Palantir has figured out how to make money by using algorithms to ascribe guilt to people, now they're looking for new customers

In 2009, JP Morgan Chase's "special ops" guy was an ex-Secret Service agent called Peter Cavicchia III, and he retained Palantir to spy on everyone in the company to find "insider threats"; even getting the bank to invest in Palantir. Read the rest

When your dental insurer sends you a "free" Internet of Shit toothbrush

Wolf Richter's dental insurer sent his family a free "smart" toothbrush that records how often and how well you brush, using a set of proprietary consumables to clean your teeth. Read the rest

Facebook is unfixable. We need a nonprofit, public-spirited replacement.

The corruption and surveillance culture of Facebook is baked in deep and can never be removed; if you doubt it, just peruse a sampling of their patent filings, which are like Black Mirror fanfic written by lawyers. Read the rest

Under Armour: hackers stole the data of 150,000,000 Myfitnesspal users because of course they did

Myfitnesspal was a startup that offered Internet of Shit-based fitness and diet tracking; they were purchased by Under Armour for $475,000,000 in 2015; three years later, Under Armour has admitted that hackers stole the personal data of 150,000,000 Myfitnesspal users. Read the rest

Data Defenders, a media literacy game about data collection and targeting for kids in grades 4-6

Mediasmarts (previously), a Canadian media literacy nonprofit, has just released Data Defenders, a timely video game about data collection and targeting aimed at kids in grades 4-6. Read the rest

The business-logic of Silicon Valley means that it can only make creepy, surveillant, pointless "smart" sex toys

People who buy sex toys generally want "high-quality, ergonomically designed toys that are intuitive to use," but Silicon Valley keeps delivering "innovative" and commercially unsuccessful sex toys whose selling-points are their "flashy apps and connectivity." Read the rest

Cyber-arms-dealer Grey Heron really, really doesn't want you to know about the connections between them and the disgraced Hacking Team

When Grey Heron surfaced this month selling anti-Signal and anti-Telegram surveillance tools at a UK trade show for cyber-arms-dealers, sharp-eyed journalists at Motherboard immediately noticed that the company's spokesman was last seen fronting for Hacking Team, a disgraced Italian cyber-arms-dealer that provided surveillance weapons to some of the world's cruelest dictators. Read the rest

Services that deliver the same functions as Facebook, for after you #DeleteFacebook

After you #DeleteFacebook (here's step-by-step instructions, because they make it damned hard), you'll be wanting to replace the services it provided like instant messaging, event planning, and social news sharing. Read the rest

UK Information Commissioner's Office raids Cambridge Analytica's London office

The London offices of soi-dissant Facebook mind-control sorcerers Cambridge Analytica were raided by the UK Information Commissioner's Office, after a judge issued a search warrant for material related to the illegal acquisition of 50,000,000 Facebook profiles by the company. Read the rest

You know who does creepier stuff with your data than Cambridge Analytica? Your ISP

Chances are, your ISP has been repeatedly caught sucking up all your clicks, and also chances are that it's a de facto arm of the US spy network, making bank selling your data to the NSA; AT&T has proposed charging you hundreds of dollars extra a year not to spy on you; Comcast wants to do the same. Read the rest

Trump and the weird attention economy of Facebook

When you try to buy online ads from Facebook's self-serve ad-auctioning platform, merely being the highest bidder isn't enough to guarantee that your ads will get through: Facebook multiplies your bid by a software-generated prediction about how responsive the audience will be to it, so the clickbaitier your ad is, the less it costs to place it. Read the rest

Your smart TV is trivial to hack and leaks your personal information like crazy unless you disable all its useful features

Consumer Reports dragged a bunch of its top-rated smart TVs back into its labs to re-evaluate them, this time checking them for hard-to-evaluate information security risks and defects, which are not normally factored into its ratings. Read the rest

Leaked presentation from AI snake-oil salesmen to AAA game company promises horrific, dystopian manipulation of players to drain their wallets

Techpowerup has published a redacted presentation from an unnamed AI company to an unnamed big-budget multiplayer video-game publisher, setting out a suite of surveillance capitalism tools combined with machine-learning to manipulate players to make them as addicted as possible and drain them of as much money as possible. Read the rest

Facebook hired a pollster to track Zuck's public image, but he quit because working for Facebook filled him with shame

Tavis McGinn came to a job interview at Facebook to do the kind of work he'd done at Google, using analytics to help advertisers refine their campaigns; instead he was offered a job as Zuck's personal pollster, tracking the CEO's approval rating in fine-grained detail as he toured America and the world. Read the rest

The coming EU privacy regulation will end up remaking the world's web

Europe's General Data Protection Regulation kicks in this May, and it enforces a user-first, privacy-centric set of rules for the internet that is totally incompatible with the adtech industry and the ad-supported web in general (though much rides on a potentially humungous loophole). Read the rest

America's school systems serve unencrypted web resources that are riddled with ad-tech trackers

Edtech Strategies, "a boutique consultancy focused on providing strategic research and counsel on issues at the intersection of education, public policy, technology, and innovation" has published a report detailing the dismal state of America's state education agencies web-practices, where encrypted connections are hard to find and adtech trackers are everywhere. Read the rest

Inside big tech's last-minute scramble to comply with Europe's new privacy rules

The General Data Protection Regulation will be enforced as of May, and once it does, internet companies will no longer be able to collect or share your data unless they give you a clear, simple explanation of how it will be used, and get your consent, along with contact details for named individuals who report directly to the business's senior management. Read the rest

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