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Children in contact with unknown people on Facebook Messenger Kids

Mandy Boyd

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Thousands of children have been put in contact with unknown people on the Messenger Kids, Facebook confirmed Monday.

Messenger Kids, launched in 2017, is an instant messaging application for children too young to use Facebook (you must be 13 years old or older to join the largest social network in the world). The goal of Messenger Kids is clear: to provide a safe space for young children to interact with other young people, with the approval of their parents.

However, until recently, there was a trick allowing members to chat with anyone in the network without parental approval. Indeed, the discussion groups, where several people can exchange at the same time, allowed to circumvent the protections offered by the application.

In these focus groups, all those present could invite their own contacts to participate, even if they had not been approved by the parents of the other correspondents.

“A technical error”

Facebook confirmed to The Verge, the news site having first reported the news, that a “technical error affecting a small number of newsgroups” had been detected.

The company says it warned the parents of the children who had attended these newsgroups by sending them a message. These groups have been disabled to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

Facebook did not say how many people were affected, only to say there were thousands.

It is also unknown how long the flaw has existed. Group discussions have been in Messenger Kids since December 2017.

Messenger Kids is not at its first controversy. Just a few weeks after its launch, a hundred or so child rights and health organizations had sent an open letter (New Window) to Mark Zuckerberg, imploring him to remove the application.

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Twitter used personal data without express consent

Cam Potvin

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Twitter announced Tuesday that since May 2018, personal data had been used for advertising purposes without the explicit consent of its users.

The social network said the mistake was corrected Monday and that an investigation is underway to determine how many people could be affected, advising the passage to users who use its service to review their settings for data sharing.

According to Twitter, the use of personal data was carried out in two ways. In the first case, information was transmitted to Twitter’s advertising partners when the user clicked on an advertisement for a mobile application.

This data leak started in May 2018, coinciding with the entry into force of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The RGPD requires companies to disclose such leaks of personal data within 48 hours of discovery and provides significant fines for business violating the rules.

Monitoring on the web

In the second case reported by Twitter, the social network says it has presented targeted advertising to users by monitoring their browsing the web, even when it had been banned this collection of data.

Since September 2018, we have been able to show you advertisements based on what we have deduced from the use you make of your device, even if you have not given us permission. The data concerned remained in the hands of Twitter and did not concern information such as passwords or email addresses , explained the network in an explanatory note published on its online help center.

Once again, Twitter could be sanctioned under the GDPR in Europe, since the regulation requires web platforms to ensure the explicit consent of users to collect their data, including for advertising targeting purposes and when such collection is for third-party companies.

Twitter, which apologizes to those concerned, ensures that the necessary steps are taken to prevent this from happening again , and invites people to contact their data protection office via a form.

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After El Paso, 8chan loses Cloudflare, and its founder calls for closure

Cam Potvin

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Cloudflare – which provides services for many Internet sites – announced that it was terminating its contract with the 8chan forum, on which the author of the El Paso, Texas shootings had published a manifesto racist. In addition, Frederick Brennan, the founder of 8chan, called Sunday for the closing of the forum, with which he cut the bridges last December.

In a blog post, Cloudflare’s CEO, Matthew Prince, on Sunday called the forum – prized by extremists of all kinds (extreme right, masculinists, conspiracy …) – of hay-filled bottom because the site not moderate the contents.

8chan is one of more than 19 million Internet businesses that use Cloudflare’s services. We have just announced the end of our services at 8chan as of midnight today , Prince wrote.

The reason is simple: they proved that they did not respect any law, and this anarchy caused many tragic deaths. Even though 8chan may not have broken the law by refusing to moderate his community full of hatred, he has created an environment that is pleased to violate the spirit of the law.

On Monday morning, 8chan suffered sporadic disruptions of service. His administrator tweeted that he was migrating the forum to a new service after Cloudflare’s decision, which made 8chan vulnerable in terms of its IT security.

A Line crossed

According to Prince, Cloudfare did not make a decision lightly.

“We reluctantly tolerate content that we find reprehensible, but we do not accept platforms that have shown that they directly inspire tragic events and outlaw,” he wrote.”8chan has crossed this line.”

Shortly before the murderous shooting of El Paso on Saturday, the shooter, a white man identified by the media as Patrick Crusius, posted on 8chan a racist manifesto with regard to Hispanics and praising the massacre, in March, of 51 people in two mosques located in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The author of the Christchurch massacre had expressed his intentions on the political section of the 8chan forum. He then broadcast his attack live on Facebook Live for 17 minutes before the retransmission was disabled.

Close the site

On Sunday, 8chan’s founder, Frederick Brennan – who broke all links with the site – said it should be closed.

“As soon as I hear of a mass killing, I say to myself, “Well, we need to find out if there is a connection with 8chan,” Brennan told the New York Times=.

“Close the site,” he continued.

[8chan] does not bring anything good to the world. It is totally negative for everyone except for its users. And you know what? It is negative for them too. They just do not realize it.

Frederick Brennan

The site is currently managed from the Philippines by a US Army veteran, Jim Watkins.

A necessary measure, but not very effective

Ceasing to provide services to 8chan will not make the Internet safer or reduce hate online, Prince said.

Two years ago, after the death of a woman killed by a neo-Nazi woman during violent far-right protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Cloudflare stopped providing services to a neo-Nazi site. Daily Stormer.

Today, the Daily Stormer is always available and always disgusting. They boast of having more readers than ever before. They are no longer the problem of Cloudflare, but they remain the problem of the Internet, wrote Mr. Prince.

Unfortunately, the decision we make today will not solve the problem of online hate. It is almost certain that it will not even be able to chase 8chan off the Internet.

Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare

“But it’s the right thing to do. Online hate is a real problem,” he added.

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Google admits to listen to recordings from voice assistant

Tina Jackman

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Google acknowledged Thursday that its staff has access to the records of the Google Assistant, after revelations of the Belgian media VRT, also admitting that it can record in error without the users have voluntarily activated.

The company explains that language specialists listen to the voice assistant’s recordings to improve their understanding of different languages ​​and accents.

A job needed to create products like the Google Assistant , she said.

The Belgian media VRT reported having been able to listen to more than a thousand recordings from devices in Belgium or the Netherlands, 153 of which were accidentally captured.

These include people discussing their love life or their children, and providing personal information such as their address.

Google says its teams are investigating the leak of audio data from an employee who failed to follow [their] data security policy .

“We are conducting a comprehensive review of our security features to prevent this from happening again,” the company promises.

It states that staff members have access to only 0.2% of records and that records are not associated with user accounts.

device always listening

Normally, the Google Assistant only activates when prompted by pressing a button or saying “Hey Google.”

The company admits that it may erroneously record when the software interprets noise or words in the background as being the keyword.

She recalls that you can change the settings to disable the storage of audio data on her Google Account, or delete them automatically every 3 or 18 months.

Before Google, Amazon had already been criticized after revelations about a team charged with listening to private conversations to, according to the company, improve the system.

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