ACLU Northern California: Amazon Teams Up With Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous New Face Recognition Technology. “Amazon, which got its start selling books and still bills itself as ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company,’ has officially entered the surveillance business. The company has developed a powerful and dangerous new facial recognition system and is actively helping governments deploy it. Amazon calls the service ‘Rekognition.'”
Engadget: Ring doorbell flaw lets others watch after password changes. “You’d expect a smart doorbell to instantly boot out everyone the moment you change your password, but that isn’t necessarily the case. The Information has learned that the app for Ring’s video doorbell wasn’t forcing users to sign-in after password changes, regardless of how much time had elapsed — in one case, an ex-partner had been watching the camera for months. Ring said it started kicking people out in January, after receiving word of the incident, but that window of opportunity still lasted several hours in an Information test.”
BuzzFeed: Inside The Ecosystem That Fuels Amazon’s Fake Review Problem . “One morning in late January, Jake picked up the box on his desk, tore through the packing tape, unearthed the iPhone case inside, snapped a picture, and uploaded it to an Amazon review he’d been writing. The review included a sentence about the case’s sleek design and cool, clear volume buttons. He finished off the blurb with a glowing title (‘The perfect case!!’) and rated the product a perfect five stars. Click. Submitted. Jake never tried the case. He doesn’t even have an iPhone.”
New Zealand Herald: Google, Amazon, Facebook to attend White House AI meeting. “Officials from top tech companies including Alphabet’s Google, Amazon and Facebook are among those planning to attend a meeting at the White House Thursday on artificial intelligence. The White House is inviting over 100 business leaders, senior government officials, and experts for an AI summit to address issues including development, regulatory barriers and specific applications.”
Reuters: Amazon ad sale boom could challenge Google-Facebook dominance. “Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) expanding business of selling space on its site to merchants helped it double profits on Thursday, and some see the move as a step towards taking advertising dollars from Google and Facebook Inc (FB.O).”
Washington Post: How merchants use Facebook to flood Amazon with fake reviews. “On Amazon, customer comments can help a product surge in popularity. The online retail giant says that more than 99 percent of its reviews are legitimate because they are written by real shoppers who aren’t paid for them. But a Washington Post examination found that for some popular product categories, such as Bluetooth headphones and speakers, the vast majority of reviews appear to violate Amazon’s prohibition on paid reviews. Such reviews have certain characteristics, such as repetitive wording that people probably cut and paste in.”
Meb Faber: Why All My Books Are Now Free (Aka A Lesson In Amazon Scams And Money Laundering). “You’ve probably heard much in the media recently about Facebook, fake news, and weaponizing content to influence opinions and elections. You may have seen Mark Zuckerberg dragged in front of Congress to testify about Facebook’s mistakes. Well, what you haven’t heard much of in the media (yet) is how Amazon is an equally bad actor. Whereas Facebook is plagued by fake news, Amazon is littered with fake products. And these fake products encourage fraud and play a role in global money laundering.” I have been looking into creating Amazon ebooks but there’s such a load of absolute junk on there — plus overt criminal activity like is noted in this article — that I’m having a hard time with it.