Updates from November, 2018 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 1:32 pm on November 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Randall Stephenson   

    Does AT&T really want net neutrality restored? 

    Does AT&T really want net neutrality restored?

    After the state of California tried to institute its own net neutrality legislation they were sued not only by the federal government but by a group representing almost the entirety of broadband providers. If you’ll recall, when the FCC repealed net neutrality protections put in place by the Obama administration, the FCC ruled unilaterally that states were forbidden from enacting their own legislation. Of course, this did not sit well with many of the states as they fought to protect consumers. Now the fight for net neutrality has an unexpected and uneasy ally.

    AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has urged Congress to pass federal net neutrality regulations at a recent tech conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal. At the conference, Stephenson said, “What would be a total disaster for the technology and innovation you see happening in Silicon Valley and elsewhere is to pick our head up and have 50 different sets of rules for companies trying to operate in the United States.” So now he is pushing for the idea that no internet service provider should block or throttle content and that users should be able to access the internet without interference.

    What Mr. Stephenson did not clarify, according to Ars Technica, was whether or not he was opposed to paid prioritization which would favor certain internet traffic over others. For example, if your ISP had its own streaming service, it could prioritize that traffic over a competing service like Netflix. While minimal net neutrality is better than none Mr. Stephenson’s motives seem to come from a fear of having to deal with multiple state regulations rather than one unified federal law. However, at this point with how tone-deaf the Trump administration’s FCC has been, we should be thankful for small victories where we can get them.

  • Geebo 10:47 am on November 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Avoid the Secret Sister scam this season 

    Avoid the Secret Sister scam this season

    The old saying goes that the stores start advertising for Christmas earlier and earlier each year. In my opinion, it seemed like as soon as the calendar turned to November, the flood of yuletide advertisements began to assail our televisions and internet devices. The holidays are also a time when scam artists come out in droves since people are more likely to open their hearts and wallets during the holiday season than any other time of the year. This year, an old scam that I haven’t thought about in years is being proliferated through social media and while the risk appears to be minimal, the consequences could have far-reaching effects long after the holidays are over.

    I’m talking about the ‘Secret Sister’ gift exchange where someone posts on social media asking you to add your name to a list where and send in a small $10 gift. In return, you’re promised to receive up to 36 of the gifts. According to the Better Business Bureau not only is this a pyramid scheme, but it’s also illegal since you need to use the US Postal Service to send the gift which can be considered mail fraud. And as usual, when it comes to scams like this, it’s highly unlikely you’ll receive any gifts in return.

    Since the scam seems to proliferate on social networks like Facebook, I decided to see if any of my Facebook friends were soliciting for this scam. While none of my friends were, there were friends of friends who were definitely being taken in by this scam. The post usually looks something along these lines.

    The problem with this scam is not only is it illegal as I mentioned above but if you decide to participate in the alleged gift exchange you’re also putting your personal information out to potential strangers who could use the information to their benefit and your detriment. Identity theft comes immediately to mind but the information could be used for even more nefarious purposes.

    Just because a friend of yours may be participating in the Secret Sister exchange on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a Bernie Madoff in the making. They could potentially be a victim in all of this. If you’re worried about one of your friends being caught up in this scam, you may want to remind them that the Secret Sister gift exchange is considered illegal and show them this post or the BBB information. People are more likely to start thinking more critically if there’s potential for them to be in trouble with the law. NO one wants to be investigated for mail fraud for the holidays.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fortune,   

    Facebook least trusted tech company in America 

    Facebook least trusted tech company in America

    Even though the midterm election went largely as predicted with minimal Facebook chicanery, it was another type of poll that closed election week on Facebook. Thanks to the ever-haunting Cambridge Analytica scandal and various other privacy compromises that have plagued Facebook in the past year, a poll conducted for Fortune shows that consumer confidence in Facebook is at an all-time low with Facebook being the least trusted company among the tech giants. Citing privacy issues as their major concerns, an overwhelming majority of the poll takers said Facebook couldn’t be trusted.

    According to the poll’s results, Facebook came in dead last in consumer trust among tech companies losing out to such companies as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Only 22% of those polled said that they trust Facebook with their personal data. On the opposite end, Amazon received a 59% approval rating when it came to personal data issues which is saying something since Amazon tends to keep a lot of our personal financial information on file after we make a purchase.

    So, if Fortune’s numbers are correct the question that needs to be asked is why are so many people still using Facebook? Part of it is a symbiotic relationship between brands and their customers as if you want to be a top-selling brand you need to be where the customers are and they’re on Facebook. And if consumers want to know more about a brand they’re more likely to go to the brand’s Facebook page than a corporate website. Also, if Facebook is so badly trusted with our personal information why do we continue to share so much personal information publicly in our news feeds? Facebook may be inept when it comes to keeping our information private but since we keep volunteering the information should we be surprised?

  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activation bug,   

    Your Windows 10 Pro license is just fine 

    Your Windows 10 Pro license is just fine

    I’ve been a big fan of Windows 10 since it first rolled out to consumers. While Windows 7 had its advantages, I felt Windows 10 was the better operating system since it ran better on the older hardware that I had. That was until yesterday when an older laptop of mine told me that my installation of Windows 10 could not be activated. When I ran the activation troubleshooter I was told that I had Windows 10 Pro was installed on my machine but my license was for Windows 10 Home. I figured this had something to do with some new hardware I installed on my older laptop so I did a fresh install of Windows 10 Home on my laptop. As it turns out you don’t have to do that.

    If in the past day or so you’ve got the message that your Windows 10 Pro installation needs to be activated you can ignore that message for now. Your Windows license is actually fine, it’s Microsoft that’s having the problem. Many tech outlets are reporting that Microsoft is having an issue with their activation servers which is causing this bug for some Windows 10 Pro users. Reportedly, the bug mostly affects users who had upgraded from Windows 7 or 8 while Microsoft was offering the free upgrade to Windows 10.

    Normally, when Windows says it needs to be activated the OS will give you 30 days to obtain a valid license. Hopefully, Microsoft won’t take this long in fixing this latest Windows 10 bug. It is a possibility since Microsoft still hasn’t fixed their previous bug which saw files being deleted with the October Update of Windows 10. That update has been pushed back because of that bug and has not yet been fixed.

    Most consumers probably won’t even see this latest bug since Windows Pro, as the name implies, is designed more for professional users, however. Pro users really do rely on those extra security and remote desktop features. So for now, if you received the activation warning, hold tight and hopefully, Microsoft will have the problem fixed shortly. Although, you may not want to hold your breath in the meantime.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Don’t fall for the craigslist copycat rental scam 

    Don't fall for the copycat rental scam

    On other classifieds sites, there are rental property scams abound. One of the most common scams is that the con artist will copy an ad from a legitimate real estate site, then will repost the ad on a site like craigslist claiming that they are in control of renting the property. Since a lot of people’s first go to site for rental properties may be craigslist scammers will use that site in droves to try to take your money. But what if you see an ad on a real estate site then see an ad on craigslist for the same property at a different price?

    While this is a rare occurrence, a woman from New York was looking to find a rental property in Florida. She first found a property on a legitimate vacation rental site but then found the exact same property for rent on craigslist for a cheaper price. Wanting the better deal, the woman sent money to the person who allegedly placed the craigslist ad. The woman sent $3500 for a rental deposit, the check was cashed and the woman never heard back from the craigslist renter. The alleged con artist also tried this scam on a Canadian family and law enforcement was involved leading to the suspect’s arrest.

    If you see two ads for the same property and the one on craigslist is at a lower price, it’s almost guaranteed that the craigslist ad is a scam. On craigslist the ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is’ adage applies more than on any other classifieds site since craigslist doesn’t moderate their ads or submit them to any kind of review process. They only care about the quantity of ads and not the quality.

  • Geebo 10:30 am on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cameroon, , ,   

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries 

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries

    With all eyes focused on the US midterm election, Facebook announced in the run-up that they had removed several foreign accounts that were coordinating some kind of inauthentic behavior. What was lost in the headlines is that around the same time, Facebook has admitted to their part in the ongoing ethnic conflict in Myanmar. As has been posted on this blog in the past, the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has used Facebook to not only spread misinformation and hate speech about the Muslim Rohingya minority but have also used Facebook to organize violent attacks against the Rohingya.

    Outside of the announcement of Facebook removing accounts that may have tried to interfere with the US election, Facebook also announced that they admit that their platform was used an “enabling environment” to which ethnic cleansing has proliferated in Myanmar. This was after Facebook had commissioned an independent study to review their role in the continuing Burmese conflict. However, any promise of resolution on Facebook’s side has been vague at best with Facebook basically promising to do better in the future. However, before they can correct any issues in Myanmar, Facebook is being used in another country’s ongoing conflict.

    The African nation of Cameroon is on the verge of a civil war between the French-speaking majority and English-speaking separatists. There are no ‘good guys’ in this fight as both sides have been accused of atrocities against the other. Another thing that both sides of the conflict have in common is that they both use Facebook to discord and misinformation. In one of the more recent incidents, the French-speaking east spread a video of a horror movie on Facebook and claimed it was evidence of cannibalism in the English-speaking east. Even a high-ranking government official claimed this was evidence of atrocities committed by the separatists before the video was debunked. Facebook admitted that there was more to do in Africa but Facebook does not have a team in place in Cameroon but rather handles African content from the US and the UK. This sounds vaguely reminiscent of the crisis in Myanmar as Facebook previously only had a handful of employees that could read Burmese.

    Facebook is losing the global war against hate and has no real-world solutions in place to stop it. This is the problem when one platform dominates the market and tries to be all things to all people. Some of the people are hate-filled monsters with a global platform.

  • Geebo 10:10 am on November 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Facebook deletes foreign accounts ahead of election 

    Facebook deletes accounts ahead of election

    I know you don’t need another nagging voice telling you to get out and vote if you haven’t done so already but I’m going to say it anyway. Today is probably the most important midterm election in recent history. Whether or not you want things to change or stay the same, it’s imperative that we all get to the polls to make our voices heard.

    Now having said that, guess who is having trouble keeping foreign entities from trying to stir up trouble ahead of the election. I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. That’s right, it’s Facebook. Yesterday, Facebook announced they’ve suspended over 100 Instagram and Facebook accounts that were acting in a coordinated effort of inauthentic behavior. The suspended accounts were in English, French, and Russian.

    I’ve been using the internet for over 20 years now and in those 2+ decades, I can’t ever remember a time where a platform was used to such great extent in order to influence US voter activity on such a grand scale by international groups. Meanwhile, Facebook is acting like they’re trying to hold back the ocean with a broom as they suspend handfuls of accounts when the number of interfering accounts probably numbers much higher.

    To be quite honest, you probably shouldn’t allow your political views to be influenced by what’s on Facebook anyway. Facebook is the world’s megaphone letting anyone shout their opinion from the rooftops no matter how misinformed or misguided it might be, and all we have is people shouting at each other with no one listening. And when no one is listening no one can be truly informed.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , The Intercept   

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting 

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting

    why is it that Facebook can’t seem to go at least a week without having to apologize for something. If it’s not massive data breaches and hacks, it’s interference from foreign agitators. One has to wonder if there is a Facebook employee whose official title is Executive President In Charge of Public Apologies. Then again, the way Facebook has been going lately they may need an entire department for that. This week is no different as once again Facebook finds themselves having to apologize for something that had little to no oversight.

    Last week I posted about how news outlets VICE and Business Insider were able to buy phony Facebook ads claiming to be from US Senators and Cambridge Analytica. This week is no different as over the weekend Facebook apologized for yet another advertising faux pas. Another news outlet called The Intercept was able to purchase an ad on Facebook that could be targeted at people who have anti-Semitic views. By using the term anti-Semitic I’m being rather generous as the ads could be targeted using certain phrases that decorum dictates I won’t use here. Facebook blamed the ad category on Facebook’s advertising algorithm for creating the offensive category, however, The Intercept claims that the ad had to be approved by a human moderator. The Intercept placed this ad in order to show just how easy it is for hate groups to be able to promote their vile messages on the platform.

    This isn’t the first time Facebook has been caught allegedly coddling extremist hate groups as Motherboard discovered back in September that ads for white supremacy are not allowed on Facebook while posts that advocate white separatism and white nationalism are allowed. These controversies are just symptoms of much larger and more disturbing problems. Either Facebook’s own platform is grown so large it’s out of their control or Facebook courts controversy in order to keep it’s shrinking userbase engaged. Neither problem is better than the other but both show that Facebook wields more power in our society than they’re capable of handling.

  • Geebo 9:22 am on November 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Your Facebook account and messages could be sold for just ten cents 

    Your Facebook account and messages could be sold for just ten cents

    Ever since the major security breaches happened at Facebook, the social media titan has been trying to assure us that no sensitive user information has fallen into the hands of bad actors. However, it may be just now that we’re starting to see the veracity of those claims. When the accounts of hundreds of millions of users have been exposed, you have to expect at least some fallout from the exposure. Let’s revisit Facebook’s most recent hack that exposed somewhere between 30 and 50 million users.

    Now, the BBC is reporting that the private messages from over 80,000 Facebook accounts are being sold on the open market. While the majority of the accounts belong to users in the Ukraine and Russia, there are US and UK accounts listed among them. The bad actors in possession of this information were trying to sell each account for ten cents a piece. The BBC claims to have verified with some of the exposed users that the messages are in fact genuine. The hackers also claim that the 81,000 accounts are just a small sample of a larger cache that contains 120 million accounts.

    Not surprisingly, Facebook is trying to deflect blame from themselves, instead blaming the compromised accounts on malicious third-party browser extensions. That may be all well and good but when you put the words Facebook and hacked together it’s still Facebook who is going to take a lion’s share of the blame no matter how you look at it. Considering they’ve allowed close to 350 million accounts to be exposed in the past year is laying blame at their feet really that much of a stretch?

  • Geebo 9:15 am on November 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Be careful of the Social Security spoofing scam 

    Be careful of the Social Security spoofing scam

    With just about everyone owning a smartphone today we’ve all experienced a spoofed call. Normally these calls disguise themselves as being from a local number. Fearing it may be a neighbor or loved one in distress we answer the call only to find out it’s either a robocall or a telemarketer that’s not even from your local area. A scam that uses the spoofing method of disguising a phone number is targeting the elderly.

    According to the Social Security Administration, scammers are not just posing as Social Security employees but they’re also disguising their phone number to make it look like their calling from the national Social Security office. The number that appears on a phone’s caller ID is 1-800-772-1213 which is the national customer service number for Social Security. If someone were to answer the call the scammer would more than likely promise to increase the victim’s Social Security benefit if they could just get more information from the victim. The caller may even start to get belligerent if you don’t provide them with the information they’re looking for. Of course, this is all designed to gather your personal information to either sell your personal information to the highest bidder or use it to steal your identity.

    In the rare instances that Social Security will call one of its recipients, they will never promise to increase your benefits nor will they threaten you. Even if you think the call is legitimate, hang up, and call the SSA back by manually dialing the customer service number listed above. The SSA also recommends that if you receive one of these calls to report it to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or on their website.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc