Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 22, 2014

EFF’s snoop-stopping, ad-smashing Privacy Badger plugin hits beta;  Simpsons World to provide every Simpsons episode without costing you any d’oh!  Hidden network packet sniffer in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert;  Traffic to The Pirate Bay has doubled since ISPs started blocking it;  12 Apps to Jumpstart Your College Social Life;  US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account;  Six grocery shopping apps to replace your paper list;  How do I get internet on my iPad?  ‘Save’ Facebook Content to Read Later;  This tiny device will tell you if someone drugged your drink;  Russian government is looking to dump Microsoft;  AskMen.com compromised again;  Italy Gives Google Deadline to Change Data-Use Policies;  GE releases instructions for 3D-printable jet engine;  5 easy Word tips that every user should know;

EFF’s snoop-stopping, ad-smashing Privacy Badger plugin hits beta – The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy rights group, has released a downloadable plugin for Chrome and Firefox designed to stop third parties from tracking people’s Web browsing. The extension is not meant to block online ads outright. It’s a broader privacy tool designed to stop third parties from gathering a record of the pages people visit across the Web. “Our aim is not to block ads, but to prevent non-consensual invasions of people’s privacy because we believe they are inherently objectionable,” the group says. The tool is also designed to stop the tracking that happens when people click on social media widgets such as the Facebook “like” or Twitter tweet button on sites outside of Facebook or Twitter.

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5 easy Word tips that every user should know – Even new users catch on to Word’s easy-to-use interface and can start entering and formatting text quickly. As you learn, you’ll stumble upon shortcuts that make your daily work even easier. Here are five tips that I use frequently when working in Word. None of these tips are new, which is why I’m always surprised to hear a user exclaim that they’re unfamiliar — they are so much a part of my Word sense that I forget that others might not know about them.

Six grocery shopping apps to replace your paper list – If you’re used to consulting paper grocery lists, you know that they’re easy to lose—and to forget. If you carry a smartphone with you, it makes a lot of sense to put your grocery list on your mobile device. A number of apps can help you organize your shopping, create master lists of things you buy every time you go to the store, and even share lists with your spouse or partner. Here are six great grocery list apps you can use on your smartphone.

Simpsons World to provide every Simpsons episode without costing you any d’oh! – Simpsons World launches in October and was unveiled Monday by FXX, the cable channel that has bought the rights to reruns of the TV series. Any time you want to watch any one of The Simpsons’ 552 episodes, just fire up Simpsons World. Episodes will be available to stream on demand, with Simpsons World creators promising that it will be easy sort through the hundreds upon hundreds that make up the show’s back catalog. In fact, according to TV critic Alan Sepinwall’s account of the Simpsons World presentation, search capabilities will be so refined, you’ll be able pinpoint favorite jokes or scenes and share them across social media.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How do I get internet on my iPad? – Today we’re going to address a simple problem many users have with their iPad – finding a Wi-Fi network to access the internet. The following post is part of SlashGear’s Family IT collection, helping those new to technology with the devices they own. These posts will also be helpful for those of you inundated with questions from family members about their devices if you just to happen to be your family’s IT specialist.

12 Apps to Jumpstart Your College Social Life – College is filled with all sorts of confused, eager folks like you. It can be difficult to find your footing, socially. You’ll have the dorm, the quad, and the cafeteria. But surely there is more! Well, lucky for you, there is, college face. Thanks to technology, the entire world is just a few taps away.

How much of your job can you really do on an iPad? – Tim Cook says he does 80 percent of his job on his iPad. So we asked some our colleagues: Could you do the same?

‘Save’ Facebook Content to Read Later – Can’t get enough of those BuzzFeed quizzes or long-form news stories friends post to Facebook, but just don’t have the time to dive into them during work? Now you can save them to the social network to read later. Collect everything from links and places to movies, TV, and music so you don’t miss out on a new recipe or restaurant to try out. All saved items are kept secret, unless you choose to share them with online friends.

Framed 2.0 puts motion-controlled digital art on your wall – Inside the Full HD 1080p displays there’s WiFi b/g/n, motion sensors, and a 720p camera for gesture recognition from the person stood in front of the display. There are also stereo speaker outputs and a mono microphone input. The Framed 2.0 team says the display has a 180-degree viewing angle and can show 16.7m colors. As standard, it gets a wooden-finish frame, but there’s also the option for custom finishes.

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This tiny device will tell you if someone drugged your drink – There’s a decent chance you or someone you know has had a drink tampered with before. Fortunately, a Canadian medical imaging specialist and his team have figured out how to protect us all — with science!

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An iPad App To Make All Your Selfies Go 3D – This kind of tech used to require an expensive 3D scanning unit that was tied to a game console or a computer. Now anyone with an iPad and the Structure Sensor can create 3D models using objects they see around them. This opens up a world of possibilities for engineers, designers, inventors, architects and manufactures. One example might be an architect creating a 3D tour of what the building will look like inside and out before it’s ever built or an interior designer creating a virtual room to display their work.

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Another Screen Shot Of The Upcoming Windows Start Menu Leaks – Another week, another leak. Today we have a new, purported screenshot of the upcoming return of the Start Menu to Windows.

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National Geographic Experiments With Storehouse – Six months after its launch, award-winning iPad app Storehouse has formed a strong community of storytellers, including the likes of GQ Germany, RTÉ, and its most recent participant — National Geographic. Storehouse is a visual storytelling app that lets you import photos and videos from your camera roll, Instagram, Dropbox or Flickr and create a free-form layout with or without text to tell a story.

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Smart toilet paper holder won’t be ignored when roll runs out – On the surface, the RollScout looks like a modern, sleek, wall-mounted toilet paper holder, but it hides an infrared emitter and sensor. When the roll empties down enough, the emitter and sensor connect and the holder pulses with a round amber light to alert unsuspecting bathroom users to the dire nature of the situation.

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(I can hardly wait! I’m just flushed with anticipation.)

Hasbro opens doors to 3D-printed Fan Art sales – In an initiative called “SuperFanArt”, Hasbro has teamed up with Shapeways to create a portal through which fans of Hasbro’s characters can create and sell their own 3D-printed toys. The first line to have its license opened to fans through this program is My Little Pony. This should appeal to some of the stranger fans out in the fan universe – but Hasbro’s collection has some far larger names in the mix as well.

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Russian government is looking to dump Microsoft for homegrown software – Russia has stated that it is working to move away from foreign software products like Microsoft’s Windows in favor of home grown software as a result of rising political tensions with the US.

Traffic to The Pirate Bay has doubled since ISPs started blocking it – The continued growth of The Pirate Bay, despite clumsy attempts to block access to it, suggests that the entertainment industries’ efforts to kill piracy through censorship are not succeeding. More and more users are connecting to the web every year, and with each attempt to block high-profile sites like The Pirate Bay – and each failure to do so – awareness of P2P file sharing only increases, effectively paving the way for further growth in the number of users sharing copyrighted content.

Security:

Hidden network packet sniffer in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert – An analysis of iOS by a security expert has highlighted various tools in the operating system that could be used for surveillance. Jonathan Zdziarski concluded that the vast majority of iThing owners are unaware of lax mechanisms protecting their data. Data forensics expert and author Zdziarski wrote an academic paper on his findings in March, and gave a related talk [PDF] at the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference in New York on Friday. The results of his research – triggered by reports of the NSA spying on Apple products – indicate a backdoor in iOS, although it’s not as wide open as some reports have suggested.

(Followed by this nonsense!)

6 ways Apple protects your privacy in iOS 8 – One of the most interesting reports I read this weekend looks at some of the ways Apple aims to keep your private life private, at least within the current dystopian regulatory environment.

Fingerprinting Computers By Making Them Draw Images – Here’s a new way to identify individual computers over the Internet. The page instructs the browser to draw an image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, this can be used to uniquely identify each computer. This is a big deal, because there’s no way to block this right now.

Backup your data now: New, more powerful ransomware using Tor spotted in the wild – When did you last backup your data? Let that serve as a reminder to do so since a new ransomware, touted as a more powerful version of Cryptolocker, has been spotted in the wild. It uses the Tor network to anonymize its communication with the command and control server; that’s a relatively new twist for ransomware as it is more commonly seen with “banking Trojans.”

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IBM Fixes Code Execution, Cookie-Stealing Vulnerabilities in Switches – IBM recently patched a handful of vulnerabilities in some of its KVM switches that if exploited, could have given an attacker free reign over any system attached to it.

AskMen.com compromised again – Last month, security firm Websense reported that popular website AskMen.com was compromised to serve malicious code. Today, our honeypot captured an attack coming from AskMen.com in what appears to have been malicious code injected in their server.

Company News:

Chromebooks taken to school: More than a million sold to schools in last quarter – Chromebooks, you either love them or hate them. The low-cost laptops running Chrome OS from Google are appealing to consumers, and the education segment especially likes them. The latest word from Google indicates schools bought more than a million Chromebooks in the last quarter.

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Microsoft is looking to patent Google Glass like headset – Microsoft, not wanting to miss out on the head-mounted fun, has filed a patent for a device that appears to be a Google glass competitor. The company describes the device as “a see through display apparatus includes a see-through, head mounted display and sensors on the display which detect audible and visual data in a field of view of the apparatus”.

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Netflix Tops 50M Users Ahead of Fall Expansion – Netflix now has more than 50 million members worldwide, about 36 million of which are in the U.S. Netflix now operates in more than 40 countries, but in September, it will also expand to Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable – Though the app stores continue to fill up with ever more mobile applications, the reality is that most of these are not sustainable businesses. According to a new report out this morning, half (50%) of iOS developers and even more (64%) Android developers are operating below the “app poverty line” of $500 per app per month.

Facebook closes Oculus deal – Facebook and Oculus VR say they have officially finished their $2 billion deal, placing the world’s largest social-networking company squarely in the consumer electronics industry. In a joint statement Monday, the two companies said they look forward to working together “building the next computing platform and reimagining the way people communicate.”

Italy Gives Google Deadline to Change Data-Use Policies – An Italian data-regulation official told Google it has 18 months to change how it stores users’ information. Italy is one of several European countries that have been jointly investigating Google’s consolidation of 60 different privacy policies into one last year, Reuters reports. The Italian watchdog said in a statement that Google’s disclosures about data use were insufficient, despite the company’s efforts efforts to abide by local laws. A spokesperson for Google said the tech company has consistently cooperated with the inquiry and will continue to do so after it reviews the watchdog’s latest decision.

(Google cooperate? Baloney! Google is driven by the need for greed. Simple!)

Games and Entertainment:

Zotac Zbox EN760 Plus review: Don’t be fooled by its size, this box has graphics horsepower – Zotac’s flyweight PC kicks more gaming ass than any console, costs less than a tower PC, and will fit almost anywhere—including the back of your monitor.

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That’s no router. Zotac’s EN760 Plus is a powerful PC with a strong graphic processor.

‘The Imitation Game’ trailer shows brilliant portrayal of Alan Turing – Turing was a mathematician and philosopher, and formalized many concepts used for computer science. In creating the Bombe machine which looked for algorithmic similarities in the German Enigma code, Winston Churchill called Turing’s contribution the greatest contribution to the Allied victory against Nazi Germany. Turing was also a man with is own closely guarded secrets, which the movie seeks to shed light on. A gay man in a time when homosexual activities were illegal in England, Turing wrestled with his own emotions while shouldering the burden of cracking the Enigma.

‘Dance Central: Spotlight’ launching for Xbox One on Sept. 2 for just $10 – The newest entry in the Dance Central franchise will hit Xbox One on Sept. 2 and come with 10 songs, though content purchased for previous entries will be compatible with the new game.

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Gamers win free early copies of iOS game, respond by leaking it – Smartphone gamers don’t have a wealth of quality first-person shooter options, but in spite of its unoriginal name, Gameloft’s Modern Combat games have been solid enough to lead the mobile sales charts. Ahead of the series’ fifth release, Gameloft celebrated Modern Combat 5: Blackout’s upcoming launch by awarding early free downloads to fans via social network contests. As reported by Polygon, that move backfired when one of the contest winners cracked the iOS version and uploaded its IPA file over the weekend, allowing the game to be pirated in droves ahead of its launch.

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New Fire Phone games highlight ‘Dynamic Perspective’ – On launch, the Amazon Fire Phone was a curiosity with a lot of promise. Whether or not you need Amazon at your fingertips, the screen and camera ensemble on the device are intriguing. Tracking the orientation of your head, and letting you “peek around” object on-screen, a clear angle for the Fire Phone is gaming. Now there are two new games specifically designed for the device.

Freight Train Simulator – 3D train simulation game. Take control of several freight trains and drive them to points of destinations in time. Watch after train’s speed and avoid high speed derailment. Features: 10 levels, 10 trains.

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Have Unwanted Gift Cards? Trade Them in for GameStop Credit – Heads up, gamers. If you have any old gift cards lying around that you don’t plan on using you can now trade them in for credit at GameStop. The video game retailer will allow customers to exchange unwanted gift cards for a GameStop e-gift card via a program powered by gift card exchange platform Cardpool.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Epic Super Mario Bros. Lego aquarium took 336 hours to build – This is the Super Mario Bros. aquarium, created by graphic designer and blogger Kelsey Kronmiller. It’s 55 gallons of gaming-inspired glory, and it appears as though it took her about 336 hours in total to build it. Yes, the 336 posted as the time actually does mean something.

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Candid camera, part 1: Five times video footage showed police misconduct – The following examples are situations where police officers have been caught lying or acting improperly after video footage surfaced showing their apparent malfeasance.

Candid camera, part 2: Claims of officer misconduct and video footage redeeming the officer – We’ve often commented on the double-edged nature of persistent surveillance. On the one hand, constant surveillance can lead to various privacy and civil liberties abuses. But as the following stories show, widespread adoption of surveillance cameras by both law enforcement actors and civilians can also help hold both parties accountable.

GE releases instructions for 3D-printable jet engine – If you head over to Thingiverse, you can get instructions for a hand-cranked, 3D-printable jet engine, courtesy of GE.

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Something to think about:

“Speak when you are angry–and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”

–     Laurence J. Peter

Today’s Free Downloads:

Burd’s Proxy Searcher – Burd’s Proxy Searcher enables you to find public proxy servers that you can use for anonymous web surfing. The program uses a customizable search engine query that retrieves a list of proxy servers and then tests the results for connection speed and availability.

Advanced users can tweak the query settings to their preference and also add custom searches for specific proxy types, but if you just want to find free HTTP or SOCKS proxies, there is no need to tinker with the settings.

Proxy Searcher displays a list of proxies that it found, along with a color coded status indicator, country and response times. If you are using supported browsers, you can apply the proxy settings with the click of a button, other programs need to be configured manually.

Proxy lists – Proxy Searcher supports saving search results into public proxy lists. So if you don’t wan’t to use our program and just looking for proxy list please use following links. They contains up-to-date information about alive proxies (lists are updating automatically).

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zSILENCER 00022 – Silencer was a game from Mind Control Software, playable online through the WON (World Opponent Network) service, which was discontinued by Valve in favor of the Steam platform. Along with the demise of WON.net, Silencer went with it. zSILENCER is a re-creation of the original Silencer game.

Silencer is multiplayer only, and is essentially a team based capture-the-flag style game. You navigate your player to active computer terminals strewn throughout the map and siphon files off of them, until a Top Secret file is acquired. You pick up the secret file and bring it back to your base, careful of opposing teams trying to kill you and steal it for themselves. When your team returns three of these files, you win.

Each team must spawn their base “door” somewhere in the level, usually in a strategic spot. Teammates enter and can heal their shields and health, buy inventory items, and the back of the base is where the secret file must be returned.

There are five “agencies”, each with special stats or unique items, and online supports up to 24 players in a match at once. Play a 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, or 3v2v4v1, anything is possible.

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Glary Utilities – Glary Utilities is a smart and reliable application that offers numerous powerful and easy-to-use system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC.

It allows you to clean common system junk files, as well as invalid registry entries and Internet traces. You can manage and delete browser add-ons, analyze disk space usage and find duplicate files.

You can also view and manage installed shell extensions, encrypt your files from unauthorized access and use, split large files into smaller manageable files and then rejoin them.

Furthermore, Glary Utilities includes the options to optimize memory, find, fix, or remove broken Windows shortcuts, manage the programs that start at Windows startup and uninstall software. Other features include secure file deletion, an Empty Folder finder and more.

All Glary Utilities tools can be accessed through an eye-pleasing and totally simplistic interface.

Features:

Disk Cleaner – Removes junk data from your disks and recovers disk space

Registry Cleaner – Scans and cleans up your registry to improve your system’s performance.

Shortcuts Fixer – Corrects the errors in your startmenu & desktop shortcuts

Uninstall Manager – Uninstalls programs completely that you don’t need any more

Startup Manager – Manages programs which run automatically on startup

Memory Optimizer – Monitors and optimizes free memory in the background

Context Menu Manager – Manages the context-menu entries for files, folders…

Tracks Eraser – Erases all the traces,evidences,cookies,internet history and more

File Shredder – Erases files permanently so that no one can recover them

Internet Explorer Assistant – Manages Internet Explorer Add-ons and restores hijacked settings

File Encrypter and Decrypter – Protects your files from unauthorized access and use.

Disk Analysis – Shows you the disk space usage of your files and folders

Duplicate Files Finder – Searches for space-wasting and error producing duplicate files

Empty Folders Finder – Finds and removes empty folders in your windows

File Splitter and Joiner – Splits large files into smaller manageable files, and then rejoin them.

Process Manager – Monitors programs that run on your PC and stop spyware and Trojans.

Windows Standard Tools – Provides direct access to the useful windows default functions.

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Screenshot from my personal system.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Activist group sues US border agency over new, vast intelligence system – The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has sued the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in an attempt to compel the government agency to hand over documents relating to a relatively new comprehensive intelligence database of people and cargo crossing the US border.

EPIC’s lawsuit, which was filed last Friday, seeks a trove of documents concerning the “Analytical Framework for Intelligence” (AFI) as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. EPIC’s April 2014 FOIA request went unanswered after the 20 days that the law requires, and the group waited an additional 49 days before filing suit.

The AFI, which was formally announced in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), consists of “a single platform for research, analysis, and visualization of large amounts of data from disparate sources and maintaining the final analysis or products in a single, searchable location for later use as well as appropriate dissemination.”

The new system appears to be a one-stop shop for classified and nonclassified materials and can include a target’s name, address, race, physical characteristics, gender, social security number, family relationships, occupation, and more. The AFI went into effect in August 2012.

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Snowden wants YOU – yes, YOU – to build spy-busting tech – National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wants the geeks of the world to develop anti-spying technology to prevent governments spying on their citizens.

In a keynote address delivered to the Hope X hacker conference in New York City on Saturday, Snowden said encryption was the “first step” in fighting against government surveillance and that new platforms to prevent traffic analysis techniques being used to figure out users’ associates were key.

He said it was the “civic duty” of technologists to educate the public on how systems work so that they can understand the risks posed by the devices, apps and services they use.

“You, in this room right now, have both the means and the capabilities to help build a better future by encoding our rights into the programs and protocols on which we rely on every day,” Snowden told the conference’s audience of hackers and hacktivists, adding that that was where he planned to focus his future work.

“Generally I say [we need] encryption, encryption, encryption … but when we talk about how we fix this stuff for the future … association is often the problem.

“How governments discover their adversaries uses the same techniques they use to discover spies [and] journalists.”

He urged technologists to develop “padded protocols” resistant to traffic analysis, even if they reduced performance, along with mixed routing which divorced individual connections from origination points that went further than Tor.

Geeks should collaborate to build these platforms and then form teams to hack them to bits in order to discover – and subsequently close off – avenues which a government may use to attack users.

US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account – A US judge has ruled that the Feds can have access to a Gmail user’s entire account to search for evidence in a money laundering case, a decision which clashes with at least two other recent rulings on email privacy.

New York District Judge Gabriel Gorenstein said in an opinion that email accounts were the same as hard drives as far as the law was concerned, which means they can be seized in their entirety when the cops have a warrant.

The judge issued the opinion, which explains his decision to allow prosecutors access to the Gmail account in the criminal case, because it conflicts with at least two other recent rulings. Other judges have previously said that handing out sweeping warrants was giving government agencies too much access to far too many emails, instead of just the relevant ones.

Gorenstein cited two other rulings in particular: one in the District of Columbia, and one in Kansas. In Washington DC, judge John Facciola rejected a warrant application to seize the contents of an Apple email account belonging to a defence contractor in a bribery case, while in Kansas the judge denied warrants for emails and other info stored by Google, Verizon, Yahoo!, Skype and GoDaddy in a case regarding a stolen computer.

In both cases the warrant applications were rejected because of a lack of limits on what the authorities would sweep up by gaining access to entire email accounts.

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4 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 22, 2014

  1. Fred

    Hi Bill,
    Smart toilet paper holder won’t be ignored when roll runs out
    (I can hardly wait! I’m just flushed with anticipation.)
    Now THAT’s funny!!!!
    I needed a laugh…Thanks
    Best to you,
    Fred

  2. Fred

    Hi again Bill,
    “Fingerprinting Computers By Making Them Draw Images”
    This bears close watching. Whenever there is a tool to clean or block that please let us know. These monsters need to be stopped that is abundantly clear.
    And the quote:
    “Speak when you are angry–and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”
    Been there done that. Now if I can only keep this in mind…
    Best wishes to you,
    Fred

    • Hi Fred,

      Sneaky, below the radar, morally suspect, possible illegal, piss on the end user, focus on PROFIT (oh, and don’t get caught) – an all to often takeaway from the operating manual of American enterprise. Hardly surprising, given that the U.S. government operates in a similar fashion. Leadership by example – as it’s finest.

      It’s becoming more evident with each passing day, that the rest of the world (particularly the E.U.) has had enough. Google, Apple, Facebook…will pay the price for a series of unconscionable actions designed to incorporate all of the previously mentioned unethical – and, in most cases crooked behaviours.

      As for the “fingerprinting” issue – give it a couple of weeks. A block (or a workaround), is on the way.

      Best,

      Bill