Privacy questions over user audio at Facebook

NEW YORK — Facebook has paid contractors to transcribe audio clips from users of its Messenger service, raising privacy concerns for a company with a history of privacy lapses.

The practice was, until recently, common in the tech industry. Companies say the use of humans helps improve their services. But users aren’t typically aware that humans and not just computers are reviewing audio.

Transcriptions done by humans raise bigger concerns because of the potential of rogue employees or contractors leaking details. The practice at Google emerged after some of its Dutch language audio snippets were leaked.Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy privacy-advocacy group, said it’s bad enough that Facebook uses artificial intelligence as part of its data-monitoring activities. He said the use of humans as well is “even more alarming.”

Vaping companies sue to delay U.S. e-cigarette review

WASHINGTON — A vaping industry group sued the U.S. government on Wednesday to delay an upcoming review of thousands of e-cigarettes on the market.

The legal challenge by the Vapor Technology Association is the latest hurdle in the Food and Drug Administration’s yearslong effort to regulate the multibillion-dollar vaping industry, which includes makers and retailers of e-cigarette devices and flavored solutions.

The vaping group argued that the latest deadline of next May to submit products for review could wipe out many of the smaller companies. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Kentucky.

Feds: Suspect might have hacked more than 30 companies

SEATTLE — Federal prosecutors say a woman charged in a massive data breach at Capital One may have hacked more than 30 other organizations.

Paige Thompson, of Seattle, was arrested last month after the FBI said she obtained personal information from more than 100 million Capital One credit applications. There is no evidence the data was sold or distributed to others.

In a memorandum filed ahead of a detention hearing, rescheduled from Thursday to Aug. 22, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said servers found in Thompson’s bedroom contained data stolen from more than 30 unnamed companies, educational institutions and other entities.

Prosecutors said much of that data did not appear to contain personal identifying information. Investigators are still working to identify the affected organizations.

Thompson’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday.

The Associated Press

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