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Friday Cyber News, December 14 2018

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 12/8 - 12/14:

1. Smartphone apps that gather location data every two seconds are selling that data to 75 companies that claim to be interested in aggregate patterns, not individual trajectories. However, the granularity and quantity of the data make tying an individual to a unique set of coordinates and trips easy. [NY Times] 

2. Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the House Judiciary Committee this week, refuting claims that the search engine's results are biased against conservative viewpoints and addressing plans to create a search engine for China that would comply with censorship requirements. [Verge]

3. Following up on the China concern, Senator Mark Warner called Chinese apps a national security risk, and criticized Google for allowing them to gain prominence in its app store without warnings to users that the companies developing them were beholden to the Chinese government. [Buzzfeed News]

4. A Facebook photos API bug allowed app developers to access 5.6 million users' photos, including ones they had uploaded but never shared or posted publicly. [Techcrunch]

5. The Federal Election Commission voted to allow the use of leftover campaign funds for personal cybersecurity, in response to recent political email compromises like John Podesta's. [The Hill]

6.​ Lion Air flight 610 crashed in part because human pilots were unable to disable the artificially intelligent autopilot system when it began to malfunction. Are we doing enough to build kill switches into the AI behind other smart devices and algorithms? [NY Times]

7. Saudi Arabia's acquisition of digital surveillance tools and hacking technology from companies like Hacking Team that sell indiscriminately to government clients has enabled Mohammed bin Salman's crackdown on dissidents. [Washington Post]

8. Iranian hacking group Charming Kitten is targeting U.S. Treasury officials, "Arab atomic scientists, Iranian civil society figures and D.C. think tank employees" with its latest round of phishing attacks. [AP]

9. MIT has launched a biweekly newsletter reviewing recent cryptocurrency research. [MIT DCI]

10. Deloitte analogizes predicting cyber risk to predicting bioterrorism, and notes that, feeding off of this unpredictability, the cyber insurance market is growing. [Fifth Domain] 

Thanks for reading,

Stanford Cyber Initiative

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