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Facebook Data Breach Keeps The Company In The Doghouse 

Daniel Chase

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Facebook (FBjust can’t seem to catch a break in the media these days. I mean, to be fair, when you, as the largest social media platform in the universe, partner up with consulting firm who lied about their intentions to perform psychological research on 270,000 but ended up selling user data from 50 million profiles to help the Republican Party take the 2016 election, it’s only fair that you receive a bit of bad press. 

In most recent negative news, Michael Vachon, an aide to billionaire George Soros, is demanding that Facebook (FB) conduct an external investigation following the release of a report published by the New York Times, the subject matter of which describes seemingly sketchy measures exercised by the Facebook leadership team in the wake of the 2016 US election scandal. According to the report, Facebook employed the help of Definers, a historically right-leaning research firm to “discredit protesters, in part by linking them to liberal financier George Soros. 

“A research document circulated by Definers [the PR firm engaged by Facebook] to reporters this summer, just a month after the House hearing, cast Mr. Soros as the unacknowledged force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement.”

New York Times Report

The report published by the Times also suggests that Facebook (FB) used their connections to lobby a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic. Facebook (FB) immediately responded to the allegations presented in the report, and fully denied ever instructing Definers to conduct any sort of a smear campaign on its behalf.

“Definers did encourage members of the press to look into the funding of ‘Freedom from Facebook,’ an anti-Facebook organization. The intention was to demonstrate that it was not simply a spontaneous grassroots campaign, as it claimed, but supported by a well-known critic of our company.To suggest that this was an anti-Semitic attack is reprehensible and untrue.”

Official statement from Facebook 

In addition to handling the Soros investigation, on Thursday, Facebook (FB) published the details of thirteen national security letters sent from the FBI demanding immediate access to the platform’s user database. 

For the uninformed public, a national security letter or NSL is an official request from the federal government for information related to an investigation into a threat to national security. Traditionally, NSLs are served in secret to companies or individuals in question, alongside a cute little NDA or, “non-disclosure agreement,” commonly referred to in the business as a “gag order.” 

In the aftermath of the Russian interference debacle, Facebook (FB) added a ‘Transparency’ section to their platform as a sign of good faith to any mistrusting users. The page alleges that every request the company receives from the government is “carefully reviewed for legal sufficiency” and, on occasion, the company “may reject or require greater specificity on requests that appear overly broad or vague.” Facebook’s latest transparency report indicates that demands from the federal government have climbed nearly 26% year-over-year, from 82,341 to 103,815 requests. According to the report, over 50% of the requests included a non-disclose agreement that restricted the company from informing its users that their data was being analyzed. 

“While fulfilling your obligations under this letter, please do not disable, suspend, lock, cancel, or interrupt service to the above-described subscriber [Facebook user] or accounts. A service interruption or deflation may alert  the subscriber and account users to the investigative action.”

-FBI National Security Letter File No. NSL-17-431971

In laymen’s terms, the FBI, on multiple occasions, conducted investigations into Facebook (FB) user data, and the feds expected Facebook (FB) to keep its mouth shut. The obvious question is this: can we still trust Facebook (FB)? The fact that at any moment, pursuant to a subpoena from the US government, our data may be analyzed and used as evidence to support a federal investigation. 

Though I fully support deterring threats to national security, I think if the FBI is flipping through my profile pictures and “likes/dislikes” I, along with the other billion users on Facebook (FB), have a right to know. 

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Facebook Gives User Passwords Out Like Candy

Daniel Chase

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We’ve all become slaves to our social media accounts, there’s truly no denying of this fact. I know people, who will remain anonymous at the risk of any one of you going to their house and judging them publicly, who care more about the amount of followers they have on Instagram (FB) than the amount of credit card debt they’re currently drowning in. For one reason or another, we are enamored with the vanity that is social networking. Sticking with the Insta example for a moment, if someone posts a perfectly edited photo of themselves sipping on a glass of rose in Europe, we automatically assume they have it all, but, in actuality, this person may be severely depressed. Also, its likely that their “perfect photo” took twenty minutes to get just right. 

Though humanity is truly addicted to various social platforms, it’s not the fault of the consumer, but more so the companies responsible for creating sites and applications that are so captivating. Not only are they fun to use, but these applications require our personal information, so its only natural that we’re constantly checking our profiles to see what’s being done with our data. Having said that, tech companies do a pretty solid job of convincing us that our information is completely safe, without any possibility of a breach, that is, until a data breach takes place. 

Facebook (FB) is one such social media company that just cannot seem to catch a break, whether it’s their own fault or otherwise. To be fair, you, as the largest social media platform in the universe, partner up with consulting firm who lied about their intentions to perform psychological research on 270,000 but ended up selling user data from 50 million profiles to help the Republican Party take the 2016 election, it’s completely justifiable that you catch flack from the media. 

After months of silence, it would seem that Facebook (FB) needs to tear down their “days since last incident” counter and start all over. The Company confirmed Thursday in a blog post, that during a routine security review in January, they found “that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within their own internal data storage systems.” 

In an attempt to dissuade the likely onslaught of internet rage from angry Facebook (FB) users, and other callous trolls, the Company tried to explain themselves.

“To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them. We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users…”

Facebook official statement regarding recent password breach 

According to recent statistics regarding Facebook’s (FB) password announcement, as many as 600 million users could be affected — roughly 20% of Facebook’s user base, but Facebook (FB) has yet to confirm these numbers. 

Putting it as plainly as can be, data breaches are not an attractive look for any company, especially one that has been in the spotlight for potentially helping foreign entities interfere with domestic politics. One would think that Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Facebook (FB), would guide his company in a safer direction, and tighten up the loose screws. Nevertheless, he is one of the richest people on the planet and I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. 

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Virtual Care Will Improve Patient Access

Daniel Chase

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The global healthcare industry is changing faster than most of us can keep track, but the bright side is that these changes are meant to improve our quality of life. Over time, healthcare providers have worked with in collaboration with the tech industry to incorporate technological advancements to allow for medical practices to keep up with the times. While many of these medical innovations are exciting and demonstrate that the healthcare industry will progress into the future, the issue is that inequities exist amid the global healthcare system

According to recent statistics, as many as 57 million Americans live in a rural location, resulting in decreased access to primary care physicians and hospitals. Given that domestic population numbers increase on a daily basis, we are seeing a drastic clinician shortage across the nation, and patients in rural regions suffer even greater consequences because of this. The data suggests that the patient-to-physician ratio in rural areas is roughly 39 physicians per 100,000 people, according to statistics from the National Rural Health Association. 

Multi-Trillion Dollar Industry Providing Massive Opportunity in 2019 & Beyond

In an effort to close care gaps caused by geographical obstacles, healthcare providers are investing in telemedical technologies to allow patients to connect with doctors without the need for traveling a far distance to a clinic or hospital. Companies in the healthcare sector have focused their resources on implementing virtual healthcare into their care offerings. What’s astounding about virtual health tech is that it allows providers to broadly expand their ability to treat more patients, allowing for a more connected, coordinated care framework. 

Premier Health Group Inc. (OTC: PHGRF) / (CSE: PHGI) / (6PH.F), a company focused on developing innovative approaches that combine human skill-based expertise with emerging technologies to provide the best possible care solutions for their patients, yesterday announced that the Company will be launching a range of virtual and remote services to be offered to its network of primary clinics, including nurses, medical office assistants and office managers. Per the details of the announcement, the initial launch will focus on current Juno EMR clients in British Columbia with plans to roll out to other provinces by the end of Q2 2019.

Considering the amount of family physicians retiring and/or burning out, high-fixed overhead and a dwindling amount of business support represent major deterrents to recruiting young doctors to take over private practices. Through Premier Health Group Inc. (OTC: PHGRF) / (CSE: PHGI) / (6PH.F)‘s implementation of virtual care and remote services will increase the clinics billings revenue by allowing physicians to be dedicated to seeing patients while reducing the clinic’s fixed labor cost. In some cases, where smaller clinics don’t have the resources for adequate patient follow-up, implementing an automatically-prompted and systematic process could significantly improve the quality of care and improve patient health outcomes.

Following the announcement, Dr. Essam Hamza, Chief Executive Officer of Premier Health Group Inc. (OTC: PHGRF) / (CSE: PHGI) / (6PH.F), said, “from my own clinical experience, I see the benefit of offering these services to other privately-owned clinics. We have successfully integrated shared resources across our four HealthVue Medical clinics. With rising labour costs, many clinics simply cannot afford dedicated staffing. With our recent acquisition of Cloud Practice, we have the opportunity to provide virtual and remote services to the 287 clinics currently using Juno EMR.”

Pursuant to an agreement between MIDAM VENTURES, LLC  and Premier Health Group Inc. we were hired for a period from 10/1/2018 – 4/1/2019 to publicly disseminate information about Premier Health Group Inc. including on the Website and other media including Facebook and Twitter. We were paid $300,000 CASH for & were paid “500,000” shares of restricted common shares (as of 1/2/2019). Midam has been compensated an additional $100,000 by Premier Health Group to extend the period of coverage to June 1, 2019. We own zero shares of Premier Health Group Inc., which we purchased in the open market. Once the (6) Six-month restriction is complete on 4/1/2019 we plan to sell the “500,000” shares of Premier Health Group Inc. that we hold currently in restricted form during the time the Website and/or Facebook and Twitter Information recommends that investors or visitors to the website purchase without further notice to you. We may buy or sell additional shares of Premier Health Group Inc. in the open market at any time, including before, during or after the Website and Information, provide public dissemination of favorable Information. 

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Google Fined $1.7 Billion By European Commision​

Daniel Chase

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You know that shady character that lives down the street from your apartment, and every time you see him, you give him the change in your pocket, but you always question what he’s really up to? Well, that may be due to a number of reasons, namely that something may have occurred in your childhood which has subsequently caused you to either fear the homeless or have trust issues. In some scenarios, an individual could have both fear and mistrust in their hearts.

As time has progressed and technological advancements have followed suit, societal trust in tech companies has dwindled. Though we expect the brilliant minds of this generation and the next to pioneer technologies to improve our lives for the better, secretly, like the man down the street, we question what they’re really up to. 

Back in December, just before the strike of the new year, Google (GOOGL), the Company heralded for providing the world with access to information in less time than it takes America to forget about a natural disaster, shared with the world that the personal data of 52.5 million Google + users  was comprised due  to a bug discovered in connection with a Google + API. Suffice to say, the search engine-backed tech behemoth quickly addressed the issue, especially given the rising fears of consumers in regards to what websites do with their personal data. 

It seemed, at least for the last few months, that Google (GOOGL) was in the clear. The Company yesterday made headlines with its announcement of of a video game streaming service called Stadia which will allow users to play the game that they love without the need for purchasing wallet-emptying consoles or computers. 

Per the details of the official announcement, with Stadia, YouTube watchers will be able to click “Play now” at the end of a video and their game will start within five seconds. Perhaps the craziest part about Stadia is that the “data center is the platform,” meaning that players can start at one platform and continue where they left off on any advice capable of connecting to Google. 

However, we’ve come to learn that behind all the glitz and glamor, some tech companies are always up to no good. On Wednesday, the European Commission slapped Google (GOOGL) with a fine for breaching EU antitrust rules. According to the official press release regarding the matter, Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which hinders any rival of the Company from placing their own ads on these sites. 

In other words, Google (GOOGL) has structured the online advertising playing field in their favor. 

“Today the commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts. Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition…”

Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner, European Commission 

The European Commission shared that over the course of the last few years, through AdSense for Search, Google (GOOGL) has held market shared above 90% in the national markets for general search, making it near impossible for competitors in online search advertising to sell ad space within Google’s search engine results pages. 

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