Oops! Twitter Accidentally Used Your Phone Number for Ads

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Twitter admitted yesterday that it “unintentionally” used some email addresses and phone numbers for advertising purposes. These phone numbers were specifically used to keep your account safe with two-factor authentication.

We recently discovered that when you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes (for example, two-factor authentication) this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes, specifically in our Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system.

This is exactly why SMS-based two-factor authentication needs to go away. SMS is inherently insecure, as the FBI recently noted. Funnily enough, I recently removed my phone number from Twitter, although it’s probably too late.

Earbuds Commercial Shot on iPhone 11 Pro Max

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An ad for noise-cancelling earbuds from Koss Heaphones was shot on the iPhone 11 Pro Max by videographer Max Moore.

Recently shot this Koss Headphones Commercial on an iPhone 11 Pro Max using FiLMiC Pro on FiLMiC Extreme 4K 24fps, Zhiyun Smooth 4 3-Axis Gimbal. Edited in FCPX and exported with Apple ProRes 422.

Mr. Moore is known for shooting commercials with iPhones. Last year he created several using the iPhone XS Max. It’s a great way to show off the video capabilities of Apple’s devices. You can check it out here.

Safari 13 Just Killed uBlock Origin and Other Extensions

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Safari 13 deprecates support for legacy extensions. Instead, you now how to download them through the Mac App Store. A GitHub user explained the uBlock Origin situation and recommends adblocking alternatives.

Get a content blocker. Not nearly as powerful as uBO, but the best option if you want to stay with Safari. Do not get the app called “uBlock”, this is unassociated with uBlockOrigin (read about the split here), and is simply a content blocker with a big negative feature of having acceptable ads built in

Google Built Fake Webpages Called 'Push Pages' to Defy GDPR

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As part of Google’s DoubleClick/Authorized Buyers advertising system, the company created hidden webpages for advertisers that violate its own policies.

Google Push Pages are served from a Google domain (https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com) and all have the same name, “cookie_push.html”. Each Push Page is made distinctive by a code of almost two thousand characters, which Google adds at the end to uniquely identify the person that Google is sharing information about. This, combined with other cookies supplied by Google, allows companies to pseudonymously identify the person in circumstances where this would not otherwise be possible.

Google Bans Apple Card From Advertising Platform

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Google doesn’t want customers to use virtual card numbers, and that includes the one Apple Card uses. An anonymous person writes about their experience.

Last week I received my Apple Card and decided to use it on my Google Ads account for another project. Getting a little bit of daily cash back for my meager ad spend was attractive. Within a couple of hours of updating my payment method my account had become suspended for suspicious payment activity.

I’m writing this to warn anyone else that intended to use the card online that you may experience… difficulties. And if you’re planning on using the Apple Card for anything important, think again.

It makes sense, on the premise that tracking companies like Google would oppose private measures like the Apple Card. I assume other virtual cards like Privacy.com would suffer the same fate.

Google Privacy Sandbox Probably Won't Protect Your Privacy

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Advertising company Google wants to build a “Google privacy sandbox” as a way to improve personalized ads while attempting to remove the “personalized” part.

The goal of these proposals is to promote a dialog on ways browsers could advance user privacy, while still ensuring publishers can earn what they need to fund great content and user experiences, and advertisers can deliver relevant ads to the right people and measure their impact.

Or, if you want to support websites with ads while also protecting your privacy, stick to Safari.

Meet America's Phone Farmers That Commit Ad Fraud

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People are setting up multiple phones to create a “phone farm” to fake engagement with ads to earn money from certain apps. Vice spoke to several farmers and built their own setup.

With a marketing strategy called “incentivized traffic,” app developers take advertisements or other content that companies want to get in front of an attentive audience, and pay that audience to watch or interact with them.

Rather than actually watch ads, these phone farmers use as many as a hundred phones and sometimes automate the process to make it seem like someone is watching the ads in order to generate income.

AdGuard 3 Brings DNS Privacy, 250,000 Filter Rules, Premium Features

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AdGuard is a content blocker for iOS that lets people block trackers and ads in Safari. Its AdGuard Pro app eventually got pulled from the App Store because of new VPN rules. AdGuard 3 brings some of those Pro features to the regular app, and some of them are locked behind a premium subscription. But Pro users can get a free 6-month license key. AdGuard 3 fixes a key issue with Safari. Safari’s maximum limit for content blockers is 50,000 rules. AdGuard now works around this by combining five blocks into one, each separately enabled in Settings and each with 50,000 rules. It also supports DNS-over-TLS and DNS-over-HTTPS. You can read more in the blog post. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)

AdGuard 3 Brings DNS Privacy, 250,000 Filter Rules, Premium Features

News+: The App Store Enables Spying, Tracking, and Analytics

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In the latest issue of Fast Company magazine, Mark Wilson writes about the business of spying, advertising, and analytics that the App Store enables.

[Apple] designed a dead-simple interface that, to this day, allows users to sign away contacts, location data, and camera and microphone access with a single tap as they install an app. Apple also created efficient APIs—the software connecting its hardware to outside apps—to provide third-party developers access to sensitive user information. Meanwhile, iPhone apps are not required to encrypt their transmissions. “Apple was well known for usability before it was known for privacy,” says Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.

This is part of Andrew’s News+ series, where he shares a magazine every Friday to help people discover good content in Apple News+.

Eye Tracking is the Holy Grail of Advertising

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Avi Bar-Zeev, who works on AR/VR/MR, says that eye tracking is the holy grail of advertising (And he’s all for it). While I don’t disagree with that point, I do wonder how prevalent it will become. For example, when Face ID first came out, there was a fear that it could be exploited for eye tracking ads. But that isn’t possible because Apple locks down its technology. I expect the same for Apple Glasses.

Bundled into VR headsets or AR glasses, eye-tracking will, in the near-future, enable companies to collect your intimate and unconscious responses to real-world cues and those they design. Those insights can be used entirely for your benefit. But they will also be seen as priceless inputs for ad-driven businesses, which will learn, model, predict and manipulate your behavior far beyond anything we’ve seen to date.

North Face is Really Sorry for Spamming Wikipedia

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North Face as issued an apology over its manipulating campaign to spam Wikipedia pages and game Google search results.

We believe deeply in @Wikipedia’s mission and apologize for engaging in activity inconsistent with those principles. Effective immediately, we have ended the campaign and moving forward, we’ll commit to ensuring that our teams and vendors are better trained on the site policies.

If the idiots didn’t openly brag about it, they probably could’ve gotten away with it, at least for a while longer.