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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Out on Cambridge Analytica Scandal

After a series of revelations of data misuse ballooned into a company crisis, Facebook’s founder finally broke his silence.
Source: Wired

Facebook hit with $369M fine in South Korea over internet speed – CNET

The social network slowed users’ internet connections by rerouting access to the site through Hong Kong and the US, the country’s telecoms regulator says.
Source: CNET

Zuckerberg’s response to Cambridge scandal omits why it delayed investigating

“I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted after days of the public and government officials waiting for him to speak up about the Cambridge Analytica scandal since it broke Friday. “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.”

Zuckerberg laid out a slate of changes Facebook will make to prevent past and future abuses of user data by app developers. Those include:

  1. Blocking data access of apps you haven’t used for three months or more
  2. Auditing old apps that collected a lot of personal data
  3. Reducing the amount of data apps can pull using Facebook Login without an additional permissions screen to just your name, profile photo, and email address
  4. Requiring a signed contract from developers that want to pull your posts or private information
  5. Surfacing Facebook’s privacy third-party app privacy settings tool atop the News Feed to help people repeal access to apps
  6. Telling people if their data was misued by the app associated with Cambridge Analytica, or apps Facebook bans for misue in the future.

What’s missing from this response is any indication why Facebook didn’t do more to enforce its policy prohibiting apps from sharing user data, or why it took Cambridge Analytica at their word when they said they deleted the data without proper investigation.

Facebook was hit with one of its biggest scandals ever when multiple outlets reported that a researcher’s app pulled personal information about 270,000 users and 50 million of their friends, then passed that data to Cambridge Analytica. The political strategy firm then used that data to power messaging, targeting, and more for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Brexit Leave movement.

The proposed solutions should help users take better control of their data while putting sensible friction and documentation in place for app developers that want people’s personal info or content. The audits of developers who pulled lots of friends’ data before the 2014 change that restricted that ability could root out some more bad actors.

But overall, the plan doesn’t address the fact that tons of developers pulled and may still be in possession of illicit Facebook data. Now off of Facebook’s servers, it has little control over it. Finding and deleting every copy of these data sets may be impossible. That could lead to future data scandals that may make people take Zuckerberg up on his assertion that if Facebook can’t keep people’s data safe, they shouldn’t use it.

You can read Zuckerberg’s full post below:

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I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation — including the steps we’ve already taken and our next…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

For more on Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, read our feature pieces:

Source: TechCrunch

To protect election systems from hacking, states are getting cozier with Homeland Security

It might be a snow day in Washington, but the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on election system security continued as planned. During Wednesday’s hearing, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and her predecessor Jeh Johnson appeared with a panel of state election officials to hash out the recommendations issued by the committee on Tuesday.

“This issue is urgent,” said Senate Intel Chairman Richard Burr in his opening statements. “If we start to fix these problems tomorrow, we still might not be in time to save the system for [2018] and 2020.”

The hearing often turned to what broke down during the 2016 election, describing the kind of measures and policies that need to be put in place to allow federal and state officials to communicate smoothly around future threats, including the established threat from Russia. We learned last year that Russia targeted election systems in at least 21 states. Many members of the committee expect other U.S. adversaries to adopt that same model around known vulnerabilities.

“Despite evidence of interference, the federal government and the states had barely communicated about strengthening our defenses,” said Senate Intel Vice Chair Mark Warner. “It was not until the fall of 2017 that DHS even fully notified the states they had been potential targets.”

So what’s changing?

For one, Homeland Security won’t let coordinating the security clearances for as many as 150 relevant state election officials get in the way of handing down important election system intelligence. Only 20 officials out of that 150 number have that clearance now.

“We’ve worked out the processes whereby if we have actionable information we will provide it to the state and local officials on a day read-in so we are not letting the lack of clearance hold us back,” Nielsen said. “If we have information to share with them in respect to a real threat, we will do so.”

According to Amy Cohen, executive director of the National Association of State Election Directors, an organization that brings together election officials in all 50 states, states have made “great strides” since the former DHS secretary designated all election systems as critical infrastructure in January of 2017.

States that may have been nervous about federal overreach after the critical infrastructure designation (which applied to all aspects of federal state and local elections including polling places, storage facilities, voter registration databases and the voting machines themselves) seem to be warming up to and opting into the “technical resources” that Homeland Security has on offer. As of today, more than half of the states have signed up for Homeland Security’s optional cybersecurity audits. That program helps states identify potential system vulnerabilities and makes recommendations based on its findings.

“To be clear, there has been a learning curve on the sharing of information,” Nielsen said. One challenge is understanding how states vary in operating and organizing their elections. For example, an election that would be run by a county in one state might be the domain of the governor or the secretary of state’s office in another.

“Today I can say with confidence that we know whom to contact in every state to share threat information,” Nielsen said. “That did not exist in 2016.”

While Homeland Security and the states have made progress since the 2016 election, those improvements are incremental and uneven. State budgets vary and some rely more heavily on federal funds for required steps for securing their elections, like purging insecure election machines and purchasing new machines that leave an auditable paper trail. Many states are currently undertaking the steps necessary to get their election systems up to Homeland Security’s recommended standards, even as U.S. adversaries likely continue to probe existing systems for cyber weaknesses.

“The threat of interference remains,” Nielsen admitted. “We recognize that the 2018 midterm and future elections are clearly potential targets for Russian hacking attempts.”

Source: TechCrunch

Mobile gaming is having a moment, and Apple has the reins

It’s moved beyond tradition and into the realm of meme that Apple manages to dominate the news cycle around major industry events all while not actually participating in said events. CES rolls around and every story is about HomeKit or its competitors, another tech giant has a conference and the news is that Apple updated some random subsystem of its ever-larger ecosystem of devices and software .

This is, undoubtedly planned by Apple in many instances. And why not? Why shouldn’t it own the cycle when it can, it’s only strategically sound.

This week, the 2018 Game Developer’s Conference is going on and there’s a bunch of news coverage about various aspects of the show. There are all of the pre-written embargo bits about big titles and high-profile indies, there are the trend pieces and, of course, there’s the traditional ennui-laden ‘who is this event even for’ post that accompanies any industry event that achieves critical mass.

But the absolute biggest story of the event wasn’t even at the event. It was the launch of Fortnite and, shortly thereafter, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on mobile devices. Specifically, both were launched on iOS and PUBG hit Android simultaneously.

The launch of Fortnite, especially, resonates across the larger gaming spectrum in several unique ways. It’s the full and complete game as present on consoles, it’s iOS-first and it supports cross-platform play with console and PC players.

This has, essentially, never happened before. There have been stabs at one or more of those conditions on experimental levels but it really marks a watershed in the games industry that could serve to change the psychology around the platform discussion in major ways. 

For one, though the shape of GDC has changed over the years as it relates to mobile gaming – it’s only recently that the conference has become dominated by indie titles that are mobile centric. The big players and triple-A console titles still take up a lot of air, but the long tail is very long and mobile is not synonymous with “casual gamers” as it once was.

I remember the GDC before we launched Monument Valley,” says Dan Gray of Monument Valley 2 studio ustwo. “We were fortunate enough that Unity offered us a place on their stand. Nobody had heard of us or our game and we were begging journalists to come say hello, it’s crazy how things have changed in four years. We’ve now got three speakers at the conference this year, people stop you in the street (within a two block radius) and we’re asked to be part of interviews like this about the future of mobile.”

Zach Gage, the creator of SpellTower, and my wife’s favorite game of all time, Flip Flip Solitaire, says that things feel like they have calmed down a bit. “It seems like that might be boring, but actually I think it’s quite exciting, because a consequence of it is that playing games has become just a normal thing that everyone does… which frankly, is wild. Games have never had the cultural reach that they do now, and it’s largely because of the App Store and these magical devices that are in everyones pockets.”

Alto’s Odyssey is the followup to Snowman’s 2015 endless boarder Alto’s Adventure. If you look at these two titles, three years apart, you can see the encapsulation of the growth and maturity of gaming on iOS. The original game was fun, but the newer title is beyond fun and into a realm where you can see the form being elevated into art. And it’s happening blazingly fast.

“There’s a real and continually growing sense that mobile is a platform to launch compelling, artful experiences,” says Snowman’s Ryan Cash. “This has always been the sentiment among the really amazing community of developers we’ve been lucky enough to meet. What’s most exciting to me, now, though, is hearing this acknowledged by representatives of major console platforms. Having conversations with people about their favorite games from the past year, and seeing that many of them are titles tailor-made for mobile platforms, is really gratifying. I definitely don’t want to paint the picture that mobile gaming has ever been some sort of pariah, but there’s a definite sense that more people are realizing how unique an experience it is to play games on these deeply personal devices.”

Mobile gaming as a whole has fought since the beginning against the depiction that it was for wasting time only, not making ‘true art’, which was reserved for consoles or dedicated gaming platforms. Aside from the ‘casual’ vs. ‘hardcore’ debate, which is more about mechanics, there was a general stigma that mobile gaming was a sidecar bet to the main functions of these devices, and that their depth would always reflect that. But the narratives and themes being tackled on the platform beyond just clever mechanics are really incredible.

Playing Monument Valley 2 together with my daughter really just blew my doors off, and I think it changed a lot of people’s minds in this regard. The interplay between the characters and environment and a surprisingly emotional undercurrent for a puzzle game made it a breakout that was also a breakthrough of sorts.

“There’s so many things about games that are so awesome that the average person on the street doesn’t even know about,” says Gray. “As small developers right now we have the chance to make somebody feel a range of emotions about a video game for the first time, it’s not often you’re in the right place at the right time for this and to do it with the most personal device that sits in your pocket is the perfect opportunity.”

The fact that so many of the highest profile titles are launching on iOS first is a constant source of consternation for Android users, but it’s largely a function of addressable audience.

I spoke to Apple VP Greg Joswiak about Apple’s place in the industry. “Gaming has always been one of the most popular categories on the App Store,” he says. A recent relaunch of the App Store put gaming into its own section and introduced a Today tab that tells stories about the games and about their developers.

That redesign, he says, has been effective. “Traffic to the App Store is up significantly, and with higher traffic, of course, comes higher sales.”

“One thing I think smaller developers appreciate from this is the ability to show the people behind the games,” says ustwo’s Gray about the new gaming and Today sections in the App Store. “Previously customers would just see an icon and assume a corporation of 200 made the game, but now it’s great we can show this really is a labour of love for a small group of people who’re trying to make something special. Hopefully this leads to players seeing the value in paying up front for games in the future once they can see the craft that goes into something.”

Snowman’s Cash agrees. “It’s often hard to communicate the why behind the games you’re making — not just what your game is and does, but how much went into making it, and what it could mean to your players. The stories that now sit on the Today tab are a really exciting way to do this; as an example, when Alto’s Odyssey released for pre-order, we saw a really positive player response to the discussion of the game’s development. I think the variety that the new App Store encourages as well, through rotational stories and regularly refreshed sections, infuses a sense of variety that’s great for both players and developers. There’s a real sense I’m hearing that this setup is equipped to help apps and games surface, and stayed surfaced, in a longer term and more sustainable way.”

In addition, there are some technical advantages that keep Apple ahead of Android in this arena. Plenty of Android devices are very performant and capable in individual ways, but Apple has a deep holistic grasp of its hardware that allow it to push platform advantages in introducing new frameworks like ARKit. Google’s efforts in the area with AR Core are just getting started with the first batch of 1.0 apps coming online now, but Google will always be hamstrung by the platform fragmentation that forces developers to target a huge array of possible software and hardware limitations that their apps and games will run up against.

This makes shipping technically ambitious projects like Fortnite on Android as well as iOS a daunting task. “There’s a very wide range of Android devices that we want to support,” Epic Games’ Nick Chester told Forbes. “We want to make sure Android players have a great experience, so we’re taking more time to get it right.“

That wide range of devices includes an insane differential in GPU capability, processing power, Android version and update status.

“We bring a very homogenous customer base to developers where 90% of [devices] are on the current versions of iOS,” says Joswiak. Apple’s customers embrace those changes and updates quickly, he says, and this allows developers to target new features and the full capabilities of the devices more quickly.

Ryan Cash sees these launches on iOS of ‘full games’ as they exist elsewhere as a touchstone of sorts that could legitimize the idea of mobile as a parity platform.

“We have a few die-hard Fortnite players on the team, and the mobile version has them extremely excited,” says Cash. “I think more than the completeness of these games (which is in of itself a technical feat worth celebrating!), things like Epic’s dedication to cross-platform play are massive. Creating these linked ecosystems where players who prefer gaming on their iPhones can enjoy huge cultural touchstone titles like Fortnite alongside console players is massive. That brings us one step closer to an industry attitude which focuses more on accessibility, and less on siloing off experiences and separating them into tiers of perceived quality.”

“I think what is happening is people are starting to recognize that ios devices are everywhere, and they are the primary computers of many people,” says Zach Gage. “When people watch a game on Twitch, they take their iPhone out of their pocket and download it. Not because they want to know if there’s a mobile version, but because they just want the game. It’s natural to assume that these games available for a computer or a playstation, and it’s now natural to assume that it would be available for your phone.”

Ustwo’s Gray says that it’s great that the big games are transitioning, but also cautions that there needs to be a sustainable environment for mid-priced games on iOS that specifically use the new capabilities of these devices.

“It’s great that such huge games are transitioning this way, but for me I’d really like to see more $30+ titles designed and developed specifically for iPhone and iPad as new IP, really taking advantage of of how these devices are used,” he says. “It’s definitely going to benefit the AppStore as a whole, but It does need to be acknowledged however that the way players interact with console/PC platforms and mobile are inherently different and should be designed accordingly. Session lengths and the interaction vocabulary of players are two of the main things to consider, but if a game manages to somehow satisfy the benefits of all those platforms then great, but I think it’s hard.”

Apple may not be an official sponsor of GDC, but it is hosting two sessions at the show including an introduction to Metal 2, its rendering pipeline, and ARKit, its hope for the future of gaming on mobile. This presence is exciting for a number of reasons, as it shows a greater willingness by Apple to engage the community that has grown around its platforms, but also that the industry is becoming truly integrated, with mobile taking its rightful place alongside console and portable gaming as a viable target for the industry’s most capable and interesting talent.

“They’re bringing the current generation of console games to iOS,” Joswiak says, of launches like Fortnite and PUBG and notes that he believes we’re at a tipping point when it comes to mobile gaming, because mobile platforms like the iPhone and iOS offer completely unique combinations of hardware and software features that are iterated on quickly.

“Every year we are able to amp up the tech that we bring to developers,” he says, comparing it to the 4-5 year cycle in console gaming hardware. “Before the industry knew it, we were blowing people away [with the tech]. The full gameplay of these titles has woken a lot of people up.”

Source: TechCrunch

Facebook, Google and Amazon face digital tax blow in Europe – CNET

Online companies don’t pay tax in European countries where they operate without a physical presence. But that could all be about to change.
Source: CNET

What is SATA? Here’s everything you need to know about it

There are a number of standards in PCs, but SATA is one of the most common and enduring. What is SATA? Alongside newer interfaces like M.2 and PCIe, it remains one of the most important storage connection adaptors in the world.

The post What is SATA? Here’s everything you need to know about it appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

Trump's DoJ fights to block AT&T-Time Warner merger video – CNET

The companies will duke it out with the Justice Department in a legal battle that may affect the future of streaming video. Here’s why you should care.
Source: CNET

Here is how to delete Facebook

Some of us have been on Facebook for more than a decade, but all good things come to an end. Over the past eighteen months, Facebook has been in a downward spiral. The social network is in the eye of a controversy storm, with fake news, Russia’s meddling in the 2016 Presidential election, and misuse of personal data by Cambridge Analytica swirling around Menlo Park.

Meanwhile, the company has lost billions in value, all coming down to the fact that the public’s trust in Facebook has been eroded, perhaps beyond repair.

If you’re ready to jump ship, the process isn’t all that difficult.

The first step is to make sure you have a copy of all your Facebook information. Facebook makes it relatively simple to download an archive of your account, which includes your Timeline info, posts you have shared, messages, photos, as well as more hidden information like ads you have clicked on, the IP addresses that are logged when you log into or out of Facebook, and more.

You can learn all about Downloading your Archive here.

To go ahead and download, just go to the Settings page once you’re logged in to Facebook and click “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”

Remember, you can’t go back and download your archive once you’ve deleted your account, so if you want that info at your fingertips, make sure to download the archive first.

Before you delete your account, know this: once your account is deleted, it can’t be recovered. If ever you want to rejoin Facebook, you’ll be starting from scratch.

Oddly, finding the button to delete your Facebook account isn’t available in the settings or menu. It lives on an outside page, which you can find by clicking right here.

Important note: It takes a few days from the time you click the Delete button to the time that your account is actually terminated. If you sign on during that period, the account will no longer be marked for termination and you’ll have to start over. It will take up to 90 days for your account to be fully deleted.

Moreover, some information like log records are stored in Facebook’s database after the account is fully deleted, but the company says that information is not personally identifiable. Information like messages you’ve sent to friends will still be accessible to them.

Keep in mind, Facebook still likely has access to a good deal of your data long after you’ve deleted your account. Plus, Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram . So if you really want to stop feeding data into the Facebook machine, you likely need to go ahead and delete those apps as well.

Source: TechCrunch

One of the youngest fund managers in the U.S. just launched her own accelerator, too

Last August, we told you about Laura Deming, a New Zealand native who was home schooled before moving halfway around the world as a 12-year-old to work alongside Cynthia Kenyon, a renowned molecular biologist who specializes in the genetics of aging.

She didn’t stay long. At age 14, Deming began her college career at MIT. When she turned 16, she dropped out to join Peter Thiel’s two-year-old Thiel Fellowship program, which gives $100,000 to young people “who want to build new things.” By last August, when we profiled Deming, she had closed on $22 million in commitments for her second venture fund, which supports aging-related startups. She was 23.

Because Deming has always had an intriguing relationship with time, we weren’t all that surprised when she reached out to us late last week to let us know her San Francisco-based venture firm, The Longevity Fund, has now established a new accelerator program — one with backing from famed investor Marc Andreessen, the early-stage venture firm Felicis Ventures and other, unnamed investors.

Deming isn’t disclosing how much money will be invested through the accelerator, called Age 1, but she does say the pool of capital is distinct from the money she’s investing with Longevity Fund. She also says that Andreessen, Felicis and her other backers will serve as mentors to the companies that pass through the program.

Other notable details about Age 1: Deming says that she and her advisors — including serial entrepreneur Elad Gil, who most recently co-founded the genomics testing company Color Genomics — will be “quite flexible” when it comes to the stage of applicants. She says the bigger idea is to help them get to a significant “value inflection point” within four months, which is how long the program runs.

Instead of accepting startups serially, Age 1 will work with small batches of startups — between three and five at a time — and it’s accepting them right now on a rolling basis, with plans to present them to an invite-only group of investors on October 5 in the Bay Area. (Startups can apply here.)

Though there’s not necessarily a headquarters for the program, Age 1 will provide co-working space for companies that need it and, even more notably, it will invest $500,000 per startup — more than most accelerators are willing or able to plug into the startups with which they work.

What we don’t know: at what cost. Asked about the ownership stake that Age 1 expects in exchange for its checks and mentorship, Deming, over email, declines to say.

As for what Deming and company are looking for, she suggests the program is particularly interested in working with startups that are committed to addressing late-onset medical conditions relating to Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes and more. Though they’re casting a wide net, she adds that “one of hundreds of things we’d be interested in seeing is more work on the role of the circadian or other developmental clocks in longevity.”

Whether Deming’s ability to nurture startups is as promising as her prodigious understanding of biology remains to be seen, but her venture record to date is encouraging. Though Longevity has a fairly limited number of portfolio companies thus far, one of them, the genome editing technology company Precision BioSciences, secured a partnership last month with food giant Cargill; the two are now working together on a new product to reduce saturated fat in canola oil.

Another portfolio company — UNITY Biotechnology, a company that’s trying to reverse aging through therapeutics — meanwhile closed on $55 million in Series C funding on Monday. It has raised more than $200 million at this point, including from Thiel’s Founders Fund, Jeff Bezos, Fidelity and ARCH Venture Partners. 

To learn more about Deming, you might check out this TED talk she gave back in 2013.

Source: TechCrunch