Hacker posts over 4,000 sensitive documents from Mexican embassy

The hacker got ahold of the trove of documents after discovering the server hosting the files suffered from a security vulnerability and was compromised. After downloading the files, he found scans of passports, visas, birth certificates and other personal documents — some of which belonged to Mexican citizens and diplomats. Letters granting rights, privileges and immunities to embassy staff were also found in the stash, as well as documents showing staff medical expenses, vacation time and other administrative information. 0x55Taylor reportedly attempted to contact Mexican officials about the issue but was ignored. While leaking the files online is one way to get the attention of people, it also puts the victims of the leak at risk by further exposing private information.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/19/mexico-embassy-guatemala-hack-leaked-documents/

FTC’s Facebook investigation could focus on Zuckerberg

Several federal agencies launched their own probe into the massive Cambridge Analytica scandal after it exploded in 2018. That was when one of the political consulting firm’s employees revealed that it harvested millions of Facebook users’ data without their knowledge and used it for political purposes. At the moment, the social network is under investigation by the FTC, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department.

While the FTC doesn’t typically hold executives accountable for their companies’ business practices, both its Democratic members support targeting executives when appropriate. The commission even considered taking aim at Zuckerberg during its last settlement with the social network over [...]  read more

Mueller report forced Congress to find PCs with disc drives

You’d have expected perhaps a USB drive (although that’s not a great idea these days, either), or perhaps a password-encoded Google Drive document. The use of a CD drive might indicate that the US Department of Justice is using some ancient equipment, or maybe they just have piles of blank CDs lying around that they’re trying to get rid of.

In any case, the release of the report will be preceded by a press conference by Attorney General William Barr and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, prompting accusations [...]  read more

Canada is being sued over Sidewalk Labs’ smart city project

Sidewalk Labs won the Quayside project through an RFP (request for proposal) in October 2017. Or, to be more specific — the company won the right to develop a Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) that will be debated and voted on by the public and Canadian government. The Alphabet subsidiary has some bold ideas that include timber buildings, a flexible thermal grid and subterranean tunnels for deliveries and garbage disposal. It’s spent the last 18 months researching the feasibility of these features, consulting with experts and gathering feedback from local residents. The first version of the MIDP, however, is yet to materialize.

Sidewalk Labs

Many citizens are worried about the potential privacy implications inside Quayside. Sidewalk Labs has tried to reassure them with “privacy by design,” a set of principles written by cybersecurity expert Ann Cavoukian, and an independent “Civic Data Trust” that would manage and ultimately approve any data collection [...]  read more

The EU has officially passed its controversial copyright law

A total of 19 European Council members, including France and Germany, voted in favor of the new Copyright Directive. Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden voted against adopting the directive, whereas Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained — but their opposition ultimately didn’t matter. EU countries now have 24 months to apply the directive to their national legislations.

Under the new rules, the likes of YouTube, Facebook and Instagram will be required to obtain licenses for copyrighted works from rights holders in order to host their content. They’ll also be forced to police copyrighted material through the use of tools such as filters. Critics, including Google, fear a surge in takedown requests could turn the web into a ghost town. Internet campaigners, meanwhile, have warned that the resulting censorship could quell unique forms of online [...]  read more

Senate bill would make tech companies test algorithms for bias

The bill would only apply to companies that either make more than $50 million per year or have data for at least one million people or devices. Small businesses would theoretically be safe.

The senators saw this as a civil rights issue and pointed to recent incidents as examples. Facebook is still facing a charge of housing discrimination after it let advertisers exclude people in ways that could be racist or sexist, while Amazon shut down an automated recruiting tool after it was found discriminating against women. Facial recognition also has bias problems. It’s a modern form of practices like “real estate steering” (where black couples were discouraged from getting homes in some neighborhoods), Sen. Booker said, but more insidious as it’s “significantly harder to detect.” In theory, this would prevent companies from ignoring the potential for bias.

There’s no guarantee the bill will become law, and there are questions as to how well it would [...]  read more

WikiLeaks claims Ecuadorian Embassy is spying on Assange

The operation was bought to the attention of WikiLeaks after individuals in Spain demanded €3 million for the material, threatening to publish it otherwise. The case is now being treated as extortion by Spanish Authorities.

While Hrafnsson has not provided further evidence for his claims, he said in a press conference today that he believed the footage has been passed on to the Trump government by Ecuadorian authorities, who are keen to evict Assange. “The government is clearly building a pretext to end the asylum,” Hrafnsson said, before adding that the scale of the spying operation would not be “possible without complicity of the government.”

Ecuador isn’t required to continue granting asylum, but they can only release him under the same protections that were granted in the first place. Assange originally sought asylum at the embassy after Swedish authorities [...]  read more

UK investigates Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony over game service practices

The move is the second part of the CMA’s response to a “super-complaint” on the loyalty penalty, or the tendency for some companies (not just in gaming) to punish long-serving customers by making it difficult or costly to leave.

Officials emphasized that the investigation had only started, and that it might only take “enforcement action” if it believed the companies weren’t being fair.

While it’s hard to know what the CMA will say, there are areas of concern. Sony has raised prices for PlayStation Plus more than once, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the same volume of free games or other perks (even if there are good reasons for it, such as hardware obsolescence). And yes, auto-renewal is common — even Switch owners taking advantage of the Twitch [...]  read more

Amazon’s Virginia headquarters clears a key political hurdle

The approval came despite protests from residents and activist groups. They’re concerned that Arlington and Virginia are catering to a wealthy company at the expense of the community, potentially pushing out lower-income people. They’ve also highlighted complaints about Amazon’s pay and working conditions. Amazon and its proponents have argued that the Virginia location will create jobs, fuel tax revenue and spark investments in the region.

It’s a small victory at a time when Amazon is facing a significant backlash. The company abandoned the New York City portion of its headquarters after facing opposition from politicians for many of the same reasons seen in Virginia. The approval isn’t so much a victory for the company as a relief at a time when its expansion plans aren’t guaranteed to move forward.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/17/amazon-virginia-hq2-passes-key-vote/

The responsibility for a sustainable digital future


p class=”p1″>On March 12, 2019, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “World Wide Web”, Tim Berners-Lee’s ground-breaking invention.

In just thirty years, this flagship application of the Internet has forever changed our lives, our habits, our way of thinking and seeing the world. Yet, this anniversary leaves a bittersweet taste in our mouth: the initial decentralized and open version of the Web, which was meant to allow users to connect with each other, has gradually evolved to a very different version, centralized in the hands of giants who capture our data and impose their standards.

We have poured our work, our hearts and a lot of our lives out on the internet. For better or for worse. Beyond business uses for Big Tech, our data has become an incredible resource for malicious actors, who use this windfall to hack, steal and threaten. Citizens, small and large companies, governments: online predators spare no one. This initial mine of information [...]  read more