The Weekly Download – May 24, 2019

The Weekly Download - May 24, 2019Busy week? Feeling like you’re a little behind on current events? We’ve got your back! It’s time for The Weekly Download.

Canada’s new “digital charter”, Snapchat’s snooping scandal, Facebook’s fake accounts problem and smart tech are all on the docket today. Plus, Kim Kardashian had some beef with Jack In The Box and other fast food joints had some (hilarious) thoughts.

Canadian Federal Government Introduces New “Digital Charter”

A new “digital charter” will emphasize Canadians’ control over their personal information and promises “strong enforcement” of Internet giants that break the law. The charter will assert that Canadians should know how personal data is being used and by whom.

According to a copy of the charter, although the government will commit to a “strong” enforcement regime, no immediate steps will be taken to impose regulation on players like Amazon, Facebook and Google.

The federal government will use the charter as a set of principles that all government policy and legislation will be measured against, and as a means to “ensure fair competition in the online marketplace” while protecting “Canadian consumers from market abuses.”

Snapchat Employees Snooped on Users With SnapLion Tool

And speaking of personal data abuse, the news isn’t so good for Snapchat this week.

According to a Motherboard report, several departments inside the company have dedicateded internal tools for accessing user data, and multiple employees have abused that privileged access to spy on Snapchat users. Location information, saved Snaps, phone numbers and other highly sensitive customer data were accessed using a tool known as SnapLion.

SnapLion is meant to be used for handling spam and abuse on the platform, but according to Motherboard, employees across multiple departments used the tool for unrelated purposes.

Just last year, similar abuse of an internal tool was also discovered at Facebook and Uber and resulted in both stricter privacy controls and employee termination.

So far, Snapchat has yet to confirm the report, but has stated that such abuse would result in firings.

Facebook Has Removed Over 2 Billion Fake Accounts This Year

In a new transparency report, Facebook disclosed that over 2 billion fake accounts have already been taken down this year alone.

Executives said there’s been an increase in the number of fake accounts created, largely due to spammers and “bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time.”

Facebook says it’s able to automatically remove many of those fake accounts at the time they’re created, and that 99.8 percent of the fake accounts were detected before being reported by users.

Although that sounds like a big win, the company acknowledged that roughly five percent (roughly 118 million!) of its monthly user base is comprised of fake accounts.

This Capital One Chatbot is so Good, People Want to Marry It

Capital One’s “Eno” is the first gender-neutral AI assistant in the banking world, used by millions of U.S. customers to help manage accounts, report fraud, and shop online.

According to UX designer Steph Hay, stripping away Eno’s gender variability has helped foster a sense of trust with customers, which is especially important in the context of money.

Eno’s so relatable and trustworthy that they’ve been invited to dinner and also fielded marriage proposals. Their response? “Nah, I’m a young chatbot and still getting to know little ol’ me.”

Amazon’s New Wearable Will Detect Your Emotions

And you thought always-listening Echos were creepy…

A new wrist-worn Amazon wearable in the making will be able to read your emotions, according to a Bloomberg report. The device is reportedly being developed between Amazon and Lab126, the hardware group behind the Kindle, Fire Phone, and the Echo speaker.

There’s not too much information available about the device yet beyond internal documents that reference it. Call me crazy, but don’t people generally already know how they’re feeling? We’ll see how this gadget pans out.

Friday Fun

Kim Kardashian Calls Out Jack In The Box on Twitter

Fast food chain Jack In The Box received a mention from Kim K on Twitter, but it was a less than happy tweet, referencing a “serious complaint.”

Other competitors in the industry had some (hilarious) responses to Mrs. West’s request:

Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site