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Hacking the patent system: Open source and patents

Recently, I caught up with Daniel Nazer of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to pose a few questions relating to software patents. Daniel is a staff attorney at EFF, where he occupies the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents and focuses on patent reform.

Daniel will be speaking at SCaLE 14x about the patent system and open source licensing. Find out more in this interview.

Why are there so many software patents?

It is far too easy to get software-related patents that have broad and vague claims. This rewards people who game the patent system and hurts people who actually develop software. The current system also encourages companies to stockpile patents for defensive purposes. As long as the patent office keeps issuing software patents, many companies will feel they have little choice but to keep applying for them.

Is there a practical way for a developer to be sure they’re not infringing on a software patent?


There are approximately 400,000 software patents currently in force and about 50,000 new software patents every year. And each of these patents has multiple claims. One paper estimated that if all software firms conducted thorough patent clearance, the annual cost of that process would be greater than the market capitalization of the entire industry.

Firms can do targeted searches to try and minimize risk (looking at the patent portfolio of direct competitors, for example), but they will always be at risk of surprise patent attacks.

Are open source developers more or less vulnerable than proprietary developers to patent attacks?

This is an interesting question. In theory, open source development should be more vulnerable because the code is available for inspection and thus available for patent infringement analysis. In practice, I don’t think it makes much difference. This is because software patents tend to be very vague and are claimed at quite high levels of abstraction. Patent trolls can just analyze the user interface and general functionality of software. For example, you don’t need to see the actual code to figure out if someone is infringing a patent that claims online shopping carts. So all developers are vulnerable to patent attacks.

Do we need fundamental reform of the patent system with regard to software patents?

Yes. I don’t think software patents promote innovation. I think they primarily serve to entrench incumbents with huge patent portfolios and to reward opportunistic patent trolls. Ultimately we should rethink whether software patents should be allowed at all.

What systematic reforms do you see as most promising?

Congress is considering some legislative reform, but it is generally aimed at litigation abuse. Unfortunately, there is nothing on the table right now that deals with the more fundamental problem of the huge volume of low-quality software patents.

Are there any books or websites you can recommend to learn more about the software patent problem?

We blog regularly about these issues at EFF’s Deeplinks blog. I especially recommend our Stupid Patent of the Month series. We have a white paper on patent policy at Defend Innovation.

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How a university network assistant used Linux in the 90s

In the mid-1990s, I was enrolled in computer science classes. My university’s computer science department provided a SunOS server—a multi-user, multitasking Unix system—for its students. We logged into it and wrote source code for the programming languages we were learning, such as C, C++, and ADA. In those days, well before social networks and instant messaging, we also used the system to communicate with each other, sending emails and using utilities such as write and talk. We were each also allowed to host a personal website. I enjoyed being able to complete my assignments and contact other users.

It was my first experience with this type of operating environment, but I soon learned about another operating system that could do the same thing: Linux.

While I was a student, I also worked part-time at the university. My first position was as a network installer in the Department of Housing and Residence (H&R). This involved connecting student dormitories to the campus network. As this was the university’s first dormitory network service, only two buildings and about 75 students had been connected.

In my second year, the network expanded to cover an additional two buildings. H&R decided to let the university’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) manage this growing operation. I transferred to OIT and started the position of Student Assistant to the OIT Network Manager. That is how I discovered Linux. One of my new responsibilities was to manage the firewall systems that provided network and internet access to the dormitories.

Each student was registered with their hardware MAC address. Registered students could connect to the dorm network and receive an IP address and a route to the internet. Unlike the other expensive SunOS and VMS servers used by the university, these firewalls used low-cost computers running the free and open source Linux operating system. By the end of the year, the system had registered nearly 500 students.

The OIT network staff members were using Linux for HTTP, FTP, and other services. They also used Linux on their personal desktops. That’s when I realized I had my hands on a computer system that looked and acted just like the expensive SunOS box in the CS department but without the high cost. Linux could run on commodity x86 hardware, such as a Dell Latitude with 8 MB of RAM and a 133Mhz Intel Pentium CPU. That was the selling point for me! I installed Red Hat Linux 5.2 on a box scavenged from the surplus warehouse and gave my friends login accounts.

While I used my new Linux server to host my website and provide accounts to my friends, it also offered graphics capabilities over the CS department server. Using the X Windows system, I could browse the web with Netscape Navigator, play music with XMMS, and try out different window managers. I could also download and compile other open source software and write my own code.

I learned that Linux offered some pretty advanced features, many of which were more convenient than or superior to more mainstream operating systems. For example, many operating systems did not yet offer simple ways to apply updates. In Linux, this was easy, thanks to auto RPM, an update manager written by Kirk Bauer, which sent the root user a daily email with available updates. It had an intuitive interface for reviewing and selecting software updates to install—pretty amazing for the mid-’90s.

Linux may not have been well-known back then, and it was often received with skepticism, but I was convinced it would survive. And survive it did!

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Get better data security with Office 365 Solution for Business

A secured corporate network always ensures a good level of protection against the unauthorized users, who try to access servers and apps

In most of the businesses, you may find several connections for remote accessibility. However, lots of enterprises overlook the risks that can be caused due to the connections. For your business needs, you may have considered using Office 365 Solution for Business in Rutherford, New Jersey. The good news is that this software suite offers two major benefits, which are always essential to a business-

  • Identify and control the network threats
  • Establish several procedures to present data governance solutions

The new Data Governance and Threat Intelligence tools, integrated with Microsoft’s software suite, are much useful for your business.  In one of the studies, we have found out that data violation may cause an average loss of four million dollars. Almost forty-five percent of the organizations have not considered data governance, important for preventing serious risks.

Almost all the businesses have realized the importance of data governance. They have also recognized that the way of accessing tools or data for filtering it helps with threat intelligence. However, most of them do not know how they can improve data governance with the latest tools of Office 365 Solution for Business in Rutherford, New Jersey. One of the best instances for you is that the Cloud-related recommendations help in defining data, which must be saved and archived.

Threat Intelligence system, available with O365, includes various features-

  • Attack Simulator – With this tool, the admins get the chance of simulating various threats to know how the users are reacting to the attacks.
  • Threat Explorer and Tracker – In case of Explorer, you may have the reports on the risky activities (for instance, sharing the private data with other companies). However, with Tracker, you can review the diverse threat categories. The Tracker may also present the trendy threats.
  • Better remediation ability – It helps in remediating the malware and in removing the infected emails.

You may contact the best company for Professional Computer IT Support in NJ and know more about the features of O365.

Now, Data Governance system of the software suite helps you in various ways-

  • Data retention based on events – It is not easy to manage the data, which has retention period, related to definite events. O365 has special tools to assist you in creating events to activate data retention period. You will be able to stick to the business-related regulations.
  • Data disposition assessment – Every company stores its data as there is no consistent process to show the reason of deletion. With the safe disposition of business data, you can decrease the compliance and security risks. Office 365 helps you in turning on the disposition assessing system after the retention period is over. You may also make out whether you have deleted the data safely. However, other apps, like OneDrive, have also included this feature for the users.

With the Professional Computer IT Support in NJ, you may deal with various other advanced tools of Office 365.  Message Encryption ability of O365 is also one of the best features for ensuring security. The users may read the encrypted text by activating this feature. SoComputer Technology Articles, optimize your use of Office 365 by having professional assistance.

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Scary ways technology is tracking you
April 24, 2018

The concept of “Big Brother” used to be a dystopian technological nightmare, but these days, it’s just another Wednesday. Unless you’re living with no electricity in a secluded cabin in the woods, the chances are that your likes, dislikes, physical location, friends, family members, and personal information are all being tracked by some of the most powerful corporations in the world. Maybe that’s why it’s become so hard to sleep at night?
While science fiction novels predicted this craziness decades ago, what few anticipated was how willingly the general public would implant tracking devices into every feature of their lives. Most of the time, people don’t even think about it. But the truth is, everything from cell phone cameras to smart TV recordings to your very DNA is being handled by people you’ve never met, for purposes ranging from government surveillance to targeted advertising. Sometimes, paranoia is a good thing.
The NSA can read your emails before your mom even receives them
U.S. lawmakers know how to sneak controversial legislation under the radar, according to CNET. In 2018, both house of Congress quietly renewed two NSA programs named Prism and Upstream, even though both programs — which were revealed to the public by Edward Snowden in 2013 — had previously earned a massive uproar from privacy advocates. What’s so bad about these programs? Let’s start with Prism. This technology collects communications sent by people using digital services like email and video chat. Upstream, then, plugs into the internet’s basement and roots out these communications while they’re still moving through cyberspace.
Prism and Upstream were allegedly created to covertly monitor the online communications of non-U.S. citizens, doing their own thing off in other countries, but the programs have been shown to “incidentally” spy on Americans as well, such as when you Skype your friend in Egypt. They have often intercepted regular American internet traffic as well. While the ins-and-outs of how it all works are more complex, the big question that everyone should be loudly demanding answers for is whether such government programs have a right to exist in the first place. You be the judge.
Yes, people can spy on you through your laptop camera
Everyone has that one crazy uncle who duct tapes the little camera on his laptop, and we all laugh at him. Now, it’s probably silly that he checks his lamps for hidden microphones every morning, and the literal tinfoil hat is a bit much, but when it comes to the laptop camera … well, he has a point. According to the New York Times , Mark Zuckerberg tapes over his camera, too. And when Mr. Facebook himself is doing it, taping it over suddenly doesn’t seem so paranoid. Admittedly, most people aren’t celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, so there aren’t billions of followers trying to hack into your camera, just to stare at you flossing your teeth as you read listicles about privacy rights. However, Digital Spy does point out that innocent people have been recorded in states of undress by predatory voyeurs who upload these videos to creepy websites. It’s also worth noting that hackers can get into your cellphone’s camera, too, with the NSA having a reputation for hacking iPhone cameras in particular.
As reported by CNET, one school in Pennsylvania was even charged with spying on students via laptops the students brought home, which is pretty inexcusable. That said, if you want to avoid getting snooped on in this manner, the best thing you can do is try to avoid shady websites, weird advertisements, or unclear downloads. Also, get some good antivirus software on your computer, ASAP.
Amazon Echo and Google Home don’t just listen to you…
Alexa is like the friend you alway wanted. Alexa is patient, listens intently to your questions, knows all the answers, and remembers everything you’ve ever said — every single word, in fact. Which would be great, except “Alexa” is actually a virtual assistant, and as Wired points out, home listening devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home save your conversations. Now, to be fair, while listening devices always have their microphones turned on, they don’t record your voice until you use a “wake word,” (for example, “Alexa”) which stirs them out of their slumber. But once the wake word activates them, these devices can then record any conversations you have with them, and file away those audio clips in a cloud server, based in some faraway land.
Before you get too anxious, the good news is you can track down and delete these files at any time. However, if you’re still not sleeping easy about the idea of some machine recording you all the time, it’s hard to blame you. As the San Diego Union Tribune explains, these listening devices employ something called a “sniffer algorithm.” Just like your dog and your mother-in-law sniff around for the good stuff buried in your garbage, this algorithm hunts for “trigger words” in your voice, indicating heightened interest in particular topics. Why? To sell you stuff, of course. While Amazon claims they don’t use these keywords to push targeted advertising, it’s hard not to be cynical.
You thought Google wasn’t saving all your searches?
In retrospect, this should have been obvious. For the past couple decades, we’ve been asking Google every question that’s ever popped into our head, sharing countless embarrassing personal facts in the process. Sure, Facebook might be spying on your likes, but Google knows all about that weird bump on your thigh you were so worried about for a whole week in 2009. Google knows you looked up advice for dealing with your in-laws. Google knows you had to ask how to spell the word Cincinnati. It knows about all your weird inquiries, your political indecision, your secret obsession with bad rom-coms … you get the idea. Most horrifying of all, according to the Washington Post, Google saves a detailed log of every search you’ve ever made, from any device.
Calm down. Take a deep breath. If it helps, take note that Google only recorded these searches if you were logged into your Google or Gmail account at the time, but let’s face: Gmail users are always logged in. Google does allows you to go back and read all the searches you’ve ever made, so at least you can relive the shame of that weird bump on your thigh.
Meanwhile, you know that whole “incognito mode” thing? The Independent explains that while Chrome’s incognito mode won’t save your browsing history, the not-so-private browsing mode won’t keep you invisible from the websites themselves or from whoever runs the network you’re using.
Your smart TV is a little too smart
There’s a reason it’s not called a dumb TV. In case you didn’t read every bit of the fine print when you bought that swanky new Samsung flat screen, CNET offers a helpful reminder that not only does your TV capture voice recordings and send them to third parties in order to improve its recognition software, but users should also keep in mind that whatever you say around the TV — you know, while you’re sitting in the living room drinking with your friends — might be captured and sent off as well. Imagine your TV is the sort of person who just blabs everybody’s secrets without realizing it, and you’ll be on the right track.
CNET also details the so-called “Weeping Angel” hack revealed via Wikileaks, which was allegedly a program developed by both the CIA and MI5 that would make your Samsung TV appear to be turned off while it recorded your conversations. According to CNBC , ex-CIA director Michael Hayden tried to cool everyone’s nerves in a TV interview with Stephen Colbert by assuring the American public that a tool like Weeping Angel would never be used against American citizens, and that “There are bad people in the world that have Samsung TVs, too.” Realistically, this explanation probably didn’t calm most people down. If you haven’t already thrown your smart TV through the window, the good news is you can simply disable data collection in the privacy settings.
Snapchat knows your location
If you’re the kind of flaky, dishonest person who would tell your friend that you can’t make it to their party in San Diego because you’re taking a trip to Cancun — but really, you’re just visiting that friend’s sworn archenemy in Las Vegas — well, don’t open up the Snapchat app, or at least go more carefully through your settings. Snapchat’s “Snap Maps” feature, according to Canada’s Global News, publicly shows your location to everyone on your friends list, every time you open the app.
However, it’s worth explaining that this is another one of those features you have to opt-in to. If you’re not a fan of having your location placed on the map, you’re perfectly capable of using Snapchat in the “ghost mode” setting, which doesn’t broadcast your location. Basically, if you want to use Snapchat but don’t want people to know where you are, just read and think before you click the “yes” button. Rather than hiding Snap Maps, Snapchat has been quite public about how Snap Maps works, not only marketing it as a reason to use Snapchat, but also expanding the Snap Maps program in 2018, according to The Verge .
Facebook knows your political opinions (and oh so much more)
Lately, you can’t throw a stone without hitting another way that Facebook is violating your privacy. While proclaiming that “Facebook is watching you” is like saying the sky is blue, here’s one thing you might’ve not realized Facebook was logging into its database, according to the New York Times : your political opinions. See, even if you don’t publicly post your party alliance on your profile, Facebook tracks who and what you like — including pages, people, or companies that endorse certain political candidates — and it adds all this up to calculate you as being anything from “extremely liberal” to “extremely conservative,” as well as more moderate options in between. This will then determine what sort of political advertisements you see. So, for example, if Candidate X pays Facebook to show campaign ads to moderate liberals, those users will see those ads. Weirded out yet?
Of course, Facebook’s creepiness doesn’t end there, according to The Verge . In 2018, yet another uncomfortable truth danced out into the light, when Android users realized Facebook Messenger had been keeping a thorough log of their call history and SMS data for years. In all fairness, this “feature” was opt-in, not mandatory. So while Facebook certainly needs to do a better job at informing users about what exactly they’re opting in to, users do need to pay more attention to the actions of their own thumbs. Maybe it’s time to start reading those user agreements we all click through.
XKeyscore is the NSA’s all-access pass to your internet records
As if we hadn’t already heard enough about the invasive technologies used by the NSA, The Guardian explains the background details behind one of Edward Snowden’s most haunting statements: “I, sitting at my desk, [could] wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.” While U.S. officials claimed this wasn’t possible, the NSA’s program XKeyscore certainly sounds like what Snowden was talking about. XKeyscore’s training documents reveal a program capable of digging into “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet,” requiring only that the user fill out a little form with some sort of justification for the search — a reason that would shockingly not need to be reviewed by the courts.
Basically, XKeyscore can mine through email contents, a person’s browser history, what terms they search for, their metadata, and even real-time readings on what they’re doing right now. A 2012 document contained a section titled “plug-ins,” which demonstrated how XKeyscore could scan through email addresses, phone numbers, user names, chat logs, friend lists, cookies, and more. U.S. law requires the NSA to obtain a warrant if they want to monitor a U.S. citizen, but Americans talking to foreign targets, or foreign citizens altogether? No warrant required. Either way, the whole thing sounds pretty Orwellian.
Your bank knows the size of your lungs
Whenever you get on the phone with the customer service line for any company, always remember how easily you can be recorded — and don’t assume you aren’t being recorded just because the little automated voice didn’t mention it. For example, VC Star reports that back in 2017, Bank of America was forced to cough up a settlement of over $1 million when the company violated California law by not properly informing customers it was recording them. Oops.
But seriously, never underestimate the sort of technology that is analyzing your voice. On the other hand, don’t always assume that such technology is necessarily a bad thing. For example, CreditCards.com explains that three of the four largest banks in the United States analyze their recorded calls with a form of technology called “phoneprinting,” which assesses 147 characteristics of each call, including a person’s voice, the type of phone being used, and the location of the call. Voice analyzing software, such as the programs developed by Nice Systems in Israel, go so far as to analyze the size of the caller’s lungs, their pitch, and their tone. Before you get stressed out about this, understand the reason: It’s not to sell you things (yet) but rather to prevent credit card fraud, as a service on your behalf. If someone tries to steal your identity, this software can compare their voice to yours, and more easily root out impostors.
Watch out who you’re giving your DNA too
These days, many companies allow you to spit in a tube, mail your spit, and find out where your family came from (supposedly). Sounds great, right? If you really feel like splurging on something crazy, the genetic code market has really opened up in the last few years, to the point where companies like Helix will even sell you bottles of wine carefully designed and “scientifically selected” to perfectly compliment your genetics.
But according to Gizmodo , you should probably understand exactly what rights you’re handing over before you sign up for services like Helix, Ancestry.com, or 23andMe. If you carefully read the agreements that accompany these mail-in DNA kits , you’ll find out you’re giving away some pretty personal information, and giving that company the right to use your DNA sample however they want. Now, while these companies probably aren’t developing any grand sci-fi achievements like human clones or toxic swamp monsters with your face, if they were … well, let’s just say you couldn’t do much about it. More realistically, by sending in your DNA sample, you’re giving them free license to store it, test it, or share it with third parties that may not have your best interests in mind. If you’re cool with that, no worries, just make sure you know what you’re signing up for. And keep in mind, as Kristen Brown of Gizmodo writes, those ancestral DNA tests aren’t always so accurate.

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baba vanga world war three predictions is seriously freaky.
April 21, 2018

Baba Vanga, the blind Nostradamus of the Balkans, made some worrying predictions about World War Three, which after recent events have got people talking.
Just last week the US, UK, and France all attacked Syria in the aftermath of their alleged chemical attack on their own people.
Now while Syria is the area where all of the destruction is occurring, what most people are talking about is whether Russia will get involved, considering they are a vocal ally of the Syrian government.
Of course, many are claiming that we are flirting with World War Three – that is, if Russia decide to retaliate. Many believe that we are teetering close not only to a Third World War, but a nuclear one at that.
But before we delve too far into the firery hell of a future which awaits us, let us go back in time to 1996 when Baba Vanga made a peculiar statement.
Baba Vanga seemingly predicted all things in history. Okay, that’s a long shot but she did apparently predict 9/11, Brexit, and the rise of ISIS.
Now you might be sitting there thinking, yeah – but what did she actually say?
Well speaking of 9/11, back in 1989, the prophetess said:
Horror, horror! The American brethren will fall after being attacked by the steel birds. The wolves will be howling in a bush, and innocent blood will be gushing.
Speaking of the Kursk submarine disaster which happened in 2000 killing all on board, Vanga said in 1980:
Kursk will be covered with water and the whole world will weep over it.
Pretty eerie huh?
However on her death bed in 1996, it has been reported that Baba Vanga made an even darker prediction, one very relatable now, and one which would change the course of history as we know it, reports The Sun .
Her reported words go as follows:
Everything will melt away like ice yet the glory of Vladimir, the glory of Russia, are the only things that will remain.
Russia will not only survive, it will dominate the world.
Has there ever been a better time to move to Moscow? Or pack up your bags and head to St. Petersburg? Rich with history, take a stroll by the banks of the River Neva, or make a visit to the Winter Palace. With flights to St Petersburg starting at just £183 from the UK, you really can’t go wrong.
Alternatively? Perish in a miserable nuclear volcano, if Baba’s predictions are anything to go by.
Following on from last week’s airstrike, it doesn’t take a genius to crack Baba Vanga’s code.
Baba Vanga also made two different huge predictions for 2018 .
She claimed that China would overtake the US as the world’s superpower and that there would be a ‘new form of energy’ discovered on the planet Venus.
In July, NASA is set to launch the Parker Solar Probe, a robotic spacecraft whose main purpose is to probe the outer corona of the Sun using Venus’ gravitational force. The mission aims to examine and understand how magnetic fields cause solar wind.
Could this be the new form of energy, Baba Vanga was talking about? I guess it’s simply just a matter of time until we find out.
Or we could just be blown into smithereens after a Twitter row between two powerful people. It’s only a matter of time.

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Facebook scandal ‘hit 87 million users’
April 5, 2018

How the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal unfolded

Facebook believes the data of up to 87 million people was improperly shared with the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica – many more than previously disclosed.

The BBC has been told that about 1.1 million of them are UK-based.

The overall figure had been previously quoted as being 50 million by the whistleblower Christopher Wylie.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said “clearly we should have done more, and we will going forward”.

Zuckerberg: I’m still the man to lead Facebook

During a press conference he said that he had previously assumed that if Facebook gave people tools, it was largely their responsibility to decide how to use them.

But he added that it was “wrong in retrospect” to have had such a limited view.

Mark ZuckerbergImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMark Zuckerberg answered questions from the press for nearly an hour

“Today, given what we know… I think we understand that we need to take a broader view of our responsibility,” he said.

“That we’re not just building tools, but that we need to take full responsibility for the outcomes of how people use those tools as well.”

Mr Zuckerberg also announced an internal audit had uncovered a fresh problem. Malicious actors had been abusing a feature that let users search for one another by typing in email addresses or phone numbers into Facebook’s search box.

As a result, many people’s public profile information had been “scraped” and matched to the contact details, which had been obtained from elsewhere.

Facebook has blocked now blocked the facility.

“It is reasonable to expect that if you had that [default] setting turned on, that in the last several years someone has probably accessed your public information in this way,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

New numbers

The estimates of how many people’s data had been exposed were revealed in a blog by the tech firm’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer.

The BBC has also learned that Facebook now estimates that about 305,000 people had installed the This Is Your Digital Life quiz that had made the data-harvesting possible. The previously suggested figure had been 270,000.

About 97% of the installations occurred within the US. However, just over 16 million of the total number of users affected are thought to be from other countries.

A spokeswoman for the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office told the BBC that it was continuing to assess and consider the evidence before deciding what steps to take.

What is the controversy about?

Facebook has faced intense criticism after it emerged that it had known for years that Cambridge Analytica had collected data from millions of its users, but had relied on the London-based firm to self-certify that it had deleted the information.

Cambridge Analytica said it had bought the information from the creator of the This Is Your Digital Life app without knowing that it had been obtained improperly.

The firm says it deleted all the data as soon as it was made aware of the circumstances.

But Channel 4 News has since reported that at least some of the data in question is still in circulation despite Cambridge Analytica insisting it had destroyed the material.

During Mr Zuckerberg’s press conference, Cambridge Analytica tweeted it had only obtained data for 30 million individuals – not 87 million – from the app’s creator, and again insisted it had deleted all records.

The latest revelations came several hours after the US House Commerce Committee announced that Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, would testify before it on 11 April.

Facebook’s share price has dropped sharply in the weeks since the allegations emerged.

Wide-ranging changes

In his Wednesday blog post, Mr Schroepfer detailed new steps being taken by Facebook in the wake of the scandal.

They include:

  • a decision to stop third-party apps seeing who is on the guest lists of Events pages and the contents of messages posted on them
  • a commitment to only hold call and text history logs collected by the Android versions of Messenger and Facebook Lite for a year. In addition, Facebook said the logs would no longer include the time of the calls
  • a link will appear at the top of users’ News Feeds next week, prompting them to review the third-party apps they use on Facebook and what information is shared as a consequence
News Feed promptImage copyrightFACEBOOK
Image captionAn alert will remind users they can remove any apps they no longer want to access their data

Facebook has also published proposed new versions of its terms of service anddata use policy.

The documents are longer than the existing editions in order to make the language clearer and more descriptive.

Tinder users affected

Another change the company announced involved limiting the type of information that can be accessed by third-party applications.

Immediately after the changes were announced, however, users of the widely popular dating app Tinder were hit by login errors, leaving them unable to use the service.

Tinder relies on Facebook to manage its logins. Users reported that they had been signed out of the app and were unable to log in again.

Instead, the app repeatedly asks for more permissions to access a user’s Facebook profile information. Many were quick to link the outage to the changes announced by Facebook.

Fake news

The Cambridge Analytica scandal follows earlier controversies about “fake news” and evidence that Russia tried to influence US voters via Facebook.

Mr Zuckerberg has declined to answer questions from British MPs.

President TrumpImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMr Zuckerberg now regrets saying it was a “pretty crazy idea” that fake news on Facebook could have helped Donald Trump become president

When asked about this by the BBC, he said he had decided that his chief technology officer and chief product officer should answer questions from countries other than the US.

He added, however, that he had made a mistake in 2016 by dismissing the notion that fake news had influenced the US Presidential election.

“People will analyse the actual impact of this for a long time to come,” he added.

“But what I think is clear at this point is that it was too flippant and I should never have referred to it as crazy.”

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Zuckerberg: I’m still the man to run Facebook
April 5, 2018

Mr Zuckerberg says he will not step down

Despite the turmoil that continues to surround his company, Mark Zuckerberg has insisted he is still the best person to lead Facebook.

“When you’re building something like Facebook which is unprecedented in the world,” he said on Wednesday, “there are things that you’re going to mess up.

“What I think people should hold us accountable for is if we are learning from our mistakes.”

As well as being Facebook’s chief executive, Mr Zuckerberg is chairman of the company’s board. When asked if his position had been discussed, he replied: “Not that I know of!”

The mere possibility that his leadership is in question is a scenario few would have predicted even a month ago.

But recent reports around improper data gathering by third parties – as well as fake news and propaganda – have prompted some to question Mr Zuckerberg’s ability to lead a company that some think has grown beyond his control.

‘By design, he can’t be fired – he can only resign’

Scott Stringer, head of New York City’s pension fund, said this week that Mr Zuckerberg should step aside. The fund owns approximately $1bn-worth of the social network.

“They have two billion users,” Mr Stringer told CNBC.

“They are in uncharted waters, and they have not comported themselves in a way that makes people feel good about Facebook and secure about their own data.”

He called for Mr Zuckerberg to step down in order to let Facebook start a “reputation-enhancing second chapter”.

“He doesn’t just lead an institution that touches almost every person on the planet,” wrote Felix Salmon.

“He also, thanks to financial engineering, has a majority of shareholder votes and controls the board, and is therefore answerable to no one.

“By design, he can’t be fired – he can only resign. Which is exactly what he should now do.”

‘A man often criticised as lacking empathy’

Mr Zuckerberg’s conference call went as well as the 33-year-old could have expected.

Indeed, at one point he encouraged more time to take more questions.

From his answers we learned a little more about the real toll of the negative publicity and the “deleteFacebook” movement. And so far the answer is: not much.

There has been “no meaningful impact that we’ve observed” he said, before quickly adding: “But look, it’s not good!”

A lit sign at Facebook HQImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionMr Zuckerberg said the “deleteFacebook” movement had had little impact

What we couldn’t tell during the call, of course, was to what extent Mr Zuckerberg was being quietly guided by his team in the room.

But for a man often criticised as lacking empathy, it was a strong display lasting almost an hour. Investors certainly thought so – shares were up 3% once the call ended.

Next week he will face a potentially tougher prospect, this time in front of the cameras, when he heads to Washington to testify before Congress.

Indeed, this session with the press was perhaps the ideal dress rehearsal.

The dynamic around Mr Zuckerberg’s leadership could change dramatically in the coming months, as investigations – most notably from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – begin to probe deeper into how Facebook handled the public’s data.

If the company is seen to have fallen short of its responsibility, and is hit with a potentially enormous fine, it could increase pressure on Facebook to make serious personnel changes.

So far, despite all of the apologies and admissions of poor judgement, Mr Zuckerberg told reporters that not a single person at the company had been fired over the Cambridge Analytica fiasco.

The buck stops with him, he said – and indeed it might.

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US-China trade: Beijing responds with tariffs of its own
April 4, 2018

Motorcycles made in China are among the imports that would be hit with a tax

Trade tensions between China and the US have been ramped up after Beijing responded to US plans for putting new taxes on hundreds of Chinese imports.

China said it would place 25% trade tariffs on 106 US goods, including soybeans, cars and orange juice.

The tit-for-tat action comes hours after Washington detailed about 1,300 Chinese products it intended to hit with tariffs – also set at 25%.

US-targeted items include Chinese-made televisions and motorcycles.

The White House said its proposals were a response to unfair Chinese intellectual property practices.

Earlier, Beijing said it “strongly condemns and firmly opposes” the proposed US tariffs, calling them “unilateralistic and protectionist”, and vowing to retaliate.

It then responded with specifics, as the Chinese finance ministry published a list of its own.

The products targeted by the Chinese tariffs were worth $50bn (£35.5bn) in 2017, according to the Chinese commerce ministry.

US chemicals, some types of aircraft and corn products are among the goods facing the taxes, the finance ministry said.

Extra tariffs will also be placed on whiskey, cigars and tobacco, some types of beef, lubricants, and propane and other plastic products.

US orange juice, certain sorghum products, cotton and some types of wheat, as well as trucks, some SUVs and certain electric vehicles, will also be subject to the new duties, the ministry added.

Economists had previously warned the Trump administration’s move to penalise China with the tariffs could prompt Beijing to retaliate and lead to higher prices for US consumers.

No winner’

The planned US tariffs are the result of an investigation ordered by US President Donald Trump into China’s intellectual property practices.

Last month, he said the inquiry had found evidence of problems, such as practices that pressure US companies to share technology with Chinese firms

The office of the US Trade Representative, which handles trade negotiations, said that its tariffs would apply to about $50bn of Chinese imports.

That was an amount which was “appropriate both in light of the estimated harm to the US economy and to obtain elimination of China’s harmful acts, policies and practices”, it said.

The list includes parts of communication satellites, semiconductors, aviation equipment and brewery machinery, as well as more niche products such as bakery ovens and rocket launchers.

A final list will be determined after a public comment period and review, expected to last about two months.

US President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping attend a business leaders event inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.Image copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionEconomists have warned the Trump administration’s move to slap China with the tariffs could prompt Beijing to retaliate

Beijing has been adamant that it did not want a trade war, but that it would not not back down under US pressure.

“Any attempt to bring China to its knees through threats and intimidation will never succeed. It will not succeed this time either,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

“There is no winner in a trade war, and an initiator will harm itself as well as others.”

Mr Geng said China had referred the US to the World Trade Organization.

Hopes for a resolution

China’s economy has become less dependent on selling goods abroad in recent years, which is likely to blunt the effect of the US tariffs, according to analysts for S&P Global Ratings.

The US was the destination for about 18.2% of all Chinese exports in 2016, according to the US trade department.

American business groups have urged the two sides to try to resolve the issues through talks, expressing concern that threatening tariffs could lead to a dispute that hurts the US economy.

“The administration is rightly focused on restoring equity and fairness in our trade relationship with China,” said the US Chamber of Commerce.

“However, imposing taxes on products used daily by American consumers and job creators is not the way to achieve those ends.”

Speaking before Beijing announced its retaliatory measures, Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US, said he did not think the Chinese would take the US list seriously, pointing to low-demand items such as monitors with video cassette recorders.

Instead, he said the main outcome was likely to be higher prices for US manufacturers – and eventually, consumers.

That may not be enough to persuade the Trump administration to opt for a different strategy, he added.

“At this point, if the Trump administration does not follow through on this, they’re going to lose face and credibility,” he said.

The actions proposed by both countries came just after China hit $3bn worth of US products with tariffs.

That was in response to separate steel and aluminium tariffs the US has imposed.

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‘That Sounds Ridiculous to Me.’ Mark Zuckerberg Responds After Tim Cook Takes a Jab at Facebook
April 3, 2018

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple special event at the Apple headquarters on March 21, 2016 in Cupertino, California.

As Facebook continues to manage the fallout from its massive data privacy crisis, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to AppleCEO Tim Cook for criticizing him over the scandal.

Zuckerberg fired back at Cook in an interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, saying that Cook’s take on the scandal — in which the personal data of 50 million Americans was improperly harvested by political data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, via Facebook — was “extremely glib. And not at all aligned with the truth.”

Cook’s criticism of Zuckerberg came during a live interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes as a part of the upcoming MSNBC special, “Revolution: Apple Changing the World.” When he was asked by Swisher what he would do if he were in Mark Zuckerberg’s position, he didn’t mince any words about the role played by Zuckerberg, with whom he is known to have somewhat of a terse relationship. “I wouldn’t be in this situation,” Cook replied.

In the interview, Cook criticized Facebook’s handling of users’ personal data, contrasting it with Apple’s approach. “We care about the user experience and we’re not going to traffic in your personal life,” Cook said. “I think it’s an invasion of privacy. I think it’s… privacy to us is a human right. It’s a civil liberty, and is something that is unique to America, this is like freedom of speech and freedom of the press and privacy is right up there for us.”

In his interview with Vox, Zuckerberg deflected Cook’s critique, pointing out that unlike iPhones, which can be expensive, Facebook offers a free service that everyone, regardless of class or income, is able to use.

“The reality here is that if you want to build a service that helps connect everyone in the world, then there are a lot of people who can’t afford to pay,” Zuckerberg said. “And therefore, as with a lot of media, having an advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people…But if you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford.”

The embattled Facebook CEO also referenced another billionaire tech CEO in his defense of the social media company’s practices: “I thought Jeff Bezos had an excellent saying on this in one of his Kindle launches a number of years back. He said, ‘There are companies that work hard to charge you more, and there are companies that work hard to charge you less.’ And at Facebook, we are squarely in the camp of the companies that work hard to charge you less and provide a free service that everyone can use,” Zuckerberg said

“I think it’s important that we don’t all get Stockholm Syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you,” he added. “Because that sounds ridiculous to me.”

The war of words between Cook and Zuckerberg is noteworthy not just in that it marks a clear differentiation between their two companies, but also because Cook is directly calling for regulation, a word that often makes Wall Street and Silicon Valley shudder.

“I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation,” he said. “However, I think we’re beyond that here.”

Apple has made headlines for its stance on privacy before, particularly during the 2016 San Bernardino shooting in which the company refused to honor the FBI’s request to unlock the shooter’s phone by creating a back door into the iPhone.

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Infinix Mobility, Nigeria’s leading smartphone brand has rolled out its first product of 2018 in style – The Infinix S3 Read more: https://www.naija.ng/1159832-infinix-mobility-nigerias-leading-smartphone-brand-rolled-product-2018-style-the-infinix-s3.html#1159832
March 27, 2018

The smartphone brand is unveiling the first-of-its-kind lifestyle device themed ‘Express yourself with 20MP’ in an exclusive partnership with SLOT Limited. The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by Infinix Mobility and SLOT limited with members of the media and also partner bloggers in Nigeria. Infinix Mobility, Nigeria’s leading smartphone brand has rolled out its first product of 2018 in style - The Infinix S3

Infinix Mobility introduced its lifestyle series in 2016 with a great reception from fans. This led Infinix to continue to upgrade and make its lifestyle model the perfect selfie/wefie tool for customers in Nigeria with the unveiling of the 3rd generation ‘Infinix S3’. The new Infinix S3 is equipped with 20 Mega pixel front camera (4 in 1) making it the best selfie smartphone. It allows users to take the perfect selfie in low light. The lifestyle smartphone is not only good for selfie it is also powered by Snapdragon 430, 4G LTE, 4000MAH battery life, XOS for the best smartphone experience on Android 8.0 OS packaged in a stylish sleek metal framed device. We have made a commitment to our fans and customers in this market on our product quality, continuing to improve our products with the best smartphone technology focusing on making it affordable and accessible stated Country Manager, Infinix Mobility Nigeria, Jay Liu at the press conference in Lagos. The new Infinix S3 will be available from March 28 exclusively at ALL SLOT outlets in Nigeria. Infinix and SLOT will be offering a pre-order to customers who want to be among the first set of people to own the Infinix S3 in Nigeria. The pre-order window is from the March 22, 2018 till March 27, 2018. The first 1000 customers to pre-order the latest smartphone will receive shopping vouchers and also gift accessories courtesy of the partnership. Pre-order Now in any SLOT STORE NATIONWIDE* or online @ www.slot.ng. For more info, call 01-4663633, 07005000050 #ExpressYourself #HotS3Launch #SLOTMOBILE  

Infinix Mobility has announced the launch of its first 2018 product – the Infinix S3 (aka Infinix Hot S3) in Nigeria and other African countries. The mid-tier, which was launched in India sometime last month, was introduced with the ‘Express yourself with 20MP’ them The Infinix S3 has a front facing 20MP low-light selfie camera, 5.7-inch HD+ fullscreen display with 18:9 aspect ratio, Face ID feature, 3-in-1 Card slot (dual SIM + microSD card), 3GB of RAM, 32GB built-in storage and rear fingerprint sensor. It comes pre-loaded with the latest XOS 3.0 Hummingbird UI based on Android Oreo and depends on a long lasting 4,000mAh battery.


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