Hashtag Trending Oct.25 – NordVPN surveys the amount of time required to read privacy policies; Okta experiences a significant drop in its market valuation; A new tool has been developed to help artists against AI scraping

Canadian readers would have to spend a week a month just reading privacy pages. OKTA wipes out billions of market cap due to latest hack. And holy poison pill Batman – poisoned images mess up the AI engines that study them.

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These and more top tech stories on Hashtag Trending

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

Cybersecurity firm NordVPN conducted a study on the top 20 websites across 19 countries to determine the time required to read their privacy policies. The findings revealed that Canadians would spend approximately 41.3 hours, equivalent to a full workweek, reading the privacy policies of 96 websites they typically access each month. On average, a Canadian privacy policy contains 6,148 words, taking about 26 minutes to read. 

The cost of this, if you paid yourself minimum wage for this time, would be close to 500 dollars Canadian.

Despite the importance of understanding these policies, one-third of Canadians avoid reading online legal information. 

The study also highlighted that Meta’s platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, have the lengthiest privacy policies, while X (formerly Twitter) offers a more concise version.  

When measured in terms of readability Zoom and Netflix scored the worst on two popularly used test methods.  

Some tips for reading these policies if you have to do it quickly?  Look for red flags:

  • Check what data is collected – if they ask for more data than seems relevant it’s a “red flag.” 
  • Look for “red flag” keywords like “sell” or “sold” and with those also look for “partners” and “affiliates.” Search for the words “may” or “for example.” 

And stick to reputable sites – avoiding those that DON’T have a privacy policy.

There’s a link to the full study and the methodology they used in the show notes. 

Sources: NordVPN 

Okta, a prominent identity management company, has experienced a significant drop in its market valuation, losing over $2 billion since announcing a breach in its support systems. This recent cybersecurity incident is among several that have been associated with Okta or its products. Following the disclosure of the hack, Okta’s shares plummeted by over 11 per cent on Friday. The unidentified hackers managed to access client files via a support system, though Okta has not provided further details. The company’s stock continued its decline, closing down 8.1 per cent on Monday. BeyondTrust, a private identity management firm, revealed that it had informed Okta about suspicious activities in its systems on October 2nd, suggesting a potential breach. However, Okta did not initially recognize the incident as a security breach.

Sources: CBNC 

A new tool named Nightshade has been developed to empower artists against unauthorized data scraping by AI companies. This tool allows artists to make imperceptible alterations to their artwork’s pixels. If this altered artwork is then used in an AI’s training set, it can disrupt the AI model’s functioning in unpredictable ways. 

The intention behind Nightshade is to challenge AI companies that use artists’ creations without permission. When “poisoned” in this manner, the training data can severely impair AI models, such as DALL-E and Stable Diffusion, causing them to produce nonsensical outputs. 

The tool was developed by a team led by Ben Zhao, a professor at the University of Chicago. The team also created Glaze, another tool that lets artists mask their unique style to prevent AI scraping. Both tools aim to shift the power balance from AI companies back to artists, emphasizing respect for artists’ copyrights and intellectual property.

Sources: Technology Review 

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive officer (CEO), has acknowledged the company’s past errors in the mobile domain, making him the third CEO of Microsoft to do so. After taking over from Steve Ballmer in 2014, Nadella wrote off $7.6 billion related to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone business. 

In a recent interview, he expressed that Microsoft’s exit from the mobile phone sector could have been managed better. He believes that there might have been opportunities to redefine the computing category, bridging PCs, tablets, and phones. 

Microsoft’s Windows Phone was officially declared dead a few years post the Nokia write-off. Although Microsoft has since introduced Android-based Surface Duo devices, the future of Surface Duo remains uncertain. Both Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, previous Microsoft CEOs, have also admitted to the company’s mobile strategy mistakes.

Sources: The Verge 

Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.”

You can get us anywhere you get audio podcasts and there is a copy of the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

I’m your host, Jim Love – have a Wonderful Wednesday.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Love
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO and Chief Digital Officer of IT World Canada - Canada's leader in ICT publishing and digital marketing.

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