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Nearly half of European organisations prevent personal data access

Almost half of public and private sector organisations in Europe are actively blocking people's access to their own personal data, which is against European law.

 

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A study, which was part of the IRISS - Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies - project examined 184 public and private sector groups across 10 European countries. The requests included paper, digital and CCTV records, according to Engineering and Technology Magazine. Of the requests made, 43 percent were not fulfilled or a legitimate reason was not provided for the lack of disclosure. Over half of all cases - at 56 percent - found no legally compliant response at all over third party data sharing.

 

"We are selectively marketed to, our locations are tracked by CCTV and automated licence plate recognition systems and our online behavior is monitored, analysed, stored and used," said Professor Clive Norris, of the University of Sheffield. "The challenge for all of us is that our information is often kept from us, despite the law and despite our best efforts to access it."

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On Facebook, World Cup gets more love than Super Bowl, Olympics

The World Cup has been great for Facebook, because members are discussing the soccer tournament using the social media website more than the Super Bowl, Sochi Olympics and Academy Awards combined. So far, more than 141 million users have "liked," commented or shared posts/photos about the soccer tournament, Facebook said.

 

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The 2014 Super Bowl had 50 million Facebook users engaged, and the Sochi Olympics saw 45 million people, while the Oscars garnered attention from 11.3 million. However, Facebook wants to keep users engaged with as much content during the World Cup, using its platform to deliver news and real-time conversations among users.

 

"We always see a large level of conversation on Facebook around big sporting events," said Justin Osofsky, Facebook VP of global operations and media partnerships. "But what we're witnessing around the World Cup has been extraordinary."

Continue reading 'On Facebook, World Cup gets more love than Super Bowl, Olympics' (full post)

Iraqi Web users finding ways to slip by government social media ban

The Iraqi government banned social networking sites and YouTube, but it didn't take long before users quickly found ways to circumvent the block. However, the government struggled to clamp down on Internet access in locations that are now under ISIS control, while users have found Wi-Fi security apps to get around the ban.

 

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Typically used to connect to virtual private networks, Iraqi users are largely downloading apps such as HotSpot Shield, which has seen an 11,000 percent increase since last Friday, to get around the ban.

 

Iraqi government officials wanted to stifle communications among the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) insurgents that have captured key cities in Iraq. Instead, many users are going through the trouble to find ways around the ban, which means ISIS - the initial target of the ban - are still successfully communicating with one another via social media.

Middle finger, levitating businessman included in 250 brand new emojis

Hundreds of new emojis are to be added by the Unicode Consortium, and they will include among them a sweary gesture and a slew of wingdings.

 

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Also new to the universal text-based picture pack include a white dove, a chili pepper, a knife and fork surrounding a plate and a squirrel.

 

Emojis are small digital symbols that gained immense popularity in Japan as a complement to the traditional emoticon.

Continue reading 'Middle finger, levitating businessman included in 250 brand new emojis' (full post)

Facebook modifying ads, collecting even more information about users

No. 1 social networking website Facebook is modifying its advertising campaign, trying to give users better control over the ads they see. The do-not-track setting in Web browsers will no longer be applicable, and will display ads based on all websites visited by users on their PCs and mobile devices.

 

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Facebook users currently see ads based on Facebook activity, including pages liked and the type of content shared. Users will be able to learn why certain ads are being displayed when they are logged into the site.

 

"When we ask people about our ads, one of the top things they tell us is that they want to see ads that are more relevant to their interests," a Facebook blog post said. "Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as pages you like. Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use. This is a type of interest-based advertising, and many companies already do this."

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News Corp CEO urges Google to implement anti-piracy algorithms

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is urging Google to bring in anti-piracy algorithms as default in its search results, according to a report.

 

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CEO of News Corp, Robert Thomson, has said that piracy is having an effect on the company's monopoly over Game of Thrones - as Australians are pirating the show as soon as it comes out instead of subscribing to subsidiary Foxtel.

 

Speaking with the Australian, Thomson said that for Google to have a "sophisticated algorithm that knows exactly where you are and what you're doing and maintains ignorance on piracy is an untenable contradiction."

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Amtrak exploring high-speed Wi-Fi access onboard trains

Rail carrier Amtrak is currently investigating how to provide faster, more reliable Wi-Fi access on its trains, which currently relies on cellular broadband technology. The first implantation will be a Wi-Fi network along tracks in the 457-mile stretch of the northeast corridor, aiming for a speed boost from 10Mbps up to 25 Mbps.

 

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Amtrak is now accepting proof-of-concept bids, but doesn't have additional details about the future Wi-Fi project.

 

"We know that our customers want a consistently reliable and fast on-board Wi-Fi experience - something we cannot guarantee today on our busiest trains when hundreds of customers want to go online at the same time - and we want to make that possible," said Matt Hardison, Amtrak Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, in a press statement.

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Affordable home 4G ISP launches in London

It shouldn't be any trouble, but sometimes setting up an internet connection can be - but now one British company wants to offer 4G speeds not just on mobile but in the home, too, wirelessly and affordably.

 

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Launched by UK Broadband, Relish doesn't need a fixed line to work - potentially cutting costs for consumers who may not want all the extra bits and pieces, just quick internet access. Relish promises it can provide speeds of 65Mbps.

 

Relish has also said that customers will enjoy unlimited data and will be capable of delivering quality speeds at all times. It won't need to be set up by an engineer and the contracts are rolling.

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US Secret Service on the hunt for sarcasm-detecting analytics software

America's Secret Service is on the hunt for software that can differentiate between tone on social media - including registering sarcasm.

 

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In a work order posted this week, the agency is revealed to be searching for software able to monitor users in real-time, as well as collecting data - including the emotions of web users, and in multiple languages.

 

The work order claims it's important the software has the "ability to detect sarcasm and false positives."

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Facebook has encryption on its roadmap, security chief claims

Facebook's security infrastructure head has claimed his entire team wear "tinfoil hats" when it comes to privacy and promised end-to-end encryption that would kill government snooping on the social network.

 

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Gregg Stefancik told journalists on a trip to Australia that Facebook is thoroughly rehashing its communications, with a view to making them secure. He said the company isn't there quite yet, however, encryption is a priority.

 

"We've prioritized encrypting the traffic that is most sensitive at Facebook, and we're working aggressively to get to the point where we can tell you we'll have it all encrypted between datacentres," Stefancik said.

Continue reading 'Facebook has encryption on its roadmap, security chief claims' (full post)

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