Top 4 Recent Technology-related Consumer Data Collection Scandals

TheMerkle Consumer Data Collecting ScandalsElectronics manufacturers and online service providers have a habit of collecting consumer data without wanting their users about this exposure. In fact, quite a few companies have been found guilty of this malicious behavior over the past few months, which does not bode well at all. No company should (inadvertently) collect user data and not be upfront about it, that much is certain. 4. We-Vibe The world received quite a nasty surprise when they learned a Canadian adult toy manufacturer was secretly collecting consumer data. The whole concept of an adult toy being capable of gathering information and send it

TheMerkle Consumer Data Collecting Scandals

Electronics manufacturers and online service providers have a habit of collecting consumer data without wanting their users about this exposure. In fact, quite a few companies have been found guilty of this malicious behavior over the past few months, which does not bode well at all. No company should (inadvertently) collect user data and not be upfront about it, that much is certain.

4. We-Vibe

The world received quite a nasty surprise when they learned a Canadian adult toy manufacturer was secretly collecting consumer data. The whole concept of an adult toy being capable of gathering information and send it back to the company is very disturbing, to say the least. We-Vibe tracked the intimate habits of its customers through the mobile companion app. Thankfully, this issue came to light before major damage was done.

Every consumer affected by the We-Vibe scandal received a US$199 compensation. Moreover, the users who controlled the app through a smartphone received up to US$10,000 each. Even though We-Vibe continues to deny any wrongdoing, nearly all of the collected data had to be destroyed in the process. Bluetooth-enabled adult toys are always a risk when it comes to ‘personal” privacy, to say the least.

3. Bose

A few days ago, a major news story broke regarding Bose. The audio company is apparently collecting user information through their wireless headphones’ companion application. Consumers are at risk of having listening habits exposed and sold to third-party advertisers. An official complaint has been filed against the company, and it is likely this court case will take some time to settle. So far, Bose spokespeople claim these comments are unfounded and inflammatory.

2. AdUps

There are quite a few low-budget Android phones on the market. BLUE is a company most people have come to know due to their powerful hardware at an affordable price. Unfortunately, the Blue R1 HD came with malicious backdoor software going by the name of AdUps. This app is specifically designed to give Chinese phone manufacturers are carriers a way to track consumer behavior for advertising purposes.

A further investigation into the AdUps company revealed their app is installed on over 700 million consumer devices. Not just smartphones, but also tablets and in-car entertainment systems may have this backdoor installed. Although the data never ended up in the hands of the Chinese government, this goes to show mobile phone bloatware is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

1. Vizio

Most US consumers will be all too familiar with Vizio, a brand known for their more than affordable consumer-grade televisions. Earlier this year, the company was forced to settle with the FTC over its consumer data collection practices. Vizio paid US$2.2m in fines. The company’s Smart Interactivity feature started tracking consumer data back in 2014 in a second-by-second manner. Unfortunately, the information also includes IP addresses and the opportunity to track information across devices.

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Bitcoin Proponents Are Laser Focused on One Particular Mining Pool

F2 PoolFollowing the Bitcoin scaling debate has been interesting over the past few months. A lot of people have been focused on certain characters and organizations within the cryptocurrency environment by highlighting their opinions and scaling choices on social media. One particular individual and entity of interest has been the mining group F2 Pool and the

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F2 Pool

Following the Bitcoin scaling debate has been interesting over the past few months. A lot of people have been focused on certain characters and organizations within the cryptocurrency environment by highlighting their opinions and scaling choices on social media. One particular individual and entity of interest has been the mining group F2 Pool and the pool’s associate Wang Chun.

Also read: Research Shows How Bitcoin Can Be Attacked Via Internet Routing Infrastructure

All Eyes on F2 Pool

The Chinese F2 Pool formally known as “Discus Fish” is a mining organization that was formed in May of 2013. The Chinese mining pool is well known for commanding a significant portion of Bitcoin’s hashrate distribution over the past few years. Currently, F2 Pool is the second largest mining operation behind Bitmain’s Antpool capturing 11 percent of the network’s hashrate. People have been focused lately on F2 Pool’s actions because many are curious to find out what scaling solution the pool supports.

Bitcoin Proponents Are Laser Focused on One Particular Mining Pool

So far figuring out whether or not F2 pool supports bigger blocks, or Segregated Witness (Segwit) has been quite confusing. From the signs of things and statements made, the mining pool would like to see both developments move forward. For instance, one vocal member of F2 pool, Wang Chun has been voicing his opinion on the subject for quite some time but in a very cryptic fashion.

Then this week on April 18th the Chinese publication 8BTC’s forum revealed a translated statement from F2 Pool that announced the organization was in favor of Segwit, but the announcement also stated the pool wants a larger block size.  

“Most people don’t realize that the debate is about what is best for bitcoin instead of choosing one specific scaling solution, Segwit, BU or other scaling solutions,” explains the mining pool’s announcement.

At F2Pool, we are in favor of Segwit plus a large block size. Segwit can help solve technical problems and a large block size is beneficial to the bitcoin ecosystem in the long run. But the hard fact is that we are not able to reach this goal under the current situation.

Can We Really Determine What Scaling Solution F2 Pool Supports?

Watching F2 Pool’s scaling signals when the pool mines blocks on the network has also been very confusing. The mining pool has signaled for Segwit but has also shown support for other proposals as well. A few weeks ago for an April Fool’s Day joke, the pool signaled for every proposal on the table including Segwit, Bitcoin Unlimited, Classic, and an 8mb increase. The pool also showed signs of supporting Segwit on the Litecoin network that day.

F2 Pool’s Wang Chun told his Twitter followers that day, “Bitclub stole my idea for the upcoming April Fool’s Day. Let’s signal BU + SW + Classic + XT +8M all together!”

Bitcoin Proponents Are Laser Focused on One Particular Mining Pool
Wang Chun meets with Bitcoin Unlimited developer Andrew Stone in China this past March.

Wang Chun’s Twitter Statements

Furthermore, Wang Chun has been revealing strong opinions about bitcoin development over the past few days. On April 18 Chun compared Core developers to Saddam Hussein winning 100 percent of the vote in 2002. “Core devs are no different from President Hussein IMHO,” explains Chun. The F2 pool associate goes on to say that the scaling debate is not about Segwit at all but more about development communication and listening.

“It’s not about segwit or not,” says Wang Chun. “It’s about communicating, listening, understanding, and respecting. All those the things current Core devs lack.”

Bitcoin Proponents Are Laser Focused on One Particular Mining Pool

The pool has been signaling for Segwit for the past three days according to network statistic websites. It seems the mining pool is pleased with taking a more humorous approach and has no problem joking around about block size debate. However, as the saying goes many true words are said in jest. It’s clear Wang Chun has a lot to say about the scaling subject and believes Bitcoin development communication skills with miners needs improvement.

What do you think about F2 Pool’s stance towards the scaling debate? Do you agree with any of Wang Chun’s recent statements towards developers? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, and Twitter.


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UK Scientists Use Satellites to Monitor all 1,500 Land Volcanoes on Earth

TheMerkle Volcano Monitoring SatellitesSatellites are a very interesting piece of technology that still feels somewhat underutilized at this stage. British scientists are looking to change all of that with their new satellite-oriented venture. To be more specific, the group wants to monitor every land volcano known to man from space by using satellites dedicated to this task. In doing so, the scientists hope to build prediction models for potential volcanic eruptions. A New Volcano-oriented Satellite Venture It is of the utmost importance scientists get a better grasp on the planet we are living on. There are so many things we still do not

TheMerkle Volcano Monitoring Satellites

Satellites are a very interesting piece of technology that still feels somewhat underutilized at this stage. British scientists are looking to change all of that with their new satellite-oriented venture. To be more specific, the group wants to monitor every land volcano known to man from space by using satellites dedicated to this task. In doing so, the scientists hope to build prediction models for potential volcanic eruptions.

A New Volcano-oriented Satellite Venture

It is of the utmost importance scientists get a better grasp on the planet we are living on. There are so many things we still do not understand or comprehend. Volcanoes, for example, are creations that spark everyone’s imagination, even though it is by far one of Mother Nature’s deadliest “tricks” in the book. Up until this point, it has been very difficult to predict potential eruptions, but that may be about to change soon.

Scientists in the United Kingdom are planning to use two individual satellites to continuously map the Earth’s surface, looking for any signs that may hint at volcanic activity. To be more specific, the satellites will provide images and information regarding changing round shapes, which should be one of the primary indicators of a soon-to-happen volcanic eruption. Keeping in mind how our planet is home to over 1,500 land volcanoes – that we know of – there is a lot of information that needs to be gathered around the clock.

Some people may wonder why satellites have never been used for this type of purpose in the past. As of right now, a few dozen of these volcanoes are actively monitored, even though any of the 1,500 can erupt at any given moment. Moreover, the current monitoring system heavily relies on GPS and seismic stations, alongside magnetometers and a few other tools. However, measuring any major changes from space has a lot more merit, or so the UK scientists believe.

The equipment required to monitor land volcanoes is very expensive and not that easy to come by in large quantities. Moreover, it recovers a vast team of scientists to keep track of all data and ensure all equipment is functioning properly at all times. It also puts these people’s lives in danger, as they have to be relatively close to the volcano in question. Should it erupt, it is very likely the scientists will not make it out alive.

By using the two satellites, it not only becomes possible to monitor all volcanoes around the world on a routine basis, but it also makes life a bit easier for scientists. If anomalies are detected, they can still go to the volcano and check it out if that need arises. Moreover, this technology allows for the monitoring of a much wider area, which undoubtedly will provide valuable insights for scientists as well. Plus, it will serve as an excellent warning system for affected areas.

Several trials of the satellite-based monitoring projects have already been conducted in Iceland. Right now, the team is running a similar test across Europe and a part of Asia. The plan is to cover more ground in the coming months, especially where Central and South America are concerned. These particular regions are home to dozens of volcanoes with multiple eruptions taking place at any given time. This project is made possible thanks to the Sentinel-1 radar satellites. It will be interesting to see how this project fares in the coming months.

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