Predicting Household Demographics Based on Image Data

Our friends (?) at Facebook have submitted a patent application for technology that claims it can predict who your family and other household members are, based on images and captions posted to Facebook, as well as your device information, like shared IP addresses.

The application, titled Predicting household demographics based on image data, was originally filed May 10, 2017, but made public this week. The system Facebook proposes in its patent application would use facial recognition and learning models trained to understand text to help Facebook better understand whom you live with and interact with most. The technology described in the patent looks for clues in your profile pictures on Facebook and Instagram, as well as photos of you that you or your friends post.

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Facebook Is a Normal Sleazy Company Now

Interesting reading: excepts from an article by Siva Vaidhyanathan in the Slate web site at http://bit.ly/2PWUQa6:

“The leaders of Facebook can no longer pretend they are special people running a special company. Facebook is now just another normal sleazy American company run by normal sleazy executives, engaged in normal sleazy lobbying and corporate propaganda.”

Later in the article:

“All of the scandals and crises the company has facilitated in recent years are examples of Facebook working as it was supposed to.

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Facebook Is the Least Trusted Major Tech Company When it Comes to Safeguarding Personal Data, Poll Finds

Facebook is the least trustworthy of all major tech companies when it comes to safeguarding user data, according to a new national poll conducted for Fortune, highlighting the major challenges the company faces following a series of recent privacy blunders. Only 22% of Americans said that they trust Facebook with their personal information, far less than Amazon (49%), Google (41%), Microsoft (40%), and Apple (39%).

“Facebook is in the bottom in terms of trust in housing your personal data,” said Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema. “Facebook’s crises continue rolling in the news cycle.”

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Privacy International Lodges Complaints Against Seven Firms for Breaching Data Protection

Acxion, Oracle, Criteo, Quantcast, Tapad, Equifax, and Experian are all in Privacy International’s sights, with the organisation filing complaints in the UK, Ireland and France, urging data protection authorities to look into what it alleges is the “mass exploitation” of individuals’ data.

Details may be found in an article by Roland Moore-Colyer in The Inquirer at: http://bit.ly/2Dg4kX0.

Will the New Facebook Portal Really Spy on You?

Facebook’s new video chat devices, Portal and Portal Plus, are now available for purchase in the US, but the thought of putting another video camera and microphone in the home might make some consumers feel uneasy. Some writers have called it “the spy in your living room.”

Certainly anything from Facebook has to be viewed with skepticism. After all, the company has a bad track record, possibly the worst record of any social networking site, when it comes to privacy and security. A massive security breach this year allowed hackers to steal personal information from 29 million Facebook accounts. Then there’s the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which exposed the data of roughly 87 million Facebook users without their permission. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

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Australian Bill Spells Trouble for Data Privacy Around the World

Australian politicians want to make it easy for governments, hackers, identity thieves, credit card thieves, and other spies to steal your most private information. That by itself seems incredible. However, the entire issue gets pushed to the nearly unbelievable level when you realize the result could be similar gaping holes in privacy for residents of all other countries in the world!

Do you want the thieves to be able to read YOUR messages and YOUR transactions via gaping “back doors” in today’s encryption techniques that are designed to keep your private communications private? If this bill passes, we all will suffer. Several world governments, including the United States, want to compromise citizen’s liberties for the sake of national security. Don’t citizens also have a right to security?

Shockingly, the Australian bill could even ban companies from informing their customers about these security and privacy weaknesses.

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Ads Will Soon Appear in WhatsApp

Bad news: Advertisements are coming to WhatsApp. Like we need more advertising on the Internet?

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. WhatsApp once was a successful freeware and cross-platform encrypted messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) product that treated its customers like real human beings. Then the company was bought out by Facebook for approximately US$19.3 billion. Since then, the encrypted service has been abused by various groups. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WhatsApp#Reception_and_criticism for the details.

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