New York Times: We Built an ‘Unbelievable’ (but Legal) Facial Recognition Machine. “Most people pass through some type of public space in their daily routine — sidewalks, roads, train stations. Thousands walk through Bryant Park every day. But we generally think that a detailed log of our location, and a list of the people we’re with, is private. Facial recognition, applied to the web of cameras that already exists in most cities, is a threat to that privacy.”
BBC: Facebook copied email contacts of 1.5 million users. “Facebook ‘unintentionally’ uploaded the email contacts of more than 1.5 million users without asking permission to do so, the social network has admitted. The data harvesting happened via a system used to verify the identity of new members, Facebook asked new users to supply the password for their email account, and took a copy of their contacts.”
How-To Geek: How to See All of the Data Instagram Has on You. “Instagram is the place to share your photos, and just like most social networks, it keeps tabs on some weird and wonderful things. Have you ever wondered what kinds of things it tracks? Here’s how to see it all.” I see a lot of “How to see what data Facebook has” but not many for Instagram.
Boing Boing: Your kid’s “smart watch” lets anyone in the world trace their location. Again.. Warning: there is some swearing in the article and I bet after you read it you’ll want to swear too. “Tictoctrack is a rebadged Gator watch — the ones that had to fix a glaring API flaw that Pen Test Partners published on in January — but because it has its own back-end, one that keeps all kid-data onshore in Australia, it has its own grotesque security defects.”
TechCrunch: Smart speakers’ installed base to top 200 million by year end. “Smart speakers’ global installed base is on track to top 200 million by the end of this year, according to a report out today from analysts at Canalys. Specifically, the firm forecasts the installed base will grow by 82.4 percent, from 114 million units in 2018 to 207.9 million in 2019.”
New York Times: Insurers Want to Know How Many Steps You Took Today. “A smartphone app that measures when you brake and accelerate in your car. The algorithm that analyzes your social media accounts for risky behavior. The program that calculates your life expectancy using your Fitbit. This isn’t speculative fiction — these are real technologies being deployed by insurance companies right now.”
NBC News: Mark Zuckerberg leveraged Facebook user data to fight rivals and help friends, leaked documents show. “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data, according to about 4,000 pages of leaked company documents largely spanning 2011 to 2015 and obtained by NBC News.”