London, Oct 4 (AP/UNB) — Ireland's data regulator has launched an investigation of Facebook over a recent data breach that allowed hackers access to 50 million accounts. The probe could potentially cost Facebook more than $1.6 billion in fines.
The Irish Data Protection Commission said Wednesday that it will look into whether the U.S. social media company complied with European regulations that went into effect earlier this year covering data protection.
It's the latest headache for Facebook in Europe, where authorities are turning up the heat on dominant tech firms over data protection. Last month, European Union consumer protection chief Vera Jourova said that she was growing impatient with Facebook for being too slow in clarifying the fine print in its terms of service covering what happens to user data and warned that the company could face sanctions.
The commission said in a statement that it would examine whether Facebook put in place "appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes."
The commission said earlier this week the number of EU accounts potentially affected numbered less than 5 million.
Ireland, which is Facebook's lead privacy regulator for Europe, has moved swiftly to investigate the U.S. tech company since the breach became public on Friday.
Facebook said Friday attackers gained the ability to "seize control" of user accounts by stealing digital keys the company uses to keep users logged in. They could do so by exploiting three distinct bugs in Facebook's code.
Facebook also said the hackers could also have used those stolen digital keys to access outside services or apps that let people to log in with their Facebook usernames and passwords. The company said it hasn't found any evidence of this happening.
The company said it has fixed the bugs and logged out the 50 million breached users — plus another 40 million who were vulnerable to the attack — in order to reset those digital keys. Facebook said it doesn't know who was behind the attacks or where they're based. Neither passwords nor credit card data was stolen. At the time, the company said it alerted the FBI and regulators in the U.S. and Europe.
Facebook said in a statement Wednesday that it has been in close contact with the Irish agency since it became aware of the breach and will continue to cooperate with the investigation.
Facebook has faced a tumultuous year of security problems and privacy issues . News broke early this year that a data analytics firm once employed by the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, had improperly gained access to personal data from millions of user profiles. Then a congressional investigation found that agents from Russia and other countries have been posting fake political ads since at least 2016. In April, Zuckerberg appeared at a congressional hearing focused on Facebook's privacy practices.
The European Union implemented stronger data and privacy rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, in May.
The case could prove to be the first major test of GDPR. Under the new rules, companies could be hit with fines equal to 4 percent of annual global turnover for the most serious violations. In Facebook's case, that could amount to more than $1.6 billion based on its 2017 revenues.
The new rules also require companies to disclose any breaches within 72 hours. The commission said Facebook informed it that its internal investigation is continuing and that it is taking actions to "mitigate the potential risk to users."
Tokyo, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — A German-French observation device safely landed on an asteroid on Wednesday after a Japanese spacecraft released it as part of a research effort that could find clues about the origin of the solar system, Japanese space officials said.
The Japan Space Exploration Agency said the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout, or MASCOT, was released from the unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 and successfully landed on the asteroid Ryugu.
The spacecraft went as close as about 50 meters (160 feet) to the asteroid's surface to release the box-shaped lander. Hayabusa2 has been stationed near the asteroid since June after traveling 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth.
About an hour after the separation, the space agency, known as JAXA, said it had received signals from MASCOT, an indication of its safe landing.
JAXA's Hayabusa project manager, Yuichi Tsuda, confirmed the landing at a news conference. JAXA collaborated with the German Aerospace Center and France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales in the MASCOT project.
The lander's deployment follows the successful landing last month of two MINERVA-II1 observation rovers that have transmitted a series of images showing the asteroid's rocky surface.
Hayabusa2 dropped MASCOT on the opposite hemisphere from the rovers so they don't interfere with each other's activity, JAXA said.
It took more than three years for the Hayabusa2 spacecraft to reach the asteroid's vicinity. Hayabusa2 will later attempt to briefly land on the asteroid itself to collect samples to send back to researchers on Earth.
The two successful landings of the probes provide a boost of confidence ahead of the upcoming landing of Hayabusa2, though that will be a greater challenge, Tsuda said.
The lithium battery-run MASCOT can operate 16 hours — while the asteroid revolves twice — to collect and transmit data, including temperature and mineral varieties. After its observation activity at the initial landing spot, it will bounce to a second location to collect another set of samples there.
According to JAXA, MASCOT is carrying a wide-angle camera on its side to capture images of its surroundings. A spectroscopic microscope on the bottom is designed to examine minerals on the asteroid's surface. MASCOT will also measure the magnetic force and temperature on the asteroid.
Stockholm, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — The Nobel Prize in chemistry has been awarded to two researchers in the United States and one in Britain.
Half of the 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize was designated for Frances Arnold of Caltech in Pasadena for work that has led to the development of new biofuels and pharmaceuticals.
The other half of the prize will be shared by George Smith of the University of Missouri and Gregory Winter of the MRC Laboratory in Cambridge. They were honored for "phage display of peptides and antibodies."
Houston, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — A human trafficking survivor from Texas sued Facebook this week, alleging the social media platform provides human traffickers an unrestricted way to "stalk, exploit, recruit, groom ... and extort children into the sex trade."
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Houston against Facebook, the shuttered classifieds site Backpage.com and the owners of two Houston hotels.
The suit seeks at least $1 million in damages on behalf of a woman identified as "Jane Doe," who was 15 years old when she was sexually assaulted in 2012 after being allegedly targeted and recruited by a sex trafficker on Facebook.
Facebook did not immediately return an email seeking comment on Tuesday. An attorney for Dallas-based Backpage.com didn't immediately return a phone call.
According to the lawsuit, Facebook should be held liable for the conduct of sex traffickers because the social media site has become the "first point of contact between sex traffickers and these children. Facebook not only provides an unrestricted platform for these sex traffickers to target children, but it also cloaks the traffickers with credibility."
Annie McAdams, an attorney for the woman who filed the suit, said her client was befriended by another Facebook user who gained her trust and promised her a job as a model.
But, McAdams said, the other person forced her into sex trafficking within hours of meeting her. She was raped and beaten by people who had paid the trafficker, the attorney said.
McAdams alleged Facebook has not done enough to ensure that users aren't able to hide their identities from unsuspecting minors who may be targets of traffickers or to warn minors of the dangers posed by traffickers and how they can operate online.
"It was not just because a pimp did something that Jane Doe was trafficked. That pimp is not able to traffic Jane Doe unless Facebook allowed him access to her," McAdams said.
The lawsuit comes after President Donald Trump in April signed a new law aimed at curbing sex trafficking. The law weakens a legal shield for online services that host abusive content, including sex trafficking.
The legislation was focused more on classified-ad sites like Backpage.com, which had claimed they aren't the publisher of questionable content but are merely transmitting posts by others.
Backpage.com was shut down by federal authorities earlier this year after the company's co-founders and other employees were arrested in what authorities say was a scheme to publish ads for sexual services, some of which involved children.
"Facebook has the technology to be able to potentially develop algorithms to look for the indicators and the red flags of potential (trafficking) exploitation and abuse," said Tony Talbott, director of Abolition Ohio, a University of Dayton group that works to combat human trafficking.
Maya Simek, co-director of the Human Trafficking Law Clinic and a lecturer at Case Western Reserve University's School of Law in Cleveland, points to a lack of ID verification and a lack of advertisements or other outreach efforts to offer help for victims as some of the problems social media sites face in combating human trafficking.
"I don't think they're doing as much as could be done," Simek said.
Talbott said he thinks the Houston lawsuit will have a difficult time proving that Facebook knowingly facilitated sex trafficking, as the company could show that traffickers are simply exploiting the site.
Dhaka, Oct 2 (UNB)- The world’s leading technology and smartphone manufacturing company Huawei was celebrating 'October Festival' offering with special discounts, cashback and bundle of internet for Huawei's smartphone customers.
A handful of models of Huawei phones were under the purview of October Festival offer.
Among them, Huawei Y5 Prime 2018 smartphone with Tk 1,000 discount, will be available at Tk 10,590 while Huawei Y6 Prime 2018, with Tk 1,500discount, will sell at Tk 12,490.
The purchase of a Huawei Y9 2018 smartphone will entitle the customer to a cashback up to Tk 10,000 while a minimum cashback of Tk 1,000 is guaranteed.
Moreover, each purchase of all Huawei smartphones available will be provided with free internet bundle offers from telecom operators.
Anyone purchasing the selected models of Huawei phones from any Huawei brand shop or authorized mobile outlet across the country by October 31, 2018 will enjoy the offers.