Friday News: Facebook wants to violate your privacy again, device security faces new challenges, food poisonings revealed via Yelp, and reviving old words
Do You Want Facebook Listening to Your iPhone? – Type in a Facebook update over your iPhone and everything the phone hears will be recorded, part of Facebook’s ambition to link everything in your life to, well, pretty much everyone else. Apparently this is an opt-in feature, but it’s not clear how that will happen or what the terms of this new “service” are, and it’s especially creepy in the context of Facebook’s dubious relationship to user privacy.
A more important question: will the app be able to pick up any audio over the deafening bliss-screams of the NSA, the chorus of stunned laughs and high fives from the Beltway? No matter how often or egregiously Facebook mangles our expectations of personal privacy and social boundaries, we keep giving it another chance. And another, and another. Even after learning Facebook has more or less collaborated with the NSA for years, everyone gets excited all over again when the company announces a brand new way to hand over personal sensor data: –Valley Wag
If you think our security sitch is bad now, wait till you get a load of the internet of things – While we’re on the subject of privacy, check out this article about how our ability to network more and more devices is making those devices more vulnerable to security attacks. In an environment where anti-virus software is pretty much beside the point, there is a movement to shift the security discussion toward new anti-hacking strategies. Scary but important.
But, there’s a rash of shiny new devices connecting to the internet that are also vulnerable to a remote attack and that requires a new way to think about security – and this will be a topic at the upcoming Structure show in San Francisco June 18-19. And then there is an array of less glamorous connected things that predate the IoT hype cycle, and that most people don’t even think about as being vulnerable. Your printer, for example, could be a disaster waiting to happen, said Patrick Gilmore, CTO of Boston-based data center provider Markley Group (and former network architect at Akamai.) –Gigaom
In food poisoning probes, officials call for Yelp – And there are times when having the government watching might not be so terrible. Take this New York CIty Health Department program, for example, that partnered with Yelp to track down health violations via consumer complaints of illness in restaurant reviews. It looks like the program accounted for about ten percent of the cases the Health Department identifies annually.
Officials reached out to Yelp, and the website agreed to help with a pilot project, said the health department’s Dr. Sharon Balter. Crucial to their investigations is finding the people who get sick, and Yelp members have email accounts that can make that easier, she said.
Yelp sent the health department weekly roundups of restaurant reviews for nine months, beginning in mid-2012. Computer searches narrowed them to postings that mentioned someone getting sick. Investigators focused on illnesses that occurred between 12 and 36 hours after a meal — the time frame for most symptoms of food poisoning to surface. –Yahoo
16 Weird Forgotten English Words We Should Bring Back – Forget your traditional word-a-day vocabulary builder. Who needs the dictionary when you can revive a word like “crapulence,” or “night-hag,” or “nimgimmer” (say that one three times fast). As in, ‘I’m surprised there aren’t more nimgimmers in Historical Romance to treat notorious rake heroes.’ The English language; a gift that keeps on giving. –Mental Floss
Note: Next Tuesday, May 27th, is the Dear Author Book Club. This month we’re featuring The Windflower, by Laura London (aka Tom and Sharon Curtis), with a joint review by Sunita and me and a Q&A from the Curtises. Also, I think I’m going to be giving away one of my first edition paperbacks of the book (I have a slight hoarding problem with copies of The Windflower).
In the meantime, can you identify the classic Romance to which the opening scene of the book pays homage? (Sunita picked up on this allusion right away, but I did not)