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Google is now letting its user's password protect the Web & App Activity page. It contains the histories of the web search with the Google Maps usage. A password can now prevent the activity of a user from having easy access by other people who are using the same device.

Google lets its user's password to protect their search history

The Web & App Activity page contains a lot of private data. Moreover, to the activity in the Search and Maps, track all your YouTube watch history. Also, it tracks the Google Play Usage, Google Assistant queries, and many more.

This data is usually helpful for those users who look back while trying to retrace how they found something. But the reason behind why Google tracks it is to serve the search results and ads with personalized suggestions.

Also, for the first time, users can prevent their data from getting the view from those people who should not see it. Previously those who wanted to see someone’s search history had to pick up their device and type activity.google.com from the address bar.

With this new verification option, users can easily set a password that will need to be entered before anyone views the Web & App Activity page. First, they have to log into your Google account. Then they can navigate to your activity.google.com. After that, one has to click on Manage My Activity verification. Then they have to click on the Require Extra Verification and Save. The next one has to enter the users password to confirm the identity.

As you have successfully protected your activity page, you will be able to see a Verify button in a historic place. Clicking on that button will take you to a screen. There you have to enter your account password. It will then take you to the activity page, where your fill history is visible. Google is also offering multiple ways to manage your activity history. From the top of the page, there is a row of buttons to toggle the data collection off and on.

[Source: This article was published in flipweb.org By Ishita Paul - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]
Categorized in Search Techniques

These services help you safeguard your identity, finances, and personal data

En español | As consumer fraud has surged in both quantity and variety, so have products and services to help protect you from scams. Some are free and come from government agencies, nonprofits, or large corporations; others are from entrepreneurs with unique and often high-tech protections that you'll pay for. How to sort them out? We reviewed lots of services and devices, then talked to anti-fraud experts and former law enforcement officials. Their advice: Focus on specific needs.

9 Online Tools That Help You Stay Safe From Fraud

1. Take a financial vulnerability survey

The Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology has developed an online financial vulnerability survey, at OlderAdultNestEgg.com, to help older Americans evaluate decision-making. Through its SAFE program, the service also offers one-on-one coaching to help users catch fraud or identify theft.

2. Review a broker's history on Brokercheck by FINRA

FINRA, the independent, non-governmental regulator of securities firms doing business in the United States, has a free online tool, BrokerCheck.finra.org, that lets you review broker history as well as find complaints and disciplinary actions against brokers. And remember: Always hang up on a cold-calling broker. Legitimate ones don't work that way.

3. Protect your packages with Informed Delivery

A free service from the U.S. Postal Service, InformedDelivery.usps.com emails images of your mail before it arrives. It also allows users to track and manage package delivery to keep purchases safe from thieves.

4. Sign up for identity theft protection services

A number of companies promise to keep your identity safe for a fee. Plans from NortonLifeLock offer identity theft protection to AARP members at a discount of at least 20 percent. EverSafe.com and IDShield.com are among the companies that patrol the dark web, searching for illicit use of your Social Security number, false changes of address and other misused personal information while also monitoring your bank accounts and credit cards to ensure they haven't been compromised. You can compare basic fees on each company's website.

5. Stop phone scammers with call blocking software

Start by signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry at DoNotCall.gov. Next, call your carrier and ask what call-blocking services it provides; more are adding free call-screening options in response to the epidemic of fraudulent phone calls. If you want fuller protection for your smartphone, consider services like RoboKiller.com or Truecaller.com.

6. Verify a person's profile photo with a reverse image search

To lure victims, online dating scammers often use stolen photos. Before you respond to a connection request, drop that profile photo into a reverse image search tool that will show you where else the image appears on the internet — which can help expose crooks. Image search services include images.Google.com, TinEye.com, and Yandex.com.

7. Keep a loved one safe from fraud

Persuade the person to sign up for a service that constantly reviews all their financial accounts for unusual transactions and then sends alerts to you and others if they occur. GuideChange.com and EverSafe.com promise to put older Americans’ finances under a microscope and root out fraud. Their computers constantly monitor how money is spent, searching for red flags. These services can offer peace of mind — at a price. Check websites for fees.

8. Confirm a caregiver's background before hiring

While anyone can find information about a person online, many companies will do a professional job for a fee. They provide detailed information on criminal records, civil court filings, and credit scores. And services like Goodhire.com, Checkr.com, and IntelliCorp.net will provide monthly updates for additional peace of mind. Services and fees are listed on the companies’ websites.

9. Secure sensitive emails with decryption

Email services like ProtonMail.com, Tutanota.com, and Mailfence.com encrypt your incoming emails so no one can read them without going through a highly secure login and decrypting process. Compare prices on their websites.

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network can help you spot and avoid scams. Sign up for free Watchdog Alerts, review our scam-tracking map, or call our toll-free fraud helpline at 877-908-3360 if you or a loved one suspect you’ve been a victim.

Joe Eaton is a writer, professor, and former investigative reporter for the Center for Public Integrity.

[Source: This article was published in aarp.org By Joe Eaton - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]
Categorized in Internet Privacy

Ever since the internet's inception in the '80s, there have been many game-changing developments and innovations. Among these, some of the most exciting changes have been the existence of various web spheres. One of these has been particularly controversial, and it is the dark web.

What the Dark Web Actually is And Why People Use it

Various web spheres exist, including the deep web, dark web, and clear web. Here are some ways in which these three differ from each other.

The clear web, also known as the surface, normal or open web, is the internet that you usually use on a day-to-day basis. These are websites that have been made available to the general public and are indexed by search engines. You can also access them using regular browsers, for example, Chrome.

In contrast to the open web, the deep web is not available to the general public, nor is it indexed by search engines. However, unlike the dark web, deep web pages exist to keep various things operational. You can access the deep web using standard browsers. Examples of entities that use the deep web include banks, hotels, and libraries.

Thirdly, you have the dark web. It is inaccessible via regular browsers, and it is not available on sites that are indexed by search engines. To access the dark web, you will require software that is compatible with the Tor network.

The dark web uses complex systems to turn user IP addresses anonymous. That makes it extremely difficult for your online activity to be tracked or traced back to a particular address. 

Tor stands for The Onion Router, and millions of people use it each day to access the dark web. It works by wrapping itself around your message, thus forming layers of encryption to achieve anonymity. Subsequently, searches and messages don't directly arrive at the destination you intended, keeping your identity anonymous.

You could choose to use the dark web to gain access to services and pages that you cannot access using your standard browsers.

Another reason for using the dark web is to maintain anonymity, and there are many reasons you might wish to keep your online identity private. One of them may be because you want to exercise your right to free speech, and your government doesn't allow it. Political censorships and media gag orders are among the reasons why people seek to use the dark web.

Lastly, the dark web could be used for illegal dealings such as peddling prescription drugs, prohibited drugs such as cocaine, and toxic chemicals. Criminals also use the dark web to sell illegal arms and weapons.

Much like the other web spheres using the dark web can be dangerous. For instance, when checking your bank statements and email online, your information could be intercepted and sold to fraudsters online. Your passwords could be cracked when you connect to public Wi-Fi and decide to access the deep web.

Five ways to protect yourself when using the dark web

1. Use a Virtual Private Network

If you want to have maximum online protection when using the dark web, you need to use a Virtual Private Network. According to ExpressVPN's guide to what is a VPN, it is a network that helps in protecting your data and keeping your online information confidential. When you are using the Tor browser, it is still possible to track your online traffic. As long as the other party has enough time on their hands, sufficient resources, and the right skills, they can easily trace your online activity back to you.

They can even leak your IP address if they want, which can be very damaging. By having your VPN working in the background while still using your Tor browser, these problems are avoidable. As your VPN encrypts your traffic, it also keeps your IP address safely hidden from government surveillance and hackers even when there is a leak in your Tor network.

2. Beware of malware

Malicious software is found in the three web spheres, including the dark web. An excellent way to ensure your safety while browsing online is to install your malware program as well as your antivirus.

You should also continuously renew the two as hackers rely on your forgetfulness. Overlooking your malware and antivirus will allow the hackers to exploit this vulnerability. Once they back up your computer system on the dark web, all your services and apps will be open to attacks.

3. Use a dedicated browser

You need to have a dedicated browser if you intend to use the dark web. Using a dedicated browser is much like using the standard browser, but the difference is that it indexes websites existing on the dark web. While using your browser, the best way to remain safe is to divulge the least possible information about yourself.

Refrain from random searches while online and avoid giving personal information even when the website requires it. When you notice suspicious links, please do not click on them. These measures will ensure that there are very few traces of your presence on the online web.

4. Stay anonymous

Ensure that you keep your private information private at all times. You can never be too careful. Taking the relevant precautions before and after you open your Tor browser will make you less vulnerable to hackers. Before you go into the dark web, close all your non-essential apps, for example, your password managers.

Also, stop unnecessary services on your device from running and cover your webcam using a piece of tape or paper. It is prevalent for hackers to access users' webcams without the individuals even noticing. Remember also to turn off your location, as it can be used to obtain your IP address.

5. Familiarize yourself with the governing laws

Accessing the dark web is not categorized as illegal in most states. However, having possession of certain items and being part of specific actions is. Different states have different laws governing dark web activity, and you should be familiar with state and federal laws governing dark web activity. Familiarizing yourself with the law will allow you to avoid activities that are branded as illegal.

The internet is a great resource and offers solutions to various problems and queries. Like everything else, the internet comes with some issues you can easily avoid and shield yourself from. Having the above knowledge will help you to browse the internet safely.

[Source: This article was published in techzone360.com By Spin Feed - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]
Categorized in Deep Web

Cyberattacks are performed by malicious actors with various intentions, though the tools and methods they use are often the same

  • A cyberattack is an assault on any computer or network, almost always launched from another computer or network.
  • There are a lot of ways malicious actors can launch a cyberattack, including malware, zero-day exploits, and denial-of-service attacks.
  • Here's a brief overview of cyberattacks and what you need to know about their risk.

We live in an age in which every major government, military organization, corporation, and medical institution relies on computer technology for nearly every aspect of its operation, and those systems are always at risk of being attacked.

A cyberattack is just that: an assault on a computer, computer network, or the data stored within that network. The intent of the attack can vary - some attacks are intended to disable the computer system while others intend to gain control over it. Still, others intend to infiltrate the system to steal or destroy data. While cyberattacks are often aimed at organizations, individuals are not immune from cyberattacks either.

It's important to understand that cyberattacks can be launched by any kind of malicious actor, including criminals whose primary goal is monetary gain, state actors trying to gain leverage through intelligence gathering, corporate espionage or other spycraft, and terrorists attempting to damage, destroy, or gain access to computer systems. The tools and methods used by all these malicious actors may be largely the same.

Types of cyberattacks

There are a number of common kinds of cyberattacks. They include:

  • Malware: This is a general term that describes all manner of malicious software including viruses, Trojans, worms, and more. Depending on the software, it might be able to steal data, block access to the PC, remotely control it, and more.
  • Ransomware: Sometimes considered a kind of malware, ransomware is worth also discussing on its own because of how serious the risk has become. A ransomware infection can encrypt a computer and hold the data for ransom; its frequency has ballooned in recent years.
  • Zero-day exploits: This refers to any attack that leverages a known security flaw in a computer system after the problem is discovered but before a security patch can be deployed to fix it.
  • Phishing: In a phishing attack, a malicious email or text message can impersonate a legitimate message, luring users to accidentally give up sensitive information or login credentials for computer systems.
  • Man-in-the-middle (MITM): This is an attack in which a malicious user manages to take control of a node between a user and a destination on the network or internet. For example, a MITM attack might use a compromised Wi-Fi hotspot to masquerade as a site that users need to log into, allowing the MITM to harvest critical information.
  • Denial-of-service (DoS): In a denial of service attack, a malicious user overwhelms a computer system with traffic or data requests so it can't perform any legitimate activities. This is often in the form of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, in which a large number of computers are used for the attack, often remotely controlled by malware without the actual owner's knowledge.
  • SQL injection: Many computer networks rely on Structured Query Language (SQL) databases for internal storage and operation. An SQL injection attack occurs when an attacker inserts SQL commands into the computer (such as via a form on a webpage). If the network's security isn't robust enough, it might allow that SQL instruction to be processed, which can compromise the network.

How to prevent a cyberattack?

There is an entire industry focused on preventing cyberattacks, staffed with IT and cybersecurity professionals.

To prevent attacks, teams of cybersecurity personnel typically develop detailed protection plans that include operational security procedures designed to protect physical systems and the data stored within those networks. This includes data access procedures, identity and credential verification, user training and education, and more.

IT professionals also install and manage anti-malware software and train users to recognize and deal with spam, phishing attacks, and malware that slips through the filters and protective software. Organizations also invest in firewalls along with other security tools and processes.

[Source: This article was published in businessinsider.in By Dave Johnson - Uploaded by the Association Member: Martin Grossner]
Categorized in Internet Privacy

In the technology world, one of the major talking points centers on the challenges regarding consumer data privacy. There is no coherent approach, however, and many people have strong, and differing, opinions about privacy.
The consumer privacy debate pervades most things businesses and consumers do (even if many consumers are unaware). Taking 2021, this is seen with Apple's new strong stance on data privacy and how it’s impacting advertising, with the California Consumer Protection Act, and how Internet cookies are being phased out, people.

Many people remain unclear as to what they can do to ensure their data stays private. To gain some tips on what can be considered, Digital Journal caught up with Don Vaughn, Invisibly’s Head of Product.

Vaughn provides Digital Journal readers with the following suggestions for consumers that want to keep their data private.

Get a virtual private network (VPN)

A virtual private network provides a strong degree of privacy, anonymity, and security for people by creating a private network connection. Vaughn recommends: "People and companies can spy on what websites you’re visiting, where you are located, and your computer’s identification number. You can stop them by using a virtual private network) which protects your information and makes it look like you’re browsing using a computer somewhere else. "

Use a private search engine

Vaughn points out: "Google makes money by tracking you, collecting as much information as possible on you, and then sells your attention using adverts based on that." Instead a private search engine and be used, and Vaughn recommends using DuckDuckGo."
With such systems, there is very little risk that your searches will be leaked to anyone because most private search engines do not track any information that can link a user to their search terms.

Tune-up your privacy settings

Looking at this often neglected area, Vaughn proposes: "We leave a data trail about us every time we use social media. Most companies let us choose what should or should not be shared and others even let us choose what data should be deleted." To counter this, it is important that users manage their privacy settings for each social media site they use.

Have a Backup ”Public” Email or Unsubscribe From Unwanted Emails

Vaughn's communications tip runs: "When you provide your email address to a company, many times you end up being bombarded with marketing emails and spam. While many services offer an opt-out checkbox for marketing emails, it's easy to forget to do this every time we enter our email online." It is important to unsubscribe from these services.
Expanding upon this, Vaughn notes: "If you use a bulk unsubscribe email service, make sure you are using a safe service. Some free services could collect and sell your data. If you are willing to pay for such a service, as an example, Clean Email is safe and does not sell their user’s data."
Check Permissions
Vaughn's final tip goes: "Most apps and browser extensions have a list of permissions that you sign off on when you start using that service. Sometimes, permissions are required for a service to work. By double-checking the permissions an app has access to, you could be stopping an app from accessing certain data it doesn’t have to access."

[Source: This article was published in digitaljournal.com By Tim Sandle - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff]  

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Most web browsers access your geographic location via your IP address to serve local search results. Your browser may also have permission to use your device’s built-in camera and microphone. It’s certainly convenient, but it’s a huge security risk.

Here is a list of browser security settings you need to check now.

Browser cookies, extensions, and software bugs can slow your internet connection speeds to a crawl. Use these proven tricks to speed up Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

A browser is your gateway to the web and the cybercriminals looking to take advantage of you. If you’re ready to make a move to a more privacy-focused browser or see if yours makes my list, keep reading.

Best overall browser for privacy: Brave

If you’re fed up with trackers, ads, and data-hungry bits of code that follow you across the internet, Brave is the browser for you. Brave’s servers don’t see or store your browsing data, so it stays private until you delete it. That means your info is never packaged up and sold to advertisers.

The browser’s default settings block harmful junk like malware, phishing, and malicious advertising and plug-ins that could harm your computer.

Advertising and trackers are blocked by default. Because of all it stops, Brave says it is three times faster than Chrome overall and loads major sites up to six times faster than its competitors. 

Brave is free to use, but you can turn on Brave Rewards to give back to the sites you visit most.  Once enabled,  "privacy-respecting" ads will show to support the content you see. Your browsing history remains private.

What about user experience? It runs on the Chromium source code, which powers Google Chrome, so it will likely feel familiar.

Download Brave for free here. It’s also available as an app on Apple and Android devices.

Best browser for customizable privacy: Firefox

Mozilla’s Firefox bills itself as a fast browser that “doesn’t sell you out.” Detecting a theme here? Firefox collects very little data, and you don’t even need to give your email address to download it.

It also blocks trackers by default, so you don't have any settings to change.

The customization features make Firefox stand out. You can use global protection levels, such as "Strict" or "Standard" or go the custom route. You can choose precisely which trackers and scripts Firefox blocks to get the experience you want.

When it comes to privacy, it’s got many bells and whistles: a built-in password manager, breached website alerts, Private Browsing mode, and secure form autofill.

Firefox is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux, and smartphones to make it easy to sync across all your devices. Take Firefox for a test drive on your computer by clicking here. Or click to download it for Apple or Android.

Best browser for maximum security: Tor

If you’re super security-focused, you probably already use a virtual private network or VPN. Want even more anonymity? Turn to Tor. This name started as an acronym for "The Onion Router," and it's popular among computer-savvy circles.

Tor runs your connection through multiple servers across the globe before you reach your destination. Your data is encrypted between each “node,” adding layers of protection – hence the onion logo.

Tor has been used for illegal activity online, but the software itself is perfectly legal and shouldn’t pose any problems. It’s often the route into the Dark Web.

Tor runs on a modified version of the Firefox browser. You can download Tor here.

Best browser for privacy on Mac: Safari

Many people use the browser that came with their computer as a matter of convenience. If you've got a Mac, this is a good thing. Safari blocks cross-site tracking that lets you enjoy the sites you use most without worrying about being followed.

Safari uses Google as its default search browser, which blocks malicious websites and protects you from malware and phishing scams. It blocks pop-ups, too.

Safari’s built-in password manager (Keychain) lets you know if a site you saved was involved in a data breach and helps you change your password. Download Safari here, directly from Apple.

Alternative option: Microsoft Edge

Microsoft said so long to Internet Explorer, and the new Edge is a robust browser with lots of built-in privacy features. It, too, runs on Chromium and feels a lot like Google Chrome.

Edge offers protection from trackers and blocks ad providers from monitoring your activity and learning more about you.

Choose the level of restriction you prefer from three settings, and you can decide which sites to block or not on a case-by-case basis. Want to know what Edge is blocking for a particular site? Click the lock icon to the left of the URL, then click Trackers for a list.

Edge’s built-in Password Monitor will alert you if you visit a compromised website and prompt you to change your password to a stronger one. You can make your own or use a suggested password.

[Source: This article was published in usatoday.com By Kim Komando - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila] 
Categorized in Search Engine

By now, you’re probably familiar with common advice surrounding online passwords. Don’t use a sequence of numbers. Don’t use your name. Don’t reuse the same password for all of your accounts.

And yet, despite the stress on such tips by experts year after year, most people ignore them.

Some 81% of hacking-related data breaches stem from poor password security, according to Verizon’s 2017 data breach investigations report. And with the rise of remote work and learning in the wake of the pandemic, it’s a bad habit that needs to be squashed. That starts by knowing what not to do.

ID Agent, a dark web monitoring company owned by IT software company Kaseya, says it identified the most common stolen passwords found on the dark web in 2020 based on a scan of nearly 3 million passwords.

What’s the dark web, you ask? The dark web is a part of the deep web, an area of the internet that doesn’t get indexed and cannot be found by a search engine.

“The dark web can only be accessed through a specific browser that provides anonymity to its users,” said Mike Puglia, chief strategy officer for Kaseya. “Though not all content on the dark web is malicious, cybercriminals use the dark web for various illegal purposes, including the sale of stolen credentials.”

20 Most Common Passwords Found On The Dark Web

Based on the top 250 passwords they discovered on the dark web, ID Agent said the most common categories used to generate those passwords include sequential strings of numbers, names, sports references, famous people or characters, and more.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans use a person’s name or birthday in their passwords, while 33% include a pet’s name and 22% use their own name, the company said. The average user also reused their bad password 14 times.

Here’s a look at the top 20 passwords found on the dark web in 2020:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. 12341234
  5. 1asdasdasdasd
  6. Qwerty123
  7. Password1
  8. 123456789
  9. Qwerty1
  10. :12345678secret
  11. Abc123
  12. 111111
  13. stratfor
  14. lemonfish
  15. sunshine
  16. 123123123
  17. 1234567890
  18. Password123
  19. 123123
  20. 1234567

The analysis also identified the most common words used within various categories of passwords. For instance, it found that “maggie” was the most common name among the top 250 passwords on the dark web. Sports lovers like to include the word “baseball” most often in their passwords. “Newyork” was found the most often among cities that were used, and “cookie” was the most common food word.

How To Avoid Having Your Password Hacked

Worried your password is too similar to some of those mentioned above? In order to protect yourself against identity theft, data breaches, and other fraud, it’s crucial to create passwords that can’t be guessed by cybercriminals. Here are a few ways to do that.

Don’t use names.

It might seem a bit obvious, but putting your name ― or the name of a close family member ― in your password makes it much easier for hackers to guess. In fact, at least 92 of the top 250 most common passwords found by ID agents were first names or variations of first names. Instead, come up with a nonsensical phrase that only you would know.

Mix up your numbers.

Notice how many of the top passwords found on the dark web were some variation of “123?” Thirty-five of the top 250 most common passwords, including 12 of the top 20, contained sequential numbers. Don’t make it that easy for hackers. “Individuals should create passwords that include a combination of numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters that are non-sequential,” Puglia said.

Create a unique password for every account.

If you reuse the same password for every account, you make it that much easier for criminals to hit the jackpot if they figure out what it is. According to Puglia, about 39% of people say most of their passwords across both their work and home applications are identical. If you can’t think of that many unique passwords, password generators can help with that. Google Chrome has the function built in, or you can try tools such as passwordgenerators.net or LastPass.

Use a password manager.

Puglia said that the average U.S. adult has between 90 and 135 different applications that require a set of credentials. Clearly, no one could memorize that many. “The best way to keep track of numerous passwords is to use a secure password manager,” he said. These tools prevent you from storing passwords on your phone or tablet, a common habit that makes it easier for cybercriminals to get their hands on your credentials. Some options include LastPass, Keeper Security, or 1Password.

[Source: This article was published in huffpost.com By Casey Bond - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]

Categorized in Deep Web

This may form part of the social media guidelines currently underway by the IT Ministry and could be out soon.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok may have to scramble for developing an account identity-verification option to check "fake news, malicious content, misinformation, racial slurs, gender abuse that may have an impact on the individual and society as a whole." This may form part of the social media guidelines currently underway by the IT Ministry and could be out soon. "The work is in progress, we have sent it to the Law Ministry for vetting," said a source.

The IT Ministry is learned to have finalized the social media guidelines to check misinformation, malicious info, and gender-biased views and have sent them to the Law Ministry for vetting it where account holder verification could be made mandatory.

The new draft personal data protection Bill has proposed social media intermediaries to enable "voluntary verification" of user accounts. The method for this, as suggested in the bill, is that these verified users should be given a demonstrable and visible mark of verification which is akin to biometric or physical identification which is publicly visible to all users.

If this is implemented, then this verification system would be different from the existing verified accounts category on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.

The security check user account verification will be developed by the social media company.

Another major change that may come up is in the definition of the "significant data fiduciary" based on the volume of personal data they possess because there is a feeling that big or small, any incorrect or fake information through even a small social media platform has the potential to multiply the fake news irrespective of the volume of personal data it holds.

Therefore, there may be another layer included for those social media companies who don't have volumes of personal data, but they can affect the democratic nature of the country.

Under Section 26 of the 2019 Bill, certain thresholds in terms of volume of personal data processed, the sensitivity of personal data processed, risk of harm, etc are specified, upon satisfaction of which, the Data Protection Authority may notify a data fiduciary as a "significant data fiduciary" (social media companies).

This provision in the data privacy Bill is only applicable to "significant" social media platforms. The significant status of a company is determined by the Central government on the basis of the number of users and the potential impact that these companies can have on Indian democracy and the country's security and general harmony. But this may change, said sources.

A social media intermediary has been defined as a body that primarily or solely enables online interaction between two or more users and allows them to create, upload, share, disseminate, modify or access information using its services.

Earlier, there was a proposal to link social media accounts with Aadhaar to trail the real source of fake news, but the nodal agency for UIDAI shot down the proposal, saying Aadhaar is meant for the distribution of government welfare benefits not catching culprits which is a policing job.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad later said there is no proposal to link social media accounts of individuals to Aadhaar.

With the rise in fake news and hate speeches online, the need for verification of social media accounts has been felt for a while. This became even more pronounced following a series of lynching incidents over religious issues. Earlier this year, Facebook reported taking down 2.19 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of 2019, a significant hike from 1.2 bn accounts in Q4 of 2018.

[Source: This article was published in gadgets.ndtv.com  - Uploaded by the Association Member: James Gill]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

The process of getting your social media accounts verified is mysterious and extremely desirable. For those who don’t know, social media verification is when your account handle has a blue check next to it. You will see A-list celebrities, athletes, musicians, successful brands, and top social media personalities with the blue verified account checks. Simply put, the blue check signifies massive credibility and digital fame.

What most people don’t understand is what it actually takes to qualify and receive the blue check. A few months ago, my TikTok account and personal Instagram account were verified. Here is how it happened. 

Four years ago, I created a liquor brand with my two best friends. The marketing and branding plan was to create an exciting and engaging social media presence. We saw that the liquor industry was largely boring and run by traditional executives who did not understand social media or modern-day digital marketing. While we were building the brand, I became a social media expert and developed a deep understanding of what it would take to become successful. I also took content creation to the next level with unique-point-of-view videos using GoPros. Instead of traditional industry content, we leveraged people and an exciting lifestyle to position the brand. The success of the brand earned me frequent news interviews, a newspaper column, and many interviews in major publications.

During the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, I became frustrated with the ever-increasing pay-to-play growth and engagement models of most social media platforms. So, I decided to get serious about TikTok. It seemed to be the only platform where huge organic growth was still possible. This paid off big. My video style was working for the audience, and I began growing quickly. My account has gone from 2,000 followers to almost 100,000 followers. A few videos early on had over 10,000 views, then 50,000 views, 100,000 views, and 500,000 views — and now, many have over 1,000,000 views. 

During a flight when I was flying a privately owned fighter jet trainer, I passed out from the massive G-forces. This video immediately went viral. It had over 3 million views within a few weeks. I decided to license the video, and it really exploded immediately after that. The Daily Mail featured the video, and then many other news sources and social media accounts followed suit. Currently, the video has over 50 million total views across all digital platforms. The Daily Mail article headline directly referenced my TikTok account and that the video had 3 million views. One week later, I opened up my TikTok, and there it was: the blue check.

After my TikTok account was verified, I opened my Instagram app, took a picture of my driver's license, and submitted it directly to Instagram for verification. Within a few hours, there it was: the blue check.

So what does it take to get your social media accounts verified? The answer is generally to be an A-list celebrity or be a leader in your industry who gains massive press and extremely viral content. If you don’t have the above, there is no third-party service I know of that can help you get a blue check. Do not fall for the rampant verification scam services out there. 

If you want to get your social media accounts verified, start off by identifying your unique skill sets and expertise. Next, work hard to become a leader in your field of expertise. Start sharing this expertise and provide value to those around you. Share your ideas on social media and work to get published in small publications. Then, small publications can become large publications.

Next, leverage your skill sets and share them in creative ways on social media. This will take time but can pay off in huge dividends. I never wanted to start a TikTok account, but I learned this was the only place I could quickly grow a massive audience. Spend time mastering social media and staying ahead of the trends. This even includes moving on to new platforms when they launch.

Now, go work on taking your content to the next level, earning major press, and getting your social media accounts verified.

[Source: This article was published in forbes.com By Alex Kowtun - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen] 
Categorized in Investigative Research

The largest-ever study of facial-recognition data shows how much the rise of deep learning has fueled a loss of privacy.

In 1964, mathematician and computer scientist Woodrow Bledsoe first attempted the task of matching suspects’ faces to mugshots. He measured out the distances between different facial features in printed photographs and fed them into a computer program. His rudimentary successes would set off decades of research into teaching machines to recognize human faces.

Now a new study shows just how much this enterprise has eroded our privacy. It hasn’t just fueled an increasingly powerful tool of surveillance. The latest generation of deep-learning-based facial recognition has completely disrupted our norms of consent.

Deborah Raji, a fellow at nonprofit Mozilla, and Genevieve Fried, who advises members of the US Congress on algorithmic accountability, examined over 130 facial-recognition data sets compiled over 43 years. They found that researchers, driven by the exploding data requirements of deep learning, gradually abandoned asking for people’s consent. This has led more and more of people’s personal photos to be incorporated into systems of surveillance without their knowledge.

It has also led to far messier data sets: they may unintentionally include photos of minors, use racist and sexist labels, or have inconsistent quality and lighting. The trend could help explain the growing number of cases in which facial-recognition systems have failed with troubling consequences, such as the false arrests of two Black men in the Detroit area last year.

People were extremely cautious about collecting, documenting, and verifying face data in the early days, says Raji. “Now we don’t care anymore. All of that has been abandoned,” she says. “You just can’t keep track of a million faces. After a certain point, you can’t even pretend that you have control.”

A history of facial-recognition data

The researchers identified four major eras of facial recognition, each driven by an increasing desire to improve the technology. The first phase, which ran until the 1990s, was largely characterized by manually intensive and computationally slow methods.

But then, spurred by the realization that facial recognition could track and identify individuals more effectively than fingerprints, the US Department of Defense pumped $6.5 million into creating the first large-scale face data set. Over 15 photography sessions in three years, the project captured 14,126 images of 1,199 individuals. The Face Recognition Technology (FERET) database was released in 1996.

The four eras of facial recognition

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The following decade saw an uptick in academic and commercial facial-recognition research, and many more data sets were created. The vast majority were sourced through photoshoots like FERET’s and had full participant consent. Many also included meticulous metadata, Raji says, such as the age and ethnicity of subjects, or illumination information. But these early systems struggled in real-world settings, which drove researchers to seek larger and more diverse data sets.

In 2007, the release of the Labeled Faces in the Wild (LFW) data set opened the floodgates to data collection through a web search. Researchers began downloading images directly from Google, Flickr, and Yahoo without concern for consent. LFW also relaxed standards around the inclusion of minors, using photos found with search terms like “baby,” “juvenile,” and “teen” to increase diversity. This process made it possible to create significantly larger data sets in a short time, but facial recognition still faced many of the same challenges as before. This pushed researchers to seek yet more methods and data to overcome the technology’s poor performance.

Then, in 2014, Facebook used its user photos to train a deep-learning model called DeepFace. While the company never released the data set, the system’s superhuman performance elevated deep learning to the de facto method for analyzing faces. This is when manual verification and labeling became nearly impossible as data sets grew to tens of millions of photos, says Raji. It’s also when really strange phenomena start appearing, like auto-generated labels that include offensive terminology.

The way the data sets were used began to change around this time, too. Instead of trying to match individuals, new models began focusing more on classification. “Instead of saying, ‘Is this a photo of Karen? Yes or no,’ it turned into ‘Let’s predict Karen’s internal personality or her ethnicity,’ and boxing people into these categories,” Raji says.

Amba Kak, the global policy director at AI Now, who did not participate in the research, says the paper offers a stark picture of how the biometrics industry has evolved. Deep learning may have rescued the technology from some of its struggles, but “that technological advance also has come at a cost,” she says. “It’s thrown up all these issues that we now are quite familiar with: consent, extraction, IP issues, privacy.”

Harm that begets harm

Raji says her investigation into the data has made her gravely concerned about deep-learning-based facial recognition.

“It’s so much more dangerous,” she says. “The data requirement forces you to collect incredibly sensitive information about, at minimum, tens of thousands of people. It forces you to violate their privacy. That in itself is a basis of harm. And then we’re hoarding all this information that you can’t control to build something that likely will function in ways you can’t even predict. That’s really the nature of where we’re at.”

She hopes the paper will provoke researchers to reflect on the trade-off between the performance gains derived from deep learning and the loss of consent, meticulous data verification, and thorough documentation. “Was it worth abandoning all of these practices in order to do deep learning?” she says.

She urges those who want to continue building facial recognition to consider developing different techniques: “For us to really try to use this tool without hurting people will require re-envisioning everything we know about it.”

[Source: This article was published in technologyreview.com By Karen Haoarchive - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]
Categorized in Internet Privacy
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