Covert Code

1_TOP NEWS

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.


2_BUSINESS

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.


3_MEDIA

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.


4_TECHNOLOGY

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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5_TECHNOLOGY

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.


6_SOCIAL MEDIA

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.


7_SOFTWARE

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.


8_MARKETING

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.


9_GEAR

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.


10_SAY WHAT?

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.