SEC To Monitor Blockchain Transaction Seeking Suppliers to Extract Data

SEC To Monitor Blockchain Transaction, Seeking Suppliers to Extract Data

               us sec

An official announcement rolled out on Jan 31, 2019,
unveils that the SEC or Securities and Exchange Commission is analyzing blockchain transaction.

SEC to closely Analyze blockchain Services

According to the official report, the agency is looking for a supplier or vendor that would help them determine and monitor risk on grounds of digital assets. The opportunity is open for those that can extract blockchain data and parses them to make it reviewable. The opportunity page of

SEC reads that;

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is issuing these sources sought notice as a means of conducting market research to determine the availability and technical capability of large and small businesses to provide blockchain data to support the SEC’s efforts to monitor risk, improve compliance, and inform Commission policy with respect to digital assets.

The suppliers/vendors would further expected to enable SEC to access the data from the most widely used blockchain ledger. Besides data, SEC also demands to look at the process being used to extract the data and convert in reviewable format. This is to assure that the data transformation doesn’t lead to any kind of loss. Moreover, the requirement for the data provision mentioned by SEC website includes;

  • Provide data extracts on a recurring basis for the most widely used blockchain ledgers ,based on transaction volume.
  • Cleanse and normalize data to enable review and exploration. Provide capability to derive insights from the available data, including attribution data (i.e. to whom a particular address belongs).
  • Provide a means to demonstrate the data provided is accurate and complete

Article Produced By

Tabassum

Tabassum is a full-time content writer at Coingape. Her passion lies in writing and delivering apt information to users. Currently, she does not hold any form of cryptocurrencies.

https://coingape.com/sec-blockchain-transaction-seeking-supploers/

Apple is punishing Facebook big-time for breaking its rules

Apple is punishing Facebook big-time for breaking its rules

Apple moved fast and broke Facebook.

               

Facebook is in crisis.

Stop us if you’ve heard that one before. That’s been the general state of the company for almost two years now, ever since it became clear that so-called fake news and Russian election meddling on the social network may have influenced the result of the 2016 presidential election. In that time, Facebook has dealt with unflattering press, security breaches, congressional testimonies, and government investigations. Each week seems to add a new chapter to the madness. This week was no different, but it also brought on a new enemy: Apple. And Apple, it turns out, may be as dangerous as anything else Facebook is up against right now.

The quick backstory: Facebook is part of one of Apple’s special enterprise developer programs that allows companies to publish apps specifically for their own employees; these apps don’t go through the public App Store. Facebook uses that program to share beta versions of its own apps with employees so it can test new features or new code. It also uses the program to create apps for in-house purposes, like Facebook’s shuttle bus schedules or lunch menus.

On Tuesday, TechCrunch reported that Facebook has been abusing its role in Apple’s enterprise program by using it to distribute an app to non-employees. The app, which Facebook says was for “market research,” was used to gather personal data about the phone habits of the users who downloaded it. (Facebook paid these people to download the app, TechCrunch says.) An app like that would have violated Apple’s App Store guidelines, but Apple doesn’t review apps that are part of the developer program. It looks as though Facebook took advantage of the program to distribute the app without Apple’s knowledge.

Apple was upset. On Wednesday, the company announced that it was forcing Facebook to stop distributing the research app, calling it a “clear breach of their agreement with Apple.” But that wasn’t all: Apple also appears to have stopped Facebook from distributing all apps associated with its enterprise developer program, according to a source. This means the special versions of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp that Facebook employees use aren’t working on iPhones. It also means that other internal Facebook apps aren’t working in iOS, including Facebook’s Slack competitor, Workplace.

Essentially, Apple forced Facebook employees to download the public version of all of these apps, given that most of the company’s employees use iPhones. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that its internal apps have been impacted by Apple’s decision to revoke its publishing abilities and that it is working with Apple to resolve the issue. It’s hard to overstate how big an issue this could be for Facebook. Not only does it completely disrupt all kinds of productivity, but if Facebook’s product teams can’t ship internal beta versions of its apps, it could seriously hinder Facebook’s product development. Don’t forget: This is a company that spent its first decade preaching the mantra, “Move fast, break things.”

Apple has shown that it isn’t just capable of stopping Facebook from moving fast — it might be capable of stopping Facebook altogether, at least temporarily. It’s unclear how long Apple will restrict Facebook from pushing updates, but it’s not the kind of enemy Facebook needs right now. The two companies have developed a bit of a rivalry. Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year that Facebook’s privacy issues could have been solved with “self-regulation,” but Facebook missed its chance. When asked what he would do in Facebook’s shoes, Cook replied pointedly, “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg later called the criticism “extremely glib.”

Facebook seems to have picked up in 2019 right where it left off in 2018. This Apple drama comes less than two weeks after a report in the Washington Post said that the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating Facebook, is considering slapping Facebook with a “record-setting” fine for privacy violations.

Article Produced By
Kurt Wagner
Senior Editor, Social Media

Kurt Wagner has been a business and tech journalist since 2012 and was previously reporting for Mashable. He also covered general tech and Silicon Valley news in his first job as a tech reporter with Fortune magazine, based in San Francisco.
Originally from the Seattle area, Kurt graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in communication and political science. He served as Editor-in-Chief of The Santa Clara, the university newspaper, for two years.

https://www.recode.net/2019/1/30/18204001/facebook-apple-punishment-internal-apps-not-working

Facebook is in trouble for secretly breaking Apple’s rules But what it’s doing out in the open is way worse

Facebook is in trouble for secretly breaking Apple’s rules. But what it’s doing out in the open is way worse.

The company’s planned merger of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger into one system should alarm regulators, NYU’s Scott Galloway says.

                  

Facebook is in the doghouse with Apple

for abusing its role in Apple’s enterprise program to distribute research apps that suck up even more of users’ data. But on the latest episode of Pivot, NYU’s Scott Galloway said that’s a sideshow that mostly reflects personal animosity between Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook; the really suspicious thing Facebook is doing, he explained, is its plan to merge the infrastructure of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.

“‘I would like to give Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg broader reach and a more robust platform,’ said no person ever,” Galloway said. “And that’s what’s going on here.” Starting in 2016 and continuing to the present day, Facebook demonstrated that it was susceptible to foreign powers, and he suggested that allowing those apps to message each other more easily would be another powerful avenue for media manipulators looking to gin up outrage.

“We have figured out a way to create these giant dials that, if you put a hand on it, you can create rage from one community to another,” Galloway said. “And I think that Russians have been able to get their hands on these dials and are literally breaking us apart as Western democracy … What we’ve done here is we’ve decided to let Facebook create bigger, bigger dials.

“The most important move, I think long term, for the health of the commonwealth right now would be for either Senators Bennet or Warner or someone from the FTC to basically fire a shot across Facebook’s bow and say, ‘Look, if you integrate these three things, be careful. We can still break your ass up.’” You can listen to Pivot with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway wherever you get your podcasts — including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts and Overcast.

Below, we’ve shared a full transcript of Kara and Scott’s latest conversation.

Kara Swisher: Hi everyone, this is Pivot from the Vox Media Podcast Network. I’m Kara Swisher, and I’m here in freezing DC, where the government is back up and running, for the moment.

Scott Galloway: And this is Scott Galloway coming to you from the polar vortex of Delray Beach, Florida, where it is 65 degrees. It’s unbearable, Kara.

You know what? Stop. Don’t. Don’t, because people in the Midwest are dying, don’t make … no. No. No. No. The white walkers are coming.

Not allowed. Not allowed. I just rode a scooter here to get here on time. I rode very fast. You got to stop that.

I was leaving the house fast, and my face froze. You got to stop the scooter thing, Kara.

It was lovely. It really did … I love the scooter thing. I wear a helmet. It’s good. You’re gonna slip and break a hip. People our age shouldn’t be on scooters. We shouldn’t be on scooters.

That’s enough. You should be at home watching Murder, She Wrote, not on a scooter.

That’s enough. Speak for yourself. I’m very fit. I’m very fit. I’m very fit. I do SoulCycle. I had a lovely SoulCycle yesterday. It was great. I’m in very good shape. You know what I did this morning? I did CrossFit.

Oh, did you? Do you like that stuff? All the internet people love that stuff. Well you know how you can tell if someone does CrossFit?

How? They tell you!

They’re damaged in the head. They tell you. They tell you. It’s telesignaling.

Oh, they tell you. That’s right. It’s like going to Harvard. Yeah. That’s right. “No, I went to school in Boston …”

All right, we got lots of stories this week. We have so many stories this week. There are so many. Let’s start … I know we have to get to Facebook again. Once again we had Apple beginning the week by doing something that was not good by having … It wasn’t a bug, it was a mistake in the FaceTime, which caused a lot of people to listen in, so, privacy snafu, right? And then they didn’t tell about it for a week. But they did talk about it. They did turn it off. They did all the things you’re supposed to do and admitted it. It just took them a long time. And they’re right in the middle of that also announcing pretty … earnings that people are not thrilled with.

And then Facebook is at it again. And this time they were caught paying teenagers to collect their data on an app and in doing so, even though they got consent of teenagers — I don’t know how that works, to start with — they violated Apple’s very strict terms of service on the kind of certificate, it’s called an Enterprise Certificate, I’m not going to go into it, it’s technical. But they were using it in a consumer-facing way. So Apple shut them down, including internal apps that Facebook uses on their staff’s iPhones, like I want a parking app or cafeteria. I don’t know what apps they’re using, but there’s a whole bunch of internal apps that these companies use and now Facebook isn’t allowed to use them. So Apple pulled all their rights to do that, making Apple sort of the regulator of Facebook. What do you think about this?

Let’s unpack both of those. So the first one was the Apple bug where, on Facebook, you got to listen to the conversation before people actually answered the phone.

FaceTime. I’m sorry, FaceTime. Excuse me. Thank you.

Not Facebook.  I think it’s actually a little bit of a nothing burger, and the only thing I take away from it is that there’s kind of a universal karmic response that when you go on an indignant story about privacy, you’re going to start violating people’s privacy. They kind of had it coming. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I think they fixed it. I think it makes for an interesting headline, but I think it’s a big nothing …

They act appropriately when it happens. Some people have the battery things.

They shut it down. They fixed it. Next. The fight between the other stuff, I actually think Facebook didn’t, as you know neither of us are big, huge fans of Facebook, companies do this all the time. And it was about 10 percent of the people were teenagers or under the age of 18, they did get parental consent.

Right. Research. What’s more interesting …

No. It’s not clear they got parental consent. It’s not totally clear. Oh, I thought they’ve shown that the parents were in fact contacted and that there was a “consent flow” was the term they used. I love the terms that Facebook puts out. But I don’t think it’s anything that other companies don’t do every day.

They’re doing research. They’re doing basic research. No. They all do, and Facebook does a lot of it, obviously, they run a lot of data. They all do. Google does.

What you have and what’s interesting is that the analogy I would use is, in the ’80s and ’90s, if you were black and sold white people marijuana, you got stuck in jail, and when you got out, you were on probation and anything including having pornography on your computer was reason to put you back in jail. And that’s where Facebook is. Facebook is on probation. Nobody believes them. Everything they do that is slightly questionable, everybody assumes is really malicious and covert and awful. And this management team has absolutely no credibility and everybody always assumes the worst. I don’t think it’s going to end until they turn …

But breaking the TOS is not should we care that they do because Apple has slapped other companies, and in fact, had slapped Facebook before for an app they had called Onavo, which was a data-collecting app that they had bought many years ago. I remember when they did. I’m like, “Oh, they’re trying to collect data on lots of different app usage. That’s what they’re doing it for.”

This is the worst Celebrity Deathmatch. This is Ali-Frazier turned hall monitor pass war between Zuckerberg and Tim Cook. This is personal. There’s nothing here except two people who hate each other, and they’re going after each other and all being indignant. It’s not … So what? I don’t think it’s a big story. I think the backstory here is that Zuck and Tim Cook hate each other, and they’re now fighting in public.

Yup. Yup. Yup. Which they have been doing. I got Tim to say those things about Mark on my interview with him this March and Apple … Facebook slapped back about it being indignant and Apple for being indignant. It just goes on. I think it still is getting to that. There was a really good thing that I tweeted. It was a thing of what they did. When others do it, Apple hits back harder, and most people feel that Apple didn’t hit back hard enough. Others feel like, “Wow, this was really sort of screwing up their internal systems,” was a nice little dig.

It’s very clear, Apple’s always been super strict in its app store and for Facebook to do a go-around because they didn’t like the rules just seems like, I don’t know, they can’t not like the rules. They shouldn’t operate on the platform. They can go over and use Google or whatever.

I think Facebook, I think the more interesting story, Kara, and this wasn’t in our notes, but I think the most under-reported story in tech right now, and the bigger deal that no one’s talking about, is Facebook’s integration of their backend among WhatsApp, Instagram, and the core platform, Facebook.

Yes. A hundred percent. Please go on. Please keep going.

Okay. So, “I would like to give Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg broader reach and a more robust platform,” said no person ever. And that’s what’s going on here. We have these giant … If you think about Einstein, I love the Einstein quote, they said, “How will the third World War be fought? With what weapons?” And he said, “I don’t know, but I know the fourth World War will be fought with sticks and stones.” And I’m beginning to believe that the third World War is going to be fought with “likes” and retweets. We have figured out a way to create these giant dials that, if you put a hand on it, you can create rage from one community to another. And I think that Russians have been able to get their hands on these dials and are literally breaking us apart as Western democracy. I know that sounds paranoid but just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

What we’ve done here is we’ve decided to let Facebook create bigger, bigger dials. I know that some politicians listen to this show. The most important move, I think long term, for the health of the commonwealth right now would be for either Senators Bennet or Warner or someone from the FTC to basically fire a shot across Facebook’s bow and say, “Look, if you integrate these three things, be careful. We can still break your ass up.” And what they’re clearly doing is they’re trying to create what I would call a Siamese triplets defense. And they’re going to be able to say, “Look, if you break us up, if you try and separate us, the whole thing’s gonna die.” And the notion that they’re going to have …

That is the reason Kevin Systrom left, he saw this coming and didn’t want any part of it. One hundred percent, and also the guys at Whatsapp, the guys who knew what was going on were disturbed by this and yet nobody’s talking about it.

Right. That is a very fair point, but this was something they are going to do. The main Facebook business is so lagging among young people and others that they have to sort of bring them together. I think the big blue app is bloated essentially, and so they’re trying to be dynamic in other parts, but control it all from a centralized thing. Now, if you were Mark Zuckerberg, this is precisely what you would do, right? I mean, what else do you have to do? You’d get consent from teenagers and you would do this because you need as much data as possible. Even though today they turned in, or last night they turned in amazing results again because there is nowhere else to go. Unbelievable. We’ve been saying this despite all the headline …

When is that over? I don’t think it is over. Look, in the ’80s and ’90s, tobacco companies were killing half a million people a year and they were fantastic stocks to own and that’s what we have here. We have a fantastic stock. This company is massively undervalued even as we speak with it up 13 percent today. There is absolutely no evidence of the deceleration in the business because it’s a duopoly and because these tools on Facebook, if you ever want … I think all marketing classes should force their kids to go on Facebook and use their ad tools just to see how incredibly robust and powerful this platform is. And if you look at their numbers yesterday, I mean this company literally, from a business standpoint, is a juggernaut and we’d like to think that all this bad behavior translates to a reduction in their power in the business community. A hundred percent not, this is tobacco in the ’80s and ’90s, killing people and growing earnings massively.

Well, there you have it. Boom.

I didn’t think about it. Someone asked me earlier this week, I was on a stage, “How do you think they’re going to do?” I said, “Great.” Yeah, 100 percent.

You know, analysts and stock market, they own the digital advertising market with Google and so why wouldn’t they be doing great? It doesn’t matter, any of this. I think eventually it does matter though, in the end, is how products get less and less interesting and if they embarrass people who advertise there, that’s really where the bad, but so far, they haven’t embarrassed them. We’ll see if they can continue to do so. And you’re right there, but their trust is way down and I don’t think that’s a great place to be. You know, that’s how it started for Microsoft.

I don’t know. People overestimate the power of trust. Everybody at DLD was talking about trust. I think the majority of the products we use and love, we don’t trust the companies. I don’t think it matters.

All right, well, we’ll see. Speaking of people, people who like someone and people having a lot of feels, we’ll finish up with Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks. Very tech-savvy guy. I’ve known him for many years. It says he’s running for president and there’s been a lot of feels. Let’s play a clip from the event that he spoke at that kind of sums up the whole thing.

Howard Schultz: Well, let’s begin with what I said on national TV last night, so I can frame the answer. What I said last night is that I am seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent and I wanted to clarify the word independent, which I view merely as a designation on the ballot.

Protester: Don’t help elect Trump, you egotistical billionaire asshole. Go back to getting ratio’d on Twitter. Go back to Davos with the other billionaire elites who think they know how to run the world. That’s not what democracy needs.

Okay. Someone doesn’t like Howard Schultz. There was a fantastic column in the Washington Post where “there’s going to be a latte trouble” with this guy and there was tons and tons of “trouble brewing.” “Everyone wants to venti,” and stuff like that. There’s tons of coffee jokes.

Scott Galloway: He’s running for president in venti venti, 2020.

Right, exactly. That’s a good one. That’s my coffee joke.

What do you think of this? What do you think of Howard? You know what, Kara, you know, I think we should do, we should do what Gary V. does and have a camera follow us around all the time. Although you and I think have been together in the same room twice, but I’m thinking you and I go into a Starbucks and start handing out cups to the employee saying, “What the fuck is your boss thinking?”

Yeah, he’s not their boss. You know how they had those cups that talked about race …

Former boss. The boss is Kevin Johnson from Microsoft, but yes, he was. He made it into a big thing. What do you think of this? He’s running against the Democrats, which is fascinating because he’s all mad about taxes and Alexandria Ocasio has gotten under his skin in some fashion, and so what do you think? What do you think about this? I know him pretty well.

Ross Perot and Ralph Nader both handed the presidency to … Ross Perot gave it to Clinton and Ralph Nader gave it to Bush and that’s what independents do, they’re spoilers, and so the notion that he’s going to create some great centrist movement, I mean, it’s very idealistic and it’s unrealistic and the guy kind of summed it up perfectly. “Look, you billionaire asshole, you’re going to reelect Trump.” I mean, that’s a pretty heavy dose of truth, I think. It’s too bad, my sense of him is he’s a very thoughtful, civic-minded guy.

He is. I think he’s a principled guy. I think he could do a tremendous amount of good. I think what he should do is what Sheldon Adelson does and have this agora in Seattle and basically hand out a couple hundred million bucks to the people he likes and promote his values, and then go be ambassador to Britain or something. But running as an independent? It’s just terrible.

He doesn’t give away a lot of money. He’s very thoughtful. He’s written me several thoughtful emails about what he wanted to do and so, I don’t know. It’s interesting. You’re right. You don’t want him to be the spoiler here in a situation, given that there’s 412 Democrats running for office, including Bloomberg, who has moved over to the Democratic Party. Anyway, it’s gonna be fascinating to watch as we move forward.

We’re going to go to wins and fails. We’re gonna go to predictions at the end-up because you are clairvoyant again. But obviously, Nancy Pelosi and the people going back to work was a big win for Nancy Pelosi and the workers. Thoughts?

You’re right. Huge win for her. I think a lot of people doubted her leadership. There was some noise about her not being the best speaker of the House and she’s been outstanding. I mean, she’s really kind of, you know, “Say my name,” “Nancy Pelosi.” This is the Heisenberg of … I don’t know if you watched Breaking Bad, but she’s just an incredible … She’s done incredible leadership and if you’re a Democrat you were really excited to kind of see her basically just body slam the president.

If you go into the middle of the country and the rest of the country, it’s not about political victories, it’s about the fact that the greatest democracy and experiment in the history of mankind was shut down. And I don’t think it’s any accident that Russian bombers are trolling our coasts or that Venezuelan politics are being infiltrated by foreign entities because I think people are bumping us now. I think they see us as weak. I think when the government shuts down, it reflects weakness to the rest of the world. So I think it generally was just bad for America.

I would agree. I would agree. Also, when even the Republicans are arguing with each other, which they are today about Syria and all kinds of things about shutting down the … We’re going to get to your prediction in a minute, but the fighting now between Trump and the entire Congress, which is interesting. I’m not so sure the problems are that, fighting with him, but they’re at least pushing back on certain things. He yelled at his spy chiefs this week because they disagreed with him on the facts. His were made up, theirs were from actually doing work. It should be a very interesting couple of months, I think, going forward, especially in the next few weeks when they have to decide on this immigration stuff, which doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere fast, pretty much. Other wins and fails, Scott, anything else?

So I always feel … For me, you’re like me living in San Francisco again. I’m a progressive but living in San Francisco is enough to turn me into almost a conservative because I just got … I always like to bring up a win that you would never in a million year say is a win. I was on Fox on Tuesday.

Again, you with the Fox. I was in the green room with Chris Christie.

Who were you on? I was on Stuart Varney. I love Stuart Varney.

All right, okay. Stuart Varney! Varney is a gentleman and a scholar and I like it. I really like Neil Cavuto too. Anyways, I’m equal opportunity. I’m a total media whore, I’ll pretty much go anywhere they ask me.

We all understand that, Scott.

Anyways, I was in a room with Chris Christie and I actually think Chris Christie, his media tour around his book, I think it’s been a win for him. I think he comes across as smart. I don’t like his politics, but I do think he comes across as smart and a straight shooter and I don’t think his career is over. What I don’t understand is how naive he was that he thought he was going to get a job in an administration where he put a family member’s father in jail. Was he really shocked he didn’t get a job? I know that people have a tendency not to forget when you put their dads in jail, which he did to Jared.

He doubled down on it too. He’s like, “That was the most disgusting prosecution. I was glad I did it.” Like he’s not even backing off that. Yeah. He’s not apologizing, but if you’ve got a … Have you seen any of the media interviews he’s done over the last 24 hours?

Yeah, he’s a smart man, although, you know, I don’t love his denials of what happened in wherever the heck when he was stopping up the traffic on the bridge. BridgeGate?

Yeah. BridgeGate. Yeah, I think he’s a liar about that. All his people did it. Anyways, my win, Governor Christie. Your win?

My win is historian Rutger Bregman, who called out the billionaires at Davos for not talking about tax avoidance. Him and Winnie Byanyima from Oxfam had a back and forth with someone I know very well, the former CFO of Yahoo, Ken Goldman, about it. Let’s listen to Mr. Bregman talk about this.

Rutger Bregman: The answer is very simple. Just stop talking about philanthropy and start talking about taxes, taxes, taxes. We need to. I mean, just two days ago there was a billionaire in here. What’s his name? Michael Dell. He asked the question like, “Name me one country where a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent has actually worked.” And you know, I’m a historian. The United States, that’s where it has actually worked. In the 1950s during Republican President Eisenhower. You know, the war veteran. The top marginal tax rate in the US was 91 percent for people like Michael Dell, you know, the top estate tax for people like Michael Dell was more than 70 percent. I mean, this is not rocket science. I mean, we can talk for a very long time about all these stupid philanthropy schemes. We can invite Bono once more. Come on, we got to be talking about taxes. That’s it. Taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit, in my opinion.

So here he is making the salient point that we had it in this country for years. I love, “We can talk for a very long time about all these stupid philanthropy schemes, we can invite Bono once more.” That was my favorite. What do you think of this? He’s, “taxes, taxes, taxes.” You don’t like taxes, I’m guessing.

Scott Galloway: Well, complexity favors the wealthy in our tax system, slowly but surely, whether it’s capital gains on stocks, the top 1 percent own 50 percent of the stocks, so capital gains tax deduction is nothing but a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. Even, I would argue mortgage tax, mortgage interest tax deduction is nothing but a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. You know who owns homes, old rich people who raise young, middle-class people. So our tax system slowly but surely has been nothing but an elegant transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. I would love somebody to do an analysis. I believe that the most valuable company in the world and the wealthiest man in the world, Amazon and Jeff Bezos respectively, have not only not paid any tax, but I believe they’ve been subsidized by the government.

I think when New York gives $3 billion in subsidies to Amazon as a function of this incredibly deft gamification of the commonwealth, with Bezos owning 16 percent of the company, effectively the government has written a check to Jeff Bezos personally for $5 million, and if you look at what Bezos has likely done with his wealth, he never sells shares, so he never incurs a tax liability. He just borrows against his shares from JPMorgan at probably a 2 percent interest rate and keeps rolling, but never actually pays taxes. And then he’ll put all his wealth in a trust and it’ll be transferred without taxes. So he’s basically building a dynasty that’s been subsidized by taxpayers. The wealthiest man in the world, most valuable company in the world, not paying any taxes.

Yeah, but we can invite Bono once more. That’s what we can do. There you go. Or someone from Brazil who paints with their feet. We got to find someone who paints with their feet.

You know, I think it does resonate in this election. I think this topic is going to be a bit … What do we do about the rich kind of thing? I think it’s not an attack. It’s really interesting because the Silicon Valley people all of a sudden are like, “Rah, taxes!” It’s really fascinating because I think they’re sort of in the know that they’re really not paying their fair share and how it ruins innovation and they’ll trot out everything else, but it’s a really interesting thing that it’s being discussed as much as it is. I don’t know if it’ll go anywhere because it’s not Bregman, it’s Ocasio and others and marginal tax rate and we’ll see if it goes anywhere. It will certainly effect tech given how much money they all have.

So it’ll be interesting where different tech people come down on this issue and what taxes they’re willing to pay or what they’re willing to go through. So it should be an ongoing story and some people will think of it as an attack, a class war kind of thing. I’m not so sure that’s the case. I think a lot of people are laying out very good arguments for what’s going on, but we’ll see if that matters and if …

But what’s interesting about it, it’s a nuanced argument because you know who gets really screwed, Kara, is what I would refer to as the work horses, and that is people who earn, call it between $150 grand and $1 million a year in current income. If you live in New York or California, you’re paying an effective tax rate of between 48 percent and 52 percent. So what you call the wealthy current-income work horses, the partners in law firms, the entrepreneurs. But the people who don’t pay their fair share are the people who get the majority of their income to capital gains. Basically, the investors and kind of the capital owners, but the people who do I think pay an unfair share to the high end are who a lot of people would deem as wealthy, the work horses. So I think it’s a nuanced argument, but we should have it.

I think the Democrats are screwing up by proposing, even using the term 70 percent in which you go back to a super tax. I don’t think that it’s winnable. I don’t think, whether it’s right or wrong, it’s not a winnable argument and you can see the ads from the Republicans now.

Yeah, they can twist it because that’s what they do for a living. They’ll just put the number 70 on the screen and go, “Okay, your choice. Is this what you want? Do you want 70 percent tax rates?”

All right, we’re going to get to predictions, how we get to run it. We’re not going to even talk about Roger Stone’s back tattoo of Richard Nixon. I just didn’t want to go there at all, that guy. I just want him in jail. That’s all I want. That’s pretty gangster though. That causes some conversations.

You know what? He’s such a weird … I’m sorry. He needs to just go away. A Nixon tattoo? I think that’s actually pretty cool.

He needs to go wherever Kato Kaelin’s gone. That’s where he needs to go. Anyway, all right Scott, someone on Twitter called you clairvoyant with your predictions about last week. I predicted I’d never buy a new car and later that day it was announced that Apple laid off 200 employees in their Project Titan division which is working on autonomous cars. So cars are over. I get a little credit for predictions, though I actually don’t. I think there’s gonna be autonomous cars and I’m gonna be in them, but you were predicting that the government would reopen. Now I need some more predictions about the national emergency, etc., etc. So go for it. Let’s hear your predictions on this and you can take a runaround, like a big cheering runaround, whatever you run around when you cheer. You’re so jealous of the Big Dog’s prediction. I just have one word.

You’re calling yourself the Big Dog?

Come on, who called it? Who called it, Kara? Friday morning we said, you and I said the government shutdown was coming to an end. Friday afternoon, they announced it. So my predictions are pretty boring. I made a prediction earlier in the year or late last year that Facebook would be an outstanding stock to own and I think this is a company that’s gonna just rocket up in the next three months. Be clear, bad for our democracy, bad for the planet, but this stock and this company have a supernova business model. I think it’s up 13 percent today and I think it’s just getting started and it’s dangerous to make stock predictions, but I won’t make a stock prediction, but I think the underlying business results of Facebook are just incredible. Amazon reports, Amazon comes out tonight. Look for Amazon Media Group to all of a sudden be the third player in the Facebook/Google duopoly. It’s now the fastest-growing media company in the world, over a billion dollars.

Advertising, yeah. That’s true. All right, so that’s your prediction. All right, anything else about the next government shutdown? Do you want to go there? Is there gonna be one? It won’t happen Kara. There’s no way either party wants to go there again because …

Well, Trump does. … if we went to another shutdown, people would just move to, “Okay, let’s vote them all out,” and the one thing that scares all of them is the notion of not being reelected. So no, the government won’t be shutting down.

So what about the “national emergency”? Are they gonna declare it? I don’t have a viewpoint. What’s your view?

I don’t know. He’ll probably try to declare it and then he’ll go to … it’ll never happen, you know what I mean? The lawyers will go to town and it’ll go on and then he’s either not gonna be in office or he’s not gonna control either the House or the Senate, something like that. I think he’s never getting that wall and Mexico’s definitely not paying for it.

In terms of negotiating, what is it Sun Tzu, in terms of negotiating you don’t want to, unless you give your competitor absolutely no out. If you give them no out, what you’re basically saying, “I’m gonna slaughter you,” and I think the Democrats and Pelosi have won and I think for them to give a little bit, whatever that little bit might look like such that the Republicans and specifically POTUS can sort of declare victory or at least not be totally shamed …

They can’t. He’s not getting the five, they’re never gonna give him the five. They’ll give him some drones, a bunch of people. They’ll give him something.

Yeah, but he wants that wall. He’s obsessed with the wall. He’s got Ann Coulter on his back yelling at him about that. So he seems to respond to whatever she says. Talk about where Kato Kaelin goes. Why do we even use the word Ann Coulter? Like what qualifies her for us to care?

Because she has the … You know, I was at a dinner party and someone said this and someone else correctly said, “Because the President listens to her and he happens to be the president of the United States.” So there you have it. What do you think is gonna happen with the national emergency?

I think he’s gonna try to declare it. I do. He likes the idea. He is gonna declare it.

It’s like a little Mussolini move and he’ll do it and then it’ll go nowhere. I think eventually he’ll end up indicted somehow. I just do. He’s a sloppy criminal. So I don’t know, that’s where I see it. Yeah, the southern district.

Except he’s a sloppy one. I think about all these other, you just eventually run out of tricks. Well when everyone around you has an ankle monitor, it’s not a good sign. But have you seen, you have two teenage sons, have you seen Honey Badger Just Don’t Care, that video about Honey Badgers? Yeah, of course.

Video: Honey badger don’t care. Honey badger don’t give a shit. It just takes what it wants. Whenever it’s hungry, it just oo, it eats …

Scott Galloway: Okay so I think the new Honey Badger is a southern district. I just think they don’t care. I think they’re going after the guy. He’s the president, these aren’t high crimes. It’s like southern district just don’t care. They are coming for him.

They don’t care. I think we’re gonna hear those two words “southern district” a lot over the next 12 months.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with his taxes when they finally reveal them, which I think they eventually will out itself, but we’ll see. We’ll see. He’s always also shown himself to get out of things, to get out of jams. So we’ll see. We’ll see if he can keep getting out. I think he will eventually not get out of jams, no matter how much he … You know how he gets reelected, Kara?

How? How?

Well this should be another lose. I think the politically correct police that went after Tom Brokaw for his comments, which I thought were wrong, but I thought the other journalists on Meet the Press handled it really well and basically said, “No, you’re wrong.” He had said essentially that the Latino community needed to have a conversation around assimilating better, which was wrong, which was just factually wrong, but the level of hate that came out against him on Twitter forcing him to apologize. I feel like we’re at a point where people are so sick of this indignance on both sides that the way Donald Trump gets elected is he says, he basically runs on a campaign of like, “Screw you, snowflake,” and I think we have to be better about being a little more generous with people and saying, “Okay, let’s have the conversation and you might be wrong,” but just the response …

Again, we talked about this last week with some of the stuff between you and Fox. This gotcha culture really hurts, I think it hurts our chances, the Democratic Party’s chances of getting elected.

Except that he started it. That’s the thing is he started it. I do think people are, all my Trumpy relatives, I’m gonna see some Trumpy people this weekend, they are tired of him. It’s like the show. I watched that show for years. Again I’m the only person that’s watched every episode of The Apprentice and I got tired of it after a while. I think the show gets boring and it gets ridiculous and the stuff that you liked about it gets tiresome. Tiresome ratings is what’s gonna take him down, that’s what’s gonna happen. People are sick of it and I know, I can see my Trumpy relatives already being like, “Oh shut up,” kind of stuff. So that’s what I think. They’re fed up. They’re sick of it.

Not just, it’s just like, “Oh shut the hell up.” That’s exactly what they are, they’re like they don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to even defend it saying, “Oh it’s just him.” They’re just like, “Oh God. Stop talking. Go away.” I think that’s one of the things I think and if the Democrats have a relatively decent … And who is Kara Swisher supporting for president or who do you like out of the gates? Did you see, by the way, did you see Kamala Harris’s talk in Oakland?

Kamala Harris, yeah, I like her. I thought she did a great job. I thought she was great on the CNN thing. I think she’s gotten very appealing. I’ve interviewed her many times. She is really strong.
And I thought she’s improved drastically on her interview style, I have to say, because she was a little flat when I interviewed her, so I think if she plays it right, she’s very appealing in lots of ways. So who do you like?
Her. Who does Kara Swisher like?
I like Kamala Harris. Really?
I do. I do. I do. I like all the women. I like Amy Klobuchar. I have hopes for her. We’ll see. One of them, one of the ladies. Yeah, you’ve always been a fan of Senator Klobuchar.
I think it is time to elect a lady. I just know I don’t like Beto. As you know, I’m not a Beto fan. You don’t like Beto?
Stop it, stop it. How can you not like Beto?
Because he’s a man-child. Oh he’s outstanding.
A man child. No, he’s not. He’s not. Oh my God, women are … Outstanding, Kara.
Don’t agree. Well, I doubt women … A lot of women like him, what am I talking about? Anyway, we will go on to this … You, me and Beto at South By Southwest, we would slay it.
No thank you. Oh my God. Oh my gosh, a little Tex Mex.
He’s like every boyfriend that made me a lesbian. I don’t know what else to say. He’s just like the boyfriend. Every boyfriend that made you a lesbian?
Yes. Oh, this is getting better. Can we go another half hour?
No, we can’t. No, we’re stopping. Okay Scott, let’s see you … Oh my gosh. That’s awesome.
I’m looking forward to seeing what next week brings. Bye Scott, I’ll see you soon. Stay warm, Kara.

Article Produced By
Eric Johnson
A Producer and Recode Radio

Eric Johnson is the key point person for our expansion in podcasting. Previously, he wrote about the videogame industry, as he had for AllThingsD.com, both on established and emerging platforms. Eric spent four years in radio at 95.5 WBRU in Providence, R.I. He also wrote for the Peninsula Press, while he was a student at Stanford University. Eric holds a B.A. in History from Brown University and an M.A. in Journalism from Stanford.

Ethics statement

Here is a statement of my ethics and coverage policies. It is more than most of you want to know, but, in the age of suspicion of the media, I am laying it all out. I do not own stock in any company that I report on, but I may make investments in mutual funds, over whose portfolio investments I have no direct control.

I don’t accept gifts, products or favors from sources or any company I cover. On occasion, I may borrow products in the short term from companies I cover if and only if those products may be returned after I have used them to inform my writing. Outside of Recode, I co-host a weekly podcast called Giant Geek vs. Mega n00b.

Recode is owned wholly by Vox Media, a company with an audience of 170 million worldwide. It has eight distinct media brands: The Verge (Technology and Culture), Vox.com (News), SB Nation (Sports), Polygon (Gaming), Eater (Food and Nightlife), Racked (Shopping, Beauty and Fashion), Curbed (Real Estate and Home), as well as Recode (Tech Business). Vox Media has a number of investors, including, but not limited to, Comcast Ventures and NBCUniversal, both of which are owned by Comcast Corporation.

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https://www.recode.net/2019/2/1/18207046/facebook-messenger-instagram-whatsapp-scott-galloway-kara-swisher-pivot-ftc-regulation-ftc-russia

Everything you need to know about Facebook Google’s app scandal

Everything you need to know about Facebook, Google’s app scandal

              

Facebook and Google landed in hot water with Apple this week

after two investigations by TechCrunch revealed the misuse of internal-only certificates — leading to their revocation, which led to a day of downtime at the two tech giants. Confused about what happened? Here’s everything you need to know.

How did all this start, and what happened?

On Monday, we revealed that Facebook was misusing an Apple-issued enterprise certificate that is only meant for companies to use to distribute internal, employee-only apps without having to go through the Apple App Store. But the social media giant used that certificate to sign an app that Facebook distributed outside the company, violating Apple’s rules. The app, known simply as “Research,” allowed Facebook unparalleled access to all of the data flowing out of a device. This included access to some of the users’ most sensitive network data. Facebook paid users — including teenagers — $20 per month to install the app. But it wasn’t clear exactly what kind of data was being vacuumed up, or for what reason.

It turns out that the app was a repackaged app that was effectively banned from Apple’s App Store last year for collecting too much data on users. Apple was angry that Facebook was misusing its special-issue enterprise certificates to push an app it already banned, and revoked it — rendering the app unable to open. But Facebook was using that same certificate to sign its other employee-only apps, effectively knocking them offline until Apple re-issued the certificate. Then, it turned out Google was doing almost exactly the same thing with its Screenwise app, and Apple’s ban-hammer fell again.

What’s the controversy over these enterprise certificates and what can they do?

If you want to develop Apple apps, you have to abide by its rules — and Apple expressly makes companies agree to its terms. A key rule is that Apple doesn’t allow app developers to bypass the App Store, where every app is vetted to ensure it’s as secure as it can be. It does, however, grant exceptions for enterprise developers, such as to companies that want to build apps that are only used internally by employees. Facebook and Google in this case signed up to be enterprise developers and agreed to Apple’s developer terms. Each Apple-issued certificate grants companies permission to distribute apps they develop internally — including pre-release versions of the apps they make, for testing purposes. But these certificates aren’t allowed to be used for ordinary consumers, as they have to download apps through the App Store.

What’s a “root” certificate, and why is its access a big deal?

Because Facebook’s Research and Google’s Screenwise apps were distributed outside of Apple’s App Store, it required users to manually install the app — known as sideloading. That requires users to go through a convoluted few steps of downloading the app itself, and opening and trusting either Facebook or Google’s enterprise developer code-signing certificate, which is what allows the app to run. Both companies required users after the app installed to agree to an additional configuration step — known as a VPN configuration profile — allowing all of the data flowing out of that user’s phone to funnel down a special tunnel that directs it all to either Facebook or Google, depending on which app you installed.

This is where the Facebook and Google cases differ.

Google’s app collected data and sent it off to Google for research purposes, but couldn’t access encrypted data — such as the content of any network traffic protected by HTTPS, as most apps in the App Store and internet websites are. Facebook, however, went far further. Its users were asked to go through an additional step to trust an additional type of certificate at the “root” level of the phone.

Trusting this Facebook Research root certificate authority allowed the social media giant to look at all of the encrypted traffic flowing out of the device — essentially what we call a “man-in-the-middle” attack. That allowed Facebook to sift through your messages, your emails and any other bit of data that leaves your phone. Only apps that use certificate pinning — which reject any certificate that isn’t its own — were protected, such as iMessage, Signal and additionally any other end-to-end encrypted solutions.Facebook’s Research app requires Root Certificate access, which Facebook gather almost any piece of data transmitted by youone.Google’s app might not have been able to look at encrypted traffic, but the company still flouted the rules — and had its separate enterprise developer code-signing certificate revoked anyway.

What data did Facebook have access to on iOS?

It’s hard to know for sure, but it definitely had access to more data than Google. Facebook said its app was to help it “understand how people use their mobile devices.” In reality, at root traffic level, Facebook could have accessed any kind of data that left your phone.

Will Strafach, a security expert with whom we spoke for our story, said: “If Facebook makes full use of the level of access they are given by asking users to install the certificate, they will have the ability to continuously collect the following types of data: private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps – including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed.” Remember: this isn’t “root” access to your phone, like jailbreaking, but root access to the network traffic.

How does this compare to the technical ways other market research programs work?

In fairness, these aren’t market research apps unique to Facebook or Google. Several other companies, like Nielsen and comScore, run similar programs, but neither ask users to install a VPN or provide root access to the network. In any case, Facebook already has a lot of your data — as does Google. Even if the companies only wanted to look at your data in aggregate with other people, it can still hone in on who you talk to, when, for how long and, in some cases, what about. It might not have been such an explosive scandal had Facebook not spent the last year cleaning up after several security and privacy breaches.

Can they capture the data of people the phone owner interacts with?

In both cases, yes. In Google’s case, any unencrypted data that involves another person’s data could have been collected. In Facebook’s case, it goes far further — any data of yours that interacts with another person, such as an email or a message, could have been collected by Facebook’s app.

How many people did this affect?

It’s hard to know for sure. Neither Google nor Facebook have said how many users they have. Between them, it’s believed to be in the thousands. As for the employees affected by the app outages, Facebook has more than 35,000 employees and Google has more than 94,000 employees.

Why did internal apps at Facebook and Google break after Apple revoked the certificates?

You might own your Apple device, but Apple still gets to control what goes on it. Apple can’t control Facebook’s root certificates, but it can control the enterprise certificates it issues. After Facebook was caught out, Apple said: “Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data.”

That meant any app that relied on Facebook’s enterprise certificate — including inside the company — would fail to load. That’s not just pre-release builds of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp that staff were working on, but reportedly the company’s travel and collaboration apps were down. In Google’s case, even its catering and lunch menu apps were down. Facebook’s internal apps were down for about a day, while Google’s internal apps were down for a few hours. None of Facebook or Google’s consumer services were affected, however.

How are people viewing Apple in all this?

Nobody seems thrilled with Facebook or Google at the moment, but not many are happy with Apple, either. Even though Apple sells hardware and doesn’t use your data to profile you or serve you ads — like Facebook and Google do — some are uncomfortable with how much power Apple has over the customers — and enterprises — that use its devices. In revoking Facebook and Google’s enterprise certificates and causing downtime, it has a knock-on effect internally.

Is this legal in the U.S.? What about in Europe with GDPR?

Well, it’s not illegal — at least in the U.S. Facebook says it gained consent from its users. The company even said its teenage users must obtain parental consent, even though it was easily skippable and no verification checks were made. It wasn’t even explicitly clear that the children who “consented” really understood how much privacy they were really handing over.

That could lead to major regulatory headaches down the line. “If it turns out that European teens have been participating in the research effort Facebook could face another barrage of complaints under the bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — and the prospect of substantial fines if any local agencies determine it failed to live up to consent and ‘privacy by design’ requirements baked into the bloc’s privacy regime,” wrote TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas.

Who else has been misusing certificates?

Don’t think that Facebook and Google are alone in this. It turns out that a lot of companies might be flouting the rules, too.According to many finding companies on social media, Sonos uses enterprise certificates for its beta program, as does finance app Binance, as well as DoorDash for its fleet of contractors. It’s not known if Apple will also revoke their enterprise certificates.

What next?

It’s anybody’s guess, but don’t expect this situation to die down any time soon. Facebook may face repercussions with Europe, as well as at home. Two U.S. senators, Mark Warner and Richard Blumenthal, have already called for action, accusing Facebook of “wiretapping teens.” The Federal Trade Commission may also investigate, if Blumenthal gets his way.

Article Produced By
Zack Whittaker


Security editor

Zack Whittaker is the security editor at TechCrunch.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/01/facebook-google-scandal/

NEM Foundation Close to Bankruptcy Might Start Layoffs Next Month

NEM Foundation Close to Bankruptcy, Might Start Layoffs Next Month

               

The NEM foundation, a non-profit organization established to support

the ongoing development of the NEM (XEM) blockchain platform, is reportedly planning to layoff many of its staff members. Due to the prolonged crypto bear market, the NEM foundation has been forced to reduce its operational costs and also begin restructuring its organization. Alex Tinsman, the newly appointed president of the NEM foundation, told Coindesk (on January 30th) that the Singapore-based organization will be submitting a funding request to the NEM community fund. The NEM foundation is seeking 160 million XEM tokens (to help it cover operational costs), an amount currently valued at about $6.85 million according to CryptoCompare data. These funds are urgently required as the NEM foundation is reportedly close to filing for bankruptcy.

In an interview this month, Tinsman revealed: 

Basically we realized we had a month to operate, due to the is management of the previous governance council.

Layoffs Could Begin Next Month

NEM foundation’s 202 supporting members, who are required to comply with know-your-customer (KYC) requirements and also pay a yearly $50 membership fee, will be voting on whether to approve the funding request in February. Based on the amount of funding the NEM foundation receives, the organization will announce the number of employees it will be laying off, Tinsman stated. Launched in March 2015, the NEM cryptocurrency network is based on a centralized blockchain model and it’s governance, or platform management, is often compared to Dash (DASH). Notably, XEM tokens were initially distributed to a group of individuals who helped develop the NEM platform.

NEM To Launch "Full-Featured" Blockchain Engine 

According to NEM’s founders, the few people that held XEM started distributing the tokens to NEM’s growing community. Former NEM foundation president, Lon Wong had expressed confidence about NEM’s potential in an interview in February 2018 – when the market capitalization of XEM tokens and other cryptoassets were considerably higher.

At that time, Won had explained that the NEM platform and its native cryptocurrency was primarily developed to facilitate cheap transactions and help businesses conveniently pay routine services fees. NEM’s development team is planning to launch Catapult, the platform’s “full-featured” blockchain engine. The updated version of NEM’s protocol is being developed specifically for enterprise-level use in public and private networks.

Reducing Marketing Activities

Some of the use cases for NEM that are currently being explored are blockchain-based voting. According to Tinsman, the NEM foundation spent approximately 80 million XEM (appr. $34 million at current rates) between December 2017 and January 2019 on marketing services. However, Tinsman said that the foundation has “reduced [its] marketing activities” as “it doesn’t make sense to market a product [Catapult]” that has not yet been introduced.

Notably, a blockchain developer who had been working under NEM’s previous management team, revealed that the foundation’s former president, Wong, had been promoting what the developer thinks are questionable ICO projects, including Ecobit and ProximaX. The developer, who chose to remain anonymous, said: “the community felt this was a breach of faith” (on Wong’s part).

Need For Better Budget Management

He added:

There’s not a whole lot of people working on this platform. Even though it’s easy, the community isn’t really there unless you go to Japan. We need more developer traction on this platform.

In order to better manage NEM’s operations, Tinsman, a former communications executive at the foundation, is planning to cut costs and will be closely supervising the development budget.

She explained:

The community will also be voting on these [funding requests] and which ones we should be moving forward with.

Article Produced By
Omar Faridi

I enjoy writing about all topics related to Bitcoin, Blockchain, and other cryptocurrencies. The topics that interest me most are crypto regulations, quantum resistant blockchains, Ethereum and Bitcoin Core development, and scams orchestrated under the guise of ICOs. My academic background includes an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I also possess a Master of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix.

While completing my coursework, I engaged in independent study programs focused on public-key cryptography and quantum computing. My professional work experience includes working as an application developer for the University of Houston, data storage specialist at Dell EMC, and as Teacher of Mathematics in the United States, China, Kuwait, and Pakistan.

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2019/01/nem-foundation-close-to-bankruptcy-might-start-layoffs-next-month/

XRP Price Jumps 11 After IMF Praises Ripple Says Banks Will Be Cannibalized’

XRP Price Jumps 11% After IMF Praises Ripple, Says Banks Will Be ‘Cannibalized

             

The price of XRP has popped 11%
at time of publishing, according to the crypto price tracker Coin360
.

The price jump follows news that Ripple rival Swift will link to R3’s Corda Settler, which uses a distributed ledger to settle transactions between traditional assets and cryptocurrencies such as XRP. It also comes after a new endorsement of Ripple’s endeavors from International Monetary Fund (IMF) director Christine Lagarde. At the Paris Fintech Festival, Lagarde warned banks that they need to act and adapt to new technologies to better serve their customers.

“I think in the banking system at large in many, many countries, the difference will not be between those who are disrupted and those who survive. The difference will be between those who are cannibalized because they’re not seeing it coming, and they’re not embracing it, and those who self-induce that cannibalization.

And I’m using cannibalization on purpose because it’s a bit of a striking, horrible word. But it’s really what it means. You’re going to disrupt your business model. You’re going to change it. You’re going to reduce your costs. You’re going to expedite your transactions, and you’re going to inspire confidence because you will build out on the basis of an existing backbone, which is your bank and the confidence, relationship you’ve established with your customers.

So that’s where I see changes happening now. If you think of Circle, and Ripple and all those – that’s where they are active and helpful.” This is not the first time Lagarde has made the case for blockchain technology and digital currencies. In November, Largarde said that “cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple are vying for a spot in the cashless world, constantly reinventing themselves in the hope of offering more stable value, and quicker, cheaper settlement.”

Article Produced By
The Daily Hodl

https://dailyhodl.com/2019/01/30/xrp-price-jumps-11-after-imf-praises-ripple-says-banks-will-be-cannibalized/

Google will stop peddling a data collector through Apple’s back door

Google will stop peddling a data collector through Apple’s back door

             

It looks like Facebook was not the only one abusing Apple’s system

for distributing employee-only apps to sidestep the App Store and collect extensive data on users. Google has been running an app called Screenwise Meter, which bears a strong resemblance to the app distributed by Facebook Research that has now been barred by Apple, TechCrunch has learned.

In its app, Google invites users aged 18 and up (or 13 if part of a family group) to download the app by way of a special code and registration process using an Enterprise Certificate. That’s the same type of policy violation that led Apple to shut down Facebook’s similar Research VPN iOS app, which had the knock-on effect of also disabling usage of Facebook’s legitimate employee-only apps — which run on the same Facebook Enterprise Certificate — and making Facebook look very iffy in the process. After we asked Google whether its app violated Apple policy, Google announced it will remove Screenwise Meter from Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program and disable it on iOS devices.

The company said in a statement to TechCrunch:

“The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program — this was a mistake, and we apologize. We have disabled this app on iOS devices. This app is completely voluntary and always has been. We’ve been upfront with users about the way we use their data in this app, we have no access to encrypted data in apps and on devices, and users can opt out of the program at any time.”

Screen(un)wise

First launched in 2012, Screenwise lets users earn gift cards for sideloading an Enterprise Certificate-based VPN app that allows Google to monitor and analyze their traffic and data. Google has rebranded the program as part of the Cross Media Panel and Google Opinion Rewards programs that reward users for installing tracking systems on their mobile phone, PC web browser, router and TV. In fact, Google actually sends participants a special router that it can monitor.

Originally, Screenwise was open to users as young as 13, just like Facebook’s Research app that’s now been shut down on iOS but remains on Android. Now, according to the site’s Panelist Eligibility rules, Google requires the primary users of its Opinion Rewards to be 18 or older, but still allows secondary panelists as young as 13 in the same household to join the program and have their devices tracked, as demonstrated in this video below (which was created in August of last year, underscoring that the program is still active).

Unlike Facebook, Google is much more upfront about how its research data collection programs work, what’s collected and that it’s directly involved. It also gives users the option of “guest mode” for when they don’t want traffic monitored, or someone younger than 13 is using the device. Putting the not-insignificant issues of privacy aside — in short, many people lured by financial rewards may not fully take in what it means to have a company fully monitoring all your screen-based activity — and the implications of what extent tech businesses are willing to go to to amass more data about users to get an edge on competitors, Google Screenwise Meter for iOS appears to violate Apple’s policy.

This states, in essence, that the Enterprise Certificate program for distributing apps without the App Store or Apple’s oversight is only for internal employee-only apps. Google walks users through how to install the Enterprise Certificate and VPN on their phone. Developers seeking to do external testing on iOS are supposed to use the TestFlight system that sees apps reviewed and limits their distribution to 10,000 people.

We’ve yet to hear back from Apple, but Google moving quickly to cancel its iOS Screenwise Meter might save it from further punishment. We’ll see if Apple still invalidates the certifications for all of Google’s legitimate employee-only apps that run using the same certificate the way it did to Facebook. That would throw a wrench into Google’s product development and daily work flow that could be more damaging than just removing one way it gathers competitive intelligence. But rather than taking seven hours to respond as backlash swelled like Facebook, Google managed to get things sorted in a little under three.

Article Produced By
Zack Whittaker

Zack Whittaker
Security editor

Zack Whittaker is the security editor at TechCrunch.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/30/googles-also-peddling-a-data-collector-through-apples-back-door/

Daily Crunch: FaceTime bug allows eavesdropping

Daily Crunch: FaceTime bug allows eavesdropping

             

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup

of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here:

1. Apple disables group calling in FaceTime in response to eavesdropping bug

Apple has disabled the group calling feature within its FaceTime calling service while it works on a patch to fix a nasty bug that allows eavesdropping. Apple’s status page shows that group calling via FaceTime is “temporarily unavailable” — that’s a stop-gap move while the company works to deliver a more permanent fix. We were unable to set up a group call when we tried, having earlier been able to do so and replicate the issue.

2. Huawei ‘disappointed,’ denies charges

The long-simmering battle between the U.S. government and Huawei heated up last night when the U.S. DOJ announced that it is pursuing criminal charges against the Chinese hardware maker. Huawei has, unsurprisingly, denied all wrongdoing.

3. SAP job cuts prove harsh realities of enterprise transformation

While the company tried to put as positive a spin on the announcement as possible, there could be up to 4,000 job cuts as SAP shifts into more modern technologies.

4. Petal raises $30M from Valar to bank the unbanked with credit cards

Petal uses a more holistic and comprehensive underwriting model to determine the creditworthiness of credit card applicants compared to traditional banks that rely predominantly on an applicant’s FICO score. The goal is to focus more on cash flows rather than a static score.

5. Casper announces the Glow — a portable, sleep-friendly light

The Casper team sent me a couple of Glows to try out for myself. The result? I found myself getting sleepier as the light dimmed, and I seemed to pass out more quickly and reliably than normal.

6. Home improvement platform Houzz lays off 180, reportedly gears up for public listing

We’ve confirmed that the company laid off around 110 people in the U.K. and Germany this month, along with an additional 70 in its U.S. home market in Q4 of last year.

7. Screen time inhibits toddler development, study finds

A study has found that kids 2-5 years old who engage in more screen time received worse scores in developmental screening tests. The apparent explanation is simple: when a kid is in front of a screen, they’re not talking, walking or playing, the activities during which basic skills are cultivated.

Article Produced By
Anthony Ha

Senior Writer

Anthony Ha is a senior writer at TechCrunch, where he covers media and advertising and co-hosts the Original Content podcast. Previously, he worked as a tech writer at Adweek, a senior editor at the tech blog VentureBeat, and a local government reporter at the Hollister Free Lance. He attended Stanford University and now lives in Brooklyn.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/29/daily-crunch-facetime-bug-allows-eavesdropping/

It’s time to pay serious attention to TikTok

It’s time to pay serious attention to TikTok

              douyin tiktok musically

If you haven’t been paying attention to TikTok,

you haven’t been paying attention. The short-form video app hailing from Beijing’s ByteDance just had its biggest month ever with the addition of 75 million new users in December — a 275 percent increase from the 20 million it added in December 2017, according a recent report from Sensor Tower. Despite its rapid rise, there are still plenty of people — often, older people — who aren’t quite sure what TikTok is. TikTok is often referred to as a “lip-syncing” app, which makes it sound like it’s some online karaoke experience. But a closer comparison would be Vine, Twitter’s still sorely missed short-form video app whose content lives on as YouTube compilations.

While it’s true that TikTok is home to some standard lip-syncing, it’s actually better known for its act-out memes backed by music and other sound clips, which get endlessly reproduced and remixed among its young users. Its tunes are varied — pop, rap, R&B, electro and DJ tracks serve as backing for its 15-second video clips. But the sounds may also be snagged from YouTube music videos (see: I Baked You A Pie above), SoundCloud or from pop culture — like weird soundbites from Peppa Pig or Riverdale — or just original creations. These memes-as-videos reference things familiar to Gen Z, like gaming culture (see below). They come in the form of standalone videos, reactions, duets, mirrors/clones and more.

The app has been growing steadily since it acquired its U.S.-based rival Musical.ly in November 2017 for north of $800 million, then merged the two apps’ user bases last August. This gave TikTok the means to grow in Western markets, where it has attracted the interest of U.S. celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Tony Hawk, for example, along with YouTubers on the hunt for the next new thing. But unlike Vine (RIP), YouTube or Instagram, TikTok doesn’t yet feel dominated by micro-celebs, though they certainly exist. Instead, its main feed often surfaces everyday users — aka, amateurs — doing something cute, funny or clever, with a tacit acknowledgement that “yes, this is an internet joke” underlying much of the content.

Okay, okay.

But that’s because those of us trying to talk about TikTok are old(er) people who grew up on the big ol’ mean internet. Cringey, frankly, is an unfair label, as it dismisses TikTok’s success in setting a tone for its community. Here, users will often post and share unapologetically wholesome content, and receive less mocking than elsewhere on the web — largely because everyone else on TikTok posts similar “cringey” content, too.

You might not know this, however, if your only exposure to TikTok comes from YouTube’s TikTok Cringe Compilations. But spend a day in the (oddly addictive) TikTok feed, and you’ll find a whole world of video that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the web — including on YouTube. Videos that are weird, sure — but also fun to watch.

It’s a stark comparison to the existing social media platforms.

Users today are engaged in the culture wars on Twitter (ban the Nazis! protect free speech!), while YouTubers are gaming the algorithm with hateful, exploitive, dangerous and otherwise questionable content that freaks out advertisers. And Facebook is, well, contributing to war crimes and the toppling of democracy.

Meanwhile, TikTok often presents an alternative version of online sharing. Simple, goofy, irreverent — and frankly, it’s a much needed reset. For example, some of the popular TikTok memes have included videos of kids proclaiming what a great mom they have, as they drag her into frame, or they remind people to pick up litter and conserve water. They might give themselves silly, but self-affirming makeovers where, afterwards, they cite themselves not as “cute” but rather “drop. dead. gorgeous.”

They might spend hours setting up gummy bears as Adele concert-goers, learning how to do a shuffle dance up a set of stairs or in a dance battle their dad. Or they may showcase some special talent — drawing, painting, gymnastics, dance or skateboarding, perhaps. They do science experiments, make jokes or use special effects for a little video magic. They shout out “hit or miss!” in public places and wait to see who answers. Sometimes it’s dumb, Sometimes it’s clever. But it’s addictive.

Of course, it is still the internet. And TikTok isn’t perfect.

The app has also been the subject of troubling reports about its “dark” side, which is reportedly filled with child predators, devious algorithms, dark patterns, and teens bullying and harassing one another. It’s not clear, however, that TikTok’s affliction with these matters is any worse than any other large, social, public-by-default app of its size.

And unlike some apps, concerned parents — or the users themselves — can set a TikTok account to private, turn off commenting, hide the account from search, disable downloads, disallow reactions and duets and restrict an account from receiving messages. It is concerning, however, that under-13 kids are setting up social media accounts without parental consent. (But, uh, have you seen Fortnite and Roblox? This is what kids do. At least the TikTok main feed isn’t worrisome by default, we’ve found.) The bigger issue, though — and one that could ultimately prove damaging to TikTok — is whether it will be able to keep up with content filtering and takedown requests, or handle its security and privacy protection issues as it scales up.

Content and community aren’t the only things contributing to TikTok’s growth.

While Vine may have introduced the concept of short-form video, TikTok made video editing incredibly simple. You don’t need to be a video expert to put together clips with a range of effects. It’s the Instagram for the mobile video age — in a way that Instagram itself won’t be able to reproduce, having already aligned its community with influencers and advertisers. TikTok’s sizable user base, meanwhile, is due not only to its growth in Western markets, but because of its traction in emerging markets like China and India.

This allowed TikTok to rank No. 4 worldwide across iOS and Android, combined, according to App Annie’s data on the most-downloaded apps of 2018. On iOS, TikTok was the No. 1 most-downloaded app of the year, mainly thanks to China. At times last year, TikTok even ranked higher than Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Both App Annie and Sensor Tower agree that TikTok scored the No. 3 position for most installs among all apps worldwide in 2018.

Now, TikTok is growing in India, says Sensor Tower.

The country accounted for 27 percent of new installs between December 2017 and December 2018, and last month was the source for 32.3 million of TikTok’s 75 million total new downloads — a 25x increase from last year. Some of this growth comes from ad spend, according to a report from Apptopia, which examined the app’s widened use of ad networks. (It’s also driving people bonkers with its YouTube ads, some of which are highly questionable.).

The revenue is starting to arrive, as well.

Worldwide, users spent $6 million tipping their favorite live streamers, a 253 percent year-over-year jump from December 2017’s total of $1.7 million, Sensor Tower estimates. But live streaming is not the default activity on TikTok — it added the feature after shutting down Musical.ly’s live streaming app, Live.ly.

Article Produced By
Sarah Perez

Writer

Sarah currently works as a writer for TechCrunch, after having previously spent over three years at ReadWriteWeb. Prior to her work as a reporter, Sarah worked in I.T. across a number of industries, including banking, retail and software.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/29/its-time-to-pay-serious-attention-to-tiktok/

Facebook pays teens to install VPN that spies on them

Facebook pays teens to install VPN that spies on them

             

Desperate for data on its competitors,

Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user’s phone and web activity, similar to Facebook’s Onavo Protect app that Apple banned in June and that was removed in August. Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access to network traffic in what may be a violation of Apple policy so the social network can decrypt and analyze their phone activity, a TechCrunch investigation confirms.

Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android “Facebook Research” app. Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. The program is administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to cloak Facebook’s involvement, and is referred to in some documentation as “Project Atlas” — a fitting name for Facebook’s effort to map new trends and rivals around the globe.

Seven hours after this story was published, Facebook told TechCrunch it would shut down the iOS version of its Research app in the wake of our report. But on Wednesday morning, an Apple spokesperson confirmed that Facebook violated its policies, and it had blocked Facebook’s Research app on Tuesday before the social network seemingly pulled it voluntarily (without mentioning it was forced to do so). You can read our full report on the development here. An Apple spokesperson provided this statement. “We designed our Enterprise Developer Program solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organization. Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple. Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data.”

Facebook’s Research app requires users to ‘Trust’ it with extensive access to their dataWe asked Guardian Mobile Firewall’s security expert Will Strafach to dig into the Facebook Research app, and he told us that “If Facebook makes full use of the level of access they are given by asking users to install the Certificate, they will have the ability to continuously collect the following types of data: private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps – including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed.” It’s unclear exactly what data Facebook is concerned with, but it gets nearly limitless access to a user’s device once they install the app.

The strategy shows how far Facebook is willing to go and how much it’s willing to pay to protect its dominance — even at the risk of breaking the rules of Apple’s iOS platform on which it depends. Apple may have asked Facebook to discontinue distributing its Research app.

A more stringent punishment would be to revoke Facebook’s permission to offer employee-only apps. The situation could further chill relations between the tech giants. Apple’s Tim Cook has repeatedly criticized Facebook’s data collection practices. Facebook disobeying iOS policies to slurp up more information could become a new talking point. “The fairly technical sounding ‘install our Root Certificate’ step is appalling,” Strafach tells us. “This hands Facebook continuous access to the most sensitive data about you, and most users are going to be unable to reasonably consent to this regardless of any agreement they sign, because there is no good way to articulate just how much power is handed to Facebook when you do this.”

Facebook’s surveillance app

Facebook first got into the data-sniffing business when it acquired Onavo for around $120 million in 2014. The VPN app helped users track and minimize their mobile data plan usage, but also gave Facebook deep analytics about what other apps they were using. Internal documents acquired by Charlie Warzel and Ryan Mac of BuzzFeed News reveal that Facebook was able to leverage Onavo to learn that WhatsApp was sending more than twice as many messages per day as Facebook Messenger. Onavo allowed Facebook to spot WhatsApp’s meteoric rise and justify paying $19 billion to buy the chat startup in 2014. WhatsApp has since tripled its user base, demonstrating the power of Onavo’s foresight.

Over the years since, Onavo clued Facebook in to what apps to copy, features to build and flops to avoid. By 2018, Facebook was promoting the Onavo app in a Protect bookmark of the main Facebook app in hopes of scoring more users to snoop on. Facebook also launched the Onavo Bolt app that let you lock apps behind a passcode or fingerprint while it surveils you, but Facebook shut down the app the day it was discovered following privacy criticism. Onavo’s main app remains available on Google Play and has been installed more than 10 million times.

The backlash heated up after security expert Strafach detailed in March how Onavo Protect was reporting to Facebook when a user’s screen was on or off, and its Wi-Fi and cellular data usage in bytes even when the VPN was turned off. In June, Apple updated its developer policies to ban collecting data about usage of other apps or data that’s not necessary for an app to function. Apple proceeded to inform Facebook in August that Onavo Protect violated those data collection policies and that the social network needed to remove it from the App Store, which it did, Deepa Seetharaman of the WSJ reported. But that didn’t stop Facebook’s data collection.

Project Atlas

TechCrunch recently received a tip that despite Onavo Protect being banished by Apple, Facebook was paying users to sideload a similar VPN app under the Facebook Research moniker from outside of the App Store. We investigated, and learned Facebook was working with three app beta testing services to distribute the Facebook Research app: BetaBound, uTest and Applause. Facebook began distributing the Research VPN app in 2016. It has been referred to as Project Atlas since at least mid-2018, around when backlash to Onavo Protect magnified and Apple instituted its new rules that prohibited Onavo. Previously, a similar program was called Project Kodiak. Facebook didn’t want to stop collecting data on people’s phone usage and so the Research program continued, in disregard for Apple banning Onavo Protect.

Ads (shown below) for the program run by uTest on Instagram and Snapchat sought teens 13-17 years old for a “paid social media research study.” The sign-up page for the Facebook Research program administered by Applause doesn’t mention Facebook, but seeks users “Age: 13-35 (parental consent required for ages 13-17).” If minors try to sign-up, they’re asked to get their parents’ permission with a form that reveal’s Facebook’s involvement and says “There are no known risks associated with the project, however you acknowledge that the inherent nature of the project involves the tracking of personal information via your child’s use of apps. You will be compensated by Applause for your child’s participation.” For kids short on cash, the payments could coerce them to sell their privacy to Facebook.

“By installing the software, you’re giving our client permission to collect data from your phone that will help them understand how you browse the internet, and how you use the features in the apps you’ve installed . . . This means you’re letting our client collect information such as which apps are on your phone, how and when you use them, data about your activities and content within those apps, as well as how other people interact with you or your content within those apps. You are also letting our client collect information about your internet browsing activity (including the websites you visit and data that is exchanged between your device and those websites) and your use of other online services. There are some instances when our client will collect this information even where the app uses encryption, or from within secure browser sessions.”

Meanwhile, the BetaBound sign-up page with a URL ending in “Atlas” explains that “For $20 per month (via e-gift cards), you will install an app on your phone and let it run in the background.” It also offers $20 per friend you refer. That site also doesn’t initially mention Facebook, but the instruction manual for installing Facebook Research reveals the company’s involvement.

Facebook seems to have purposefully avoided TestFlight, Apple’s official beta testing system, which requires apps to be reviewed by Apple and is limited to 10,000 participants. Instead, the instruction manual reveals that users download the app from r.facebook-program.com and are told to install an Enterprise Developer Certificate and VPN and “Trust” Facebook with root access to the data their phone transmits. Apple requires that developers agree to only use this certificate system for distributing internal corporate apps to their own employees. Randomly recruiting testers and paying them a monthly fee appears to violate the spirit of that rule. Once installed, users just had to keep the VPN running and sending data to Facebook to get paid. The Applause-administered program requested that users screenshot their Amazon orders page. This data could potentially help Facebook tie browsing habits and usage of other apps with purchase preferences and behavior. That information could be harnessed to pinpoint ad targeting and understand which types of users buy what.

TechCrunch commissioned Strafach to analyze the Facebook Research app and find out where it was sending data. He confirmed that data is routed to “vpn-sjc1.v.facebook-program.com” that is associated with Onavo’s IP address, and that the facebook-program.com domain is registered to Facebook, according to MarkMonitor. The app can update itself without interacting with the App Store, and is linked to the email address PeopleJourney@fb.com. He also discovered that the Enterprise Certificate first acquired in 2016 indicates Facebook renewed it on June 27th, 2018 — weeks after Apple announced its new rules that prohibited the similar Onavo Protect app.

“It is tricky to know what data Facebook is actually saving (without access to their servers). The only information that is knowable here is what access Facebook is capable of based on the code in the app. And it paints a very worrisome picture,” Strafach explains. “They might respond and claim to only actually retain/save very specific limited data, and that could be true, it really boils down to how much you trust Facebook’s word on it. The most charitable narrative of this situation would be that Facebook did not think too hard about the level of access they were granting to themselves . . . which is a startling level of carelessness in itself if that is the case.”

“Flagrant defiance of Apple’s rules”

In response to TechCrunch’s inquiry, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed it’s running the program to learn how people use their phones and other services. The spokesperson told us “Like many companies, we invite people to participate in research that helps us identify things we can be doing better. Since this research is aimed at helping Facebook understand how people use their mobile devices, we’ve provided extensive information about the type of data we collect and how they can participate. We don’t share this information with others and people can stop participating at any time.”

Facebook’s spokesperson claimed that the Facebook Research app was in line with Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program, but didn’t explain how in the face of evidence to the contrary. They said Facebook first launched its Research app program in 2016. They tried to liken the program to a focus group and said Nielsen and comScore run similar programs, yet neither of those ask people to install a VPN or provide root access to the network. The spokesperson confirmed the Facebook Research program does recruit teens but also other age groups from around the world. They claimed that Onavo and Facebook Research are separate programs, but admitted the same team supports both as an explanation for why their code was so similar.

However, Facebook’s claim that it doesn’t violate Apple’s Enterprise Certificate policy is directly contradicted by the terms of that policy. Those include that developers “Distribute Provisioning Profiles only to Your Employees and only in conjunction with Your Internal Use Applications for the purpose of developing and testing”. The policy also states that “You may not use, distribute or otherwise make Your Internal Use Applications available to Your Customers” unless under direct supervision of employees or on company premises. Given Facebook’s customers are using the Enterprise Certificate-powered app without supervision, it appears Facebook is in violation.

Seven hours after this report was first published, Facebook updated its position and told TechCrunch that it would shut down the iOS Research app. Facebook noted that the Research app was started in 2016 and was therefore not a replacement for Onavo Protect. However, they do share similar code and could be seen as twins running in parallel. A Facebook spokesperson also provided this additional statement:

“Key facts about this market research program are being ignored. Despite early reports, there was nothing ‘secret’ about this; it was literally called the Facebook Research App. It wasn’t ‘spying’ as all of the people who signed up to participate went through a clear on-boarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate. Finally, less than 5 percent of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens. All of them with signed parental consent forms.”

Facebook did not publicly promote the Research VPN itself and used intermediaries that often didn’t disclose Facebook’s involvement until users had begun the signup process. While users were given clear instructions and warnings, the program never stresses nor mentions the full extent of the data Facebook can collect through the VPN. A small fraction of the users paid may have been teens, but we stand by the newsworthiness of its choice not to exclude minors from this data collection initiative.

Facebook disobeying Apple so directly and then pulling the app could hurt their relationship. “The code in this iOS app strongly indicates that it is simply a poorly re-branded build of the banned Onavo app, now using an Enterprise Certificate owned by Facebook in direct violation of Apple’s rules, allowing Facebook to distribute this app without Apple review to as many users as they want,” Strafach tells us. ONV prefixes and mentions of graph.onavo.com, “onavoApp://” and “onavoProtect://” custom URL schemes litter the app. “This is an egregious violation on many fronts, and I hope that Apple will act expeditiously in revoking the signing certificate to render the app inoperable.”

Facebook is particularly interested in what teens do on their phones as the demographic has increasingly abandoned the social network in favor of Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook’s acquisition Instagram. Insights into how popular with teens is Chinese video music app TikTok and meme sharing led Facebook to launch a clone called Lasso and begin developing a meme-browsing feature called LOL, TechCrunch first reported. But Facebook’s desire for data about teens riles critics at a time when the company has been battered in the press. Analysts on tomorrow’s Facebook earnings call should inquire about what other ways the company has to collect competitive intelligence now that it’s ceased to run the Research program on iOS.

Last year when Tim Cook was asked what he’d do in Mark Zuckerberg’s position in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, he said “I wouldn’t be in this situation . . . The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer, if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.” Zuckerberg told Ezra Klein that he felt Cook’s comment was “extremely glib.” Now it’s clear that even after Apple’s warnings and the removal of Onavo Protect, Facebook was still aggressively collecting data on its competitors via Apple’s iOS platform. “I have never seen such open and flagrant defiance of Apple’s rules by an App Store developer,” Strafach concluded. Now that Facebook has ceased the program on iOS and its Android future is uncertain, it may either have to invent new ways to surveil our behavior amidst a climate of privacy scrutiny, or be left in the dark.

Article Produced By
Josh Constine

Editor-At-Large

Josh Constine is a technology journalist who specializes in deep analysis of social products. He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements. Previously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network. Constine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master's degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter. Constine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes.

Josh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He is available to moderate panels and fireside chats, deliver keynotes, and judge hackathon and pitch competitions. Constine has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, The Atlantic, BBC World Magazine, Slate, and more, plus has been featured on television on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, China Central Television, and Fox News. Constine is ranked as the #1 most cited tech journalist on prestigious news aggregator Techmeme.

[Disclosures: Josh Constine temporarily advised a college friend's social location-sharing startup codenamed 'Signal' that was based in San Francisco before dissolving in 2015. This advising role was cleared with AOL and TechCrunch's editors and has concluded. Constine's fiancée Andee Gardiner co-founded startup accelerator Founders Embassy. Constine's cousin Darren Lachtman is the founder of influencer advertising startup Niche that was acquired by Twitter, and he's since left and founded teen content studio Brat. Constine does not write about Founders Embassy or Brat. Constine has personal acquaintances stemming from college housing circa 2007 with founders at Skybox Imaging (now Terra Bella), Hustle, Snapchat, and Robinhood, but does not maintain close social ties with them nor does that influence his writing. Constine occasionally does paid speaking engagements at conferences, but only those funded by companies he does not cover. Constine owns a small position in Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies, does not day-trade, and discloses his positions directly in articles where appropriate. Constine does not do consulting, angel investing, or public stock trading beyond public stock invesments by his parents' estate that he has no role in managing or advising.]

https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/29/facebook-project-at las/