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IT & Communications

A new form of spam-scam has come to our attention. We understand that this has not been widely seen before. Its nature is that it is likely that many receiving the email will click on links.

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Like so many developers of so-called artificial intelligence, Google is proud of its efforts and, yet, once again AI has proved that it is often a failure waiting to happen. But this example is ever funnier - and more worrying. Someone has manipulated it and the target, amazingly, is people working in e.g. banks. Should banks, etc. now ban Google Alerts?

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When we launched PleaseBeInformed.com, one of our fundamental principles of design was that only those who we had taken reasonable steps to identify and verify would be permitted to post, even to comment. That decision was at the heart of our plan to charge a small annual membership fee, paid by credit card. While American-based social media networks spread across the world with more and more fraudulent accounts, China, it is reported, is taking steps to combat the use of social media for financial and "news" fraud, for that is what fake news and scurrilous social media comment is, at their heart.

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My grandmother, who worked in a police station, used to say "you know when you are getting old when policemen look young." It's strange to realise that many of today's senior people in offices have never known a world without the internet or a phone in their pocket.

CoNet Section: 

"The largest marketplace on the Darknet—where hundreds of thousands of criminals anonymously bought and sold drugs, weapons, hacking tools, stolen identities, and a host of other illegal goods and services—has been shut down as a result of one the most sophisticated and coordinated efforts to date on the part of law enforcement across the globe." So says the USA's FBI. And it is seriously impressive. But, quietly, another investigation, led by Dutch authorities, has done far more damage to the deep web than closing down Alphabay.

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Recently, airbnb angered both "hosts" and "guests" by its decision to prevent the making or rejection of bookings on e.g. religious grounds. Then it started to upset "hosts" by delisting properties based on apparently arbitrary criteria. Next, it decided that, in some cities, it would not accept bookings for a property for more than 90 days each year. And within the past few days, a woman has been fined in California because airbnb has entered into an agreement with a California state department. All of this is in addition to long and complex agreements between "hosts" and "guests." The big question is ... how much control is so much...

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The US government's CERT division of the Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement that explains the risks and problems associated with the Petya ransomware virus and details of it.

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We are all internet users and the internet is supposed to be a broadly free medium (albeit one we pay for) but there was one piece of regulation that militated against all good sense in the cause of supposed equality for all. So-called Net Neutrality is a flawed interference in the freedom of commercial concerns to enter into agreements with individual customers and, more than that, it risks damaging commerce. Now the USA is proposing to reverse the position taken under the Obama government. This is why it should do so. But equally, this is why one major element of it must remain.

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We know that companies gather data when you interact with them (even we do, but it's very, very little and what we do with it is mostly for our protection) but do you know what they collect?

Here's an example from search engine Ask.Com

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The wording says "If you'd like to cancel just part of your order... please contact us and quote your order number." So, like the obedient chap I am, I did.

This is my exchange with Marks and Spencer's Chatbot.

And you think AI will protect your bank?

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