"Precision agriculture" is to farmers as Facebook is to publishers: farmers who want to compete can't afford to boycott the precision ag platforms fielded by the likes of John Deere, but once they're locked into the platforms' walled gardens, they are prisoners, and the platforms start to squeeze them for a bigger and bigger share of their profits.
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Equifax division TALX has a product called The Work Number, where prospective employers can verify job applicants' work history and previous salaries (it's also used by mortgage lenders and others): you can create an account on this system in anyone's name, provided you have their date of birth and Social Security Number. The former is a matter of public record, the latter is often available thanks to the many breaches that have dumped millions of SSNs (the latest being Equifax's catastrophic breach of 145,000,000 Americans' data). Read the rest
"Appflash" will come pre-installed on all Verizon Android handsets; it's a Google search-bar replacement, but instead of feeding telemetry about your searches, handset, apps and activities to Google, it will send them to Verizon. Read the rest
Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to ensure that the FCC won't be able to prevent your ISP from spying on your internet usage and selling your private information. What does that mean in practice? Read the rest
Owners of Google Home smart-speakers got a surprise today when their personal assistants finished the "daily briefing" (a rundown of weather, calendar reminders an traffic info) with a plug for Disney's new Beauty and the Beast movie: ""By the way, Disney’s live action Beauty and The Beast opens today," followed by a long spiel for the movie. Read the rest
The company says it's not policy to do this -- yet -- but they're testing locking Yahoo Mail users out of their accounts unless they turn off ad-blocking. Read the rest
Silverpush, a startup that's just received $1.25M in venture capital, uses ultrasonic chirps that are emitted by apps, websites, and TV commercials to combine the identities associated with different devices (tablets, phones, computers, etc), so that your activity on all of them can be aggregated and sold to marketers. Read the rest