Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Nov 2017 16:09 UTC
Android

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers - even when location services are disabled - and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals' locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.

Quartz observed the data collection occur and contacted Google, which confirmed the practice.

The cell tower addresses have been included in information sent to the system Google uses to manage push notifications and messages on Android phones for the past 11 months, according to a Google spokesperson. The were never used or stored, the spokesperson said, and the company is now taking steps to end the practice after being contacted by Quartz. By the end of November, the company said, Android phones will no longer send cell-tower location data to Google, at least as part of this particular service, which consumers cannot disable.

Raise your hand if you're surprised.

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RE[5]: party like it's 1995
by Alfman on Wed 22nd Nov 2017 16:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: party like it's 1995"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

dbox2005,

This is one of the reasons why Bitcoin will be 10k by year end, and 100k by 2020. Decentralized currency will slowly but surely catch on. People used to technology will embrace it and governments and corporations will continue to fight this. Power to the people.


Bitcoin's growth so far has been predominantly driven by speculation. Bitcoin "investors" joined because of the profitability of bitcoin mining, which makes sense, but it's been far less successful as a real currency. So what happens when mining stops being profitable? It's pretty clear that for bitcoin to have a future, it has to gain traction in the real world.

Maybe we'll assume bitcoin demand will go up among normal consumers, but there are severe technological limitations that put it's viability into question.

#1 It scales very poorly and the block chain is already exceeding many people's resources to run a P2P bitcoin client at home. This will only become significantly worse as more transactions are added. The main solution to this is to outsource this to someone else who has the resources to handle the bandwidth and blockchain requirements. However this consolidation actually results in the same kinds of corporate control we wanted to avoid.

#2 Bitcoin exchanges and portfolios keep getting hacked. Even if this isn't the fault of the protocol, I still think this is a serious problem and there will be millions of victims in the future.

#3 Bitcoin's underlying security is based on the assumption that no one controls a majority of the hashing power. However given the necessity of users to rely on third party providers, more and more of bitcoin's processing will be done by few very large entities and it puts the security assumptions at risk as they have the potential to monopolize the blockchain.

https://www.pcworld.com/article/2364000/bitcoin-price-dips-as-backer...

#4 Speed. Bitcoin transactions take way too long to clear, making it highly impractical for most consumer needs compared to a traditional credit card.


#5 Privacy from government snooping. Some people don't realize that the protocol requires all transactions to be open for all to see. It's quite likely in a bitcoin future that the IRS would monitor your bitcoin account and have access to every single transaction you make. You might envision yourself creating a new account without sharing your ID with the IRS...fine, but assuming you are funding your account from an employer or bank, they would be able to track that and audit them for not reporting your income to the IRS.


It's not that I don't want an independent bitcoin-like currency to work, but all of it's problems make it far from ideal.


https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ae3p7e/bitcoin-is-unsusta...

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[6]: party like it's 1995
by dbox2005 on Wed 22nd Nov 2017 22:49 in reply to "RE[5]: party like it's 1995"
dbox2005 Member since:
2017-11-22

Bitcoin is the asset class, however altcoins are leading the change. The intrinsic value is represented by the exchange capabilities (altcoins <-> bitcoin) the key principle is the blockchain. Yes, bloated blockchain, but technology is changing by fork.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: party like it's 1995
by Alfman on Thu 23rd Nov 2017 03:40 in reply to "RE[6]: party like it's 1995"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

dbox2005,

Bitcoin is the asset class, however altcoins are leading the change. The intrinsic value is represented by the exchange capabilities (altcoins <-> bitcoin) the key principle is the blockchain. Yes, bloated blockchain, but technology is changing by fork.


Of course there are plenty of competing crypto currencies, I can't even keep track, here are some partial lists:

https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/bitcoin-alternatives/
https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/an-exodus-from-bitcoin-to-alternativ...
https://www.geckoandfly.com/23517/best-bitcoin-alternatives-cryptocu...

In fact, I should add another point to my earlier list: #6 fragmentation.


I'm concerned about the motivation for some of these alternatives. Obviously authors want to generate crypto coins at the beginning when it's most profitable to do so. Then in theory once it gains popularity and valuation, it can become a stable currency. However the actual market incentive may not encourage this as we hope and as long as crypto-currencies are treated as an investment rather than a real-world currency, then the financial incentive is to sell out currencies once they've matured and continually restart over with very little risk using a new currency at the ground floor to maximize profits.


Obviously I cannot see the future, however human nature suggests that people will always seek the most profit, even if it destabilizes the currency du jour.



Beyond a flood of alternatives, there are the outright hard forks of bitcoin, where different factions of the community split apart over disagreements. The result can be incompatible blockchains from the point of the fork and inconsistent results depending on which version you use.
https://moneymorning.com/2017/10/23/the-bitcoin-hard-fork-survival-g...

This obviously is pretty bad. Successful transactions on one node may fail on another and then everything goes amok. I don't know if there's a solution because without a central authority, it's pretty hard to enforce which algorithms people use.

Reply Parent Score: 3