Adblock Plus Will Now Block Social Media Tracking

Adblock PlusYep, I use Adblock Plus. I like this new announcement!

Adblock Plus now blocks social media tracking for Chrome & Firefox

TheNextWeb – By: Rachel Maser – “Adblock today announced it was joining the fight against social media tracking by allowing users to block what has become so ubiquitous on almost every site out there.

Specifically, the tracking which Adblock Plus now aims to thwart is that which originates from social media buttons. You might recognize them — there are some on this very article. Through these buttons, sites can track and build a so-called ‘shadow profiles’ on you even if you don’t click on them, even if you aren’t logged into any of the sites in question.

This tracking has been a sticking point for sites like Facebook. Among the many other questions posed to CEO Mark Zuckerberg at his Congressional interrogation earlier this year was about these profiles of non-users — the existence of which might violate a 2011 consent decree handed down to the company by the FTC.

To use the feature, Adblock Plus users subscribe to a button blocking list, either in Chrome or Firefox. The company is also considering whitelist options for certain social sites.

A company spokesperson listed Apple as inspiration — or at least an example — for the new security. Specifically, they mention the anti-fingerprinting measures announced at this year’s WWDC. Mac and iPhone users who update to Mojave or iOS 12 will have all social media tracking blocked by default, though they can enable it for certain websites if they choose. Adblock will patch the gap for those who don’t use (or currently have) the requisite Apple software.

The company behind Adblock, Eyeo, won a successful lawsuit in April against German publishers attempting to stop its adblocking services. The judgment handed down by the German Supreme Court deemed it the right of the consumer to block any ads they didn’t wish to see.”

Microsoft is Buying GitHub

GitHubHell continues to freeze over! Not only is Microsoft buying GitHub, the Linux Foundation actually approves of the move! A Slashdot poster says:

“The Linux Foundation has endorsed Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub. In a blog post, Jim Zemlin, the executive director at the Linux Foundation, said: ‘This is pretty good news for the world of Open Source and we should celebrate Microsoft’s smart move.’

The Verge reports:
10 years ago, Zemlin was calling for Microsoft to stop secretly attacking Linux by selling patents that targeted the operating system, and he also poked fun at Microsoft multiple times over the years. ‘I will own responsibility for some of that as I spent a good part of my career at the Linux Foundation poking fun at Microsoft (which, at times, prior management made way too easy),’ explains Zemlin. ‘But times have changed and it’s time to recognize that we have all grown up — the industry, the open source community, even me.’

Nat Friedman, the future CEO of GitHub (once the deal closes), took to Reddit to answer questions on the company’s plans. ‘We are not buying GitHub to turn it into Microsoft; we are buying GitHub because we believe in the importance of developers, and in GitHub’s unique role in the developer community,’ explains Friedman. ‘Our goal is to help GitHub be better at being GitHub, and if anything, to help Microsoft be a little more like GitHub.'”

Yahoo! Kills its Chat App

Yahoo! announced that as of July 17 of this year, its chat app will be dead! The desktop version was killed off in 2016, so this comes as no big surprise. It was first launched in 1998, so it has had a long run. Back then it was called “Pager” (remember pagers?) No? I thought not.

Yahoo says, “We’re constantly experimenting with new services and apps, one of which is an invite-only group messaging app called Yahoo Squirrel (currently in beta).”

Issues With VLC Media Player

VLC Media PlayerOkay, it’s time to tell you a sad story. As you know, I’m a big fan of the VLC media player. I have been using it for years. And, I have installed it on every computer that I have built, refurbished, or worked on for probably the last 10 years. It has been a Geek Software of the Week several times, and through several versions. However, in a recent upgrade, which added the additional capability of using your Google Chromecast with VLC, it was rendered extremely hard to use because it started so slowly.

By this I mean, you could click on the VLC media player icon and it would take as much as five minutes before the player would start. I researched online and found that others were having this problem as well. I’m sure that the good folks that write VLC are working on it pretty feverishly right now!

However, I regret that I could no longer recommended it as a player for the time being. I’m not going to uninstall it right now, in the hopes that the folks at VideoLAN will be able to fix it in the near future. In the meantime, I’m looking at other players that I can use day-to-day to play media. In fact, I have one for this week’s Geek Software of the Week.

I’ll talk about it in the next blog entry.

The GDPR and You!

GDPRHave you been getting tons of “read our new privacy policy” emails? Here’s why…

What the GDPR means for Facebook, the EU and you

c|net – By: Justin Jaffe, Laura Hautala – “The European Union has a new law on the books for protecting data privacy. It’s the General Data Protection Regulation, more commonly called the GDPR. This Friday, it goes into effect in the EU’s 28 member states.

The law changes the rules for companies that collect, store or process large amounts of information on residents of the EU, requiring more openness about what data they have and who they share it with.

That means you, Facebook.

It also means any company with a digital presence in the EU (which for the time being still includes the UK) will have to comply with the law or face steep penalties.

The deadline to comply with the law has been looming for two years, ever since the European Parliament adopted it in April 2016. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal at Facebook emerged in March, privacy advocates found an eye-catching example of why internet users might want more control over who can access their data.

I think the GDPR in general is going to be a very positive step for the internet.
– Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

The GDPR came up several times during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the US Congress in April, and it was a major focus Tuesday when members of the European Parliament questioned Zuckerberg in Brussels. EU officials said they weren’t satisfied with the Facebook CEO’s answers to questions about the GDPR, and he promised to follow up with answers in writing.

‘I think the GDPR in general is going to be a very positive step for the internet,’ Zuckerberg told US lawmakers, going on to discuss Facebook’s plans to tighten data policies, protect users from further leaks and become more transparent about who’s advertising on the site.

It’s not just the household names of the internet like Facebook that will have to comply. Health care providers, insurers, banks and any other company dealing in sensitive personal data will also be on the hook. That’s why your inbox is getting flooded with updated privacy policies.

The GDPR will have a significant impact on our online footprints and how the apps and services we use protect or exploit them. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation is a sweeping law that gives residents of the European Union more control over their personal data and seeks to clarify rules and responsibilities for online services with European users. It replaces the EU’s previous law governing data protection, passed in 1995, and makes some dramatic changes to existing conventions.

The regulation expands the scope of what companies must consider personal data, and it requires them to closely track the data they’ve stored on EU residents. If someone in the EU wants a company to delete his or her data, send copies of the data, or correct an error in the data, companies have to comply.

The law goes even further than that. EU residents can now object to specific ways companies are using their data, saying that they don’t mind if a company keeps the data as long as it stops using the info for a particular purpose.

What’s more, the law requires companies to notify users within 72 hours of a data breach — something very few companies currently do. For example, during the Equifax breach that exposed the personal information of millions of people in the US and beyond, the company spent weeks stopping the attack and then planning how to deal with the damage before informing the public.

How will the EU enforce the GDPR?
Each member state of the EU will have its own enforcement mechanism, with one GDPR supervisor per country.

Residents can make complaints to the governing body in their respective country. Companies found in violation of the law will face fines that could be very steep. The maximum fine for a GDPR violation is 20 million euros or 4 percent of a company’s annual global revenue from the year before, whichever is higher.

When does the GDPR take effect?
Friday. The regulation was ratified in 2016 and organizations were given a two-year ‘implementation period’ to prepare. This grace period ends on May 25, 2018, when enforcement begins in earnest.

Does this law apply only to companies based in the European Union?
No — and this is why it’s major international news. The GDPR applies to any organization that collects, processes, manages or stores the data of European citizens. This includes most major online services and businesses that collect, process, manage or store data. Because of this, the GDPR essentially sets a new global standard for data protection.

On Friday, several news websites based in the US stopped operating in Europe, with some saying they are looking for ways to go back online in EU countries.

What kind of data does the GDPR protect?
The regulation applies to a broad array of personal data, including a person’s name and government ID numbers. It also protects information that can show a person’s activity both online and in the real world. That includes location information, as well as IP addresses, cookies and other data that lets companies track users as they browse the internet.

How will this affect Facebook and other social-media companies?
Many large online services and social-media companies are updating their privacy policies and terms of service to prepare for the new legislation. Facebook’s response is sure to be closely scrutinized by European regulators, given the Cambridge Analytica scandal as well as past concerns about the company’s data collection. Austrian privacy advocates filed complaints on Friday, the first day the GDPR went into effect, against Google and Facebook, as well as Instagram and WhatsApp (both owned by Facebook.)

These include the kerfuffle in 2007 over the company’s controversial Beacon advertising program that broadcast user activity on partner sites. And don’t forget user uproar when Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram claimed to own user profile data and photos. The GDPR makes it much clearer that these kinds of activities aren’t OK.

In his testimony during a joint hearing of the Senate’s Judiciary and Commerce Committees on April 10, Zuckerberg stated his support ‘in principle’ for a GDPR-like opt-in standard for users before they give up their data — but he didn’t commit, adding ‘details matter.’ (Zuckerberg’s notes, which he left open during a short break, included a warning: ‘Don’t say we already do what GDPR requires.’)

How will this affect me, a non-EU resident?
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Apple and others have all offered users beyond the European Union some additional rights over their data.

But those rights don’t have the force of law behind them, which means you can’t file a complaint against Microsoft for violating the GDPR if you aren’t an EU resident. While you enjoy these rights only as long as a company says you do, it does show that the European regulations are reshaping the way major companies approach user data.

The other way this affects you is with the barrage of privacy policy updates you’ve likely received over the past few months. Many companies crafted new privacy policies in advance of the GDPR going into effect, and then they told you about it all at the same time.

Could the EU fine Facebook for sketchy things it did in the past?
Seems not. In an interview with Bloomberg, EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said the new GDPR rules “cannot be applied in this [Cambridge Analytica scandal], because there’s no retroactivity possible.”

How does the regulation affect hacks and breaches?
The GDPR requires companies that have lost control over customer data, or that’ve been hacked, to notify users within 72 hours. That’s one of the rules that carries the maximum penalty. For instance, if Facebook was found to have failed to comply, it could be liable for a $1.6 billion penalty (based on its 2016 annual revenue of $40 billion).

Are there special protections for minors?
The GDPR requires businesses and organizations to obtain parental consent to process the personal data of children under the age of 16.

Does the US have any legal equivalent to the GDPR?
No. Most states have their own laws governing data breaches and notification requirements, and most apply to only a limited type of data: Social Security numbers and health or financial information.

The SEC recently issued guidance on how public companies should disclose breaches and risks.

Californians could be voting on a data privacy law this year, the California Consumer Personal Information Disclosure and Sale Initiative. That would let residents request copies of their data from companies, find out which third parties companies have sold their data to, and ask companies not to sell or share their personal data.”

A Huge New Release of The GIMP is Here!

The GIMPCheck out the Release Notes from the latest major release:

The GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program)

“The long-awaited GIMP 2.10.0 is finally here! This is a huge release, which contains the result of 6 long years of work (GIMP 2.8 was released almost exactly 6 years ago!) by a small but dedicated core of contributors.

The Changes in short
We are not going to list the full changelog here, since you can get a better idea with our official GIMP 2.10 release notes. To get an even more detailed list of changes please see the NEWS file.

Still, to get you a quick taste of GIMP 2.10, here are some of the most notable changes:

  • Image processing nearly fully ported to GEGL, allowing high bit depth processing, multi-threaded and hardware accelerated pixel processing, and more.
  • Color management is a core feature now, most widgets and preview areas are color-managed.
  • Many improved tools, and several new and exciting tools, such as the Warp transform, the Unified transform and the Handle transform tools.
  • On-canvas preview for all filters ported to GEGL.
  • Improved digital painting with canvas rotation and flipping, symmetry painting, MyPaint brush support…
  • Support for several new image formats added (OpenEXR, RGBE, WebP, HGT), as well as improved support for many existing formats (in particular more robust PSD importing).
  • Metadata viewing and editing for Exif, XMP, IPTC, and DICOM.
  • Basic HiDPI support: automatic or user-selected icon size.
  • New themes for GIMP (Light, Gray, Dark, and System) and new symbolic icons meant to somewhat dim the environment and shift the focus towards content (former theme and color icons are still available in Preferences).
  • And more, better, more, and even more awesome!”
1 2 3 4 215