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Oracle's BlueKai Tracks You Across the Web. That Data Spilled Online

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-06-19 18:12
From a report: Have you ever wondered why online ads appear for things that you were just thinking about? There's no big conspiracy. Ad tech can be creepily accurate. Tech giant Oracle is one of a few companies in Silicon Valley that has near-perfected the art of tracking people across the internet. The company has spent a decade and billions of dollars buying startups to build its very own panopticon of users' web browsing data. One of those startups, BlueKai, which Oracle bought for a little over $400 million in 2014, is barely known outside marketing circles, but it amassed one of the largest banks of web tracking data outside of the federal government. BlueKai uses website cookies and other tracking tech to follow you around the web. By knowing which websites you visit and which emails you open, marketers can use this vast amount of tracking data to infer as much about you as possible -- your income, education, political views, and interests to name a few -- in order to target you with ads that should match your apparent tastes. If you click, the advertisers make money. But for a time, that web tracking data was spilling out onto the open internet because a server was left unsecured and without a password, exposing billions of records for anyone to find. Security researcher Anurag Sen found the database and reported his finding to Oracle through an intermediary -- Roi Carthy, chief executive at cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock and former TechCrunch reporter.

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NYC Passes POST Act, Requiring Police Department To Reveal Surveillance Technologies

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-06-19 17:36
New York City Council this week voted 44-6 in favor of the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act, a bill that requires the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to disclose their use of surveillance technologies. From a report: The POST Act also mandates that the NYPD develop policies on how it deploys those tools, as well as establish oversight of the department's surveillance programs to ensure they remain compliant. The passage of the POST Act, a three-year-old piece of legislation written with input from local activist organization Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), comes as cities around the country reexamine law enforcement policies following widespread demonstrations against abuse. Residents and activists on Tuesday urged the Detroit City Council to reject a contract that would extend the city police's use of facial recognition technology. On Wednesday, racial justice and civil liberties groups called on members of the U.S. Congress to end funding for surveillance technology law enforcement is using to spy on demonstrators.

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Mozilla To Launch VPN Product 'in the Next Few Weeks'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-06-19 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Mozilla has announced today that its highly anticipated VPN (virtual private network) service will launch later this summer, "in the next few weeks." The product has also been renamed from its original name of Firefox Private Network to its new brand of the "Mozilla VPN." The name change came after Mozilla expanded the VPN product from the initial Firefox extension to a full-device VPN, capable of routing traffic for the entire OS, including other browsers. Currently, the Mozilla VPN offers clients for Windows 10, Chromebooks, Android, and iOS devices. Mozilla said beta testers also requested a Mac client, which they plan to provide, along with a Linux app.

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Discord Removes Servers Dedicated To Pirating Porn

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-06-19 03:25
After Motherboard discovered multiple servers on Discord containing pirated porn, the chat platform removed them and banned the owners of each. From a report: "Discord prohibits the sale, dissemination, and promotion of cracked accounts," a spokesperson told Motherboard. "We ban users and shut down servers that are responsible for this behavior. In cases of copyrighted material, we respond promptly to DMCA takedown requests and take the appropriate action." The bans are permanent, and the owners can no longer access their accounts for any purpose. Former members of those servers can no longer access those servers, either. During Motherboard's reporting, Google removed an OnlyFans scraping Chrome extension when approached for comment. Stolen content is a problem that has plagued the adult industry for as long as porn has existed on the internet. Several owners of premium platforms similar to OnlyFans urged the industry to do better in how it safeguards content, by protecting models from theft using more advanced fingerprinting, watermarking, copyright takedown support, and technology that could prevent scrapers from using these tools to begin with.

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Microsoft Says Antitrust Regulators Need To Review App Stores

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-06-19 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith said it's time for antitrust regulators in the U.S. and Europe to discuss tactics that app stores use to take advantage of those who want to distribute their software. Some app stores create a far higher barrier to fair competition and access than Microsoft's Windows did when it was found guilty of antitrust violations 20 years ago, Smith said Thursday at an event sponsored by Politico. He didn't specify which app stores he was referring to, but Apple and Alphabet's Google operate popular ones for their devices. "They impose requirements that increasingly say there is only one way to get on to our platform and that is to go through the gate that we ourselves have created," Smith said. "In some cases they create a very high price per toll -- in some cases 30% of your revenue has to go to the toll keeper." "The time has come -- whether we are talking about D.C. or Brussels -- for a much more focused conversation about the nature of app stores, the rules that are being put in place, the prices and the tolls that are being extracted and whether there is really a justification in antitrust law for everything that has been created," Smith said.

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To Evade Detection, Hackers Are Requiring Targets To Complete CAPTCHAs

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-06-18 23:20
CAPTCHAs, those puzzles with muffled sounds or blurred or squiggly letters that websites use to filter out bots (often unsuccessfully), have been annoying end users for more than a decade. Now, the challenge-and-response tests are likely to vex targets in malware attacks. From a report: Microsoft recently spotted an attack group distributing a malicious Excel document on a site requiring users to complete a CAPTCHA, most likely in an attempt to thwart automated detection by good guys. The Excel file contains macros that, when enabled, install GraceWire, a trojan that steals sensitive information such as passwords. The attacks are the work of a group Microsoft calls Chimborazo, which company researchers have been tracking since at least January. Previously, Microsoft observed Chimborazo distributing the Excel file in attachments included in phishing messages and later spreading through embedded Web links. In recent weeks, the group has begun sending phishing emails that change things up again. In some cases, the phishes include links that lead to redirector sites (usually legitimate sites that have been compromised). In other cases, the emails have an HTML attachment that contains a malicious iframe tag. Either way, clicking on the link or attachment leads to a site where targets download the malicious file, but only after completing the CAPTCHA (which is short for completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart). The purpose: to thwart automated analysis defenders use to detect and block attacks and get attack campaigns shut down. Typically the analysis is performed by what are essentially bots that download malware samples and run and analyze them in virtual machines. Requiring the successful completion of a CAPTCHA means analysis will only happen when a live human being downloads the sample. Without the automation, the chances of the malicious file flying under the radar are much better. Microsoft has dubbed Chimborazo's ongoing attack campaign Dudear.

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Massive Spying on Users of Google's Chrome Shows New Security Weakness

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-06-18 16:00
A newly discovered spyware effort attacked users through 32 million downloads of extensions to Google's market-leading Chrome web browser, researchers at Awake Security told Reuters, highlighting the tech industry's failure to protect browsers as they are used more for email, payroll and other sensitive functions. From a report: Google said it removed more than 70 of the malicious add-ons from its official Chrome Web Store after being alerted by the researchers last month. "When we are alerted of extensions in the Web Store that violate our policies, we take action and use those incidents as training material to improve our automated and manual analyses," Google spokesman Scott Westover told Reuters. Most of the free extensions purported to warn users about questionable websites or convert files from one format to another. Instead, they siphoned off browsing history and data that provided credentials for access to internal business tools. Based on the number of downloads, it was the most far-reaching malicious Chrome store campaign to date, according to Awake co-founder and chief scientist Gary Golomb.

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FBI Used Etsy, LinkedIn To Make Arrest In Torching of Philadelphia Police Vehicles

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-06-18 03:25
Authorities used popular websites including Etsy, Poshmark and LinkedIn to identify a woman who has since been charged for the arson of two Philadelphia police vehicles during the unrest that followed peaceful protests on May 30. From a report: Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal, 33, of Philadelphia, is currently in federal custody and had her initial court appearance on Tuesday. According to United States Attorney William M. McSwain, on May 30, two vehicles, one PPD sedan (number 2514) and one PPD SUV (number 1612), were parked on the north side of City Hall. During the violence that began around City Hall following peaceful protests, Blumenthal allegedly set fire to both vehicles. [T]he FBI says it was Blumenthal's T-shirt and a forearm tattoo that helped authorities identify her. In amateur photos given to authorities, she is seen wearing a T-shirt that says, "Keep the immigrants, deport the racists." They were able to trace the T-shirt back to an Etsy shop, where a review was left by a user that displayed a Philadelphia location. Investigators say open searches for the username led them to a Poshmark user by the name of lore-elisabeth. Open searches for a Lore Elisabeth in Philadelphia led investigators to a LinkedIn profile for a woman who was employed as a massage therapist. [...] If convicted, Blumenthal faces a maximum possible sentence of ten years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.

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Microsoft Pitched Its Facial Recognition Tech To the DEA, New Emails Show

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-17 19:20
Microsoft tried to sell its facial recognition technology to the Drug Enforcement Administration as far back as 2017, according to newly released emails. From a report: The American Civil Liberties Union obtained the emails through a public records lawsuit it filed in October, challenging the secrecy surrounding the DEA's facial recognition program. The ACLU shared the emails with TechCrunch. The emails, dated between September 2017 and December 2018, show that Microsoft privately hosted DEA agents at its Reston, Va. office to demonstrate its facial recognition system, and that the DEA later piloted the technology. It was during this time Microsoft's president Brad Smith was publicly calling for government regulations covering the use of facial recognition. But the emails also show that the DEA expressed concern with purchasing the technology, fearing criticism from the FBI's use of facial recognition at the time that caught the attention of government watchdogs. Critics have long said this face-matching technology violates Americans' right to privacy, and that the technology disproportionately shows bias against people of color. But despite the rise of facial recognition by police and in public spaces, Congress has struggled to keep pace and introduce legislation that would oversee the as-of-yet unregulated space.

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Zoom To Launch End-to-End Encryption For All Users -- Not Just Paid Accounts

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-17 18:31
Weeks after Zoom said it will offer end-to-end encryption to only paying customers -- a move that was received poorly by several privacy and security advocates, the popular video calling software said on Wednesday it is making some amendments: We are also pleased to share that we have identified a path forward that balances the legitimate right of all users to privacy and the safety of users on our platform. This will enable us to offer E2EE (end-to-end encryption) as an advanced add-on feature for all of our users around the globe -- free and paid -- while maintaining the ability to prevent and fight abuse on our platform. To make this possible, Free/Basic users seeking access to E2EE will participate in a one-time process that will prompt the user for additional pieces of information, such as verifying a phone number via a text message. Many leading companies perform similar steps on account creation to reduce the mass creation of abusive accounts. We are confident that by implementing risk-based authentication, in combination with our current mix of tools -- including our Report a User function -- we can continue to prevent and fight abuse.

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China Is Collecting DNA From Tens of Millions of Men and Boys, Using US Equipment

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-17 16:02
The police in China are collecting blood samples from men and boys from across the country to build a genetic map of its roughly 700 million males, giving the authorities a powerful new tool for their emerging high-tech surveillance state. From a report: They have swept across the country since late 2017 to collect enough samples to build a vast DNA database, according to a new study published on Wednesday by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a research organization, based on documents also reviewed by The New York Times. With this database, the authorities would be able to track down a man's male relatives using only that man's blood, saliva or other genetic material. An American company, Thermo Fisher, is helping: The Massachusetts company has sold testing kits to the Chinese police tailored to their specifications. American lawmakers have criticized Thermo Fisher for selling equipment to the Chinese authorities, but the company has defended its business. The project is a major escalation of China's efforts to use genetics to control its people, which had been focused on tracking ethnic minorities and other, more targeted groups. It would add to a growing, sophisticated surveillance net that the police are deploying across the country, one that increasingly includes advanced cameras, facial recognition systems and artificial intelligence. The police say they need the database to catch criminals and that donors consent to handing over their DNA. Some officials within China, as well as human rights groups outside its borders, warn that a national DNA database could invade privacy and tempt officials to punish the relatives of dissidents and activists. Rights activists argue that the collection is being done without consent because citizens living in an authoritarian state have virtually no right to refuse.

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'Hey Siri, I'm Getting Pulled Over': iPhone Feature Will Record Police Interaction, Send Location

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-17 12:00
An iPhone user created a shortcut that prompts an iPhone to begin recording police interactions by the user simply uttering the phrase: "Hey Siri, I'm getting pulled over." The task utilizes Apple's relatively new "Shortcuts" feature, which allows users to conduct tasks on their phones with a single voice command using Siri. From a report: Twitter user Robert Petersen posted a link to the shortcut and an explanation of what it does. Users can download the police shortcut, but must make sure to have the Shortcuts app installed. Upon saying "Hey Siri, I'm getting pulled over," any music that may be playing is paused and the screen's brightness is dimmed while the phone's "do not disturb" capability is turned on. The phone then automatically sends a message to a contact the user sets up, letting that person know that the user is being stopped by police, along with providing the user's location. The front camera is then turned on and the phone begins to record video of what is happening. "Once you stop the recording it sends a copy of the video to a contact you specify, puts volume and brightness back to where they were, turns off Do Not Disturb, and gives you the option to send to iCloud Drive or Dropbox," according to a Reddit post by Petersen. There are apps with similar functions available for Android, including one called "Stop and Frisk Watch," which is designed to record incidents by "simply pushing a trigger on the phone's frame."

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Americans Don't Trust Content Decisions Made By Social Media Giants, Study Says

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-17 04:03
Most Americans don't trust social media companies to police the content on their platforms, according to a poll published Tuesday from Gallup and the Knight Foundation. CNET reports: The poll found that 80% of Americans don't trust big tech companies to make the right decisions about what content appears on their sites and what should be removed. People, especially conservatives, trust the government even less than social media companies to make these decisions, according to the report. The poll explored several topics around free speech online and the threat of misinformation. Most Americans also support, in principle, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects Facebook, Twitter and other online companies from liability for content posted by their users. Although President Donald Trump and some in Congress are pushing to reform the law, the poll found almost two-thirds of Americans support keeping the existing regulation. People and groups who favor the rule say Section 230 protects free speech and allows for an open marketplace of ideas.

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Dating Apps Exposed 845GB of Explicit Photos, Chats, and More

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-17 02:45
Lily Hay Newman writes via Wired: Security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar were scanning the open internet on May 24 when they stumbled upon a collection of publicly accessible Amazon Web Services "buckets." Each contained a trove of data from a different specialized dating app, including 3somes, Cougary, Gay Daddy Bear, Xpal, BBW Dating, Casualx, SugarD, Herpes Dating, and GHunt. In all, the researchers found 845 gigabytes and close to 2.5 million records, likely representing data from hundreds of thousands of users. They are publishing their findings today with vpnMentor. The information was particularly sensitive and included sexually explicit photos and audio recordings. The researchers also found screenshots of private chats from other platforms and receipts for payments, sent between users within the app as part of the relationships they were building. And though the exposed data included limited "personally identifying information," like real names, birthdays, or email addresses, the researchers warn that a motivated hacker could have used the photos and other miscellaneous information available to identify many users. The data may not have actually been breached, but the potential was there. "The researchers don't know whether anyone else discovered the exposed trove before they did," the report adds. "If you use one of the affected apps there's not a lot you can do to protect against the possibility that the data was stolen before the researchers found it. There wasn't a specific trove of passwords in the exposed data, so changing your password likely won't do much." All you can really do is hope the developer locks down the cloud infrastructure before anyone grabs the information.

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The Pirate Bay's IP Address Belongs To a VPN Provider, ISP Tells Court

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-17 01:20
An IP address allegedly used by The Pirate Bay and claimed to be owned by a Swedish ISP does not belong to the provider, it's being claimed. According to Obenetwork, the IP address is actually operated by local VPN service OVPN. As a result, the ISP has asked a court to withdraw an information injunction obtained by a pair of Scandinavian movie companies. TorrentFreak reports: [Earlier this month, movie companies Svensk Filmindustri and Nordisk Film] presented Cloudflare with a copyright infringement complaint, stating that The Pirate Bay was connected to mass infringement of their rights. In response, the CDN company revealed that on June 2, 2020, an IP address apparently operated by Swedish ISP Obenetwork was in use by the torrent site. With this information in hand, the companies went to court in Sweden, filing for an information injunction against Obenetwork and demanding that the ISP preserve all records relating to its business with The Pirate Bay. The companies claimed that the matter was so urgent that Obenetwork should not be heard in the matter and fined $10,667 in the event of non-compliance. The IP address provided by Cloudflare and said to be in use by The Pirate Bay was directly linked to Obenetwork by the studios. In comments to Tarnkappe last week, however, the ISP was crystal clear: this is not their IP address and it actually belongs to someone else. "The IP address that The Pirate Bay uses in our network belongs to the anonymous VPN provider 'OVPN.se,'" the company said in a statement, referring to one of its customers. [...] Speaking with TorrentFreak this morning, OVPN's David Wibergh confirmed that the IP address in question is indeed owned by OVPN and not Obenetwork. Whether TPB was ever a customer is a question he won't answer though. "As we don't provide information regarding any potential customers, I won't confirm if thepiratebay.org was actually using OVPN or not. I can only confirm that the IP address specified in the injunction was one that OVPN owns and not Obenetwork. I will not confirm whether or not thepiratebay.org was actually using that IP address," Wibergh said.

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T-Mobile's Outage Yesterday Was So Big That Even Ajit Pai Is Mad

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-17 00:40
T-Mobile's network suffered an outage across the U.S. yesterday, and the Federal Communications Commission is investigating. "The T-Mobile network outage is unacceptable. The @FCC is launching an investigation. We're demanding answers -- and so are American consumers," tweeted FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Ars Technica reports: No matter what the investigation finds, Pai may be unlikely to punish T-Mobile or impose any enforceable commitments. For example, an FCC investigation last year into mobile carriers' response to Hurricane Michael in Florida found that carriers failed to follow their own previous voluntary roaming commitments, unnecessarily prolonging outages. Pai himself called the carriers' response to the hurricane "completely unacceptable," just like he did with yesterday's T-Mobile outage. But Pai's FCC imposed no punishment related to the bad hurricane response and continued to rely on voluntary measures to prevent recurrences. T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert confirmed the outage in a blog post. "Starting just after 12pm ET and continuing throughout the day, T-Mobile has been experiencing a voice and text issue that has intermittently impacted customers in markets across the US," Sievert wrote. Sievert reported that the "issues are now resolved" just after 1am ET, about 13 hours after the outage began. The outage may have been self-inflicted when T-Mobile was making network configuration changes. Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince last night tweeted that T-Mobile was "making some changes to their network configurations today. Unfortunately, it went badly. The result has been for around the last 6 hours a series of cascading failures for their users, impacting both their voice and data networks." The T-Mobile problem was "almost certainly entirely of their own team's making," he also wrote. [...] The T-Mobile outage was so large that it apparently caused some people to think other carriers and websites were down, too.

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New York AG Asks Google and Apple To Vet Third-Party COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2020-06-16 20:25
Both Apple and Google are having a hard time regulating all the third-party COVID-19 contact tracing apps that popped up on their app stores recently, as people begin to venture out of their homes. From a report: As The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, some of those applications aren't transparent in what they're doing with your data. Now, New York Attorney General Letitia James is urging the tech giants to ensure that those applications aren't capable of collecting sensitive personal health information, to minimize any invasive data collection and to guarantee that they truly delete consumer information. James said in a statement: As businesses open back up and Americans venture outdoors, technology can be an invaluable tool in helping us battle the coronavirus... But some companies may seek to take advantage of consumers and use personal information to advertise, mine data, and unethically profit off this pandemic. Both Apple and Google can be invaluable partners in weeding out these bad actors and ensuring consumers are not taken advantage of by those seeking to capitalize on the fear around this public health crisis."

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Mozilla, EFF, 19,000 Citizens Urge Zoom To Reverse End-to-End Encryption Decision

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2020-06-16 18:45
Mozilla, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and more than 19,000 internet users today urged Zoom CEO Eric Yuan to reverse his decision to deny end-to-end encryption to users of its free service end-to-end encryption, saying it puts activists and other marginalized groups at risk. Earlier this month, Zoom announced it will offer end-to-end encryption, but only to those who pay. From a statement: The pressure to reverse the decision comes as racial justice activists are using tools like Zoom to organize protests. Without end-to-end encryption, information shared in their online meetings could be intercepted -- a concern that has been legitimized by both recent actions by law enforcement and a long-term history of discriminatory policing. Mozilla and EFF today are presenting an open letter to Yuan, co-signed by 19,000 people, maintaining that privacy and best-in-class security should be the default, not something that only the wealthy or businesses can afford.

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US Commerce Dept. Amends Huawei Ban To Allow For Development of 5G Standards

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2020-06-16 12:00
The United States Department of Commerce today issued a change to allow American companies to participate in developing more streamlined standards for 5G with Huawei. TechCrunch reports: According to the Department: "This action is meant to ensure Huawei's placement on the Entity List in May 2019 does not prevent American companies from contributing to important standards-developing activities despite Huawei's pervasive participation in standards-development organizations." The change is designed to allow Huawei and U.S. to both play a role in hashing out the parameters for the next-generation wireless technology. "The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation. This action recognizes the importance of harnessing American ingenuity to advance and protect our economic and national security," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "The Department is committed to protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging U.S. industry to fully engage and advocate for U.S. technologies to become international standards." The new Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) rule essentially allows companies to share information about technologies in order to develop a joint standard without requiring an export license. Beyond that, however, the DOC has no stated plans to ease up after placing Huawei on its entities list last year.

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More Than 7 In 10 Americans Won't Use Contact-Tracing Apps, Data Shows

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2020-06-16 01:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Because of the lag between infection and the onset of symptoms, people can contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus and then pass it on, potentially to many others, before they know they're infected and have to isolate. So being able to identify and warn individuals who have been exposed to an infected person -- known as contact tracing -- is widely acknowledged to be a vital part of any effective strategy to beat COVID-19. Which is why it is extremely dismaying to see survey data that says fewer than 3 in 10 Americans intend to use contact-tracing apps to allow that to happen. The data was gathered from an online survey of just over 2,000 people in the United States, collected on June 1 by polling company Opinion Matters on behalf of the security company Avira. When asked if they planned to download a contact-tracing app, an overwhelming majority -- 71 percent -- answered no. Not only is that bad, it appears to be a deterioration from earlier this year; in April, we covered a poll that found 1 in 2 Americans would probably or definitely not use a contact-tracing app. Most of the resistance to downloading a contact-tracing app came from people over the age of 55. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that people aged 55 and over account for almost 80 percent of US COVID-19 deaths to date. "The most common reason cited was a concern about privacy; in all, 44 percent of those who said 'no' to a contact-tracing app said they would not trust the technology to protect their digital privacy," the report adds. "But nearly as many (39 percent) also said they thought the apps created a false sense of security, and 37 percent said they believed the apps would not work to slow the spread of the pandemic. Thirty-five percent also indicated a lack of trust in the app providers."

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