Archive for June 4, 2021

Trump Ban From Facebook To Last 2 Years Says Facebook

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 4, 2021 by itnerd

It seems that Facebook is going to keep former President Donald Trump off of their platforms for 2 years. That’s all the way through January 2023 which means that assuming that he stays out of jail, and he behaves himself, he’ll be able to get back onto Facebook in time to take another run at being president:

We are today announcing new enforcement protocols to be applied in exceptional cases such as this, and we are confirming the time-bound penalty consistent with those protocols which we are applying to Mr. Trump’s accounts. Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols. We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year.

At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded. We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.

When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.

In what seems to be a related announcement, a new strike system has been announced. That way users can know what actions will be taken depending on the policies that have been violated. I am going to go out on a limb and say Trump is going to be subject to this system.

Facebook’s full responses are available here. It’s worth reading as it seems detailed. But it really doesn’t change my mind about Facebook.

TikTok Will Now Collect “Faceprints And Voiceprints”….. WTF?

Posted in Commentary on June 4, 2021 by itnerd

TechCrunch is reporting that a change in TikTok’s privacy policy for US users that is sure to raise concerns from your house to the White House:

A change to TikTok’s U.S. privacy policy on Wednesday introduced a new section that says the social video app “may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information” from its users’ content. This includes things like “faceprints and voiceprints,” the policy explained. Reached for comment, TikTok could not confirm what product developments necessitated the addition of biometric data to its list of disclosures about the information it automatically collects from users, but said it would ask for consent in the case such data collection practices began.

The biometric data collection details were introduced in the newly added section, “Image and Audio Information,” found under the heading of “Information we collect automatically” in the policy.

This is the part of TikTok’s Privacy Policy that lists the types of data the app gathers from users, which was already fairly extensive.

Then there’s this part:

We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints, from your User Content. Where required by law, we will seek any required permissions from you prior to any such collection.

The company wasn’t able to provide any further information to TechCrunch. Which is interesting to me. The US-specific nature of that change may reflect states introducing privacy laws for biometric data, that still doesn’t tell us why or how TikTok intends to collect it.

Keep in mind that TikTok is owned by ByteDance which is a Chinese company which has a very sketchy reputation. Thus these changes need to be taken with a fair amount of suspicion.

Facebook To End Special Treatment for Politicians….. But You Should Still #DeleteFacebook

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2021 by itnerd

A report claims that Facebook plans to end its controversial policy that shields politicians from the content moderation rules that apply to other users, a sharp reversal that could have global ramifications for how elected officials use the social network:

The change, which Facebook is set to announce as soon as Friday, comes after the Oversight Board — an independent group funded by Facebook to review its thorniest content rulings — affirmed its decision to suspend former President Donald Trump but critiqued the special treatment it gives politicians, stating that the “same rules should apply to all users.” The board gave Facebook till June 5th to respond to its policy recommendations.

Mark Zuckerberg is notorious for not wanting to do anything in terms of policing free speech on the Facebook platform. So if this actually happens, this would be one hell of a reversal. But I don’t expect it to happen. Which means that you should still #DeleteFacebook as that platform isn’t worth being part of.

Remember Those M1 Mac Swap Issues? It MIGHT Have Been Fixed In macOS Big Sur 11.4

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2021 by itnerd

A while ago, the Internet lit up with news that Apple’s super fast M1 based Macs had serious swap issues. This issue meant that the operating system was writing to the SSD at a rate that the life of said SSD would be dramatically shortened. Which of course is bad seeing as these SSD’s are not replaceable. Well, this was clearly an Apple issue as this was mitigated in macOS Big Sur 11.4 as confirmed by Hector Martin who is a well known developer in the Apple community:

Now I saw this in May, but I waited until now to report on it because I wanted confirmation that the issue is fully addressed. From what I can tell, the Jury is still out on this one. This MacRumors post illustrates that for this person, the issue is fixed. However, this Reddit post says that the issue is not fixed. That suggests to me that in certain use cases, this might have been fixed. Which means that this is still a concern for anyone with an M1 based Mac. Or anyone who wants one. My advice would be to install macOS 11.4 and see if it addresses this issue for you. If you could even take a moment to leave a comment with your results, I’d really appreciate it.

This is one of these times where Apple would really help the situation by being way more transparent about this issue as it appears to be their problem to fix. But I guess that I expect too much from Apple as they are not that sort of company, and are never going to be.

America To Give Ransomware Attacks Similar Priority As Terrorism

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 4, 2021 by itnerd

The U.S. Department of Justice is elevating investigations of ransomware attacks to a similar priority as terrorism in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hack and mounting damage caused by cyber criminals, a senior department official told Reuters:

Internal guidance sent on Thursday to U.S. attorney’s offices across the country said information about ransomware investigations in the field should be centrally coordinated with a recently created task force in Washington. “It’s a specialized process to ensure we track all ransomware cases regardless of where it may be referred in this country, so you can make the connections between actors and work your way up to disrupt the whole chain,” said John Carlin, acting deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.

Last month, a cyber criminal group that the U.S. authorities said operates from Russia, penetrated a pipeline operator on the U.S. East Coast, locking its systems and demanding a ransom. The hack caused a shutdown lasting several days, led to a spike in gas prices, panic buying and localized fuel shortages in the southeast. Colonial Pipeline decided to pay the hackers who invaded their systems nearly $5 million to regain access, the company said.

The problem is that this won’t help as a lot of these threat actors are based in countries where the US can’t get them and toss them into jail. Here’s what will actually help:

  1. Business systems should be running ONLY applications needed to do the job, and no others.
  2. Business systems networks should be isolated from operations networks. Air Gapped as needed.
  3. Systems that need access in or out should be properly firewalled, including blocking entire countries or regions as needed.

The fact is that good IT is expensive. Bad IT is costly. We are in a place where bad IT is the norm. On top of that, it is perceived that it is much easier to have bad IT and pay the BITCOIN when they get pwned. But it isn’t cheaper. And that needs to change. When it does, this problem will get mitigated.