24 – Facebook 10 year Challenge Problems and Meng Wanzhou update – Tech Time Podcast


Facebook’s 10 Year Challenge is Just a Harmless Meme – Right?

  • Recommended by Simon Légaré from Quebec City.
  • Kate O’Neill on Wired Tweeted, “Me 10 years ago: probably would have played along with the profile picture aging meme going around on Facebook and Instagram.  Me now: ponders how all this data could be mined to train facial recognition”. Tweet gained notice.
  • Counterpoint – People already have access to your face from profile pictures (aren’t private and time stamped).
  • Point – If you were doing a study, you could mine the information looking for timestamps (not always taken near the date posted, sometimes profile pictures are not even human) or you could just ask people to do it for you.
  • “Thanks to this meme there’s now a very large dataset of carefully curated photos of people from roughly 10 years ago and now”.
  • Facebook denies being behind the 10 year challenge.  It is, “a user-generated meme that went viral on its own”.
  • The big question, How has our data been used?
    • Cambridge Analytica – 70 m facebook users.
  • Facial recognition (Apple & some Android “will be more”).  How can it be used?
    • Good – Help with finding missing children.
    • Mundane – Targeted Advertising (age, ethnicity, gender guessing).
      • Coupled with other metadata (Location, purchase history, political responses) creepy.  Remember Minority Report?
    • Bad? – Insurance assessments, health care.
  • Amazon introduced real-time facial recognition services to law enforcement, government agencies.
    • Privacy issues.  Not only track people with records, could track others (protesters).  
    • American Civil Liberties Union asked Amazon to stop and so did many shareholders.
  • “The broader message… humans are the richest data sources for most of the technology emerging in the world… our data is the fuel that makes businesses smarter and more profitable”.

Update on Huawei, Meng Wanzhou’s arrest & Canada China Relationship.

  • Background
    • Meng Wanzhou CFO of Huawei was arrested in BC in December at the request of the United States for violating sanctions against Iran.
    • China responded by arresting two Canadians (one a former diplomat working for a non profit group looking at Human Rights violations in China) for “security reasons”.
    • China also quickly retried a Canadian sentenced to 15 years in jail for drug trafficking.  He now has been sentenced to death.
  • This week:
    • Chineses Diplomat threatens Canada for going to allies for support.
      • Hua Chunying – Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman:
        • Canada’s allies can be counted on 10 fingers.
          • What if they are the largest economies in the world?
          • EU has 28 countries alone.
        • Personal attacks on Justin Trudeau, “Laughing Stock, irresponsible”  Only Canadians can say that about our PM!
    • China Threatens if Canada bans Huawei from 5G
      • Lu Shaye China’s Ambassador to Canada warned of “repercussions” if Canada banned Huawei.
      • Accuses Canada of White Supremacy.
    • 140 former diplomats, scholars and Scientists send open letter to President Xi (shi)  Jinping. Calling China’s actions “extremely concerning”
    • Jan 30th deadline for the US to submit extradition paperwork.
    • This morning, “Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said,
      • “Both Canada and the US are abusing the extradition system”.  
      • “Canada has made a grave mistake”.
      • “China will respond to US actions” (if the US files extradition papers)..
  • Canadians are not impressed. Highest rated comments from Canadian readers on CBCs new articles.
    • I wanted to give Huawei the benefit of the doubt that they are not beholden to the Chinese government, but along comes China threatening repercussions if Ottawa bans Huawei.  China just made clear its relation with Huawei. Time to look for another company to deliver 5G.
    • Just a few days ago the Chinese were telling Canada to mind their own business and not tell them how to run their country and now they are threatening us to use Huawei or else? Wow, just wow.
    • Given all that’s happened over the last few months, the probability that I will ever buy anything with a Huawei sticker on it is exactly 0.0.

iPhone SE back in stores.  Discounted for a short time.

  • iPhone 5 body, very small
  • iPhone 6S internals, A9 Chip, 2 gb Ram, camera 12 mp.
  • SE = Special Edition.
  • $349 for the 32 GB (sale for $249); $449 128 GB (sale for $299).
  • Wow! An affordable iPhone.  Is it worth it?
  • Can this save Apple from going the way of Blackberry and Palm?

A Large Number of Top Free VPN Apps Either Have Chinese Ownership or Are Based in China

  • After big names like Whatsapp, Snapchat, and Facebook, VPNs are the most searched-for applications in the world. “VPN” is the second-highest non-branded search term behind “games”, and free apps completely dominate the search results.
  • The most popular applications have amassed hundreds of millions of installs between them worldwide, yet there seems to be very little attention paid to the companies behind them, and very little scrutiny done on behalf of the marketplaces hosting them.
  • We investigated the top free VPN apps in the App Store and Google Play Store. We found that very few of these hugely popular apps do anywhere near enough to deserve the trust of those looking to protect their privacy online. We recorded the top 20 free apps in the search results for “VPN” in the App and Play Store for UK and US locales. In total, these applications have been downloaded 80 million times from Google and 4 million times each month from Apple. Our investigation discovered that over half of the top free VPN apps either have Chinese ownership or are actually based in China,
  • which has aggressively clamped down on VPN services in recent years and maintains an iron grip on the internet within its borders.
  • Furthermore, we found the majority of these apps have insufficient formal privacy protections and non-existent user support.

China Drove 40% of Mobile App Spending and Nearly Half of All Downloads in 2018

  • China may be slowing iPhone sales worldwide, but Chinese people are driving Apple’s App Store business.
  • China accounted for nearly 50 percent of all app downloads in 2018, pushing the global downloads count to reach a record 194 billion, according to research firm App Annie. China, which is the world’s largest smartphone market, also accounted for nearly 40 percent of worldwide consumer spend in apps in 2018, App Annie said in its yearly “State of Mobile” report.
  • (Note: Google Play Store is not available in China.) Global consumer spend in apps reached $101 billion last year, up 75 percent since 2016. And 74 percent of all money spent on apps last year came from games. The battle between Silicon Valley companies and Chinese tech giants generated more than half of total consumer spend in the top 300 parent companies in 2018, the report said.
  • The top company for global consumer spend was China’s Tencent, which owns stake in several startups, companies, and games — including last year’s sleeper hits PUBG and Fortnite.

Tesla Increased Supercharging Prices to the Point that Gas might be cheaper and then rolled them back (just a little)  

  • Yesterday Tesla increased their supercharging rates by 33%.  This could have cost some Tesla drivers $35 to fully charge their vehicles.
  • After listening to customer feedback, they have rolled back the rate increase by 10% (23% net increase).  
    • $0.23 per kWh to $0.31 and down to $0.28.
    • Stations are now allowed to set their own price depending on the local cost of electricity.
  • Buying a Tesla was never a way to save money (hello affordable model 3, still waiting…) but at least we could say we are saving at the pump…

Galaxy S10 Leaks!

  • Evan Blass has posted yet another S10 Leak on twitter.
  • Picture of a case maker with three of the S10 versions (Galaxy S10E, 6.1”, 6.4”)
    • Shows Infinity O screens (6.4” has dual front facing cameras).
    • Shows the triple cameras on the back (6.1” and 6.4”), dual cameras on the S10E.
    • The two bigger phones (6.1” & 6.4”) have curved screens like the S8 & S9.  The E has a flat screen.
    • No fingerprint sensor on the back for any phone.
      • In-screen assumed.
      • S10E shows a power button on the right side.
    • All 3 have a headphone jack on the bottom.
  • Ice Universe posted what looks like the first real life image of the S10+ 6.4”
  • Ice Universe found a 25 second teaser from Samsung.
    • All three versions are expected to get a 500 mAh increase from the S9 to max 4,000 mAh (same as Note 9).
    • Super charing increased from 15W to 22.5W.
  • Italian Blog Tutto Android claims to have the specs of the S10 in Italy.
    • S10 lite. 6GB RAM, 128GB storage $885 USD.
    • S10. 1) 6GB RAM, 128GB storage $1,056 USD. 2) 8GB RAM, 512GB storage $1,340 USD.
    • S10+.  Same Specs as the S10 (1,192 USD) and goes all the way to 12GB RAM, 1TB storage $1,819 USD.
    • How much RAM does your laptop have????
  • Feb 20th is the official unveiling in San Francisco.

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