Why I've Never Mixed Weed With Virtual Reality

Wired 20 Apr 2019 05:27 VR and cannabis might seem like natural complements, but to combine them strips both of their transformative power. Getty Images When I was 17 years old, two things held particular sway over my imagination. One of them was virtual reality. Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash and the movie Lawnmower Man both came out that year, and while I had never heard of the technology that was bubbling through labs and startups thousands of miles from my Midwestern home, the idea of entering and truly existing inside a digital world became a source of endless fascination. The other thing was—well, the other thing was weed. First off, yes, obviously. It's one of the great vice-based rites of passage. But smoking unlocked something transformative in my brain. It wasn't necessarily that it rendered aesthetic experiences more vivid (which it did), or that the euphoria that came along with that beat the hell out of most of the other emotions that otherwise define adolescence (which it did). It was that creativity and communication seemed to happen on a different frequency, a range uncluttered by self-consciousness and second guessing. Related Stories Peter Rubin Coming Attractions: The Rise of VR Porn Peter Rubin What a Real Wedding in a Virtual Space Says About the Future Matt Simon The WIRED Guide to Cannabis More than 25 years later, in news that would probably thrill 17-year-old me, both of those things are still part of my life. I've written about VR since it first reemerged in the early part of this decade. I've used it to meditate, to spend time with friends, to travel through space, and sometimes just to watch Netflix in a place that isn't my living room. I have no idea how much time I've spent inside a headset, but between the exotic and the pedestrian it's likely enough to qualify for dual citizenship with the metaverse. As for cannabis: hell, it's California. In New York, I had a delivery guy who kept his inventory in a fake tennis-ball can. Here, I can walk into a store, browse a laminated menu, and walk out with any one of dozens of strains, optimized for whatever mood or medium I prefer. You have a glass of wine with dinner, I have a little Gelato with some added terpenes. (Operative term here being "a little." I'm not 17 anymore.) I've used it to meditate, to spend time with friends, to travel through—you get it. So it's with great trepidation that on this, the holiest most annoying of days, that I unburden myself: I have never used VR while high. Never even considered it, despite their seemingly synergistic natures. And even though this pattern established itself organically, I've come to realize that it distills everything I think (and fear) about immersive technologies, and about the age of simulated experience that they herald. As our screens and speakers and computers got better and better over the last 50 years, each new wrinkle brought with it an unspoken cultural dare: That high-def TV is cool, but did you ever watch it … on weed? Surround Sound, IMAX screens as tall as your apartment building, Pixar and ILM wizardry that made the impossible real. The draw wasn't in a bigger, louder, sharper experience—it was how much more mind-blowing it would be in conjunction with tetrahydrocannabinol. Then flat screens gave way to something much, much realer, and the calculation changed considerably. Had VR come along when I was in high school or college, rolling blunts or trying to achieve orbit via three-foot bong, I definitely would have crossed the streams. Alteration wasn't just intrinsic to the experience, it was the very thing that I chased. As time passed, though, I sought just the opposite. Cannabis became a conduit into myself, a way to better notice my reactions and patterns, to look at my life and relationships from a different perspective. The immediate effects would fade, but I would retain an emotional memory of the experience—a memory that added to those that came before and after it, gradually coalescing into a clearer sense of self. VR initiates a similar progression of alteration to awareness. Presence, the phenomenon by which your brain buys in to your virtual surroundings, brings with it a rush of novelty, an existential whoa-man that leaves you immediately wanting to turn up the intensity. Over time, though, you settle into presence and learn that it unlocks something much more replicable and sustainable than killer adrenaline-rush experiences—it deepens the time you spend with people, and with yourself. I don't know that I'd articulated any of that to myself when VR became a part of my life. What I sensed was that what I was doing and seeing and hearing and most of all feeling in virtual reality needed no embellishment. VR was, by its very nature, as still and centering as the perspective I'd come to relish from cannabis. I'm not alone in my abstinence. Jaron Lanier, the father of modern virtual reality, famously eschews all drugs, but in his 2017 memoir, Dawn of the New Everything, he spends a bit of time exploring the parallels between VR and a famous psychedelic: VR is sometimes compared to LSD, but VR users can share a world objectively, even if it is fantastical, while LSD users cannot. VR worlds will require design and engineering effort, and will be best when you are willing to make the effort to create and share your own experiences. It will be like riding a bike, not a roller-coaster ride. Could you chomp an edible and head into a trippy celestial adventure? Go for it. For me, doing so would reduce VR to a spectacle, when in truth it's more of a substrate—for exploration both internal and external. No need to overwhelm your senses when you're redefining them altogether. More Great WIRED Stories Helvetica, the world's most popular font, gets a face-lift What gets lost in the black horror renaissance A new strategy for treating cancer, thanks to Darwin How a scammy phone call led to the robocall king Why a new crop of electric SUV batteries comes up short 💻Upgrade your work game with our Gear team's favorite laptops, keyboards, typing alternatives, and noise-canceling headphones 📩 Want more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories
Read More

Space Photos of the Week: Mooooooon Shadow, Moon Shadow

Wired 20 Apr 2019 02:00 NASA has big plans to go back to the moon, so the first order of business is to look into lunar locations where resources are accessible. One of those prime spots is its southern pole, where water ice is hidden in shadowed craters. This black and white photo, taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows the Shackleton crater in the center—one of several craters in the south that is permanently in shadow and likely contains a large amount of water ice. Mars goes technicolor in this elongated image. This stretch of land is the plains between Chryse and Acidalia Planitias, which like so much of Mars has a pretty active past. The darker blues indicate basaltic rocks, formed during the region’s violent volcanic history; the oranges are formations created by the wind, and as such are called windstreaks. You can even see how the material has been lifted up around the crater and pushed south. In February, comet C2018 Y1 Iwamoto flew past the Earth some 56 million miles away. The Neowise space telescope captured it in infrared with four different exposures, which is why it appears in the image as a series of red smudges. The hotter stars appear blue here, whereas the colder dust and ice from the comet are rendered in red. This is a “preplanetary” nebula called the Egg Nebula. And it has nothing to do with eggs or planets, despite its name; it was created by a dying star shedding its outer layers. These kinds of nebulae exist in this state for only a few thousand years as they evolve into planetary nebulae. The dark bands and jutting white arms are material left over from a star that was not very different from our Sun. Once the expiring star (hidden from view in the center by dust and debris) eventually stops spitting out material, its remaining core heats up. Then the surrounding gas gets excited and set aglow and transitions into a planetary nebula, which again has nothing to do with planets; the name comes from its shape. This photo has a lot going on, so let’s break it down: First, that vertical band of starlight is an arm of our Milky Way, and those telescopes are called the Four Unit telescopes at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Cerro Paranal, Chile. Also note the bright orange laser pointed toward the sky: That’s used as a guide star to calibrate the telescope. By pointing the laser up, researchers can tell how turbulent the atmosphere is and can better prepare for a night of observing. Messier 3, how you sparkle! Astronomers adore this globular cluster, and it’s no mystery why: It’s one of the most massive ever discovered in our universe, containing a whopping 500,000 stars. Many of those stars are variable stars, which vary in brightness, and a good number are newer and more luminous stars called blue stragglers. They all were formed at more or less the same time, 8 billion years ago. You may have heard that NASA has plans to go back to the moon in the 2020s, but the agency is not aiming to land just anywhere. Engineers want to study the dark side of the moon, seeking out deposits of water ice there. Turns out there are regions and many craters on the moon that are always in shadow, and therefore rather frosty. But what good is a bunch of lunar ice? Well, hydrogen and oxygen are useful. If we can get robots and humans back up to the moon, they might be able to dig up that ice and convert it into fuel to power rockets. The oxygen from the water can also be used for life support for the crew. From our new lunar station, we head to NASA’s next dream destination—Mars. Then we’ll check out a comet that made its (relatively) close approach to Earth, where a NASA telescope caught it red-handed. We also visit a dying star that’s left a mess of debris everywhere around it, but don’t let that get you down, for we’re closing out with one of the largest globular clusters ever found, Messier 3. This behemoth holds some half a million sparklers dating back 8 billion years. When you’re weary, feeling small, your time will come to shine. All of WIRED’s space photos are on their way, here. More Great WIRED Stories The FBI wanted an iPhone backdoor. Tim Cook said no Keeping pinball history alive, one flipper at a time Climate change threatens ice roads. Satellites could help The evolution of stereotypical color-coded childhoods A viral crime, genetic evidence, and a perplexed jury ✨Optimize your home life with our Gear team's best picks, from robot vacuums to affordable mattresses to smart speakers. 📩 Want more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories
Read More

The Wilsons From 'Us' Are Our New Favorite Horror Family

Wired 20 Apr 2019 01:00 In the new Jordan Peele movie Us, the four members of the Wilson family are haunted by a quartet of creepy doppelgängers. Fantasy author Tananarive Due, who teaches classes on black horror at UCLA, is ecstatic about the movie.“It’s this beautiful, glorious moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” Due says in Episode 357 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “Which is a black family on vacation in a horror movie, just loving each other, and everyone being smart and engaging and believable.” Horror author Craig Laurance Gidney enjoyed seeing a movie about a black family that is prosperous enough to own a summer home and—in one of the film’s best running gags—a boat. “A lot of people think that people of color all come from the same lower class, especially in film, especially in Hollywood,” Gidney says. “And it was nice to see this intact family get together and sort of play around with one another.” When danger threatens, the Wilsons quickly leap into action. Film critic Evan Narcisse found that very believable, given that many black families are highly attuned to potential hostility. “They’re responding to the threat without a lot of disbelief or being stunned,” Narcisse says. “And to me that felt like Jordan Peele channeling a part of the black experience that is not spoken about very often.” Due hopes to see many more families like the Wilsons in future movies. “As a creator, this is a wildly exciting time,” she says. “There’s never been a better time to be a black creator in Hollywood, period. Especially in genre.” Listen to the complete interview with Tananarive Due, Craig Laurance Gidney, and Evan Narcisse in Episode 357 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below. Tananarive Due on Jason Wilson: “As the mother of a child who is on the spectrum, who is actually named ‘Jason,’ I was like, oh my gosh, this kid has ADHD or there’s something—[there is] a lot of repetitive motion, the mask-wearing, the way his parents were so understanding of his inappropriate outbursts. This is not something that just happened now, this happens all the time. And it’s Jason, though, who has the most understanding, once you’re out of our reality and you go through the veil. … Because not being that firmly rooted in reality, when reality takes a turn, he can follow it much more easily than they can.” Evan Narcisse on white characters: “I asked Jordan [Peele] this outright. ‘Did you do them how they do us?’ And he’s like, ‘Come on, you know, yes.’ He very much confirmed that. You know, usually if it’s a primarily white production, when black characters show up they’re seasoning, they’re sidekicks, they’re not the main dish. But that wasn’t the case here. So he kind of inverted that paradigm, I thought to hilarious effect. To the point where Tim Heidecker‘s character was almost entirely comic relief. … It was a conscious effort to center a black family, and black performers, in this movie.” Tananarive Due on Black Horror: “Sometimes you do get people not understanding—’Why do you have to have black horror?’—which is just saying, ‘Why do you have to exist?’ Basically that’s what that question actually means. But we are absolutely at a turning point in our culture now where we can move away from all these tired and insulting tropes of ‘the sacrificial negro,’ ‘the first to die,’ ‘the magical negro.’ It’s almost as if—in horror—if the screenwriter adds a black character, I’m automatically suspicious: ‘Why is this black person here? How are they going to misuse this character?’ And so often you’re not disappointed.” Evan Narcisse on Us vs. Black Panther: “If we can use heroism to talk about surviving through adverse circumstances, [Us] shows a kind of heroism that is more quotidian. It’s just familiar in a way, where you don’t have to have a secret African nation and a heart-shaped herb and an ultra-rare mineral resource to access that kind of heroism. So it was its ordinariness that I thought was really radical. The Wilson family—the main family—they could be your neighbors. They’re not from a secret nation that resisted colonialism. They’re just the folks next door. And I think that is really refreshing.” More Great WIRED Stories Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.
Read More

Facebook Fails, Russian Hacks, and More Security News This Week

Wired 20 Apr 2019 01:00 Max Oppenheim/Getty Images After months of anticipation and fevered speculation by supporters and critics alike, the public finally laid eyes on the most important release of the past 25 years, its secrets guarded by a famously tight-lipped team up until the very end. That's right, Beyoncé dropped a new album this week. Scholars will analyze its influence for years to come. Robert Mueller's report also came out, at least in redacted form. Over 448 pages, the Special Counsel's Office details its investigation into Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, and then, in volume II, President Trump's efforts to block or stop that very investigation. The special counsel did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, but Garrett M. Graff writes that the report diverges sharply from attorney general William Barr's rosy portrayal of its findings. As Washington, DC digests the report, political pressure is mounting for Congress to act. "The discovery of a new, sophisticated team of hackers spying on dozens of government targets is never good news," writes Andy Greenberg. But that's what happened this week! On Wednesday, researchers revealed that a hacking group called Sea Turtle hit 40 organizations in a serious DNS hijacking spree, and compromised the internet domains of entire countries in the process. Andy also wrote about an ongoing cybersecurity mystery: Someone, or some group, has been systematically dumping the secret data, tools, and identities of an Iranian hacking team to a public Telegram channel. It's unclear who is behind the campaign, which began in March, but one security researcher analyzing the leak said, "They do seem to have something out for these guys. They’re naming and shaming, not just dropping tools." Closer to home, the Manhattan district attorney's office offered an intriguing glimpse into the rise and fall of sinmed, one of the dark web's biggest drug vendors. And it all started two years ago, with a good, old-fashioned tip about suspicious ATM withdrawals. That's what makes this dark web case intriguing and, as Brian Barrett explains, evidence that law enforcement at all levels—and not just the federal—are becoming more capable of cracking down on these crimes. And if you're a user of a Microsoft email service, this one might hit closest of all: Hackers had full access to an unknown number of Outlook, MSN, and Hotmail email accounts for months—and Microsoft's customer service platform was the key. All it took was a single set of stolen credentials. While Microsoft has not revealed the exact number of accounts affected, the incident shows how such support systems are, as one expert noted, "a big security hole waiting to happen." There's more! Each week we round up all the news WIRED didn’t cover in depth. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there. Facebook: Oops, We Uploaded Millions of Peoples' Email Contact Lists It's hard to remember the last time Facebook deserved the benefit of the doubt, if ever. So when the company admitted that it "unintentionally uploaded" the email contacts of 1.5 million users this week, eyebrows understandably arched. That's especially because the issue stemmed from Facebook's controversial nudge to some users to provide their passwords for third-party services. Facebook says it will delete the contacts, which, you'll be excused for believing it when you see it. Facebook: Oops, Millions of Instagram Passwords Were Exposed Oh, hello again! On Mueller Report Day, Facebook conveniently remembered to update everyone on that plaintext password snafu last month. You might recall that the company said at the time that tens of thousands of Instagram users had their passwords exposed? Turns out it was millions of Instagram users. The company appended a note to its original blog post about the incident on Thursday morning, slipping it right in between attorney general William Barr's press conference and the actual release of the redacted report. Reporters at Tech Crunch and other outlets still managed to spot the news, though. Did Kaspersky Hire a Spy to Investigate Its Critics? Security firm Kaspersky has long been plagued by rumors that it has inappropriate ties to the Russian government. One news item that might not help? A report from the Associated Press this week that someone who appears to be a spy appears to have targeted Kaspersky critics, including cybersecurity experts, over the last several months. Kaspersky declined to comment—which means it also didn't refute the reporting—because the one thing that will make people less suspicious of you is being associated with what appears to be an operative working on your behalf under false pretenses. Mueller Report says Russia Hacked a Florida County's Network Alongside its much-anticipated topics, the Mueller Report, released on Thursday, contains an unexpected detail about Russia’s 2016 election meddling. The report claims that the GRU infiltrated an election-related network in an unspecified Florida county. “The FBI believes that this operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government,” the report says. Until now, no government official or release has mentioned an actual election network compromise during the 2016 season. DHS officials and others said that they had detected “probing” and disinformation efforts, but no successful network intrusion. Election and national security officials in Florida and around the country told CNN that they do not know what the report is referring to and have not heard of such an incident—even in classified discussions. More Great WIRED Stories The FBI wanted an iPhone backdoor. Tim Cook said no Keeping pinball history alive, one flipper at a time Climate change threatens ice roads. Satellites could help The evolution of stereotypical color-coded childhoods A viral crime, genetic evidence, and a perplexed jury ✨Optimize your home life with our Gear team's best picks, from robot vacuums to affordable mattresses to smart speakers. 📩 Want more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories
Read More

18 Best Easter Sales for 2019: Apple, Amazon, and More Tech

Wired 20 Apr 2019 12:00 Josh Valcarcel Last week, we mentioned that Apple is clearing out the last of its much-mourned, beloved iPhone SE. When it came out, we referred to it as "a masterpiece of design" and some of us (guilty) hung onto our pink, compact phones for much, much longer than we should have. As we state in our iPhone buying guide, these older models lack the processing power to keep up with newer apps, and Apple could cut off software updates at any time. But that hasn't stopped many of us from longing for a phone that would actually fit into our pockets, hands, and hearts. If you fit this description, you'll be thrilled to know that Apple is still selling unlocked 32 GB models in the rose gold and gold colors. Happy Easter! And if you'd prefer to hang on to your gigantic phone, there's no need to fear. There are plenty of other deals on Garmins, gaming monitors, and other sales this week. The iPhone SE 32 GB costs $249 ($100 off) (Note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.) TV and Gaming Deals Vizio Overwatch: Legendary Edition - PS4 - for $18 ($42 off): This is a great deal on one of our favorite games. TheXbox One version is also discounted. Just Dance 2019 - Nintendo Switch - for $18 ($22 off): We admit, this didn't make our list of favorite Switch games. But if you're not going to dance your butt off to Ariana Grande, who will? Vizio 65-Inch 4K Smart TV for $1,000 ($300 off): Even the premium versions of Vizio's smart 4K TVs are reasonably priced. This one comes with a $250 Dell gift card. Xbox One Wireless Controller for $37 ($13 off): This controller has a textured grip and up to twice the wireless range of previous Xbox controllers. For more fun extras, check out our Xbox buying guide. SanDisk 200 GB MicroSD Card for $25 ($13 off): This is a great card for Android-based smartphones, tablets, and the Nintendo Switch! Computer and Tablet Deals Apple Acer 34-Inch Ultrawide Gaming Monitor for $400 ($200 off): This curved gaming monitor has 3,440 x 1,440 pixel resolution, a 100Hz refresh rate, and 4ms response time. We also just love ultrawides. They're great for multitasking. Apple iPad (Latest Model) 128 GB for $354 ($76 off): This discount might not last much longer, but we aren't sure. It's also on sale at Amazon. If you're shopping around for an iPad, be sure to take a look at our iPad buying guide. Apple iPad Pro 64 GB for $675 ($124 off): The iPad Pro was on sale a couple weeks ago, and the price has gone down even more. Outside of its high price, this is our favorite iPad. Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch 128 GB for $1,080 ($119 off): This is our pick for the best all-around MacBook. For more options, check out our guide to buying the best MacBook for you. Home, Audio, and Outdoors Deals [[[[Echo Dot and Ring Image]]]] Tile Pro 2-Pack w/ Replaceable Batteries for $47 ($13 off): I (Adrienne) have these and they're awesome for connecting to your key rings, waist pack, or what have you. The replaceable battery was a huge upgrade from the original Tile Pro, and you can replace it yourself. TP-Link Smart Plug 2-Pack for $23 ($27 off): Are you constantly leaving your lights to burn and waste energy all day while you're at work? A smart plug is a great way to fix that problem. Amazon Echo Dot 3-Pack for $70 ($50 off): The new Echo Dot sounds a lot clearer than the previous versions. It's a good way to add basic voice commands to a room. Just add three Dots to your cart to see the deal. Ring Stick Up Cam Wired HD Security Camera + Amazon Echo Dot for $150 ($80 off): Ring specializes in security systems that are easy to install and require no prior technical knowledge, and this looks like its easiest-to-use camera yet. We have this product in-house but haven't tested it yet. TP-Link Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System for $155 ($145 off): If you're still uncertain of why you should switch to a mesh system, we explain it for you here. JBL Soundboost 2 Moto Mod for $35 ($45 off): If you've ever wished your phone had better speakers, you're in luck. Just snap this mod on the back of your phone and it will connect automatically. It has 2 x 3 watts of amplification, is splashproof, and has a 10-hour battery life. It works great with the Moto Z3. Apple Watch Series 3 GPS for $229 ($80 off): If you don't need an ECG reading, there's no reason why the much cheaper Series 3 won't serve you just as well as a fitness tracker instead of the more expensive Series 4. Garmin Fenix 5 Performer Bundle for $427 ($143 off): This is an amazing price for a high-end, GPS-enabled fitness tracker that also comes with the (usually) more accurate heart rate chest strap. More Great WIRED Stories Are humans fit for space? A study says maybe not Tips for getting the most out of Spotify The impressionistic tracings of airplane lights at night Coding is for everyone—as long as you speak English Inside Airbnb’s “guerrilla war” against local governments 🎧Things not sounding right? Check out our favorite wireless headphones, soundbars, and bluetooth speakers 📩 Want more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories
Read More

New York launches privacy survey to improve state regulations

Digital Marketing Magazine 18 Apr 2019 08:00 On Tuesday, New York State (NYS) customer protection officials launched a data privacy consumer survey to give New Yorkers the chance to give their opinion on current data privacy issues and to influence future policies. The initiative comes as an investigation being led by New York State suggests that Facebook is accessing personal data without the users’ consent. Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo has said: “In the Digital Age, nearly every New Yorker has an online presence and consumers are an important resource for identifying ways to make the internet safer,” “This survey will provide policymakers with important insight into data privacy issues that will inform our efforts to create effective policy that prevents online companies from misusing or abusing personal data,” he added. The survey asks NYS residents about their knowledge of privacy settings on their smart devices, their knowledge about the data they share with social media networks and asks them what policies would help to make them feel safer online. Senator Kevin Thomas of NYS has praised the campaign in a statement: “I applaud Governor Cuomo and the Division of Consumer Protection for taking a hard look at privacy policies for popular online companies. By hearing directly from New Yorkers about their online practices, we can develop and enact rules and regulations that strengthen consumer protections.” Consumer protection officials strongly recommend that New Yorkers to check their privacy settings and ensure they know what information is readily available online and act accordingly. GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/ Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Read More

ICO fines funeral plan firm for unlawful marketing calls

Digital Marketing Magazine 17 Apr 2019 07:45 The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) wants people to support their elderly relatives or neighbours if they are receiving nuisance marketing calls. The appeal came as a company selling funeral plans was fined £80,000 for making unlawful marketing calls to people who had made it explicitly clear they didn’t want to receive them. The ICO launched an investigation after a national newspaper had reported allegations of illegal practices at a call centre in Cheshire, run by a company which at the time was called Plan My Funeral Avalon Ltd. The investigation revealed the company – which shortly afterwards changed its name to Avalon Direct Limited – had made almost 52,000 calls to people who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) between 1 March and 20 November 2017. It is against the law to call people registered with the TPS, unless you have their specific consent. Avalon said it had purchased numbers from a third-party lead provider, but had no specific consent to call people registered on the TPS. It failed to carry out proper due diligence or check the numbers against the TPS register. Andy Curry, Enforcement Group Manager at the ICO, said: “The funeral plan industry has been on our radar for a while and it is fair to say the sector as a whole has had some issues in terms of complying with the law. That’s not always reflected in volumes of complaints, however, because the very nature of this particular sector means the people being targeted for funeral plan sales may be older, potentially more vulnerable and may not be as technologically savvy or as active online. “We would ask people to speak to their older relatives, neighbours or friends and make sure they are registered with the TPS. If they have still been getting nuisance calls, they can help report these calls to us as this helps us build up intelligence on companies and sectors where we need to take action.” As well as an online reporting tool on the ICO website, nuisance calls can also be reported via the helpline 0303 123 1113. People can register their landline and mobile numbers with the Telephone Preference Service via its website or by calling 0345 070 0707. The ICO’s investigation into Avalon found two of the company’s directors at the time of the contravention, had previously been involved in an unconnected ICO investigation and that the company involved in that case had been fined in January 2018 for carrying out unsolicited direct marketing. Those same two people were also the directors of the lead generator company used by Avalon for the data collection in this current case, so they would have been fully aware of their legal obligations surrounding direct marketing, consent and the TPS register. The ICO understands the directors concerned are no longer associated with Avalon. In addition to the fine, Avalon has also been served with an Enforcement Notice ordering it to improve its practices. GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/ Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Read More

ICO propose to ban likes and streaks for underage users

Digital Marketing Magazine 16 Apr 2019 07:30 The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has warned social media giants that they must enforce tougher controls in order to protect the data of users under the age of 18. Facebook has appeared in the news frequently in recent weeks facing reports of data breaches which has raised concerns for the protection of vulnerable users. But in a move to protect young user’s data and to prevent them from oversharing their personal information, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat along with other major social media platforms may soon have to abide by the 16-rule code which the ICO is proposing. This could mean that Facebook and Instagram could soon remove the ‘like’ button for underage users, and Snapchat could prevent them from formulating ‘streaks’. The ICO has identified these tools as ‘nudges’. The ‘likes’ allow Facebook to target different advertisements towards them, and ‘streaks’ on Snapchat urges users to send photos to each other every day to achieve the reward of a streak icon next to their username. Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner has said: “The internet and all its wonders are hardwired into [children’s] everyday lives,” “We shouldn’t have to prevent our children from being able to use [these apps], but we must demand that they are protected when they do. This code does that,” she stated. The code has already received support from the by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Speaking to the BBC, Associate Head of Child Safety Online at NSPCC, Andy Burrows, has responded to the news about the introduction of the code: “Social networks have continually failed to prioritise child safety in their design, which has resulted in tragic consequences,” he said. The ICO has also suggested that social media platforms should do more to protect data such as making “high privacy” the default setting for children using social media platforms. To disable geolocation tools and targeted advertising as standard, unless there is compelling reasoning behind it. Platforms should additionally introduce vigorous age verification checks on platforms or treat all users as if they are children unless existing age verification checks can distinguish between adults and children. If the firms fail to comply with the code when it’s introduced, then they could be presented with fines of up to 20 million euros (£17.2m) or 4% of their worldwide turnover under the General Data Protection Regulation. The ICO will publish the final version of the code with further comment from Elizabeth Denham on the 31st May 2019 and will subsequently be presented to parliament. Reports suggest that the final code will be introduced by the end of 2019. To read the full report from the ICO, click here. GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/ Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Read More

Bristol council marks GDPR pledge with a data breach

Digital Marketing Magazine 15 Apr 2019 08:30 Thousands of residents in Bristol have received an email from the city’s council apologising for a data breach made as the department sought to reassure citizens of its compliant data handling. The email explained that the email addresses of those caught up in the breach would be erased from council records. The incident came about after citizens signing up or contributing to the Bristol Citizens’ Panel were inadvertently shown the emails of others involved, because those in the email loop were cc’d into the dialogue. Had the ‘bcc’ option been chosen instead, the emails would have remained hidden and no breach would have taken place. The original email had been written to reassure Bristol residents that their email addresses would be erased from the council’s database, in compliance with the GDPR. The email had been sent to everyone who had participated in a survey to be a part of the Citizens’ Panel, and to those who had contributed to the forum in preceding months and years. Prompt user complaints added fuel to the fire, as responders venting their disbelief clicked the “reply all” option to multiply the exposure level even further. One opportunist used the blunder to invite everyone on the recipient list to a club meeting at Za Za Bazaars – an iconic restaurant in the west country capital. In an apology, the council claimed that the email was sent out “in error”, but not before prospective members of the Citizens’ Panel and all potential contributors were able to see the email addresses and names of all the others who were linked into the platform. The council letter read: “We sincerely apologise for an email that was sent out in error earlier today. “The email was sent to recipients with the email details in the ‘To:’ address field so these were visible to everyone who received the message. “This was done in error and should not have happened. This has been reported to the city council’s data controller as a data breach,” it added. “Your email address will be deleted from the Citizens’ Panel database and you will not be contacted again,” it continued. GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/ Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Read More
How to find us|Contact us