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Apple Will Store Russian User Data Locally, Possibly Decrypt on Request: Report

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-01 22:05
After resisting local government's mandates for years, Apple appears to have agreed to store Russian citizens' data within the country, a report says. From a report: According to a Foreign Policy report, Russia's telecommunications and media agency Roskomnadzor has confirmed that Apple will comply with the local data storage law, which appears to have major implications for the company's privacy initiatives. Apple's obligations in Russia would at least parallel ones in China, which required it turn over Chinese citizens' iCloud data to a partially government-operated data center last year. In addition to processing and storing Russian citizens' data on servers physically within Russia, Apple will apparently need to decrypt and produce user data for the country's security services as requested.

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New Net Neutrality Bill Headed To Congress

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-01 21:25
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said today he would "soon" introduce a bill to permanently reinstate the net neutrality rules that were repealed by the Federal Communications Commission, led by chairman Ajit Pai, in 2017. From a report: Markey's announcement comes as a federal court is set to hear oral arguments over the FCC's repeal of net neutrality regulations in 2017. Markey, who is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, has previously introduced a bill that would permanently reinstate net neutrality as a member of the House of Representatives, although the measure ultimately failed. It's unclear when the bill would be formally introduced, but Markey said it was imminent. "We will soon lay down a legislative marker in the Senate in support of net neutrality to show the American people that we are on their side in overwhelming supporting a free and open internet." Further reading: Net Neutrality Repeal at Stake as Key Court Case Starts: Oral arguments are set to begin Friday in the most prominent lawsuit challenging the federal government's repeal of broadband access rules known as net neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission approved the rules in 2015 to ensure internet users equal and open access to all websites and services. The commission, under new leadership, rolled the rules back in 2017. The plaintiffs in the suit to be argued Friday, led by the internet company Mozilla and supported by 22 state attorneys general, say the commission lacked a sound legal reason for scrapping the regulations. The government is expected to argue that the rules were repealed because of the burden they imposed on broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast.

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New Site Exposes How Apple Censors Apps in China

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-01 18:45
A new website exposes the extent to which Apple cooperates with Chinese government internet censorship, blocking access to Western news sources, information about human rights and religious freedoms, and privacy-enhancing apps that would circumvent the country's pervasive online surveillance regime. The Intercept: The new site, AppleCensorship.com , allows users to check which apps are not accessible to people in China through Apple's app store, indicating those that have been banned. It was created by researchers at GreatFire.org, an organization that monitors Chinese government internet censorship. In late 2017, Apple admitted to U.S. senators that it had removed from its app store in China more than 600 "virtual private network" apps that allow users to evade censorship and online spying. But the company never disclosed which specific apps it removed -- nor did it reveal other services it had pulled from its app store at the behest of China's authoritarian government.

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Second China-Bound Apple Car Worker Charged With Data Theft

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-01 04:00
schwit1 shares a report from Bloomberg: An Apple hardware engineer was charged by the U.S. with stealing the iPhone maker's driverless car secrets for a China-based company, the second such case since July amid an unprecedented crackdown by the Trump administration on Chinese corporate espionage. Jizhong Chen was seen by a fellow Apple employee taking photographs Jan. 11 with a wide-angle lens inside a secure work space that houses the company's autonomous car project, about six months after he signed a strict confidentiality oath when he was hired, according to a criminal complaint in federal court in San Jose, California. Prosecutors said Chen admitted to taking the photos and backing up some 2,000 files to his personal hard drive, including manuals and schematics for the project, but didn't tell Apple he had applied for a job with a China-based autonomous vehicle company.

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Hacker Spoke To Baby and Hurled Obscenities At Couple Using Nest Camera, Dad Says

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-01 01:50
pgmrdlm shares a report from CBS News: An Illinois couple said a hacker spoke to their baby through one of their Nest security cameras and then later hurled obscenities at them, CBS station WBBM-TV reports. Arjun Sud told the station he was outside his 7-month-old son's room Sunday outside Chicago and he heard someone talking. "I was shocked to hear a deep, manly voice talking," Sud said. "My blood ran cold." Sud told WBBM-TV he thought the voice was coming over the baby monitor by accident. But it returned when he and his wife were downstairs. The voice was coming from another of the many Nest cameras throughout the couple's Lake Barrington house. "Asking me, you know, why I'm looking at him -- because he saw obviously that I was looking back -- and continuing to taunt me," Sud said. Later that night, Arjun Sud noticed the Nest thermostat they have upstairs had been raised to 90 degrees. He suspected the hacker was behind that too. Nest's parent company, Google, said in a statement that Nest's system was not breached. Google said the recent incidents stem from customers "using compromised passwords exposed through breaches on other websites."

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India's Largest Bank SBI Leaked Account Data On Millions of Customers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-01-31 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: India's largest bank has secured an unprotected server that allowed anyone to access financial information on millions of its customers, like bank balances and recent transactions. The server, hosted in a regional Mumbai-based data center, stored two months of data from SBI Quick, a text message and call-based system used to request basic information about their bank accounts by customers of the government-owned State Bank of India (SBI), the largest bank in the country and a highly ranked company in the Fortune 500. But the bank had not protected the server with a password, allowing anyone who knew where to look to access the data on millions of customers' information. The passwordless database allowed us to see all of the text messages going to customers in real time, including their phone numbers, bank balances and recent transactions. The database also contained the customer's partial bank account number. Some would say when a check had been cashed, and many of the bank's sent messages included a link to download SBI's YONO app for internet banking. The bank sent out close to three million text messages on Monday alone. The database also had daily archives of millions of text messages each, going back to December, allowing anyone with access a detailed view into millions of customers' finances. SBI claims more than 500 million customers across the globe with 740 million accounts.

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Lawyer Sues Apple Over FaceTime Eavesdrop Bug, Says It Let Someone Record a Sworn Testimony

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-01-31 12:00
A lawyer in Houston has filed a lawsuit against Apple over a security vulnerability that let people eavesdrop on iPhones using FaceTime. "His lawsuit, filed Monday in Harris County, Texas, alleges that Apple 'failed to exercise reasonable care' and that Apple 'knew, or should have known, that its Product would cause unsolicited privacy breaches and eavesdropping,'" reports CNBC. "It alleged Apple did not adequately test its software and that Apple was 'aware there was a high probability at least some consumers would suffer harm.'" From the report: The suit says that Williams was "undergoing a private deposition with a client when this defective product breached allowed for the recording" of the conversation. Williams claimed this caused "sustained permanent and continuous injuries, pain and suffering and emotional trauma that will continue into the future" and that Williams "lost ability to earn a living and will continued to be so in the future." The lawsuit also says that iOS 12.1, the latest major release of the iPhone operating system, was defective and "unreasonable dangerous" and that Apple "failed to provide adequate warnings to avoid the substantial danger" posed by the security flaw. Williams is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as a result of the exploit.

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Foxconn Is Reconsidering Plan For Wisconsin Factory

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-01-31 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: Foxconn, the giant Taiwan-based company that announced plans for a $10 billion display-making factory in Wisconsin, now says it is rethinking the project's focus because of "new realities" in the global marketplace (Warning source may be paywalled; alternative source). The company said Wednesday that it remained committed to creating as many as 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, and continued to "actively consider opportunities" involving flat-screen technology. But it said it was also "examining ways for Wisconsin's knowledge workers to promote research and development." "The global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed," Foxconn said in a statement. "As our plans are driven by those of our customers, this has necessitated the adjustment of plans for all projects, including Wisconsin." But the company said its presence in Wisconsin remained a priority, and said it was "broadening the base of our investment" there. The statement followed a Reuters report quoting Louis Woo, a special assistant to Foxconn's chairman, Terry Gou, as saying that the costs of manufacturing screens for televisions and other consumer products are too high in the United States. "In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.," Mr. Woo told Reuters. "We can't compete." Some Wisconsin Republicans blamed the company's change in plans on the election of Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, to succeed Mr. Walker, a Republican, in November. In a joint statement, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and the Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, said it was "not surprising Foxconn would rethink building a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin under the Evers administration." The lawmakers added: "The company is reacting to the wave of economic uncertainty that the new governor has brought with his administration."

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Attackers Can Track Kids' Locations Via Connected Watches

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-01-31 03:40
secwatcher shares a report from Threatpost: A gamut of kids' GPS-tracking watches are exposing sensitive data involving 35,000 children -- including their location, in real time. Researchers from Pen Test Partners specifically took a look at the Gator portfolio of watches from TechSixtyFour. The Gator line had been in the spotlight in 2017 for having a raft of vulnerabilities, called out by the Norwegian Consumers Council in its WatchOut research. "A year on, we decided to have a look at the Gator watch again to see how their security had improved," said Vangelis Stykas, in a Tuesday posting. "Guess what: a train wreck. Anyone could access the entire database, including real-time child location, name, parents' details etc. Not just Gator watches either -- the same back end covered multiple brands and tens of thousands of watches." "At issue was an easy-to-exploit, severe privilege-escalation vulnerability: The system failed to validate that the user had the appropriate permission to take admin control," reports Threatpost. "An attacker with access to the watch's credentials simply needed to change the user level parameter in the backend to an admin designation, which would provide access to all account information and all watch information."

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Netflix, Amazon, and Hollywood Studios Shut Down Dragon Box

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-01-31 01:40
The entertainment industry has shut down Dragon Media Inc.'s "Dragon Box" device, which connects to TVs and lets users watch video without a cable TV or streaming service subscription. According to Ars Technica, the company has "agreed to shut down the Dragon Box services and pay $14.5 million in damages to plaintiffs from the entertainment industry." From the report: Dragon Media was sued in January 2018 by Netflix, Amazon, Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. Dragon Media's lawyer initially predicted that the lawsuit would backfire on the entertainment industry, but the Dragon Box maker must have decided it had little chance of winning at trial. The plaintiffs and defendant filed a proposed settlement Monday at U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The settlement requires Dragon Media to "cease all operation of the Dragon Box system" and related services within five days. Under the settlement, "[j]udgment shall be entered against Defendants and in favor of Plaintiffs on Plaintiffs' claims of copyright infringement, and damages shall be awarded to Plaintiffs in the amount of U.S. $14,500,000," the document says. Dragon Media, Dragon Media owner Paul Christoforo, and reseller Jeff Williams "[s]hall be further enjoined from operating any website, system, software, or service that is substantially similar to the Dragon Box service," the settlement says. The settlement also prohibits the defendants from making its source code or other technology available to others.

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Google+ Reveals Shutdown Timeline For Consumers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-01-31 00:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Android Police: Google announced its plans to sunset its Google+ social media network for consumers on a sour note in October. The platform, which has a small but dedicated user-base, decided to shut down following Google's acknowledgement of a data exposure that affected up to 500,000 Google+ profiles. Shortly after, in December, the shutdown timeline was expedited due to another, larger bug that had the potential to reveal private user information and impacted approximately 52.5 million users. Now, the company has detailed its shutdown timeline for the consumer version of Google+ -- and it's not wasting any time. The shutdown timeline is as follows: - As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities, or events. - The Google+ feature for website comments will be removed by Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2nd. - Google+ sign-in buttons will stop working in the coming weeks, but in some cases will be replaced by a Google sign-in button. - Google+ Community owners and moderators who are downloading data from their Community will gain additional data for download starting early March 2019. That includes author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. -On April 2nd, all Google+ accounts and pages will be shut down and Google will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in users' Album Archive and Google+ pages will also be deleted. Photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

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Google's Also Peddling a Data Collector Through Apple's Back Door

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 21:50
Facebook is not the only one abusing Apple's system for distributing employee-only apps to sidestep the App Store and collect extensive data on users. Google has been running an app called Screenwise Meter, which bears a strong resemblance to the app distributed by Facebook Research that has now been barred by Apple, TechCrunch reported Wednesday. From the report: In its app, Google invites users aged 18 and up (or 13 if part of a family group) to download the app by way of a special code and registration process using an Enterprise Certificate. That's the same type of policy violation that led Apple to shut down Facebook's similar Research VPN iOS app, which had the knock-on effect of also disabling usage of Facebook's legitimate employee-only apps -- which run on the same Facebook Enterprise Certificate -- and making Facebook look very iffy in the process. It needs to be pointed out that Google's app is relatively transparent about what it does and who runs it.

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Hanford Nuclear Waste Cleanup Makes Progress, But Questions Loom

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 15:00
The Hanford Vit Plant in Washington state, a $17 billion federal facility for treating and immobilizing radioactive waste, is now on track to begin "glassifying" low-activity nuclear waste as soon as 2022, reports IEEE Spectrum. This is "a year ahead of a court-mandated deadline." From the report: Still, an air of uncertainty surrounds the project. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed reclassifying some of the nation's radioactive waste as less dangerous, and it's unclear how that could affect the Hanford facility's long-term prospects. Hanford houses about 212 million liters of high-level waste, the leftovers of the U.S. nuclear weapons program. However, higher-level waste has a longer timeline. Separate pretreatment and vitrification facilities aren't slated for commissioning until 2033. All parts of the Vit Plant are legally required to begin fully operating by 2036, under a consent decree between Washington, Oregon, and the federal government. The DOE hasn't said whether, or how, its proposal to reclassify nuclear waste would affect existing plans at Hanford if adopted. The agency is not making any decisions on the classification or disposal of any particular waste stream at this time, a DOE official said by email. [...] Though current law defines high-level radioactive waste as the sludge that results from processing highly radioactive nuclear fuel, the DOE is considering slapping a new, potentially less expensive label on it if it can meet the radioactive concentration limits for Class C low-level radioactive waste. Reclassifying nuclear waste would allow the federal government to sidestep decades of cleanup work, saving it billions of dollars. The relabeling might even enable the DOE to bypass costly vitrification and instead contain tank waste by covering it with concrete-like grout, as the agency does at other decommissioned nuclear sites. Officials and citizens in Washington and Oregon oppose this method for Hanford, "citing the risk of long-term soil and groundwater contamination and the challenges of moving and storing voluminous grout blocks," reports IEEE Spectrum. "Earlier federal studies found that grout 'actually performed the worst of all the supplemental treatment options considered.' (A 2017 report to Congress, however, suggested both vitrification and grout could effectively treat Hanford's low-activity waste.)"

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NASA Is Back To Work, But the Effects of the Government Shutdown Linger

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 09:00
Following a record 35-day government shutdown, thousands of civil servants and contractors are heading back to work this week at NASA's various centers throughout the country. "These first few days back on the job will be consumed with practical matters, such as figuring out employee backpay and how to dive back into projects," reports The Verge. "The shutdown will undoubtedly result in delays for some of NASA's long-term programs, too, but it'll be a while before the space agency can fully assess the extent of the damage." From the report: To explain how NASA is adjusting in the wake of the shutdown, the space agency's administrator Jim Bridenstine addressed employees during a town hall meeting this afternoon at NASA's headquarters in Washington, DC. "Welcome to 2019," he said during the meeting, which was live-streamed on NASATV. "NASA is now open and we're very thankful for that." The comment was met by applause from those in attendance, while Bridenstine went on to acknowledge that it's been a rough start to the year for the agency. "I want to say thank you for your patience and for your commitment to this agency and to the mission we all believe in so dearly." Bridenstine told the room that some NASA employees did leave during the shutdown, though it wasn't a substantial amount. "We didn't have a mass exodus," he said. "I think had this gone on longer, we would have. But we did lose people -- onesies and twosies -- across the agency and even here at headquarters. That is absolutely true." Perhaps those hit hardest at NASA were the agency's contractors. [...] Each company funded by NASA has its own contract with the agency, and the provisions of those agreements differ from contract to contract. Some contractors were paid their funding in advance of the shutdown, allowing them to continue working mostly unfazed. However, the employees of contractors who did not receive funding in advance were unable to bill for the hours that they worked during the shutdown. And it's possible they'll never receive compensation for that time. "NASA is in the middle of selecting new planetary missions to pursue, as part of its New Frontiers and Discovery programs -- and the shutdown may have delayed that process, says Casey Dreier, chief advocate and senior space policy adviser at The Planetary Society," reports The Verge. "Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for science, pushed back the date for when the agency would accept applications for new science research proposals. And there's uncertainty surrounding the new giant rocket NASA is working on to take astronauts to the Moon and beyond, called the Space Launch System." Boeing told Politico that the shutdown delayed testing of the rocket's hardware.

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Ask Slashdot: What Could Go Wrong In Tech That Hasn't Already Gone Wrong?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 03:30
dryriver writes: If you look at the last 15 years in tech, just about everything that could go wrong seemingly has gone wrong. Everything you buy and bring into your home tracks you in some way or the other. Some software can only be rented now -- no permanent licenses available to buy. PC games are tethered into cloud crap like Steam, Origin and UPlay. China is messing with unborn baby genes. Drones have managed to mess up entire airports. The Scandinavians have developed a serious hatred of cash money and are instead getting themselves chipped. CPUs have horrible security. Every day some huge customer database somewhere gets pwned by hackers. Cybercrime has gone through the roof. You cannot trust the BIOS on your PC anymore. Windows 10 just will not stop updating itself. And AI is soon going to kill us all, if a self-driving car by Uber doesn't do it first. So: What has -- so far -- not gone wrong in tech that still could go wrong, and perhaps in a surprising way?

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Facebook Pays Teens To Install VPN That Spies On Them

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 02:50
A new report from TechCrunch details how "desperate" Facebook is for data on its competitors. The social media company "has been secretly paying people to install a 'Facebook Research' VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user's phone and web activity," a TechCrunch investigation confirms. "Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access in what may be a violation of Apple policy so the social network can decrypt and analyze their phone activity." From the report: Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android "Facebook Research" app. Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. The program is administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to cloak Facebook's involvement, and is referred to in some documentation as "Project Atlas" a fitting name for Facebook's effort to map new trends and rivals around the globe. We asked Guardian Mobile Firewall's security expert Will Strafach to dig into the Facebook Research app, and he told us that "If Facebook makes full use of the level of access they are given by asking users to install the Certificate, they will have the ability to continuously collect the following types of data: private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps -- including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed." It's unclear exactly what data Facebook is concerned with, but it gets nearly limitless access to a user's device once they install the app.

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New Proposal Would Ban Government Facial Recognition Use In San Francisco

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-01-30 02:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The San Francisco Examiner: San Francisco could be the first city in the nation to ban city agencies from using facial recognition surveillance technology under proposed legislation announced Tuesday by Supervisor Aaron Peskin. The legislation, which will be introduced at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, echoes ordinances adopted by cities including Oakland and Berkeley, as well as by the transit agency BART, that require legislative approval before city agencies or law enforcement adopt new surveillance technologies or policies for the use of existing technologies. However, the new proposal takes things a step further with an outright ban on facial recognition technology. The San Francisco proposal would not only ban facial recognition but would also require the Board of Supervisors to approve new surveillance technology in general. The board would have to find that the benefits of the technology outweigh the costs, that civil rights will be protected and that the technology will not disparately impact a community or group. Peskin portrayed the proposal to be introduced Tuesday as an extension of his "Privacy First Policy," approved by voters in November, which sets new limits and transparency requirements on the collection and use of personal data by companies doing business with The City.

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US Judge Rejects Yahoo Data Breach Settlement

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-01-29 20:10
A U.S. judge rejected Yahoo's proposed settlement with millions of people whose email addresses and other personal information were stolen in the largest data breach in history, faulting the Internet services provider for a lack of transparency. From a report: In a Monday night decision, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, said she could not declare the settlement "fundamentally fair, adequate and reasonable" because it did not say how much victims could expect to recover. Yahoo, now part of New York-based Verizon Communications, was accused of being too slow to disclose three breaches from 2013 to 2016 that affected an estimated 3 billion accounts. The settlement called for a $50 million payout, plus two years of free credit monitoring for about 200 million people in the United States and Israel with nearly 1 billion accounts.

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Singapore HIV Registry Data Leaked Online in Health Breach

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-01-29 19:04
Confidential data about more than 14,000 people diagnosed with HIV, including foreign visitors, has been stolen in Singapore and leaked online. From a report: Authorities revealed details about the 2016 health data breach on Monday. They believe an HIV-positive American whose partner was a senior Singaporean doctor is behind the leak. The hack comes just months after the records of 1.5m Singaporeans, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, were stolen last year. Confidential information including names, addresses, HIV status and other medical information is reportedly included in the latest breach. Officials say the details of 5,400 Singaporeans and 8,800 foreigners dating up to January 2013 have been compromised.

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Google's Sidewalk Labs Plans To Sell Location Data On Millions of Cellphones

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-01-29 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Intercept: Most of the data collected by urban planners is messy, complex, and difficult to represent. It looks nothing like the smooth graphs and clean charts of city life in urban simulator games like "SimCity." A new initiative from Sidewalk Labs, the city-building subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, has set out to change that. The program, known as Replica, offers planning agencies the ability to model an entire city's patterns of movement. Like "SimCity," Replica's "user-friendly" tool deploys statistical simulations to give a comprehensive view of how, when, and where people travel in urban areas. It's an appealing prospect for planners making critical decisions about transportation and land use. In recent months, transportation authorities in Kansas City, Portland, and the Chicago area have signed up to glean its insights. The only catch: They're not completely sure where the data is coming from. Typical urban planners rely on processes like surveys and trip counters that are often time-consuming, labor-intensive, and outdated. Replica, instead, uses real-time mobile location data. As Nick Bowden of Sidewalk Labs has explained, "Replica provides a full set of baseline travel measures that are very difficult to gather and maintain today, including the total number of people on a highway or local street network, what mode they're using (car, transit, bike, or foot), and their trip purpose (commuting to work, going shopping, heading to school)." To make these measurements, the program gathers and de-identifies the location of cellphone users, which it obtains from unspecified third-party vendors. It then models this anonymized data in simulations -- creating a synthetic population that faithfully replicates a city's real-world patterns but that "obscures the real-world travel habits of individual people," as Bowden told The Intercept. The program comes at a time of growing unease with how tech companies use and share our personal data -- and raises new questions about Google's encroachment on the physical world.

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