Facebook Limits Messenger Forwards & Will Ban New Political Ads Week Prior to Election; Amazon Day Delivery Option for Prime; Feds Can’t Ask Google for All phones Within 300 Meters; Court-NSA Bulk Phone Data Collection UnlawfulPosted: September 3, 2020
Facebook has now put a forwarding limit on Messenger. According to engadget.com, you will only be able to forward to 5 people or groups at a time. Facebook says this will slow the speed of viral misinformation and harmful content. (It will also slow the spread of spammy ‘chain letter’ crap and stupid videos some people insist on sending all the time.) Facebook owned WhatsApp introduced a similar rule in April, and saw a 70% decrease in forwarded messages.
In something that sounds better than it is, Facebook will now block NEW political ads a week before US elections, in an effort to protect voter integrity. They touted their support of election integrity in a post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The catch is, candidates and PACs will still be able to buy ads in the last week if their campaign started before October 27th. Facebook’s Zuckerberg claims that’s ok, as “Those ads will already be published transparently in our Ads Library so anyone, including fact-checkers and journalists, can scrutinize them.” Twitter has been blocking political ads since last November. Facebook has added a little box that appears under any post that mentions voting directing users to their Voter Information Center, which has “accurate, verified information and videos about how to vote.”
Amazon has introduced a new delivery option for Prime members….Amazon Day. The feature allows you to choose any day but Sunday to have all your current Amazon orders delivered to you at one time. Businessinsider.com notes that they give you the option to change your day preference at any time, too…as peoples’ schedules can change. You will still be able to choose same day, one day, two day, or no rush as before…this is an additional option. Amazon also says they will attempt to box up items in a single box or less boxes, cutting waste when people use this option.
The third time was not the charm, for the government. Courts in the Chicago area have now ruled 3 times that the government can’t get a warrant to make Google produce a list of smartphones near two specific commercial establishments during one of 3 45 minute periods. Arstechnica.com says the ruling was made last week, but was just made public. Google has complained of a huge increase in law enforcement use of this type of ‘geofence’ searches. In fact, it’s been a 1500% increase between 2017 and 2018, then another 600% from 2018 to 2019. That amounts to a 100-fold increase in two years. Google says last year it got 180 of the requests a WEEK! If this ruling is affirmed on appeal, it means law enforcement will have to be more particular and specific when they go to Google and other tech and broadband companies for location and other customer data.
The gears of the law grind slowly. Recall when Ed Snowden leaked about the NSA mass surveillance going on back in 2013? Now, Cnet.com reports that a federal appeals court has ruled that collection of bulk citizens’ phone records was illegal, and possibly Unconstitutional. The spy agency had tapped into the backbone of the internet in the US and cooperating countries, allegedly in the name of foreign surveillance. Congress ended the bulk collection program back in 2015 as part of the USA Freedom Act. The court’s ruling, written by Judge Marsha Berzon, held that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, didn’t permit bulk collection of phone users’ call records, as some had claimed. “The metadata collection exceeded the scope of Congress’s authorization,” she wrote.