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Facebook breach: Apple, IBM heads want stricter data regulations

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Beijing, March 27: With the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealing massive Facebook data misuse, Apple chief Tim Cook and IBM chair Ginni Rometty have called for more measures to ensure user data protection.

Speaking at the China Development Forum in Beijing, the two tech honchos called for better regulations to protect personal data shared online, the USA Today reported on Monday.

The call for additional protection measure comes after the leak of personal and other data on some 50 million users to the London-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica became public.

US Federal Trade commission confirmed on Monday that it was investigating Facebook and said that it “takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook”.

Cambridge Analytica, which collaborated with the election campaign of Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election, used the leaked information to develop a computer programme to predict the decisions of US voters and influence them.

“Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices,” Efe quoted Acting FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director, Tom Pahl, as saying.

Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy privacy chief, said in a statement last week that the tech social networking firm remains “strongly committed to protecting people’s information”, adding that “we appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have”.

A week ago, after the controversial leak of private information on millions of users came to light, press reports said that the FTC was investigating whether Facebook violated the terms of a 2011 consent agreement requiring user consent for sharing data by providing use data to Cambridge Analytica in 2014.

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16-year-old Apple fan hacks into its secure systems

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Sydney, Aug 17: An Australian teenager pleaded guilty to charges of hacking into Apple’s secure systems and said that he was a fan of the technology giant and hoped to work there one day, the media reported.

The 16-year-old boy is facing criminal charges after the technology giant called in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, broke into Apple’s mainframe from his suburban home on multiple occasions over a year because he was such a fan of the company, according to his lawyer,” The Age reported late on Thursday.

The teenager, who studies in a private school, reportedly stored the saved information in a folder titled “hacky hack hack”.

He was able to access authorized keys, view customer accounts and download 90GB of secure files before being caught.

“The teen’s defence lawyer said his client had become so well known in the international hacking community that even mentioning the case in detail could expose him to risk,” the report added.

The magistrate has acknowledged the teenager’s guilty plea and he is set to be sentenced next month due to the “complexities” of the case.

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Google justifies tracking users even if location data is turned off

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San Francisco, Aug 17: After witnessing flak over tracking users even if location data is turned off in users setting, the tech giant has madder changes in its Help Page. 

Earlier, the Help Page said “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

After editing, it stated “This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device.

“Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps”.

The new language confirms that location data is, indeed, being tracked by only certain  Google apps.

“We have been updating the explanatory language about Location History to make it more consistent and clear across our platforms and help centres,” CNET reported on Friday, quoting a Google spokesperson.

The Associated Press earlier this week ran a story saying an investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store users’ location data even if the users explicitly used a privacy setting forbidding that.

Researchers from Princeton University confirmed the findings.

In an earlier statement, Google had said: “Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt in, and users have the controls to edit, delete or turn it off at any time.

“As the (AP) story notes, we make sure Location History users know that when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions.”

But just turning off Location History doesn’t solve the purpose. In Google Settings, pausing “Web and App Activity” may do the trick.

However, according to the information on Google’s Activity Control page, “Even when this setting is paused, Google may temporarily use information from recent searches in order to improve the quality of the active search session”.

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Twitter removes key features in third-party apps

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San Francisco, Aug 17: Aiming to deliver better experiences for its users, Mirco blogging platform Twitter has removed support for some outdated but key featured in third-party applications. 

In a blog post yesterday, Twitter said it will remove access to application programme interfaces (APIs) needed to power push notifications and an auto-refreshing timeline.

“We’ve chosen to stop investing in other products a” including two legacy developer tools used by about 1 per cent of third-party developers. This means that some Twitter-like apps will not be able to function the exact same way as before,” asserted  Rob Johnson, Director of Product at Twitter.

Third-party Twitter apps such as Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Talon and Tweetings will be affected by the recent development.

Now instead of tweets automatically streaming in like they once did in some third-party applications, users will now need to pull to refresh like they do in Twitter-owned apps and sites.

“We’ve removed support for Twitter for Apple Watch and Twitter for Mac, wea¿ve replaced our previous Twitter for Windows app with our Progressive Web App, and now, we’re removing support for some outdated developer tools,” Johnson further said.

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