Archive for April 11, 2018

So Zuckerberg’s Testimony Is Over… Here’s What Happened

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 11, 2018 by itnerd

Day two of Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to Washington to answer questions in front of Congress is done. First of all, it turns out that Zuckerberg needed a booster seat when he testified yesterday:

For the record, Zuckerberg is 5′ 7″. The booster seat was not present today.

Now back to the real issues. Zuckerberg got is butt kicked by Congress because I predicted earlier today, they’re far more tech savvy than the senate. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Zuckerberg told Congress that yes, it would roll out GDPR-style protections globally. Sort of. We’ll see in May if that happens.
  • When Facebook got into trouble in 2011, they cut a deal with the FTC. As part of that deal, Facebook is required to identify and address emerging threats to user privacy. Many in Congress feel that the deal has been violated.
  • Zuckerberg was under pressure to answer questions about  how it tracks people around the web and why. He didn’t do a great job of answering them.
  • Zuckerberg admitted that own profile was part of the Cambridge Analytica data leak. That’s stunning.
  • More members of Congress are pressing Facebook to offer additional privacy protections to minors. Zuckerberg would not commit to that. #Fail
  • Zuckerberg got grilled about drug sales on Facebook despite that being against the Facebook terms of service. He claimed that Facebook will do a better job of cracking down on this.
  • Legislation is definitely on the table. Largely because they don’t trust Facebook.

So, how did Zuckerberg do? I think he faced a far tougher test today. He stuck to his script, some of which leaked:

Total #EpicFail. Zuckerberg can’t secure his own notes. How can he possibly secure our data?

In any case, I don’t think he did nearly as well despite sticking to his notes, as his testimony was awkward at times. While I didn’t think he hurt Facebook. But he didn’t help his cause by how he performed today. I don’t think he did enough to stop bad things from happening to Facebook. What those bad things are, I have no idea.

Oh yeah, I think that Zuckerberg’s trip to Washington won’t stop people from joining team #DeleteFacebook either.

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Guest Post: NordVPN Talks About Russia Desire To Block Telegram

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 11, 2018 by itnerd

The Russian government is continuing its efforts to block the freedom of speech. Its current target is the Telegram messaging app, which has over 200 million users in total and is very popular in Russia. Legal proceedings have been started to block the messaging app in Russia since Telegram had refused to hand over its encryption keys.

Russia has been putting pressure on various international communications and social media companies to remove certain posts or to host their data inside Russia. Some companies gave in, while others refused to cooperate.

For example, earlier this year, Russia demanded that Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – remove posts from opposition leader Alexander Navalny. Instagram caved in. Youtube, owned by Google, refused to do the same and kept Navalny’s videos. Twitter agreed to store user data inside Russia, while Facebook rejected this demand.

“Russia will probably not stop – it will most likely target each company and website they’re interested in, to hand over user information or simply block them. The demand of the Russian government for the encryption keys of Telegram also shows its lack of understanding of how the technology works – besides being a violation of privacy and freedom of speech,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “The whole purpose of encrypted messaging apps is to keep the communications private.”

While the Russian FSB security agency claims it will use private conversations to fight terrorism, disclosing such messages could put many people, including journalists, bloggers and opposition leaders, in danger.

If Russia goes ahead with the intentions to ban Telegram, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will have to block the domains and IP addresses used by Telegram.

“When someone blocks a certain website or IP address, the block can be bypassed by using a VPN,” said Marty P. Kamden. “A user can choose to connect to a VPN server in any country where that website is accessible, and easily bypass the restrictions. Also, all the information that passes between their computer and the VPN server will be encrypted and private. When Telegram was banned during Iran protests in 2017, many people turned to VPNs to keep using it for private messaging.”

Zuckerberg’s Testimony In Front Of Congress Yields Some Interesting Tidbits

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 11, 2018 by itnerd

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has one more day to go in front of Congress in terms of explaining what happened with Facebook and their inability to secure user data. But having watched his testimony from start to finish yesterday,  I walk away with a handful key takeaways.

First, Zuckerberg took some shots. Some really good ones in fact. Take this one about Facebook’s user agreement:

That’s a good sound bite for the folks back home who are watching this on TV. Though perhaps some Senators could have been better prepared as evidenced by this:

Surely Senator Hatch had a millennial in his office who could have explained how Facebook worked? I guess not.

Another takeaway, Zuckerberg said “I don’t know” or “I’ll get back to you” frequently when asked questions about how Facebook tracks users. It’s almost as if he couldn’t or wouldn’t answer those questions. Either that, or he was trying to invent a new drinking game. As in every time he said “I don’t know” or “I’ll get back to you” you take a drink. And though they kind of pushed, Senators let him off the hook. That was a mistake as I feel that they could have really held his feet to the fire on that front. But instead, I think he’ll escape to live another day.

What really raised eyebrows was this statement Zuckerberg said “there will always be a version of Facebook that is free” and “we don’t offer an option today for people to pay to not show ads.” Which implies that a paid version of Facebook might be in the works. Given the events of the last few weeks, that might be coming sooner rather than later.

Another eyebrow raising moment came in comments made by the Senators that some sort of legislation is on the way to stop this from happening in the future. Now Zuckerberg did say he isn’t opposed to legislation as long as it’s the “right” legislation. But he didn’t explain what that looks like. And again, nobody called him on it.

Finally, Facebook is working with Robert Muller who is investigating Russian election meddling among other things. Though Zuckerberg kind of bungled the answer to that question when he was asked about it leaving yous truly wondering if he truly knew what was going on in his own company. It also highlights that public speaking isn’t his strength. But we knew that going in.

Here’s the bottom line. Mark Zuckerberg survived day one of the public flogging known as a congressional hearing. He did okay. Better than I expected in fact. But I think the real test comes today Facing congressmen rather than Senators. The average age of Congressmen is lower, which means they’re more likely to be tech savvy. Thus today’s session might be more interesting to watch. And you should tune in if you can as it may be must see TV.