A Guide to Facebook’s New Privacy Terms

TechCrunch: A Flaw-By-Flaw Guide to Facebook’s New GDPR Privacy Settings

Facebook is about to start pushing European users to speed through giving consent for its new GDPR privacy law compliance changes. It will ask people to review how Facebook applies data from the web to target them with ads, and surface the sensitive profile info they share. Facebook will also allow European and Canadian users to turn on facial recognition after six years of the feature being blocked there. But with a design that encourages rapidly hitting the “Agree” button, a lack of granular controls, a laughably cheatable parental consent request for teens and an aesthetic overhaul of Download Your Information that doesn’t make it any easier to switch social networks, Facebook shows it’s still hungry for your data.

There are a ton of small changes, so we’ll lay out each with our criticisms.

Facebook’s consent flow starts well enough with the screen above offering a solid overview of why it’s making changes for GDPR and what you’ll be reviewing. But with just an “X” up top to back out, it’s already training users to speed through by hitting that big blue button at the bottom.

These changes will eventually be rolling out worldwide, so it’s worth keeping this article if you aren’t seeing these changes outside the EU right now. If you care about your online privacy, this is a great guide to understanding what settings will be available and how to get the most out of the options Facebook will provide.

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MacBook Keyboard Failure Rates

AppleInsider: 2016 MacBook Pro Butterfly Keyboards Failing Twice as Frequently as Older Models

All data has been collected from assorted Apple Genius Bars in the U.S. that we have been working with for several years, as well as Apple-authorized third-party repair shops.

The 2014 MacBook Pro model year saw 2120 service events in the first year, with 118 related to keyboard issues necessitating an upper case replacement —5.6 percent of all MacBook Pros serviced in the first year. The 2015 has 1904 service tickets, with 114 relating to the keyboard, making 6.0 percent.

The two numbers are very similar, which is to be expected. The keyboards were essentially unchanged since the 2012 Retina MacBook Pro, and should have failure rates similar to each other.

Apple released the new keyboard with the MacBook, and moved the design to the 2016 MacBook Pro. In the first year of the 2016 MacBook Pro, our data gathered 1402 warranty events, with 165 related to only the keyboard and not including the Touch Bar —11.8 percent.

We don’t have a full year of data for the 2017 MacBook Pro yet. But, since release in June 2017, our data set has 1161 captured service events with 94 related to keyboard issues also not including any Touch Bar issues —8.1 percent.

Failure rates across all four models are relatively static, with no appreciable increase or decrease in events reported at any time after release. Percentages of failures were comparable between the third-party authorized shops, and the Genius Bar data.

The title is a little misleading, but that data is still troubling. To add to the frustrations of this issue, repairing a MacBook Pro keyboard will set you back around $700. When you pay north of $1,000 for a computer, it should be reliable. Apple should be doing better than this.

Android’s Trust Problem

The Verge: Android’s Trust Problem Isn’t Getting Better

Coming at the end of a week dominated by Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings and an ongoing Facebook privacy probe, this news might seem of lesser importance, but it goes to the same issue that has drawn lawmakers’ scrutiny to Facebook: the matter of trust. Facebook is the least-trusted big US tech company, and Android might just be the operating system equivalent of it: used by 2 billion people around the world, tolerated more than loved, and susceptible to major lapses in user privacy and security.

The gap between Android and its nemesis, Apple’s iOS, has always boiled down to trust. Unlike Google, Apple doesn’t make its money by tracking the behavior of its users, and unlike the vast and varied Android ecosystem, there are only ever a couple of iPhone models, each of which is updated with regularity and over a long period of time. Owning an iPhone, you can be confident that you’re among Apple’s priority users (even if Apple faces its own cohort of critics accusing it of planned obsolescence), whereas with an Android device, as evidenced today, you can’t even be sure that the security bulletins and updates you’re getting are truthful.

 

 

Goodbye, Good QuickTime

Six Colors: A Tale of Two QuickTimes

Among the casualties of the impending transition to 64-bit apps is one long-lasting oddity: QuickTime 7 Pro.

What makes this app so unusual are a few factors. For one thing, it’s one of Apple’s own apps. For another, it was first released in 2005, making it almost 13 years old, though it hasn’t seen an update in about 8 years.

But despite its age and the fact that the writing was on the wall for QuickTime 7, news that it wouldn’t see an update when macOS makes the jump to all-64-bit-all-the-time sparked some cries of frustration from users, including both myself and Jason, who have carved out a place in their workflows—and their hearts—for this little anachronism.

I did my very first video editing in QuickTime Pro. QuickTime X has never really filled those shoes, but that makes some sense. Many of QuickTime Pro’s features are now in iMovie, and that’s been my go-to for quick editing the past several years. But QuickTime Pro was such a simple and fast tool when you needed a video editing utility more than a comprehensive application.

iPhone X and Industry Profits

iPhone X Alone Generated 35% of the Total Handset Industry Profits in Q4 2017

Apple remained the most profitable brand, capturing 86% of the total handset market profits.

Further splitting profits by model, the top 10 models captured 90% of the total handset profits.

Apple and Samsung flagship models, lead in terms of profits as compared to other OEMs.

iPhone X alone generated 35% of the total handset industry profits. This is a significant landmark, as the model was available in the market for only two months during Q4 2017.

iPhone X generated 5X more profit than the combined profit of 600+ Android OEMs during Q4 2017.

Apple’s older generation iPhones, iPhone 7 and iPhone 6 still generate more profit than some of the more recent Android flagships from key Chinese OEMs.

It kind of blows my mind that stats like these could be true and yet analysts also believe iPhone X is a failure. But I guess Apple has been doomed since the 1990s, so why change the tune?

That said, I do agree with reports that iPhone X will disappear this year — less because of performance and more to streamline branding.

New iPad with Pencil Support

Apple: Apple Introduces New 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil Support

Chicago — Apple today updated its most popular iPad with support for Apple Pencil plus even greater performance, starting at $329. The new 9.7-inch iPad and Apple Pencil give users the ability to be even more creative and productive, from sketching ideas and jotting down handwritten notes to marking up screenshots. The new iPad is more versatile and capable than ever, features a large Retina display, the A10 Fusion chip and advanced sensors that help deliver immersive augmented reality, and provides unmatched portability, ease of use and all-day battery life.

“iPad is our vision for the future of computing and hundreds of millions of people around the world use it every day at work, in school and for play. This new 9.7-inch iPad takes everything people love about our most popular iPad and makes it even better for inspiring creativity and learning,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing. “Our most popular and affordable iPad now includes support for Apple Pencil, bringing the advanced capabilities of one of our most creative tools to even more users. This iPad also has the power of the A10 Fusion chip, combined with the big, beautiful Retina display, advanced cameras and sensors that enable incredible AR experiences simply not possible on other devices.”

These are good updates to the iPad, but they still fall short of creating a truly compelling computing device. I can’t help but think that a Smart Connector for a first-party keyboard and support for legacy input devices (like a trackpad) would go farther into getting more iPads into classrooms and homes.

The iWork updates are nice too, and I think it makes a lot of sense to roll iBooks Author into Pages. But I’m still waiting on a couple of my wish-list items — user-defined templates and fonts. The Mac versions of the iWork apps have pretty much always supported these because of the nature of macOS. iOS sandboxing creates barriers to this, but I’m sure it’s not impossible to overcome while retaining system security.

Facebook Container for Firefox

Mozilla: Facebook Container Add-on for Firefox

What does it do?
Facebook Container works by isolating your Facebook identity into a separate container that makes it harder for Facebook to track your visits to other websites with third-party cookies.

How does it work?
Installing this extension deletes your Facebook cookies and logs you out of Facebook. The next time you navigate to Facebook it will load in a new blue colored browser tab (the “Container”).

You can log in and use Facebook normally when in the Facebook Container. If you click on a non-Facebook link or navigate to a non-Facebook website in the URL bar, these pages will load outside of the container.

Clicking Facebook Share buttons on other browser tabs will load them within the Facebook Container. You should know that using these buttons passes information to Facebook about the website that you shared from.

Facebook Collecting Call Data on Android

The Verge: Facebook Has Been Collecting Call History and SMS Data from Android Devices

Facebook has been collecting call records and SMS data from Android devices for years. Several Twitter users have reported finding months or years of call history data in their downloadable Facebook data file. A number of Facebook users have been spooked by the recent Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, prompting them to download all the data that Facebook stores on their account. The results have been alarming for some.

While the recent prompts make it clear, Ars Technica points out the troubling aspect that Facebook has been doing this for years, during a time when Android permissions were a lot less strict. Google changed Android permissions to make them more clear and granular, but developers could bypass this and continue accessing call and SMS data until Google deprecated the old Android API in October. It’s not yet clear if these prompts have been in place in the past.

The same call record and SMS data collection has not yet been discovered on iOS devices. While Apple does allow some specialist apps to access this data in limited ways like blocking spam calls or texts, these apps have to be specifically enabled through a process that’s similar to enabling third-party keyboards. The majority of iOS apps cannot access call history or SMS messages, and Facebook’s iOS app is not able to capture this data on an iPhone.

This is compounded by the fact that there are still a lot of phones out there running older versions of Android with its less strict app permissions. I think Android has a lot of things going for it, but it’s still a bit of a mess when it comes to privacy and security. And Facebook has surpassed creepy.

 

Choosing Between Android and iOS

Gizmodo: Why Choosing Between Android and iOS Still Matters

Gizmodo has a nice overview of most of the basic difference between Android and iOS devices that still matter. It’s a good read if, like me, you’re finding yourself torn between the benefits and drawbacks of each platform.

Android and iOS might have borrowed enough features from each other over the years to make the superficial differences not so great any more (iOS even has widgets these days), but dig a little deeper and you’ve got three main ways that Apple’s mobile platform differs from Google’s. This is what you need to know about them, and why your pick of smartphone OS still matters.

One of the big differences in choosing a mobile device platform rather than a desktop or laptop system is that the mobile choice is a far smaller commitment. With the ability to upgrade your device after a couple years, it’s not as daunting a prospect to jump from iOS to Android (or vice versa) as it is Mac to Windows.

Designing Windows 95

Socket 3: Designing the Windows 95 Interface

This link contains a recovered paper that Microsoft UI Researcher Kent Sullivan authored regarding the development of Windows 95’s now famous interface. Two notes about this paper:

  • It’s fascinating to see the evolution of elements — like the Start Menu and the Taskbar — many people have taken for decades.
  • Stick around for the comments after the article. The original author joins in and responds to a few questions.

Although we abandoned the idea of a separate shell for beginners, we salvaged its most useful features: single-click access, high visibility, and menu-based interaction. We mocked up a number of representations in Visual Basic and tested them with users of all experience levels, not just beginners, because we knew that the design solution would need to work well for users of varying experience levels. Figure 5 shows the final Start Menu, with the Programs sub-menu open. The final Start Menu integrated functions other than starting programs, to give users a single-button home base in the UI.