#111 Apex Legends Is Coming To Mobile

EA is excited to reveal that Apex Legends is coming to mobile! They are hoping to have a release date soon. While you’re reading, don’t forget to donate to our Kickstarter today and get some exclusive merch!

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#109 Fortnite’s Unvaulting Countdown At Loot Lake

After unlocking the mysteries of the 5 runes, the countdown has begun over Loot Lake. What is stored in these vaults that will be released? Here’s what we know so far… Don’t forget to donate to our Kickstarter today and get some exclusive merch!

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#96 BioWare Looks To Coverup The Anthem Meltdown

An interesting article came out from Kotaku today that reported on some pretty major upheavals and setbacks in the development for Anthem, then BioWare had to reply with a boilerplate PR stunt and the internet went nuts!

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Apple Has Been Blocking Updates of Telegram Even Outside Russia

That is, according to Telegram’s Chief Executive and Founder Pavel Durov.

(Image Credit: CCN)

Pavel Durov, Telegram’s CEO and founder took to Twitter and Telegram (of course) to voice his complaints against Apple. According to him, the latter has prevented the app from updating globally ever since Russia banned the service.

He explains:

“Russia banned Telegram on its territory in April because we refused to provide decryption keys for all our users’ communications to Russia’s security agencies.”

“Unfortunately, Apple didn’t side with us… Apple is restricting updates for all Telegram users around the world since mid-April.”

He also adds that without the updates, the app will not be able to work properly with the latest iOS. Additionally, the company was unable to fully comply with the new European data privacy law because of this.

General counsel of non-profit digital rights group Access Now Peter Micek shares his views: “App updates are essential to bolster the security of users and their data, and to comply with privacy laws and regulation.”

“The burden falls squarely on Apple to justify blocking global updates to Telegram, a hugely popular messaging app,” he adds.

 

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Disappearing Email and Security Nets in the Gmail Early Adopter Program

Google, one of the Top 10 in Reuter Thomson’s Global Technology Leaders of 2018 is innovative and as expected, answered the call for better control over security issues post-Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. But is the much-hyped disappearing email really new? To be honest, this feature which some quarters hailed as millennial makeover is interesting but not original. Apart from being around in Outlook, Snapchat and Android for years, disappearing email was something that was possible in Google itself circa 2012. Google did a Houdini here since this DIY version is no longer possible with a past revamp of the “tool” in Google Docs. Currently, the script in “tools” is abbreviated and is not as easily changed as in the following video:

Currently, Gmail has around 1.4 Billion users and some of them could be enjoying the benefits of confidential mail if we are to believe Google’s announcement last April 25. This option prevents recipients from copying, forwarding, and downloading mail that has been sent – something that will eventually be circumvented by the unscrupulous but a welcome change nonetheless. It gives you leverage over how long you want the message to remain in the recipient’s Inbox before disappearing into thin air or becoming inaccessible. In addition, passwords (SMS and non-SMS)  can be enabled for individual mail.

The implications are alarming as it could be a two-way sword. If you are at the receiving end, there would be no proof to show and information can’t be readily referenced. A question of ethics arises because when mail is sent, who owns it – the sender or the receiver? At present, the confidential mode does not yet acknowledge this shared ownership, but in the future, can we expect Gmail to inform recipients that the message will disappear and ask their consent?

Google just gave Gmail a huge makeover — here is what’s new from CNBC.

The new Gmail also comes with two-factor authentication and better phishing safeguards. A most useful feature is the “Task Integration” feature which enables smoother workflow and better productivity (all to-dos in one place); something extremely utilitarian especially for business or enterprise clients who tend to use other apps like Trello, Asana or Basecamp for better project management.

Don’t get too excited about taking it for a spin as it’s not yet available for everyone. Google does promise a global rollout soon but Administrators of G-Suite for businesses or schools can already opt-in and activate the changes from the Admin Console.

“Instead of getting a notification every time a new email hits your inbox, you can now tell your Gmail app to ping you only for the most important 3 percent of your incoming messages.” — CNBC

The new Gmail is a boon for consumers worried about the sanctity of data and how their private information is being used. It will also work smarter, giving you the option to prioritize emails – plus getting Smart Replies on your desktop. On May 8, there will be a Google’s I/O developer conference  (as the heels of F8) so we can expect more interesting revelations. Though the changes are belated, the new Gmail has cool options worth trying out.

How Facebook Ads Target You (And How You Can Target Others)

Facebook’s ad targeting is almost infinitely customisable that you can tailor an ad to a specific user out of billions.

With all that’s been going on with Facebook and Google regarding data breaches and privacy, people are now aware of ads more than ever.

So lets’s take a look at the ways Facebook utilises user data for ads and how brands use it for Facebook ads targeting. And we’re not talking about just specifying locations and age groups or gender. Its more like targeting a single dad who goes bowling on Sundays and whose eldest daughter loves Kpop and is having her birthday next week. That kind of targeting.

If you own a business and want more exposure, this could also be helpful for you.

1. Monitoring User’s Facebook Activity

There’s a lot to be covered with your activity on the social media website. And it’s not just the pages you like, the places you’ve checked in or your age that advertisers look at. What your friends do on Facebook also affects the ads that you see. Controversially, even someone’s ethnicity can be classified and targetted. Late last year however, the social media giant temporarily blocked advertisers’ ability to target audiences (by exclusion) based on ethnic affinity, religious or LGBT affinity.

2. User Activities Outside Facebook

Businesses can choose “Custom Audiences” when creating ads, including those who have already bought stuff from them or visited their sites. Those who have downloaded their apps and registered their email address are also included. For example, if you’ve put in your email address when you shopped for clothes on website ABC, there’s a high chance you will see an ad about a sale from website ABC on Facebook too. That’s because Facebook would have a copy of your email based on the advertiser’s targeting.

3. Dynamic Ads

Last but not the least are dynamic ads. These are the most annoying ones for me in my opinion. Like when you’re browsing Amazon for bags and suddenly you’ll be seeing an ad from Amazon for that exact bag on other websites you browse. Dynamic Ads takes it one step further by knowing if you’ve actually bought the item or not. If you haven’t, chances are, you’ll see a discount coupon ad for that bag to help convince you to get it.

All these are pretty clever, but also quite scary. Don’t you think?

 

 

 

Facebook Amidst Privacy Crisis: Delete or Not?

Facebook may be facing its biggest challenge yet as the Cambridge Analytica data scandal continues to cast a spell of doubt over the site’s security despite public reassurance from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. As in the recent fake news epidemic, Facebook claims to take all steps necessary to protect the public but the big fish aren’t biting. Already, there seems to be an exodus of big companies (who like Tesla deleted their Facebook page) after it was revealed that the personal data of around 50 million Facebook users were collected without their knowledge or consent. Although the general public is more forgiving, it’s perplexing how this could be an “innocent mistake” from a tech giant in a world where the option for two-factor authentication has become prevalent. Surprisingly even WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, whose company was bought for a whopping $19B by Facebook tweeted about supporting the #deletefacebook movement!

As expected, the leading social media platform’s popularity plummeted when it was revealed that Facebook was used to steal private information during the Trump campaign. One recent study showed that 48% of users no longer had a favorable view in contrast to only 30% who did. That being said, it was also a big surprise why most U.S. users have not yet changed log-in credentials – knowing fully well that there is no sanctity of data. According to Reuter’s 86% have not changed their log-in credentials in social media including Facebook and an appalling 78% have not switched to private mode on their browser. Going incognito can be done on the fly but it takes a little more effort to physically cover your device or laptop camera. Something that can’t be shrugged off because half of the adult users admit to logging on daily.

This breach of trust is something that could have been expected if we were more discerning when downloading the app. In a statement to the Guardian, it said, “Contact uploading is optional. People are expressly asked if they want to give permission to upload their contacts from their phone—it’s explained right there in the apps when you get started.” Surreptitious or not, the amount of call or SMS data is astounding and when you realize that it is free to use, then it looks like our collective data becomes part of the product for data miners – but is it a fair trade-off?

“It’s also our responsibility to tell you how we collect and use your data in language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand. In the coming weeks, we’ll be proposing updates to Facebook’s terms of service that include our commitments to people.”          Erin Egan, Facebook

If you think Facebook is indispensable because you are too attached to your social friends and had gotten used to the noise and trivia, you don’t have to delete your account. In a move to regain trust, Facebook itself has taken additional steps so users have better control of their security settings:

  1. Data settings and controls have been streamlined and easier to find – and accessible from one location.
  2. What can be shared with apps are now more explicit.
  3. Outdated settings have been removed or revised.
  4. New Privacy Shortcuts menu was introduced; one that is simpler, more visual, and gives you better control of ads, personal information, and who sees your profile, posts and information.

5. Two-factor authentication,

6. Tools for downloading and deleting Facebook data including contacts, photos, posts, pages, apps, comments and the like. You can also download and/or delete data about friends, followers, and who you are following.

 

“We’ll also update our data policy to better spell out what data we collect and how we use it. These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data.”

Photo from https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/03/privacy-shortcuts/

Just Say No: Listserv Confirmation Email Pioneer Reinvents Self

The world of email marketing changed much when Eric Thomas, an engineering student in Paris pioneered Listserv in 1986. Listserv automated the management of email lists and allowed list owners to create templates and customize replies to subscribers based on specific commands. In 1987, database functions were added which allowed users to search the database. Listserv was also very ethical; giving the subscriber the right to unsubscribe anytime. By 2001, it had surpassed over 100M subscribers and managed over 170,000 email lists. Up until 1993, it was released as a freeware and even now, could still be downloaded free for a maximum of 10 lists with up to 500 subscribers.

L Soft, the company founded by Eric Thomas, released the paid version that included more management tools. Through the years, it incorporated email tracking, customized reporting, built-in antivirus capability, analytics, email marketing, hosting, and integration with emerging social media platforms, especially on content creation; all the while respecting privacy and the freedom of choice.

“In 1993, LISTSERV was the first software to introduce double opt-in, which becomes the global gold standard for permission email. Double opt-in protects subscribers by requiring them to confirm their subscriptions before being added to a mailing list.” – L Soft site

However, other entities were not as stringent and by 2008, spam plagued the online world reaching an all-time high of 92.6% of email worldwide. Despite tighter controls on permissions, the worldwide scam rate was still at an appalling 59.8% two years ago. Just how big is this? As reported by the Radicati Group the volume of spam and unwanted email has risen to 32 Billion email users globally. Just imagine, the distress and anxiety over receiving these annoyances; and the fear that these carry with it malware that can retrieve confidential personal information.

With an eye to take the lead in email marketing while keeping it safe, ethical, as well as more responsive and profitable, Listserv reinvented itself with new features over 30 years after its initial launch – or 25 years after it introduced permission email.

“Successful mass communication is ethical: It comes from a sender-subscriber relationship based on strong prior consent. Eric Thomas, L-Soft’s CEO, invented automated subscription confirmation to prevent unreliable email addresses from being added to an email list. This also protects the list and its subscribers from fraudulent subscriptions and puts permission in the hands of the recipient, where it belongs.” —  Outi Tuomaala, L-Soft’s EVP ( in Newswire)

Currently, Listserv, Listserv Lite, Listserv Free, and Listserv Maestro can be downloaded from the site. Apart from the email list software, L-Soft products include email hosting (ListPlex®), and email marketing (Maestro Add-On). Competitive Features of Listserv include:

  • Integrated Virus protection
  • Double opt-in support
  • Automatic email handling
  • Web integration
  • Support for all list types
  • Automatic Bounce Handling
  • Security options
  • Message posting
  • Message scheduling
  • Content Analysis
  • Newsletter Template Gallery
  • Customizable Mail templates and styles
  • Attachment and content filter
  • Subscriber activity reports
  • CSV reports
  • List reports
  • Moderation sharing
  • Full RSS support and others that increase engagement.

Because of the backlash from users complaining about the incessant deluge of unwanted mail, digital marketers are now more compliant about requesting consent and observing data privacy; including the user’s right to prevent the sale of any information to a third. Consent is now a primary gateway especially in the age of fraud, phishing, and other cyber crimes. Listserv is now at the forefront of all these cautioning users to:

  • be explicit about subscriber opt-in
  • set specific expectations about content that will be received
  • confirm that the subscription was initiated by the subscriber and
  • reassure subscribers that they can opt-out anytime.

Resources:

L-Soft Website

Newswire Press Release

Statista.com

Radicati Group

Privacy Important? Here’s a Google-free Alternative

People nowadays engage in Social Media sites but most of us still considers privacy important. A new mobile OS is now made available for those peeps who focus more on privacy.

Privacy Important to Others

For those looking for an alternative to the two tech giants: Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, there is a new operating system based on Android.

eelo is an operating system for smartphones which doesn’t use Google services. The idea behind eelo is to place empphasis on a user’s privacy.

Born from the existing LineageOS, eelo is Android-based open-source OS which rose from the ashes of CyanogenMod.

The said operating system will forgo the Google Play Store, Google Play Services and Google Services which will let people who consider this item useful find it easily.

It is still under development because it said to include an “eelo store” wherein APKPure and open-source applications can be found.

By default, eelo will use the Quad 9 DNS, which preserves and blocks access to known malicious websites.

Facebook vs Big Brother… again!

This might be what they mean that a company headed by a single man would go to ruin. They said two (or more) heads are better than one, but Facebook’s CEO calls all the shots himself. Spending cash like it was his pocket money, and throwing features left and right, forcing the timeline. There are a lot of disappointed Facebook users out there. Some are threatening to leave, while I’ve known of others that have already left Facebook. Here is another reason why you might want to leave the social site.

Facebook recently put live an app that allows Facebook and all other users who use the app to see where you are. That is right. Your Facebook account is plastered in our faces and shows us that you are nearby. An app they call ‘Find Friends Nearby’ was another controversial hit against the average user’s privacy. You know what? Facebook freaked out and pulled the app as soon as they could.

People nowadays are already freaked out with privacy issues, the last thing they want is to add another way for people to lose anonymity. Still, Facebook defends the feature as something that people can use to effectively add a new friend by simply launching this app and locating that friend.

I think that is rubbish. If that is all they wanted, the best way was to implement digital Facebook business cards that can easily be shared from phone to phone. That would be the logical way of providing someone your Facebook location, without going through search.

Despite pulling the app from circulation, you have to wonder, what if they have access to it right now and know where you are, and you don’t know they do yet? I hear Big Brother calling, do you?

Image sources: Techcrunch.com, fivestarlaw.com