Snapchat Can’t Stop the Parasite Apps That Screw Its Users

In a statement, Snapchat puts the blame on third party applications like that use its API to allow Snapchatters to save its disappearing messages on their devices, or worse yet, on a remote server. “We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks,” a Snapchat spokesperson writes in a statement. “Snapchatters were allegedly victimized by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our Terms of Use precisely because they compromise our users’ security.”

via Snapchat Can’t Stop the Parasite Apps That Screw Its Users | WIRED.

This should have been obvious from the beginning.  Nothing can stop an end user from taking a screenshot of an incoming photo.  Their “privacy” claim was bogus from the beginning and not sure why anyone took this business model seriously.  More …

But even if Snapchat users’ data was accessed via someone else’s servers, that doesn’t make the breach any less of Snapchat’s problem, says security researcher Adam Caudill. He’s been reverse engineering Snapchat’s API to demonstrate exactly the problem of rogue third party apps for years. “Your average developer can build something in a day’s time that interacts with Snapchat’s API and saves everything that comes through it,” Caudill says. “Quite honestly, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner.”

Who’s Getting Rich Off Profit-Driven ‘Clicktivism’

This reflects how today’s internet, despite its potential as a Democratizing Tool, is controlled by the few. Look at mobile—most apps have to go through Apple and Google’s not-always transparent approval process to be placed on their app stores and become visible to millions of smartphone users. The featured petitions on, currently a private “B” corporation, (a voluntary, non-binding certification which means they met the nonprofit B Lab’s standards for social and environmental performance) are similarly controlled not by its millions of users but its CEO and founder Ben Rattray, and, according to a spokesperson, a global “Leadership Team.”

via Who’s Getting Rich Off Profit-Driven ‘Clicktivism’ | Motherboard.

Service Drains Competitors’ Online Ad Budget

The service, which appears to have been in the offering since at least January 2012, provides customers both a la carte and subscription rates. The prices range from $100 to block between three to ten ad units for 24 hours to $80 for 15 to 30 ad units. For a flat fee of $1,000, small businesses can use GoodGoogle’s software and service to sideline a handful of competitors’s ads indefinitely. Fees are paid up-front and in virtual currencies (WebMoney, e.g.), and the seller offers support and a warranty for his work for the first three weeks.

via Service Drains Competitors’ Online Ad Budget — Krebs on Security.

Gowex, the Spanish wi-fi firm, admits to false accounts for four years

The Madrid-based company supplies free wi-fi services in major cities across the world – including Madrid, London, Shanghai and Buenos Aires.

via BBC News – Gowex, the Spanish wi-fi firm, admits to false accounts for four years.

This company recently came to Chicago.

From: Free Wi-Fi service Gowex arrives in Chicago on June 3, 2014.

Gowex, a Madrid-based telecommunications company, launched a local network this week with 450 Wi-Fi hot spots, covering neighborhoods from the Loop to Lakeview with its ad-supported service.

Vigilant Solutions National Vehicle Location Service

The largest pool of data is that harvested by Vigilant from commercial sources, most notably, Vigilant’s subsidiary, DRN (Digital Recognition Network). This pool of LPR data totals over 1.8 billion detections and grows at a rate of almost 70 million per month. This data is available via an annual subscription and greatly enhances an agency’s investigative reach.

via Vigilant Solutions National Vehicle Location Service.

Democratizing the Datastore

No matter how you slice it, the database market is massive and evolving. It’s also a market that has received a disproportionate share of VC investment, with VCs plowing funding into a long list of database related market segments including: NoSQL, Hadoop, graph databases, open-source SQL, cloud-based databases, visualization, etc. But for all of that innovation, the process of setting up and running very large database remains either expensive or complicated. Expensive because large databases still often require expensive hardware and/or licenses. Complicated because setting up a massive cluster of commodity machines to run a database requires a ton of administrative work and expertise that not a lot of people have. It’s this administrative complexity that Crate is out to eliminate – and that’s the real story behind the investment: the democratization of database cluster management. Crate’s real claim to fame is that it allows developers – any developer – to easily set up a massively scalable data store on commodity hardware with sub-second query latency simply and within minutes.

via Democratizing the Datastore: Why we invested in Crate | Yankee Sabra Limey.

Drones On Demand

Supposing you can make the whole thing safe, then it might stand a chance. The app could summon a drone using its GPS for location and the internet to communicate with the drone. This means the drone has to have a good internet connection and a satellite link seems like the best option, but the technology for this isn’t easy to get right.

via Drones On Demand.

Aereo analysis: Cloud computing at a crossroads

“Consider any file-hosting service that allows people to store their own material, such as Dropbox. What if it can be shown they are storing copyrighted work. Do they need a license?” he asked in a telephone interview.

Mitch Stoltz, an Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney, said in a telephone interview that, “If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the broadcasters, their opinion might create liability for various types of cloud computing, especially cloud storage.”

via Aereo analysis: Cloud computing at a crossroads | Ars Technica.

Carrier WiFi’s Not Winning in Sports Arenas

Sports venues used to be a prime market for carrier WiFi deployments, until the business case started to get murky. Whereas carriers used to write off stadium deployments as the cost of doing business, now they are losing interest. And, if they are involved, most are opting for tried-and-true distributed antenna systems (DAS), rather than WiFi or small cell deployments.

via Carrier WiFi’s Not Winning in Sports Arenas | Light Reading.