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Category Archives for "Research"

Thought-detection: AI has infiltrated our last bastion of privacy

Our thoughts are private – or at least they were. New breakthroughs in neuroscience and artificial intelligence are changing that assumption, while at the same time inviting new questions around ethics, privacy, and the horizons of brain/computer interaction.

Research from the UK and an update from Elon Musk on human trials at his brain interface company show software is now eating the mind.

Source: Thought-detection: AI has infiltrated our last bastion of privacy | VentureBeat

Ranking Digital Rights flunks the tech giants

A new report on the human-rights policies of 26 tech and telecom firms around the world delivers a harsh verdict: From Alibaba to Vodafone, they all get an F.

The 2020 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index, as previewed in advance of its Wednesday posting, blames this collective failure to get “even close to earning a passing grade” on widespread opacity among these firms in how they analyze, promote, and demote the speech of their customers for marketing, advertising, and content-moderation purposes.

Source: Ranking Digital Rights flunks 26 tech firms and telcos

45% of Americans have had their personal information exposed in a data breach

There has been a 48% increase in fraud attacks hitting mobile devices, and 36% growth YoY in bot volume targeting financial institutions, according to Fraud Trends to Watch in 2021, a study by LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

Over 4,500 data breaches have been made public since 2005, and 45% of Americans have had their personal information exposed in a data breach in the last five years.

Source: Mobile Fraud And Bots Peak During Economic Slowdown: Study 02/05/2021

Facebook to give academics access to political advertising data

Social network provider Facebook will open up targeting information for more than 1.3m social issue, electoral and political ads to researchers from 1 February.

Privacy will be protected, says product manager Sarah Clark Schiff. It is acting after feedback, particularly from academics, that understanding how advertisers choose to target audiences is key to learning more about the influence of digital ads on elections and other specific events.

Source: Facebook to give academics access to political advertising data

Brazilians mostly unaware of data protection regulations

Despite concerns over potential misuse and lack of trust, research has found consumers are not questioning corporate practices around personal data handling.

The survey carried out by Brazilian credit intelligence company Boa Vista with over 500 consumers between August and September 2020 suggests that over 70% of those polled do not know what the General Data Protection Regulations are.

The vast majority of the consumers polled (90%) feel their personal information is not protected appropriately by the companies requesting them, while 77% have expressed concerns over potential misuse of their data. Of the Brazilian consumers surveyed, 40% said they have been victims of fraud.

Source: Brazilians mostly unaware of data protection regulations | ZDNet

2 in 3 US Consumers Don’t Care Whether Or Not Their Devices are Recording All the Time

While most major smart home devices and smartphones explicitly state they are not always listening, many consumers express a lack of concern. The Safety.com research team conducted a survey of 1,091 U.S. residents, asking them if they cared whether their smart home devices were always listening.

Study found that:

  • 66.7% of people responded that they don’t care whether their home devices are always listening.
  • Women are more concerned about their smart devices listening than men by a margin of over 7%.
  • Millennials and Gen Z age brackets are far less concerned about smart devices listening to them all the time than people in the Baby Boomer age bracket. Gen X is evenly spread.
  • Regionality played a small part in respondents’ beliefs. People located in more tech-dominant cities and areas are less concerned about smart devices listening than people in less tech-dominant cities and areas by approximately 6-10% depending on the location.

Source: 66.7% of U.S. Consumers Don’t Care Whether Or Not Their Smart Home Devices are Recording All the Time | Safety.com

Menstruation apps store excessive information

Menstruation apps are unnecessarily storing personal data such as what medication women are on, their birth control habits and how hard women find it to reach orgasm, privacy campaigners have said.

A study of five leading apps by Privacy International, a UK-based charity, found that companies held intimate information on users including answers to questions about when they have yeast infections and how often they have sex or see a gynaecologist.

Full article: Menstruation apps store excessive information, privacy charity says | Menstruation | The Guardian

Your Credit Score Should Be Based on Your Web History, IMF Says

International Monetary Fund (IMF) researchers see the possibility of using the data from your browsing, search, and purchase history to create a more accurate mechanism for determining the credit rating of an individual or business.

They believe that this approach could result in greater lending to borrowers who would potentially be denied by traditional financial institutions.

The researchers acknowledge that there will be privacy and policy concerns related to incorporating this kind of soft-data into credit analysis.

Source: Should We Use Search History for Credit Scores? IMF Says Yes

Advertisers See Data Privacy, Ad Tracking As Top Challenges

The findings of the Interactive Advertising (IAB) report show that data privacy and ad tracking were their top challenges in 2021 for media buyers.

Some 41% of media buyers do not know if those with an interest in a privacy and ad-tracking strategy have a clear understanding of the implications they will face once cookies and identifiers are terminated or blocked.

Some 37% believe they need more first-party data to become successful, and 28% have not figured out cross-media measurement yet and are burning through budgets to get there. Even 17% said they do not have an antiquate ecommerce cite.

Source: IAB 2021: Media Buyers Focus On Performance, View Data Privacy, Ad Tracking As Top Challenges 12/23/2020

Study Shows Robot Vacuum Cleaners Can Be Hacked to Spy on People

Robot vacuum cleaners use LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors to navigate and map the floor plan. By modifying LiDAR sensors on robot vacuum cleaners, hackers can use it for LidarPhone attack and listen to private conservation for extracting sensitive information.

As the robot cleaner maps the floor by pointing lasers at nearby objects such as dustbins, desks, speakers, or even takeaway bags, the researchers were able to obtain the original sound that vibrated on the object. They found that glossy polypropylene bags were the best reflector of sound while glossy cardboard was the worst.

Source: NUS Study Shows Robot Vacuum Cleaners Can Be Hacked to Spy on People

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