Discus Systems PLC - IT Support Company in Birmingham West midlands
0800 880 3360
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 28th Nov 2017

SmartwatchesImage copyrightNCC

Image captionGermany's telecoms regulator urged parents to destroy some sorts of children's smartwatches

Net-connected toys and gadgets bought as Christmas gifts could put the privacy and safety of children at risk, warns the UK's data regulator.

Many toys have poor security, easy to guess passwords and cannot be updated to fix bugs, said deputy information commissioner Steve Wood.

Some are so poorly protected that they could be used by hackers as a route into a home network, he said.

He urged parents to take care when buying the smart devices.

Buying power

"You wouldn't knowingly give a child a dangerous toy, so why risk buying them something that could be easily hacked into by strangers?" said Mr Wood.

Anyone thinking about buying a connected toy or device should research it carefully, he said, to find out if it has a good or bad reputation when it comes to protecting the data it will handle.

Parents should ideally try out any gadget and familiarise themselves with privacy settings before wrapping it for Christmas Day, he added.

The pre-gift check should give parents a chance to change default usernames and passwords to stronger alternatives. It could also be a chance to turn off any remote viewing options on those devices and toys that sport a camera.

Parents should also vote with their wallet and avoid connected devices or wearables that have earned a reputation for leaking or losing data.

"If consumers reject products that won't protect them, then developers and retailers should soon get the message," he said.

Spying devices

Nick Viney, from security firm McAfee, said: "People must realise the value of their data to cybercriminals and not ignore the risks of being connected until it's too late.

"After families rip open their presents next month, they must take a moment to consider whether they're adequately protected."

Mr Wood's warning comes soon after a German regulator banned some smartwatches aimed at children.

The country's Federal Network Agency branded watches that can be used to track children as spying devices. The Agency said the watches broke strict surveillance laws.

Also, in mid-November, consumer advisers Which? issued a warning about the security risks of several net-connected toys. It wrote to retailers to ask them to stop stocking the toys and said many could be used as spying devices.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
corner spacer corner
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 22nd Nov 2017

GoogleImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

If information is power in the digital age (and it is), then Google has a fair claim to being the most powerful company in the world.

It has collected, digitised, arranged and presented more information than any company in history.

It knows more about you than anyone.

Does the NHS or HMRC know if you have a dog or not? Google does.

With great power, supposedly, comes great responsibility.

The powerful should not abuse their position and should perhaps play a role in supporting the societies in which they operate.

Do Google and the other titans of the digital age like Apple, Facebook and Amazon pass those tests?

I went to Manchester to meet Google's chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, who was opening a "digital garage" - a drop in centre in the middle of the city where folks can pop in to get tutorials on digital skills like writing a CV, using spreadsheets or making an online marketing plan for your business. All for free.

She said: "We want to help people young and old to make the most of their lives and the opportunities the digital age presents to them. 50% of the world is still not online, 75% of UK businesses say they can't find employees with the right digital skills - we want to help with that."

Self-serving

It's a laudable aim and it was a slick presentation which went down well with a crowd that included the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

He praised Google's efforts as a perfect fit for the regions ambitions to create a digital economy.

But it was also slightly self-serving.

The training module on how to advertise your business on-line is essentially a tutorial on how to use Adwords, a service that charges companies for showing up on Google searches - which generates $100m of revenue a DAY.

It shouldn't be a surprise that a business promotes its own products.

GoogleImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

But when you own the means by which the world goes searching that advantage becomes a problem for everyone else.

If you are looking to buy an item, Google's own shopping comparison service pops up on top.

If Google is the internet shop window, it puts its own stuff right at the front leaving competitors services gathering dust in the store room equivalent of page two of the search results.

The EU fined Google €2.4bn for doing this, which the search company is appealing.

A taxing issue

Then of course there is the issue of tax.

Google and its parent company Alphabet are driving technological innovation that will see huge changes in the way we live and work in the years to come.

They are pioneers in Artificial Intelligence and robotics that will bring many benefits to the world but may also bring mass unemployment.

Other tech titans are reshaping the world in other ways - witness the impact Amazon has had on retail and the nature of the high street or Uber on the taxi industry.

UberImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionUber, like Google, is changing society

The bill for this huge societal adjustment will fall to governments and taxpayers while the companies rewriting the map of the future have found some pretty far flung corners of it to store their cash in.

The recent leak of documents from an offshore law firm - the so called Paradise Papers - show some of these supra national economic powers like Apple are keeping their profits in the parts of the world that charge the least - if any - tax.

Google profits generated outside the US have ended up in Bermuda - which has a corporation tax rate of zero.

On this point, Ms Porat was as unapologetic as Apple have been in the past.

"We don't design the rules - we follow them. If there is an international reform of taxation, we would welcome that and work with it," she said.

Forget the legal arguments - does the company feel any sense of moral responsibility?

"We feel that we contribute to the communities we serve. This digital garage is an example of that. We help drive growth for businesses big and small and that creates jobs and economic growth. We feel good about what we do"

No finance chief worth their salt wants to pay more tax than they are legally required to - and Ms Porat is worth a considerable amount of salt (having been chief financial officer of US investment bank Morgan Stanley previously).

European regulators and politicians are on their case - French Emmanuel Macron recently called tech firms the "freeloaders of the modern world" and EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestagher found that Google "abused it's dominance and seriously harmed competition" - a finding that the company is appealing.

But despite the litigation, the fines, the appeals and the attendant uncomfortable headlines, one thing is clear.

The tech giants enjoy incredible customer loyalty which is perhaps why they genuinely do not believe they are the bad guys in the story of the new industrial revolution.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
corner spacer corner
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 20th Nov 2017

It's not just Russia - they're all at it, warns Freedom House

At least 30 governments are using dodgy social media tactics for propaganda and manipulation

Sacha Baron Cohen in the film The Dictator. Image courtesy of Paramount Films

Governments around the world are "dramatically" using dodgy social media tactics to undermine democracy, according to a report published this week.

The latest Freedom on the Net report, published by Freedom House, claims that many governments are increasingly manipulating information on social media for their own political ends.

This is threatening the use of the internet as a liberating form of communication between individuals, the civil liberties group claims. 

 

Online manipulation and disinformation tactics were used in elections of around 18 countries in the last year, Freedom House claims, including the US presidential elections. 

Citizens are struggling to choose leaders based on factual news and authentic information because there's an influx of manipulated content appearing on their screens.

In Turkey, around 6,000 are believed to be employed by the government to fight political opponents on social media sites

Internet freedom has declined for a seventh consecutive year, and there's also been a rise in disruption in mobile internet service and technical attacks against human rights organisations.

The report looked at the internet freedom of 65 countries, covering 87 per cent of internet users, and focused on developments between June 2016 and May 2017.

Governments in 30 of these countries are using manipulation tools to distort online information, compared to 23 per cent last year. They're using paid commentators, trolls, bots and false news sites to influence citizens.

The Philippines is a prolific example of a country deploying such technologies. Its government has tasked a keyboard army to make people believe it's cracking down on the drug trade.

And in Turkey, around 6,000 are believed to be employed by the government to fight political opponents on social media sites. There's also Russia's accused meddling in the American presidential election, which was plagued by fake news.

At least 15 countries have restricted internet freedom as well. For instance, Ukraine has stopped citizens from accessing Russia-based services.

The fabrication of grassroots support for government policies on social media creates a closed loop in which the regime essentially endorses itself

Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, said: "The use of paid commentators and political bots to spread government propaganda was pioneered by China and Russia but has now gone global.

"The effects of these rapidly spreading techniques on democracy and civic activism are potentially devastating."

Sanja Kelly, director of the Freedom on the Net project, said: "Governments are now using social media to suppress dissent and advance an antidemocratic agenda.

"Not only is this manipulation difficult to detect, it is more difficult to combat than other types of censorship, such as website blocking, because it's dispersed and because of the sheer number of people and bots deployed to do it."

"The fabrication of grassroots support for government policies on social media creates a closed loop in which the regime essentially endorses itself, leaving independent groups and ordinary citizens on the outside."

Source: v3.co.uk

Source: discus.co.uk
 
corner spacer corner
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 20th Nov 2017

Lorenz code wheelsImage copyrightMATT CRYPTO

Image captionBletchley Park is host to a centre developing cyber-based lessons for school pupils

A £20m initiative to get schoolchildren interested in cyber-security has been launched by the UK government.

The Cyber Discovery programme is aimed at 15 to 18-year-olds and involves online and offline challenges themed around battling hackers.

It is one of several programmes trying to build interest in security work and help fill a looming skills gap.

One industry expert said a broad strategy would be needed to address the widening gap.

Hacker clubs

The free Cyber Discovery programme aims to "encourage the best young minds into cyber-security", said Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in a statement.

Young people interested will be asked to enrol via an online assessment and the best performers in that test will then be put through a "comprehensive curriculum" that helps familiarise them with cyber-security work.

The curriculum will cover:

  • digital forensics
  • defending against web attacks
  • cryptography
  • programming
  • ethics of hacking

It mixes online challenges with face-to-face learning, role-playing and real-world technical challenges, said James Lyne, head of research and development at the Sans Institute, who helped draw up the programme. Extracurricular clubs will also be set up as part of the project that will be run by mentors who help participants take the skills they learn further.

Stereotypical hackerImage copyrightXIJIAN

Image captionWork needs to be done to remove the stigma from hackers, say experts

It is one of several UK initiatives aimed at galvanising interest in security work among young people.

The organisation behind the Cyber Security Challenge, which runs lots of programmes seeking adult security workers, has one that is specifically aimed at schools. Called the Cyber Games, it is a series of competitions held around the UK that puts pupils through a variety of cyber-themed challenges and activities.

Another developed by Qufaro, a cyber-training college at Bletchley Park, is an add-on to the existing ICT curriculum that is centred on computer security.

Budgie Dhanda, head of Qufaro, said the lessons and projects it has drawn up form an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) that pupils can study alongside their A/S levels. EPQs are available in many subjects, said Mr Dhanda, and let pupils explore a subject in greater detail than they would in the classroom.

"There are a lot of different modules in it that cover the spectrum of cyber-functions and capabilities the industry requires," he said.

Professional services firm Deloitte has pledged to pay the fees of any students who take on the cyber EPQ in 2017-18.

Phil Everson, head of cyber-risk at Deloitte, said it had decided to back Qufaro entrants in a bid to help plug the skills gap.

"There's already significant global demand for cyber-talent across the world," he said. "And there are not enough skilled people to meet that demand."

One industry estimate suggests there will be more than 3 million unfilled jobs in the cyber-security industry by 2021.

"We want to try to give the younger generation who have grown up with the internet an awareness of security and its implications," he said. "The course is about foundational skills and abilities."

NCA officersImage copyrightNCA

Image captionThe UK's National Crime Agency has sought to divert young cyber-offenders into security jobs

Deep pool

Filling the growing skills gap in the cyber-security industry needed a three-pronged approach, said industry veteran Ian Glover who heads the Crest organisation that certifies people who carry out security work.

More could be done to tap into the "latent pool" of technical expertise among people who already work with computers, he said, but currently handle lower-level administrative functions rather than coding or forensics.

"There are a lot of people who have 50% of the core skills they would need to work in cyber-security," he said. "Short conversion courses could quickly help them add to their skill set and swap that admin job for one on a security team," said Mr Glover.

In addition, he said, there were plenty of other graduates that could quickly put expertise in other areas, such as international studies, to use in roles such as threat intelligence.

The final, and most long-term element involved getting school pupils interested in the field, he said, but it had to be sure to give them a rounded view of the industry.

"If you can get them interested in technology that's great," he said, "but you need to be able to describe the range of roles there are in cyber-security and the benefits of being in the industry because it's an awesome place to be."

Just as important, he said, was changing the negative associations with the word "hacker".

"The perception is there that hacking is bad," he said. "We need to change the language around it and provide guidance to young people to articulate what is meant by a job or career in this space."

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
corner spacer corner
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 20th Nov 2017

By Will SmaleBusiness reporter, BBC News

John CollisonImage copyrightSTRIPE

Image captionJohn Collison does not enjoy discussing how much he is worth

John Collison does not seem entirely comfortable with his somewhat impressive claim to fame - he is the world's youngest self-made billionaire.

Just 27, he otherwise seems a supremely confident business leader and excellent communicator.

But ask him about how wealthy he is, and you sense his awkwardness.

"People now ask this a lot and I feel like they always want some really interesting answer - and I have nothing for them," says the Irishman.

"People ask 'how has your life changed?', and they want me to have taken up some elaborate new hobby, like Faberge egg collecting or yacht racing."

Instead he says he likes going for a run in his spare time, describing it as a "very practical, low maintenance hobby".

John is the co-founder of a US-based software business that most people will never have heard of, called Stripe.

A person using Apple Pay

Image captionComputer giant Apple uses Stripe's technology

He set up and now runs the San Francisco-based company with his older brother Patrick, 29, who is the world's third youngest self-made billionaire. (Evan Spiegel, 27, the co-founder of social media firm Snapchat, stands between the two brothers as the second-youngest).

Founded in 2011, Stripe is not widely known because it doesn't sell anything that consumers can buy. Instead its software systems enable companies around the world to more easily accept online payments and run their websites.

With more than 100,000 global customers, last year it announced a new round of funding that valued the company at $9.2bn (£7bn).

This means that John and Patrick are each worth at least $1.1bn, according to Forbes magazine, which is expert at calculating the wealth of the rich and famous.

Not bad for two brothers who grew up in rural Republic of Ireland, and who both dropped out of university.

Keen computer programmers as teenagers, John and Patrick grew up in a small village in County Tipperary, in the west of the country.

John Collison (left) and brother PatrickImage copyrightSTRIPE

Image captionJohn (left) and his brother Patrick both became millionaires before they went to university

After attending a state secondary school in the city of Limerick, their choice of universities was an indication of their ambition in life.

Not for them a college in Ireland or the UK, they instead both decided to study at top US institutions.

Despite no family connections in the US, Patrick successfully applied to study maths at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, near Boston in 2007. Two years later John was accepted nearby, at the equally well respected Harvard University.

John says: "It was obviously easier for me because Patrick had already done it, but we'd both developed a bit of wanderlust.

"I had considered the UK, but that wasn't far enough away, it wasn't wandering enough. And both of us were studious, so going to a top college in the US was always tempting."

Stripe employeesImage copyrightSTRIPE

Image captionStripe's world headquarters is in San Francisco, while its European office is in Dublin

But even before John had started at Harvard, he and his brother had already become millionaires thanks to their first business venture, a software firm that enabled small firms and sole traders to do business more easily on the auction website eBay.

Ultimately called Auctomatic, it was sold in 2008 for $5m (£3.8m) a year after they had set up its first iteration.

The brothers then turned their attention to Stripe, and continued to work on it together after John started at Harvard. They then both dropped out of university to launch Stripe in Silicon Valley, California.

John says: "We came up with Stripe the way a lot of people come up with similar ideas - we were in the market for something like Stripe [that we could use].

"You might wonder what is hard about starting an [online] business. Creating a product that people actually want to buy, and getting them to hear about it, all that we could handle. But getting money from people over the internet was extremely difficult.

A Deliveroo riderImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionDeliveroo is another of Stripe's customers, who total more than 100,000 companies of all sizes

"I remember saying to Patrick 'how hard can it be? Maybe we should give it a try?'."

So they set about developing a software system that allows firms of all sizes to more easily collect payments, and run other parts of their websites, such as safely storing customer data, and other security systems.

Despite numerous competitors, Stripe's user numbers quickly grew, and it secured funding and support from such technology sector heavyweights as Tesla boss Elon Musk, and Paypal founder Peter Thiel.

Its business model is relatively straightforward - it charges customers an amount per transaction processed using its software. In the UK this is 1.4% of the value of the transaction plus 20p.

presentational grey line

More The Boss features, which every week profile a different business leader from around the world:

presentational grey line

While Stripe doesn't release details of its annual revenues, the firm's $9.2bn valuation suggests it is a lucrative business. And when it comes to further growth potential, John is supremely confident.

"Only 5% of consumer spending globally currently happens online, and we want to help increase that.

"We are indexed to the growth of the internet economy. As long as the internet economy continues to grow, Stripe will continue to grow.

Elon MuskImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionTesla boss Elon Musk is an investor in Stripe

"I don't know about you, but I think that is a very safe thing to bet on."

Today Stripe has 750 employees, including 500 in San Francisco, and 150 overseas, including European offices in Dublin, London, Paris and Berlin.

Technology journalist Martin Veitch contributing editor to tech website IDG Connect, says it isn't surprising that Stripe is receiving so much attention, but he cautions that it remains a young business.

"Any company that has the potential to be a de facto standard in web business operations will generate almost cult-like interest, and that is what the brothers have done in online and mobile payments," he says.

"But this is a competitive space… Stripe's valuation might make some of us weep with envy, but these remain very early days."

On a day-to-day basis John, who has the title of president, says that he spends more time dealing with external matters, such as sales deals and partnerships, while Patrick focuses most on internal matters, such as engineering.

In their spare time they share an apartment in San Francisco that must be some bachelor pad.

Just don't ask them what it is like to be a billionaire.

"Mostly it [the billionaire thing] is just a calculator exercise," says John. "The valuation is predicated on us continuing to execute and launch very compelling products in a highly competitive space - so good signs, but still a lot to do."

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
corner spacer corner
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 20th Nov 2017

Star Wars Battlefront IIImage copyrightEA GAMES

Games publisher EA has suspended in-game purchases in its latest Star Wars title Battlefront II, following criticism from players.

Gamers had complained that unlocking popular characters such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader took too long unless they paid for credits.

EA said in-game purchases would be halted because it did not want the controversy to "overshadow" the game.

But it said the ability to buy game currency would return.

'Insidious'

In Battlefront II, players earn credits by completing campaigns. The credits can be spent to unlock new items and characters in the game.

Players and reviewers were disappointed that earning credits through gameplay took several hours, and that there was a cap on the number of credits that could be earned in Arcade Mode each day.

The game was "diseased by an insidious microtransaction model that creates an uneven battlefield," wrote Andrew Reiner in a review for Game Informer..

Others argued that it was unfair to encourage microtransactions in a game that typically cost between £49.99 and £69.99 in the UK, or $60 in the US.

EA initially responded by reducing the number of credits required to unlock in-game upgrades by 75% - but it also reduced the amount earned by playing campaigns.

It has now temporarily halted microtransactions. "Sorry we didn't get this right," it said in a statement.

"The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we've made changes to the game. We'll share more details as we work through this."

The announcement was met with scepticism on Reddit, where players had raised complaints about the game.

"According to their statement, EA is disabling in-game purchases only temporarily. In other words, they're waiting for the Reddit hive mind to get mad about something else and three weeks later they'll put it back to how it was," suggested one gamer.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
corner spacer corner
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 16th Nov 2017

Discus Systems was founded in 1997 to meet the demand from small and medium-sized businesses in our local area for IT support and service. Originally based in Coleshill to the south-east of Birmingham, in 2010 we expanded beyond the capability of our office and moved to prestigious new premises in Hampton in Arden, Solihull. From here, we are ideally located to provide IT support throughout the West Midlands, covering Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Tamworth, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bromsgrove, Derby and Redditch... [More]

Click here for... IT Support Business Birmingham Pricing

 
corner spacer corner
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 15th Nov 2017

It's not just Russia - they're all at it, warns Freedom House

At least 30 governments are using dodgy social media tactics for propaganda and manipulation

Sacha Baron Cohen in the film The Dictator. Image courtesy of Paramount Films

Governments around the world are "dramatically" using dodgy social media tactics to undermine democracy, according to a report published this week.

The latest Freedom on the Net report, published by Freedom House, claims that many governments are increasingly manipulating information on social media for their own political ends.

This is threatening the use of the internet as a liberating form of communication between individuals, the civil liberties group claims. 

 

Online manipulation and disinformation tactics were used in elections of around 18 countries in the last year, Freedom House claims, including the US presidential elections. 

Citizens are struggling to choose leaders based on factual news and authentic information because there's an influx of manipulated content appearing on their screens.

In Turkey, around 6,000 are believed to be employed by the government to fight political opponents on social media sites

Internet freedom has declined for a seventh consecutive year, and there's also been a rise in disruption in mobile internet service and technical attacks against human rights organisations.

The report looked at the internet freedom of 65 countries, covering 87 per cent of internet users, and focused on developments between June 2016 and May 2017.

Governments in 30 of these countries are using manipulation tools to distort online information, compared to 23 per cent last year. They're using paid commentators, trolls, bots and false news sites to influence citizens.

The Philippines is a prolific example of a country deploying such technologies. Its government has tasked a keyboard army to make people believe it's cracking down on the drug trade.

And in Turkey, around 6,000 are believed to be employed by the government to fight political opponents on social media sites. There's also Russia's accused meddling in the American presidential election, which was plagued by fake news.

At least 15 countries have restricted internet freedom as well. For instance, Ukraine has stopped citizens from accessing Russia-based services.

The fabrication of grassroots support for government policies on social media creates a closed loop in which the regime essentially endorses itself

Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, said: "The use of paid commentators and political bots to spread government propaganda was pioneered by China and Russia but has now gone global.

"The effects of these rapidly spreading techniques on democracy and civic activism are potentially devastating."

Sanja Kelly, director of the Freedom on the Net project, said: "Governments are now using social media to suppress dissent and advance an antidemocratic agenda.

"Not only is this manipulation difficult to detect, it is more difficult to combat than other types of censorship, such as website blocking, because it's dispersed and because of the sheer number of people and bots deployed to do it."

"The fabrication of grassroots support for government policies on social media creates a closed loop in which the regime essentially endorses itself, leaving independent groups and ordinary citizens on the outside."

Source: v3.co.uk
 
corner spacer corner
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 15th Nov 2017

George Orwell clearly lacked imagination...

Companies can track customers with just one click, warns Cambridge University study with Facebook and other social media platforms providing the basis for sophisticated pyschological profiling and targeting

Winston Smith wasn't watched as closely as the average internet user today

A team of university academics claim that companies can track people online with just one click.

Dr  Sandra Matz, a former PhD student at Cambridge now based at Columbia University, worked with Dr David Stillwell from the Cambridge University Psychometrics Centre to explore psychological targeting. 

Almost every step you take online is recorded: the websites you visit, the purchases you make, the songs you listen to, the messages you post or read on social sites

They've just published a study demonstrating that companies need just need one Facebook like to target potential customers and access user data effectively.

 

"Whether you like it or not, almost every step you take online is recorded: the websites you visit, the purchases you make, the songs you listen to, the messages you post or read on social sites, and the pages you follow on Facebook," the researchers claimed.

"These digital footprints provide a treasure trove of data that can reveal not only what you like and how you see the world, but also who you are as a person.

Organisations are putting together persuasive measures based on core psychological profiles, such as if someone is extroverted or introverted

Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the study found that companies are using digital footprints to track and  influence the behaviour of internet users.

Organisations are putting together persuasive measures based on core psychological profiles, such as if someone is extroverted or introverted. From this, they can increase click rates and sales.

"The basic principle behind this form of personalised persuasion is not new: marketing practitioners have long used behavioural and demographic data to target consumers with customised messages," they believe.

"What is new, however, is the ability to identify and target audiences based on psychological traits that reflect people's preferences and needs at a much deeper and instinctual level. "

Psychological targeting, however, can focus on a person's fundamental character traits and psychological needs

The researchers said businesses are shifting away from demographic-based marketing approaches. "Prior targeting might have focused on demographic or behavioural attributes such as ‘women ages 18-45' who searched for the term ‘Soccer World Cup on Google between 2-4pm'.

"Psychological targeting, however, can focus on a person's fundamental character traits and psychological needs, which are known to explain and predict preferences in a broad variety of contexts."

In three studies, the academics used Facebook to target over 3.5 million users and gain an understanding of their psychological traits.

"While previous research has shown that one can accurately predict people's psychological traits after getting their permission to access to their Facebook profiles, we leveraged inherent features of the Facebook advertising platform to target our ads at consumer segments of different psychological profiles," they said.

Psychological targeting could be used to exploit weaknesses in people's character and persuade them to take action against their best interest

"For example, if liking ‘socialising' on Facebook correlates with the personality trait of extroversion, and liking ‘Stargate' goes hand in hand with introversion, then targeting users associated with each of these Likes allows us to separately target extroverted and introverted audiences.

There are both good and bad implications of this tracking approach, the academics said.

"The ability to influence the behaviour of large groups of people by tailoring persuasive messages to their psychological needs could be used to help people make better decisions, and lead healthier and happier lives.

"On the other hand, psychological targeting could be used to exploit weaknesses in people's character and persuade them to take action against their best interest.

"For example, online casinos could target ads at individuals who have psychological traits associated with pathological gambling. In fact, psychological targeting has been covered extensively in the context of its ability to influence the outcome of elections.

"While the veracity of these claims remains uncertain, our findings illustrate how psychological mass persuasion could be used to manipulate people to behave in ways that are neither in their best interest nor in the best interest of society." 

Source: v3.co.uk
 
corner spacer corner
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 15th Nov 2017

Is your CCTV system GDPR compliant?

Andrew Charlesworth explains that one aspect of GDPR that’s easily missed is that it applies to all CCTV systems – from a single camera monitoring an entrance to a large public system.

Organisations are putting themselves at risk of breaching the GDPR because they’re failing to realise that the new regulations cover their CCTV systems and the visual data they collect. These are the words of Andrew Charlesworth, Reader in IT Law at the University of Bristol, and come just over six months until the GDPR becomes law.

In a white paper written for Cloudview, Charlesworth says that because CCTV systems have been lightly regulated until now, there is a danger that users will not understand their obligations under the new legislation. New IP-based systems can expose operators to significant data protection and privacy risks, but he uses a recent court case to show how data protection legislation applies to all CCTV systems which record and store visual data, both public and private.

Charlesworth cites a dispute earlier this year between two householders in Scotland where one recorded and stored data covering the other’s private property and from which they could be identified. This resulted in damages of more than £17,000 for distress caused – and the court was not asked to consider whether data was kept appropriately secure and met other data protection requirements, which would also be considerations for data controllers running CCTV systems. Potential fines under the GDPR are much greater, up to €20 million or four per cent of turnover, whichever is higher.

As there is no compulsory registration process it is difficult to get an accurate estimate of CCTV cameras in the UK. In 2015 the British Security Industry Association said there were between four and six million cameras. Cloudview’s own research suggests there are currently around 8.2 million cameras, all of which will need to comply with the GDPR.

‘Changing technology created the need for the GDPR, altering both the data protection environment and public perceptions of what constitutes acceptable data processing,’ explains Charlesworth.

‘From May all CCTV operators will have to be proactive in assessing, improving and ‘evergreening’ their compliance efforts – tickbox compliance will no longer be sufficient. However, GDPR provides a significant opportunity to enhance the industry’s public image as a valued and trusted service, rather than an unaccountable and privacy invasive ‘eye in the sky’.

‘The judge’s final comments in the case of Woolley v Akbar2 are telling – the default position is that any professional (individual or organisation) setting up a surveillance system will be aware of the potential impact of their activities on data subjects, and be familiar with the application of relevant law and guidance.’

‘As Andrew points out, there are already precedents for fining CCTV users who breach existing data protection legislation,’ adds James Wickes, CEO and co-founder of Cloudview.

‘Users need to assess their CCTV systems alongside the rest of their IT, and remember that the law applies to everything from a single camera monitoring the entrance to their office or home to a larger system used in a business, housing or public spaces.

‘The good news is that the GDPR gives CCTV users an opportunity to tackle what is often a negative image and take the lead in demonstrating accountability and privacy protection. They can also use new technologies such as cloud, which enable them to meet the new regulations while improving data accessibility and security.’

 

Click here to view the original article ‘Is your CCTV system GDPR compliant?’

Source: dottydirectory.com
 
corner spacer corner

Veeam Specialist Microsoft Small Business Specialists Birmingham Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Birmingham Siemens Solution 1 Reseller Birmingham Sonicwall Specialists Birmingham Business Link Approved Birmingham Fujitsu Primergy Certified Partner Birmingham Facebook Follow us on Twitter ESET NOD32 VMWare
IT Support
IT Services
IT Solutions
Get Support Now
Sitemap
© 2018 Discus Systems plc. All rights reserved. Content Management by Verve Digital