Your Phone's Hidden Trackers
Trackers hidden in smartphone apps are the source of incredible amounts of specific data about users, much of which gets sent to companies you’ve never heard of. As Recode explains, this has been going on for years and is an essential part of the mobile app economy. But the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light some of these companies, and what they’re capable of.
Square's Valuation Rivals the Biggest U.S. Banks
A rally in the shares of Square has pushed the market valuation of the digital-payment company into the ranks of some of the biggest U.S. banks, Bloomberg reports. The San Francisco-based company has benefited in particular from positive sentiment about its popular cash app, its handling of pandemic-related government stimulus payments and its ability to garner deposits from traditional banks with fewer digital offerings.
Inside a Fake News Headline
In the modern news age, what headlines you see is decided not by a hard-bitten front-page editor but instead by layers of algorithms designed to pick what’s news and who should be shown it. This system can work fine, The Markup reports, but sometimes it can feed into a maelstrom of misinformation.
Why Contact Tracing Apps Won't Work Here
Contact tracing apps, which detect when a smartphone is in the presence of another app-enabled smartphone whose owner has tested positive for Covid-19, have been touted as a means of augmenting manual contact tracing. But Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of global business at Tufts University's Fletcher School, writes on The Conversation that mixed success of automated contact tracing experiments around the world spells trouble for U.S. efforts.
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The Battle Over Going Cashless
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the trend toward a cashless economy, financial experts say, but cash advocates are not going down without a fight, Government Technology reports. Within the financial industry, the so-called War on Cash pits businesses that serve the cashless economy—credit card companies, payment networks, software and hardware providers—versus advocates for cash, including banknote producers and the businesses that manufacture and service ATMs.
Civil Rights Auditors Give Facebook a Failing Grade
The findings from a new civil rights audit commissioned and released by Facebook show that the tech giant repeatedly failed to address issues of hatred, bigotry and manipulation on its platform, Axios reports. The report comes as Facebook confronts a growing advertiser boycott and criticism for prioritizing freedom of speech over limiting misinformation and protecting users targeted by hate speech.
The End for Adobe Flash Nears
Few technologies have yielded such divisive and widespread passion as Adobe's Flash. For better and worse, it helped shape the Internet of today, Ars Technica reports. But in December, after roughly 25 years, Adobe will officially end support and distribution of Flash Player.
Brand Building on a Budget
When money is tight, it's hard to build a brand, right? Not necessarily. There are some creative ways to brand your business effectively without a ton of cash. HubSpot offers a list of seven effective ways to build a brand on a budget.
Are In-Box Chargers on Their Way Out?
Samsung is considering selling its smartphones without in-box chargers starting as early as next year, Android Authority reports. Rumors point to Apple also possibly dropping the charger from the iPhone 12’s box. It could mean lower phone costs, but higher accessory prices.
This Smell Is Way Out There
You don't need a SpaceX ticket to experience the smell of space, reports Fast Company. A new Kickstarter campaign is bringing Eau de Space, a NASA-inspired fragrance, to the general public. The smell NASA developed to acclimate astronauts in training is described as a mix of gunpowder, seared steak, raspberries, and rum.