Ad nauseam. People have been fuming about Google’s purported decision to nuke ad blockers from its Chrome web browser. But Google claims it’s doing no such thing. “We are not preventing the development of ad blockers or stopping users from blocking ads,” writes Devlin Cronin, a member Chrome extensions team, on the company’s blog. “Instead, we want to help developers, including content blockers, write extensions in a way that protects users’ privacy.”
Robbing St. Petersburg to pay Paul. Alphabet’s Jigsaw division, which incubates technologies to counter extremism and protect free speech online, paid a Russian troll farm to run a disinformation campaign as a part of a research study in March 2018. The unit hired mercenaries to attack a website it created featuring anti-Stalin propaganda (a seemingly odd choice that actually does have a bearing on contemporary Russian politics). For $250, a service called SEOTweet attacked the site for two weeks with a barrage of Tweets, blog posts, and comments on random websites. Some commentators have criticized Jigsaw for meddling, however slightly, in Russian politics.
Swamp tour. Political campaigns are not up on their cybersecurity hygiene, despite all the hacking that occurred during the last presidential election, the Wall Street Journal warns. Senator majority leader Mitch McConnell is blocking election security legislation, the New York Times says. John Bolton, the White House’s national security advisor, said at a conference this week that the U.S. is expanding its offensive cyber operations to counter espionage and other hacks. And U.S. President Donald Trump seems open to accepting dirt on opponents from foreign powers.
Have I been owned? Troy Hunt, proprietor of the HaveIBeenPwned, an ever-expanding repository of 8 billion data breach records people can use freely to check which of their online accounts may have been compromised, is looking for a buyer. Hunt is working with consulting firm KPMG to find the site a new home. He says he will remain involved with the site, and the core service, which has 3 million subscribers, will remain free to use.
Pleading the Fourth. Two months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a manifesto outlining his “privacy-focused vision” for the company, his lawyers were arguing before a California judge that people who use Facebook have no expectation of privacy. (Shocker!) To quote Facebook’s lawyer: “There is no privacy interest, because by sharing with a hundred friends on a social media platform, which is an affirmative social act to publish, to disclose, to share ostensibly private information with a hundred people, you have just, under centuries of common law, under the judgment of Congress, under the SCA, negated any reasonable expectation of privacy.” In case you had any doubt about it…
Someone call the Karma Police.
Share today’s Cyber Saturday with a friend:
Looking for previous Data Sheets? Click here