Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos may leave Facebook over disinformation drama

Facebook’s latest public controversy may have claimed its first major casualty. According to reporting from the New York Times, the social media giant is poised to part ways with its high profile chief security officer, Alex Stamos. That story suggests that Stamos created friction within Facebook by pushing for an aggressive approach to exploring and disclosing to the public the platform’s role in disseminating Russian state-sponsored disinformation to users. Stamos apparently initiated his exit in December 2017 but was convinced to stay on through August to avoid the hit to public perception, the New York Times reports.

Stamos weighed in over the weekend, arguing that Facebook’s revelations around the Trump campaign-linked data analytics firm did not qualify as a “breach” in the technical sense. The term that generally connotes hacking or a technical compromise of some kind, though the Cambridge Analytica situation involves a since deprecated lax API and a business model that revolves around collecting massive troves of personal data and doling it out in ways often far from transparent to the average user.

Stamos, who joined the company in June of 2015 after spending nearly year and a half time wrestling with privacy woes at Yahoo, is generally well respected within the security community. According to a story from Reuters in 2016, Stamos reportedly left his position at the top security officer at Yahoo after the company complied with a secret U.S. intelligence directive that allowed the government to search Yahoo user emails via  purpose-built software.

Stamos’s presence at Facebook — and his at times candid explanations of the internal workings and reasoning of the often opaque social network — projected the sense that the company was taking user privacy seriously. Depending on what happens next, the security officer’s absence at Facebook is likely to speak volumes too.

Update: In a tweet, Stamos contradicted reporting that he is on the way out at Facebook, claiming that his role has shifted. TechCrunch has reached out to Facebook for clarification on Stamos’s role. 

U.S. Senate advances bill to penalize websites for sex trafficking

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted 94-2 on Monday to advance legislation to make it easier to penalize operators of websites that facilitate online sex trafficking, setting up final passage of a bill as soon as Tuesday that would chip away at a bedrock legal shield for the technology industry.

Exeter University investigates law students’ “racist” messages

The University of Exeter investigates allegations of “deplorable” comments made by law society members.

Facebook under pressure as U.S., EU urge probes of data practices

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg faced calls on Monday from U.S. and European lawmakers to explain how a consultancy that worked on President Donald Trump’s election campaign gained improper access to data on 50 million Facebook users.

Watch live: Bernie Sanders hosts a town hall on inequality

Join Sanders from 7pm ET as he convenes a discussion on inequality with Elizabeth Warren, Michael Moore and more guests

Watch live as Senator Bernie Sanders hosts a town hall on inequality in America. Sanders has said: “The issue of oligarchy and wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time. It is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time, yet it gets very little coverage from the corporate media.” To discuss inequality, he has convened a town hall in Washington DC with Senator Elizabeth Warren, film-maker Michael Moore, economist Darrick Hamilton and other experts.

Why, in the richest country in the history of the world are so many Americans living in poverty? What are the forces that have caused the American middle class, once the envy of the world, to decline precipitously? Read more

Continue reading…

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is now free on iOS, Android—and dang, it’s solid

The competition for the world’s biggest “battle royale” video game got even hotter on Monday with a not-too-surprising announcement: Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds now has a free mobile version available across the world. Downloads are now live for all iOS 9.0 and later devices and most Android 5.1.1-and-above devices with at least 2GB RAM.

Based on our preliminary tests of the live American version, this famously unoptimized game is way more playable—even on older, legacy devices—than it has any right to be.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments