Facebook Launches New Surveillance Devices For Your Home

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Today Facebook launched Portal video chatting devices that definitely won’t be used to spy on you and your loved ones. They will let Facebook users watch television together over a video call. Andrew Bosworth, VP of AR/VR at Facebook, said:

I think that in a couple years’ time, if you have a smart streaming device that doesn’t have a camera allowing you to video call people, you’re not going to have a competitive product. I think this is the killer feature for a device like this.

Bosworth also touted privacy protections like local processing of smart features on the devices, which means most user data will not be sent back to Facebook servers.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Podcast App Pocket Casts Moves to a Subscription

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Popular podcast app Pocket Casts is now free with an optional US$0.99/month or US$10/year subscription. The previous price was a one-time fee of US$3.99. Pocket Casts CEO Owen Grover told TechCrunch: “We understood pretty clearly that we were limiting our reach and limiting the number of users that could enjoy the quality and power of the app and the platform. It felt penny wise and pound foolish to continue to collect a few dollars at the top … We have the benefit of these owners who are supporting us in a way that allows us to grow our audience, habituate new listeners and deliver a pretty terrific user experience.” App Store: Pocket Casts – Free

Fortnite Adds Party Hub and Split View on iPad

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Fortnite added a Party Hub and split view support for iPad in a recent update. The Party Hub tells you which friends are online for voice chat, according to Cult of Mac. Split View support means you can have another up running along side the game on compatible iPads.

The Party Hub is the first thing you’ll see when you load up Fortnite on an Android or iOS device (after installing the latest update). And it shows you instantly which of your friends is online. You can then voice chat with any of those friends — even if they’re in a game and you’re not. You can also start a party to voice chat with multiple friends before jumping into a match together. Party Hub works across platforms, so you can chat to friends who play on console and PC. And you can quickly transfer your party from your smartphone or tablet to another device.

 

Life is Tough. So is The iPhone 11 Pro.

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In a new ad, which I spotted on UK TV earlier today, Apple shows off how resilient the iPhone 11 Pro is.  It shows the device being subjected to all sorts of things, including a wedding cake, and surviving. Naturally, it’s all done in typical Apple style.

Amazon Has a Mole in the California State Assembly

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Perhaps using the word “mole” is hyperbole. But it’s deeply concerning that California Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin is actively trying to kill California’s privacy act that would impede companies like Amazon Ring, when her husband is the COO for Ring.

Like other companies that collect vast amounts of consumer data, Ring — and its parent company, Amazon — has a financial stake in the details of California’s groundbreaking data-privacy law. Industry groups, including those representing Amazon, have been scrambling to change the law before it takes effect Jan. 1.

“We can talk about this later,”Jacqui Irwin said, side-stepping questions about a potential conflict outside her office last week. “It’s a little bit offensive there.”

Steam Gets Long-Awaited Library Overhaul

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Steam’s library view got an upgrade in the latest public Beta. Eurogramer looked at what’s new.

Once you’ve opted in to the beta (which merely requires selecting the appropriate drop-down option from Steam’s settings menu), the first thing you’ll likely notice is your new library’s aesthetic overhaul. That immediately comes into play on the new library landing page, which offers a snapshot of recently played titles, as well as recent activity for select games in your collection – seemingly pulled from developer-created news posts. There’s also an overview of recent friend activity, and the ability to display games organised into user-created collections. Steam’s library update (which, incidentally, isn’t reflected across its Big Picture mode at present) also brings with it new-look pages for individual games. Select a title in your library at random, and you’ll be presented with a broad selection of information pertaining to that game, now organised in a manner which doesn’t appear to have tumbled out of the 90s.

Why The iPhone 11 Pro Has 3 Cameras

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Just what are the two cameras on the iPhone 11 doing? What’s different about the three cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro? TechCrunch explains.

On the back of the iPhone 11 Pro can be found three cameras. Why? Because the more light you collect, the better your picture can be. And we pretty much reached the limit of what one camera can do a little while back. Two, three, even a dozen cameras can be put to work creating a single photo — the only limitation is the code that makes them work.

Your X-Ray Images and Medical Data Are Available on the Internet

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ProPublica investigation revealed that medical images and health data are often stored in insecure servers that are easily accessible to anyone with a bit of computer knowledge.

We identified 187 servers — computers that are used to store and retrieve medical data — in the U.S. that were unprotected by passwords or basic security precautions. The computer systems, from Florida to California, are used in doctors’ offices, medical-imaging centers and mobile X-ray services.

All told, medical data from more than 16 million scans worldwide was available online, including names, birthdates and, in some cases, Social Security numbers.

The United States Sues Edward Snowden Over Book

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Edward Snowden recently published a book called Permanent Record. The United States filed a civil lawsuit against him and his publisher, saying that he violated nondisclosure agreements because he didn’t submit the book to the CIA and NSA for pre-publication review.

The United States’ lawsuit does not seek to stop or restrict the publication or distribution of Permanent Record. Rather, under well-established Supreme Court precedent, Snepp v. United States, the government seeks to recover all proceeds earned by Snowden because of his failure to submit his publication for pre-publication review in violation of his alleged contractual and fiduciary obligations.