DCT Tech News 2019 – Week 30 Privacy & Porn Blocks


 

FaceApp Under Scrutiny Due To Russian Connection

The enormously popular App that allows you to change a person to an octogenarian or a sexy looking teen is under scrutiny for privacy concerns. When you install the App on your smartphone, the first thing you see is a request to access all your photos. Most people agree to this request, otherwise, the functions of FaceApp are limited. On the other hand, there are concerns that the developers are storing everyone’s photos on their servers. But the App developer, Goncharov, said they only store photos that users edit on the App.

Apparently, they do not sell or share your photos and even though the company is located in Russia, user data is not transferred to Russia. In fact, the server that stores user photos is located in the US and FaceApp itself is a Russian company with offices in St Petersburg.

Ever studied Twitter’s terms of service? Or any other social media TOS? Me neither.

Surely FaceApp is just a bit of fun, isn’t it? That depends. Some people take great offence at having their photos manipulated and let’s face it, some pictures cannot be unseen or erased from your memory. Is your privacy being flaunted?


Oakland Bans City Use Of Facial Recognition Software

Oakland, California is now the third US city to ban the use of facial recognition technology. The city recently passed an ordinance that prohibits the use of the technology on the grounds that it is often inaccurate, potentially invasive and lacks standards.

Face recognition technology runs the risk of making Oakland residents less safe as the misidentification of individuals could lead to the misuse of force, false incarceration, and minority-based persecution“, Council President Rebecca Kaplan wrote in a letter recommending the ban.

San Fransisco passed a similar ban last Spring, as did Somerville, Massachusetts. In the UK, the home secretary is using the cover of child abuse to equip many police forces with facial recognition software, which is said to have a failure rate of up to 80%. Nineteen eighty-four is here then.

The NSA Admits Improper Collection Of Phone Data – Again

We’re all aware that the NSA knows everything about you already, so it’s no surprise to learn that the American Civil Liberties Union released documents showing that the NSA improperly collected Americans’ call and text logs in November 2017, in February and October 2018. Apparently, the NSA blames the carriers, stating that technical irregularities led it to receive call detail records it was not authorised to obtain. Why, of course.


Meanwhile, numerous bipartisan senators jointly introduced the “Ending Mass Collection of Americans’ Records Act,” S.936 and H.R. 1942, in the Senate and House respectively. But it’s being said that S.936 has a mere four percent chance of being enacted. One can’t help thinking that the NSA will continue to ride roughshod over the privacy of the public at large, get its knuckles rapped from time to time, and shrug it all off as a mere detail. After all, why does a dog lick its balls? Because it can.

The UK Porn Block Has Been Delayed Again – Because It’s Useless

It takes a pretty stupid politician or civil servant not to realise that most kinds of website blocking can be circumvented. However, the UK government — the only one in the world to attempt the blocking of porn, by the way — has bungled through this badly thought out plan and continues to be stranded with its trousers down, time after time, even after the expenditure of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. Here are just some of the badly thought out points in the plan:

  • Age verification will create a new, unsafe industry
  • There are millions of porn websites to be policed
  • It’s delayed because the UK government didn’t confer correctly with the EU
  • The Digital Economy Act doesn’t include social media
  • They forgot about VPNs

In fact, I just Googled “UK porn block” and when I clicked on the images section of the search, I was presented with a veritable smorgasbord of porn that I didn’t ask for. Yes, I know– I’m not in the UK and I’m over 18, but that’s the point. I might not have been and I just stumbled across page after page of porn.

There’s a heck of a lot more about this than I can write here, but this video from Wired encapsulates the subject very succinctly. Did I mention VPNs?


Posted in:
About the Author

Marc Thomas

Marc is an avid traveler, motorcyclist, entrepreneur, and gamer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His interest in computers and technology began in the early 1990's when he was introduced by a friend to a Zenith Data Systems computer running DOS. In the years following he has experienced all versions of the Windows operating system, built hundreds of systems, and fixed many more for his customers. Marc also has an interesting forum you might like to check out at Argentina Expats

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *