Tuesday, November 30News That Matters

Tag: Data-Mining and Database Marketing

How Data Is Reshaping Real Estate

Technology
Jordan Fisher was troubled. Every variety of the Red Bull energy drink comes in a similar metallic can, and his company’s camera system, which tracks products that customers pick up in stores, was having trouble distinguishing them.This obstacle was one of many that his company, Standard AI, faced while retrofitting a Circle K convenience store in Tempe, Ariz., with computer vision software, which tracks every item customers pick up so they can simply scan their app-enabled phone to pay as they leave, eliminating the checkout line. A network of more than 100 cameras can identify any of the thousands of similarly sized candy bars or beverages grabbed by customers, including cans of Red Bull, now identifiable thanks to a combination of geometric projections and higher-resolution cameras.This...
Facebook Plans to Shut Down Its Facial Recognition System

Facebook Plans to Shut Down Its Facial Recognition System

Business
The change affects more than a third of Facebook’s daily users who had facial recognition turned on for their accounts, according to the company. That meant they received alerts when new photos or videos of them were uploaded to the social network. The feature had also been used to flag accounts that might be impersonating someone else and was incorporated into software that described photos to blind users.“Making this change required us to weigh the instances where facial recognition can be helpful against the growing concerns about the use of this technology as a whole,” said Jason Grosse, a Meta spokesman.Let Us Help You Protect Your Digital LifeAlthough Facebook plans to delete more than one billion facial recognition templates, which are digital scans of facial features, by December, ...

Google and Facebook’s Ad Empires

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.Google and Facebook love to talk about the cutting-edge stuff that they’re working on. Metaverse! Driverless cars! Cloud! Artificial intelligence!The reality, though, is that these tech companies are rich and powerful because they are the biggest sellers of advertising in the world. They do essentially the same thing that William Randolph Hearst did a century ago: They draw our attention to try to sell us yoga pants. (OK, Hearst’s newspapers probably didn’t have ads for leggings.)There’s a vigorous public debate about the benefits and serious trade-offs of the digital worlds that Google and Facebook created. It’s less jazzy to think about digital advertising that these tech titans have popularized. But lik...
Mark Zuckerberg to Be Added to Facebook Privacy Suit

Mark Zuckerberg to Be Added to Facebook Privacy Suit

Technology
WASHINGTON — The attorney general for the District of Columbia plans to add Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to a consumer protection lawsuit, in one of the first efforts by a regulator to expose him personally to potential financial and other penalties.The attorney general, Karl Racine, said on Tuesday that continuing interviews and reviews of internal documents for the case had revealed that Mr. Zuckerberg played a much more active role in key decisions than prosecutors had known.The complaint against Facebook was filed in December 2018 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The suit alleges that Facebook misled consumers about privacy on the platform by allowing Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, to obtain sensitive data from more than 87 million u...
Whistle-Blower Says Facebook ‘Chooses Profits Over Safety’

Whistle-Blower Says Facebook ‘Chooses Profits Over Safety’

Business
John Tye, the founder of Whistleblower Aid, a legal nonprofit that represents people seeking to expose potential lawbreaking, was contacted this spring through a mutual connection by a woman who claimed to have worked at Facebook.The woman told Mr. Tye and his team something intriguing: She had access to tens of thousands of pages of internal documents from the world’s largest social network. In a series of calls, she asked for legal protection and a path to releasing the confidential information. Mr. Tye, who said he understood the gravity of what the woman brought “within a few minutes,” agreed to represent her and call her by the alias “Sean.”She “is a very courageous person and is taking a personal risk to hold a trillion-dollar company accountable,” he said.On Sunday, Frances Haugen r...
How to Find ‘Stalkerware’ on Your Devices

How to Find ‘Stalkerware’ on Your Devices

Technology
Fighting stalkerware is tough. You may not suspect it’s there. Even if you did, it can be difficult to detect since antivirus software only recently began flagging these apps as malicious.Here’s a guide to how stalkerware works, what to look out for and what to do about it.The Different Types of StalkerwareSurveillance software has proliferated on computers for decades, but more recently spyware makers have shifted their focus to mobile devices. Because mobile devices have access to more intimate data, including photos, real-time location, phone conversations and messages, the apps became known as stalkerware.Various stalkerware apps collect different types of information. Some record phone calls, some log keystrokes, and others track location or upload a person’s photos to a remote server...
Inside Facebook’s Push to Defend Its Image

Inside Facebook’s Push to Defend Its Image

Business
The changes have involved Facebook executives from its marketing, communications, policy and integrity teams. Alex Schultz, a 14-year company veteran who was named chief marketing officer last year, has also been influential in the image reshaping effort, said five people who worked with him. But at least one of the decisions was driven by Mr. Zuckerberg, and all were approved by him, three of the people said.Alex Schultz, Facebook’s chief marketing officer, has been influential in reshaping the company’s image.Credit...Tommaso Boddi/Getty ImagesJoe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman, denied that the company had changed its approach.“People deserve to know the steps we’re taking to address the different issues facing our company — and we’re going to share those steps widely,” he said in a state...
The Spying That Changed Big Tech

The Spying That Changed Big Tech

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.I want to rewind to a recent point in history when the United States government snooped on American technology companies. It helps us more fully understand the current climate of mistrust between Big Tech, U.S. politicians and the American public.In 2013, reporting by The Washington Post — based on documents from the former U.S. government contractor Edward J. Snowden — revealed that the National Security Agency and its British counterpart had essentially hacked reams of information from customers of Google, Yahoo and other American internet companies without those companies’ knowledge. The spy agencies did this by intercepting internet traffic from undersea internet cables or other access points between c...
The Battle for Digital Privacy Is Reshaping the Internet

The Battle for Digital Privacy Is Reshaping the Internet

Technology
“The internet is answering a question that it’s been wrestling with for decades, which is: How is the internet going to pay for itself?” he said.The fallout may hurt brands that relied on targeted ads to get people to buy their goods. It may also initially hurt tech giants like Facebook — but not for long. Instead, businesses that can no longer track people but still need to advertise are likely to spend more with the largest tech platforms, which still have the most data on consumers.David Cohen, chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group, said the changes would continue to “drive money and attention to Google, Facebook, Twitter.”The shifts are complicated by Google’s and Apple’s opposing views on how much ad tracking should be dialed back. Apple wants its custom...
What the Privacy Battle Upending the Internet Means for You

What the Privacy Battle Upending the Internet Means for You

Technology
The internet is changing, including how much we pay for content and the ads and brands we see.That’s because Apple and Google, two hugely influential tech companies, are rolling out privacy protections that hinder marketers from gaining access to our data when they show us ads. The changes have major repercussions for online advertising, which are a business foundation for the free apps and websites that many of us use, like Facebook, TikTok and the Weather Channel. Those sites and apps now have to come up with new ways to show ads or make money.Here’s what that means for you.What’s happening?For decades, advertisers relied on “cookies,” pieces of code planted in web browsers that can follow our personal web browsing to track us online and show us relevant ads. When smartphones came along,...