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Oculus implements its own GDPR-compliant privacy controls

While Facebook is still struggling to regain user trust following a data fiasco that ultimately brought Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, the company still has plenty to do to ready itself for GDPR and appease EU lawmakers. This includes making sure that everything is up to snuff at its virtual reality company, Oculus . The VR company announced today that it will begin rolling out changes, including a user-facing Privacy Center, an updated Terms of Service with a Code of Conduct to ensure that VR users operate in a safe environment. A flaw-by-flaw guide to Facebook’s new GDPR privacy changes The Oculus “My Privacy Center” feature will launch next month on May 20, and will allow users to take a look at the data that Oculus has on them while managing preferences. Users notably won’t be able to see anonymized data that Oculus collects, which includes the in-VR movements that users make with their headsets and controllers. Data also not available for download includes stuff that’s only stored on your device and data like your credit card info that they keep stored securely. The Code of Conduct forbids users from accessing or promoting sexually explicit content, using hateful or racially offensive language, promoting illegal activities, or harassing other users. Here’s the full thing: You may not use or promote sexually explicit, abusive or obscene content. You may not use or promote language or content that would qualify as hateful or racially offensive. We don’t allow content that attacks people based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, diseases or disability. You may not harass, bully, threaten other users, or encourage other users to do so

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Oculus implements its own GDPR-compliant privacy controls

While Facebook is still struggling to regain user trust following a data fiasco that ultimately brought Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, the company still has plenty to do to ready itself for GDPR and appease EU lawmakers. This includes making sure that everything is up to snuff at its virtual reality company, Oculus . The VR company announced today that it will begin rolling out changes, including a user-facing Privacy Center, an updated Terms of Service with a Code of Conduct to ensure that VR users operate in a safe environment. A flaw-by-flaw guide to Facebook’s new GDPR privacy changes The Oculus “My Privacy Center” feature will launch next month on May 20, and will allow users to take a look at the data that Oculus has on them while managing preferences. Users notably won’t be able to see anonymized data that Oculus collects, which includes the in-VR movements that users make with their headsets and controllers. Data also not available for download includes stuff that’s only stored on your device and data like your credit card info that they keep stored securely. The Code of Conduct forbids users from accessing or promoting sexually explicit content, using hateful or racially offensive language, promoting illegal activities, or harassing other users. Here’s the full thing: You may not use or promote sexually explicit, abusive or obscene content. You may not use or promote language or content that would qualify as hateful or racially offensive. We don’t allow content that attacks people based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, diseases or disability. You may not harass, bully, threaten other users, or encourage other users to do so.

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Uber denies its CTO met with Cambridge Analytica

Uber has denied that its sitting CTO, Thuan Pham, met with Cambridge Analytica — the controversial political consultancy at the center of a Facebook user data misuse scandal . But it has not been able to confirm that no meetings between anyone else on its payroll and Cambridge Analytica took place. “I’m not sure who they think they met with, but I can confirm our CTO never met with them and we don’t have a relationship with them,” an Uber spokeswoman told us. Giving evidence to the UK parliament earlier this week , former Cambridge Analytica staffer, Brittany Kaiser, had claimed that CA executives met with the Uber CTO in the past two years. Although she did not explicitly name Pham — just citing the CTO job title. The UK parliament’s DCMS committee is running an enquiry into disinformation online. Asked by the committee whether she had ever come across Uber data being used for any of the political campaigns that CA worked on, Kaiser replied “no”. However she qualified her answer, adding: “Although Cambridge Analytica definitely had meetings with the CTO of Uber in California — about 1.5 to 2 years ago.   “I don’t believe anything came of that   but a conversation was had,” she also said. The committee did not query her on the intent of the meetings with Uber — although later she was asked if she’d had any contacts with other “big data companies”, including Google. Responding on that Kaiser confirmed she had had contacts with “Microsoft, Google and a few other companies of that nature, and Facebook” — though she said this was only in a standard business capacity, noting that CA was a client “purchasing digital advertising space through them”. On Facebook she added: “They had two different political teams in the United States — so they had their Republican team and their Democrat team, who usually inhabited separate offices on separate floors. My consultants in Washington DC would work closely with the Republican team on how we would use their tools to the best benefit for our clients.” Last month the committee also asked another ex-CA employee, whistleblower Chris Wylie, whether the company had access to Uber data — apparently concerned that a 2016 Uber data breach, affecting 57 million riders and drivers (which the company only disclosed in November last year ) could have been another data source for CA. “To my knowledge Cambridge Analytica has not used Uber data,” responded Wylie. Uber told Congress  last year that one of the hackers behind the 2016 breach was located in Canada — and that this hacker had first contacted it in November 2016 to demand a six-figure payment for the breached data

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Data experts on Facebook’s GDPR changes: Expect lawsuits

Make no mistake: Fresh battle lines are being drawn in the clash between data-mining tech giants and Internet users over people’s right to control their personal information and  protect their privacy . An update to European Union data protection rules next month — called the General Data Protection Regulation — is the catalyst for this next chapter in the global story of tech vs privacy. A fairytale ending would remove that ugly ‘vs’ and replace it with an enlightened ‘+’. But there’s no doubt it will be a battle to get there — requiring legal challenges and fresh case law to be set down — as an old guard of dominant tech platforms marshal their extensive resources to try to hold onto the power and wealth gained through years of riding roughshod over data protection law. Payback is coming though. Balance is being reset. And the implications of not regulating what tech giants can do with people’s data has arguably  never been clearer . The exciting opportunity for startups is to skate to where the puck is going — by thinking beyond exploitative legacy business models that amount to embarrassing blackboxes whose CEOs dare not publicly admit what the systems really do  — and come up with new ways of operating and monetizing services that don’t rely on selling the lie that people don’t care about privacy.   More than just small print Right now the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation can take credit for a whole lot of spilt ink as tech industry small print is reworded en masse. Did you just receive a T&C update notification about a company’s digital service? Chances are it’s related to the incoming standard. The regulation is generally intended to strengthen Internet users’ control over their personal information, as we’ve explained  before. But its focus on transparency — making sure people know how and why data will flow if they choose to click ‘I agree’ — combined with supersized fines for major data violations represents something of an existential threat to ad tech processes that rely on pervasive background harvesting of users’ personal data to be siphoned biofuel for their vast, proprietary microtargeting engines. This is why Facebook is not going gentle into a data processing goodnight.

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Can data science save social media?

Bob Ackerman Jr. Contributor Robert Ackerman Jr. is the founder and a managing director of Allegis Capital , an early-stage cybersecurity venture firm, and a founder of DataTribe , a startup “studio” for fledgling cyber startups staffed by former government technology innovators and cybersecurity professionals. More posts by this contributor The Trump team has failed to address the nation’s mounting cybersecurity threats Trump’s cybersecurity executive order is a good first step The unfettered internet is too often used for malicious purposes and is frequently woefully inaccurate. Social media — especially Facebook — has failed miserably at protecting user privacy and blocking miscreants from sowing discord. That’s why CEO Mark Zuckerberg was just forced to testify about user privacy before both houses of Congress. And now governmental regulation of Facebook and other social media appears to be a fait accompli. At this key juncture, the crucial question is whether regulation — in concert with Facebook’s promises to aggressively mitigate its weaknesses — will correct the privacy abuses and continue to fulfill Facebook’s goal of giving people the power to build transparent communities, bringing the world closer together? The answer is maybe. What has not been said is that Facebook must embrace data science methodologies initially created in the bowels of the federal government to help protect its two billion users.

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Facebook points finger at Google and Twitter for data collection

“Other companies suck in your data too,” Facebook explained in many, many words today with a blog post detailing how it gathers information about you from around the web. Facebook product management director David Baser wrote, “ Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all have similar Like and Share buttons to help people share things on their services. Google has a popular analytics service. And Amazon, Google and Twitter all offer login features. These companies — and many others — also offer advertising services. In fact, most websites and apps send the same information to multiple companies each time you visit them.” Describing how Facebook receives cookies, IP address, and browser info about users from other sites, he noted, “when you see a YouTube video on a site that’s not YouTube, it tells your browser to request the video from YouTube. YouTube then sends it to you.” It seems Facebook is tired of being singled-out. The tacked on “them too!” statements at the end of its descriptions of opaque data collection practices might have been trying to normalize the behavior, but comes off feeling a bit petty. The blog post also fails to answer one of the biggest lines of questioning from CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimonies before Congress last week. Zuckerberg was asked by Representative Ben Lujan about whether Facebook constructs “shadow profiles” of ad targeting data about non-users. Today’s blog post merely notes that “When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don’t know who is using Facebook. Many companies offer these types of services and, like Facebook, they also get information from the apps and sites that use them.” Facebook has a lot more questions to answer about this practice, since most of its privacy and data controls are only accessible to users who’ve signed up. The data privacy double-standard That said, other tech companies have gotten off light.

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The United States needs a Department of Cybersecurity

Ted Schlein Contributor Ted Schlein, a general partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers , focuses on early-stage technology companies in the enterprise software and infrastructure markets, including ventures within the networking and consumer security arenas. More posts by this contributor What Silicon Valley can do about cyber threats The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Surviving A Tech Bubble  This week over 40,000 security professionals will attend RSA in San Francisco to see the latest cyber technologies on display and discuss key issues. No topic will be higher on the agenda than the Russian sponsored hack of the American 2016 election with debate about why the country has done so little to respond and what measures should be taken to deter future attempts at subverting our democracy. For good reason. There is now clear evidence of Russian interference in the election with Special Counsel Mueller’s 37-page indictment of 13 Russians yet the attack on US sovereignty and stability has gone largely unanswered.   The $120 million set aside by Congress to address the Russian attacks remains unspent . We expelled Russian diplomats but only under international pressure after the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter. Recent sanctions are unlikely to change the behavior of the Putin administration . To put it bluntly, we have done nothing of substance to address our vulnerability to foreign cyberattacks. Meanwhile, our enemies gain in technological capability, sophistication and impact. Along with the Russians, the Chinese, North Koreans, Iranians and newly derived nation states use cyber techniques on a daily basis to further their efforts to gain advantage on the geopolitical stage. It is a conscious decision by these governments that a proactive cyber program advances their goals while limiting the United States. Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images We were once dominant in this realm both technically and with our knowledge and skillsets. That playing field has been leveled and we sit idly by without the will or focus to try and regain the advantage

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Sony announces Xperia XZ2 Premium with 5.8-inch 4K HDR display and dual cameras focusing on ultra-low-light performance, with photos of up to ISO…

Chris Welch / The Verge : Sony announces Xperia XZ2 Premium with 5.8-inch 4K HDR display and dual cameras focusing on ultra-low-light performance, with photos of up to ISO 51,200   —  ISO 51200 sensitivity  —  Less than two months after unveiling the Xperia XZ2 at Mobile World Congress, Sony is back again with the Xperia XZ2 Premium.

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Chinese government is getting increasingly involved in its tech companies by installing Communist Party committees at some firms, investing state…

Christopher Balding / Bloomberg : Chinese government is getting increasingly involved in its tech companies by installing Communist Party committees at some firms, investing state funds, more   —  The government wants control of a booming new industry.  —  As Bloomberg News reported this week, a key stumbling block …

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A breakdown of all the data tech companies can collect during a low-key pizza and movie night with a friend, according to their privacy policies (Wall…

Wall Street Journal : A breakdown of all the data tech companies can collect during a low-key pizza and movie night with a friend, according to their privacy policies   —  The smartphones, Facebook accounts and other technology products deeply embedded in modern life help people get more things done every day.

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People quickly trusted tech companies with personal info amid a data boom, despite risks, spawning resentment and distrust after the Cambridge…

John Herrman / New York Times : People quickly trusted tech companies with personal info amid a data boom, despite risks, spawning resentment and distrust after the Cambridge Analytica scandal   —  The queasy truth at the heart of Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, which is so far the company's defining disgrace of 2018 …

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