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Friday Cyber News, July 8 2016

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 7/2 - 7/8:

1. the retiring CEO of Swiss Re notes this week that insurers are uncertain of the cost of cyber risks like cyber warfare. On the other side of the table, only 28% of CISOs regularly categorize and value their digital assets, meaning most also don't know the potential costs of cyber risks for their organizations. And a new survey finds that 75% of small businesses do not have cyber risk insurance, making the question of cost less relevant. [FT; Infosecurity Magazine; SmallBizTrends]

2. International law updates: The EU is implementing new rules requiring identity verification for lower thresholds of prepaid card purchases and Bitcoin transfers. In Bulgaria, a new law requires all software written for the government must now be open source. Brazil, still upset over its inability to access encrypted WhatsApp messages, froze $6M of Facebook's assets. [The Hill;; The Hill]

3. A report from the Danish Refugee Council outlines how social media can be used to track immigration--and smuggling--to understand where migrants are going to and coming from, and where they face danger along the way. []

4. Stanford's Jeremy Bailenson runs the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, where VR is explored as a tool of empathy--seeing the world through the eyes of a retiree prompts more saving for retirement, and seeing what a colorblind person sees makes you more willing to help that person. Is this the start of a more humane trend in tech development? [Wired]

5. Security applications, from retinal scanners to account security "check-ups", work very fast--in some cases, too fast for people to trust that they've done anything. Developers are building in artificial lag time to give you the illusion that bits are being crunched, but add those up over millions of users and we're wasting serious time. The lack of algorithm transparency in general is something the ACLU is attacking, as they allege the CFAA's provision against violating the terms of service of online companies prohibits them from assessing whether the algorithms used by AirBnB, Uber, and others are biased against users with protected racial, gender, or other characteristics [; Washington Post]

6. New York City is replacing its pay phones with Google kiosks providing free internet, USB charging, and VOIP calling--but also enables the collection of a lot of data about New Yorkers' internet activities, and the use of that information for targeted advertising. [Village Voice]

7. Where is the encryption debate headed, in the US and abroad, and is freedom to encrypt eroding? Facebook rolled out end-to-end encryption this week, but consumers aren't willing to pay more for privacy. Stanford's Riana Pfefferkorn explores how much of the encryption debate happens in court proceedings that are under seal, and invisible to the layperson. [Just Security; Wired; Guardian]

8. Entire jobs may not be replaced by machines, but rather aspects of them--MGI explains in charts which tasks, in which industries, are most easily automated. [McKinsey]

9. Smart watches can transmit your hand movements accurately enough to reveal your PIN. [IEEE Spectrum]

10. Internet of Things dystopia: do you want your nail clippers sending you a notification when it's been a long time since you last used them? And does the "banality of futurism" mean we'll continue to solve important-sounding problems while never making progress on life's smaller annoyances? Also, a 14-year-old is suing Snapchat because its suggested "discover" stories included explicit material. When teens turn against apps, we know the end times are near. [TMN;; BBC]

Thanks for reading,

Stanford Cyber Initiative