones.
- Interestingly enough, companies are indeed allowed to advertise financial services, like personal credits, financial products, etc.
- Bitclave, a decentralized search engine: with this product you’re able to get tokens for sharing data.