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Zuckerberg finally speaks on Cambridge Analytica scandal: He’s willing to testify to Congress, and thinks tech should be regulated

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 02:53

Earlier on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his days-long silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal that rocked the social network and sent its stock diving.

Now, to follow up on his earlier statement, Zuckerberg has done a rare series of interviews with the press on the matter: A televised sit-down with CNN, along with printed interviews in Wired, The New York Times, and Recode.

Notably, in several of these interviews, he actually apologized, saying "sorry" — a word that he conspicuously hadn't used in his Facebook post earlier in the day.

The scandal centers on the British data company Cambridge Analytica, which has ties to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and which illicitly obtained information from as many as 50 million Facebook profiles by abusing Facebook's data-sharing features.

Mainly, in these interviews, Zuckerberg reiterated the points he made in his earlier statement: Facebook regrets what happened, and has already taken steps to ensure that what happened with Cambridge Analytica can never happen again.

Still, the devil is in the details, and in these interviews, Zuckerberg revealed a lot about how he, and Facebook, think about the situation. Here are some highlights:

  • Zuckerberg is happy to testify to Congress "if it's the right thing to do," he told CNN. He expounded on this to Wired — he says he's willing to testify personally, but would rather leave it to Facebook's legal and technical experts, who can speak with more authority on the situation.
  • He told The New York Times that the #DeleteFacebook movement that's sprung up around the scandal hasn't seen "a meaningful number of people act on [it]," but it's still "not good." He continued: "I think it’s a clear signal that this is a major trust issue for people, and I understand that." 
  • Zuckerberg believes that tech should be regulated: "The question isn’t 'Should there be regulation or shouldn’t there be?' It’s 'How do you do it?'" he told Wired. He says that he supports regulating tech, but that he's wary of "micromanagement" of free speech by governments. (He expressed explicit support for the Honest Ads Act, a US bill that would require more transparency around advertising if passed.)
  • Zuckerberg told Recode more about the audits it plans to perform on Facebook app-developers who could have abused user data as Cambridge Analytica did. Facebook will need to analyze tens of thousands of apps in a process that will cost "many millions of dollars," he says — plus, they need to hire qualified auditors. 

All told, it's a rare look at how the CEO of the world's most successful social platform is looking at its power — and its responsibility. 

SEE ALSO: 'I'm really sorry that this happened': Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for the massive Cambridge Analytica data scandal in CNN interview

DON'T MISS: Mark Zuckerberg finally breaks his silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal

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Categories: English

The 19 cities with the most trees around the world

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 02:26

There's a global movement to encourage cities to grow more trees and plan more parks. On Wednesday, this year's International Day of Forests encourages urban areas to invest in green spaces.

To get a clearer picture of which cities have the most tree coverage today, MIT's Senseable Lab partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to create Treepedia, a site with interactive maps that show the density of greenery in major cities around the world. 

The researchers used information from Google Street View to determine what they call the "Green View Index," a rating that quantifies each city's percentage of canopy coverage based on aerial images. When it launched in 2016, Treepedia featured 10 cities, but the team has since added more to its list. 

The goal of Treepedia is to make make urban planning more accessible to those outside the field, MIT's Carlo Ratti said in a statement.

Check out which cities boast the highest Green View Indexes below.

SEE ALSO: Kimbal Musk — Elon's brother — just opened a shipping container farm compound in New York City

19. Los Angeles, California — 15.2%

Check out the interactive map of Los Angeles

18. Turin, Italy — 16.2%

Check out the interactive map of Turin

17. Tel Aviv, Israel — 17.5%

Check out the interactive map of Tel Aviv

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Categories: English

'I'm really sorry that this happened': Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for massive Cambridge Analytica data scandal

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 02:16

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the data scandal that has roiled the social media network this week.
  • Zuckerberg said "I'm really sorry that this happened" in an interview with CNN, which aired hours after he and Facebook's No. 2 exec, Sheryl Sandberg, issued their first statements about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
  • The matter has roiled Facebook this week, after it was revealed that the British data firm inappropriately vacuumed up information from some 50 million Facebook users.
  • Both Zuckerberg and Sandberg acknowledged "mistakes" on the part of Facebook, but for some of their critics, the remarks fell short.
  • The scandal has contributed to a 10% drop in Facebook's stock since last Friday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said "I'm really sorry that this happened," in his first interview on the massive Cambridge Analytica data scandal that has roiled the social-media network this week.

Zuckerberg made that admission on CNN Wednesday night, hours after he and COO Sheryl Sandberg issued their first public statements on the matter. Cambridge Analytica inappropriately used 50 million Facebook user profiles to target ads in support of its clients, including Donald Trump's successful 2016 election campaign.

In the interview, Zuckerberg says that he regrets taking Cambridge Analytica at its word, when it signed a legal document in 2015 certifying that it had deleted the information from those profiles — but it had not.

"I don't know about you, but I'm used to when people legally certify that they are going to do something, that they do it. But I think this was clearly a mistake in retrospect," Zuckerberg said.

He also said that he is willing to testify to Congress on the matter, though he would prefer to send someone with "the most knowledge" on any lines of questioning. Furthermore, he says he's open to the idea of regulating tech, and is in favor of legislation around transparency in online advertising.

Cambridge Analytica is being scrutinized for the methods it used during the 2016 presidential election, after executives with the firm boasted about their ability to covertly target voters, entrap politicians, and launch propaganda campaigns.

The reach of those operations was multiplied by connected platforms like Facebook. Russian operatives capitalized on this to a significant degree, sowing political discord among likely voters in a wide-ranging effort to meddle in the US election. Zuckerberg has acknowledged this in fits and starts, after initially balking at the idea last year.

He expressed some lingering disbelief of the concept on Wednesday night:

"If you'd told me in 2004 when I was getting started with Facebook that a big part of my responsibility today would be to help protect the integrity of elections against interference by other governments, I wouldn't have really believed that that was gonna be something that I would have to work on 14 years later," Zuckerberg said.

"But we're here now, and we're gonna make sure we're going to do a good job at it," he added.

And while he says that "I'm sure someone's trying" to influence the 2018 midterm elections, he's sure that the company is better prepared to meet the challenge.

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg just made some major concessions in the Cambridge Analytica scandal — and says he supports regulating tech, and is willing to testify to Congress

DON'T MISS: Mark Zuckerberg finally breaks his silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal

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THE SELF-INSTALLED SMART HOME REPORT: Why current smart home device owners are appealing to tech companies

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 02:03

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Not that long ago, many home-appliance and consumer-electronics makers were gearing up for what they thought would soon be a rapidly growing market for smart home devices.

The instant popularity of the Nest thermostat, introduced in 2011, seemed to confirm their hopes. But those expectations were dashed in the coming years as the market for connected home devices later stagnated. 

Even with these challenges, many of the biggest consumer technology companies are now moving into the smart home market. For example, Apple, which recently released its self-installed smart home ecosystem, called the Apple Home, traditionally doesn't move into a market until it's very mature and only when it can release a perfected product. Further, Google this fall launched the Google Home and its companion ecosystem, hoping to jump into the voice-activated smart home speaker market, which Amazon currently dominates with its Echo product line. 

In a new report, BI Intelligence examines the demographics of the average smart home device owner and discuss why current smart home device owners are appealing to tech companies. The report also examines the plans of various tech giants in the smart home market and discuss their monetization strategies, and makes suggestions for how these companies can position themselves to make their products and devices more appealing to the mass market.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Tech companies primarily enter the market to enhance a core revenue stream or service, while device makers desire to collect data to improve their products and prevent costly recalls.
  • We forecast there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021.
  • These companies are also seeking to create an early-mover advantage for themselves, where they gain an advantage by this head start on adoption.
  • Major barriers to mass market adoption that still must overcome include technological fragmentation and persistently high device prices.

In full, the report:

  • Details the market strategy of prominent tech companies and device makers, and analyzes why which ones are best poised to succeed once adoption ticks up.
  • Offers insight into current ownership through an exclusive survey from BI Intelligence and analyzes what demographics will drive adoption moving forward.
  • Explains in detail which companies are poised to succeed in the market in the coming years as adoption increases and mass market consumers begin to purchase smart home devices.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of smart homes.

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NOW WATCH: How to stop your Facebook friends from giving away your data

Categories: English

Facebook users are still skeptical after Mark Zuckerberg finally addresses the Cambridge Analytica scandal (FB)

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 01:30

  • Commenters on Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook post addressing the Cambridge Analytica scandal are largely skeptical.
  • Although many commenters are happy Zuckerberg said something in the first place.
  • It has taken about 5 days for Zuckerberg to respond to the scandal.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has responded to the Cambridge Analytica affair that has embroiled the social media giant in scandal for the past week. The response, which came in the form of a Facebook status update by Zuckerberg, brought a flood of comments from Facebook users  — 14,000 at last count. 

Many of comments expressed support for Zuckerberg, or offered constructive suggestions about the situation. But many were also skeptical of Facebook and Zuckerberg, underscoring the toll the scandal has taken on Facebook's image. Commenters also questioned why it took Zuckerberg roughly five days to respond himself.

"When will someone in Silicon Valley ever be proactive about problems like this?" one commenter wrote.

Some of the comments are also positive, and applaud Zuckerberg for taking responsibility as the public face of the company.

Facebook has come under fire for its handling of a leak that allowed a Trump-linked data firm, Cambridge Analytica, to improperly obtain data from 50 million Facebook users. Facebook confirmed it knew about the unauthorized data two years ago, but only came forward publicly after reporters at The New York Times and The Observer were preparing to publish stories about the leak.

The scandal has prompted the hashtag #deletefacebook to trend on Twitter. Calls for quitting or regulating Facebook have gotten the support of celebrities, including Jim Carey, as well as Bryan Acton, the cofounder of the WhatsApp messaging service that Facebook acquired four years ago.

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg finally breaks his silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal

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US senators still want Mark Zuckerberg to testify on the Cambridge Analytica scandal under oath

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 01:16

  • Senators are still calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to come to Congress and testify about how Facebook will protect its users' data.
  • After Zuckerberg posted a long-awaited statement on the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) tweeted: "You need to come to Congress and testify to this under oath."
  • A source tells Business Insider that people in Capitol Hill do not believe that Silicon Valley is taking their privacy responsibilities seriously.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on Wednesday on the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal with a statement explaining how CA obtained data on 50 million Facebook users, as well as a list of promised fixes.

But the lawmakers who have been calling for Zuckerberg to appear before Congress and testify are still not satisfied.

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) read Zuckerberg's Facebook post and immediately tweeted, "You need to come to Congress and testify to this under oath."

The scandal centers on the British data company Cambridge Analytica, which has ties to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and which illicitly obtained information from as many as 50 million Facebook profiles by abusing Facebook's data-sharing features. Though the story broke over the weekend, Zuckerberg did not respond until Wednesday.

Other senators are clearly thinking similarly to Markey, too. "The steps Facebook has laid out to protect its users are a start but Zuckerberg still needs to come testify," tweeted Sen. Klobuchar, a democrat from Minnesota. And, as Axios reports, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called Zuckerberg's statement a "very superficial mea culpa" in a radio interview. 

Even before Zuckerberg's statement, some senators had already demanded earlier this week that Zuckerberg himself come to the Hill and talk to them under oath. This included Sen. Kombuchar, as well as Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)  and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The revelations of how CA obtained Facebook data has already sparked multiple investigations, amid renewed calls to regulate Facebook and possibly companies like it. The Federal Trade Commission is now investigating the matter, as are the attorney generals in New York and Massachusetts. Investigations have also been launched in Europe.

This isn't the first time Facebook has been called to Capitol Hill over how its platform was used in the 2016 election, either. Last year, attorneys from Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified to Congress on misinformation and the fake news problem. Following their testimony, Facebook and Twitter both admitted then that Russian-connected disinformation was a bigger problem on their platforms than they had initially reported.

Now, in the matter of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook will have to contend with the fact that most lawmakers don't think that the social network is really committed to change. 

As one Silicon Valley executive who works with policy makers in Washington told Business Insider: "These [internet] companies get dragged in front of Congress and their leaders don’t show up? Don’t think for a second lawmakers don’t notice that. It's a sentiment in DC that the Valley is not taking this problem seriously."

As for consumers: You should know that, although the #deletefacebook hashtag has been trending as these stories broke, deleting Facebook doesn't automatically stop the social network from storing your data.

SEE ALSO: Facebook tracks a scary number of details about you — here's how to find out everything it knows

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NOW WATCH: YouTube and Facebook have a serious problem with 'promoted' conspiracies about the Parkland shooting

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Disturbing footage shows the moments before the fatal Uber self-driving car crash

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 01:13

  • The first footage from a fatal self-driving car crash involving one of Uber's vehicles has been released by the police.
  • It is believed to be the first time an autonomous vehicle has killed a pedestrian.
  • The video shows the vehicle operator looking away from the road, and the pedestrian walking across the road.

Police have released footage from the moments before a fatal crash involving one of Uber's self-driving cars and a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The video, which was captured by the vehicle, shows both the forward view from the front of the car when the pedestrian enters the roadway, and the reaction of Uber's vehicle operator in the driver's seat directly before the collision. However, the footage stops before the crash itself.

The footage from the interior of the vehicle shows the Uber's vehicle operator, who was not controlling the vehicle at the time, periodically looking down and away from the road, ahead of the collision. 

The footage is available to watch below, but be warned: Its contents are disturbing.

On Sunday night at around 10 p.m. local time, one of Uber's autonomous vehicles hit Elaine Herzberg, 49, in what is believed to be the first time a self-driving vehicle has killed a pedestrian. Uber has grounded its fleet of self-driving vehicles following the collision, and authorities are investigating. 

In a statement, an Uber spokesperson said: "The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones. Our cars remain grounded, and we're assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can."

The footage shows Herzberg emerge from the shadows on the left lane of the road, pushing a bicycle, as the vehicle drove along the right lane. Police have previously said the vehicle did not meaningfully slow down before impact. It's not yet clear if the vehicle's sensors had picked her up ("lidar," a key self-driving car technology that uses lasers to detect obstacles, does not require daylight to function).

Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week, Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir said, "I suspect preliminarily it appears that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this incident."

"It's very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode [autonomous or human-driven] based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway," she also said. 

SEE ALSO: A self-driving Uber car hit and killed a woman in the first known autonomous-vehicle death

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NOW WATCH: Uber created a fake 'city' to test out its self-driving cars

Categories: English

Facebook just gave us a new kind of scandal — and it's going to get weirder from here (FB)

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 01:01

  • Mark Zuckerberg finally broke his silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal on Wednesday, meaning that the social network's redemption tour has begun. 
  • It's a good time to reflect on how much of our personal information we're willing to share online — especially as the tools for misusing that data get smarter and better every year.
  • Cambridge Analytica may be the first big social media data scandal but it won't be the last. And it gets weirder from here. 

By now, it looks like the furor over Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal has peaked — CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally broken his silence and promised to do better.

It seems likely that Zuckerberg, or one of his lieutenants, will have to testify in front of lawmakers. Concessions will be made, the idea of regulating "Big Tech" will be kicked around some more, and then, in all probability, the world will move on. 

So it's worth taking a moment to reflect on what we've learned from the affair so far.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal serves as a forceful reminder that there are consequences to posting on social media. While Cambridge Analytica obtained the user data through unsanctioned means, the data itself was scraped from what people were sharing on Facebook.

The fact that this data was used to custom-tailor ads for prospective voters in service of swaying voters towards Donald Trump is a wake-up call for people on all sides of the political divide: it matters that you share things on Facebook. And yes, the internet can reach out and influence the real world. 

Here's the thing, though. Cambridge Analytica is really just the canary in the coal mine for a new wave of scandals — scandals that are impossible to prepare for because the world hasn't seen anything like it. 

The first thing you should know is that when it comes to sharing information online, that ship has mostly sailed. Between your friends tagging you on Facebook, and the very many data breaches experienced by sites like Yahoo and Orbitz, there is more information about you floating around online than you might realize. 

Second, and more importantly, you have to know that the future is going to get very odd. Just this year, a scandal broke out on Reddit over "Deepfakes," a technology for using artificial intelligence to digitally insert celebrities into pornographic videos, using nothing more than still photos. 

The point is that as such technology matures, it's only going to get easier for people to create fake stuff: fake videos, fake accounts, fake news. And it's going to be harder for ordinary people to understand what is authentic and what isn't.

Every Twitch streamer, every Instagram selfie-taker, and every YouTube vlogger, every bit of personal information you think you are revealing only to your friends could be giving the bad guys all the ammunition they need to impersonate people. 

I mean, researchers have shown that it's possible to duplicate a fingerprint from an Instagram photo.

Besides flat out fakes and impersonation, there is manipulation of the style employed by Cambridge Analytica. It used social media information to construct "psychographic" voter profiles, targeting users based on their personality traits. And that technology will be getting smarter, too. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will allow all kinds of companies (and more of those bad guys) to construct ever-more-accurate assessments of what you like, what you don't, what motivates you, all based on the data stream you're leaving behind.  

And from there, these models could be used to create very realistic "virtual" humans. Couple all of this with Mark Zuckerberg's notion that computers you wear on your face are the wave of the future, and the future is going to be equal parts weird and scary. It's already getting difficult to tell what's real or not; it's only going to get harder from here.

So as the Cambridge Analytica scandal reaches its crescendo, just get ready for what's next, because we as a society are going to have to have some really tough conversations about what we share online, who can access that information, and, most importantly, how we can protect ourselves. 

This time, the data was used for advertising that could well have influenced an election. I'm not sure I want to know what other ways our data will be misused but it seems inevitable that one day, very soon, we will all find out.

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg finally breaks his silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal

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Twitter security chief Michael Coates is leaving to launch a startup (TWTR)

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 00:49

  • Twitter security chief Michael Coates is leaving the company after three years.
  • He's leaving to start his own security startup.
  • Joseph Camilleri, senior manager of information security and risk, will be his interim replacement.

Michael Coates, Twitter's chief information security officer, is leaving the company after three years in the role.

Coates announced the move in a tweet on Wednesday, saying that he was leaving Twitter to cofound a security startup. A longtime executive in the security industry who once worked at Mozilla, Coates noted on Twitter that he announced his departure internally a few weeks ago. 

Twitter has been an amazing ride, but as I mentioned internally a few weeks back, my time is coming to an end. I’m confident to leave the program with an amazing security team. What’s next? I’m off to co-found a security startup - hope to share more about what we’re doing soon!

— Michael Coates (@_mwc) March 21, 2018

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed Coates' departure to Business Insider.

According to The Verge, Coates' interim replacement will be Joseph Camilleri, a senior manager for information security and risk who has been with the company since May 2016.

Coates' move represents the second report this week of a chief security officer leaving an internet company, though the circumstances do not appear to be related  Facebook's Alex Stamos is set to leave the company in August due to disagreements with Facebook executives over the handling of misinformation spread on the social network during the 2016 presidential election. 

SEE ALSO: Twitter rebounds after plunging more than 10% on Tuesday (TWTR)

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An email exchange provides a glimpse into how Cambridge Analytica and Facebook first responded to what's now a huge data scandal (FB)

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 00:20

  • An email exchange obtained by Business Insider showed an early exchange between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica amid a rash of negative press in 2015.
  • "This has been a difficult period for us, but I would like to reiterate our commitment to adhering to Facebook's terms of service," Cambridge Analytica wrote. 

A 2015 email exchange between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica provides a glimpse into how both companies responded to early indications that the firm was misusing the social media giant's data.

The emails, obtained by Business Insider, showed Facebook's policy manager, Allison Hendrix, asking Cambridge Analytica whether there were any inaccuracies in news stories about the data firm's use of Facebook as it related to Republican Ted Cruz's presidential campaign.

The articles were from Fortune, Gizmodo, and Mother Jones. They followed up on reporting from The Guardian, which wrote that Cruz was using a "firm that harvested data on millions of unwitting Facebook users."

"Here are the articles I saw yesterday in addition to The Guardian. Please let me know (1) where there are inaccuracies and (2) whether I can share your PR contact's info with our PR team (for the purpose of sharing that contact info with any media outlet who contacts us)?" she wrote.

The Guardian wrote that Cruz's campaign was "using psychological data based on research spanning tens of millions of Facebook users, harvested largely without their permission," according to documents it obtained. The publication reported that Cambridge Analytica's parent company gathered Facebook data by paying people $1 on the Amazon marketplace for "human intelligence." Anyone who sold their data ended up not only selling their own personal information, but that of their friends too.

In Mother Jones, Kevin Drum wrote that none of what was reported was unusual for a consumer research firm. But he pointed blame at Facebook for "allowing people to take advantage" of its default user settings, which he said opened people up to such data harvesting.

A person named Alex responded, according to the emails. (Cambridge Analytica did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) He copied CEO Alexander Nix and Cambridge Analytica's public relations official. The person included what he claimed was incorrect about each piece in his email to Facebook.

"This has been a difficult period for us, but I would like to reiterate our commitment to adhering to Facebook's terms of service," he wrote. "I hope this email is helpful, please let me know if you need anything else."

He insisted that Cambridge Analytica did not collect information from Facebook "without users permission," did not pay people $1 to access their Facebook profile, and that Cambridge Analytica did not take advantage of Facebook's default privacy settings.

Read the email exchange:

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has roiled the tech and political worlds over the past several days. Whistleblower Christopher Wylie detailed how the company violated Facebook's rules to collect data from 50 million unwitting Facebook users. Wylie has said he "made Steve Bannon's psychological warfare tool," referring to Trump's former chief strategist's involvement with the group, backed by the GOP megadonor Robert Mercer and his family.

Nix has since been suspended pending an investigation. 

At the center of the controversy is a Cambridge University psychology professor, Aleksandr Kogan, who provided Cambridge Analytica with information gleaned from a separate personality app, to which users willingly provided their information.

Facebook said Kogan breached its rules by giving Cambridge Analytica the information gathered by his personality app. Cambridge Analytica said it deleted all of that data in 2015 when it learned the rules were broken. Kogan has said he is being used as a "scapegoat" by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

In Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Wednesday response to the scandal, he cited the 2015 Guardian report about which Hendrix had initially asked Cambridge Analytica.

"In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica," he wrote. "It is against our policies for developers to share data without people's consent, so we immediately banned Kogan's app from our platform, and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data. They provided these certifications."

SEE ALSO: There's an open secret about Cambridge Analytica in the political world: It doesn't have the 'secret sauce' it claims

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If Zuck wants us to take Facebook's response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal seriously, he should try saying 'sorry' (FB)

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 23:25

  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally broken his silence over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but at no point did he say "sorry."
  • 50 million users' personal data was misappropriated by a political research firm without their knowledge or consent.
  • If Facebook wants users to take its response seriously, it should try expressing more contrition.

Mark Zuckerberg has finally broken his silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal — but he isn't saying sorry.

The Facebook CEO has published a lengthy post on his Facebook profile admitting his company "made mistakes," and pledging to "secure our platform." But at no point did he actually apologise to the tens of millions of users whose personal data was harvested without their knowledge.

To recap: The current firestorm facing Facebook centres around Cambridge Analytica, a political research company used by the Trump campaign (among others).

It all began in 2013, when a researcher got 270,000 users to install a personality quiz app. That app scraped up not only the users' personal data, but also that of all of their Facebook friends. That data was subsequently acquired by SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.

This data trawling, while ethically dubious, wasn't against Facebook's terms of service at the time — it took until 2014 for Facebook to put new rules into place forbidding this behavior. The part that actually constituted a violation of Facebook's rules was the sale of the data. 

In 2015, Facebook learned that Cambridge Analytica had acquired this data, as Mark Zuckerberg confirmed in his post — but it didn't notify users at the time, or ban Cambridge Analytica. (The researcher's original app was banned.) 

It took until last Friday for Facebook to ban Cambridge Analytica, as the Guardian and the New York Times prepared to publish investigations into the company. The entire incident has been a public relations nightmare for Facebook: Its stock has dipped about 10% since Friday, but Zuckerberg never made any kind of statement or public appearance on the matter.

On Wednesday, the 33-year-old exec finally addressed the crisis — without giving a full apology for how it handled the matter.

"We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you," his statement reads. "We also made mistakes, there's more to do, and we need to step up and do it." Later, he adds: "I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I'm responsible for what happens on our platform."

He gives the appearance of owning the company's "mistakes," but never actually says sorry for them. Similarly, he describes the matter as a "breach of trust," but never goes any further.

Sheryl Sandberg, the company's chief operating officer, inched closer to an apology in a separate post, saying "I deeply regret that we didn't do enough." But she still stops short of an outright "sorry."

The company has outlined a number of steps it is taking
, including auditing apps that historically had large amounts of data, limiting apps' access, and providing tools for users to better understand where their personal information is being used. 

And it also plans to notify the 50 million users whose data was obtained by Cambridge Analytica — though only years after the fact.

But if Facebook really wants to regain users' trust after the scandal, it could start by expressing some genuine contrition.

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg finally breaks his silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal

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NOW WATCH: YouTube and Facebook have a serious problem with 'promoted' conspiracies about the Parkland shooting

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FBI director calls China out on one of the biggest threats to the US

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 23:20

  • FBI director Chris Wray said "there's no country that's even close" to China when it comes to foreign espionage.
  • Wray said he believes the US significantly underestimates the threat of China's economic espionage.
  • China violated intellectual property rules more than any other country. Its activity is partially responsible for a $600 billion to the US economy, according to one report.

China has been increasingly active in foreign espionage, so much so that FBI director Chris Wray said "there's no country that's even close" when it came to compromising vital assets.

Tackling the issue has proven to be a challenge, and the US has significantly underestimated the threat of China's activities, Wray said during an interview with NBC News.

When the FBI investigates economic espionage, "time and time again, they keep leading back to China," Wray said.

China has long been accused of taking steps to target intellectual property and trade secrets from small startups to major companies.

"The reality is that the Chinese have turned more and more to more creative avenues using non-traditional collectors," Wray said during a Senate hearing in February.

In 2017, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property published a report saying China violated intellectual property rights more than any other country, and that it was at least partially responsible for a $600 billion hit to the US economy.

One method China employed in the past was to acquire US-based companies. In 2016, one of the lead suppliers of military aircraft for China, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), scooped up a small and unprofitable aerospace company based in California.

"What China is doing with AVIC is making sure they have access to technologies that they wouldn't have otherwise," Tang Energy CEO Patrick Jenevein said in Forbes. That practice is fairly common in business, but China's involvement earns additional scrutiny.

China's activities do not appear to be limited to economic espionage. China has somehow acquired defense industry designs, such as a type of thermonuclear warhead engineered for submarine missiles.

SEE ALSO: Here’s how China is 'legally' acquiring US military secrets

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THE BLOCKCHAIN IN THE IoT REPORT: How distributed ledgers enhance the IoT through better visibility and create trust

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 23:09

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Blockchain isn't just for bankers anymore. Most of the buzz around the distributed ledger has focused on its uses in finance, where it originated. But one of the most promising blockchain trends is its growing disruptive presence in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Companies are pioneering innovative new solutions that use blockchain for tasks like tracking goods as they move and change hands in the supply chain, monitoring the location and condition of assets like industrial machinery at remote work sites, or storing medical data, and they are transforming the IoT

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we analyze the developing role of blockchain in the IoT ecosystem. First, we look at how blockchain works, both generally and as part of an IoT solution. We then identify the areas most suited to use blockchain as part of larger IoT projects, specifically looking into the supply chain, asset tracking and monitoring, and health care. Finally, we discuss the challenges companies looking into blockchain solutions for IoT programs will face, and explore what the future holds for blockchain in the IoT.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Blockchain is emerging as a key tool with numerous applications throughout the IoT. Companies are developing innovative solutions that use blockchain to cut costs and improve services.
  • While solutions address a number of potential pain points in the IoT, several challenges exist that could hold back widespread adoption. These issues include blockchain’s complexity, companies’ loss of control, regulation, and hardware requirements.
  • Blockchain is poised to provide a new, powerful tool for companies developing and implementing IoT solutions, offering increased versatility, security, and efficiency.

In full, the report:

  • Explains how firms are already exploring ways to make use of blockchain in all sorts of IoT projects.
  • Provides an overview of disruption in critical sectors including the supply chain and asset management.
  • Analyzes how blockchain is poised to see rapid expansion as a tool used in IoT solutions that reduce costs, increase efficiency, and remove reliance on cloud-based platforms.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
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Most Facebook users believe Facebook will have a negative impact on society within 10 years

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 23:06

After remaining silent for days, Mark Zuckerberg finally addressed Cambridge Analytica's data breach in accessing Facebook users' personal information. Facebook's oversight has launched an outpouring of criticism from leaders in the tech community, as well as mistrust from the platform's users. 

However, this isn't the first time Facebook has faced skepticism in recent months. A December poll from CB Insights reveals that the majority of Facebook users feel that the site will negatively impact society within the next 10 years. As this chart by Statista shows, more people have feelings of antipathy towards Facebook than they do towards Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple combined.  

SEE ALSO: Adults over 30 years old love Facebook and shun Snapchat Adults over 30 years old love Facebook and shun Snapchat

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Here's how you can rent a car through Costco (COST)

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 22:52

  • Costco members can rent cars at discounted prices through Costco Travel.
  • The retailer's car rental program allows members to reserve cars from participating Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise locations.
  • Members need to be 25 or older to use the program.

A Costco membership comes with a number of benefits beyond access to the retailer's warehouses. Members can also get discounts on cars, auto parts, gasoline, and travel services, including car rentals.  

Through Costco Travel, members who are 25 and older can get discounted rates on car rentals. The system works similar to the Costco Auto Program — Costco doesn't rent the cars itself, rather, it partners with a third-party supplier and uses its large membership base as leverage to negotiate discounted prices. The retailer's car rental program allows members to reserve cars from participating Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise locations.

Members can reserve a rental through the Costco Travel website or by calling 1-866-921-7925.

Here's how Costco's car rental program works:

SEE ALSO: People are obsessed with buying cars through Costco instead of on their own at a dealership — here's the verdict

1. Choose your pick-up and drop-off dates and location

The Costco Travel website allows members to make hotel reservations, purchase a vacation package, book a cruise, or rent a car. Once you've selected the "Rental Cars" tab, you're prompted to enter your zip code and when you're planning to pick up and drop off your car. While the default option is to pick up and drop off at the same location, you can also choose a different drop-off location.

Before members can look at available locations, they must also assert that they are at least 25 years old. While some of the rental services allow reservations from customers who are under 25, any members booking through Costco must be 25 or older.


2. Select the locations you want compare

Once you've specified your zip code, pick up time, and drop off time, the website shows you participating locations in your zip code. You can also zoom out on the map to look at options outside of your zip code.

The map displays a small icon next to each location indicating which car rental company runs the location. If you just want options near an airport or from a single company, you can use a filter to view only the relevant locations. 

After you've decided whether or not you want to use a filter, you can select up to four potential locations to compare against each other, using either the map or the numbered list beneath it.

3. Compare your options

After you've selected the locations you'd like to compare, the website creates a grid that lists the class of vehicle (compact, SUV, etc.) each location offers and the price you'd pay for a car from each class.

The website highlights the lowest available price for each class among the locations you've chosen, and clicking on the price for a given class and location allows you to see the brand and model that location offers. But while the website will indicate that you may receive, say, a Ford Edge if you're looking for a standard SUV, it also notes that you may receive a similar car instead. 

This page also shows you the perks each location offers for each class, such as unlimited mileage and the ability to register an additional driver for free.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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Amnesty International says Twitter doesn't respect women’s human rights — and it’s projecting giant examples of abusive tweets on Twitter’s headquarters to prove it (TWTR)

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 22:52

  • Amnesty International has launched a #ToxicTwitter campaign to accompany a newly-released report detailing Twitter's failure to create an environment  that respects women's human rights.
  • As part of the campaign, Amnesty projected images of real abusive tweets received by women on the Twitter platform.
  • The campaign launch coincides with the ever-growing #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that combats sexual harassment and assault.

Amnesty International, the human rights watchdog, has singled out Twitter for turning a blind eye to rampant harassment and abuse of women on its platform. 

The organization released a 77-page report on Tuesday titled #ToxicTwitter: Violence and abuse against women online," that details the results of a 16-month long investigation into the online abuse suffered by women on Twitter. 

The report, which represents the first time Amnesty International has focused on a particular social media service, argues that Twitter fails to respect women's basic rights because of its "inadequate and ineffective response to violence and abuse." 

"Despite repeated promises to clean up the platform, many women are logging onto Twitter to find death threats, rape threats and racist or homophobic slurs littering their feeds," Azmina Dhrodia, a technology and human rights researcher at Amnesty International writes in the report. 

To call attention to the issue, Amnesty International projected images of some of the abusive tweets endured by women onto the outside of Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. 

The abundance of abusive, often overtly racist and misogynistic, content on Twitter has been a longstanding problem that the company has struggled to control. Last year, Twitter suspended the accounts of several white supremacists and people affiliated with hate groups. But critics say the company, which once prided itself on its extreme free speech bona fides, continues to be too lax when it comes to fighting abusive content. 

"Twitter cannot credibly claim to be on women’s side"

The report is based on interviews with both women and non-gender binary Twitter users in the US and the UK who claim Twitter did not take their accounts of abuse seriously. Amnesty's says this has caused women to change how they use the social media platform, which can result in them quitting posting altogether. It also outlines various steps it believes Twitter should take to address the issue.

Twitter refutes Amnesty International's findings.

In a statement given to Business Insider, Vijaya Gadde, Legal, Policy, and Trust and Safety Lead, said "the assertion that Twitter is consciously un-engaged with human rights issues is an unfair representation not just of the facts, but of the ethos of our dedicated teams, and the core mission of the company."

Twitter, which has roughly 330 million users, has a reporting system in place on the website for users to utilize when they encounter abuse. The company says it has made more than 30 policy changes in the last 16 months to combat hateful conduct.

Amnesty International's report references Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's appeal earlier this month specifying the company's determination to remain accountable and to improve the platform's "conversational health."

Despite Twitter's efforts, Amnesty International maintains that there are still big improvements to be made.

“Twitter’s recent initiatives shows that it wants to be a part of this change, but women who’ve experienced abuse on the platform simply aren’t buying it," said Dhrodia. "Without taking further concrete steps to effectively identify and account for violence and abuse against women on its platform, Twitter cannot credibly claim to be on women’s side.”

SEE ALSO: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says 'we aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service,' pledges big fixes

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NOW WATCH: Facebook can still track you even if you delete your account — here's how to stop it

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Everyone wants to work at Amazon, according to LinkedIn (AMZN)

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 22:36

  • Amazon is at the top of LinkedIn's Top Companies list for 2018.
  • Amazon was No. 2 last year, behind Alphabet, Google's parent company.
  • LinkedIn considered "interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention" to come up with these results.

Amazon is now America's most desirable place to work.

The company topped LinkedIn's Top Companies list for 2018, beating out Alphabet, Google's parent company, which came in first last year.

To compile the list, LinkedIn takes into account things like "interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention." That means the study was not based on reputation as gathered by a survey, but instead on how people actually use and interact with companies on LinkedIn.

Amazon was chosen for its "endless expansion," both in terms of the business sectors it's moving into and in terms of its customer and revenue growth. LinkedIn notes that it is an exciting, fast-moving, and ambitious company where it is always "Day 1" — Amazon speak for staying nimble, fast, and results-oriented.

"Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said in a letter to shareholders.

Employment is diverse at Amazon. Its Seattle headquarters employs about 40,000 people, but the company also has corporate offices in many major cities across the country. Warehouse employees round out the rest of the workforce, making Amazon the US' second-largest employer at 566,000 strong.

Amazon is growing so much and so quickly that it's now looking for a second headquarters. It's narrowed the possibilities down to 20 cities for what has be ome known as its HQ2 project. Amazon has promised a $5 billion investment and 50,000 jobs for wherever HQ2 is built. 

Employment at Amazon isn't all rainbows and unicorns, however. The company's Day 1 philosophy means that things can change quickly. The company eliminated some positions earlier this year while offering employment elsewhere in the company.

It also means that working at Amazon can be demanding.

One former Amazon employee told the New York Times in 2015 that "nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk."

SEE ALSO: There's one big 'hidden variable' that everyone's missing with Amazon's HQ2

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NOW WATCH: The rise and fall of Hooters Air — the airline that lost the 'breastaurant' $40 million

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Hillary Clinton wants to know if Cambridge Analytica and Russian operatives worked together to derail her presidential campaign

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 22:31

  • Hillary Clinton's questions about Cambridge Analytica's involvement in the US election have gained new significance in light of the scandal surrounding the data firm this week.
  • Cambridge Analytica is under scrutiny for the tactics it employed during the 2016 presidential election.
  • Its executives have secretly boasted of their firm's ability to covertly target voters, entrap politicians, and launch propaganda campaigns.
  • The firm, which Donald Trump's campaign hired in 2016, abused Facebook's data-sharing tools to inappropriately vacuum up data from 50 million Facebook profiles.
  • As part of its operation, it seeded attack ads through pro-Trump PACs, ostensibly to conceal its involvement.

Hillary Clinton, in an interview originally recorded last year, questioned whether Cambridge Analytica and Russian operatives may have worked together during the 2016 US election.

The former Democratic presidential nominee spoke last year with the British public-broadcasting outlet Channel 4, and her inquiry has taken on new significance in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that's unfolding this week.

Cambridge Analytica is being scrutinized for the methods it used during the 2016 presidential election, after executives with the British data firm boasted about their ability to covertly target voters, entrap politicians, and launch propaganda campaigns.

The firm exploited Facebook's data rules to vacuum up data from some 50 million Facebook users as part of an operation to seed attack ads on the internet during the 2016 US election. Donald Trump's campaign hired Cambridge Analytica the same year.

The firm's bosses have described how they planted anti-Clinton ads and content via pro-Trump political-action committees, ostensibly to conceal their own involvement.

Russian operatives used Facebook data to seed political discord online. The propaganda was largely pro-Trump, and was targeted to specific election battlegrounds like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

"The real question," Clinton said last year while promoting her book about the 2016 election, "is how did the Russians know how to target their messages so precisely to undecided voters in Wisconsin, or Michigan, or Pennsylvania."

Clinton continued: "So if they were getting advice from, let's say, Cambridge Analytica or someone else about, 'OK, here are the 12 voters in this town in Wisconsin — that's whose Facebook pages you need to be on to send these messages,' that indeed would be very disturbing."

Ultimately, Trump's surprise victory in the 2016 race came down to fewer than 90,000 votes between those three states.

Cambridge Analytica called the allegation that it in any way collaborated with Russia to get Trump elected "entirely false."

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NOW WATCH: Henry Blodget: Will arming teachers with guns help stop school shootings?

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There's a 'club' in midtown Manhattan where tired office workers pay $10 to take a 30-minute nap

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 21:43

  • New York City now boasts Nap York, a new facility in midtown Manhattan where you can pay $10 to rent a nap pod for 30 minutes.
  • Napping has myriad psychological and physiological benefits, like increasing energy and boosting cognitive function.
  • But not all workplaces are open to the idea of employees sleeping in the middle of the day.

The city itself may never sleep, but its inhabitants are getting drowsy.

A 24-hour "club" for napping recently opened in midtown New York.

At Nap York, in addition to napping, patrons can visit the cafe, the yoga studio, or the lounge (for working, not sleeping). A 30-minute stay in a nap pod runs $10 — and you can book the pod for as long as you'd like.

Time Out New York reports that Nap York is filled with greenery and soft lighting to create an atmosphere of extreme tranquility.

Stacy Veloric, Nap York's director of marketing, told Business Insider that since Nap York opened in February, 1,000 people have visited. The majority of nappers are local employees, she said, but they also attract commuters whose buses and trains are delayed (Nap York is near two transit hubs: Penn Station and Port Authority).

If you'd feel guilty about ducking out of work for an hour to catch up on sleep, we get it. As psychologist Ron Friedman previously told Business Insider, the American workplace isn't exactly pro-napping.

"Particularly in American culture, we like to believe that productivity is a function of effort, and that if we work hard we'll produce."

But, he added, "The reality is that we have a biological need for rest no different or less important than our need for food or water."

Napping during the workday may become more common over time

Business Insider's Rachel Gillett reported on a growing body of research on the restorative power of even a short nap. Studies have found that a half-hour nap can increase energy, boost cognitive function, and help with emotional control.

In fact, Arianna Huffington — founder of HuffPost and Thrive Global and an outspoken proponent of sleep, told Gillett that she predicts nap rooms will soon be "as universal as conference rooms" in offices.

And, as Business Insider's Melia Robinson reported, WeWork cofounder Miguel McKelvey said he's open to the idea of nap pods in coworking spaces.

Veloric said most Nap York patrons stay for about an hour — though according to the Mayo Clinic, if you sleep for longer than 30 minutes, you risk waking up feeling groggy. Some people, she added, use the pods for meditating.

Nap York places a high priority on cleanliness: They use Airweave mattresses, which are washable and keep out bedbugs; plus they change the pillowcases and blankets after every use.

Demand for naps has been higher than expected, Veloric said. Right now there are seven nap pods available; by mid-April there will be 30.

The company also offers a shuttle service that picks up passengers from red-eye flights and brings them to Nap York before it's time to check into their hotel.

"The tide is changing," Veloric said. "People are really starting to focus on self-care and on wellness. And people are understanding it's OK to take that break and to focus on yourself if you're exhausted."

SEE ALSO: How to take a power nap at work, even if your office doesn't have nap rooms

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An airline is banning larger people from business class — and it's part of a trend sweeping the industry

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 21:19

  • Thai Airways International announced a 56-inch waistline limit for passengers sitting in business class on its Boeing 787-9 aircraft, according to the Bangkok Post.
  • The airline said it introduced the limit due to seatbelt airbags it installed that prevent the seat belts from extending.
  • The seatbelt airbags will also prevent parents from flying with children on their laps.

Airlines have no shortage of ways to divide and categorize passengers, but most of those ways involve how much money a customer spends with them. 

Now, Thai Airways International is evaluating passengers based on their waist size. Prathana Pattanasiri, vice president of the airline's aviation safety, security, and standards department, announced a 56-inch waistline limit for passengers sitting in business class on its Boeing 787-9 aircraft, according to the Bangkok Post.

The airline said it introduced the limit due to seatbelt airbags it installed that prevent the seat belts from extending. The seatbelt airbags will also prevent parents from flying with children on their laps.

Thai Airways is not the first airline to classify passengers according to size or weight. In November, European airline Finnair started a program where it encouraged passengers to weigh themselves and their luggage before boarding. The voluntary program was designed to give the airline a better sense of the amount of weight its flights would carry.

In 2016, Hawaiian Airlines announced a policy that would prevent passengers flying from American Samoa to Honolulu, Hawaii, from pre-selecting seats before flights, in an effort to optimize weight distribution. The policy was controversial because weight is a sensitive issue, and American Samoa has a high obesity rate.

The now-defunct Samoa Air took things a step further in 2013 by setting ticket prices for passengers based on their weight and the weight of their carry-on bags. The airline claimed it was the "fairest way" to assign ticket prices.

SEE ALSO: Airplane passengers have an 80% chance of getting sick on a flight if they sit in the wrong spot, scientists have found

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NOW WATCH: Trade war fears are escalating — here's who has the most to lose

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