T-Mobile Home Internet #1354



T-Mobile Home Internet with unlimited bandwidth may be coming to a rural area near you. I would encourage T-Mobile to really get this offer out in the 49082 zip code area. I am really excited about this as there is simply no way that the incumbent cable providers are ever going to get this done or have the fortitude to make it happen. The 5G speeds that are coming will make this a great alternative for rural customers if the offering is truly unlimited and they do no throttling. Relief could be coming to the millions that do not have broadband in the true sense of the word.

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Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text



It seems that Facebook cannot prevent itself from causing security and privacy problems. According to KrebsOnSecurity, hundreds of millions of Facebook users had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by thousands of Facebook employees.

A anonymous Facebook insider talked with Brian Krebs. The insider said Facebook is still trying to determine how many passwords were exposed, and for how long. So far, the investigation has uncovered archives with plain text user passwords dating back to 2012.

KrebsOnSecurity also spoke with Facebook software engineer Scott Renfro. He said that the issue first came to light in January of 2019 when security engineers reviewing some new code noticed passwords were being inadvertently logged in plain text.

Facebook sent a written statement to KrebsOnSecurity, in which Facebook said it intends to notify “hundreds of millions of Facebook lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users.”

Facebook posted information on Facebook Newsroom titled: “Keeping Passwords Secure”. In it, Facebook acknowledges that, during a routine security review in January, they found some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within their internal data storage systems. Facebook says these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook.

The information from Facebook describes how they protect people’s passwords, and provides some suggestions for securing your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Personally, considering all the security and privacy issues that Facebook has faced, the most secure thing to do would be to delete your Facebook account.


European Commission Fines Google €1.49 Billion Over Advertising



The European Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for abusive practices in online advertising and for breaching EU antitrust rules. According to the European Commission, Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said:

“Today the Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts. Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractional restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. This misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition.”

This is the third major penalty that the EU has levied against Google. Last year, Google was fined a record €4.3 billion for abusing its market dominance in mobile. The year before that, Google was fined €2.4 billion for manipulating shopping search results. Google is appealing both cases.

Google posted information about the situation on The Keyword. Google says that, over the past few years, it has made changes Google Shopping, to its mobile apps licenses, and to AdSense for Search in direct response to concerns raised by the European Commission.

Google points out that on Android phones, people have always been able to install any search engine or browser they want. Google has also changed the licensing model for Google apps they build on Android phones, creating new, separate licenses for Google Play, the Google Chrome browser, and Google Search.

Now, Google will “do more to ensure that Android phone owners know about the wide choices of browsers and search engines available to them on their phones.” This will involve asking Android users in Europe which browser and search apps they would like to use.

In short, if you live in the EU, you will benefit from the changes that Google is making. If you live somewhere else – too bad. Google isn’t required to make any changes outside of the EU (in regards to the European Commission’s fines).

It seems clear to me that Google will make changes if it is fined a significant amount of money. I wonder what would happen if the United States government decided to investigate Google (and other big tech companies) to see if they were breaking our antitrust laws. Perhaps it is time for governments to regulate the big tech companies.


YouTube & Facebook Battle Video Takedowns #1353



YouTube & Facebook had their hands full with taking down all the rouge videos from the Christchurch shooting and massacre. With the easy of live streaming these days it’s not an easy thing to have enough technology to halt live streams like this mid progress but even harder to kill all the copies of the video once it has been published. My heart goes out to the Ohana in New Zealand. Had an interesting live viewer today and I provide some commentary from feedback during the show.

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Myspace Lost All Content Uploaded Before 2016



Who knew that Myspace was still a thing? Not me. I deleted my account there a long time ago and never looked back. It turns out that there are people who still use Myspace, and who are probably very upset today. Myspace has somehow lost all content that was uploaded to its site before 2016.

According to The Guardian, MySpace is blaming the mass deletion on a faulty server migration (which happened more than a year ago). MySpace has confirmed that music that had been uploaded to the site has been lost permanently.

More than 50m tracks from 14 million artists have been lost, including songs that led to the rise of the “Myspace Generation” cohort of artists, such as Lily Allen, Arctic Monkeys and Yeasayer. As well as music, the site has also accidentally deleted pictures and videos stored on its servers.

Cory Doctorow, on boingboing, pointed out something we can all learn from this mass deletion of content. He wrote: “Someday, this will happen to Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. Don’t trust the platforms to archive your data.” He recommends the Internet Archive as a good place to archive things.

It appears that the things you uploaded to Myspace are gone forever. This could happen with whatever other social media sites you are using. It might be a good time to make sure you have copies of the photos, videos, music, writing and artwork you posted on social media. Do it before it all mysteriously disappears.


Stanford Medicine Announced Results of Apple Watch Study



Stanford Medicine announced the results of the Apple Heart Study. The study was funded by Apple. There were over 400,000 participants in the study.

The study was launched in November of 2017, and was a first-of-its-kind research study using Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to collect data on irregular heart rhythms and notify users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib). The condition often remains hidden because many people don’t experience symptoms.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Overall, only 0.5 percent of participants received irregular pulse notifications, an important finding given concerns about potential over-notification.
  • Comparisons between irregular pulse-detection on Apple Watch and simultaneous electrocardiography patch recordings showed the pulse detection algorithm (indicating a positive tachogram reading) has a 71 percent positive predictive value. Eighty-four percent of the time, participants who received irregular pulse notifications were found to be in atrial fibrillation at the time of the notification.
  • One-third (34 percent) of the participants who received irregular pulse notifications and followed up by using an ECG patch over a week later were found to have atrial fibrillation. Since atrial fibrillation is an intermittent condition, it’s not surprising for it to go undetected in subsequent ECG patch monitoring.
  • Fifty-seven percent of those who received irregular pulse notifications sought medical attention.

As part of the study, if an irregular heart rhythm was identified, participants received a notification on their Apple Watch and iPhone, a telehealth consultation with a doctor, and an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch for additional monitoring.

In short, it appears that the Apple Watch is able to detect AFib. This is good news, because it means people can take that information to their doctor and start a discussion about what to do next. It does not mean people should rely entirely on the results the Apple Watch gives them and avoid seeing a doctor.


Apple Addressed Spotify’s Claims



Recently, Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission. Yesterday, Apple posted a statement titled “Addressing Spotify’s claims”. I suspect this will not be the end of the argument between Spotify and Apple.

Apple started by giving a brief history of the iTunes Store and the App Store. After that, Apple begins making a case against Spotify. To be clear, I am personally not on the side of either one of these companies.

What Spotify is demanding is something different. After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem – including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers – without making any contributions to that marketplace. At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians, and songwriters who create it – even going so far as to take these creators to court.

Here are a few key points from Apple’s post:

  • We’ve approved and distributed nearly 200 app updates on Spotify’s behalf, resulting in over 300 million downloaded copies of the Spotify app. The only time we have requested adjustments is when Spotify has tried to sidestep the same rules that every other app follows.
  • When we reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support on several occasions, they’ve told us they’re working on it, and we stand ready to help them where we can.
  • Spotify is deeply integrated into platforms like CarPlay, and they have access to the same app development tools and resources that any other developer has.
  • We found Spotify’s claims about Apple Watch especially surprising. When Spotify submitted their Apple Watch app in September 2018, we reviewed and approved it with the same process and speed with which we would any other app. In fact, Spotify Watch app is currently the No. 1 app in the Watch Music category.
  • Apple claims that Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free.
  • The only contribution that Apple requires is for digital goods and services that are purchased inside the app using our secure in-app purchase system. As Spotify points out, that revenue share is 30 percent for the first year of an annual subscription – but they left out that it drops to 15 percent in the years after.
  • “The majority of customers use their ad-supported product, which makes no contributions to the Apple Store.”
  • “A significant portion of Spotify’s customers come through partnerships with mobile carries. This generates no App store contribution but requires Spotify to pay a similar distribution fee to retails and carriers.”
  • “Even now, only a tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple’s revenue-sharing model. Spotify is asking for that number to be zero.”

Personally, it seems to me that Apple and Spotify are having a disagreement that does not appear to be something that will end soon. I would not be surprised if the result of this spat causes Spotify and Apple to part ways.