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Facebook to pay $650 million in facial recognition lawsuit

The company that never learns

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A federal judge has approved a settlement in which Facebook will pay US$ 650 million to a class-action lawsuit over its tagging feature. The lawsuit alleged that facial recognition technology, used to tag photos, infringed on users’ privacy.

Facebook users who submitted claims will get at least US$ 345 from the company, the AP reported. The lawsuit had claimed that the adoption of facial recognition technology was being done without seeking permission from users. The social network also failed to inform the users how long their data was being stored.

While many of us view the tagging option as a feature, the platform collects sensitive facial recognition data, whose handling procedures remain opaque. Facebook ended photo-tagging suggestions in 2019 and instead opted for a model to allow users to control what data the platform has over their face.

“Overall, the settlement is a major win for consumers in the hotly contested area of digital privacy,” wrote Judge Donato. “The standing issue makes this settlement all the more valuable because Facebook and other big tech companies continue to fight the proposition that a statutory privacy violation is a genuine harm.”

The class-action case was first filed in Illinois in 2015, suggesting a violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act. Facebook initially agreed to pay US$ 550 million last year, but another $100 million was added to the judge’s insistence.

 

Attorney Jay Edelson, who originally filed the suit in Illinois in April 2015, told the Chicago Tribune that the settlement was a “big deal.” He also tweeted that the settlement, “was the largest cash privacy class action settlement in history.”

Facebook has an abysmal track record of managing users’ data. In 2019, The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) imposed a US$ 5 billion penalty on Facebook for misrepresenting users’ ability to control their facial recognition data, as well as other sensitive account metadata.

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Singpass app now available on Huawei AppGallery

Easier access for Huawei users

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Singpass

Huawei continues to beef up the AppGallery’s library of apps. One of the latest additions is Singpass.

Singpass is an app that gives Singapore residents easy access to over 1,400 everyday services from more than 340 government agencies and private organizations. These include viewing their Central Provident Fund (CPF), filing taxes with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), accessing bank accounts and renewing insurance policies — with a quick scan and tap on their smartphones. Users do not have to
enter their passwords.

Singpass was developed by the Government Technology Agency or GovTech. It was launched in 2003 to facilitate convenient digital transactions with Singapore government agencies.

Since then, the service has been further enhanced to include an improved user interface, mobile features and stronger security capabilities. Its latest features include Singpass Face Verification, Digital IC and digital signing.

The launch of the Singpass app on AppGallery offers local users of Huawei devices a third 2FA method when accessing services, in addition to the SMS One-Time Password (OTP) and Singpass Face Verification 2FA modes. As of March 2021, the Singpass app has garnered over 2.5 million users, with over 70 percent of all Singpass transactions conducted through the app.

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Apple’s Find My service can now locate e-bikes, earbuds

Making it easier to find your lost accessories

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Apple’s Find My iPhone helps you locate a lost iPhone by signing into your Apple ID. Similar tracking service is also available on Android. Though, Apple is now opening up the service to third-party accessories.

Find My was originally announced last summer at WWDC 2020 and builds on an existing service called Find My iPhone. Apple has initially partnered with Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof that will bring their new devices eligible for the Find My network program starting next week.

Currently, three products are supported — VanMoof’s S3 and X3 e-bikes, Belkin’s Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds, and Chipolo ONE Spot tracker.

Any hardware company can introduce gadgets that support Apple’s service — as long as they adhere to the Made for iPhone (MFi) Program and privacy protocols of the Find My network. The user will see all the devices on a map and even control them remotely, like playing a sound, displaying a message, or erasing it completely.

If the device is offline, Find My network’s crowdsourced Bluetooth feature can show an approximate location. The company also announced a draft specification for chipmakers that will allow accessories to tap into the iPhone’s ultra Wideband chip, giving more accurate location information. The entire network uses end-to-end encryption to keep your information, and your device’s location, private.

There was initial speculation that Apple could also launch its own “AirTags” alongside the rollout, however, that announcement wasn’t made. All Find My items or devices will have a “Works with Apple Find My” badge. In case a lost gadget is found by someone, they can use their Find My app to identify and report the found item.

While the feature won’t be very useful instantly because of limited compatible devices, we expect Apple to announce more partnerships and options at WWDC 2021. As long as your iPhone, iPad, or Mac is running iOS 14.3, iPadOS 14.3, or macOS Big Sir 11.1, respectively, the

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Personal data, phone numbers of 533 million Facebook users leaked

A 2019 leak has reemerged

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Data from hundreds of millions of Facebook users was leaked online, including personal information such as phone numbers, full names, and email addresses. The data belongs to 533 million users across 106 countries.

The data is believed to be more than a year old, but security experts say the information could still be used by criminals to commit identity theft or fraud. The development was shared by the chief technology officer of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, Alon Gal, and was first reported by Business Insider.

That data included records on 32 million users in the United States, 11 million users in the United Kingdom, and six million in India. The details include names, gender, occupation, marital and relationship status, the date of joining, and workplace.

“This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.” However, experts believe the data is still freely flowing on forums, the dark web, and community sites. According to Vice Motherboard, a Telegram bot lets hackers find a user’s info (provided if it is breached) by entering known credentials like username, email ID, or phone number.

Even though the leaked data is a couple of years old, it could provide valuable information to cybercriminals, Gal added. There’s isn’t much Facebook can do as the database is now freely flowing on the internet. The incident does serve as a reminder to users that their data is susceptible, and they should be careful about freely sharing it with third-party sites.

The incident also focuses on Facebook’s long-term responsibility of managing and securing collected data to ensure it isn’t weaponized easily. The Cambridge Analytics scandal was just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s getting harder and harder for Facebook to justify its ad and interests-based business model.

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