Edition 5 – Facebook Privacy, Blockchain Voting, Sun's Twin

by Kartik Chaturvedi

August 30, 2020

Interesting News

Facebook apologizes to users for Apple’s monstrous efforts to protect privacy – The Register

With Apple’s upcoming operating system, iOS 14, apps will not be able to track and collect user data without explicit permission from the user. With this change, Facebook, which makes most of its revenue by tracking users and selling customer data to advertisers, is having sleepless nights and is preparing its advertisers for a “more than 50% drop in revenue” if tracking data is not collected, something Facebook calls harmless “personalization data”. Facebook’s privacy and security issues have been highlighted and are well-known, and it’s lack of concern for personal privacy has made it infamous. Now, with iOS 14’s updated privacy controls, Facebook might have to find a new way to make money that does not involve selling personal user data.

US Postal Service Files Blockchain Voting Patent – Schneier On Security

Many in the tech community were surprised to see that the USPS has filed a patent for a blockchain-based voting system. Blockchain is a much-hyped system in which transactions are stored in a “digital distributed ledger” that, in theory, provides security and prevents tampering. However, in practice, blockchain is a lot less promising, and usually ends up being a marketing and attention factor for a system that is otherwise just a normal app or website. The same seems to be the case with this USPS voting patent. At least this way, by jumping on the blockchain hype bandwagon, our crumbling public technological infrastructure might get the overdue upgrade it needs.

Astronomers think our Sun may have a long lost twin – WSJ

Billions of years ago, our solar system might have been a binary star system. This would explain how our solar system was able to catch most of its outermost objects, like the Oort cloud and the mysterious Planet Nine. These objects are only barely bound by the Sun’s gravity – but it would be impossible for the Sun to catch them and change their orbit as they passed by billions of years ago.

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